Nostalgia Battles: No, not all Asians watch Korean dramas (Crime Procedurals VS. Comedy Dramas)

If you have read my blog for a while, you might have picked up a few recurring themes. My love for collecting everything. My fondness for Michelle Branch. My tendency to be chased by Asian mobs, mostly consisting of angry Chinese and Korean mothers. Not having cable.

It’s very difficult for me not to mention my love for television, and how it’s been difficult to catch up with new shows and trends because I don’t have cable and can only rely on streaming services that are not always reliable when it comes to new content. I know I can just look them up and research them, but it’s just not the same. As a result, I heavily rely on my nostalgia and my love for TV shows from 10+ years ago.

My number one complaint about television is that there hasn’t been a lot of hour-long comedy dramas in the past ten years. Unfortunately, most comedy dramas don’t last long. To my knowledge, there are currently three hour-long comedy dramas on the air: This is Us, Crazy Ex-girlfriend and Jane the Virgin.

I prefer comedy dramas that are mostly serious with a splash of comedy, like This is Us. It’s more realistic. That’s the problem with comedy. It makes a show more interesting and amusing, but if there’s too much of it, it’ll turn into an episode of Scrubs.

I’m not watching comedy dramas for the comedy. I am watching comedy dramas for the storylines, for the relationships, for the heartfelt moments. The comedy and humor is an extra layer, not the main feature.

Comedy dramas weren’t really in the spotlight until This is US came out in 2016. Of course, when the previews came out, I was immediately drawn it, and I was like, “Finally. A TV show about a group of people and their various issues and relationships.” It sounds like a simple premise, but we have been drowning in crime procedurals for a long, long time.

Most successful comedy dramas revolve around families. I prefer groups of friends because it’s more relatable to me, and I tend to enjoy the bond between two friends more than I do with any familial relationship.

We need more comedy dramas featuring groups of friends, and it looks like I’m getting my wish this Fall.

Some of you might wonder what’s the difference between a comedy drama and a drama, and the answer is simple. The tone and atmosphere. Comedy dramas tend to be more heart felt and have more realistic storylines that might occur in real life: cancer, heartbreak, depression, etc. While dramas tend to be more along the lines of, I don’t know, sabotage, espionage and finding out the son of the man your recently deceased father worked for who hates you for no apparent reason is your half-brother.

For years, I have watched crime procedurals and at the time, I was more interested in the cases and not so much the storylines of the main characters. It didn’t even occur to me to care about ongoing storylines with main characters in crime procedurals until I was a member of a forum of a certain crime procedural and everyone was obsessed with the main character storylines. Me, on the other hand, I was obsessed with the cases of the week.

Sure, seeing a different version of the same thing each weeks get boring, but I like crime procedurals and mysteries because I enjoy puzzles, and there’s something about a group of people solving a case or a mystery that appeals to me.

I was at my dentist a month ago, and there was an old episode of CSI on, and I immediately felt the nostalgia and I thought, “Damn, I miss the good old days.” And, yes, I felt like a 80-year-old man at that moment.

Of course, it gets boring when we find out, SURPRISE, the victim was killed by their significant other, relative or friend. So to make things interesting, we’re now getting supernatural crime procedural shows. I guess things are slightly more interesting, when the killer turns out to be a werewolf.

And then there are crime procedural shows that are slightly different because not every case involves someone dying and, in fact, not every case involves a crime. A crime procedural without crime. Yes, it exists. Gasp.

Although I was a fan of crime procedurals longer before I was fond of comedy dramas, I am just more interested in character enriched storylines. I do not want to know that it was the husband who killed the wife. I want to know why the main character is having panic attacks and how is she going to deal with them. I have watched enough TV characters killed in crime procedurals to last a life time. I want to cry, damn it. And I want to cry now.

He’s a self-obsessed video game developer with a hand fetish. She’s an obnoxious waitress who cries in the shower. …and they fall in love.

