TV Binge: Ugly Delicious (Season 2, 2020)

Check out the TV binge for the first season HERE.

Ugly Delicious (Season 2, 2020)

ugly delicious

With only half the length of the first season, Ugly Delicious is a quick binge to say the least. That being said, it still lives up to what it has built in its first season, bringing food and culture and views together. Its a bit more of a personal journey as David Chang sets out in the first episode looking at kids menu in anticipation of his child. Its a good look at exploring the kids menu at schools around the world and finding the balance of being a chef and family. In the following three episodes, David Chang and friends reunite to look at curry, steak and the turning meat.

While each of these episodes have a lot to offer and to learn, the best episode would be the steak episode which has amazing structure as it divides its discussion into a four course meal and having this central discussion on the different doneness of steaks and why (or why not) its a big deal to ask for a well-done steak. It leads to how steaks are done from fine dining to chain restaurants to little restaurant concepts as well as the different types of steaks including some that I’ve never heard about. Its quite the eye-opening episode especially as it uses this to go into politics, society, etc.

As usual, David Chang is really a great host for this. The guests he invites on each of these episodes or friends that go to the different locations to explore the food all have their own rapport and knowledge that it adds a lot to the series itself. However, carrying forward from the previous season, David Choe has to be one of the most hilarious additions to the friends. A little odd and does a lot of unexpected things but its why it makes it so entertaining. That being said, there are some fantastic travels here as they head to different locations as well like Mumbai and Instanbul just for starters.

Four episodes might seem like something of a short season and it definitely is, but each of these episodes do pack their own punch. Each having their own journey, whether its a journey to understand a cuisine better (Curry) or its a look at the different variations and how people view how certain foods are cooked and its impact on society itself and even expanding to feminism (steak) and finally how immigrants and people moving from one place to the next has brought over their food culture to a new place and the variety that its given (turning meat). Ugly Delicious is much more than just a food docuseries but rather one of the things I like the most about the show is how it manages to tie some societal elements using food as the bridge to talk about these issues.

TV Binge: Million Pound Menu (Season 2, 2019)

Million Pound Menu (Season 2, 2019)

million pound menu

Host: Fred Sirieix

Million Pound Menu is currently in its second season. Its main concept is that various restaurants concepts or food trucks or simply developing ideas are brought in to compete for a chance to run a pop-up restaurant for a few days to test their idea and functionality to impress several investors and hopefully end up getting an offer to invest and partner with them to take the next step.

While I can’t remember season 1 really well, Season 2 is structured where the first step is to put three restaurants against each other to cook the four investors of the panel their most popular/outstanding dish and to share their vision and concept for their restaurant as well as lay out their deal. The investors have to come to a consensus on one restaurant team who progresses to the next step to get a chance at the pop-up restaurant. In that process, investors who aren’t interested can drop out. Day 1 of the pop up restaurant is a soft launch dinner service where its open to public and the investors dine together to try out the menu and service. If they are satisfied, they progress to the next morning to discuss their business plans. If they pass this part, its the final stage of Day 2 lunch service at full price where the investors come back separately to dine alone and understand how the public feels about the concept and the food. At the end of Day 2, the investors have until 7pm to return if they want to offer them an investment.

Million Pound Menu is only 8 episodes long and it works to its favor because it is about investments and the progress of the meals and such. The show is edited fairly well to capture those moments in the services where the issues occur or the highlights of the discussions between the restaurant owners and the investors regardless of which meeting it is. There’s always that part of having the reason of why an investor backs out when they do. Its a decent show to see whether its the different concepts of restaurants but also gives the mentality behind investments as well as business plans and what different investors view a different path for some of these restaurants. What’s nice here (different from say shows like product-based investment shows like Dragon’s Den/Shark Tank), the investors can offer a different deal and modify the amount they plan on investing. There’s a certain level of flexibility there.

While I think that most of the investors are pretty intriguing to watch, the host Fred Sirieux is also quite knowledgeable but has an element of being over enthusiastic. It might his accent or how its shot that makes him that way. He does balance a lot of it well as he does help out the different restaurant owners and gives them advice when he sees things going wrong. However, the hosting is sometimes a little over the top for my liking. Obviously not enough to stop watching, but its something to point out. There are some neat restaurants presented here and its always a bet on whether the investors do end up coming back or not. Its a fun show and its about restaurant investment which is pretty interesting in general.

