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10/10
I love this series
31 July 2012
What really makes this series is Hetty's demeanor. It's hard to explain but she is comforting and fierce at the same time. I love the humdrum British world it takes us to, a different culture and setting than the one I live in, but I appreciate that it gives me a taste of simpler times.

My favorite episodes: Helping Hansi (a German gardener is being harassed by residents of a building complex and pinned as a Nazi. His acting of his isolation was really good.) Woman of the Year (Hetty solves a crime at a home for battered women. It's well done) , Runaways (Again a hard topic is addressed: Hetty finds out where a two mentally disabled young adults who are in love ran off to), Fisticuffs .
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Tower Prep (2010)
6/10
Hurts without an ending
16 April 2012
The first few episodes moved far too slow. But the latter opens, when they were focused on escaping, were great. The acting is OK - I didn't find the characters themselves too interesting or relatable. The real redeeming element was the mysterious story line. I kept wondering how it would all get explained at the end because it was so far fetched and strange. The twists were indeed interesting. Each episode peeled back a layer, often only leaving more questions.

Also, it reminds me a bit of Harry Potter.

If you are OK with not understanding anything by the last released episode, go for it.
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Skins (2007–2013)
7/10
Glorified, unrealistic, but insightful nonetheless
16 April 2012
Note - it's hard to rate this series because the first season is excellent, and the rest are not worth watching in my opinion. Overall, i give it a 7/10 just because the first season is so good.

The way this show is structured is really unique - from the perspective of one kid per an episode. In other episodes, you can see how that kid's life intertwines with other kid's lives, so its very interesting.

I think they overdid their depiction of how poor role models the parents were in the kids lives - often being totally unable to be reasonable role models. And how much freedom the kids had also seemed overdone. There are other qualms I had with it - but overall, it was neat and I would suggest the first season to the curious.

I would also recommend "Life as we know it" as a related series that I liked much better.
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10/10
Attacks heavy questions with style
16 April 2012
The writing in this movie is really wonderful. Just enough to keep your attention and peek your interest, while still grappling with heavy issues that are very relevant to teenage women.

I can say personally, I'm no longer a teenager, but the plot really got me thinking again... about how universal the actions of both these girls were. And how we culturally have not come very far in how to deal with and react to sexually coming-of-age.

I also like the acting and the dated look of the film. It takes you back to a different time... no so long ago, but still unlike the things you see on TV today. Highly recommended.
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10/10
Fun, but feels somewhat incomplete
16 April 2012
I like this film.. it's just a glimpse of life. It's very different from Linklater's other films in that it's quite standard in its look and feel, but the inner substance is still richer than your average film.

However, like his other films, the plot meanders a little and leaves you feeling a bit empty handed. The movie ends and you wonder "what was that all about?" "what was he trying to tell me?". In the end, probably nothing. It is like some sort of idealistic reflection of teenage life. Very very idealistic in my opinion. But it makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside, as if he collected the things you miss the most and placed them into one film.

Overall, very enjoyable to watch.
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10/10
One of my favorites
16 April 2012
The premise of this story is so silly that I love it. It runs like a classic Agatha Christie whodunit. The group of individuals get an invitation to party where they are openly told a murder will occur. Their interest and intrigue and British-ishness made it laugh out loud funny for me at times.

Also, Miss Marple is wonderful. I like the feel of these episodes and the acting far better than the newer shows. In fact, I highly recommend all of the older episodes of Miss Marple, besides perhaps "Nemesis".

You must have a soft spot for British mystery... if you do, you will love it.
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Merlin (2008–2012)
2/10
I cannot get into this series
16 April 2012
I like the premise of this series. I also love the sets and the actors. However, the story line is total weak sauce. It cannot keep my attention or interest at all. On the whole, it is too dark and gory, and too little time is spent showing how the relationships between the characters evolve.

Overall, I feel there is little substance to this series, despite there being real potential.

If you want to see a similar but better done series, try "Cadfael", a mini-series about a Welsh monk that solves medieval crimes near his monastery in Britain. That... I highly recommend!
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Cosmos (1980)
10/10
A dated classic
16 April 2012
You may not learn particularly much from watching this series, but I still would recommend it to anyone seeking to be reminded of why the universe is so spectacular and worth our time to study.

Carl Sagan was truly a pioneer in his times, making his profound appreciation accessible the general public. I think the true charm of this series is his own personal meanderings and philosophizing.

The downside is that you feel like each episode has about 10 endings, each one a false alarm... due to his language feeling so "epic" and poetic, it's almost too much.

However, the old sets are silly and fun to watch. And the questions he poses are as relevant as ever. Enjoy.
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Cathedral (2005– )
10/10
Really well-done, well-written
16 April 2012
I was inspired to learn more about the religious institutions of medieval times after watching Cadfael ~ a mini-series about a mystery solving monk in Britian during medieval times.

