#tpt: Prison Break

11 April 2017

Today’s Top Pick

I’m genuinely so excited for today’s top pick: Prison Break.  So for any of you that don’t know, the Fox television show Prison Break is finally back for a fifth season after ending in 2009!

Lincoln Burrows and Michael Scofield

The first four seasons focused on Michael Scofield, his brother Lincoln Burrows, and a group consisting mainly of various prison inmates, police forces, and government officials.  In the very first episode of season one, Lincoln Burrows finds himself incarcerated at Fox River State Penitentiary for the murder of Terrence Steadman—the brother of the US Vice President.  Believing his brother to be innocent, structural engineer Michael Scofield, formulates an insane escape plan that requires him to be thrown into Fox River as well.  From there, Scofield and Burrows meet all kinds of interesting characters in their quest to break out of prison, and later, prove Burrows’ innocence.

The show really grows as the seasons continued; adding government conspiracies, complicated romantic entanglements—I’m looking at you Michael Scofield and prison doctor Sara Tancredi—and all kinds of drama and action.

I’m excited to talk about this show for so many reasons.  Prison Break first aired in the summer of 2005, right before I was starting high school.  I didn’t have a blog at the time, so naturally, I never had the chance to write about my love for this show.

I can still remember where I was and what I was doing the day that first episode aired.  My family was at my grandparents’ old house swimming and having a bbq that August day.  Everyone was outside and having a great time.  I had heard about Prison Break weeks before and had seen a few advertisements and I knew it was a show I wanted to watch.  Therefore, while the rest of my family was enjoying the weather, I went inside to the spare bedroom upstairs and locked myself away to watch the first episode.  I remember coming downstairs afterwards and telling my mom and sister all about it.  They weren’t really interested at the time—which is funny, because a few episodes later, they started watching and now love the show.

Prison Break was the first show I ever watched from start to finish!  I really loved everything about it and amazingly, it ran for the entire duration that I was in high school.  Watching this new season has been like reuniting with an old friend—which it kind of is.  It’s bringing back all kinds of old feelings and memories.  Not to mention how much I still love Wentworth Miller (Michael Scofield).

There’s only been one episode so far—with the second airing tonight—but I am already so back in love.  I was immediately sucked right back in to the amazingness that is Prison Break.  This time around, Michael Scofield is the one imprisoned and it’s up to some of the original crew to find him and break him out.  I’m really excited to see where this nine episode series is going to go.

Have you ever seen Prison Break?  Were you excited for it to come back?

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#tpt: The Brokenwood Mysteries and Mr and Mrs Murder

4 April 2017

Today’s Top Picks:

I’m back this week with two top picks—The Brokenwood Mysteries and Mr and Mrs Murder.

Set in the fictional town of Brokenwood, New Zealand, The Brokenwood Mysteries is a television show following a group of detectives as they solve various murders.  In the first episode of the show, Detective Senior Sergeant Mike Shepherd is sent to Brokenwood from Auckland to assist in a murder investigation.  Throughout the show, we also meet Detective Kristin Sims and Detective Constable Sam Breen.

With only three seasons—each only four episodes long—The Brokenwood Mysteries is definitely a show you should catch up on.  In each episode, a body is discovered and our team of detectives must figure out not only who the victim is, but who the murderer is.  The murders that take place in this show are usually really interesting, and it’s a lot of fun trying to figure out who the killer is along the way.

Jared Morehu

Throughout the show, there’s a reoccurring character that I’m guessing most people will love—Jared Morehu.  Jared, a local with many friends and interests in the town, is Mike Shepherd’s neighbour, and often ends up involved in the case.  The friendship that grows between Jared Morehu and Mike Shepherd is actually one of my favourite things about the show.  It’s nice to see these two guys from very different backgrounds and lifestyles become friends and help each other out when needed.

I’m not sure where you can find this show online, but definitely check your local library’s TV DVD collection—that’s where I borrowed the seasons from.  If you’re a fan of murder mysteries, you should definitely check out The Brokenwood Mysteries. 

 


My second pick for the day is the Australian television show Mr and Mrs Murder.  Similar to The Brokenwood Mysteries, Mr and Mrs Murder is another murder mystery crime show.  This show, however, is more of a comedy.

Charlie and Nicola Buchanan

The two main characters, husband and wife Charlie and Nicola Buchanan, run an industrial cleaning business, specializing in cleaning crime scenes.  They are usually called in by Nicola’s friend, Detective Peter Vinetti, after a murder has taken place to clean the crime scene.  However, both Nicola and Charlie are very inquisitive and find themselves trying to piece together the events leading up to the murder.