TV Binge: Sugar Rush (Season 2, 2019)

Check out the 1st Season of Sugar Rush review HERE.

Sugar Rush (Season 2, 2019)

sugar rush

Host: Hunter March
Judges: Candace Nelson & Adriano Zumbo

A baking competition with 4 teams, 3 rounds, 2 cakes and 1 winner of $10,000. – IMDB

Season 2 of Sugar Rush is here. With a quick 50 mins episode length and 6 episodes for the whole season, Sugar Rush is the perfect type of TV binge. It can be done in a day if you don’t have any other things planned or to do . Just like the previous season and the very on point synopsis on IMDB for the show, this is a professional baking competition which starts with 4 teams who compete in elimination format in 3 rounds to become the final winner of $10,000. Who makes the decision is between the two judges and the guest judge who may or may not be baking saavy but they are eating saavy (meaning they know how to eat and that’s really what is important here since baked goods isn’t only for expert tasting but for normal people too). Some examples of guests this season are Nick and Vanessa Lachey as well as Jacques Torres.

For those who haven’t seen Season 1, here’s a quick little rundown of how the competition is structured. There are 3 rounds to the competition. The first 2 rounds is cupcakes and confections respectively to be completed within 3 hours. Whatever time you save from those three hours adds on to the final cake round which also has 3 hours. The topics for each round is announced as you complete the previous round after the judges taste. The only trick here is that elimination of one team happens after each round as well. What changes in season 2 is two elements. The first is more relevant to the competition structure and that is all round 3 keep going. When Round 2 finishes, the final round topic is given as well as 3 additional hours. In that sense, the clock never stops making it embrace that time element much better and gives less down time where the other team doesn’t stand around waiting for their time to start like in Season 1. The second element is that the judges now all stay in the room while the competition is going on and does commentating which is great compared to the first season where they would leave and come back at the tail end. These little things keeps the process of the competition more engaging.

Other than one or two odd guest choices, Sugar Rush really does a good job in keeping up with the hype of the first season and polishing the structure and concept behind it which works better this time around. It had 2 less episodes from the previous season so its a quick one to binge through. The themes here also are pretty fun from starting with current popular baking trends to more thematic ones like science and love, they choose guests that match their theme while also having focus on both technique and visual appeal. Hopefully, Sugar Rush gets a Season 3 because I’d be down for it.

 

TV Binge: On My Block (Season 2, 2019)

You can find the first season HERE.

***If you haven’t watched the first season and intend to, spoiler alert!!!***

On My Block (Season 2, 2019)

On My Block s2

Creators: Eddie Gonzalez, Jeremy Haft, Lauren Iungerich

Cast: Sierra Capri, Brett Gray, Diego Tinoco, Jason Genao, Jessica Marie Garcia, Peggy Blow, Julio Macias, Danny Ramirez, Paula Garcés, Lisa Marcos, Reggie Austin

A coming-of-age story about four bright, street-savvy friends navigating their way through high school in the gritty inner city of South Central Los Angeles. Dealing with the danger of getting their friend out of a gang and friends turning into romance, danger is constant. – IMDB

Picking up after a cliffhanger ending in Season 1, Season 2 of On My Block resumes in the aftermath of the shooting that went on at Olivia’s Quincinera party. Suffice to say that On My Block lost one of the characters. The second season of On My Block is much more serious than the first one. It is about healing and picking up the pieces for everyone whether physically and mentally. Some like Monse (Sierra Capri) is trying to hold the group together as they all heal from the trauma; Ruben (Jason Genao) is healing physically and mentally in dealing with the event and losing someone he loves; Cesar (Diego Tinoco) is healing from guilt and the fact that he is dead to his brother (Julio Macias) and have no home while Jamal (Brett Gray), in his nervous personality, is stressing out how to share the news of finding the RollerWorld money and then, as a group, how to wash the money so they can now split it among the friends and use it.

On My Block

The second season of On My Block takes a shift in tone. While it still keeps the essence of each of these characters, the events of the first season has changed them. However, its a good thing because it was an inevitable stage of development that each of the characters needed to go through. In reality, its easy to see how each of their change makes sense. Each of them have their own burdens and have their own story. What  makes this season very bingeworthy is the fact that the show remembers to zoom into how certain relationships (friendship, love, bromance) is emphasized on further because its hard to not find that one person that is there or understands more than the next. The group is still a unit and they find their way back to each other all the time one way or another. Its that extra focus that adds a lot of depth to each of these characters.