I found this series to be really fascinating. The mix of story and documentary worked well. My favorite one was about Thomas Becket of Canterbury which was quite an epic tale. I often associate Britian with Protestants the spirit of the reformation, that I often forget it was very Catholic beforehand. These documentaries really captured the spirit of the times well, and I only wanted to see more - and understand how the influence of the church and its expression varied throughout Europe.

I came out feeling smarter and more intrigued about the nature of these times!
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Seven Dials Mystery (1981 TV Movie)
7/10
Enjoyable but pale in comparison to "Why didn't they ask Evans?"
16 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The movie gets off to a great start but later the depictions of the secret societies are remarkably silly and cheesy so it lost steam for me. However, the plot twists and surprises are aplenty... the novel was well written! It also is refreshing to see a Christie that isn't Poirot or Miss Marple.

Even so, I thought the James Warwick was better suited for his role in "Why didn't they ask Evans" which I gave a 10/10. If you watch only one of the two, I'd choose the latter.

Also, I wish Ronny stuck around for longer... I really liked his character!
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10/10
Very worth your time to see
15 April 2012
I really feel that movies like this are worth it - to see and educate oneself. One of the problems in America today are that the downtrodden and invisible people have no voice or medium through which to tell their stories. Movies like this show us ... how powerful these stories truly are.

The Interrupters themselves were my favorite characters. I wish I could see more and more movies on people who have truly transformed their lives from hopeless to meaningful. There are many out there - fighting the good fight, against all odds. And the best outcome of a movie like this - is to feel transformed yourself, inadvertently, because you've become inspired to take back your power and use it to be the best person you can be, in whatever your situation is.
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Rize (2005)
10/10
I've never watched a movie twice in a row until now....
15 April 2012
Rize depicts a world I otherwise know nothing of - but watching it has opened my eyes to seeing dance in whole different way - as an alchemical means to release and transmute raw energy.

I really feel that if more people practiced this style of dance, the world would be a better place. The movie does an excellent job at picking speakers and dancers who represent the movement well. I think the biggest downfall was the tournament - pitting one side against another, rather than having the Clowns and the Krumpers realize they are co-creating a powerful vision that could change a lot of peoples lives for the better.

Also, it looked like so much fun and made me want to get up and dance right afterwards.
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Twin Peaks (1990–1991)
10/10
A must-see
15 April 2012
Easily my favorite TV show of all time, I'm not really sure how to critique Twin Peaks. I began watching this show after many years of having lost faith in the value of TV. My friends encouraged me to watch all the episodes together so I gave in and was amazed.

The cinematography and feel of the show was unbelievable. It's really the kind of show you could snuggle up to with a warm cup of coffee or tea. And yet, it pleasantly keeps you at the edge of your seat and amused by the quirks and twists throughout.

The only downside is the number of character and oddities David Lynch threw at it, as if it became something of a testing ground for random ideas. Nonetheless, no show is perfect. I truly appreciate that he was given so much creative liberty... it became what it is, rather than some PC dry and overly-polished prime time drama.

All in all, the characters stay with me. I really enjoyed it and could not recommend it enough -- watch with friends!
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Mystery!: Cadfael (1994–1996)
10/10
A medieval gem....
15 April 2012
This cross between a medieval period piece and fantasy TV show and detective series is perfect. It is truly unlike anything I've seen before, and I wish there were more like it. The stories are compelling and interesting, and not obvious to solve at all. The acting I thought was quite good.

Derek Jacobi most of all is phenomenal. He was perfect in this role, as a trustworthy figure, with outstanding morals, and an ability to see the humanness in all those around himself. As the series went on, I also began to truly appreciate characters like Brother Jerome - who although so easy to feel bitter about, did an excellent job at portraying the character he did.

I'm not very versed on the climate of these times, but I'd like to think that this series exemplifies it well. It's also just very enjoyable to watch and family friendly.
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Suburbia (1983)
9/10
Unique perspective
15 April 2012
I really enjoyed Suburbia. I accidentally stumbled upon it, and then while watching could not take my eyes off the screen. It was clear the intention of this movie was not simply to tell a story but to portray an experience. It makes sense to me that the actors were not just actors but also punks in real life... it gives a slight feel of "reality TV" to the story.

I've always been intrigued by Crusties and kids who choose to become homeless, and so forth. This movie has done the best I've seen so far in explaining their perspective, granted it being quite dated now.

I do feel like it does filter the image of them through rose-colored lenses, as kids just trying to get by, raising kids, acting like a family and whatnot. The drug scene and alcohol scene was not portrayed - nor the rude, abrasive, anarchist, apathetic attitude toward one another.

