TV HACK | Streaming Television Under Review TV HACK reviews television streaming on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon and provides up-to-date news on all things digital TV. 2017-01-22T04:28:22Z editor <![CDATA[VEEP]]> 2017-01-22T04:28:22Z 2017-01-22T04:09:29Z VEEP

by Gemma King |

For a genre that involves a lot of paper pushing, speech giving and discussion of minutiae, political dramas and comedies are surprisingly beloved. Despite the lack of ostensible action, onscreen violence or laugh-out-loud comedic turns, politics is a topic that has long graced our screens, and based on HBO’s Veep, the genre doesn’t appear to be going anywhere soon.

Shows like The West Wing, which explore life and work inside the White House, are revered as some of the finest drama television has to offer. Pop culture productions like Scandal, which began with a unique premise and a great star but quickly veered into melodrama, offer up a more glamorous portrayal of presidential life. Even renowned procedurals like The Wire, which are mostly interested in the crime world and the underbelly of contemporary society, are fascinated by the world of political office, and the pandering, dishonesty and bargaining that seem to be part and parcel of how our laws get made and our representatives get into power.

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But perhaps the most inspired, unusual and refreshing political series to have appeared on television is HBO’s Veep, which began in 2012 and wrapped up its fifth season in 2016.

Starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer, the United States Vice President hoping to become the first woman to make it to the top job, Veep also features Anna Chlumsky as her uptight but painfully competent Chief of Staff, Tony Hale as her lapdog assistant, Sarah Sutherland as her shrinking violet daughter and Matt Walsh, Hugh Laurie, Timothy Simons, Reid Scott, Sufe Bradshaw, Gary Cole, Kevin Dunn and Sam Richardson as her team.

Though Veep deals with powerful figures, sensitive current affairs and high-stakes issues, from reproductive rights to sexual harassment to equal opportunity and beyond, its brilliance lies in its ability to depict the world’s most coveted office as the site of both banality and bedlam. Meyer’s campaign is ever on the brink of meltdown, and she and her team always seem moments away from a full-scale catastrophe.

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Though Dreyfus may be best known for her iconic portrayal of Elaine Benes on Seinfeld, Meyer is by far her most complex, accomplished and entertaining performance.

Meyer oscillates between lofty idealism and frustrated egoism; she clearly wants to make the world a better place, but she is even more passionate about being in power. Those who get stressed out by situational comedies that verge on slapstick may withdraw from some episodes. There are a few too many cases in which Selina must manage her personal appearance and political duties at once (from concealing her eye lift procedure in the wake of an international crisis to cringing through a pair of squeaking high heels during the televised walk to her inauguration podium).

But Veep’s shortcomings are redeemed by its script, in which the most filthy and creative insults are delivered by almost every character on a constant basis, with the deadpan aplomb of a perfectly-selected cast. All in all, Veep is a fresh, clever and thoroughly amusing comedy that portrays the madness of political office and the prevalence of sexism in contemporary society with a light hand – and a dirty mouth.

Veep is currently screening on Amazon.


editor <![CDATA[BETTER CALL SAUL]]> 2016-10-24T02:05:41Z 2016-07-01T03:38:34Z BETTER CALL SAUL

You may be familiar with the character name Saul Goodman, the resourceful lawyer for Walter White from Breaking Bad? With this comedic serial, Better Call Saul, streaming now on Netflix, you will get to know him a little bit better. Saul Goodman first went by the name Jimmy McGill and this original series showcases his life six years prior to ever meeting Walter White.

We get time-warped back into Saul’s younger years, watching television ads that were made when he was a struggling defense attorney and better known by his birth name Jimmy. Jimmy arrives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to look after his brother Chuck, who has gone through some serious traumatic distress. In Albuquerque, Jimmy McGill is a simple small town lawyer, mainly working with civil liberty claims and small time criminals.