With the popularity of Netflix, Amazon Video and other streaming services, people have been watching TV more than ever. We no longer have to wait for our shows to come on or have to record our shows in advance. The downside is not all of the TV shows we want to watch will be available for streaming and if they are, we would have to pay extra for them (on top of a subscription fee). Because of this, I often watch TV shows that are either not currently on their air or about to be canceled. Thankfully, as a person fond of nostalgia, I don’t mind so much. I do find it annoying, at times, that I’m not usually current on what’s currently on the air at all times, like I used to be. Sigh. I miss having cable.

Even without a TV, I have a basic understanding of what’s popular. It’s interesting now because a lot of them are from streaming sites. Davedevil. Stranger Things. House of Cards. No longer are we chained to our TVs. There are still, however, many popular shows on traditional TV networks. Game of Thrones. The Walking Dead. Supernatural. Basically, shows that everyone short of a 95-year-old Lithuanian woman should be familiar with. Believe it or not though, there are quite a few shows currently on the air that are not well known. Of course this does not mean that these shows are not as good. They’re just not as well known or often watched. Why? If that was possible to know, we wouldn’t have to worry about our shows being canceled. Yes, I know. We should be worried more about starving children in Africa, but unless you have an army of billionaires providing unlimited resources, it’s really an impossible task to stop global starvation. But that’s just my opinion.

You’re the Worst
Two conceited, selfish people fall in love, despite being strongly against conventional relationships.

On paper, you wouldn’t think the concept of two horrible, selfish people falling in love would make a good TV show, but the combination of well-thought out characters and compelling recurring storylines makes the show stand out from other half-hour comedies. Actually, it’s more like an hour-long comedy drama condensed into a half-hour comedy with a bit of drama thrown into it. It’s a bit intense and vulgar at times but there is also some heartfelt moments, which is surprising for a show about people you’re not supposed to like and care about but, really, you do.

iZombie
A medical student becomes a zombie while at a party, and is now a coroner helping solve cases with her new abilities.

An odd combination of the Walking Dead, CSI and Crossing Jordan, this is one of many variations of the standard procedural crime drama. It offers a new prospective on crime dramas and ups the stakes. This isn’t a regular world with regular crimes. It’s a world of regular crimes that’s also in the brink of a zombie apocalypse. Well, I guess someone didn’t want to write a crime drama about an eccentric journalist teaming up with a non-nonsense detective although, honestly, I would watch it.

Blindspot
An FBI agent is called in when a freshly tattooed amnesiac is found with his name on her body.

Another variation of crime dramas, it focuses more on mass casualty crimes and global terrorism than your standard murder of the week premise. Being a TV nerd, the number one thing that stood out to me when it came out was how similar it was to The Blacklist, another TV show on NBC. A mysterious person who shows up out of nowhere. An FBI agent who has some type of connection to this person but has no idea who they are. A list of crimes or/and suspects. Although there are other storylines that set it apart from The Blacklist, it was just too similar for me to not compare the two. Granted, there are literally a million versions of crime dramas but, alas, they will never stop making crime drama after crime drama. I mean, if there are no more crime dramas, what are the actors who play the one-off victims going to do? There are only so many McDonald’s commercials an actor can be in.

Nostalgia Battles: “OK, so my dog did not eat my homework. I watched Death Note and SpongeBob all night. Bite me.” (Cartoons VS. Anime)

As with most people who grew up in the 90s, I was raised mostly by my television. Even though I was a child, I watched pretty much everything. Dramas. Sitcoms. Talk Shows. Game Shows. And, of course, cartoons and anime.

Doug. Gargoyles. X-men. Animaniacs. Recess. I watched quite a few of them back then, and this was back when we didn’t have cable. Any cable shows we watched were watched at a cousin’s house. Needless to say, we visited quite often. On top of this, I also watched cartoons on those Saturday morning blocks they used to have on basic networks. They have all now disappeared and now in order to watch cartoons, you either have to have cable, at the minimum, hope that it’s on YouTube or stream your heart out.

It’s to no one’s surprise that when we finally did get cable in the early 2000s, my cartoon watching skyrocketed. At this point, I was 15. Because we didn’t get cable until I was a teenager, most of my cartoon watching happened when I was well into my teens and 20s. I watched a little bit of Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon when I was a child but I didn’t get into watching Anime until I started watching Toonami on Cartoon Network.

