by Kelly Lee
Official Summary: The series follows Meredith Grey, the daughter of an esteemed general surgeon named Ellis Grey, following her acceptance into the residency program at the fictional hospital Seattle Grace Hospital. During her time as a resident, Grey works alongside her fellow doctors Cristina Yang, Izzie Stevens, Alex Karev, and George O’Malley, who each struggle to balance personal lives with the hectic work and training schedules. They are overseen during their internship by Miranda Bailey, a senior resident who works for attending Derek Shepherd, the head of neurosurgery and Meredith’s love interest; Preston Burke, the head of cardio, who becomes Yang’s fiance; and Richard Webber, the Chief of Surgery and the attending general surgeon, and lover of Ellis Grey decades before.
In the sixth season, these residents are joined by Jackson Avery and April Kepner, former Mercy West residents who join Seattle Grace following an administrative merger. During the first six seasons, Burke, O’Malley, and Stevens all depart the series.
In addition to Webber and Shepherd, the surgical wing is primarily supervised by Addison Montgomery, as head of OB/GYN, neonatal, and fetal surgery; Callie Torres, a resident who later becomes head of orthopedic surgery, who left Seattle at the end of the 12th season; Mark Sloan, as head of plastics; Owen Hunt, as head of trauma; Arizona Robbins, as head of pediatric surgery, and later head of fetal surgery; Erica Hahn, as head of cardio; Teddy Altman, as head of cardio, and Amelia Shepherd, Derek’s sister, who is hired to replace him as head of neuro.
New young doctors in the residency program include Lexie Grey, Meredith’s half-sister. She is killed with Mark Sloan in the Season 8 finale. Other additions include Leah Murphy, who departs near the end of Season 10 but returns during Season 13; Shane Ross, who departs with Yang in the Season 10 finale; Stephanie Edwards, who resigns during Season 13; Jo Wilson, a doctor who begins a romantic relationship with Karev; Andrew DeLuca, the love-interest of Meredith half-sister Maggie Pierce, who also serves as the head of cardio; and Benjamin Warren, an anesthesiologist-turned-resident, who has to balance his own desire to succeed with his wife Miranda Bailey’s new role as the Chief of Surgery. In Season 12, attending cardio surgeon Nathan Riggs joins the show. In Season 13, the hospital sees a shakeup when attending sports medicine/orthopedic surgeon Eliza Minnick (Marika Dominczyk) is hired as an educational consultant to revamp the residency program. She is fired following an explosion in the hospital.
ALNM rec:. This is actually the show that I am currently binge-ing on Netflix. As someone who is frequently in and out of hospitals, this may be one of the shows that I probably shouldn’t be watching. The inaccuracies of everyday hospital life aside, this is a ridiculous show in that some of the “emergencies” that come through their trauma department are just downright impossible. Yes, I criticize this show, but at the same time, it is one of my current guilty pleasures and I know plenty of medical professionals who feel the same way. We all know in our heart of hearts that none of this is actually real, but at the same time, we can’t wait to tune in each week to see what kind of catastrophes the doctors of Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital encounter next.
by Kelly Lee
Official Summary: The series begins with the return of Upper East Side teenage “it” girl Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively) from a “mysterious absence”. Gossip Girl (the voice of Kristen Bell) reveals that Serena has been away at boarding school in Cornwall, Connecticut, but not everyone welcomes Serena back to Manhattan with open arms. Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester), whom creators describe as being “the queen at the center of their chess game,” is the queen bee of Constance/St. Jude Prep School’s social scene; she also happens to be the childhood “best friend” and occasional rival of Serena van der Woodsen. The story also follows scholarship student and aspiring writer Dan Humphrey (Penn Badgley), who lives in Brooklyn and is a self-described “outsider,” Nate Archibald (Chace Crawford), the so-called “golden boy,” who was Blair’s childhood sweetheart and first love, and Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick), the womanizing “bad boy” heir who is part of “Manhattan’s elite” and “the kind of their chess game”. Other characters of the turbulent Manhattan scene include Dan’s childhood best friend Vanessa Abrams (Jessica Szohr); Jenny Humphrey (Taylor Momsen), Dan’s rebellious adolescent sister who the Queen B dubs as “Little J”’ Lily van der Woodsen (Kelly Rutherford), Serena’s mother and heiress, Rufus Humphrey (Matthew Settle), former 90’s band Lincoln Hawk frontman and Lily’s former lover, and Dorota, Blair’s maid. Rufus is Dan and Jenny’s father and primary guardian.