Even so, I thought it was an excellent movie and stunning to watch at some moments.
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The Magic School Bus (1994–1997)
10/10
Foundational for my childhood
15 April 2012
Despite only seeing a few episodes as kid, mostly reruns, they impacted my vision of school and science growing up in profound ways. They taught me that science is action-packed and exciting. One of the my favorite episodes is when Ralphie gets sick and they go into his bloodstream to see the war against the germs ensue.

Even though these days I question the germ-theory, these visualizations were foundational to my understanding of various other processes I could not see. While learning, I would go into a Magic School Bus into my head and play them out in my imagination. Shows like this, and a few excellent science teachers lead me to college at MIT and pursuing a degree in science.

I wish they brought this show back or made others like it! Excellent show!
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Why Didn't They Ask Evans? (1980 TV Movie)
10/10
A very special, unusual film
15 April 2012
I really like this hidden gem. I have no complaint about the length, which I've seen others here complain about. The length really gives the viewer time to get acquainted with the characters and all the intricacies in the plot.

I love whodunits, and fills that exact craving well. Also, there is a tinge of British comedy strung throughout. James Warwick and Francesca Annis are just perfect for this role. I find this movie to be better than their "Partners in Crime" shows.

All in all, I find it really enjoyable to watch, and hard to guess the plot if you haven't read the book. I highly recommend it!
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Clue (2011– )
10/10
For what this is, it is very good
15 April 2012
If you're looking for an easy to watch, family friendly, tween/teen nickelodeon-like show, this one is great. The acting is silly... but the plot moves fast and keeps one curious about how the mystery will unravel.

I was impressed by the content of the mystery and I found the effects to be neat as well. It's kind of - everything a kid would like to see in a TV show. A surreal world where all they and all their friends get to fight mysterious crimes and save the world.

So given its genre, I give it a 10. It's fun and I wish they continued on to further seasons.
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Undeclared (2001–2003)
6/10
Hit and miss
15 April 2012
The show began with a good deal of potential. However, I felt like the show had an identity crisis. It partly wanted to contain the substance of a drama with a more mature storyline like "Freaks and Geeks" and it partly wanted to become some sort of "Saved by the Bell"... it ended up leaning toward the latter.

The later episodes became flatter and it became apparent the plot was reusing old familiar story lines and overall going nowhere. However, the first few episodes are enjoyable and worth a watch.

If you're looking for other quality teen-college dramas, I recommend "Life as we know it".
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Slacker (1990)
7/10
Unusual, unique, but flat at times
15 April 2012
I enjoyed watching this film ~ as if it were a rougher form of Waking Life, but still intriguing. It's almost a mix between Waking Life and reality TV... in that you are opened in a series of snippets of various individuals lives as they walk down the streets of this all American town in the 90s.

I would have loved to see a plot tie in more. Perhaps, looping back around to old characters and seeing how they were all interconnected, or what they were up to later in the day. But it's clear that wasn't Linklater's vision and that's OK.

As it stands, some of the clips are not that interesting, or persist on too long. Some are very similar in concept to Waking Life, and if you were only going to see one of the two, Waking Life would be my definite recommendation.

All in all, it was an interesting experiment.
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Freaks and Geeks (1999–2000)
7/10
Phenomenal Characters
12 April 2012
I like Freaks and Geeks. In particular I found the characters to have depth, be endearing, and be thoroughly realistic.

In fact ~ that was my only real complaint about the show. They focused on the realism of these teenagers lives that their never seemed to be any relief. They were constantly stuck in roles they were depressed by. They did not seem to grow and transform throughout the episodes into the individuals that they wanted to be... and that made it hard to watch at times.

I would have liked to see some more uplifting and empowering moments. Yet it resonates with so many people, clearly they are doing something right.

But as a reflection of a snippet of life... well done.
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Life as We Know It (2004–2005)
10/10
Excellent! Enjoyable to watch
12 April 2012
I really enjoyed this show. It was very pleasurable to watch. Though at first appearance it has the feel of a show like One Tree Hill, the plot is considerably more substantial and mature. The characters have as much depth and intrigue of the excellent characters on "Freaks and Geeks" but represent a different subset of the student body.

The storyline is stimulating and keeps you on the edge of your chair throughout all of the episodes - well done. The issues raised are intriguing, but never turn dark and deeply negative. There always ends up being resolution and a way to pull out. I really like that... it creates a show that is easier to watch. It's a good family show, and made me empathize with parents more once it was over.

I would give it 10 stars. Also, I personally didn't mind that it ended abruptly... it was well worth a watch. Just don't expect much resolution at the end.
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