I wasn’t into anime as much as I was into cartoons. I’m only familiar with a small handful of anime shows, and it’s mostly because of Cartoon Network. Zoids. Death Note. Tenchi Muyo. I wouldn’t have heard of any of these if it weren’t for Cartoon Network. I’ve been meaning to watch more anime, but I just haven’t gotten around to it. I really need to watch more anime. I’m tired of only being familiar with five anime shows. Seriously, every time I see someone talk about anime, it’s like they’re speaking a different language. Oh, well. I will get around to it. Meanwhile, I will cry. Figuratively, of course.

If you had asked me five to ten years ago, if I preferred cartoons or anime, my answer would be cartoons simply because that is what I’ve been the most familiar with. Now, though, I would say I’ve pretty much lost all interest in cartoons and while I do miss Saturday mornings as a kid watching cartoons, I am more intrigued by anime. In fact, I’ve been more nostalgic for them than cartoons. I’m interested in both, but I feel I should watch more anime because I’m not as familiar with them and, honestly, the cartoons I’m interested in watching are the ones from my youth. This time, I’m going to go a little outside my comfort zone into the unknown and say anime wins over cartoons.

I’m nervous, but on the surface I look like a normal Asian man

If you have followed my blog for a while, you would notice that I’m quite an eclectic person. I collect, well, pretty much everything. I’ve watched sitcoms. I’ve watched crime procedurals. I’ve watched family dramas. I’ve listened to country music. I’ve listen to rock. And, yes, I’ve listened to sad French songs.

I am a human being though, so there are obviously things I am not fond of. Heavy metal scares me. Doctor Who seems like a foreign language to me. And for the life of me, I can’t get into watching a sports game. Literally, I’m like, “Ugh. I’d rather watch some two women yelling at each other because she looked at her the wrong way than watch guys tackle each other in a football game.”

I do try to go a little outside of my comfort zone from time to time, and there are a few things that I’m fond of that I wouldn’t normally be interested in.

Lose Yourself – Eminem

I am open to pretty much every genre of music except for rap and heavy metal. It is largely because I just can’t enjoy myself listening to either genre. This is a rap song that’s easier for me to listen to and, of course, there’s the nostalgic factor because I consider this the most iconic rap song from when I was a teenager. I had always thought it was from The Green Mile. It turns out that it was from 8 mile. Yeah, a rap song would have been inappropriate for a supernatural drama about a man on death row. Also, The Green Mile came out two years before Lose Yourself did. Oops.

Scream

There are basically two forms of horror movies: there’s a killer on the loose and is killing off characters one by one or there’s a spirit in a mysterious, old house and it’s killing off characters one by one. There are a few exceptions, of course, but everyone dies. I don’t mind horror so much but they do tend to get boring if you already know everyone is going to die at some point of the movie. It would be a nice change if there were a horror movie where everyone survives. Perhaps one person loses a leg. Another person might gain an intense phobia of frogs. There are a lot of ways to torture characters other than just killing them. Killing people is boring.

I haven’t watched that many horror movies. The only one that I’ve watched and liked was Scream. I couldn’t really get into the sequels for some reason. Like with Lose Yourself, I like it, but I remember more because of the nostalgia factor. I honestly can’t remember a lot from the movie other than a lot of people getting killed and David Arquette. Yes, I remember David Arquette. He’s one of a handful of celebrities from Dancing with the Stars that I actually knew before they appeared on the show.

Stargate Atlantis

Likewise with horror, I don’t watch much sci-fi. In fact, I had trouble coming up with anything sci-fi from my youth. The closest I came up with was Stargate Atlantis, which is a spin-off of Stargate SG-1. Stargate Atlantis was a lot easier for me to get into and understand. I do remember watching Stargate SG-1 when I was a child but alas, I was a child and I don’t remember most of it nor being a big fan of it. I watched ER as a child. Does that count?