With the help of their niece, Jess, the Buchanan’s kind of become amateur sleuths, asking questions and solving murders.  The dynamic between the Buchanan’s, their niece, and Detective Vinetti is absolutely hilarious.  Nicola and Charlie are absolutely adorable and really seem to enjoy both their job and sleuthing.  It’s also really funny how they manage to drag Jess into so many strange situations.  For instance, in the first episode, Nicola and Charlie are cleaning a crime scene in a hotel.  In order to find out more information, they get their niece to apply as a maid at the hotel.  Posing as a maid, she is able to find out all kinds of information to help the Buchanan’s eventually solve the murder.

If you’re looking for a murder mystery that’s a bit less doom and gloom, this is definitely the one for you.  Chalk full of murder and comedy, Mr and Mrs Murder is one to check out!

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#tpt: Kong: Skull Island

21 March 2017

Today’s Top Pick

My top pick for today is the film Kong: Skull Island.  I saw this film on opening weekend and have been meaning to post about it, so I figured my latest #tpt was the perfect time!

If you haven’t seen this film, I’m just going to say, go see it!  I absolutely loved it.  As someone who enjoys action movies, I thought this one was really well done.

Some of you might remember King Kong, the 2005 film by director Peter Jackson about the giant gorilla we know as Kong.  Now, I really enjoyed King Kong, up until they brought Kong back to New York.  The part on the island was really interesting, but the part in New York kind of lost my interest.

This latest Kong film, Kong: Skull Island takes what I loved about the other movie, and makes it last for the entire film.  Skull Island takes place entirely on ‘Skull Island’—once they get to the island, that is.  This, in part, is one of the major reasons I loved this film.  There’s just so much you can do with an undiscovered/uncharted island, and director Jordan Vogt-Roberts did a fantastic job of portraying everything fans want to see in this kind of film.

From Kong, to other giant monsters, this film had enough action to keep people interested.  Not to mention, a killer soundtrack.  Seriously, that might be one of my favourite things about this film—the soundtrack.  Set in the 1970s, the film features some really great classic rock songs.

Without giving away too much, I’ll just say that I really feel that this film had all the elements fans of previous King Kong movies would be looking for, as well as enough to captivate any new fans to this genre.

Have you seen Kong: Skull Island?  I’d love to hear your guys’ thoughts!

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Toronto ComiCon 2017

This past weekend, I volunteered at Toronto ComiCon.  Some of you may remember that in September last year, I volunteered at Fan Expo Canada.  Toronto ComiCon is similar to that, but on a smaller scale.

The con, which ran from Friday March 17th-Sunday March 19th, was held downtown Toronto at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in the south building.  With celebrity guests, artist alley, merchandise booths, Q&A panels, and a whole range of fandom activities, Toronto ComiCon is a great place to explore.

My role for this con was the same as Fan Expo—to work the autograph lines.  As I explained in my post about Fan Expo, the autograph line crew is responsible for keeping the autograph area neat, organized, and running smoothly.  If you’re at the front of the line, you work with the celebrity’s handler/agent to find out how they want their line run.  You’re also in charge of keeping the front area clean and directing fans when to approach the celebrity.  If you’re at the back, you make sure you can answer any questions that fans will ask, as well as keeping the line neat and organized.  I had the opportunity to work with some really neat celebrities this weekend.

After a volunteer’s shift, we’re allowed to walk the con like regular fans.  As long as you’re not wearing your volunteer t-shirt, you can enjoy the con too.  We’re allowed to wait in line to meet celebrities, shop for merchandise, attend panels, etc.

This year, I had the opportunity to meet the man behind my all-time favourite Star Wars baddie—and one of my favourite Star Wars characters in general—Ray Park, who played Darth Maul.  He was so incredibly cool.  Throughout the day, he kept coming out from behind the table to show off his lightsaber skills to the enjoyment of the fans.  Park was just incredibly fun and really kind to all his fans.

Ray Park and I

Ray Park meets Darth Maul!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meeting Ray Park was an amazing experience for me.  I have loved Darth Maul from the very first time I saw him in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.  It’s kind of ironic how much I love him, seeing as he kills Qui-Gon Jinn, one of my other favourite characters.  What’s even more ironic is that he is then killed by my third favourite character, Obi-Wan Kenobi.  However, for reasons unknown even to me, I just really love Darth Maul, and I always have.