The strength of the show is in how it treats each of these 4 young characters and Sierra Capri, Diego Tinoco, Jason Genao and Brett Gray bring them to life exceptionally. They give them each of their unique characteristics and they are characters that we want to see survive through all the difficult situations and choices they need to make. However, what makes them beautiful is that they remember that these are still teenagers and still give them some shenanigans that make them reflect their age and lack of experience in the real world. What makes it also very special is that its hard to tell who does a better job because as much as the story seems to focus on Cesar’s carryforward situation and he goes through possibly some of the biggest struggles here, his situation affects Monse’s decisions also while she struggles with her personal choices. At the same time, we can ignore that Ruben is also going through a lot and he has a whirlwind of situation as he tries to heal and move on which is much more inner process and we can’t forget Jamal, who doesn’t seem to be grounded in the other struggles but as the one that creates a lot of the comedic moments, has his share of glue that brings together the group because of these things that don’t feel as important.

On My Block

While the story remains strongly focused on these four friends, this season gives a lot more room for other supporting characters. The first season spent a lot of time for Olivia (who we now know is not part of the show) and Ruben’s grandmother played by Peggy Blow, who still has a focus and remains one of the most entertaining characters of the show. What did get a lot of attention this time and that gave her a new angle is Jasmine, played by Jessica Marie Garcia. There is a lot of potential for this character to grow because we’ve only seen one side of her in the first season and this season, she is given a whole new area to develop as she finds her bond in Ruben as she has a more positive outlook and happiness to her character that we see is one of her unique traits and makes her have something to teach these four as well. Other than that, we also see some more of the family members as they get extended appearances from Ruben’s mom to Monse’s father and of course, carrying from the first season, Cesar’s brother.

Overall, On My Block might not be quite the light and fun bingeworthy season that the first season one as its heavier in its themes. However, what makes it still be as great as the first one is that it takes the step to give these characters a lot of depth and growth from the things they have gone through and create bonds between each of them. I didn’t mention a lot of the bonds but a few fun ones do pop up and they also give the series a nice change in pace. If you have been watching this series, Season 2 will not disappoint and it’ll leave you looking forward to (hopefully) Season 3 (as I am right now..and waiting for the new that there will be one).

TV Binge: The Big Family Cooking Showdown (Season 2, 2018)

You can find the TV Binge for previous season below:

Season 1

The Big Family Cooking Showdown (Season 2, 2018)

the big family cooking showdown s2

Judges: Tommy Banks & Angellica Bell

If you had been following The Big Family Cooking Showdown, you would already know that they had announced a lot of changes in Season 2 prior to its airing. I’m not quite sure if it aired before it became a Netflix Original or not, but I believe its a BBC 2 show. Either way, other than just having the judges change, the show took away its hosts and let the judges take over that job as well. The structure of the competition has also changed. It still has some of the same challenges. This season, it separates into two parts essentially. The first 5 episodes is for two group of 4 families, where they end up having 2 families going into the play-offs, then the next 5 episodes is the second two groups of 4 families to fight for the two spots to the play-offs. Then the remaining is playoffs for the 4 families with 1 family eliminated, 1 family getting fast-track to the finals and the next last two fighting for the last finals spot.

big family cooking showdown s2

In terms of challenge, the 10 pound challenge remains as the kick-off challenge but with the added surprise element of doing the shopping on the spot and having to do their calculations and then if over, to give up whichever items. The first day wraps up with a known challenge of national dishes with a twist. After that, one family is eliminated. Day 2 has the 3 families in their next challenge where they choose one member to bake a dessert that they can choose the difficulty level which leads to a second challenge pre-known to make a two course meal (main dish and dessert). The playoffs are also structured over 2 days with the first having one spontaneous challenge called the pick ‘n mix challenge where the judges have one set ingredient and one member of each family chooses an ingredient from what is provided and they have to incorporate all the  ingredients into their dish with a minimal selection of spices, etc and wraps up the day with an indulgent treat meal (known in advance). There are following challenges of zero-waste (or as close to it as possible) meals and then the finale is essentially the same challenges as season one with a cooking spontaneous challenge followed by a 3 course meal.

