Shows You Should Be Watching If You Aren’t Already: Big Little Lies

A first grade class that’s almost like if Lululemon, Whole Foods, Real Simple and Dwell collaborated on an elementary school. Upmarket Monterey moms with a lot of mystery, intrigue and in-fighting. The return of David E. Kelley at his best. And somebody dead — murdered at a tony school fundraiser, quite possibly by another parent. HBO’s Big Little Lies (produced by Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman, a Nashville dream team if ever there was one) is only four episodes in but I’m already knee-deep in theories and questions. I don’t want to give away too many plot points, so I’ve devised a handy equation to explain the show instead:

Twin Peaks + Desperate Housewives + (1/2 x Stepford Wives) + ( Mean Girls x The Alison Hendrix Parts Of Orphan Black) = Big Little Lies

We have the piece-by-pieces investigation of an unsolved murder of Twin Peaks, the dark, suburban dealings of Desperate Housewives, the surprising satire of upper-class femininity of The Stepford Wives, the social machinations and stratifications of Mean Girls and the tightly-wound perfection of Alison Hendrix’s fast-unraveling life. It’s a quick watch, and a show you’ll want to catch up on.

Although it can be fun to see a well-known actor cast totally against type, there is something incredibly satisfying about the on-the-nose typecasting going on in Big Little Lies. Reese Witherspoon plays Madeline Martha Mackenzie, the high-strung, type-A scheming mom to first grader Chloe and teenage Abigail. Imagine Tracy Flick mixed with Regina George, but somehow less devious: Madeline is one of those perfectionists who has to carefully arrange her whole personal and social world just-so or it might all fall down around her. Madeline is the spoke of the Monterey mom circle, both in that she’s the center of everything and in that if she’s spun too hard, you get the impression that pieces will go flying about in all directions. Madeline is married to Ed (Adam Scott), who while not quite Ben Wyatt nevertheless can seem like the quintessential Decent American Man.

Madeline’s circle also includes Celeste Wright. Once again the role is cast to perfection: Nicole Kidman as a pristine, wealthy, slightly icy former lawyer — and half of a couple that’s so well-manicured that you just know something’s way off behind the scenes. Perry (Alexander Skarsgard) is her husband, free of surface flaws but bubbling with some kind of rage under the surface.

At the beginning of the series, a very non-Monterey mom enters the picture. Jane Chapman (Shailene Woodley) is easily 10 years younger than the other moms, decidedly moderate-income, and the single mother to little Ziggy (Iain Armitage AKA Iain Loves Theatre – don’t sleep on this kid). It’s a deliciously Shailene Woodley-esque role. Jane is a little crunchy, a little new-agey, and kind of lovably kooky. Still, you’ll have as many questions about her as you will about anyone else, some of which will be answered over the course of the first 4 episodes (there was a little glimpse of something in the first episode that suddenly made sense in the third, that kind of thing).

All of these characters have children in the same first-grade class, and the rest of the core circle revolves around the same classroom. Nathan Carson (James Tupper) is Madeline’s ex-husband, married to younger Bonnie (Zoe Kravitz, in a role I could have EASILY seen Lisa Bonet in a decade or so ago. Or maybe still? Woman hasn’t aged). Renata Klein (the fantastic Laura Dern) is the mother to Amabella, set at odds against Madeline’s clique when Amabella accuses Ziggy of hurting her during first grade orientation.

Unlike another little lies show you may know – Pretty Little Liars – this whodunnit (and to-whom-dunnit) won’t be dragged out for season upon season. Four episodes have aired, and there are three more to go. It’s a limited series, and director Jean-Marc Vallee has promised that “you will know everything.” Until then, I’m enjoying all of the questions.