“You might’ve solved that puzzle with just one letter, Shannon, but at least I’m going to the bonus round. And I don’t have to slap you.”

I do not want to sound like an ignorant person, but I’ve never really understood the appeal of reality television. Now, I do love game shows, so I am fond of reality TV competitions but really, I can leave them or take them. I like the game show element of reality TV competitions. I like to see the different challenges. I like seeing their plans and strategies. I like to see people succeed, and I cringe when people fail. And ultimately, I like to see the winner crowned in the end.

If there is no competition element of a reality TV show, then there’s just no interest from me because I don’t really want to watch a group of people in a house being filmed all day. Now, if it has a specific focus, like a couple buying a house or a group of people trying to save a non-profit organization, then I’d be interested in watching. I know those aren’t really considered “reality shows,” but technically they are. It’s just a different genre. Honestly though, I’d rather watch Wheel of Fortune.

It’s a lot more entertaining. Look at the middle woman. She touches her hair and adjusts her shirt for a few seconds, then she’s like, “What the heck just happened? Oh well. At least I still won. Suck it, Shannon.” OK. Maybe not that last part but let me have my fun, OK?

I am sure all of you are familiar with Big Brother. Big Brother, of course, combines the “Let’s spy on a group of random strangers and lock them in a house and see what happens” element with “Let’s have a competition and hope no one punches anyone in the face when they lose.” Again, I am not so much interested in the conversations and drama. I’m just there for the games. Although, it is slightly amusing to see someone lose their shit once in a while.

But if I wanted to watch groups of people interact with each other, I’d rather go to the mall. And as a bonus, I can get myself a soft pretzel. Mmmm. Soft pretzels for the win.

But I don’t want to go outside today. I need to watch Breaking Bad, damn it.

Oh, no. It’s that time again. The time where I share my incredibly slow progress with random frivolous goals that don’t matter in the end. Be thankful I haven’t had the time to post about organizing my craft supplies that I hardly ever use. The photos would be horrible and inconsistent, and editing photos are a pain in the butt, and they never come out the way I want them to. Seriously, just watching photo shopping videos makes me want to cry.

As everyone already knows, I’ve been trying to watch TV more often. There’s been a little progress here and there. Out of all of the things I’ve been wanting to do, it’s clearly my best success; although I’m still not watching as much TV as I want to. I know. I need to have more fulfilling goals. Oh well. One thing at a time.

What I’ve Finished

13 Reasons Why (Season 1)
Shooter (Season 1)
Rectify (Season 1)

What I’m Currently Working On

Rectify (Season 2)
Breaking Bad (Season 3)
The Blacklist (Season 1)

I used to be a big fan of criminal procedural shows until it just got too boring and clinical for me. I did watch the majority of the first season of The Blacklist, but I’m re-watching it and skipping all of the parts not relating to the main character storylines. I’m such a TV snob, I know, but I do not want to see random people killing random people episode after episode after episode. Like seriously, been there, done that.

What I’m Planning to Watch Next

Awkward (Season 1)
Mr. Robot (Season 1)
Ray Donovan (Season 1)

And a million other shows.

At this point, I’m not even keeping track of the TV shows I want to watch. I just do it impulsively. Sigh. I know. Not a good way to achieve a goal. Oh well. I’m Asian, and that will always be my excuse. If anyone has any TV show recommendations, please let me know. I’m desperate.

OK. Not that desperate.

Can I just lie in a bathtub filled with chocolate pudding and not slit my wrists?

Since 13 Reasons Why came out, there have been lots and lots of controversy. There have been concerns about whether or not the show glorifies suicide and encourages teens and young adults to kill themselves. Now, mental health and suicide are very touchy subjects. As an Asian, I was taught to not talk about anything personal ever. Like seriously. Even discussing what I ate for dinner last night is too personal for my parents. And here I am with a personal blog on the Internet.

Many people have already discussed their issues on the subject of whether or not the show is appropriate for teenagers and whether or not we should be more open to talking about mental health and suicide, so I’m not going to go in depth on these issues. What I am going to say is even though it’s an uncomfortable, it is something we have to talk about in society. We can’t sweep all of it under the rug and forget about it. The rug will be lumpy, and lumpy rugs are not on trend right now.