After a huge description, we can go and break it down a little. Let’s start with the host/judges. Tommy Banks and Angellica Bell are really fun to watch. They work together well to create a nice dynamic. They have some puns and in general are a warmer experience and share a good knowledge of food and cooking throughout. They add in little discussions between and it makes for a nice idea of where they stand. As for the candidates, this is where the colors are. Its in the families that join who bring in the playfulness and spontaneous elements. Each of the families of 3 bring a different style and cooking mentality and its because of this and it brings in a lot of fun little moments. What works better in Season 2 is making it more focused on 4 families each time instead of doing them 2 families at a time like in the first season.

big family cooking showdown s2

In any cooking competition, its all about the challenges and the food. Its a good idea to put each day of the challenge with two of them where one is spontaneous and one is known before. Its a good bit to see which family works well even without practice and shows off some true creativity and skill. The spontaneous challenges are the ones that bring a lot more interesting elements to the competition. Its the ones that truly have that surprise factor also and have more issues that come up and chaos. Let’s be honest that perfect shows aren’t fun to watch and instead the chaos and overcoming those obstacles in whatever way is usually an enjoyable bit to see. Nothing works like a little bit of drama, right? In that sense, I think that might be where I’ve pinpointed the bits that don’t work so well here as the show at times feels a little bland. It might have to be that some parts, go by too long and then some go too fast and then there is a balance that sometimes isn’t balanced properly to make the show completely bingeworthy. Why I say that is that some food competitions like Zumbo’s Just Desserts, I can go back and watch it over and over again knowing the results but for The Big Family Cooking Showdown, I was lukewarm with Season 1 and didn’t rewatch it and then this Season 2 although I have some families that I really liked and the elements technically all work together, something never made me want to watch more than an episode or two and stop, nor do I have that urge to go back and watch it again. There’s something missing and I can’t quite pinpoint what it is. Perhaps its the same home footages of the families that repeat itself over and over again as well. Its definitely heading in the right direction though. If Season 3 happens, I’m hoping that there are some additional changes to make it even better.

Have you seen The Big Family Cooking Showdown?

TV Binge: Nailed It (Season 2, 2018)

If you missed the first season recap, you can find it HERE.

Probably one of the fastest TV binges ever! While I have a ton of TV binges I have to work on, Nailed It is surprisingly easy to write about so during this taxing week, I decided to put a lot of reality TV binges in advance.

Nailed It (Season 2, 2018)

Nailed It Season 2

Hosts: Nicole Byer, Jacques Torres

Guest Judges: Jon Gabrus, Ron Ben-Israel, Johnny Hekker, Waylynn Lucas, Art Smith, Joshua John Russell, Antoni Porowski

Nailed It is a pretty lovely concept and it works overall as a reality TV show. If you want the nutshell version of how I liked the first season, I liked it enough for me to hop right onto it the first weekend after it launched and then probably finished it over 2 days. Its fairly short episodes and there is only 6 + 1 episodes so its not exactly impossible to do either. In some ways, the entertainment value is there. Nicole Byer is great at her job. I know some people think she is annoying to watch but I actually think in Season 2, her and Jacques Torres has found somewhat of a balance and chemistry to make it work. I like her bombastic personality and its that personality that makes it fun to watch. The same goes for the judges who make their way onto the show which all have something to offer and add a little light to everything.

Nailed It

However, sadly, I do feel that Nailed It in Season 2 has betrayed its concept a little. Even if you went to Wikipedia or IMDB, they call it an amateur bake-off reality TV series. However, it didn’t quite go that patch especially in the first round of challenges as we saw watermelon carving and then a football field reconstruction where the extend of making food was organizing, chopping and making guacamole. All very noble things to learn how to do and hard to put together but doesn’t quite fit into the formula that the show is trying to sell initially. Maybe its because I watched this for the amateur baker angle that it disappointed me. Technically, I mean, this all does fit into the idea because Nailed It is just about hot messes that happen, right? So, you could apply it to anything that can be recreated.