Show You Should Be Watching If You Aren’t Already: Catastrophe

It’s summer (technically almost the end of summer, but let’s be in denial of that for a while), which means new and quality TV programs are slim pickings. If you’ve already caught up with Orange is the New Black, rewatched all of Seinfeld on Hulu, and want a short binge to fill your extra time before you head back to the beach, I’ve got a show for you. Let Catastrophe take over your life.

Basic Plot

Boston executive Rob (Rob Delaney) visits London on a business trip and he meets Irish schoolteacher Sharon (Sharon Hogan). They hook up – and hook up and hook up – and he heads back home to America after the sex-filled weekend. She later finds out she’s pregnant and he heads back to the UK to attempt to figure out where to go from there.

But why exactly should I watch?? WELL LET ME TELL YOU.

Rob Delaney Out Of Twitter

I personally was introduced to Rob on Twitter, like thousands of other people. He’s a comedian, but that doesn’t necessarily mean those skills always transfer over on Twitter. It is 140 characters after all. Rob has the skill of not only being extremely funny, but an accessible type of funny which make his followers want to favorite and retweet to their own followers – thus becoming a Twitter sensation. In 2012 he was literally named the Funniest Person on Twitter at Comedy Central’s Comedy Awards. So in saying all this, would his comedy also translate onto the small screen? The answer is yes. He co-created and co-wrote Catastrophe with Sharon, who, ironically, he met over Twitter. If you go through his timeline and enjoy his comedy samplings, you’ll enjoy a whole script by him.

Introducing Sharon Hogan

In America, Sharon Hogan is a relative newcomer ( The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, anyone?). At home in the UK, she’s been referred to as the “Tina Fey of British TV”. Like Tina, she acts, writes, produces, and directs (unlike Tina). Her “30 Rock” was a sitcom called Pulling, about three single female friends in London. The show was nominated for Best Sitcom at the TV BAFTAS (the UK Emmys), and she was nominated as an actress for the show as well. Needless to say, she’s hilarious, and together with Rob it makes the perfect comedy ‘marriage’.

A Rom Com for Non Rom Com Folk

If you hate rom coms because they’re so predictable, you’re going to love this show. Without spoiling too much, let’s just say that their shotgun relationship actually works in a weird way. The writing by Rob and Sharon is so clever and funny that it’s unpredictably delightful. Just when you think the other person is going to be offended by something, they find it endearing. If you think the storyline is going one way, it does, but not in the exact manner you thought it would. And although we’re introduced to these two as folks who can’t stop having sex, the rest of the season shows them as people in the ‘real world’ who are sweet to each other and romantic and a normal couple who seem like they’ve been together forever, but not. You believe that they could be not only romantic partners but best friends, and that’s also a testament to the chemistry Rob and Sharon have together.

Realistic Pregnancy

Now I’ve never been pregnant, so I have no idea if I’m right on this or not. But often times in TV and movies, pregnancy is treated like something that is just akin to a food baby for nine months, like everything goes well and all of a sudden a baby is produced. But Sharon keeps it real on Catastrophe. Not only is she pregnant with a baby from a guy she just met, but she’s also older than the average new mom. She discusses this on the show, as well as the higher risks that are involved if you’re over a certain age. Again, this aspect adds to the overall reality factor of the show as a whole, and yet another reason to love it even more.

It’s Short

There are six episodes. Each is 24 minutes. I had to stop myself from watching all of them in one night. So I watched them in two nights. You can fit this in your schedule.

Catastrophe is streaming now on Amazon

Show You Should Be Watching If You Aren’t Already: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is one of those shows that you put on a pedestal and expect great things from because it has all the ingredients for your next new TV obsession. Interesting/unique plot? Check. Likable actress as the lead? Check. Tina Fey and 30 Rock crew on board? Check. But it’s very rare that shows like this not only meet your expectations but exceed them. Luckily, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt does just that.