If you haven’t noticed already, I am a fan of obscure details, so why not focus on obscure details on a controversial show that makes parents want to make them lock their kids in the room, throw away the key and just ignore the fact that they’ve held their kids captive against their will.

I have some burning questions that I want to explore and think about. I usually tend to obsess over details that don’t matter in the end. Now, none of these are major spoilers. They’re more like small details. If you don’t want to be spoiled though, go watch a Michelle Branch video. Here, I will make it easier for you.

Are you happy now?

Here are the burning insignificant questions I had while watching 13 Reasons Why.

Why did Hannah consider putting Skye on the tapes?

In the scene where Hannah makes the list of people she wants to put on the tapes, Skye was one of the people she considered but later crossed off. OK, what? Hannah and Skye had very little interaction with each other. I’m surprised Hannah was even aware of Skye’s existence. Plus, Skye really had no impact on Hannah’s life. Skye was the one who had issues with Hannah, but it seemed to have more to do with Clay than Hannah. And, even so, Skye did not voice her opinions and feelings about Hannah and Clay until after Hannah’s death.

What were Clay’s nightmares about?

OK, so this could lead to a future spoiler. As of right now, it hasn’t lead to some shocking revelation, like Clay having multiple personalities or he’s actually Hannah Montana. Although, what a plot twist would that be? When Clay is beginning to go in a downward spiral, Clay’s mother is concerned about his nightmares coming back, casually hands him a bottle of unknown medication and asks him if he wants to go back to some mysterious doctor we know nothing about. OK, if you’re going to bring up things like recurring nightmares, mysterious doctors and psychiatric pills, we demand more information. Otherwise, I’m going to think Clay’s nightmares involved being trapped in a Nickelback music video.

How did Kat and Hannah become close friends so quickly?

When Hannah is giving Clay his orientation at the theater they worked at, Hannah says that she’s new to the town and has only been in town for two months. Later on, we are introduced to Kat, Hannah’s only friend at the time who’s leaving right before the new school year. Hannah acts as if Kat and her have been friends for years but at most, they’ve only been friends for two months. That’s an awfully short time to be close friends with someone. There was no indication that they knew each other before Hannah moved, especially because it was already established that Kat and Clay grew up together in the same town when they talked about the close in Kat’s birthday party she had when was a child. Also, it was not mentioned how Kat and Hannah met. Did Hannah just hang out at the parking lot at her parent’s store and Kat walked up to her and was like, “Hey, let’s be best friends. By the way I’m moving in two months,” and Hannah was just like, “Sure.”?

My idea for a new TV show: A group of genius vampire misfits hunting down vampire serial killers, and it’s a musical comedy

I have long since not been able to keep up with what’s currently show on mainstream television since I’ve been relying on streaming services and DVDs. I have to admit, now is not the best time to look up what’s currently being shown on TV right now because the spring TV season has ended, and we’re approaching the wonderful voice that is summer television. I didn’t want to spend a whole lot of time to see what primetime shows are currently on the air, so I just went through the Web sites of the five basic TV networks here in the US, Fox, NBC, CBC, ABC and CW, and just casually browsed the shows list. I’m a lazy Asian, I know.

For the most part, I was familiar with the majority of the shows, besides a handful of sitcoms that I was honestly not interested in finding more information about. For some reason, I was surprised that Scorpion is still on the air. I liked it, but I haven’t heard much about the show after the first season.

Throughout the years, there have been some trends with TV shows that have since come and gone. I don’t really follow enough current TV shows to even have an opinion about what the current trends are but it seems we’re heading toward an era of more comedy and less, you know, killing people. I prefer sarcasm over a pile of dead bodies.

“Normal” Criminal Procedurals

Criminal procedurals is more of a genre than a trend, and they’re staying indefinitely. I have noticed, though, that we’re taking a departure from the usual criminal procedurals like Law and Order and CSI and moving more toward the supernatural, like izombie and Grimm. I guess we got tired of people killing other people that we were like, let’s throw in some zombies into the mix and see what happens.

