11 Netflix Shows to Binge-watch

Every weekend, you may be studying for the SAT, writing your college apps, meeting your family members, or living in a PC-bang for the whole week. However, we all know that you are going to spend at least some time on Netflix. So, here’s a list of movies to keep you entertained.

Mindhunter

Mindhunter Poster
Source: IMDb

Recently premiering its second season, Mindhunter has been screening back-chilling episodes of psychological drama. Majority of the episodes were produced by David Fincher, the mastermind behind Seven, Zodiac, and other mystery thrillers. The show follows the story of a new unit from the FBI called Behavioral Science Unit as it interviews past serial killers to chase for potential ones. Shocking us with appalling scenes-such as Ed Kemper (Co-ed killer) describing his murders and Jerry Brudos (shoe-fetish killer) finding pleasure in high-heels-Mindhunter is favored by avid crime tv show junkies, delving deeper into the minds and confessions of world-famous serial killers. Although the second season does not give us the tight unsettling experience, it is still one of the most intense shows on Netflix. 

 

Black Mirror

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Source: Cnet

Gaining an avid fandom, Director Charlie Brooker’s social commentary drama quickly became one of the central and most popular shows on Netflix. Consisting of individual storylines for each episode, the show clearly depicts a skewed view of dystopian future, subtly disturbing the audience with its close resemblance to reality. In addition to its series, the Christmas special that offered a game

 

Hannibal

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Source: Vox

 

Extrapolating the framework of the storyline in Thomas Harris’s novel Red Dragon, Hannibal follows the story of the relationship between an unstable FBI agent, who is able to reconstruct murders from the crime scene, and his therapists, who is a copycat killer. Although the show illustrates one of the most gruesome murder scenes in history, the plot, performance, and visual are beautifully and elaborately constructed. It has already been 4 years since season 3 and left us in a dead-end with its cliff-hanger. Since its beginning, the series has been critically acclaimed and is still remembered as one of the best TV crime dramas. 

 

Breaking Bad

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Source: AMC

 

No matter how disconnected you are from the media, it would be a shame if you haven’t heard of this show: Breaking Bad. Accompanying the story of a high school chemistry teacher on his path to becoming one of the most infamous drug lords, the series grapples the audience with unexpected twists and turns of the plot. Although it has been more than 6 years since its season, a trailer of the sequel as a movie premiered, prompting avid fans to rewatch the whole 62 episodes. 

 

Stranger Things

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Source: NME

 

Recently returning with its third season, the nostalgic sci-fi show continues its reign as one of the most popular shows on Netflix. Set in the suburban town in its 80s, the story follows four boys, along with a girl with psychokinetic powers, investigating the world of “upside” that constantly disrupts the reality amid supernatural events. Developed with a strong and structured plotline, the show also consists of moments of nostalgia of the 80s and comedy, further enthralling the audience. 

 

American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson & The Assassination of Gianni Versace

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Source: Vanity Fair

 

Similar to the renowned series American Horror Story, the American Crime Story developed two 10 episode mini-series: the trial of O.J. Simpson and murder of Gianni Versace. Developing a story around the two of the most infamous events in America, the series is compelling enough on its own. Furthermore, the performance by actors in the first series (Cuba Gooding Jr. as Simpson and David Schwimmer as Robert Kardashian) was riveting in such that they received a 22 Emmy nominations. As captivating as the first season, the second season does not fail our expectations: it reveals an eccentric, darkly skewed characteristic of the murderer of Gianni Versace. Overall, both shows give us a new, dramatic insight into what might have happened in these global, notorious events. 

 

Dark

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Source: The New Yorker

 

As the first German Netflix Original series, Dark is a brooding and volatile sci-fi series. What might seem like a simple mystery series about a missing teenager, it takes a twist into time travel. Although the show may be dull or too convoluted when compared to other sci-fi series such as stranger things, it is because Dark has a mature storyline, illustrating how characters would react to such supernatural events in real life. 

 

Masters of None

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Source: AudNews

 

Produced by the prominent comedian Aziz Ansari, Masters of None is a light comedy show beloved by the Millenials as it follows the life of a New York-based actor who struggles to live his young and single life. While some of its scenes aim for light comedy, it delves deeper into how the world really works, instead of one-dimensional comic characters. Each episode deals with specific themes ranging from old age, racism, parents, infidelity, and more. Although this show sometimes fails to deliver both its message and comedy and consists of a narrow audience, it is worth a try. 

 

Maniac

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Source: Netflix

 

As a short 10 episode mini-series, Maniac delivers a straightforward yet skewed plot, along with trippy visuals and excellent performance by Emma Stone and Jonah Hill. Accounting the story of two strangers drawn to a mysterious pharmaceutical trial, the story digs deeper into each character’s personal issues as the experiment does not go as it is planned. Each episode focuses on the two character’s past while illustrating their bounded relationship in each realm. Although the tension of each episodes gradually dwindles, the almost-hallucinatory visuals make it up. If you are a fervent fan of trippy and eccentric visuals, it is definitely a show you should watch. 

 

Bates Motel

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Source: Netflix

 

Based on the iconic thriller Psycho, the 6-year-old television show delivers a solid and chilling plot and performance. After the death of her husband, the mother and her son moves into a small town and opens up a small hotel. Their close and intimate relationship, however,  is not normal and even harmful for each other. Expanding the plot of Psycho, it delineates how the son’s intimate bond with his mother forged him to become a serial killer. Although the scenes are not as gruesome as other serial killer series, the character’s development of an unstable mind draws the audience’s attention. 