The first season is filled with flashbacks of Jimmy’s brother bailing him out of jail and later, Jimmy taking care of his brother. We see him attempt to scam a couple accused of embezzling 1.6 million dollars by staging a skateboard accident. When the con artist hired to pull off the scam targets the wrong car and ends up being kidnapped by a notorious gangster by the name of Tuco Salamanca, Jimmy finds himself at the wrong end of Tuco’s gun. Jimmy somehow is able to talk his way out of being killed and persuades Tuco to spare the skateboarders’ lives as well at the cost of having their legs broken instead.


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Better Call Saul


One thing that has not changed through his years: Jimmy is always trying to scam his way for the things he wants, and this often leads him into precarious situations.

As the antics continue, Jimmy is constantly stuck trying to reach a respectable lawyer status. He mostly assists with wills and small legal matters, but stumbles across a claim that one of his clients is being overcharged. He gathers enough evidence to back the claim by piecing together the shredded paperwork he retrieved from a dumpster. Anxious to present the evidence, Chuck knows they can win the case against the nursing home. But instead of Jimmy being hired to represent the case, another lawyer is hired. Jimmy is, of course, outraged once again for being overlooked and discovers that his brother is the cause.

The series sets the stage for how the small town lawyer Jimmy McGill merges into the more abrasive lawyer Saul Goodman portrayed in Breaking Bad. Those who are fans of the Breaking Bad series will love this prequel.


editor <![CDATA[BATES MOTEL]]> 2016-10-24T02:05:58Z 2016-06-15T06:11:10Z BATES MOTEL

Where Do Serial Killers Come from? Small, quiet towns. Or, so Bates Motel would have us believe…

If you’ve ever watched Hitchcock’s thriller Psycho, you may have wondered what kind of atmosphere breeds a serial killer. What kind of friends did they have as a child? What was their family like? Were they loved? Well, the Bates Motel series can answer a number of those questions for you. Inspired by Psycho’s central character, this dramatic series gives you a closer look at what the teenage years were like for Norman Bates and how they forged the way to his knife-happy ways in adulthood.

Bates Motel opens with Norman Bates and his mother Norma Bates purchasing a charming hotel in White Pine Bay. The move is a chance for the duo to start afresh after the unfortunate death of Norma’s husband. At first, we see Norman as a simple teenage boy, with nothing unusual or out of the ordinary about his behavior. But as the show progresses, his mental stability unravels. Once we understand how uncomfortably close Norman and his mother are, a general sense of dis-ease really begins to set the tone for the entire series.

At first, Norman is not as enthusiastic about the move to new digs as his mom but he becomes more accepting of the transition as he makes friends. While many of the locals tend to be warm and welcoming, the mother and son pair encounter a few who are less-than-pleased that these outsiders have purchased the old motel. In the pilot we see a grisly encounter between Norma and the former owner of the property which results in a mysterious disappearance.

The first season focuses on Norma and Norman trying to keep the attention off of themselves as the police and sheriff dig around the motel in search of the missing previous owner.

But this is not the only disconcerting occurrence; one of Norman’s teachers also turns up dead. More twists come to light over the course of the season as Norma struggles to keep the motel running by nearly any means necessary.

By the third season, we see the drastic shift in Norman’s psyche and the extremes his mother goes to, in order to protect him. But as time passes, Norma finds herself more fearful of her own son and desperate to get him the help he needs. Her terror at what he’s become is what inevitably breaks the strong bond we saw at the beginning of the series. At a certain point the trust they once had for one another seems shattered. Norman tries to keep his grips on reality but this becomes a complex, if not impossible feat for the young man.

If you are looking for an intense dramatic thriller with literary emplotment and addictive characters, then Bates Motel is definitely worth catching up on.


editor <![CDATA[HANNIBAL]]> 2016-10-19T21:05:00Z 2016-05-28T06:34:10Z HANNIBAL

If you love horror and suspense films, you have probably seen Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs as Hannibal Lecter, one of the most chilling portrayals of a serial killers in cinema. In early 2013, NBC set to bring back Hannibal Lecter in one of the most suspenseful and gruesome TV series they have ever hosted, starring Mads Mikkelsen as the killer.

While there were only three seasons made and the series felt the executives axe before the show could introduce the iconic Clarice, the show is still more than worth a watch – if you can stomach it.