Nailed It

Fact is, I’d be lying if I said that Nailed It Season 2 wasn’t entertaining. It was pretty entertaining and I loved the Queer Eye crossover episode which was just too short. That episode actually got me to sit down and actually get started on that series, which I’ll be doing a TV Binge on very soon for both seasons because well, while this one I’ve only watched once since the end of June. I’ve already watched Queer Eye both seasons twice. I’m going on a tangent so lets bring it back to Nailed It! Entertaining still but not quite what I expected with the additional diversity of the projects. When I get to the new reality TV Baking competition series Sugar Rush soon also, we’ll talk about how this could go so many different themes instead of going into these odd non-baking challenges. I wouldn’t be so disappointed if it was baking savory snacks to be honest. Its just that baking thing that some challenges was missing and I felt like Nailed It lost its way just a little every once in a while.

But then, if Nicole Byer is back for Season 3 of Nailed It, I’d be down to watch some more.

TV Binge: Ultimate Beastmaster (Season 2, 2017)

Ultimate Beastmaster had their season 2 released on Netflix on December 15th, 2017. You can see our recap of Season 1 HERE.

Ultimate Beastmaster (Season 2, 2017)

ultimate beastmaster

Creators: David Broome & Sylvester Stallone

Our household are big fans of Ultimate Beastmaster. From the structure of the beast to the structure of the challenge in this Netflix’s version of American Ninja Warrior, its a lot of fun to watch. This year’s Ultimate Beastmaster brought on a new slate of competitors. Aside from the USA being there in Season 1, there was China, India, Italy, Spain, France. Being Chinese, I was pretty happy to see China have its contestants and a lot of them were pretty incredible.

Ultimate Beastmaster

With new countries came new hosts and new chemistry. USA being the only overlap country in the two seasons came back with two different hosts. The first season was hyped up because of big names attached with Terry Crews and Charissa Thompson. This time, we had Tiki Barber and Chris DiStefano. It took a little while to get used to them however as they show did go on their jokes, while feeling a little like dad jokes did get a few funny moments. However, the Italian hosts and the French hosts had a really fun feud going on that worked to make it very entertaining to watch. Of course, the Chinese hosts also had a balancing act where the lady Qinyi Du was overly enthusiastic and was pretty much hilarious but was paired with Bin Gu who seemed much more quiet and contemplative. While he didn’t say much, somehow this pairing worked in its own way.

ultimate beastmaster

In many ways, this season’s beastmasters had two brother pairings which worked very well together. It came with a lot of nice and supportive moments. Plus, the competitors chosen here were quite diverse although parkour and mountain climbing athletes definitely had an advantage to the others with both flexibility and working to the obstacles here. It was also nice to see the sportsmanship exhibited here and the enthusiasm. Getting through any of these obstacles was challenging in any of the stages and no matter who you rooted for, it was hard to not feel tense for any of the competitors because the course was tough on them and this took a lot of courage.

ultimate beastmaster

In terms of budget, you can already see some changes in there. For one, the countries all have their own country colors and outfits and gears. On top of that, the course itself had some changes. The first stage starts off differently than season one and to be honest, this one feels much harder because its about jumping far distances which is good because it prepares you for the huge challenge even from the first season which are the energy coils. The point system also had an overhaul and I think its quite fair this way plus the point thrusters are not flip switches but actual buttons which is pretty cool. The first stage also had alternate paths with every other episode and group of competitors, which is new and refreshing. The second stage didn’t quite feel like there was a lot of changes. The third stage however did have bigger changes as they added in what seems like a longer area of sinking coils and transitioning to this Hangman section which is ridiculously hard just to watch because its so challenging to even watch. The final stage also had an overhaul that was pretty awesome and more extensive as well. You need to actually see the Beast to be really impressed with its challenges.

I’m not going to tell you who wins this whole thing because it would be completely in spoiler territory and I think that you should watch it because its a lot of fun. I would also love to see Ultimate Beastmaster go on to have more seasons so hopefully someone dropping by here with Netflix would want to watch it and give it some boost. Of course, there’s also the whole thing that watching this is so positive. I’m not sure about everyone else here but while I’ve fallen off the working out regime and working hard in 2018 to get back into it, this competition is so motivational and positive. But then, I’ve always loved to do treetop obstacle courses and thought before about trying out in Spartan Races and such. Maybe I’ll do it one day. On a finishing note, you know who I’d love to see doing this one just for kicks? Stephen Amell. A bonus celebrity version for charity would be pretty cool as well with TV and movie superheroes or something. Go watch Ultimate Beastmaster! Its totally worth your time.

