Summer Entertainment Update

Since I’m in this weird in-between time of having graduated but not started the next phase of my life (a.k.a grad school), I’ve had a lot of free time on my hands. Since I have a degree in Pop Culture Studies, however, it’s not too difficult for me to find ways to occupy my time; there are plenty of books and movies and TV shows to keep me quite busy. I posted a similar entry like this recently, but enough has changed that I thought it would be fun to update again. Here we go!

TV — I have been on a roll of TV binge-watching. Since my last post, I’ve started and completed two separate series, and almost completed a full season of another show. My first TV project was Enlightened, the HBO dramedy that ran from 2011-2013 and starred Laura Dern. I enjoyed the show to an extent, but it really doesn’t surprise me that the show was canceled. Laura Dern gives a fantastic performance as the narcissistic do-gooder Amy, but the show in general felt a bit confused at times. The pacing is rather slow, and I often found the voice over narration to be  annoying and slightly incompatible with the reality of Amy’s character. The three episodes of the show’s eighteen that follow three of the supporting characters were also pretty annoying in my opinion, though I did enjoy getting Tyler’s (Mike White, who also co-created the show and wrote/directed most of the episodes) back story. I felt like the concept of the show was good, but it wasn’t entirely flushed out.

As of just a few minutes ago, I also finished Showtime’s Penny Dreadfulan show that takes an interesting approach to representing a combination of the supernatural and famous literary figures. Among the show’s primary characters are Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and his Monster, and a version of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, though this is more obvious in the characters of Mina and Van Helsing. I really enjoyed the first two episodes of the series, but it definitely had its ups and downs overall. Personally, I dislike Frankenstein’s character (I also kind of hate the novel), so I didn’t find his story very interesting. Like Enlightened, the plot moves rather slowly at times, and overall, the progress of the plot across the first season’s eight episodes is very minimal. I’m intrigued enough, though, that I imagine I’ll tune in for season two whenever it happens.

As for my other TV projects, I’m just a few episodes short of finishing season seven of Seinfeldso just two more seasons to go before I’ve completed it (hooray!). I’m a really big fan of crossing things off my list, so it feels important to make significant progress on a long project. My mom and I have also picked back up with Showtime’s Masters of SexI watched all but the final two episodes during season one, but I’m backtracking to get her caught up too. Once we’re caught up on that I’m sure we’ll return to The Sopranossince I’m rather embarrassed to say that we’ve still only watched the pilot episode.

Books — My reading projects haven’t been too eventful since my last post, but that’s probably because I’ve dedicated so much time to watching TV. After finishing The Marriage PlotI reread Gone Girlwhich was once again a thrilling experience. After that, I started reading Jane Austen’s Emmawhich I’m about one-third of the way through. I’m slowly realizing that I’m not a huge Jane Austen fan, and since I watched the film adaptation of this novel a few months ago, I’m having a hard time motivating myself to keep reading. I’m trying to meet a goal of reading 20 pages of it a day; sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. To keep myself reading, I also started The Scorch Trialsthe second book in The Maze Runner trilogy. Of course, my problem now is that I’m getting more into this book and not spending as much time reading Emma. This week, though, I want to do my best to make good progress on them both, and I’m sure I’ll finish The Scorch Trial in the next day or two.

Movies — All my TV-watching kind of means that my movie-watching has been neglected. My goal of watching 125 movies this year is starting to be a bit more challenging; I need to watch 10 movies a month to stay on track, and I’m still 9 movies ahead, but I’m usually better off than that. Since my TV projects aren’t so numerous now, I’m going to try to get through some of my Netflix list to raise my movie quota. The last movie I watched was Happy Christmasanother of my Sundance favorites. Unfortunately, the fact that I saw it in January didn’t really help me keep my movie list growing. (Obviously these are really silly things to worry about since this is a self-inflicted kind of issue that has no real consequence, but I take this stuff seriously.)

Anyway, I’m setting myself a few pop culture goals for the week: finish one of my two books, finish season seven of Seinfeld, catch up on Masters of Sex, and watch two movies. Here’s to another productive week of entertainment!

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