Vampires/Werewolves

OK, I have to admit that when I saw the first Twilight movie many, many, many years ago, I liked it. I gave into peer pressure and decided that Twilight and vampires were beneath me. Now, I did have an advantage here since I was a guy, and I was never into sparkly vampires or half-naked werewolves to begin with but when True Blood came out, I was hooked. I mean seriously, a telepathic woman and a vampire with a mysterious past? Yes please.

Serial Killers

In the mid-200s, serial killers were heavily featured in television, specifically on Criminal Minds and Dexter. This is despite even back then, serial killers were not as active as they used to be. That, or they have gotten better at killing people. I don’t know. I always thought there was a huge disconnect between these shows and what was actually going on in the real world. I’m, of course, not expecting a real life serial killer who kills other serial killers. At the same time, though, I don’t want to be “Huh, this type of thing never happens anymore. We’re not living in the 90s.”

Oh no. I see that angry mob of Asians with bamboo torches again.

I’m trying to finish my TV shows, but this strange, menancing bald man is stopping me

I am sure that many of you will be happy to know that I have been watching more TV lately. I know. All of you are very excited and doing some sort of free-spirited ribbon dancing.

I started off with watching a few shows on a regular basis. Since then, I’ve finished one, kind of watching one, and completely abandoned the other. Actually, I’ve pretty much abandoned the list of TV shows I’ve been wanting to watch for eternity. I am really only watching shows I found randomly though Netflix or Amazon Prime. Also I’m only one show at a time. it’s not the most productive way to watch TV, but, hey, it’s progress. I’ll take it.

Here are the shows I’ve actually finished. Gasp.

Nobel
The life of a Norwegian soldier intertwines with a political agenda.

Sure, it was difficult to watch a show with subtitles, but I just had to get used to not multi-tasking. There were quite a few scenes with English dialogue, and I was surprised each time. Given the nature of this show, there are quite a few non-Norwegians on the show. It’s not like they’re going to speak Norwegian to a Chinese person. I was still taken aback by the English dialogue. I was like, “Oh look, she’s speaking English. I can check my E-mail for ten seconds.”

The storylines are captivating and I was sucked into the story. I was a bit disappointed with the conclusion of the show because I thought they took the easy way, but the show was something different for me, and I quite enjoyed it.

Patriot
An intelligence officer goes undercover in an engineering firm specializing in piping in order to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

It took me a while to actually want to watch this show because I wasn’t sure if I was ready to invest my precious, precious time on yet another show I wasn’t sure if I was going to actually watch. I finished the show in about five days, and again, it’s not a show I would typically watch, but I enjoyed it.

Different from most shows, it really only has one ongoing storyline with several sub-storylines that go with the main storyline. It’s literally like watching a 10-hour movie. Quite a few scenes are ridiculous, and it’s sometimes hard to follow, but I did like how it’s more of a comedy than drama. I don’t think I can take another House of Cards.

The shows I’m still watching, more or less

No Tomorrow
A woman falls in love with a man who believes that the world will be destroyed by an asteroid.

It’s a cute, lighthearted show with a diverse group of characters. This is a show that has many identities. It’s a romantic comedy. It’s a drama. It has a main storyline, along with several storylines that both relate and do not relate to the main storyline. Heck, you can even say it’s a sci-fi because of the asteroid. This is a TV show for everyone. Well, it doesn’t have people dying every five seconds. But, hey, you can’t have everything. Try Fringe or Supernatural if you want to see someone being killed.

Banshee

A man who recently got out of prison goes to a small town to find the woman he loves, and takes the identity of the new sheriff when he gets shot and killed in an attempted robbery.

I have an eclectic taste when it comes to TV shows. Im, into anything and everything. I am slowly realizing, though, that I have been going down a path of dark, twisted TV shows full with conspiracy, politics and murder. Ugh. I’m just describing House of Cards, aren’t I?