When UKS came on Netflix at midnight Friday, I watched the first episode at 1am and had to physically stop myself from staying up all night to watch the rest of the short 13-episode season. It’s like sunshine crack and you can’t get enough of it. UKS soon was watched by thousands of other Netflix subscribers over the weekend and has gotten a lot of positive reviews from both critics and fans alike. If you’re not one of them, get on board, because this show certainly won’t let you down.

Basic Plot

Kimmy Schmidt (Ellie Kemper) was kidnapped when she was in 8th grade and taken by a doomsday cult leader, who had kept her and three other women in an underground bunker. The pilot takes place years later when Kimmy is 29, and she and the other “Indiana Mole Women” are rescued from the bunker. The show centers on Kimmy adjusting to life again as an adult in New York City.

Filling The Void

30 Rock ended a little over two years ago and we lost Parks and Recreation less than a month ago. While some of us are still in mourning for both of those shows, I’m happy to report that while Kimmy Schmidt will not be able to bring back Liz Lemon and Leslie Knope for good, it will help cure the pain. Kimmy is surprisingly positive and optimistic for having spend most of her formative years underground and secluded from the world, and she has the similar ‘Knope We Can’ attitude in life as Pawenee’s favorite political figure. She’s also like Kenneth the Page – actually she and Kenneth would probably get along rull well. Meanwhile, UKS itself has the same unique, “bizarre” tone as 30 Rock had, the same pacing the same joke after joke after joke storytelling style that is so clearly Tina Fey and nowhere else on television. Put those two together and you have a force to be reckoned with in Kimmy Schmidt.

Unbreakable Ellie Kemper

Like Friends and “The One…”, every episode title of UKS ends in an exclamation point. Kimmy Goes Outside! Kimmy Gets a Job! Kimmy Gets Venereal Disease! (JK about that last one) But the exclamation is totally and completely necessary because Kimmy lives life in an exclamation point. When one is rescued from a crazy cult (as one does), you can go in two directions. As Kimmy says, “You can either curl up in a ball or die” or “you can stand up and say, ‘We’re different! And you can’t break us!’ And Ellie Kemper is the perfect person to carry out the latter. Like Erin in The Office and Becca in Bridesmaids, Ellie in real life is just as lovable and quirky and has the ability to make you smile without even realizing it. Her natural excitement for life is shown through Kimmy’s own positive outlook on the new life she has. I don’t think Ellie is as naive as Kimmy, but she has a similar pureness to her. Kimmy is a girl who exclaims “What in the ham sandwich – I just got a job!” Ellie can pull that sort of ridiculous and childlike curse replacement without making it seem obnoxious, and it’s why she’s perfect as Kimmy.

Jane Krakowski Fabulousness

Jane of course has history with Tina, having played the egotistical yet affable Jenna Maroney on 30 Rock, a role that has earned her 4 Emmy nominations. As Jacqueline Voorhees in UKS, there might be more nominations in her future. While not quite as insane as Jenna, Jacqueline is a rich housewife with a son whom Kimmy is the nanny to. Despite the fact that Jenna and Jacqueline have a lot of similarities, Jane (a lot of Js going on) is proving she’s not just one dimensional as an actor. Although Kimmy is the main character, expect a great B story with Jacqueline, especially when it comes to her background.

30 Rock Realness

Speaking of which, UKS is just as offbeat as 30 Rock was. I mean it’s a show based on a girl who escaped a doomsday cult in a bunker. Not the type of show you will see on CBS’ Monday night lineup. And since Tina is still the brains behind the who shebang, it’s littered with her ‘odd’ sense of humor. There’s a new Sabor De Soledad in the Febreeze-like product Buh Breeze, and like Jenna Maroney’s impersonator-turned-husband Paul L’Astname, there are larger than life characters like Kimmy’s roommate Titus Andromedon and Tristafé the spiritcycle instructor. There’s a whole storyline where Titus and his other furry friends band together to go against a swindling costume shop owner. It looks ridiculous on screen, and only this type of show can make it as funny as it is. Speaking of Tituss, he played Da’Fwan, one of Angie Jordan’s crew on 30 Rock, and now he’s getting the role he deserves as Kimmy’s roommate/best friend. As an aspiring Broadway star (IRL, Tituss is actually a Broadway star), Tituss helps Kimmy back into the real world but also provides for some wacky stories.