TV Binge: Chef’s Table (Season 2, 2016)

If you  missed Season 1 TV Binge of Chef’s Table, you can find it HERE.

I’m not much of a documentary girl, very much less a documentary series girl but Chef’s Table is about chefs and creativity and food. To be honest, I don’t know a whole lot about the world renowned chefs despite being a food lover. There’s something so charming in learning about how someone pursues what they love. In this case, its being a chef but there’s a lot to learn when looking at someone’s story that can apply even if you aren’t particularly pursuing a chef dream but rather a creative goal. I love listening to someone’s stories and their experience and that is what made me love watching the first season of Chef’s Table. It took a little while to get onto Season 2 but I’m excited! However, keep in mind that I did watch this a little while back and never had the time to write up the review so maybe some details might be fuzzy but it was a memorable series.

Chef’s Table (Season 2, 2016)

chefs-table-s2

Chef’s Table goes inside the lives and kitchens of six of the world’s most renowned international chefs. Each episode focuses on a single chef and their unique look at their lives, talents and passion from their piece of culinary heaven. – IMDB

Chef’s Table is a documentary that truly takes a nice look at chefs. I like the stories and the lessons that they offer as well as the eye-opening creativity. This time, there’s Grant Alinea who decides to create a meal on a table. Alex Atala that takes Brazilian cuisine and Amazonian ingredients and incorporates it into his dishes. There’s Dominique Crenn who serves a menu which is a beautiful poem. Enrique Olvera who takes on the challenge of making known Mexican street food into fine cuisine to show that his culture can have more. Then, there’s self-taught chef, Ana Ros in Slovenia who cooks out of her house and has her husband as the sommelier to make a great team. Last, there’s Anand Gaggan who lives in Indonesia but has an Indian restaurant who took quite the journey to get to where he is now.

I can’t highlight everything and I think their stories are best felt when you watch the series which I highly recommend but these are a few of my favorite episodes. There’s only six so its a little hard to narrow down but I felt the most inspired by these ones.

Episode 1: Grant Achatz, Alinea – “Turning a meal into an emotional experience”

Chef's Table

Usually, the showstopper of the Chef’s Table season is the story of the first chef they highlight. In this case its Grant Achatz who owns Alinea in Chicago. Every chef has their unique approach and his story is one where he turned what he grew up with into something more creative that would break the norms. His history tells us that even the most successful people grow through different people they meet (which is a similarity between a lot of the chefs in this series). They also have doubted their career but found enlightenment through another way. The dining experience at his restaurant is not only for the guests but for the ones cooking it in the kitchen also.

 

Episode 3: Dominique Crenn, Atelier Crenn

chef's table

Possibly one of my favorite episodes in the entire Chef’s Table seasons is this one with Dominic Crenn, the owner and chef of Atelie Crenn in San Francisco. She cooks with the focus on the importance of memory and telling a story. Her menu is a poem and she serves it with the intention of making the dining experience a feeling. There isn’t much more to say but the episode itself and her story is one that I just fell in love with, especially her food as well.

 

 

Episode 6: Gaggan Anand, Gaggan

Chef's Table

Everyone has a hard story of how they became successful in in Anand Gaggan’s case, it was being the best restaurant in Asia. He talks about Indian food being a religion. He takes the ingredients and makes it into something more to emphasize its importance. Other than great dishes, I think his story is one of the most heartfelt as he talks about his support system and his brother. The failures and decisions he had to make to get to where he is now.

Overall, the second season of Chef’s Table seems to have a common theme of not only passion and creativity but also that these chef’s look not only for recognition but to be proud of their culture, their upbringing and to share their story in their food and create an unforgettable dining experience that isn’t just in their taste buds but a complete experience. These are inspirational stories.

TV Binge: House of Lies [Season 2, 2013]

Earlier this week, I wrote about the first season of House of Lies.  If you missed it, you can check it out HERE!

