2018 in Review: 10 Good Things That I Saw On Television

Moving right along with my look back at 2018, here are 10 good things that I saw on television.

Please note, I did not say that these were the ten “best” things on television in 2018.  Instead, these are ten things that I enjoyed enough that, in January of 2019, they still pop to my mind whenever I ask myself, “What did I enjoy last year?”  As always, this is just my opinion and you’re free to agree or disagree.

Got it?  Okay, let’s go!

  1. Showtime reran Twin Peaks: The Return

Okay, so maybe I’m cheating a little here.  Twin Peaks: The Return originally aired in 2017.  You may remember that, for about 6 months, the Shattered Lens essentially became a Twin Peaks fan site.  Still, I can’t begin to describe how excited I was to discover that, over the course of a weekend, Showtime would be reairing the entire series.  I binged every episode and I discovered that, even with the benefit of hindsight, it’s still one of the greatest shows of all time.  Unfortunately, the Emmy voters did not agree.  Bastards.

2. The Alienist 

It took me a little while to really get into The Alienist but, once I did, I found myself growing obsessed with not only the sets and the costumes but the mystery as well!  Daniel Bruhl, Luke Evans, and Dakota Fanning all did excellent work and I can’t wait for the sequel!

3. Jesus Christ Superstar Live

I was skeptical.  I had my doubts.  I thought I’d spend the entire two and a half hours rolling my eyes.  Jesus Christ Superstar proved me wrong.

4. The Americans

One of the best shows on television went out on a high note.

5. Barry

Barry premiered on HBO and it quickly became a favorite of mine.  While I agree that Bill Hader and Henry Winkler deserve all of the attention that they’ve received, I’d also say that Stephen Root continues to prove himself to be one of our greatest character actors.

6. Big Brother

The reality show that so many love to hate finally had another good season.  Since I get paid to write about the show for another site, that made me happy.  Seriously, some of the previous seasons were painful to watch so Big Brother 20 was a huge relief.  (Plus, BB 20 inspired everyone’s favorite twitter game: “Will Julie Chen Moonves show up tonight?”)

7. Maniac

As much fun as it is to complain about Netflix, occasionally they justify the price of their existence by giving us something like Maniac.

8. You

Sometimes, I loved this show.  Sometimes, I absolutely hated it.  However, I was always intrigued and never bored.  I can’t wait to see what happens during season 2.

9. Trust

For all the attention that was given to The Assassination of Gianni Versace, Trust was the best FX true crime series of 2018.  Along with an intriguing story, it also featured great performances from Donald Sutherland, Hillary Swank, and Brendan Fraser.  (Yes, Brendan Fraser.)

10. Westworld

I know a lot of people didn’t care much for the latest season of Westworld.  I loved it and, in the end, isn’t that what really matters?

That’s it for television!  Coming up next, it’s the entry in Lisa’s look back at 2018 that we’ve all been waiting for, my picks for the best 26 films of the year!

Lisa Looks Back At 2018

  1. Ten Worst Films of 2018
  2. Best of Lifetime
  3. Best of Syfy
  4. 10 Favorite Novels
  5. 12 Favorite Non-Fiction Books
  6. 10 Favorite Songs



20 Good Things That I Saw On Television in 2013


Someday, I want to have my own tv network.  I’ll call it Lisa Marie Television (or LMTV for short) and it’ll be like Lifetime but with the Lisa Marie difference.  What’s the Lisa Marie difference?  Sweetheart, if you have to ask, you’ll never know.

Anyway, as I wait for that day to come, I’m going to continue my series of posts on my favorites of 2013 by telling you about some of the best things that I saw on television over the course of the previous year.  Here they are, in random order:

1) The series finale of Breaking Bad


2) The series finale of The Office

After a rough couple of seasons, The Office redeemed itself with a perfect conclusion.  How can you do any better than Jim and Pam moving to Texas?

3) Children’s Hospital on Adult Swim

Without a doubt, the funniest 15 minutes on television.

