Most Promising TV Shows Set to Premiere This Fall

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Photo courtesy of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on Facebook.

Photo courtesy of ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ on Facebook.

The spring upfronts season is one of the most exciting times of the year for those of us who have a near-unhealthy addiction to television. If you’re like me, you’ve probably been Googling obsessively for any and all information leaked prior to the networks’ set upfront schedules. Though some pilot pickups were released early, by the end of last week the new crop of shows had been officially announced. The networks also unveiled trailers to go along with many of the new shows. In addition to writing this blog, I also write television reviews for TV and Film Review and my fellow reviewers help keep me informed on a lot of TV news. One of the team, Liam Kearney, even kept up with all the information released from the networks during this upfront season and compiled it into a comprehensive list of the 2013-2014 pilot pickups with synopses and trailers (when available.)

Now that I’ve gone through and read all the show descriptions and watched all the trailers,  I’ve made some definite decisions about next season. I was very underwhelmed by NBC’s pickups, although that doesn’t surprise me because I don’t watch very many of their current shows. It also seemed like a lot of sitcoms were picked up for next year and they really aren’t my cup of tea; give me a half-decent drama over a relatively good sitcom any day. As I mentioned in my final From Print to Screen post, I was hoping Fox would pick up Delirium and The CW would pick up The Selection, however that didn’t happen. Although I’m disappointed, I think both networks made some good choices with their fall lineups. Overall, it seems like a mixed bag of sure-shots, hit-or-misses, and imminent-cancellations across all the networks. So here are my top choices for the best of the 2013-2014 crop of pickups.

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So We Put Our Hands Up to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis with Timeflies

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Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, along with Timeflies, played Fisher Field at Lafayette College on May 11.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, along with Timeflies, played Fisher Field at Lafayette College on May 11.

Cash? Check. ID in order to pick up ticket at will call? Check. Phone tucked securely into my pocket? Check. Knowledge of all the lyrics to “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us”? Check.

Going into Lafayette College’s Fisher Field, I was prepared to have a great time at the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis concert. It took a while before my friend and I found parking–after driving around Easton, PA for 20 minutes avoiding the drunken college students and willing one of the patrons at Wawa to move their car to give us an easy spot. We eventually found parking outside of a church a few blocks from the field. By the time we got to the entrance to the field, it was raining heavily, but we were happy because we had come prepared with rain gear. Thankfully, I was not the only one in a poncho–I even befriended some nice girls from Albany, NY who were all sporting their own ponchos. (No matter what anyone says, there is absolutely no way to make a poncho look flattering; you just have to grin, bear it, and get over it.)

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Jay-Z and Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Gatsby’ Soundtrack is Superb, Old Sport

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(Photo courtesy of Water Tower Music/Interscope.)

Photo courtesy of Water Tower Music/Interscope.

Gatsby. The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald is one of those books that most people can’t escape high school without reading. Furthermore, Jay Gatsby is a character that many people can’t help but love, if only from a literature standpoint. Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of the novel about love and opulence in 1920’s New York hit theaters this weekend and has gotten mixed reviews. Though I loved it–the dialogue was taken directly from the book, the lighting and set design were beautiful, the clothes were amazing, the casting was almost entirely perfect (Leo was flawless)–some people weren’t happy with Luhrmann’s interpretation of Fitzgerald’s classic. Everyone is, of course, entitled to their own opinion, and I suppose I could see how The Great Gatsby might not be someone’s cup of tea. But there is one aspect to the movie that I don’t think should be argued and that is the soundtrack.

It’s become expected that a movie by Baz Luhrmann will include a unique soundtrack comprised of modern music with a classic twist. Music From Baz Luhrmann’s Film: The Great Gatsby is no exception. With Jay-Z as an executive producer on the movie and soundtrack, it’s not surprising that the soundtrack is great. He worked with Luhrmann for two years on this soundtrack, and their efforts certainly made for a memorable album. Many different artists are featured on the album, including Jay-Z himself, and most of the songs have a 20s-era jazz feel to them. While songs like “100$ Bill” incorporate sound bites from the characters in the movie, the deluxe soundtrack includes full tracks of dialogue such as Nick Carraway’s ending monologue: “Gatsby Believed in the Green Light.” Before The Great Gatsby hit theaters, the soundtrack was available to stream online through Spotify or NPR, but many songs have been taken down since the movie’s premiere. Still, the soundtrack is fantastic and I decided to pay it some tribute by listing my favorite songs. It was hard enough to narrow the list down to seven and it was impossible to pick a favorite so these songs are in order of the soundtrack.

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From Print to Screen: Moving On To Upcoming Book Adaptations

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'Ender's Game' hits theaters this fall. (Photo courtesy of Summit Entertainment.)

‘Ender’s Game’ hits theaters this fall. (Photo courtesy of Summit Entertainment.)

Discovering—well, getting used to—ebooks has been one of the single biggest disasters to productivity in my life (only beaten out by Tumblr.) It’s just so easy to grab my phone and read a chapter or two or five, which has led me to check off more books on my to-read list than usual. In the past few weeks while I’ve been researching movie/tv adaptations of books, I added a lot of novels to my list of must-reads. With the convenience of ebooks I was able to read a couple books whose adaptations will be coming out this year or in the next few years. So this list ended up being longer than I originally planned, but that can’t be helped since there are so many upcoming movie and television versions of good books.

This Friday, one of the biggest book-to-film adaptations of the year will hit theaters: Baz Luhrmann’s, The Great Gatsby. I have to admit I haven’t read Gatsby since sophomore year of high school, but I’m rereading the book in preparation of seeing the movie this weekend. Given my limited ability to comment on the book, it hasn’t officially made the list because I am again restricting myself to books I’ve read, or at least read recently enough that I can remember major plot points. Unfortunately, that means the adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game is out (though I’m trying to get to it before the movie premieres later this year.) There is still a rather large pool of possibilities, which I’ve narrowed down as best I could. Here are my top six book-to-screen adaptations that I absolutely cannot wait to see.

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