The Man in the High Castle

The Man in the High Castle is a novel from Philip K. Dick. It has been turned into a stellarĀ television series on Amazon Prime. There are currently two seasons available for viewing (as of April 2018).

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This is a dystopian alternate history set in “America” 1962. It posits that the Axis forces won WWII and that the continent is now divided between the Japanese Pacific State (western side of continent) and the Great Reich (the rest of the continent) with a slim band of neutral zone between the two territories.

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This is such an imaginative show. I have often wondered what would have happened if history had gone the other way. I love that there is a show exploring this (and incredibly thankful it is only on TV)!

The Man in the High Castle is Amazon’s most streamed show. So that must mean lots more people than just me enjoy it šŸ™‚

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The main part of the story follows two characters: a woman from the Pacific States (Juliana) who gets pulled into the Resistance, and Joe, a man from the Reich with questionable allegiances.

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It is startling to see some of the most iconic images from the free world turned into Nazi symbols. The American flag, Times Square …

The Man in the High Castle is a drama. It does have some humourous parts and the violence is manageable, but the material can be heavy at times.

One of my favourite quotes:

You’re about to die horribly but your hair is fine.

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I started watching this series on a whim the other night because I was bored and the weather was bad. Well, ice and freezing rain pretty well had me stuck inside all weekend and I binged onĀ both seasons. This show is completely addictive. It has a tendency towards cliff-hanger endings – both for individual episodes and seasons – so you will constantly find yourself clicking onĀ just one more episode.

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There is an element of mysticism or other-worldliness to this show which greatly surprised me. The storyline takes on more meaning towards the end of the second season and starts to become more clear why they included it, but I still think I would have preferred the show without it.

What strikes me most aboutĀ The Man in the High Castle is how complicated each character is. They all have multiple levels. I approached the show thinking that the Nazis would be the antagonists and the Resistance would be the protagonists, but it is much more complicated than that. Even the Nazis who do terrible things are softened in the show by their love for the families. And the “freedom fighters” come across much more strongly as terrorists.

Everything is not as it seems. No one is all good or all evil. We are just different shades of grey.

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xx

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Television Bundles

I both bless and curse the CRTC at the moment.

I’m proudly Canadian. And one of the things I love about Canada is that early this year the CRTC passed a law to end bundling of television channels. Not sure what this means?

Television providers like Bell, Rogers and Compton all offer television channels in a bundle. So to get the two channels you want, you have to purchase them in a bundle with 15 other channels that you are also paying for but never watch.

And because they offer multiple bundles, your favourite ones are inevitably offered in different bundles. Which means you have to choose just one or two, or buy all the bundles.

Which sucks. It’s highway robbery.

So here comes the CRTC who agree with Canadians and outlaws bundling. If you have a basic or “skinny” package, which can cost no more than $25.00 a month, you get to pick and choose individual channels that are not considered basic, to add to your skinny package. Like HGTV, HBO, Showcase, the food network, the women’s channel…Ā and you just pay for that channel you picked.Ā Because its not part of a bundle anymore!!!!

Huzzah!!

Except, oh wait. This passed in March 2015 and I thought that it took effect at the end of the year …. aka now-ish. Apparently it doesn’t take affect until the end of 2016! Ā Not cool CRTC. Not cool.

Guess that means another year of no tv por moi. Darn. I was so excited too.

xx

Teen Mom 2 Returns

Teen Mom 2 returns tonight with the premiere of season six!

Teen Mom OG and 2 are the only MTV shows I like, but they are favourites of mine. I think most people have that one (or more) guilty pleasure television show(s) that they’re addicted to, and these are mine.

It is interesting to see the different paths that the girls have followed through life. I’m not a teen mother, but I find it inspiring watching them continue to struggle to overcome hardships and persevere. I have had more trouble that a lot of my friends to find my way in life and find schooling and a career and relationship that made me feel happy and fulfilled, so I can identify with many of the growing pains these ladies experience.

I was so happy during the previous season of teen mom 2 to see that Jenelle, who had been the “problem child” of her cast-mates for four seasons, has matured so much since then. She had gotten clean before but it seems she has stayed clean this time and went back to school and did well, studying all the time and spending time with Jace and then Kaiser, and realizing that she did deserve better and so do her sons.

I think the defining moment of season five was when she approached her mother about reclaiming custody of Jace. I expected this to turn into a train-wreck of a discussion between Barbara and Jenelle, particularly since Nathan was present, but it was a calm and heartfelt discussion between the two women. In that moment, you could clearly see how much they loved Jace and wanted to work together to create the easiest transition possible for him.

That situation was so charged, it was almost inevitable for confrontation to break out so it was surprising and gratifying that it didn’t. Even though I only know them through my television screen, I was so proud of their family at that moment and hope that they can continue to keep Jace as their focus, because that little boy deserves the world, and he deserves his Mom and Grandmother to work together towards a stable and happy future for him.

Excited to watch tonight and catch up with the other girls as well! Are we finally going to meet Chelsea’s new man on the show???

xx

Big Bang Theory

Oh man, I just watched tonight’s episode of the Big Bang Theory and it was quite likely my favourite episode ever!

It had the perfect balance of timing between the growing number of characters and was just. so. damn. funny! Yes, that needed to be emphasized. I love the show and wish there were more comedies like it on air. My life, like many people’s, doesn’t have enough joy and laughter and lightness in it, so the last thing I want to do in my evening is watch some depressing drama. Sorry Grey’s Anatomy fans.

The last few seasons of BBT haven’t been as funny to me, and I think others agree since their ratings stay high but they stopped winning all the comedic television show awards. I even stopped watching the show live, saving up several episodes to binge-watch together without commercials, because otherwise the show was broken up every time a scene gained momentum, and I would end up with this show that I enjoyed but never laughed out loud at. That was sad, in the past I would laugh til I cried and I wanted those good endorphins back. Tonight’s episode was their best in a long time.

I laughed hysterically at the one liners, enjoyed every character from Bernie to Raj to Sheldon, and thought the writing was excellent. This episode wasn’t counting on Sheldon’s idiosyncrasies to carry the laughs, it was genuinely funny and witty throughout. I also loved the big life changes that came to a few of the characters.

— spoiler alert —

Leonard had an ‘affair’ with a woman scientist on the boat in the Black Sea, a few years ago? Did not see that one coming.

Amy broke up with Sheldon?!

Sheldon was going to propose to Amy?!! Actually I saw that one coming, but he still played it so perfectly that I was in awe of the moment.

And finally, Penny and Leonard are going to get married in Vegas. Yay elopement! I was hoping that we would get to see her Dad again, and meet more members of both of their families, but I didn’t really want a wedding episode. I feel like we had that whole moment with Bernadette’s wedding and then the prom episode, and I like how they decide to handle the wedding. It fits the characters.

It felt like a final episode to the season, but I really hope not because I can’t imagine not getting the fall-out from all these big decisions. Considering they just took a two or three week break and this one was the regular twenty minutes in length, there should be a least one more episode before the season closes and I will definitely be watching for it.

Tonight, the funniest episode in years aired so if you have been on the fence about the show for the last while, it’s time to catch up now.

xx