 

Atlanta

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Source: Entertainment Weekly

 

Directed by Donald Glover (a.k.a. Rapper Childish Gambino), Atlanta is a comedy television show, following the life a Princeton drop-out working as a manager for his cousin, a rising rap star in Atlanta. It portrays how the characters navigate themselves in the jungle of Atlanta music industry. Rather than a simple music industry drama, it strongly illustrates the relationship between race and money, delving into the life of a poor black male in Atlanta. Along with its suitable soundtracks, Atlanta is an eccentric television show, as evidenced by critical acclaims and accolades. 

Featured Image: iVrox

Mark Park (’20)

SKY Castle: What College, Success, and Love Really Mean

SKY Castle, a skyrocketing Korean Drama, is breaking through unprecedented ratings across the country. But what does this drama really tell us about our perceptions on success and love?

A daughter finds out that her mother is not her biological mother, a boyfriend finds out that his girlfriend cheated on him, a girl discovers that her rival’s mother’s step-sister’s nephew is her brother. These are some classic Korean drama plots, exaggerating daily events that may or may not happen in reality. However, SKY Castle, a skyrocketing drama in Korea that is reaching unprecedented popularity not only in Korea but also across Asia, breaks apart this classic representation of K Dramas. Captivating everyone from teens to 60-years-old, SKY Castle reveals one of the most sensitive topics in Korea, and frankly our lives.

Broadcasted from late November 2018, this 20 episode series trails the lives of four families whose children are mostly in high school. While all of them are elite families of doctors and lawyers, these four families each experience their own hardship and pain as they struggle to prepare their kids to enter college.

On the surface, SKY Castle may seem like the over-exaggerated reality of high schoolers journey in getting into elite colleges. However, when dissected further, this drama is not so much of a drama as it unveils on some of the bleak, hidden realities, touching upon the most uncomfortable and vulnerable part of our lives: college, success, and parental love.

SKY Castle is a reflection of our lives that makes us redefine life and love. (http://www.wikitree.co.kr/main/news_view.php?id=397833)

One of the key messages that this drama illustrates is the obsession we have with college —what it is, what it does, and what it disrupts. SKY Castle highlights this strong emphasis in addition to the greed and desire that parents, and sometimes students, too, have on getting into an elite college.

Main student characters in the drama who find their definition of success throughout struggles. (https://www.hellokpop.com/kdrama/k-drama-premiere-sky-castle/)

Many think that getting into a prestigious university equals prosperity and attending a name-value school brings some form of inexplicable joy into the home. But we can all agree that this socially valued norm can consume our thoughts, making us lose our own selves and definition of happiness. Just look at Ye-Suh’s father, a man who for so long focused on reaching the top position and recognition, slowly recognizing how striving straight for the top makes you lose simple things in life: love, joy, sorrow. Things that make us feel human.

In addition to focusing so much on college, SKY Castle also sheds light on our corrupt definition of success.

Sure, killing a rival shown in the drama may not seem realistic, but it does symbolize something: there is an unquenchable desire to win and be number one. Much like how we have been cultured to think that college defines one’s identity, we have constructed our culture to believe that winning someone is a sign of victory. As portrayed by Ki Joon and Seo Joon’s father, we believe that we must reach the top of the pyramid by stepping on others and getting up beyond them. We believe that we can only gain victory by how we compare to  the people around us. In fact, if we think about it, this notion of reigning in victory relative to those around us drives this drama’s plot; the motive of the students is to be ‘number one.’

The other bleak reality this drama uncovers is college entrance coordinators. Across the globe we have consulting groups who help students get into colleges, much like Kim Joo Young in the drama. However, we can often be too consumed by getting into a college that we might let those groups overtake our voice. It’s important to note here that I am by no means saying that consulting advisors or agencies are harmful or useless. I have seen and heard countless students be successful and happy with the coordinators help and I’m sure they do incredible work to support you  reaching your dreams. But we also need to remember to have our own say in our education and life.

Ye-suh’s mother shows desperation to the coordinator.

Ye-suh is virtually controlled by her coordinator, listening to her directions and suggestions rather than directing her own path. Like Ye-Suh’s life crumples throughout the episodes, we are vulnerable just like her to feel hopeless and helpless. Some agencies layout everything in linear order; you must do this and this to get this. But we don’t realize that not everything in life is a straight line. There’s curves, squiggles, slanted lines, perfect lines, and unfinished lines. We must remember to break away from that line drawn in front of you; make sure you control your direction because no one, not your mom not your consulting firm, will determine your future but you.

As exaggerated as it seems, the consulting agencies may in real life “control” you. http://www.hankookilbo.com/News/Read/201901081896712588

But perhaps the most important message of the drama, SKY Castle shares the warmth and commonality we all have: family love. All four families have different lives and personalities; they are all so distinctive that you can’t help it but ask one another, “ which one of the four moms is like yours?”

Despite the diversity of the four, all of them show family love as the common denominator. This universal feeling, the most powerful love that’s stronger than any other relationship, ties all the families together. Take Ye-suh’s mom for example. We feel anger and happiness toward this character for her cruel acts. But we are forced as viewers to empathize with her; after all, her daughter’s life is at risk. Just like any mom in the world, she is just trying to protect her daughter, urging the viewers to feel indecisive about her.

The tension and unconditional love a mother has for her kids. (http://www.christiantoday.co.kr/news/318871)
A mother having to give up on her daughter’s life to reveal the truth.

The unconditional love of the mother for her child is such a powerful feeling and emotion. It’s the mother’s love that takes in all the child’s sins and brings warmth to the cold soul. It’s the mother’s love that she gives life and breath to the child.

