Much to my surprise, 2017 was not the year of gaming I thought it was going to be for me. Sure, I played one of the best games of my life earlier in the year (Legend of Zelda BoTW), but something else that I’ve been putting off for many months inspired me to finally put down my controller and pick up my TV remote: I was going to start the enjoyable pastime of binge-watching television shows, and boy did I.
Westworld aired on October 2nd, 2016 on HBO and is based off of Michael Crichton’s 1973 film by the same name. The show is about an adult theme park (run by the mysterious Anthony Hopkins) where guests get the experience of traveling back in time to the wild west. The inhabitants inside the park are anything but ordinary: they are super realistic androids that can give you anything your heart desires. The show’s lead character is an android named Dolores, played by the amazing Evan Rachel Wood. Dolores is seemingly struggling with her own internal sentience; however, this is only a small bit of what the show has to offer. There’s at least four other side stories that converge over the course of the 10 episode season, and let me tell you, it will sink its teeth into you and not let go. The acting is powerful, and half the time I’m forgetting that the people in the show aren’t androids. Another nice touch to this series is the soundtrack–it fits well with the overall theme of the show and it’s one of my favorites (I’m actually writing while listening to it). I do have some good news to my fellow fans of this series: HBO announced that Westworld will return in early 2018 with another ten episodes.
Personal Rating 10/10
A fellow Geekiverse contributor told me after our numerous Game of Thrones podcasts to give Vikings a try, and I am not disappointed. I watched all four seasons within a span of a couple weeks and found myself falling in love with the characters and plot. Vikings follows the story of Ragnar Lothbrok (played by Travis Fimmel), a farmer who dreams of fame and fortune and believes he is a descendant of Odin. It starts with him disobeying orders from his Earl, and he and his friends set sail east and into the lands of England, where religions, kings, and people collide, and it only gets better from there. There are twists, turns, betrayals, and not to mention some kick-ass shieldmaidens (I’m talking about the lovely Katheryn Winnick as Lagertha) If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones and Tudors, you’ll like Vikings. The show is still running, and a fifth season aired on History Channel on November 29th.
Personal Rating 8/10
My goal with the Marvel Netflix serieses was to watch all of them before The Defenders aired. I did it a little backwards because I watched Jessica Jones first, but I made the right decision by going back and watching Daredevil next. I did not watch Iron Fist (after much debate, I decided I wouldn’t miss anything if I simply skipped it). I watched both seasons of Daredevil, and I can honestly say that the second season was, by far, my favorite. I love seeing the added depth of Matt Murdock’s character (played by the brilliant Charlie Cox) while he struggles with his identity as the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen and as himself, Matt Murdock attorney at law. The first season we witness Daredevil’s love and compassion for justice and belief that the system works only for it to be torn apart in Season 2, with his meeting of troubled ex-marine Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal), and his paramour, Elektra Natchios (Élodie Yung). Netflix has announced that a third season for Daredevil will air sometime in 2018 (filming just began in November 2017), and you can bet your red leather jumpsuit that I’ll be there watching it!
Personal Rating 8.5/10
In the heart of Harlem, New York, there is an evil presence growing, and there’s only one man for the job: Luke Cage (portrayed by the perfect Mike Colter). We met him in Jessica Jones as Jessica’s confidant and lover. Here in Harlem, this gentle giant is trying to make a peaceful life for himself inside Pop’s Barber Shop, but after tragedy strikes he is forced to don his zip-up hoodie and take to the streets of Harlem rooting out evil from its source. The story centers around Luke trying to stop the evil ambitions of a family duo: Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes and Mariah Dillard (portrayed by Mahershala Ali and Alfre Woodard respectively), who are trying to shake up the fragile existence that dwells within Harlem. I love how unstoppable Luke Cage is and it’s so satisfying watching bullets bounce off of him like harmless rocks. It’s also amazing finding out his entire backstory on how he came to be. A second season is in the works and to be aired sometime in 2018.
Personal Rating 8.5/10
So, I watched all the Marvel Netflix series to prepare myself for this show, and I can say that it was good, but it wasn’t great. I honestly think it was because of how short it was, or, perhaps, how short it felt–there were eight episodes compared to the usual 13 episodes. The plot of The Defenders is that, as we have learned from the previous shows, there is a secret evil society spreading through New York called The Hand, and our heroes are tasked with putting an end to them. Ultimately, I loved seeing all of our heroes and watching their individual stories come together, yet I found Iron Fist AKA Danny Rand (portrayed by Finn Jones) to be lacking and whiny. The good news is that the other characters, and even sub characters, make up for what he’s lacking, and he doesn’t ruin the show. All the characters’ banter in the show is gold, and I love the camaraderie that takes place. If you’ve been doing what I have and working your way through the Netflix Marvel shows to get to The Defenders, I can say from experience that it is worth it.
Personal Rating 8/10
I would love to just give an Emmy to Jon Bernthal right here and now. His portrayal of Frank Castle, an ex-marine still reeling with the brutal loss of his family, is outstanding. Watching the show, you almost forget it’s a part of the Marvel Universe with the way the way it dives into the daily life of a PTSD-suffering veteran. The story telling is excellent and doesn’t shy away. You watch as Frank tries to live a semi-normal life trying to stay out of headlines as the infamous Punisher, but things don’t go as planned, as a man named Micro (played by Ebon Moss-Bachrach) seeks him out about a CD that contains haunting evidence of a murder from when Frank was serving overseas. We watch as Frank has no choice but to re-open old wounds as he probes for more information about what caused the murder of his family and what the hidden implications are to this disc. Deborah Ann Woll also makes an appearance reprising her role as Karen Paige, the paralegal turned journalist from Daredevil. I can honestly say that The Punisher is my favorite of the Netflix Marvel series to date, and I’m excited that in December they were renewed for a second season. I will give you a word of warning to the faint of heart: It is GORY and ruthless. Be warned.
Personal Rating 10/10
2017 Was the year of TV Show binging…well, for me at least. What shows have you watched in 2017? Any that I should maybe check out? Leave a comment below! I’d love to know because as of right now there’s a hole that Punisher left.
Sam Budzinski is a writer and podcast correspondent for the Geekiverse. She can proudly say that she ships Karen Paige and Frank Castle wholeheartedly.
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