What Lauren Watched This Summer

While summer is a great time to catch up on shows, I definitely kept it to a minimum. I mean, for those on the East Coast, the summer was too beautiful to be caught inside! So my list is pretty short of what I had watched this summer.

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I reviewed it this summer, but it’s worth mentioning since Orange is the New Black times its release at the beginning of the summer season. I was definitely one of the last to actually finish it, but what a ride it was. Maybe I took so long out of denial that it’d really be over and I’d have to wait another full year for more.

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I know this wasn’t necessarily a summer-released show, but I did catch up on Silicon Valley once the summer started. I was very pleasantly surprised and taken by the show from the get-go. I didn’t always find Richard endearing or likeable – he was a mildly frustrating protagonist to follow – but the characters around him more than made up for it. Elrich is one of the funniest characters on the show, even if he is way out there and obnoxious. The algorithm will remain one of the funniest examples of dude humor in my book, and Jared’s breakdown over the “pivot” is a sweet and hilarious moment of someone unwittingly losing their mind.

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Lastly, the show that caught me off guard and, coincidentally, tech-themed as well was AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire. After discovering Lee Pace started a Twitter account, I quickly was turned onto his return to TV in his role as Joe Macmillan in what critics have claimed as the Mad Men of the 1980’s computer boom. I’ll admit I entered this show biased because I am such a fan of Lee (I am patiently awaiting whatever comeback fate will be for Pushing Daisies, movie or musical or what have you!) but every lead player emerged as a shining star in this constellation. I’m also a fan of Scoot McNairy, whose tormented genius stuck in a loser-fighting-against-the-grain position is both a loveable and deeply sad underdog. Scoot McNairy’s Gordon Clark is definitely reminiscent of Walter White in many ways, but thankfully he throws himself into a different sort of power trip. The greatest achievement of this show, though, are the female characters. I find that, while AMC produces compelling dramas, the development of the female characters on the shows sometimes falls short (Yes, even on Mad Men – see this last season as a prime example) Kerry Bishe, who I didn’t realize was also a co-star with Scoot in Argo, plays Donna (Gordon’s wife) with a quiet subtlety that goes from repression, frustration, and humble genius all in one. And though Mackenzie Davis’ Cameron Howe seemed one dimensional at first, her inner passion and her growth throughout the season was wonderful, going from entitled and pseudo-intellectual undergrad to strong-willed optimistic beacon of the future. The show wasn’t always perfect – there were certainly some over dramatic scenes and Gordon’s brief downward spiral maybe occupied too much time – but the high stakes were always there and you never knew which way things would turn all throughout. It ended with such a curious cliffhanger, so I’m very curious what will happen next now that the show has been renewed for a second season.

Till the new fall season starts…

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