For me, I am fortunate and grateful to have a mother who understands and values my say in my path, who doesn’t make me feel bad about a low number, who doesn’t believe that success is defined by a certain acceptance. But I know that many of my peers and Korean students feel that their moms are pressuring them to achieve the highest; even as you are reading this, you might feel yourself emphasizing with Ye-suh more. But as this drama shows, regardless of which of the four families you seem to lie in, all mothers have the same desire for a child: to be successful in the real world and to find happiness. Sometimes, however, our definition of success may not line up, or maybe you’re like Soo-han and you don’t know what that looks like. That’s okay because that just means that you haven’t struggled enough to find that definition. But regardless, always remember the unconditional love that family has.

There is still so much to delve into in this drama, whether that’s the characterization, symbols, or shootings. But for me, as someone still struggling to find my own definition of success, SKY Castle lent me a perspective. It didn’t give me a solution to the doubts and uncertainties I hold, but it proved to me that I am not alone in this journey- that this is a universal experience we all feel. That joy, regret, shame, evil are all so human. Perhaps, the intro song We all lie aims to tell us the same.

I respect the writer for her audacity to write such a sensitive, veiled topic, to tell us how corrupt our definition of success is, and most importantly, to remind us the infinite power parental love holds.

– Sarah Se-Jung Oh (’19)

Featured Image: https://www.thestar.com.my/news/regional/2019/01/03/popular-south-korean-drama-sky-castle-blamed-for-inspiring-copycat-murder-of-doctor/

K-Drama Maniac

Are you ever bored of T.V. shows that lack romance? Then try these memorable K-dramas loved by people around the world!

In Korea, there are four things that get the most attention: the cosmetics, the plastic surgery, K-pop, and finally the Korean dramas. Hands down, out of all the Asian based dramas, it is safe to say that Korea has dominated the category. With the rise of the cliche but thrilling plot lines, people are intrigued to start from one drama to another. Although sometimes very predictable, the affectionate romance behind the scenes and the breathtaking cliffhangers after every episode keep the viewers on the hook. Every drama has its unique plot and character. If a drama with a good plot doesn’t match up to its expectations, the majority of the viewers automatically blame the actors; therefore, it takes precision and heated discussions on selecting the building of each individual character for the drama. Every single actor has an exclusive aurora that the directors take note of in order to find the perfect fit.

Korean dramas do have the reputation of being unrealistic, having the plot line of “poor Cinderella” waiting for her “Prince Charming.” In fact, the plot lines with this vibe take up most of the hits. Despite the numerous hits, here are some of the narrowed down hits of Korean dramas since 2013!

2013

The Heirs

The cliche poor Cinderella with her Prince Charming plotline, but this drama earned very high ratings. The actors of this drama, Park ShinHye, Kim WooBin, and Lee Min Ho, successfully started to rise in fame after the air of this drama.

Summary: Kim Tan (Lee Min Ho) and Cha Eun Sang (Park ShinHye) meet in the States for various reasons; and Kim Tan, although an “heir” of a chaebol family, falls in love with EunSang. They meet back in Korea where their love blossoms through the difficulty of the typical lunatic parents and barriers of the rich and poor.

My Love from the Star

With the superb acting of Kim Soo-Hyun and Jun Ji-Hyun, the drama sprouted popularity across the world. Even China has made multiple adaptations of this very drama.

Summary: A romantic fantasy story about an alien (Kim Soo-Hyun) who comes to Earth. When Cheon Song Yi, a top actress in Korea in the drama, starts to fall down in her fame, the alien helps boost her confidence.

Master’s Sun

This drama gained popularity for the unique arrangement of romance and horror combined together. Many famous lines were said in this drama and are still used today.

Summary: A girl who is involved in an accident gains the ability to see ghosts. Due to this, her life is abnormal until she finds a man who is able to stop her from seeing these ghosts by a single touch. But, the man, an owner of a shopping mall named Kingdom, is very arrogant. Will she be able to approach him to get rid of these ghosts?

2014

It’s Okay, That’s love

This drama was highly rated due to its realistic plot line which builds upon the relationship between a doctor and a novelist. In fact, their selection of actors was praised as D.O. , an Exo member, was involved in the casting. Exo is a very famous Korean boy band, known for their KPOP.

Summary:   The novelist who has a mental disease due to his abusive past seeks help from the doctor who also has the fear of getting into relationships. The doctor and a novelist fall in love while trying to help each other overcome obstacles.

Healer

Ji Chang Wook finally got his fame due to this action drama that incorporated very settling romance. Due to this drama, he started acting in more action dramas.

Summary: A boy with the codename “Healer”  seeks revenge on the ones that hurt the economy and the people.  Yet without the name, Healer, he lives a normal life where he falls in love with a girl. The girl doesn’t know about the boy’s second identify.  The problem is the girl is in love with Healer, not the normal everyday boy.

2015

Kill Me, Heal Me

With splendid actors and a unique plotline, this drama rose to fame immediately.

Summary: The protagonist has a rare disease of five personalities, and the issue is that he is in a workforce where many eyes are on him. A woman is hired by the company only to find out that she evolved a relationship with all five different personalities.

Reply 1988

Although most dramas are directed more towards women with cliche romance, this drama was known for its unique family nostalgic atmosphere. The realistic scenes of the days back in 1988 grabbed a lot of attention from the ones who lived during that time frame as well.

Summary: Duksun, the main character, in 1988 goes through entangling conflicts of family, friendship, and romance. A lot of cliffhangers are seen in this drama as the setting shifts from present to past often. There are love triangles formed between the friends in order to confuse the viewers as the past and present scenes are portrayed to answer one question :“who is Duksun’s husband?”

2016

Love in the Moonlight

A historical drama where the actor Park Bo-Gum gained a lot of fame for his excellent acting. The drama satisfied the eyes of many, picturing beautiful scenery from 19th century Korea.