90s/00s Refs Up The Whazoo

Because Kimmy has been literally living under a rock (of the earth) for 15 years, her brain is still stuck as a middle schooler, so all her pop culture and life references are from the 00s and before, that don’t make as much sense or are as relevant in 2015. And it’s amazing. Some things mentioned throughout the series include, but are not limited to:

  • American Girl
  • Light up sneakers
  • Moesha
  • “As If”
  • Tamagotchi
  • “Opposite Day”
  • Mavis Beacon
  • Frasier
  • The Breakfast Club

Cults

If you’re into like, learning about Scientology or the Illuminati or true crime or the Duggars, just watch this knowing it could be real and you’ll love it. The leader of the Mole Women cult is a guy named Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (classic Fey), and they’re actually dressed like they could be a Duggar. Naturally, they’re odd and have been taught weird things but also do normal activities like have secret santa, because, priorities.

Netflix to the Rescue

uks

Tina and her 30 Rock partner Robert Carlock originally had a deal with NBC, but the UKS pilot wasn’t picked up to series. Luckily, not only did the fine folks at Netflix pick it up, they picked it up for a second season. As you can imagine, this is good in a number of ways for UKS – not only have they already known their fate, they can undoubtedly be a little more risque on Netflix as opposed to network television, which is saying something, because Tina’s crew is the one that brought you hard-hitting comments on sexism and race couched in comedy, James Franco’s infatuation with his Japanese body pillow, Margaret Cho as Kim Jong-il who kidnaps a popular U.S. newsanchor, and a pornographic video game, among others. Netflix will be different. Better different.

 Theme Song

I’m not even going to link to it because when it first appears in the pilot it happens so naturally and it was one of those moments when a light bulb with heart eye emojis appeared over my head and I knew I was going to love the show. Plus when you binge watch, it gets stuck in your head.

Shows You Should Be Watching If You Aren’t Already: Last-Minute Binge Watching Edition

The long, lazy days of summer are winding down, and we couldn’t be more thrilled about it – because it means TV season is upon us! However, there’s enough summer left before premiere week to squeeze in a couple kayaking trips, or finally go on that weekend-long hike, or throw a big outdoor barbeque for all of your friends. Or – better idea! – you can binge watch all of these great shows and be caught up by the time the next season begins. With 1-3 seasons under their belt, these are shows you should be watching – and with a proper binge watching technique, we think they’re shows you can be watching. Let’s make those last weeks of summer count, kids.

 Traci’s Suggestions

For beginner binge-watchers looking for a laughcry: About a Boy

Seasons to catch up on: 1

Next season begins: Tuesday, October 14th on NBC

Why you should be watching:

This NBC sitcom was a mid-season replacement earlier this year (and we also talked about it then too) and only has 13 episodes that are 22 minutes long! About a Boy is based off the 2002 movie starring Hugh Grant, which was based on the 1998 novel by Nick Hornby, but the pilot is the only episode that is like the movie. After that, it’s about the boy, brilliantly played by Benjamin Stockham,, his mom, brilliantly played by Minnie Driver, and the bachelor neighbor who turns out to be the best father figure in the boy’s life, brilliantly played by David Walton. If you like your comedies with a side of crying and a handful of heart, this show’s for you. This show’s also for you if you are a fan of Parenthood or Friday Night Lights, as it has the same tone as those shows, except with a few more jokes. Also it’s by creator/executive producer Jason Katims, who helmed said shows. He really can do nothing wrong.