The thing that makes the Hannibal television show so beautiful is the cinematography paired with classical music or screeching violins. While not always suspenseful, the times you will find yourself on the edge of your seat will make your palms sweaty and your mind race with the possibilities of what is to come next.

Mads Mikkelsen shines as psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter, and Hugh Dancy takes on the role of Will Graham, a far cry from his usual stints as a Broadway actor. Dancy however, plays well off of the magnetism that is Mikkelsen and the two are engaging and thrilling on screen. You never quite know what the two will get up to, or the danger they will encounter next.



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The third season of the show sees the adaptation of the novel Red Dragon, where Richard Armitage appears as the chilling killer Francis Dolarhyde. Gillian Anderson also makes a reoccurring appearance throughout the seasons as Hannibal Lecter’s psychotherapist.

With a stacked cast, the show rarely disappoints, but it isn’t for the faint of heart. Gruesome scenes were often reported as being ‘too much’ for evening television and even some horror buffs found their stomachs turning.

If you can manage it though, you can binge watch the entire series on Netflix and you will want to watch one after another because the story is so captivating. Despite the series being cut short, the ending of the third season will answer all your questions and will only leave you craving more of the story that is Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter.



editor <![CDATA[CHELSEA]]> 2016-10-24T02:06:20Z 2016-05-12T03:55:04Z CHELSEA

This going global thing has Netflix, and Chelsea Handler as its new host-face, acting a bit awkward.  Then again, that’s a schtick, right?

Rolling out new episodes of this late night style talk show three times a week to subscribers from nearly 200 countries, Netflix is clearly experimenting with the charm of liveness.  That is, liveness without the, uh, literally airing live part.  As comedienne Handler herself puts it: “I’m a late night television host that doesn’t want to be tied down by time or television or even hosting.”

In its debut episode, Chelsea shares that rambling, spontaneously funny, but also spontaneously boring element that plagues the talk show genre when the dough hasn’t quite risen, but everyone’s frankly too hungry to care.  A piano bar intro with a cute Brit, dimmed nightclub lighting, and the requisite shiny show host desk cue us to the fact that the new Netflix series puts on late night’s swanky trimmings and tips its hat to Leno as much as Conan, if a bit less sarcastically than it lets on.

A few props, however, already feel relatively signature: 1) Handler’s dog wandering around the studio as if on a lazy mom-brought-me-to-work-day tour, 2) her mix of world-weary delivery and feisty sincerity, and most importantly 3) her adorable Pat Benatar t-shirt.


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Now that her name’s in a gigantic cursive font, Chelsea looks tickled as she coos “Hello World,” and not just because of all that rose guest star Drew Barrymore brought to drink.

The show delivers a collection of random guests and odd bits in search of a theme, which it loosely finds in the trope of “edumacate me” and the joke of Netflix University.  Handler’s first guest is none other than the Secretary of Education, who tests and fails her on the names of the continents.  Then rapper Pitbull makes poor grammar sound sexy, sort of, as he genuflects on the scholarly value of his slam academy.

Chelsea tells us to “forget calculus,” and after a quick send up of Netflix’s algorithms that taunts “you’re so f**ing boring, you don’t know what should be your favorite show!” Drew brings it home by reminding us she learned everything she needed to know on a movie set. Pitbull’s “hands-on” knowhow gets a little handsy, and in a final moment, Chelsea tells what seems like the show’s first joke: “I want to thank Pitbull for not humping my leg.”


editor <![CDATA[NETFLIX TV 2016 | APRIL]]> 2016-10-24T02:06:46Z 2016-05-09T19:34:14Z NETFLIX TV 2016 | APRIL

by Ali Burden |

April 2016 brings Spring Flowers, of course, and new Netflix TV releases to binge with.


Anthony Bourdain, Parts Unknown Season 5

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Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown

Loud and proud foodie, chef and travel maniac Anthony Bourdain continues his round-the-world romp. Enjoy places like Budapest, Korea, Miami and much much more in season five.