I also had the opportunity to meet T.J. Thyne this weekend, who plays Jack Hodgins on the television show Bones.  Let me just start by saying, T.J. Thyne is literally the nicest person on the planet.  He was so incredibly kind to not only the fans, but the volunteers as well—because lets be real, not all celebrities are like that.  Thyne, however, was just really nice to everyone.  He even made up these little gift-bags that he gave to every single person who came up to say hi to him.  They each had a photograph from set, a business card for Hodgins, and a little bug figure with a magnifying glass.  The fact that he brought something to give to the fans really made me smile.  It was something so simple, but it really does mean so much to the fans.

T.J. Thyne and I

I also made sure to check out the other experiences this weekend.  I attended the Bones panel, checked out artist alley—where I picked up some really neat artwork—and just enjoyed walking the floor.

If you’re a fan of pretty much anything, you’d probably enjoy comic con.  There’s just so much to see and do.  If you missed Toronto ComiCon, there’s always Fan Expo Canada!!

 

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#tpt: Peaky Blinders

14 March 2017

Today’s Top Pick

Today’s pick is the BBC television show Peaky Blinders.

The Peaky Blinders

Set after the First World War, Peaky Blinders follows the exploits of the notorious Peaky Blinders gang in Birmingham, England.  With the Shelby family at its centre, the show mainly focuses on Thomas Shelby (Cillian Murphy) as he tries to expand his gang and create a more legitimate business.

Interesting fact: The Peaky Blinders were a real gang in the late 19th-early 20th centuries.  The name is said to have come from the fact that members stitched razor blades into the peak of their flat caps, which were used as weapons in fights.

Throughout the show, we meet other important members of the gang, including Arthur and John Shelby, their Aunt Polly (Helen McCrory) and sister Ada, as well as the thorn in their side, C.I. Chester Campbell (Sam Neill).

John, Thomas, and Arthur Shelby

Like most shows about gangs and crimes, we are also introduced to their many, many rivals—whether that be other gangs or sneaky cops.  With Thomas Shelby’s desire to rise up in the world, he’s bound to make several enemies.

Thomas Shelby

What makes Peaky Blinders so fascinating, to me, is the portrayal of these believable characters.  They all have such major flaws that truly make them seem real.  Take Thomas Shelby, for instance.  A Sergeant Major in the First World War, Tommy comes home from France with many problems.  He’s a different man than he used to be.  He’s more serious and sees the world differently.  No man really comes home from war, and Cillian Murphy’s portrayal of Tommy is phenomenal.  We have this severely flawed man who is suffering from what he witnessed in the war, but he has ambitions and goals and wants his family’s business to thrive.  He’s driven and intense.  Others think him a cruel man, but behind closed doors, you get to see his emotions and weaknesses.

The time period of this show is also something that is really fascinating.  The first season is set in 1919. World War One has just ended and the men have returned.  Women have to get used to going back to just being housewives and having less responsibility, while the men take over everything again.  I imagine it would have been a difficult time to live in.

With only six episodes in the first series, I finished series one rather quickly and have moved on to series two, which is set two years later in 1921.

This season introduces Tom Hardy as Alfie Solomons, a Jewish gang leader and Noah Tyler as Darby Sabini, an Italian gang leader.  These two new leaders add an exciting new chapter for the show.  With new gangs in the mix, it’ll be interesting to see who comes out on top.

Alfie Solomons

Darby Sabini

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The third season aired in 2016, with a fourth and fifth already approved for production.

This is a show I have been meaning to watch for such a long time, and boy am I ever glad I finally got around to it.  Peaky Blinders is definitely a show I would recommend.

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#tpt: Gloom and Man Bites Dog

7 March 2017

Today’s Top Picks:

Today’s top picks are a little different from my usual ones.  I always choose books, movies, television shows, or music.  This time, I have chosen something else entirely—card games!  So without further ado, here are my 2 picks: Gloom and Man Bites Dog.

gloomMy family is still really big into playing board games and card games, and every year at Christmas we buy a new family game.  This year, while browsing through F.G. Bradley’s, my sister and I came across a card game called Gloom.  Now, what first drew me to the game was the box itself [pictured left].  Created by Keith Baker, Gloom is “the game of inauspicious incidents and grave consequences”.  Well, that sounded like something completely different.

In Gloom there are four main families, represented by unique symbols—a brain for Castle Slogar, a hat for Hemlock Hall, a circus tent for Dark’s Den of Deformity, and a scythe for Blackwater Watch.  Each family consists of five unique characters.  You chose four as your main players and discard one (which can then be put together to make a misfit family if you have five players).  Now the really cool thing about these cards is that they are transparent!  That way, as the game goes on, you can always see underneath cards as they are played.