4) Burning Love on E!

E! broadcast episodes of the hilarious, Bachelor-parodying web series in 2013 and gave everyone a chance to follow Julie as she pined for Blaze and asked lucky bachelors, “Will you hold my box?”

5) SyFy Saturdays

This year, my Saturday night ritual was to gather online with the Snarkalecs and watch an original movie on SyFy.  And while all of the Normals (as we refer to the rest of the world) were going crazy over Sharknado, the Snarkalecs knew that End of the World was a hundred times better.

6) The only likable team won The Amazing Race 23

I can’t remember their names but I can remember that I liked them more than Tim & Marie, Nicole & Travis, and Leo & Jamal.

7) Bonnie and Clyde

Broadcast on three different networks and over two separate nights, Bonnie and Clyde was big, silly, over-the-top, glamorous, and full of style.  It made me want to go out and rob a bank while looking good doing it.

8) Orange is the New Black

We lost a lot of good shows in 2013 but, fortunately, we also gained a few new ones.

9) South Park satirizes Obama and Game of Thrones

I like one of those targets and dislike the other (guess which is which) but the important thing is that both of them have reached a point where they deserve to be satirized.  Not surprisingly, South Park continues to be one of the few show to have the guts to ridicule the topics that other shows are too cowardly to touch.

10) Bates Motel

Bates Motel was frequently uneven but it was always worth watching for Vera Farmiga and Max Thieriot.

11) The Space Kitten

That little space kitten that was singing Wrecking Ball at the American Music Awards?  Adorable!

12) Jimmy Kimmel

Whether he was causing Kanye West to have a meltdown or posting fake videos on YouTube, 2013 was the year of Kimmel.

13) The Talking Dead

Look, we all know that The Walking Dead is great but, for me, The Talking Dead is usually the highlight of AMC on Sunday night.  Chris Hardwick is adorable to begin with but the moment he choked up while discussing the death of Herschel confirmed that he’s not just a host.  He’s a true fan as well.

14) Miley Cyrus at the VMAs

It was tacky, it was shocking, it was disturbing, it got people talking and overreacting, and it was everything that television should be.  (That said, I would like to point out that — despite what some members of the media seem to believe — twerking existed long before Miley Cyrus decided to make it a part of her act.  I was twerking back when Miley was still Hannah Montana.)

15) That episode of Girls with Patrick Wilson

One of the best 25 minutes of television ever, and not just because Patrick Wilson is super hot.

16) The Herstory of Dance and Intro to Felt Surrogacy episodes of Community

Without the guiding vision of Dan Harmon, Community‘s fourth season was undeniably rough.  However, these two episodes reminded us that Community still had something to offer.  (That said, I’m glad Dan Harmon’s back for season 5…)

17) Colton walks off Survivor …. again

Colton Cumbie is one of the most loathsome people to ever show up on a reality TV show so it was satisfying to see him utterly fail to win Survivor not once but twice.

18) The Big Brother Blog got a new writer named Lisa Marie

This year, Bill Lage asked me to write episode recaps for the Big Brother Blog.  Of course, I said yes and, for three months, I had a lot of fun keeping people updated with what all of the loathsome people in the Big Brother house were up to.  I made a lot of new friends and I even made a persistent enemy named Maggie Long, a poor little internet troll who just couldn’t handle the fact that I encouraged my readers to “Stay supple!”  It was a lot of fun and I look forward to doing it all over again in 2014.

19) Winter Storm Cleon caused the local news people to freak out!

Yes, we did get some snow and ice down here in December.  Unlike you folks up North, those of us in Texas only see snow and ice every other year so, whenever it does show up, you can be sure that all of the local newspeople are going to panic.  That’s exactly what happened this year and it was fun to watch.

20) Degrassi!

My favorite Canadian show came back!


Tomorrow, we take a look at ten of my favorite books of 2013.