For years, I have been tired of the same old procedural shows, and have been more in favor of shows with interesting characters and ongoing storylines. I want to know if a main character is going to rise above their alcohol addiction. I do not want to know who killed the babysitter who was sleeping with her married employer with three children.

Breaking Bad
A high school chemistry teacher who receives a terminal cancer diagnosis reaches out to a former student in order to sell meth to provide money for his family.

It’s been a very, very slow journey to try to finish Breaking Bad, but I’m making excellent progress. It’s only taking me three to four months to finish one episode. How exciting. In all seriousness, I will eventually finish it. I’d probably be on my death bed though.

What’s next?

I have since abandoned Awkward. I want to continue watching it at some point, along with Burn Notice. Also, I want to watch Ray Donovan. Stay tuned for part three of my 100-part series on this important, crucial matter.

No, I just tripped over some aspirin, fell and broke my arm. A normal day, really.

If you haven’t noticed, I have the tendency of starting something and not finishing it. It’s a personal flaw but to make myself feel better, I’ve convince myself that it’s just an Asian problem. If you happen to be Asian, there is no need to gather a large mob of other angry Asians and chase me with bamboo torches. I’m not being serious. Although, “Asian being chased by mob of Asians” would be an amusing headline.

I have posted multiple times about staring at a tower of books silently mocking me for not reading them and being completely overwhelmed by the large amount of TV shows I have to watch and, of course, crying in both instances. Yeah, there’s a lot of metaphorical crying in my life.

While I have yet to read a book for more than ten minutes in the past several months, I have made progress on my TV watching. Yes, I do hear the subtle sound of one hand clapping. Thank you for the applause. As always, it hasn’t been consistent. There are days where I binge, and there are weeks where I don’t watch anything. Honestly, though, watching a few TV shows for 15 minutes for a few days is what I call a lot of progress for someone like me. And, yes, this is an afterschool special in the 90s.

Here are the TV shows I’ve been watching here and there for the past few weeks.

Breaking Bad

A high school chemistry teacher who receives a terminal cancer diagnosis reaches out to a former student in order to sell meth to provide money for his family.

It took me a while to get into Breaking Bad. That’s actually an understatement because it took me no fewer than 20 attempts to watch the first scene. My recollection of it is that it’s long, dense and boring. For a show like Breaking Bad, I didn’t expect it to be the equivalent of reading Shakespeare.

As I slowly chipped away at the episodes, I was captivated by the characters, the storylines, the explosions and, of course, the ever-growing pile of bodies in Walter’s metaphorical closet. There are, of course, some scenes that resemble the opening of Breaking Bad but I’ve realized something: I can just skip it rather than suffer through a slow agonizing death.

I could not find an actual trailer for Breaking Bad that wasn’t fan-made, so just for fun, I chose this. Enjoy.

Nobel

The life of a Norwegian soldier intertwines with a political agenda.

I grew up in a traditional Chinese household where Chinese movies and TV shows were often in the background. Because of this, I’ve always been a romantic for foreign movies and TV shows, specifically with subtitles. They give you insight to another culture and exposes you to different languages.

After watching a number of foreign TV shows with English subtitles, I’ve learned they’re not really practical at this stage of my life because I tend to multi-task. Although it makes lovely background noise when you’re typing up a casual blog post about your lovely twig collection, it doesn’t really work if you actually want to follow what’s happening.

I am not usually into military/political dramas, but the show focuses on not only political and military storylines, but also focuses on the personal lives of the characters and the relationships between them. There are so many procedurals shows these days, that this seems like a breath of fresh Norwegian air.

Awkward

When a wallflower teenager has an accident after reading a depressing and insulting letter from an unknown person telling her she needs to change, everyone thinks she tried to kill herself.

OK, so this isn’t the typical show you would expect a man in his early 30s to be interested in. Although, in my defense, I was in my mid to late 20s when I discovered it. Hey, it’s just a fun, light-hearted TV show about a teenager on the fringes of social norms who finds herself in the center of everyone’s attention. Oh, and everyone thinks she’s suicidal and depressed. Normal stuff, really.