Summary: The woman protagonist, Kim Yoo Jung,  tries to hide her identity of a woman throughout the story for a mystery reason. Park Bo-Gum, the king, finds “him” very reliable, and as they spend more time together, the truth unravels itself.

Descendants of the Sun

One of the reasons this drama came to fame was the beautiful scenery as the drama was filmed in Greece and South Korea. Using Greece’s beautiful geographies, the directors were able to depict realistic situations of wars.

Summary: A sergeant and captain of the Special Army force is on vacation in Korea where they catch a thief. The doctor mistakes them for hurting the thief instead and files a report; that’s when they first meet. The captain and the doctor continuously meet through fated and purposeful actions. Their real love story begins when  the doctor sent to Greece as a  special work force team where they meet again.

2017

Missing 9

Although there were American TV shows that were similar to this drama, this was a new genre for the Koreans.  

Summary: A suspenseful mystery where 9 kpop stars are stranded in an island in the middle of nowhere due to a plane crash. In that island, there were actions of savagery such as murder.  But ironically, more trouble occurs when they seek help and arrive to Korea. The murderer gets to Korea first where he brainwashes the community to think he’s innocent from murdering. Will the 8 other victims be able to prove themselves innocent?

Tomorrow With You

With Lee Jae Hoon’s successful works from the past, people are anticipating for this new drama especially with his chemistry Shin Min-ah.

Summary: A man (Lee Jae-Hoon) and woman (Shin Min-ah) barely survive a train crash by getting into a heated argument and leaving the train. Ever since then, the man becomes a time slipper and is able to travel to the future from the present. Soon he finds out that his future isn’t bright and tries to change it. In the process, he gets involved with a woman who he deliberately marries for the sake of his future.

These were brief summaries and reviews, so it’s your time to find out what truly happens inside each drama. Even after binge watching dramas for many years, I am still always ready for new releases; each one has its own suspense and enchantment.

Prepare some hot cocoa and popcorn, snuggle up in a blanket, and be prepared to cry, laugh, and smile all at the same time.  

-Tae-Young Uhm (’18)

Featured Image: Umaria Tariq Malik

Phantom Singer: The Ultimate Musical Korean TV Experience

You’ve never seen a TV music show quite like this before.

No one ever expected this kind of music show to appear on Korean television, not by a long shot. The typical Korean music shows like Mnet’s “Super Star K” and SBS’s “K-pop Star” had dominated Korean music TV for a long time – so long that viewers were getting bored of watching essentially the same TV show over and over again for years on end. Therefore, when JTBC’s “Phantom Singer” first aired on November 11th, 2016, viewers were shocked by the sheer amount of top-end quality, classical music that was being shown on Korean TV for the first time.

The show’s aim is to create a four-member male Korean crossover quartet, much like Italy’s Il Divo, and the endgame is almost here, with the last episode of the show airing on January 27th. According to Kim Hyung-Joong, the producer of the show, “the winning team will receive 100 million won in prize money and will be given an opportunity to record their own album. They will also officially begin their career as a crossover quartet, performing tours and concerts.”

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PC: JTBC

When the first description of the show was released, it seemed like the show was only going to incorporate classical choral singers, which had many viewers turn away from the show in the beginning. However, the first episode of the show presented viewers with an incredible variety of male singers, quite arguably some of the best yet unknown Korean male singers there are.

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PC: JTBC

The novelty of “crossover music” was what truly attracted more and more viewers to the show, and the unbelievable talent of each and every singer that had been and/or still is on the show resulted in an extreme boom in popularity for the show. So far, we’ve seen and heard an amazing diversity of songs, including Italian folk songs, Korean songs for children, and even American pop songs like Beyoncé’s “Halo.”

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PC: JTBC

The final episode of the show already aired on January 27th, and the three quartet teams had already sung their first two songs as the first part of the finals on January 20th. They sang their final two songs during the final episode, but we won’t spoil you with who won just yet!

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PC: JTBC

As of January 20th, in first place is “Forte di Quatro (포르테 디 콰트로),” consisting of Ko Hoon-Jung (고훈정), Kim Hyun-Soo (김현수), Son Tae-Jin (손태진), and Lee Byeo-Ri (이벼리). Second place is “In-Gi Hyun-Sang (인기현상),” comprised of Gwak Dong-Hyun (곽동현), Park Sang-Don (박상돈), Baek In-Tae (백인태), and Yoo Seul-Gi (유슬기). In third place, but certainly not the least by any stretch of the imagination is “Hyoong-Spresso (흉스프레소),” made up of Ko Eun-Sung (고은성), Kwon Seo-Gyung (권서경), Baek Hyung-Hoon (백형훈), and Lee Dong-Shin (이동신).

These three teams represent the perfect embodiment of the essence of JTBC’s “Phantom Singer,” as there are opera singers, choral singers, musical actors, a rock artist, and even a brilliantly self-taught singer!

Make sure to keep an eye out for which finalist team ultimately won, and give yourself a treat by listening to one of the show’s past performances; there isn’t a single one that’ll disappoint you.

– Daniel Park (‘17)

Featured Image: JTBC

Making a Murderer: Steven Avery

Has justice been served? Perhaps, there is a fraud to be claimed.

Issues regarding police injustice as well as racial discrimination are calling for large amounts of attention in the current society, for there seem to be clear evidences that white policemen take advantage of their positions and abuse their authorities against black people. However, we must realize that police injustice often does take place despite the victim’s skin color being the same as that of the police; and Steven Avery is not an exception.