Other Entries In TSL’s Look Back At 2013:

  1. 10 0f Lisa Marie’s Favorite Songs of 2013
  2. Lisa Marie’s 16 Worst Films of 2013
  3. Necromoonyeti’s Top 10 Metal Albums of 2013
  4. Things That Dork Geekus Dug In 2013
  5. Lisa Marie’s Best of 2o13 SyFy


My 2012 Emmy Nominations

So, for the past few days, I’ve been happily hopping around my section of the Shattered Lens Bunker and do you know why? 

Because it’s awards season, that’s why!  With the conclusion of the 2011-2012 TV season, Emmy ballots have been mailed and votes are being cast and, come July, we’ll know which shows and performers have been nominated for the 2012 Emmys. 

Before that happens, however, I would like to play a little game called “What if Lisa Was Solely Responsible For Picking the Nominees.”  Here’s how it works — I looked over and studied the complete list of the shows and performances that have been submitted this year for Emmy consideration.  And then, from that list, I picked my personal nominees.

(A complete list of every show and performer that’s been submitted for Emmy consideration can be found here.)

Below are my personal nominations in the major Emmy categories.  Again, note that these are not necessarily the shows and performers that I believe will be nominated.  Instead, these are the shows and performers that I would nominate if I was solely responsible for picking the nominees.

A complete list of my nominations in every single Emmy category can be found here.  (And yes, there’s a lot of Lifetime on the list.  There’s also a lot of Community.)

Best Comedy Series

Bored to Death (HBO)

Community (NBC)

Girls (HBO)

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (FX)

Parks and Recreation (NBC)

Raising Hope (Fox)

Veep (HBO)

Best Drama Series

Boardwalk Empire (HBO)

Breaking Bad (AMC)

The Client List (Lifetime)

Downton Abbey (PBS)

Game of Thrones (HBO)

Homeland (Showtime)

Pan Am (ABC)

Ringer (The CW)

True Blood (HBO)

The Walking Dead (AMC)

Outstanding Miniseries or Movie

Blue-Eyed Butcher (Lifetime)

Cyberbully (ABC Family)

Drew Peterson: Untouchable (Lifetime)

Five (Lifetime)

Girl Fight (Lifetime)

Hatfields & McCoys (History Channel)

The Hour (BBC America)

Of Two Minds (Lifetime)

Outstanding Variety Series

Conan (TBS)

Fashion Police (E)

Key and Peele (Comedy Central)

The Soup (E)

Tosh .O (Comedy Central)

Outstanding Variety Special

Betty White’s 90th Birthday Party (NBC)

Celtic Women: Believe (PBS)

The Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen (Comedy Central)

TV Land Awards (TV Land)

Wendy Liebman: Taller on TV (Showtime)

Outstanding Nonfiction Special

Bobby Fischer Against The World (HBO)

Catholicism: Amazed and Afraid (PBS)

Crime After Crime (OWN)

God Is The Bigger Elvis (HBO)

6 Days To Air: The Making of South Park (Comedy Central)

Outstanding Nonfiction Series

America in Primetime (PBS)

American Masters (PBS)

America’s Most Wanted (Lifetime)

Beyond Scared Straight (A&E)

Inside Story (Biography)

Outstanding Reality Program

Antiques Roadshow (PBS)

Dance Moms (Lifetime)

Kitchen Nightmares (Fox)

Scouted (E)

Storage Wars (A&E)

Outstanding Reality-Competition Program

The Amazing Race (CBS)

The Bachelor (ABC)

Big Brother (CBS)

The Celebrity Apprentice (NBC)

Hell’s Kitchen (Fox)

Project Runway (Lifetime)

So You Think You Can Dance (Fox)

Survivor (CBS)

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series

Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)

Johnny Galecki in The Big Bang Theory (CBS)

Danny McBride in Eastbound and Down (HBO)

Joel McHale in Community (NBC)

Lucas Neff in Raising Hope (Fox)

Jason Schwartzman in Bored To Death (HBO)

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama

Steve Buscemi in Boardwalk Empire (HBO)

Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad (AMC)

Jeffrey Donavon in Burn Notice (USA)