Due to not enough backlog and just real life being busy, I decided to bump this post up a little. It also means I can continue watching House of Lies Season 3. Yay! House of Lies seriously took me by surprise and it just is really funny to watch despite all the business stuff in it.  Let’s hope that Season 2 holds up the greatness of the first season! 🙂

House of Lies
[Season 2, 2013]

House of Lies

Creator: Matthew Carnahan

Cast: Don Cheadle, Kristen Bell, Ben Schwartz, Josh Lawson, Donis Leonard Jr., Glynn Turman, Dawn Olivieri, Jenny Slate, Larenz Tate, Bess Armstrong

The second season of House of Lies picks up a (few?) week(s) after the incident that destroyed the deal that was going have MetroCapital take over Galweather, the business consultant company that Marty and The Pod works for.  However, danger is still close.  The incident caused the company to be taken over by a very reputable business woman, Julianna Hofschrager, played by Bess Armstrong. Julianne has an agenda to turn the business around and with a new management comes its own worries.  Marty and The Pod get sent out to take care of a huge client in Las Vegas and the difference of the first season and this one is that the second season focuses around landing this casino deal and working it out throughout most of the season.

House of Lies

 Having one case along with a few other little ones on the side is a good decision.  It adds a little different pacing to the story. Now, we can actually see the characters develop more. On one hand, we get a closer look at Marty and his family especially as he patches up things with his son and deals with his brother that crashes at his place.  On the other hand, not so much him but Jeannie is dealing with the memories of how things left off in Season 1 and wondering about the feelings she might have.  However, this time around, we get a much deeper look into Doug’s character and something like how he becomes more independent along with Clyde.  A new member is added onto their team. The new member is part of Marty’s past. Also, Jenny Slate joins the show as Doug’s girlfriend and her character is rather complex as well but one I like a lot! We need some more ladies on the show with depth.  Although, in a quirky and sly way, Bess Armstrong is also fantastic as Julianne Hofschrager.

House of Lies

One of the most unpredictable bits of Season 2 is really in not truly knowing who to trust or how much we do know the characters.  Everyone seems to have their own story and at this point, we only have skimmed the surface so when things happen out of the ordinary, it becomes a surprise. Its also the series where the characters are more independent.  They have more outside influence and each are trying to embrace whatever suppressed feelings they have to secure their future.  The Pod is more and more dangerous because both Marty and Jeannie seem to have their dangers and it seems like a time bomb waiting to explode.  The feeling of uneasiness is always present however House of Lies is quite masterful at keeping a certain humor constantly in the forefront.  That is the part I enjoy and appreciate the most.

Plus, Season 2 ended with a guest role for Adam Brody and well, this was before blogging days but my high school days was very much being in love with The O.C. so his small part here was the cherry on top.  However, we can’t discount some of the other guest roles that occurred and maybe even some of them I suspect might reappear in future seasons.

House of Lies

Overall, Season 2 of House of Lies was a lot better than the first season.  It develops each of the characters better and gets more personal.  The story has a continuity and danger.  The new characters add some complexity but maintains the humor it had in the first season.  Don Cheadle is still incredibly charismatic even in his very flawed character while Kristen Bell is absolutely fantastic.  Jenny Slate is one of my favorite additions to the show and I can’t wait to see how her character develops. Its a lot of fun to watch and Season 3 is heading into a completely different direction and I’m excited to start it up!

Are you a fan of House of Lies? How about Don Cheadle and/or Kristen Bell?

Time for Season 3! I’ll be back with the next TV Binge soon! 🙂

TV Binge: The 100 (Season 2)

Its a bit of a lie here.  I didn’t exactly binge watch this.  I did do it up to the mid-season finale of Season 2 and I covered mostly Season 1 stuff in THIS POST. But TV Binge is the segment I use for TV so it’ll have to do.  Plus, The 100 is the ONLY series on Netflix (not by Netflix) that is updated weekly.  The 2 part finale was available a few weeks ago but I’ve been catching up with blogathon posts and life itself, so I finally sat down to wrap this up.  I guess if I didn’t wait for both parts and skipped a week, I would’ve seen this earlier.  Anyways, its done!

the 100

The 100 may actually be one of my favorite TV series right now.  Its like an influx of intensity every single episode.  I really felt that the first season took a great pace that when they ended to get the second season to follow, it flowed perfectly in.  After having bonded with a lot of the characters throughout Season 1, The 100 stepped into Season 2 with more variety.  There was a lot of finding balance between war and peace and constant dilemmas.  Everyone had to make hard choices and there was always an auxiliary plan going on that was happening.  There was no idea what would happen next and I was just completely absorbed into all the craziness going on.