Beat Bobby Flay Season 1

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Beat Bobby Flay

Two aspiring chefs battle it out to go head to head with the superchef himself Bobby Flay. Watch the master take on the apprentices—small-time chefs Steven McHugh, Brian Young, Matthew Raiford and many more have one chance to win. Who can Beat Bobby Flay?

Bob’s Burgers Season 5

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Bob’s Burgers

This animated series follows a burger restaurateur and his quirky little family. Bob still tries to keep his restaurant afloat despite the growing mountain of roadblocks. Grab a snack and enjoy watching Bob and Ted become workout buddies, Tina and Darryl team up to secure a dance competition and a hellish Belcher vacation!

Cutthroat Kitchen, Seasons 3-4

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Cutthroat Kitchen

Cooking just got a little more cutthroat—this thrilling competition, hosted by the illustrious and amazing Alton Brown, requires not only culinary skill but a ruthless willingness to sabotage their opponents. With twenty-five thousand dollars on the line and only one winner, chefs have to use all their wits to come out on top. Dishes like breakfast burritos, cheesecake corn chowder and gyros will keep your mouth watering!

Fixer Upper, Season 2

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Fixer Upper

Chip and Joanna Gains own a design business—the show follows the couple as they turn run-down houses into show-stopping palaces. Season two includes a beautiful ranch renovation, a vintage house with huge potential and a Waco waterfront property that’ll make you say “Wow!”

Giada at Home, Season 7

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Giada at Home

Giada De Laurentiis is back once again, this time with a twist. Deviating from “the norm”, Giada shows her love of cooking and entertaining, making even the most lavish dishes possible for the most inexperienced home cooks. From kids in the kitchen to holiday recipes and Halloween goodies, Giada’s got your covered.

The Great Food Truck Race, Seasons 1-2

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The Great Food Truck Race

Food Network personality Tyler Florence hosts this brand new exciting cross-country race. Seven specialty food trucks manned by three devoted cooks each battle it out for a grand prize of fifty-thousand dollars. Travel with your favorite team through Santa Fe, The Big Easy, New York, Miami, all ending in various cities around the nation!

House Hunters Collection 3

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House Hunters

The home-buying process has never been more fun or engaging! Each episode follows a prospective buyer and agent who walks them through the process from start to finish, landing them in a home they adore!

Kid’s Baking Championship, Season 1

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Kids Baking Championship

Cooking competitions have never been cuter—young future chefs square off for a panel of judges. This lighthearted series is a fun kid-friendly and creative twist on cook-offs! Young bakers Hollis, Annika, Cody and Jackson fight for the grand prize: $10,000, a full baker’s kitchen, an article written about them and Charm City Cakes professionally making their creation!

Love It or List It Too, Season 4

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Love it or List it Too

The wildly popular “Love it or List It” moves to Vancouver to follow families who are struggling with homes that just don’t quite fit. Interior design guru Jillian Harris and real estate agent Todd Talbot helps families make the choice—love it, or list it?

Property Brothers at Home, Season 1

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Property Brothers at Home

Jonathan and Drew Scott, the beloved Property Brothers are taking on their biggest remodel yet. Will they be able to finish revamping their Las Vegas home in time for the Scott family reunion?

The Ranch, Part 1

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The Ranch

Ashton Kutcher, Danny Masterson and Sam Elliott star in this brand new Netflix TV series! Follow the story of a former semi-pro football player goes back to his roots to help run the family ranch. Colt (Kutcher) runs into exes, discovers he’s not all what he thinks he is, goes head to head with his brother and surprises around every bend as he tries to assimilate to ranch life.


Girl Meets World, Season 2

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Girl Meets World

Viewers who loved Cory and Topanga will now love the couple’s adorable and sassy daughter, Riley as she navigates her tweens. A new student, a lie, boy troubles and a trip to Texas highlight season 2.



TURN: Washington Spies, Season 2

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Turn Washington’s Spies

Covert operations, double agents and beyond-the-battlefront conflict. This Revolutionary War drama takes you deep inside the capture of a main character, the plans to free him, and the saga of a traitorous figure.