ALNM rec: Fresh off the popularity wave that was The OC, Gossip Girl was the next in creator Josh Schwartz’s teenage drama series on The CW. It premiered in 2007 and a little 21-year-old college student named Kelly Lee fell in love. I can’t tell you how much this show has shaped who I am. That may sound cheesy and really kind of stupid, but it’s true. Blair Waldorf’s love of headbands and designers like Henri Bendel, Diane von Furstenberg, and Marc Jacobs have become some of my favorite designers. Rather than getting my ears pierced like a normal person, I choose headbands that sparkle as my accessory of choice, just like Blair. During the run of the show, my sister also lived in New York City with her now-husband and almost all of our fashion tips and tricks came from watching endless episodes of Gossip Girl. We even went on a Gossip Girl tour of the city one year when I was visiting for her birthday. In all seriousness, though, I have to say, this was one of my favorite shows of all time. Sure, it was silly and over-the-top with its drama and its character arcs, but it also was just so dang entertaining. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve learned secretly loved the show. Though it only ran for 6 seasons, it was a big deal. It made a huge star out of Leighton Meester and Blake Lively and there wasn’t a girl around that wasn’t Team Nate, Team Dan, or Team Chuck. If you’re too young to have heard of the show or simply never got around to watching it, you must! I promise that you’ll at least get some ridiculous mindless entertainment out of it.
Gossip Girl is now available to stream in its entirety on Netflix
by Kelly Lee
Chopped on Food Network
Official Summary: In each episode, four chefs compete in a three-round contest, where they attempt to incorporate unusual combinations of ingredients into dishes that are later evaluated by a panel of three judges. At the beginning of each round , the chefs are each given a basket containing four mystery ingredients and are expected to use all of them in some way. Although failing to use an ingredient is not an automatic disqualification, the judges do take such omissions into account when making their decisions. The ingredients are often not commonly prepared together. The competitors are given access to a pantry and refrigerator stocked with a wide variety of other ingredients.
Each round has a time limit, typically 20 minutes for Appetizer, and 30 minutes each for Entrée and Dessert. The chefs must cook their dishes and complete four platings before time runs out. Once time has expired, the judges critique the dishes based on presentation, taste and creativity and select one chef to be "chopped" - eliminated from the competition with no winnings. Ted Allen reveals the judges' decision by lifting a cloche on their table to show the losing chef's dish, and one of the judges comments on the reason for their choice to the eliminated chef.
In the Dessert round, the judges consider not only on the dishes created by the two chefs during that round, but also their overall performance throughout the competition. The winner typically receives $10,000.
ALNM rec: I have a problem with this show and that problem is that I CANNOT stop watching it. If I turn this show on, the chances are, it’s during a marathon on Food Network and I can’t stop watching it. When I was in the hospital for all that time, recovering from surgery, my nurses would tell me I would fall asleep with this show on my TV. I don’t know what it is about the Food Network shows that are so addicting, but there’s definitely something there. If you’re a fan of Food Network, you’re probably already familiar with Ted Allen and all his friends that frequently judge Chopped, but did you know that Hulu recently put the entire series on the streaming network? That’s right - all 35 seasons; all 470 episodes. In addition to watching and recording those marathons each week on Food Network, you can also watch it from the beginning on Hulu or watch recent episode on the Food Network app. If you need a day to veg out (no pun intended), this is the perfect bingeable show!
Official Summary: The Freedom - EP by Hamilton star Anthony Ramos includes the single "Freedom" as well as four other tracks.
ALNM rec: This is my go to album on Spotify right now during my drive home. These politically inspired songs all take full advantage of Ramos' impressive Broadway vocal range. They have me singing along every day.
Available to stream on Spotify and purchase on iTunes
by Kelly Lee
The Artist: Kesha
The Song: "This Is Me"
Where you heard it first: I finally decided to break down and purchase the Golden Globe winning song from The Greatest Showman, but when I went to search for it on the iTunes store, this cover by Kesha popped up as well. Being a huge fan of hers, I opted to download her version instead.
Why it’s been stuck in your head: How did I now know that this cover existed? It is perfect for her and what she has been through in the last few years. And I have to say, I feel the same way about myself. Kesha has been a warrior and someone that people should look up to. She has come out of huge challenges victoriously and held her head high in the face of adversity. This song was meant to be covered by her.
Why you recommend it to our listeners: You won’t regret listening to this earworm. I promise.
by Kelly Lee
Official Summary: Set in a dystopian future, a woman is forced to live as a concubine under a fundamentalist theocratic dictatorship.