For the rom-com loving semi-professional TV watchers: The Mindy Project

Seasons to catch up on: 2

Next season begins: Tuesday, September 16th on FOX

Why you should be watching:

Just like a fine wine or Mindy’s alma mater, The Office, this show only gets better with time. With every episode, the writers and actors found their true voice, and by the end of season two, it became not only one of my favorite shows, but it was hard to believe that such a strong series was only in its second season. As the creator, executive producer and star of the show, there’s no doubt that Mindy Kaling’s own voice is all over the series, which is a good thing. To be clear, Mindy doesn’t play herself, she plays a woman named Mindy who is a gynecologist with her own practice. I can’t think of a female in television who is like her – there’s Tina Fey, but she and Mindy have such different comedic styles which are both great in their own ways. While Tina used 30 Rock as an offbeat showcase for her humor, Mindy takes the nuances of her friendships and romances and amplifies them to create a fairly accurate portrait of life as a working single woman in 2014. And for gals like me, I greatly appreciate that there is a minority woman representin’ in a sea of (for lack of a better term) white men in comedy. There are 46 half hour (22 minute) episodes to catch up on before September 16th, but I promise they will go faster than you can say Beyonce Pad Thai (you’ll eventually get that reference).

For the dramatically inclined hardcore TV addicts: Scandal

Seasons to catch up on: 3

Next season begins: Thursday, September 25th on ABC

Why you should be watching:

My friends know I’m insane about television, so when they ask me for suggestions as for what to watch next, I always say Scandal. Always. This is mainly for selfish reasons so I can have other people to freak out with when shit goes down on the show. But really, the show itself is really good you guys. If for some reason you don’t know what Scandal’s about (where have you been), the basic plot centers around Olivia Pope (played by the gorgeous and talented Kerry Washington), who is a Washington D.C. fixer. She makes bad situations better, or even makes them go away completely. Oh, small side note is that she’s having an affair with the President. Who’s married. With kids. AND YOU STILL FIND YOURSELF ROOTING FOR THE PEOPLE HAVING THE AFFAIR. But that’s one of the best aspects of the show – the line of right and wrong is always blurred and you don’t know whose side to be on.

Plus the show moves QUICKLY. There are 47 hour-long episodes but they go by super fast (if you binge-watched Grey’s Anatomy like me, I’m convinced Shonda Rhimes puts crack in her eps to make you want to watch one right after the other). Not only time wise, but plot wise too – I have never seen so many things happen in an hour than in Scandal. People die, people lie, people have family members you never knew existed – it’s a lot to take in, but it’s so worth it. Also, you want to catch up (all three seasons are on Netflix instant!) so you can watch live come September. Another great part about watching the show live is live tweeting. Most of the cast tweets live from both coasts every Thursday, which is takes the viewing experience to a whole new level. And if you’re concerned about watching 47 episodes in a month – just know that I watched seasons 1 and 2 of Scandal in 8 days. What’s even more impressive is that that’s not even my best record for binge-watching a series. Side note: I just remembered there’s a site where you can calculate how many hours of your life you’ve spent watching TV, and it’s scary. Unrelatedly, I’m gonna go play outside for the next year.

Molly’s Suggestions

For displaced comedy nerds: Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Seasons to catch up on: 1

Next season begins: Sunday, September 28 on FOX

Why you should be watching:

The Golden Globes got this one right – Brooklyn Nine-Nine is an ensemble workplace comedy with clever writing and a hilarious cast. Despite TV’s love affair with police procedurals and sitcoms about coworkers, it’s also the only combination of the two currently on the small screen. With comedy vets  Andy Samberg, Chelsea Peretti and Joe Lo Truglio, cop show vet Andre Braugher, talented (relative) newcomers Stephanie Beatriz and Melissa Fumero, and a former football player just because (Terry Crews), this is a cast with a rapport like people you’d find at an actual workplace. Except, you know, funnier.

If you are a sitcom lover still reeling over the loss of The Office and 30 Rock, and bracing for the end of Parks And Recreation, and kind of confused about what’s going on with Community, this show will fill the hole in your heart and also the one in your TV schedule.