On December 18th 2015, Netflix released a documentary series titled Making a Murderer, in which the producers follow a man convicted of Teresa Halbach’s murder: Steven Avery. Teresa Halbach was a photographer who had visited him to take pictures of his vehicle for Auto Trader, a website used to sell automobiles. With this conviction, Avery was sentenced to life in prison in 2007 due to such a conviction. However, why is it that this murder case is suddenly gaining attention a decade later? Here’s why: not only did Netflix release the first episode of the ten-part documentary series for free on their youtube channel (which was something they had never done before), but also, it seems to do with the rawness and the thrill that comes with watching the show. Indeed, Making a Murderer is not simply a crime investigation documentary like the many other that exist. Rather, as the name suggests, it follows of and tries to expose a potential “miscarriage of justice”: Steven Avery may have been framed.

 

Let us go all the way back to 1985. In 1985, Steven Avery was falsely accused of beating and sexually assaulting Penny Beerntsen, a rape victim who was attacked along the beach in Wisconsin. He was convicted of the crime and sent to jail, and eighteen years later; only then did he finally clear his name due to a DNA test. He was freed from custody in 2003, and two years later, began to start a claim for 36 million dollars in damages. However, Steven Avery was once again, charged for a crime. However this time, not of rape; but of murder. Evidences that clearly put Avery in the fault, such as his blood found inside Halbach’s vehicle, Avery’s DNA discovered from the sweat under the bonnet of Halbach’s vehicle, and a bullet with Halbach’s DNA found in his garage, were all more than enough to convict him of the crime. Avery was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Yet, the documentary explains and indicates that those “evidences” could have all been planted. Avery’s defense attorneys argue that the Manitowoc County Sheriffs had planted evidence to frame him, and that they had coerced confessions regarding the crime. Additionally, there has been claims supporting the fact that the authorities involved in this case were clearly biased, supported by the multiple appeals filed by Avery. He explains that the searches performed on him during the investigation were both improper and biased, and that any evidence collected from that search should not be used during trials. However, this statement was quickly refuted by Sheriff Robert Hermann, of Manitowoc County, who strictly believes the investigation had been properly performed.

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PC: Chicago Tribune

Hermann is not alone in denying police malpractice. All of Manitowoc County authorities have denied claims that state they potentially framed Avery, despite certain questionable points regarding this incident. Initially, Halbach’s car was not sealed with tamper-proof tape, which would have made it less likely that one planted evidences within the car. Secondly, it’s quite contradictory for the victim’s car to have only moved after “the pitch black of night” without any security tape, as stated by Avery’s defense attorney, Kathleen T. Zellner. It’s too good to be true; with no security tape, one could have easily planted evidence inside the car whenever they wished to do so. And yet, the division still exists between those who believe the correct man is behind the bars, and those who believe Avery has been falsely accused of. Having said that, certain groups of people have taken action.

Regardless of what the opposition insists on, there has already been steps taken by the millions of viewers of the documentary who believe in his innocence. Over 275,000 viewers of Making a Murderer have all signed a petition, directed at Scott Walker, Wisconsin’s governor, demanding a pardon for Steven Avery. The petition states “Steven Avery should be exonerated at once by pardon, and the Manitowoc County officials complicit in his two false imprisonments should be held accountable to the highest extent of the US criminal and civil justice systems.” Despite the overwhelming amount of signatures, Walker denied granting a pardon for Avery.

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PC: Netflix

To look at the bigger picture, it is clear that this documentary is not simply attacking the authorities simply for Steven Avery. Rather, it is more about police injustice as a whole. Whether or not criminal justice is truly “just” is an extremely controversial topic, linked with others such as police brutality and racial discrimination (such as the shooting of Michael Brown). As the world is what it is today, it is important to shed light upon this issue of Steven Avery. Police injustice is not something strictly race oriented. Only recently has this issue of the police’s mistreatment of Avery been focused upon; there must be hundreds of others, who could have potentially been framed for a crime the have not committed. Will the United States of America and the world finally begin to truly investigate the matter of justice only after a hundred more of these documentaries, and a hundred more false convictions? As of now, justice certainly has not been served.

– Leona Maruyama (‘17)

Featured Image: PBS NewsHour

Underrated TV Shows You Need to Binge Watch This Break

Need to kill some time this winter break? Here are the best underrated TV shows of all time.

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(USA)

  • In A Nutshell:
    • Shawn Spencer, an uncannily observant and lazy man, gets hired by the Santa Barbara Police Department to help solve crimes under the premise that Spencer is psychic. Together with his partner-in-crime and best friend Burton Guster, his ex-policeman father Henry Spencer, and police detectives Carlton Lassiter and Juliet O’hara, Spencer uses his “psychic powers” to deduce hints and help catch criminals. Not only is Psych hilarious and fast-paced, but at times is insightful and even scary.
  • Total Watching Time:
    • 8 Seasons, 121 Episodes
    • 22 minute episodes
    • 2662 minutes of 44.3 hours

 

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  • In A Nutshell:
    • Neal Caffrey is a world renowned white collar criminal, jailed for bond forgery by FBI Detective Peter Burke. After realizing the two could mutually benefit from a new Criminal Informant program, Caffrey is released into Burke’s supervision and helps the FBI to catch other high-class thieves. Although Caffrey consistently proves to be a useful asset for the FBI, Burke is always suspicious of Caffrey and his lifelong friend Mozzie. Caffrey, a clever guy, always finds ways to twist his situation to his advantage and it is always unclear what his ulterior motive is.
  • Total Watching Time:
    • 3 Seasons, 81 Episodes
    • 40 minute episodes
    • 3240 minutes, 54 hours

 

5d8a24860bbf4f1e46b7dd7c0d8bf679
(FOX)