ALNM rec: As the premiere of season 2 gets closer and closer, I urge you all to watch this fantastic show. The story is spell-binding, a heavy drama with so much action that if you blink, you might miss an important piece of information for later episodes. Deemed one of the most un-binge-able shows due to its heavy subject matter, this fantasy story hits a little too close to home in our current political climate and it makes us wonder exactly how far off from this dystopian world we actually are. Make sure you check out season one on Hulu before season two starts next month!
Available to watch on Hulu
by Kelly Lee
Official Summary: Liza Miller (Sutton Foster) is a recently divorced 40-year-old mother. As her teenage daughter, Caitlin (Tessa Albertson), studies abroad in India, Liza has to figure out a way to support herself and her daughter since her ex-husband's gambling addiction has left them in a financial hole, losing all their savings and their house. Following her ambitions from college, Liza attempts to get a job in publishing, but has to start at the bottom, which proves difficult for a woman of her age. During her hunt, she meets Josh (Nico Tortorella), a 26-year-old tattoo artist who thinks that they are about the same age. Maggie (Debi Mazar), Liza's best friend, comes up with the idea of giving Liza a makeover in order to pass her off as a 26-year-old. Ultimately, she becomes an assistant to Diana Trout (Miriam Shor), at the publishing firm Empirical Press, where she befriends Kelsey Peters (Hilary Duff), her 20-something co-worker.
ALNM rec: I have talked about how much I enjoy this show on past episodes of the podcast as my “Obsession”, but as the series is gearing up for its fifth season, I encourage everyone to watch it. Sutton Foster and Miriam Shor are hilarious as Liza and Diana and, as usual, the men in the show are just as hot as its women. Not only does this show promote multiple strong female role models, but it also attempts to bridge the ever-widening gap between Millenials and their parents. Millenials and middle-aged women alike will love this show!
Available for purchase on Amazon Prime Video
Official Summary: The lives of the other 17 American black athletes who competed in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.
ALNM rec: I watched this documentary last year, but it’s definitely a suitable watch during the Olympics. The film profiles the other African American athletes who competed alongside Jesse Owens in Nazi Germany, giving them a long overdue spotlight and showing all the suffered through both abroad at at home. Next time someone argues to keep politics and social issues out of sports, this is a movie you can point them towards.
I know it is available for purchase on Amazon and iTunes, but it could also be available for free from your local cable provider. I watched it on Comcast OnDemand.
by Kelly Lee
ALNM Rating: 5/5
Starring: Bobby Berk (Interior Design), Karamo Brown (Culture), Tan France (Fashion), Antoni Porowski (Food & Wine), and Jonathan van Ness (Grooming)
Available to watch: Netflix
Queer Eye is a Netflix original series which premiered on February 7, 2018. It is a reboot of the Bravo series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. The new version of the show features a new Fab Five, consisting of Bobby Berk, design expert; Antoni Porowski, food expert; Jonathan Van Ness, grooming expert; Tan France, fashion expert and Karamo Brown, culture expert.
15 years later, a new Fab Five is back and ready to take on the world in 2018. While last time we watched Queer Eye for the Straight Guy in 2003, the Fab Five were all about acceptance into the heterosexual world, this new Fab Five dips their toes into tolerance in the world today, touching on subjects like police brutality, the difficulty of coming out, and so much more, Throughout each episode, they take time to talk about what coming out was like for them or how they, too, struggled with similar problems as the straight men they are making over. While 15 years ago, Queer Eye was fun and cool to watch, this new version touches on subjects that we all should pay attention to in our society and remember that even though everyone is different, we all live in the same world and must somehow learn to live together better.
by Kelly Lee
ALNM Rating: 3.5/5
Directed by: Trish Sie
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Hana Mae Lee, Alexis Knapp, John Lithgow, John Michael Higgins, and Elizabeth Banks
Available to watch: Starting March 1st, anywhere you can purchase or rent movies
Official Summary: Following their win at the world championship, the now separated Bellas reunite for one last singing competition at an overseas USO tour, but face a group who uses both instruments and voices.
ALNM Rec: Though this movie came out around Christmas 2017, I had to watch it twice for it to grow on me. I love the Pitch Perfect franchise and while this wasn’t my favorite storyline of the three films, I enjoyed the music in this movie a lot and it was a nice way to wrap up the story of The Barden Bellas. If you’re a fan of the trilogy, I definitely recommend finishing it out with this fun conclusion!