Cuckoo, Season 3

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A charming British sitcom about a girl named Rachel, who brings her new boyfriend home to the chagrin of her parents. A whole new slew of twists and turns makes this latest episode a fan favorite: Dale returns from China, Lorna’s baby is late, Dylan gets dumped and much, much more.


The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Season 2

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Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

After fifteen years in an underground bunker with a cult, Kimmy has rejoined society and is making a life in New York. Now she’s back with an all new Netflix TV season, but with all the same lovable characters—fans have been eagerly awaiting this spunky redhead’s return! Not much is known about the plot at this time except the introduction of Kimmy’s estranged mother, there will be a slew of brand new love interest and celebrity cameos, and (according to insiders) one supporting character will not be returning.


How To Get Away With Murder Season 2

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How To Get Away With Murder

Viola Davis, a brilliant professor of defense law, selects her best and brightest students to assist her with cases. This gripping drama, as well as Davis’ incredible acting ability, keeps viewers entranced start to finish: season two introduces higher stakes, suicides, a murdered teen and lots of contention in the ranks.


Lost Girl, Season 5:

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Lost Girl

The most recent chapter of Bo’s story—she’s a girl on the run who can feed on the sexual energy of humans while being not-quite-human herself. This season is a wild and action-packed ride—Bo descends to Valhalla to rescue Kenzi, a storm with a vengeance rocks the gang, Lauren must deliver terrible news and and Tasmin is forced to face her past.

The Messengers, Season 1:

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The Messengers

An object crashed to earth in a blinding flash of light and knocks scientist Vera Ivanov out cold. When she awakes, she discovers her fate mysteriously connected to four other strangers. An unlikely gang (a scientist, a mother, a high school student and more), they come to with brand new unexplained powers.


The Fosters, Season 3

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Stef and Lena have a happily little family with three beautiful children. Then Callie comes along—from years of bouncing around in the foster care system, Callie is sardonic and hardened, throwing a wrench into the happy home. Devoted fans love season three: Jesus heads to boarding school, the Fosters deal with the aftermath of a car accident, Callie drags Brandon to Mexico and and Callie’s adoption becomes difficult.


Danger Mouse Season 1

Danger Mouse

Danger Mouse

This animated show, airing for the first time in 1981 hits Netflix! Danger Mouse and his sidekick Penfold fly around the world doing battle with their evil nemeses. From a mechanical Loch Ness Monster to saving 20,000 African elephants, the whimsical adventures of Danger Mouse will take you straight back to your youth!


Sensitive Skin Season 2

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Sensitive Skin

Netflix TV in April rounds out with Sensitive Skin—the middle-age blues strike married couple Davina and Al pretty hard, and both realize they need to revamp their lives. While the plot for season two has been kept under strict lock-and-key, fans are hopeful that the cliffhangers regarding Al’s job and more will be resolved!



by Ali Burden |

Everybody has to grow up sometime, but with Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends, you can wait just a little bit longer. Now all six seasons are available on Hulu for your nostalgic viewing pleasure.

What is Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends? If you grew up in the 2000’s, you know that this quirky, one-of-a-kind animated children’s show is a masterfully crafted ride through the halls of a home specifically for imaginary friends whose creators grew up. If you didn’t, its lighthearted wit and humor will still crack you up, even eight years after the final episode aired. This show was a true innovation, not just in writing, but in art style and creative workings.

The story focuses around a young boy named Mac (voiced by Sean Marquette)—who finds himself in the predicament of having to give up his imaginary friend, Bloo (Keith Ferguson), but also being not quite ready to do so. Mac takes Bloo to Foster’s—a mansion jam-packed full of creatures big and small, run by a tiny old lady, her fiery redheaded granddaughter Frankie (the talented Grey DeLisle) and a human-sized, well-dressed rabbit named Mr. Herriman. Here he strikes up a deal with Madame Foster—as long as Mac comes to visit Bloo every single day, his beloved blue partner-in-crime would not be put up for adoption like the other friends.

And chaos ensues—Mac keeps his promise, returning every day, and every day leads to a new story. One might expect that with a plotline like this, comes the opportunity to introduce an endless variety of wild new characters…and writers do. There’s often no telling what interesting and creative creatures will find their way on screen!