Damian Lewis in Homeland (Showtime)

Andrew Lincoln in The Walking Dead (AMC)

Timothy Olyphant in Justified (FX)

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Miniseries or Movie

Idris Elba in Luther (BBC America)

Rob Lowe in Drew Peterson: Untouchable (Lifetime)

Steven Weber in Duke (Hallmark Movie Channel)

Dominic West in The Hour (BBC America)

Ben Whishaw in The Hour (BBC America)

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy

Zooey Deschanel in New Girl (Fox)

Lena Dunham in Girls (HBO)

Tina Fey in 30 Rock  (NBC)

Julia Louis Dreyfuss in Veep (HBO)

Mary-Louis Parker in Weeds (Showtime)

Martha Plimpton in Raising Hope (Fox)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama

Claire Danes in Homeland (Showtime)

Sarah Michelle Gellar in Ringer (The CW)

Jennifer Love Hewitt in The Client List (Lifetime)

Julianna Margulies in The Good Wife (CBS)

Elizabeth McGovern in Downton Abbey (PBS)

Anna Paquin in True Blood (HBO)

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Miniseries or Movie

Kristin Davis in Of Two Minds (Lifetime)

Anne Heche in Girl Fight (Lifetime)

Rose McGowan in The Pastor’s Wife (Lifetime)

Emily Osment in Cyberbully (ABC Family)

Sara Paxton in Blue Eyed Butcher (Lifetime)

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series

Charlie Day in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FX)

Danny DeVito in It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (FX)

Donald Glover in Community (NBC)

Nick Offerman in Parks and Recreation (NBC)

Danny Pudi in Community (NBC)

Matt Walsh in Veep (HBO)

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama

Bruce Campbell in Burn Notice (USA)

Peter Dinklage in Game of Thrones (HBO)

Giancarlo Espositto in Breaking Bad (AMC)

Michael Pitt in Boardwalk Empire (HBO)

Michael Shannon in Boardwalk Empire (HBO)

Alexander Skarsgard in True Blood (HBO)

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Miniseries or Movie

Powers Boothe in Hatfields and McCoys (History Channel)

Justin Bruening in Blue-Eyed Butcher (Lifetime)

Mark-Paul Gosselaar in Hide (TNT)

Sir Roger Moore in A Princess For Christmas (Hallmark Movie Channel)

Tony Shalhoub in Five (Lifetime)

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy

Alison Brie in Community (NBC)

Kristen Chenoweth in GCB (ABC)

Anna Chlumsky in Veep (HBO)

Gillian Jacobs in Community (NBC)

Cloris Leachman in Raising Hope (Fox)

Aubrey Plaza in Parks and Recreation (NBC)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in Drama

Christine Baranski in The Good Wife (CBS)

Kristen Bauer Von Straten in True Blood (HBO)

Kelly MacDonald in Boardwalk Empire (HBO)

Christina Ricci in Pan Am (ABC)

Sophia Turner in Game of Thrones (HBO)

Deborah Ann Woll in True Blood (HBO)

Supporting Actress In A Miniseries or Movie

Tammy Blanchard in Of Two Minds (Lifetime)

Kaley Cuoco in Drew Peterson: Untouchable (Lifetime)

Lisa Edelstein in Blue-Eyed Butcher (Lifetime)

Jessica Lange in American Horror Story (FX)

Jena Malone in Hatfields and McCoy (History Channel)

What Lisa Marie Watched Last Night: Survivor: Redemption Island (Episode 1)

Last night, I watched the first episode of Survivor: Redemption Island.

Why Was I Watching It?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — I love reality television and Survivor pretty much set the bar for the entire genre.  Yes, yes, I know.  Everyone wants to spend a few hours talking about how terrible reality television is and how they deserve all sorts of cookies because they don’t watch it.  Well, you know what?  Have fun patting yourself on the back.  I’ll be watching Survivor.

What’s It About?