The families of Gloom.

The families of Gloom.

The basic goal of Gloom is simple—you want to have the most miserable family.  You create a miserable family by playing negative point cards on your own characters, such as “was beaten by beggars -15 points”.  Meanwhile, you’ll want to play positive point cards on your opponents’ family members to give them higher scores, such as “was wondrously well wed +20 points”.  Remember, you want the lowest score!  This game requires strategy and a little bit of creative storytelling!

gloom-unquiet-deadIt’s super fun and actually has quite a few expansion packs you can buy.  After Christmas, I bought one called Unquiet Dead, which adds a supernatural element to the game.  Some of the other expansion packs include, Unhappy Homes, Unwelcome Guests, and Unfortunate Expeditions.  These expansion packs are really cool because you can just shuffle the cards in with your core game, and voila, now you have even more gloom-filled fun to enjoy!

If you’re someone who likes card games and are looking for something a little different, this is definitely a game you should check out!


My second pick for the day is a card game I was actually introduced to in university called Man Bites Dog.

man-bites-dog-2I went through school for journalism (specifically print), and had this one professor for multiple classes each year.  By the end of fourth year, there were only eight people in my program and we all had every journalism class together—with quite a few taught by this one professor.  At the end of the year, we all went to a local pub for some drinks and to chat about this and that, with said professor.  Because there were so few of us, he brought along this game, Man Bites Dog.  Turns out, it was the perfect game for a bunch of aspiring journalists.  However, it’s also just a really fun word game.

In Man Bites Dog, there are a bunch of random words on cards, each with a different point score on the bottom.  For example, ‘snubs’ for 5 points, ‘psychic’ for 25, or ‘cop’ for 10 points.  The objective of the game is to create a unique news headline with the words in your hand.  For instance, “Psychic snubs cop” for a total of 40 points.  The goal is to collect the most points and be the first player to reach 500 points.  There are “exclusive” cards that double the value of points for that hand.  So “Exclusive: Psychic snubs cop” would be worth 80 points.  This game is a lot simpler than Gloom, but just as fun.

I would highly recommend both of these games to anyone who enjoys spending some quality time with family and/or friends.  Let me know if you’ve tried either of these games or can think of any you think I should try!

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#tpt: The Librarians

28 February 2017

Today’s Top Picks:

My top pick for this week is The Librarians.

The Librarians is an interesting pick, as it originated as a series of made for television films, before being turned into a television show.  Starring Noah Wyle, The Librarians started as three films about a main character, Flynn Carsen (aka the Librarian), who collects and protects ancient and magical artifacts.  He often has to travel to dangerous places and face many foes in order to keep the artifacts out of the wrong hands.

quest-for-the-spearIn the first film, The Librarian: Quest for the Spear (2004), we are introduced to Flynn Carsen when he is hired by the Metropolitan Public Library.  Throughout the film, Carsen embarks on a journey of self-discovery while on the hunt for a piece of The Spear of Destiny—after it is stolen from the library.

 

the-librarian-ii-return-to-king-solomons-mines-38847The second film in the series, The Librarian: Return to King Solomon’s Mines (2006), finds Flynn Carsen on a new quest.  This time, he is searching for King Solomon’s Mines.  Along the way, Carsen is again tested with who he can and cannot trust, all while trying to find precious artifacts.

 

curse-of-the-judas-chaliceFlynn Carsen is suffering from a series of strange dreams in the final film in the series, The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice (2008).  He follows these dreams to New Orleans, where, yet again, he uncovers a conspiracy and struggles to figure out whom he can trust.  This time, Carsen is searching for the Judas Chalice, a most sacred artifact.

 

After three films, it appeared that the Librarian’s story was complete—until 2014 that is.  A television series began, following not only Flynn Carsen this time, but a whole group of interesting characters.  Acting as a sort of sequel, you don’t technically need to see the films first, but I definitely think it would help with some of the underlying aspects of the Librarian and the Library itself.

In the television show—3 seasons in—we follow Colonel Eve Baird, Jacob Stone, Cassandra Cillian, Ezekiel Jones, and Jenkins, as they discover more about the Library and must find their place within it.  Flynn Carsen does make appearances throughout, however, he is not the central character this time around.  We focus on the others as they must recover artifacts and try to save the Library—and subsequently, the world.

If you haven’t seen The Librarians I would definitely check it out—if not the movies, at least the television show.  Let me know if you’ve watched it or if you plan on checking it out!

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