For insomniacs and horror fans who aren’t afraid of the dark: American Horror Story

 Seasons to catch up on: 3 – or zero. We’ll explain.

Next season begins: Wednesday, October 8th on FX

Why you should be watching:

Look. I’m not a horror movie person, really, but this is just good television. Let’s talk about the cast: Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Sarah Paulson, Zachary Quinto, Angela Bassett, Dylan McDermott, Connie Britton, Gabourey Sidibe – although not all of them appear in all seasons, some of the best actors of today are on AHS. The whole thing is headed up by Ryan Murphy after he jumped ship from Glee (can you blame him?). And the format – AHS functions like a reperatory company, with actors taking different roles in the different seasons. That means each season tells an entirely different story. They can all be watched independently of each other, so you only have to catch up on as much as you want to.

The seasons are themed. In the past we’ve had Murder House (ghosts!), Asylum (psychological torture!), and Coven (witches!), but the upcoming season will be scariest of all: Freak Show (clowns!). Such is my fear of the circus that I was terrified of my sister’s clown doll for my whole childhood, and one of my brothers would swing open my bedroom door and smile a giant, frozen clown smile while singing that awful circus calliope song. This is going to be full-on spooky.

For escapists with time to spare: Once Upon A Time

Seasons to catch up on: 3

Next season begins: Sunday, September 28 on ABC

Why you should be watching:

I think we all have those people who we trust implicitly when it comes to TV recommendations. Traci is one of mine, by the way, so you should probably watch what she tells you to watch because she always nails it. Another is my sister-in-law. A couple years ago she told me about Once Upon A Time, and I was like “girl … fairy tales? Not sure.”

I started watching a few weeks ago and I am sold. Once Upon A Time is set in Storybrooke, Maine, a town populated by fairy tale characters. The evil queen levied a curse (do you levy curses or did law school just ruin me as a person?) and everybody forgot about their fairy tale past and lived as normal people – until Snow White’s daughter shows up on her 28th birthday and sets the wheels a-turning. Each episode contains a plot line in the present day as the townspeople try to figure out what’s up, and a fairy tale backstory of one of the characters in their former life.

Remember in the TGIF days when each of the ABC shows had an episode set at Disney every year? Once Upon A Time is like the ultimate ABC-Disney tie-in. I mean, don’t worry, Anna and Elsa have already been cast. But it’s not all fluff. Once Upon A Time is the brainchild of the creators of Lost, so there’s a lot of crazy theories you can keep track of, plus a bunch of Lost references.

I just finished season one and I’m not sure if I’ll get through two more in the next month. It’s certainly doable. But if you don’t mind spoiling yourself, you could probably watch season one, select random episodes of the other season to watch, and use Wikipedia for the rest.

 

Show You Should Be Watching If You Aren’t Already: Dance Academy

dad

G’Day, mates! That’s me addressing you in the same slang they use on Dance Academy. Although now that I think about it, I don’t recall anyone saying that at all throughout the show. Anyways, if you didn’t catch that, this show is from Australia. If you’re in need of a program to watch this summer that isn’t too ‘involved’ like Breaking Bad or The Wire, this is the perfect show for you. As a bonus, each episode is 30 minutes, and there are only 3 seasons (which are all on Netflix Instant), so you don’t even have to worry about catching up before a new season starts!

As I mentioned in a post about my Summer To Do List a few months ago, my friend Ana was pushing me for MONTHS to watch DA, and I finally did. And following my tendency to get obsessed with TV shows, this show followed suit. If you like teen centered programs like Degrassi or loved the great 2000 film Center Stage, you will most likely get just as obsessed with DA as I am, and here’s why.