  • In A Nutshell
    • Brooklyn Nine-Nine (also called B99 by fans) centers around Detective Jake Peralta, a hotshot detective with the highest arrest record who does not care for the rules of the precinct. However, Peralta’s life is turned upside down when a new captain, Captain Ray Holt, comes to the 99th precinct. Holt, being gay and black, has a lot to prove to the homophobic and racist elite police community and forces Peralta to respect his job. Other major characters include Detective Amy Santiago, who is a hardworking, suck-up detective close to beating Peralta’s record, Detective Rosa Diaz, an intimidating, down-to-business police-woman, Charles Boyle, a naive cop who idolizes Peralta and Gina Linetti, a free spirit civil worker and dancer.
  • Total Watching Time:
    • 3 Seasons, 52 Episodes
    • 22 minute episodes
    • 1144 minutes, 19 hours

 

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(HBO)

  • In a Nutshell:
    • A hilarious comedy full of sarcasms and innuendos centers around the Pied Piper tech startup run by introverted coder Richard Hendricks. Hendricks and his nerdy friends hope to make it rich in the increasingly competitive Bay Area. After Hendricks codes an incredibly powerful search algorithm, he is torn between selling his work for 8 figures or selling part of the company to a strange, but rich venture capitalist in exchange for funding and ownership. Insightful humor shows the crazy lives of those who work in tech start-ups and accentuates the character’s nerdy characteristics.
  • Total Watching Time:
    • 2 Seasons, 18 Episodes
    • 30 minute episodes
    • 540 minutes, 9 hours

 

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(All3Media)

  • In A Nutshell:
    • An edgy TV show on teenage sexuality, mental health and drug abuse, is split in two three different generations. In each one, the series focuses on a gang of friends and the difficulties they each overcome, whether it being struggling with anorexia, coping with the loss of parents and friends, or pining for a girl. The group members although drastically different, each bring an essential part to the team. The TV series is unique for every episode is filmed in the point of view of a different character. This change in perspective adds a twist to the program.
  • Total Watching Time:
    • 7 Seasons, 61 Episodes
    • 45 minute episodes
    • 2745 minutes, 45.75 hours

 

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(Hulu)

  • In A Nutshell:
    • This relatively unheard of show follows Tim, a father fighting for his son Marcus, in a custody battle. After applying to what he thinks is a civil service job, Tim is recruited to be a trainee spy at MI5. Marcus, an extremely mature and intelligent schoolboy, outwardly despises living with his father, but as the show progresses, he begins to realize how great his quirky father is. Spy hits touchy topics such as divorce in a humorous manner and never fails to entertain with its eccentric characters.
  • Total Watching Time:
    • 2 Seasons, 17 Episodes
    • 23 minutes, last episode is 44
    • 414 minutes, 6.9 hours

 

– Juyon Lee (’18)

Featured Image: Huffington Post

Return of the Superheroes

Keep up with your superheroes as new seasons of Gotham, Arrow, and Flash are out for their fall premieres.

It’s fall season and our favorite superheroes are back with more action-packed plotlines and new villains. Few of the highest rating shows we have impatiently awaited that have returned for their brand new seasons are: Arrow, Gotham, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and The Flash. Anyone who watches any of these show has to admit that they are one of the most well-made shows all around, from their engaging plots to their memorable characters, no matter the size of their roles. Let’s get into brief recaps of two of these must-watch shows.

 

Arrow aired its new season this week and as usual, was not a letdown. Before I can rave about every part of the show, quick intro for those who are not acquainted with the oh-so-hot #absfordays Oliver Queen: Oliver was known as the Arrow, going around town with his squad (consisting of his girlfriend, his ex-girlfriend, his sister, and his bodyguard turned friend) and saving Starling City and facing many villains and overcoming many deaths and issues with his friends and family. Right before this fall’s season, Oliver faked being evil and emotionless to get into an elite evil mafia/cult-like group who he was apparently destined to be the leader of, to kill the then-current leader. This whole situation strained his relationship with a few people, strengthened some, and he eventually left with the love of his life to retire from being the Arrow. Back to this week’s episode, Starling City is under attack and his squad, left without its founder, is desperately trying to save it as usual until they realize the situation is bigger than they thought. The squad then calls Oliver for help and he reluctantly returns to his suit and arrows. The new villain in town, or should I say, back in town, is Damien Darhk who has made his own troop and has this new seemingly spiritual power that allows him to suck the life out of people. Let’s just say this is just the beginning and things are already started to look complicated and dangerous. Oliver decides to stay and go with a new code name which he has taken 70 episodes to say, “I am the Green Arrow.” So far so good. Arrow’s plotline from its very first season has been sensationally well-thought out (and I thought Smallville was good), so props to the writers for not having turned this superhero show into a hot cheesy mess as it turned out with many before adapted hero TV shows.

 

Gotham is definitely one to rave about. Gotham, as anyone may know, is the name of the city Batman saved and lived in. Remember Detective Jim Gordon? Gotham depicts his younger days working with the police department in the city where criminals lurk everywhere and even run the city. One of the side stories includes showing the life and shaping the future of our favorite Bruce Wayne a.k.a Batman, who is just a kid who has lost his parents. There is a new villain in the city who has taken some of the high profile criminals under his wing to make them his personal slaves who do the dirty work. Theo Galavan’s plan is to make his criminals wrek havoc in Gotham so that he can swoop in and ‘save’ the city to be looked as a renown hero. Now the acting job done by the criminals gathered up by Galavan is phenomenal. They are the stars of the season and what makes the show so thrilling and addicting. Every character on this show serves their purpose well and aces every facial expression and embodies their character on a level that cannot be overlooked. Some of the favorites that should be applauded and watched for are: Penguin played by Robin Taylor, Barbara Kean played by Erin Richards, and most of all, the short lived yet most memorable and twisted teen Jerome Valeska who is played by Cameron Monaghan. May I emphasize, Jerome Valeska, playing Theo Galavan who is comparable to a younger version of the Joker, has done an exceptionally sensational job in portraying his character. Watch the clips below. 10/10 for this show and should be on everyone’s list of must-watch TV shows.