Along with Mr. Herriman comes a cast of endearing new friends at Foster’s—Wilt (Phil LaMarr), CoCo and Eduardo (famed SpongeBob Squarepants actor Tom Kenny) round out the core cast of characters who wind up in all sorts of insane situations that could only come with taking care of hundreds of imaginary friends!


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Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends

From the ridiculous hijinks to the warm, fuzzy moments between best friends, you’ll love the twists and turns that are day-to-day life at Foster’s.

Unsurprisingly, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends raked in six Primetime Emmys over the years, for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation—which sounds prestigious because it most definitely is.

Creator Craig McCracken is a well-known name in the animated television world—avid cartoon watchers will likely recognize his name as the creator of the wildly popular Powerpuff Girls; he also has been involved in the production of Dexter’s Laboratory and Chowder, as well as countless others. If that’s not a man with a cartoon pedigree, we don’t know what is.

Overall, Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends continues to deliver excellence in story and smiles to the faces of its viewers. If you’re watching just to re-live those Saturday mornings spent on the couch with a bowl of cereal, or passing this remarkable and irreplaceable show onto a younger generation, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends continues to delight at every turn. It’s perfect to watch with your kids, or perhaps “just for old time’s sake.”


editor <![CDATA[BOB’S BURGERS]]> 2016-10-24T02:07:09Z 2016-05-04T20:28:34Z BOB’S BURGERS

by Gemma King |

Of the numerous cartoon series to dominate our screens over the last couple of decades, most have several elements in common. From The Simpsons to Daria to Family Guy to lesser imitations like American Dad and King of the Hill, all feature normal-yet-dysfunctional American families, whose antics reveal the humor and irony of everyday experience.

These families are mostly middle-class, mostly white (though the Family Guy spinoff The Cleveland Show is an exception), mostly all straight and mostly suburban. The best of these cartoons are apt at parody, and can even use satire to expose and critique issues rampant in consumerist society. The two most popular of such shows, The Simpsons and Family Guy, seem to have the recipe for a long-running, broad-audience cartoon down to a fine art: an overweight working dad, a smart yet underappreciated mom, a less-than-brilliant delinquent son, an intelligent nerdy daughter and a baby everyone underestimates. Throw in a dog (talking or otherwise) and you have the template for the American cartoon family.

At first glance, it seems understandable that many would lump Fox’s Bob’s Burgers in with the rest of these shows. The cast of Bob’s is indeed white and middle-class (though closer to working-class than most), American, rather rotund and composed of a straight married couple with three children. The show is skilled at pulling off parodies of unexpected source texts like Stand By Me, Jaws, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Goonies and Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.


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Bob’s Burgers


The episodes explore the mundane humor of the everyday, and at the end of each episode, the characters return to their lives of school and work. Yet despite these similarities, Bob’s Burgers is unique for its sweetness.

Bob and Linda Belcher run a struggling eponymous burger restaurant in the seaside town of Wagstaff, a fictional place reminiscent of Coney Island. They live directly above the shop with their three children; 13-year-old Tina, 11-year-old Gene and 9-year-old Louise, who are also their unofficial and only employees. Though most episodes begin with a standard day at the restaurant or in the halls of Wagstaff Elementary, they soon turn charmingly hilarious. This is usually when Bob seizes on a plan to boost the restaurant’s popularity, Linda seeks out an opportunity to practice her less-than-spectacular song and dance skills, Tina finds a new way to embarrass herself in the pursuit of seeing boys’ butts, Gene takes on a new keyboard or fart-related project, or Louise hatches an evil plan to take over the world.

Unlike Daria, Bob’s Burgers is lacking in cynicism, its only adolescent character a naïve optimist. Unlike The Simpsons and Family Guy, Bob and Linda have a far more equal partnership and a sincere appreciation for one another’s work. Unlike Homer, Bob adores his children and unlike American Dad, the show does not feel derivative at all.

