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  • Amit Banerjee

Entertainment Recap: Winter Break Edition


Over the past several weeks, I've been watching many more movies and TV shows than I usually used to watching, and I've been loving it. Below are a few of my critiques on what I've seen. I've marked the shows and movies with an asterisk (*) to note that I'm a little late to the party when it comes to appreciating them.

TV Shows:

30 Rock (Seasons 5-7)*

This show is in my eyes the best television comedy ever. The show is naturally funny because it beautifully develops each character (however minor) to be as charismatic as they are cringe-y. The show is so self aware: consistently playing to dramatic irony and breaking the fourth wall. The writers also experimented a lot with this show. They had live broadcasts, guest appearances, outrageous story arcs that didn't leave a lot of plot holes, and created episodes of "Queen of Jordan" as a response to Tracy Morgan's real-life medical emergency. I will highly recommend this show to anyone who is ready to laugh without having to leave their brain at the door.

Favorite Character: Kenneth Parcell (portrayed by Jack McBrayer)

Bojack Horseman (Seasons 1-3)

This show is so good at maintaining a dry tone even when some of the craziest scenes are taking place. The show does a great job of describing how depression can affect everyone, even those with fame and fortune. This show serves as a fantastic way to humanize the celebrities that society spends so much time idolizing. I learned a lot about some of the subtleties that are present in talent acquisition in Hollywood though this show, and highly encourage others to give this show a chance. It takes a few episodes for the viewer to understand the style, but then the viewer will be on an emotional rollercoaster like no other.

Favorite Character: Bojack Horseman (voiced by Will Arnett)

Master of None (Season 1)

A simple show about the life of Indian-American actor Dev Shah (portrayed by Aziz Ansar) in New York City. This show is really nice about not over-exaggerating the different parts of life. Almost all the external and internal conflicts were relatable (especially for me since I'm Indian-American myself), and were resolved in realistic ways with both sides compromising over an extended amount of time. It's a fun and lighthearted watch for people who don't want to get too invested into a storyline. I'm excited to see what topics the show addresses in future seasons.

Lemony Snicket's The Series of Unfortunate Events (Season 1/Books 1-4)

I have been waiting for this series ever since they released the sub-par movie adaptation of the original book series over a decade ago. The first season only covered the first four book, which relieved me because so much is introduced in the fifth one that it would feel rushed if the season hadn't ended where it did. Neil Patrick Harris did a great job showing the eccentricity of Count Olaf while maintaining an inexplicable maliciousness, something Jim Carrey's portrayal of the same character lacked. The kids are awkward, but I guess that's a result of the neo-gothic tone the story has...and their parents' death. I highly recommend this show to those who have read the books, and caution anyone who hasn't read the books but wants to watch it to give it time and, like with Bojack Horseman, get ready to be sad. They haven't messed anything up yet, so hopefully the remaining nine books will be adapted appropriately!

Favorite Character: Lemony Snicket (portrayed by Patrick Warburton)

Sherlock (Season 4)

I'll keep this short because I'm still processing everything. I seems as though the pacing is always off in the episodes in this season. There is so much happening in one scene and then 10-15 minutes of no action whatsoever. While the development is weak, the plot itself is captivating because of the extreme escalation of events. So many secrets revealed, and I really liked the focus on John Watson this time. Even when something is happening to Sherlock, it's incredible how necessary Watson's role is in the story. Highly recommended for patient people who liked the first three seasons (especially the last one).

Favorite character: Dr. John Watson (portrayed by Martin Freeman)

Movies:

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Perhaps the best Star Wars movie I've seen ever. The characterization and the cinematography were fantastic! The pan shots into the first-person view were some of the most beautiful scenes I've witnessed on the silver screen. Jyn and Cassian proved what brilliant actors they are through the emotions they expressed through certain inactions. My favorite thing about Jyn is her ability to accept that nobody is going to be inspired by her nor will the leaders of the Rebellion listen to her however possible her idea may be. The hopelessness of the galaxy and the Rebellion against the Empire was expressed much better in this movie than in the beginning of Star Wars: A New Hope, making it the perfect prequel. I left the theater elated after watching this movie. Highly recommended for everyone, especially non-Star Wars fans.

Favorite Character: Jyn Erso (portrayed by Felicity Jones)

La La Land

I didn't know that I was going to be watching this movie. I got a call from my mom telling me to meet my family at a Cinemark for a movie with another family after work. I find out that we were going to watch La La Land and I was excited. I'm always a fan of musicals, and I love both Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. I am a huge fan of jazz music, and seeing Sebastian fight to keep it alive and popular, while Mia pursues her near impossible dream of being an actor. Even if you aren't a big fan of musicals, as long as you like music, this movie will speak to you. Highly recommend. Definitely worthy of all the awards it has already won.