 

– Hyun Jung Choi (’16)

TV Review: Jane the Virgin

The next TV show you’re going to binge on.

Chances are, if you clicked on this link to check out this article, it’s probably for the following reasons:

  1. You heard about the TV show from a friend, and seeing the name pop up yet again made you want to figure out what the heck the hype is about.
  2. The word “virgin” caught your attention. (It’s okay, be honest.)
  3. You know someone named Jane?

Whatever the reason may be, I welcome you into this article and the world of Jane the Virgin, since it’s a TV show you certainly won’t want to miss.

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(The CW)

Jane the Virgin is a semi-new TV show from The CW network. An interesting feature to note is that the cast is almost entirely PoC (people of color), causing the show to receive a lot of attention for the unique characteristic to take on. (There is literally only 2 main white characters in the entire show.)

Uh oh. (The CW)
Uh oh. (The CW)

The story follows Jane Villanueva, a 23 year old who’s had her life meticulously planned and followed for as long as she can remember. But after one unfortunate visit to the clinic, she is accidentally, artificially inseminated by Rafael Solano, major hotel owner and Jane’s boss. The pregnancy is confirmed and Jane, a virgin, is forced to keep her life together and on track as much as she possibly can.

There is definitely a lot more that goes into the story, and the 22-episode season is full of drama and witty dialogue. But what stands out the most about this TV show is that focuses on family. Most shows from The CW are scandalous romance stories about cheating (Gossip Girl), vampires (The Vampire Diaries, The Originals), or some magic-supernatural subject (Supernatural). And while Jane the Virgin definitely does have its fair share of telenovela-worthy drama, at the end of each episode is the moral that family, no matter how large or small, is what always has your back, no matter the choice you make.

Family comes first, no matter what. (The CW)
Family comes first, no matter what. (The CW)

Moving out of all that cuteness, Jane the Virgin also has some seriously hot male leads. Or really, just one in particular, and he plays Jane’s beau Rafael Solano, super-rich, entitled hotel owner.

 

OMG x100000 (janegifs, Tumblr)
OMG x100000 (janegifs, Tumblr)

OMG x10000 (janegifs, Tumblr)
OMG x10000 (janegifs, Tumblr)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The narrator is also hilariously funny, and really one of the main reasons why I watch the show. His sass is unreal, but it’s something you need to watch episode-by-episode to get the best snippets and fully appreciate them. Here is a short snippet of a scene that perfectly captures this entire show, but remember, it really does get better.

Finally (although I already touched up on this before), it’s the new portrayal of a Latin American culture in a TV show that makes this so intriguing. Although I wish I can say this is a common scene on the American TV-screen, it’s not, despite the astonishing fact that there are over 54 million hispanics living in the United States. This fresh view reminds us of other new POV shows like Fresh Off The Boat, told from an Asian family’s perspective. With Jane the Virgin, you get a glimpse at a hispanic culture and family, while learning a bit of Spanish along the way. It’s the best of all worlds, and you need to go and watch the first episode, right now. (But after you finish all your homework.)

 

– Faith Choi (’16)

Fresh Off ABC: Fresh Off The Boat

There’s a new cool kid in the TV town, and you just might relate to him.

Ever felt like you didn’t belong because of cultural differences? Ever experienced being the new kid after moving to a school and environment where you knew absolutely nobody? Ever just need to laugh every, oh I don’t know, Tuesday? If you’ve answered yes to any of these three questions, you’re in luck. ABC’s new comedy sitcom airing every Tuesday, “Fresh Off the Boat” will get you going on laughing, relating, and binge-watching.

“Fresh Off the Boat”, a show based on the memoir of an American restaurateur, Eddie Huang, is sweeping the nation with it’s unique and hysterical plotline. The story is told through the eyes of young Eddie Huang (Hudson Yang), who is eleven years old. The story starts off with Eddie and the rest of his Taiwanese family, his father (Randall Park), mother (Constance Wu), two brothers, Emery (Forrest Wheeler) and Evan (Ian Chen), and his grandmother (Lucille Song), making their way from Washington D.C. to Orlando, Florida. His father decides to open up a restaurant there called Cattleman’s Ranch, in order to embrace the American Dream. After all, it’s all he has ever dreamed of, and he’s determined to take his whole family on the journey. Of course, there’s always the unhappy ones when moving. Eddie is scared about fitting in at his new school, and his mother complains that the humidity of Orlando is not good for her hair. Despite fears and difficulties, the Asian-American family tries their best to “blend in” even if it really doesn’t work out.

(ABC)
(ABC) 

Because the Huangs are seen as “foreigners” in their new, all-white neighborhood, many culture-clashes occur. Considered a minority, the family is stared at with the eyes of both curious and bewildered people. The show follows a non-white family trying to adapt to suburban, white culture in comedic and relatable ways, portraying the toughness of fitting in while being “different”. Eddie’s new neighbors and peers at school make fun of the Chinese food he brings for lunch, his last name that no one can pronounce correctly, and the way he looks. They even act surprised that his English is “good,” when in reality, he was born and raised in the United States.

 

 

Despite adversities, no one can stop Eddie and his family’s hike to the American dream. Still not convinced to watch this amazing show?