Bob’s Burgers gets away with more Gene-centered toilet humor than it should, and Tina’s obsession with rear ends is a joke that should have grown old by now. Yet Bob’s is consistently funny, original and endearing. Far more than any other family animation on our screens, Bob’s Burgers is amusing, unusual and full of heart.

Watch episodes of Bob’s Burgers currently screening on Netflix.

Read more by Gemma King at:


editor <![CDATA[BREAKING BAD]]> 2016-10-24T02:07:23Z 2016-05-02T06:30:13Z BREAKING BAD

by Ali Burden |

Bryan Cranston, though widely known for his role as the lovable, bumbling father of Malcolm in the Middle, truly comes to life in Breaking Bad. His amazing talent is perfectly showcased in this well-written and deeply engaging drama, which aired for the first time back in January of 2008.

Cranston returns to the small screen as Walter White—an easygoing and overall good-natured high school chemistry teacher with a lot on his plate. A pregnant wife at home (Anna Gunn), a teenage son with cerebral palsy (RJ Mitte) and a too-small paycheck top the ever-growing list of Walt’s worries. To top it all off, he receives a truly devastating diagnosis—terminal lung cancer. Doctors estimate he’s only got months to live.

Thanks to his DEA agent brother-in-law, Hank (Dean Norris), Walt discovers that there’s real money in a world that he never would’ve touched as a straight-laced schoolteacher.

The manufacture and sale of meth.

Knowing he’s running out of time, and his current financial situation being bleak, Walt figures he has to make as much money as possible in the time he has left. While Walter was once a part of an upstart company called Gray Matter Technologies with his friend Elliot and then-girlfriend Gretchen, Walter left, selling his share for five-thousand dollars. Since then, Gray Matter grew, and as of the start of the show, has a net worth of over two billion dollars.

But Walter missed out on the fortune—leaving him no other way but the manufacture of meth to ensure his family’s financial security long after he’s gone. Of course, being who he is, Walter knows nothing of the drug trade… but he knows someone who does. A former student and major slacker by the name of Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul).


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Breaking Bad


Together, they secure an RV and head to the middle of the vast New Mexico desert to work their magic. With Walter’s chemistry background, and his almost madman-level commitment to excellence, they’re able to produce meth of unequaled purity. Before long, Walter devises an alternative process using methylamine—which yields unique blue meth, referred to by dealers and users alike as Blue Sky.

And it absolutely dominates the market.

But with great power—and great meth—comes great complications.

Walter and Jesse are pulled further and further into what was supposed to be a simple, easy-money gig becomes a tangled web of lies, deceit, murder, sleazy lawyers, violence, romance and of course, piles and piles of cash. Walter adopts his pseudonym “Heisenberg”, after German theoretical physicist Werner Heisenberg, as well as a signature look to package himself as the drug kingpin he’s supposed to be…and eventually becomes.

Creator Vince Gilligan has an unforgettable masterpiece on his hands. Absolutely brilliant writing keeps viewers binging, but the true magic is in the performances of these talented actors. While they’re sure to drive you absolutely crazy, you’ll fall in love with Jesse and Walt. Each supporting piece falls perfectly into place next to the last—Skylar’s invasive behavior (which drives most viewers to eventually despise her!), Hank’s overbearing “manly man” persona, his wife Marie’s (Betsy Brandt) arguable instability and kleptomaniac tendencies, and Walter Junior’s innocence dissipating as he navigates the difficult teenage years. All work in perfect organized chaos to deliver episode after heart-stopping, gut-wrenching episode.


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Breaking Bad

For his performance in Breaking Bad, Cranston received four Primetime Emmys for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama—three of them being consecutive. During his plunge from mild-mannered teacher to merciless, ruthless kingpin, you’ll love him every step of the way.

Jesse is another story altogether.

Aaron Paul’s performance as the impulsive and emotional Jesse Pinkman is nothing short of masterful, and is a sharp parallel to Walter’s logical nature. While Walter has a clear mission in mind, Jesse gives the impression of being just a guy trying to make it through life. Because of his passionate personality, Jesse tends to feel things far deeper than Walt—especially loss. Through the course of the show, Jesse experiences death at many turns—including his paramour, Jane—and is normally deeply shaken by them.

