underneath it all by kristen hoyt
priyanka chopra, quantico, alex parrish, resistance, abc

Quantico Ends Season 2 With A Fizzle Not A Bang

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ABC’s Quantico has always walked the fine line between good storytelling and the ridiculous.  Prior to its Season 2 spring debut in January 2017, the show was often unrealistic, but featured likable characters and interesting and informative plots.

Since the election and inauguration of President Donald J. Trump, however, the show’s writers seem to have developed the same hysteria as the rest of the mainstream, or should I say “lame-stream” media.

Season 2 started out okay in the fall, with Season 1 favorites Alex Parrish quantico, priyanka chopra, jake mclaughlin, abc(Priyanka Chopra), Shelby Wyatt (Johanna Braddy), and Ryan Booth (Jake McLaughlin) fighting a terrorist organization recruiting from within the CIA.  It was the spring start when things really began to get strange.  The second half of Season 2 features an off-the-books black ops organization, led by Clay Haas (Hunter Parrish) and comprised of Alex and her crew, that performs covert operations on U.S. soil, which is illegal.  The plotlines have deviated from stopping terrorist attacks and training at “the Farm” (the CIA training facility in Campy Peary, VA) to overtly political and ridiculous efforts to stop “radicals” within the U.S.

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elisabeth moss, offred, the handmaid's tale, hulu

The Handmaid’s Tale Highlights the Fragility of Freedom

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The Hulu original drama The Handmaid’s Tale, based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 best-seller, follows Offred (skillfully played by Elisabeth Moss), a twenty-something millennial wife and mother with a successful career. Offred is dismissed from her job, “freed” of her money and property, and ultimately enslaved as a handmaiden when a puritanical group overthrows the United States government.

The story takes place in Gilead, a dystopian America in which all forms of our Constitutional republic have been abolished in favor of strict adherence to Old Testament law.  The propaganda pedaled by the puritanical authority is that America had become so “sinful” – engaging in pollution, drugs, extramarital and homosexual sex, abortion, etc. – that God cursed most women with infertility, causing the slowing birth rate to grind to a near halt.  Therefore, any fertile women must be rounded up and used as breeding stock, or handmaidens (after the biblical story of Rachel and her handmaid, Bilhah), to provide wealthy powerful families with children.

The show portrays the fundamentalist ruling regime as right-wing, religious fanatics. The story is an example of what happens whenever any ideologically-driven group gains absolute power. 

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netflix, black mirror, the future is bright, nosedive

Black Mirror: A Glimpse Into A Future That Is Not So Bright

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Technology is everywhere.  It’s inescapable.  The ubiquitous beeping and chirping notifying us of a text message, another “like” on our latest Facebook post, or a new follower on Twitter or Instagram, interrupts conversations, sleep, and our deepest thoughts.  It seems we cannot go two minutes without interacting with some form of technology.  And we’ve blindly accepted this without a second thought.

In the midst of all the hoopla over the latest and greatest tech, one show stands out as a cautionary message, a sort of prescient glimpse into what a future powered by artificial intelligence and machines and ordered by social media would look like.  And the forecast is bleak.

The Netflix original drama Black Mirror is both captivating and chilling. It’s like a car wreck complete with flashing lights and sirens and disturbing gore, from which you can’t peel your eyes away.  Named for the powered-down screen on your phone, tablet, or computer, Black Mirror is utterly unique in several ways.  First, each episode stands alone with its own storyline and cast. And each episode is a dark, satirical examination of a world where our technological gadgets control us.

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loving movie, 2017 oscar nominations, ruth negga, joel edgerton, loving vs virginia, richard and mildred loving

Loving is a Tale of Faith, Hope & Human Rights

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Loving debuted quietly in November 2016.  It tells the story of a brave biracial couple, Richard and Mildred Loving, who fought for their right to love one another within the bonds of holy matrimony.  Set in 1950s Virginia, the film draws a clear and shocking picture of true racism and celebrates the courage of this extraordinary couple played by Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga.

Directed by Jeff Nichols, Loving received a number of nominations including Golden Globes for best actor and actress. Negga was also nominated for her subtle and moving portrayal of the little-known Civil Rights icon Mildred Loving. The film is a testament to the tenacity of two humble icons of the Civil Rights Movement.  By refusing to settle for less, the Lovings drew attention to the truth that love knows no boundaries of skin color or social class.  The saddest element of this film is not the story, though.  It is the fact that prior to the making of this movie, I doubt many people knew who the Lovings were or recognized the impact they had on American history.  I certainly had never heard of them, and I’ve studied constitutional law!

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the walking dead, season 7, twd, andrew lincoln, rick grimes, zombie, atlanta, rise up, amc, negan

The Walking Dead: Walkers Are Just the Wallpaper

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I have to admit that when I first decided to stream AMC’s The Walking Dead  I was skeptical.  I did not expect to like it.  I’m not a big horror fan and gore’s not really my thing.  But I dove in and from the moment Rick Grimes rode down I-85 into Atlanta on horseback, I was hooked.

If you’ve watched the show for any length of time, you quickly realize that the “walkers”, or zombies, are just the wallpaper of the show.  Sure, they feature prominently in certain episodes because you need to understand the magnitude of what the characters are dealing with.  But over time their noises become almost soothing and the sight of them ceases to shock as they fade into the background of the drama.  What shines through for me in every episode is the indomitable force of the human spirit and the power that we harness when we put aside petty differences and work together for the common good.  In a world that is so polarized by gender and identity politics, The Walking Dead is a beacon of hope.

Season 7 of The Walking Dead returned on Sunday, and by now Rick’s crew includes people from all walks of life. 

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