What It’s About

Dance Academy is mainly narrated by 15-year-old Tara Webster who is a newly accepted first year student at the National Academy of Dance in Sydney. The series follows her and her fellow dancer pals as they deal with teen romance, rivalries and the pressures of being at a highly competitive dance academy. You know, pretty much everyone’s usual upbringing Down Under.

Reasons to Watch

Aussie Aussie Aussie! (Oi! Oi! Oi!)

Most of the show takes place inside the Dance Academy itself, but there’s a lot of scenes that show Sydney and the surrounding areas. I’ve never been to Australia, but it’s always been one of the places on my ‘bucket list’, and watching this show just makes me want to go there more/temporarily fill my Aussie desires. Not to mention, it’s just *cooler* watching a show that’s not American, you know what I mean? I found myself wanting to watch episodes just so I could go back to ‘Sydney’ every night. It’s like when you watch Friday Night Lights and just want to go Dillon, Texas for an hour or two. I mean, I don’t make it a habit of yearning to go to Texas on a daily basis, outside of the context of FNL/Austin.

Coming of Age Storylines

Screenshot 2014-07-25 15.06.56

If you’re a product of the 90s like we are, you grew up with shows like Saved by the Bell, Full House, Boy Meets World, everything on SNICK etc. But you know how there’s a difference between Saved by the Bell and Boy Meets World? Saved by the Bell was a Saturday morning show where it was about sleeping over in a mall to get U2 tickets, while Boy Meets world was the TGIF show where Mr. Feeny would teach you a life lesson at the end of every episode. Dance Academy is more of the latter. While I can’t exactly relate to it like I did with SBTB or BMW when I was a tween, I imagine DA has the same effect of kids these days.

The show touches on a lot of different subjects throughout all 65 episodes that normal teens go through. All the kids come from different backgrounds – Tara is a naive girl from the bush (aka what ‘country’ is to us Americans), Sammy’s a Jewish kid whose dad disapproves of his dancing, Abigail, the daughter of a dance teacher, is a perfectionist whose only goal is to make it into the company, Kat comes from a super famous ballet family, and Christian is a troubled kid whose mom died and dad was absent most of his life and is in the Academy basically so he doesn’t get into trouble with the ‘bad crowd’. Together, they tackle themes of friendships, romance, jealousy, revenge, death, divorce, even eating disorders (come on, this IS a show about dancers), and don’t do it in a way that is tacky, insensitive, or too in your face. The fact that DA has won the Australian equivalent of the Emmy for Best Most Outstanding Children’s Program TWICE should say it all.

The Gays

On paper, Dance Academy is a show for teens. It’s only in recent years that we’ve seen more family friendly shows incorporate gay characters, so it’s refreshing to see a show in Australia featuring a fairly prominent storyline that involves a gay (well, at least bi) character in Sammy. Without giving too much away, Sammy is faced with trying to figure out what these feelings he has for boys mean, and if he can be comfortable admitting those feelings to his friends and family. There’s also Ollie, who is not your ‘stereotypical’ gay dancer type, and he addresses his sexuality in such a nonchalant way that I almost  didn’t notice he was coming out when he first talked about it. These two provide public figures that teens and younger kids can see on TV and realize that people don’t have to be reduced down to their sexuality, but that they’re just ‘Sammy’ and ‘Ollie’. Deal with it.

The Dancing, duh

I mean the show IS called Dance Academy, so there better be good dancing, right? What I appreciate about this show is that they clearly picked young people who were dancers first and foremost, then actors. I’ll admit, the acting isn’t Oscar worthy or anything, but you have to hand it to every single one of them for their dancing ability. It was hard to narrow three seasons of dancing into a sample platter for y’all, but I tried my best! PS: I would suggest not clicking on YouTube & just watching the embedded videos in case you’ll accidentally see a major spoiler!!

*Note: the video below is from the final scene of the entire series – it doesn’t give anything away, but JIC you don’t like any type of spoiler like me!*

If you guys watch DA or have watched it before, let me know what you think!!!