This Is Us is my addiction

This Is Us is my addiction

I don’t usually consider myself a big TV watcher. Maybe it’s because, when I first moved to Sweden, I had to wait so long to see all of the new shows that my friends in the US had been watching for ages.

Nowadays, I don’t have to wait so long–either the shows I want to see I can stream via HBO Nordic or Netflix, or the licensing for Sweden has made it easier for them to begin airing most shows pretty much the same week as in the US.

Lately, I find myself addicted to one particular show: This Is Us. I stumbled upon a trailer for it and loved the premise of viewing a family’s life through different time periods. My husband can never keep up. He doesn’t always follow that we’re looking at Kate, Kevin and Randall when they’re kids, then as teenagers and then fast-forwarding to adulthood.

Now, if you’ve never seen This Is Us, it starts with Jack and Rebecca, who are expecting triplets. During the delivery, one of their babies dies. Rebecca is devastated. Jack finds out about an abandoned baby boy who was brought in by the fire department. Jack convinces Rebecca that they should adopt the baby and raise him with their surviving babies, Kevin and Kate. We follow the couple and the lives of their children, sometimes skipping forward in time, sometimes jumping backwards.

From left to right: Sterling K. Brown, Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Chrissy Metz and Justin Hartley.

For me, watching This Is Us gives me the same sort of emotional rollercoaster feeling of reading the best kind of novel–the kind that makes you feel like you aren’t simply a spectator, you’re present in the story, experiencing those emotional moments with the same intensity as the characters on the screen. I am also hooked to how they’re handling the race issues that are touched upon due to Randall, their adopted son, being black. His story arc is especially interesting because of his longing to find his birth parents, a desire that follows him into adulthood.

I know a lot of people hate This Is Us. They say it’s too over-the-top, that they’re taking too long to tell us what happened to Jack or how Rebecca ended up together with Miguel or will Kevin ever get his shit together. But I love the storytelling on this show. I don’t want nice, tidy endings to every episode. I want them to tease me with more so I keep coming back.

I love the cast: Milo Ventimiglia as Jack Pearson, Mandy Moore as Rebecca Pearson, Sterling K. Brown as Randall, Chrissy Metz as Kate and Justin Hartley as Kevin.

What about you? Are you as addicted to This Is Us?



Just What Will Eclectic Tastes Get You?

Just What Will Eclectic Tastes Get You?

To say my viewing choices are eclectic might be an understatement. My tastes are all over the place. On any given day, I might tune into a PBS Masterpiece show, like Poldark (currently one of my favorites). Of course, that comes on Sunday nights, which is the same night as my other favorite, The Walking Dead.

Vastly different, right? Except both shows deal with survival in one form or the other.



In Poldark, the characters are fighting for their lifestyle, to become successful in the copper mines that are their legacies.

In The Walking Dead, they are simply fighting for their lives. But both shows pit the characters against more powerful enemies.


Anyway you look at it, survival is the key.

And the same holds true for my other favorite obsession; any and all of the franchises of Bravo TV’s Real Housewives. However, on those programs, survival isn’t always a given!

Gemma Sig-1

The Best Show You’ve Never Seen

The Best Show You’ve Never Seen

by Xio Axelrod

My love of genre television is not a secret, though love may be too weak a word. I could live off of genre TV alone (well, and romance novels/audiobooks, and maybe water and popcorn.)

My problem, as a writer, is that we’re living in a golden age of television. There are so many good shows on right now, it’s hard for me to keep up with them. Especially if I intend to actually get any writing done.

That said, my DVR and I have a solid relationship. And thank goodness for Netflix! One show I want to turn you onto is A&E’s Damien, starring Bradley James. [Read more…]

The Truth Is Still Out There

The Truth Is Still Out There

by Xio Axelrod

If you need anything from me during the 4th weekend in January, I suggest you let me know now. That way, I can get it to you ahead of time. On Sunday, the 24th of that month, I will be completely unavailable – inaccessible, unreachable – between the hours of 7 and 10 P.M. Certainly that whole weekend, and the week leading up to it. Okay, who am I kidding? It’ll be hard to get me to focus for about six weeks. Why? The X-Files are coming back.

Guys! GUYS! I’m grinning too!

[Read more…]

Buffy! She Lives and Reigns

Buffy! She Lives and Reigns

Unknown-1I grew up in South Africa, where we would get a lot of shows from all over the world, but a season or so after they’d aired in their home country. I was aware of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I watched and loved a few episodes, but never caught the entire thing.

Well, I’m making up for it now—don’t you love Netflix!

I’ve started watching from Season 1, Episode 1 all the way through. I’m now in Season 7, Episode 20 and no spoilers please. I mean, I know what happens but I don’t know what happens because I haven’t seen it yet. Once I’m done with Buffy (dreading the day), I’m going to launch an Angel marathon, just to make sure I missed nothing.

The show blows me away. It was so ahead of its time, cutting edge and progressive. We probably all witnessed the 2013 asinine fuss over a mixed race couple in a Cheerios commercial. Yet, there was Buffy, not only doing mixed race couples, but gay couples, and stamping right over gender stereotypes. Buffy is a hero to modern women, a woman large and in charge and making no apology for it. Although, I have to say Season 6 was not a Buffy high point for me.

Relationships are messy, not just romantic ones, but friendships, siblings, parents—they’re filled with complications, and the show spares the characters none of that.




And don’t get me started on Spike. Okay, I started on Spike without you. Other than the bad boy, sinfully sexy, tortured soul thing he has going on—what a character! Think back to the first time we met Spike,in Season 2 “School Hard”. Rolling into town with his Nutso girlfriend, he almost pulls off the impossible and ends Buffy right there. And who can forget the incredibly tense pairing of Spike and a soulless Angel.

“We like to talk big, vampires do. I’m going to destroy the world. That’s just tough guy talk. Strutting around with your friends over a pint of blood. The truth is, I like this world. You’ve got – the dog racingManchester United, and you’ve got people: billions of people walking around like Happy Meals with legs. It’s all right here. But then someone comes along with a vision, with a real passion for destruction. Angel could pull it off. Goodbye Piccadilly, farewell Leicester bloody Square.” – Spike (“Becoming, Part Two“).

Joss Whedon calls him the most “fully developed” character on the show. And he wasn’t meant to be. As James Marsters (the actor who plays Spike puts it.)”Spike was supposed to be dirty and evil, punk rock, and then dead.”

The character takes a full ARC,  hitting all the points of the Hero’s Journey along the way. My theory is this is why we love him so much. And even if you’re firmly on Team Angel, you have to admit what a compelling character Spike is. 2000px-Heroesjourney.svg


As a writer, watching the show and particularly Spike is a challenge. How to write fully rounded characters with such a wonderful development path. And great lines,

I will know your blood, Slayer. I will make your neck my chalice… and drink deep. [turns around and falls into an open grave] Ow!


And I’ll stop there, with the most important question of all—Team Spike or Team Angel? I think you know which way I’m leaning.





The birth of summer TV.

The birth of summer TV.

by Xio Axelrod

When I was a kid, summertime television was, well, dire. Networks didn’t bother with new content because summer was vacation season. And no one wanted to spend the warm weather indoors, glued to a TV screen. We wanted to go to the beach!

Mr. Robot on USA (yes, that is Christian Slater!)

[Read more…]