Before we go any further from here, there may be spoilers after this point if you’re still in Season 1 or plan on seeing any part of The 100! SPOILER ALERT!! You could skip to the ending paragraph starting with “Overall”.

If you’re still reading this, it means you’ve seen this or will run the risk of seeing possibly spoilers.  I don’t really know what I’m going to write until I do so there’s always that chance. I do try to avoid it though.  Its just hard when looking back at a full season of TV.

I’m going to do this a little different this time around.  There were a TON of changes from character developments to new characters altogether, changing in location, multiple simultaneous tangents going at the same time.  Its what made The 100 always intriguing and exciting to watch.  So here’s a few of them:

The 100 Season 2

Season 2 is lesson after lesson about sacrifices and hard choices, choosing the hopefully lesser evil.  Whether you can see the point in it or not (just like the characters involved), you will be right along the ride.  Usually, that person who gets stuck in these dilemmas is Clarke (Eliza Taylor).

The main reason for this is because of trying to be in alliance with the Grounders.  And also one of the best parts of the series.

The 100 Season 2

They are savages and barbaric.  They believe in blood for blood and are extremely violent and vengeful people.  The entrance of their Commander Lexa (Alycia Debnam Carey) is the one that causes a whole lot of these things. With the Grounders, its a question of how much they can each side trusts each other even when it comes down to a quest to save their own people.

Since Lincoln (Ricky Whittle) is now a main character in Season 2.  His relationship with Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos) is actually one that turns out to be the best, not because of their actual relationship development but the fact that Octavia’s character changes the most of the beginning of this show in Season 1 till the end of Season 2.

The 100 Season 2

The alliance also strengthens not only Octavia but Season 2 introduces us to why this alliance is necessary to save their people from the extreme survival scheme that Mount Weather has tucked away underground with their captives.  Both sides have their people in there and what extent will they take to rescue them?

What works for The 100 is that even though we have the apparent enemy in Mount Weather, mostly with the President and his son, Cage (plus all their army).  There is no knowing who is going to betray or backstab or any of those things.

At the same time, possibly the best part of the season was seeing the gradual flipside of Finn (Thomas McDonell) and how Bellamy (Bob Morley), out of all people, actually has reason.

The 100 Season 2

Surprises, surprises 😉 They are everywhere in this series.  The fact that I watched the first half 3 months ago and still remember a good bit of it is definitely a good sign.  Moving along, I’m about to wrap up.

Unexpected things happen for sure, but nothing quite feels so good as seeing the anticipated (for me at least) Abby (Paige Turco) and Marcus (Henry Ian Cusick) finally seem to figure things out together and see situations in similar light.

The 100 Season 2

If CW has excelled on anything, its the fact that they almost always have a groundbreaking season finale.  Season 3 is going to bring a lot of changes.  The story arcs can span in different directions.  What turned out to be a really pointless portion of the story with Jaha (Isaiah Washinton) and Murphy (Richard Harmon) ended up adding a little bit more meaning near the end.

I’m going to end this here before I just spoil the whole thing.

Overall, The 100 Season 2 is full of twists and turns at every corner.  The Season 1 characters all have developed and become a better or worse version of themselves, depending on who. While the series also reminds us constantly that bad habits die hard.  That’s really what I got as we approached the Season 2 finale.  With not only the focus of The Ark and The 100 anymore, there are the Grounders and Mount Weather playing a bigger part and giving us explanations for all those strange occurrences in Season 1, the question of who is the enemy and who can you trust comes into play here a lot. Its about making the “right” choice or coming up with the best bad idea (am I stealing from Argo?) If you enjoyed Season 1 of The 100, Season 2 does not disappoint.  I had a lot of fun, intense, exciting moments with this one.  It was just adventure after adventure as the characters encountered dangers and obstacles over and over again.

Not exactly a binge but I’ll be back with an actual one soon. I just have to get back to watching some movies and getting a few things wrapped up and planned further before I get to that. I have some nice announcements coming up by the end of the month so, lets hope I can get it all taken care of by then!

What have you been binge-watching? Have you seen The 100?

Happy Monday, my lovelies! 🙂