Even though Walter treats Jesse like an idiot, with constant correction, criticism and berating, he and Walt share a deep loyalty to one another. Walt puts it all on the line to protect Jesse more than once, and seems to align him in importance with his own family.

Right around the time Walt’s daughter, Holly, is born, his marriage to Skylar begins coming apart at the seams. He has no choice but to come clean after many months of suspicion on her end, and she kicks him out, requesting a divorce. Walter finally cedes, signing the papers for her as to give her what she wants. Meanwhile, Skylar finds romance in the arms of her new boss, and Walt fights for time with his son and daughter, just like any devoted father would.

In a terrifying twist of events, Hank is attacked in a parking lot, and mortally wounded in season three—and always-meddling Skylar volunteers Walt to pay for his medical treatment. Walt reluctantly agrees, and Skylar begins a web of her own, weaving elaborate stories and desperately searching for a way to clean all of Walt’s drug money.

As would be expected from these brilliant writers, events spiral out of control in an artful and perfectly chaotic way. Fans have gone absolutely crazy for Breaking Bad—while it ended in 2015, you can find it right now on Netflix and enjoy it over and over and over again…and we definitely recommend you do! However you may want to wait until after you put the kids to bed—while Breaking Bad is a no-holds-barred thrill that will keep you wishing there were more than five seasons, it’s definitely not for everyone!

(Note: Devoted fans can also go on to enjoy Better Call Saul—a spinoff series following Saul Goodman, a full six years before he begins representing Albuquerque’s most infamous kingpin, the one and only Walter White.)


editor <![CDATA[WHAT HAPPENED, MISS SIMONE]]> 2016-10-24T02:07:42Z 2016-05-01T02:32:34Z WHAT HAPPENED, MISS SIMONE

This Netflix original documentary opens with a poignant quote by the late great Maya Angelou. It reads:

Miss Simone, you are idolized,
even loved, by millions now.
But what happened, Miss Simone?

This quote says it all and sets the tone for perhaps one of the most revealing documentaries to date of a celebrity’s life and times. Whether you are a fan or someone who knew absolutely nothing about Nina Simone, one cannot help but to be pulled into the Nina Simone experience. With clips of her music scattered throughout the documentary like a soundtrack, her daughter opens an invisible diary but wide open glimpse into her mother’s life.

This woman who was a singer, songwriter, pianist and civil rights activist tells her own story with her own voice and by way of her own words, revealing the fateful journey her life took from the time she was a child learning to play the piano at a time when it was uncommon for an African American child to be classically trained to the path she took to strike out on her own to become one of the world’s best known performers.


What Happened, Miss Simone Streaming Television Review TV HACK Netflix

What Happened, Miss Simone


Nina Simone’s life, while riddled with successful peaks in her career, the birth of her daughter and early financial success, the What Happened, Miss Simone documentary reveals that her life was also riddled with deep valleys as a result of a failed marriage, spousal abuse, financial devastation and a powerful bout of mental illness.

Her decision and willingness to step up and address the problems of the 1960’s through her music is inspiring and even more so at the thought that ultimately through her desire to convey a message, she might have done so at the peril of her own musical success. Nina, who initially was not one who had initially enjoyed work so much or so hard, found her passion in fighting for civil rights and what she deemed as political justice. Ultimately, as her daughter shared during the documentary, Nina was punished for her views and it would seem that things spiraled from there which had to be very difficult for her, someone who had previously experienced a great deal of success.

In addition, she eventually left the country in a quest for inner peace and ultimately, she separated herself from her husband and for a time from her daughter. Her temporary departure from the country, spotlight and family for a time enabled her to perhaps become the recluse she needed to be a for a time after having experienced the life she had lived.

The documentary concludes with us seeing what became of her in her brief return to the spotlight while in Europe, showing that while she had left the spotlight for a time, her fans never forgot her. She continued to tour for a number of years into the 1990’s, passing in 2003.

Fans and even non-fans should watch this well-made documentary as there is much to learn of What Happened to Miss Nina Simone.