There has been quite a lot of quality TV programs coming from America to Europe in the last couple of years, and as someone who really, really likes watching TV shows (not on TV though, I always end up missing half the episodes), it's not an easy feat picking a few to follow. This is why I chose to post a recommendation of 5 very different shows I like, old and new, and if you've missed any of these, you know you've got homework. So here they are, in no particular order.
- Sex and the City - An oldie, but more than a goodie. I am sure you've seen it, but perhaps you missed a few episodes. This is probably one of the most unique shows ever broadcast, for a variety of reasons. First, it deals with sex from a woman's point of view, and it's so good at it, Jane Campion herself would be proud. Secondly, it features razor sharp writing that will either entertain or offend you. And finally, the cast is more than amazing, especially when it comes to the lead character Carrie Bradshaw, played by the uber-charismatic Sarah Jessica Parker.
- True Blood - Another HBO series, True Blood is an unsurprisingly popular show about vampires. Although many would say it rides on Twilight's fame, the characters of True Blood are more flesh and blood, more human than the ones from Twilight. The thing I like the most about it are the cliffhangers, which are so well-done, I nearly have a heart attack after each episode. Finally, True Blood stars the one and only Anna Paquin and although it may seem like a silly supernatural story, it is full of cleverly hidden, outrageous commentaries on the world we live in.
- ALIAS - Fans of action-packed, twisted storylines may be surprised that there have been other good shows before LOST, but then they haven't seen ALIAS. The Jennifer Garner spy show is one of the most thought-through shows I have ever seen, and although it has been re-invented a lot of times during its 5 season run, it never forgot how to pack a punch. Be cautious though, watching this show may cause severe loss of sleeping habits.
- Desperate Housewives - Who could have thought a show about housewives could be a global phenomenon? But thanks to Marc Cherry's witty writing, as well as to considerable talents of the five leading ladies, Desperate Housewives is slowly becoming a cult show. A weird hybrid of Twin Peaks and American Beauty. Do not miss it.
- The Tudors - The sexiest history lesson is about to enter its forth and final season, and you should definitely tune in. Showtime's biography of the insatiable King Henry VIII and his many wives is both informative and attractive in terms of lush sets, costumes, etc. With considerable talents of Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Peter O'Toole and the surprising appearance of singer Joss Stone as Anne of Cleaves, The Tudors is not a history lesson you should skip.
Other honorable mentions include: Brothers and Sisters, Queer as Folk, Will & Grace, 30 Rock, Gossip Girl, Scrubs...
Of course, I wanna hear from you too! Let me know if you love or hate any of these shows, share your favorites and let's see if your favorite shows make it to the second list of TV Shows You Shouldn't Miss Part 2!
Having seen and loved the film version of Zoe Heller's critically acclaimed novel Notes on a Scandal (What Was She Thinking?), I am not sure why it's taken me such a long time to read the novel. And I didn't read it - I devoured it.
The story is narrated by an older woman named Barbara Covett, a bitter aging spinster who works as a high school teacher. She tells the story of Sheba Hart, her colleague from school, who pursues an extramarital affair with a 15-year old student. As the various events unfold, Barbara tries to get as close to Sheba as possible, hoping they would have an everlasting friendship.
What is both astounding and unsettling about Notes on a Scandal is how nothing is as it should be. For a woman who fornicates with a minor, Sheba is surprisingly unhurtful and naive. The relationship she has with Barbara is also very out of the ordinary and could easily be understood as romantic, save for all the practical reasons. And finally, as Barbara shares the events with us, the readers will slowly witness her own predatory features that may be even more dangerous than Sheba's.
Shortlisted for Man Bookers Prize, Notes on a Scandal (What Was She Thinking?) is a book well-worth of your time if you can handle some really unusal characters, situations and perceptions. The novel has been turned into a critically acclaimed film of the same name, starring Cate Blanchett as Sheba and Judi Dench as Barbara.
Have you ever read a self-help book? I sure have! And no, I've never read "Secret", which is one of the best-selling self-help books ever, but I've read some similar ones. Of course, the reason I'm telling you this is because I am shielded by the distance the Internet can provide. There is a general opinion that self-help books are pathetic, not to mention the people who read them. I beg to differ.
Why would taking a proactive action of sorting out certain things in one's life be labeled pathetic? These people take the time to evaluate their place in the world, their strengths and weaknesses. They try and be better people, and there is nothing wrong with that.
The author of this blog is not a big self-help fanatic. I have read "If Life Is a Game, These Are the Rules" by Cherie Carter-Scott and "Sex and the Single Girl" by Helen Gurley Brown. The first one really struck a chord with me - it managed to break down many elements of life into simple notions, which made for an interesting read. Obviously, I couldn't relate to many things from "Sex and the Single Girl", but it was a true page-turner for me. Originally published back in 1962, the book offers incredibly progressive advice for single women.
On the other hand, there is the Internet, where you can now find any piece of advice you want. If you are into this sort of stuff, then you will love ZenHabits, a blog with posts that are ridiculously ambitious and ridiculously good, such as Simple Living Manifesto: 72 Ideas to Simplify Your Life. Needless to say, it's in my bookmarks.