by Kelly Lee
Official Summary: After witnessing his mother’s supernatural murder, Barry Allen is taken in by Detective Joe West and his family. Barry becomes a brilliant but socially awkward crime scene investigator for the Central City Police Department. A particle accelerator malfunctions, bathing the city center with a radiation during a thunderstorm, and Barry is struck by lightning. Awakening after a coma, he discovers he can move at superhuman speeds. Harrison Wells, the accelerator’s designer, describes Barry’s nature as “metahuman”. Barry vows to use his gifts to protect Central City. As The Flash, Barry also pursues his mother’s murderer, The Reverse-Flash.
In the second season, after a singularity event, The Flash is recognized as Central City’s hero. However, the event brings a new threat from a parallel earth: Zoom, a demonic speedster who seeks to eliminate all speedsters throughout the multiverse. Harrison Wells’ parallel universe counterpart nicknamed “Harry,” and his daughter Jesse, work to help Barry stop Zoom and explore the multiverse. Joe and his daughter, Iris, struggle with the arrival of Iris’ brother Wally West. After Zoom kills Barry’s father, Barry travels back in time to save his mother’s life.
By changing his past, Barry alters the timeline, resulting in “Flashpoint”. Though he is somewhat able to restore the timeline, this creates new threats, including Savitar. After Harry and Jesse return to Earth-2, another Wells doppelganger is recruited: the novelist “H.R” Wells. Both Wally and Caitlin Snow begin to manifest metahuman abilities; Wally suits up as the speedster Kid Flash, while Caitlin is forced to suppress her ice-powers to prevent becoming Killer Frost. When Barry accidentally travels to the future and sees Iris killed by Savitar, he is desperate to change the future to prevent that from happening. After saving Iris and defeating Savitar, Barry takes his place in the Speed Force.
In the months since Barry left, Wally and Cisco have barely been able to protect Central City. When a new foe defeats them easily, requesting a battle against The Flash, the team decides to bring Barry back. While they manage to do so, Barry’s return releases Dark Matter, turning a dozen people on a city bus into metahumans. One of these metahumans is private detective Ralph Dibney, who joins Team Flash. While Barry and Iris prepare for their wedding, the team realize that Barry’s arrival and the creation of the bus metahumans were orchestrated by The Thinker.
ALNM rec:. The Flash is the first spinoff from the Arrow-verse created by Greg Berlanti and, in my humble opinion, is the best so far. Though I started out watching Arrow, I have come to find hat The Flash just holds my attention much more. With an amazing cast including Grant Gustin of Glee, Carlos Valdes of internet famous troupe Starkid Productions and Broadway legend Jesse L. Martin, it’s hard to deny the all-star power that it packs. Not only that, but the characters are all people that you can relate to on a human-level in some way. They have even had some great guest stars over the last few seasons including Mark Hamill (Star Wars), Darren Criss (Glee, Starkid Productions), Tom Felton (Harry Potter), Wentworth Miller (Prison Break), just to name a few. I recently suggested this to my sister who wanted something “upbeat” to watch on Netflix. It’s the perfect show for comic book nerds and non-nerds alike. I highly recommend it!
The Flash is available to stream from the beginning on Netflix.
The Artist: Aaron Tveit
The Song: "Come What May" from the Moulin Rouge the stage musical
Why you recommend it to our listeners: I've been excited for this show ever since it was announced, and I started freaking out even more when the casting of Karen Olivo and Aaron Tveit. Check out our first glimpse below.
by Kelly Lee
The Artist: Caissie Levy
The Song: "Monster" from the Frozen the Broadway musical
Where you heard it first: Frozen has finally opened on Broadway and little by little, they are releasing some of the 12 new songs that were written for the show. Among these songs written by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez (who wrote songs for the original Disney film) is a new solo by Elsa played by Caissie Levy. In this song, Elsa wonders what these ice powers have made her and how she can hope to control it. I have been excited for this show since they announced it would happen several years ago and couldn’t wait to hear new music. I am so glad that I have not yet been disappointed with the music that has been released.
Why it’s been stuck in your head: Theatre nerds have already dubbed “Monster” Caissie Levy’s own “Defying Gravity” allowing her to show off her vocal range and show what her character has been through. The lyrics are a great story and help us better understand Elsa as a character.
Why you recommend it to our listeners: If you’re as big of a fan of Broadway as these two co-hosts, you will not be disappointed with this.
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