Check out some of the funniest moments from Fresh Off the Boat – when the show got too real.

 

White kids make fun of Eddie’s lunch:

We’ve probably all experienced this. People who are not of our culture getting surprised by so-called “exotic” food Asian people eat. What Eddie and his family consider normal, is not by those who have no knowledge about their culture. It’s human nature to be surprised when you see something abnormal that you’re not used to seeing everyday. However, instead of accepting diversities, the immature students at Eddie’s new school takes this to a whole new level by using it as an excuse to tease him about it. Being bullied about being different? TOO REAL.

 

Asian parents: Go big or go home

When Eddie is called a “chink” by a student in his new school, he lashes out inappropriate language that even the principal has never heard of (and he’s from Boston!). When the principal suggests a possible suspension taking place, instead of accepting the consequences, Eddie’s mother and father defend him by taking his side. Parents always on our side? TOO REAL.

 

“Too expensive”

 

When Eddie goes clothes shopping, his mother takes one look at the price tag and simply says, “too much”. When it comes to Asian stereotypes, one major one is that Asian people are cheap. I guess that’s not 100% false. We like to bargain and get the best of the best deals out there. That one look Eddie’s mother gave him when she saw the number on the price tag is TOO REAL… and too familiar.

 

There’s not a moment where you can’t relate to Eddie Huang. After all, we are living in an Asian society. Don’t miss out on the rest of the season! Laughs, giggles, smiles are guaranteed.

– Leona Mauryama (’17)
Header: ABC 

5 Reasons Why “How To Get Away With Murder” is the Best Show Ever

Everyone needs a little bit of How To Get Away With Murder in their lives, guaranteed.

Need a little spark in the mundane spin of high school life? How to Get Away With Murder is, literally, the perfect combination of thrill and romance you need to turn your life upside down.

 

Before we proceed, here’s a convenient snippet of HTGAWM for you (no spoilers, I promise):
The series takes place in Middleton University in Philadelphia, one America’s most prestigious law schools. Here, 5 law students – Wes Gibbons (Alfred Enoch), Connor Walsh (Jack Falahee), Michaela Pratt (Aja Naomi King), Asher Millstone (Matt McGory), and Laurel Castillo (Karla Souza) (aka the Keating 5) – are hand-picked by the infamous defense attorney and a criminal justice professor Professor Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) to work under her. The murder of Lila Stangard, a psychology student in Middleton University, drags the Keating Five, Professor Keating herself, and her two employees – Frank and Bonnie – into a gruesome murder case(s).

The cast of HTGAWM in all their perfection. (people.com)
The cast of HTGAWM in all their perfection. (People)

Phew! Now that the synopsis is out of the way, here are 5 reasons why you should start watching HTGAWM:

5. Twist that Plot!

“How To Get Away with Murder is constantly full of suspense and has so many interesting plot twists that its really hard not to get hooked. I can’t wait for season two to air!” – Hannah Byun (‘15)

“You want to try and put all the pieces together but right when you think you’ve figured everything out something new and crazy happens.” – Sara Drake (‘15)

Wow, can I just say that the plot development is AMAZING, PERFECT, SUBLIME??? In the beginning, the bits and pieces of information may seem arbitrary, but as you get deeper and deeper into the series, every details start to congregate to one masterpiece – like a mosaic. HTGAWM continues to build on the already-close-to-perfect plot with the most jaw-dropping and bone-chilling twists, making it impossible to press pause.

 

4. Great Camera Techniques

The setup of the series is quite unique. There is an ever-present back-and-forths between the present and the flashbacks (you’ll have to find out what kind of flashbacks they are 😉 ), which sustains the zest of HTGAWM. Even as a non-cinematic enthusiast, the transitions, the cliffhangers, and the overall aesthetics of each episode are impressive and eye-catching. A perfect example of visuals enhancing the storyline!

3. Sentimental Character Development

Contrary to the heartless theme of murder, the episodes reveal important secrets and personal conflicts of each characters, bringing cohesiveness to the entire cast and, surprisingly, arousing sympathy – an unexpected emotion to get out of a criminal series.

 

2. Become a Great Storyteller

Aside from the one underlying foundational murder case that the entire series is based on, each episode features cameos of various, head-twisting criminal cases – from monetary complications and drug cases to tabooed stories of adultery and parental abuse – all of which you can chip in as conversation-continuers!

 

1. Smokin’ Men and Women

How can you say no to this gorgeousness?

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Seriously. Look at that face. I think I need a moment. (ABC)

And to this familiar and beautiful face from Harry Potter?

This kid has seriously Neville-LongBottomed. Big time. (Buzzfeed)
This kid has seriously Neville-LongBottomed. Big time. (Buzzfeed)

Remember Paris from Gilmore Girls? Well, she’s Keating’s employee now.

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Talk about a throwback. (ABC)

Any film with Viola Davis, you know you can bet your money on – her acting is above and beyond phenomenal.

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You see this? This is the face of someone who knows she’s good at what she does. (ABC)

Days of reblogging photos of Kendall Jenner and “aesthetics” are gone! Lovers of Tumblr, stock your blog posts with these fine-lookin’ ladies.

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Hot dang. (ABC)

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Hot dang part 2. (ABC)

Personally, I would give this series a 4.5 out of 5. A soft-hearted person that I am (cough cough), I was surprised to find myself actually enjoying a murder series. This was only possible because, visually, the crime scenes are obscure, which I (and a lot of you) can appreciate a ton. However, there is one downfall, and it’s the fact that there are one too many sexuals scenes. But if you’re into murder and sex appeal, go right ahead, this is the perfect show for you.

 

– Lina Oh (’16)
Header: ABC
Captions: Faith Choi (’16)