A group of sixteen strangers are stranded on a beach in Nicaragua where they compete for prizes and scheme against each other until there’s only one survivor left standing.  As in previous seasons, all of this is hosted by Jeff Probst who, with each season, makes less and less effort to hide the utter contempt that he feels for most of the survivors.  Probst still spends too much time trying to show off his dimples but you can’t help but love the man.

This season, there are big two twists, neither one of which is a real twist because they’ve both been done in previous seasons.  The big twist is that whenever a survivor is voted off the island, they’re sent to Redemption Island where they wait for the chance to reenter the game at a later date.

The other twist — and this is the one that people actually care about — is that two of the most iconic “villains” in Survivor history are back this season.  “Boston” Rob Mariano and Russell Hantz are both back and playing once again.  On last night’s episode, the 16 new players were divided into two tribes.  As usual, the two tribes were given names based on some obscure piece of historical trivia but for the sake of simplicity, we’ll just call them Team Rob and Team Russell.

What Worked:

I’ll admit that when I first heard that Russell and Rob were coning back, I wasn’t exactly enthused about the idea.  I love Rob and always have but I’ve just about reached my limit as far as Russell is concerned.  During his first season, Russell was my favorite because he was just so blatantly villainous and he never wasted any time with all of that silly talk of “playing the game with honor” that so many other survivors have tried to sell in the past.  Plus, he was funny.  However, about halfway through the Heroes Vs. Villains season, I started to get tired of Russell.  Unlike Rob who is always thinking and competing, Russell seemed to be a one trick pony. 

Well, I’m sorry to say that Russell hasn’t changed but since everyone on Team Russell seems to have seen his previous seasons, it doesn’t seem likely that Russell’s going to get that far in the game and if he does, I can’t wait to see how he managed to pull off the impossible.

Plus, Russell wasn’t really in much of this episode.  This episode was all Rob and I love Rob.

And then there’s Philip. 

Philip is on Team Rob.  He’s a tall, outspoken, bald man who happens to also be a former federal agent.  I know this because he mentioned that fact a few thousand times.  He also spent way too much time this episode wandering around in these saggy fuchsia briefs.  Seriously, if you’re going to be on Survivor then you know you’re going to be filmed in your underwear at some point.  So, seriously, give some thought to what you’re wearing underneath, okay?  Me, if I’m ever on Survivor, I’m going to go on a shopping spree at Victoria’s Secret the week before I leave for the beach.  Immunity Idol?  Who needs an Immunity Idol when you’ve got the right bra?  Seriously.

But, anyway, back to Philip.  Philip is one of those priceless survivors who you hate but you hope they’re around for a really long time.  Seriously, he’s so self-righteous and so full of himself and so stupid and so unaware that he makes for great reality television. 

During last night’s episode, Philip “entered” into an alliance with Francesca and Kristine.  Kristine had found the immunity idol (I get the feeling that nobody on the Survivor production team making much of an effort to hide them anymore) and the three of them attempted to execute a power move by voting out Rob.  However, this plan fell apart at tribal council when Philip, for some reason, ended up explaining the entire plot along with mentioning that Kristine had the immunity idol.  End result: Francesca was voted out.  It was a classic Survivor moment, a perfect reminder of why I love this show.  It’s just so shameless.

What Didn’t Work:

I’m not a huge fan of the whole idea of Redemption Island.  The whole idea of a someone getting voted off the island just to get to come back later on in the game has been done before on Survivor and it didn’t work out well.  The someone in question was a middle-aged woman named Lil who went through the entire game wearing a Scoutmaster’s uniform.  Lil was voted off early, came back late, and nearly won simply because she hadn’t been around for the previous few weeks.  It felt unfair at the time. 

However, there is a huge difference in that this season, everyone knows about “the twist” whereas previously, it really was a complete surprise on everyone.  Whether that’ll make a difference has yet to be seen.

Of course, it’s also rare that any of the new gimmicks on Survivor ever really make that much of a difference in the overall game.  Remember Exile Island?  Even more importantly, can you remember the last time that an immunity idol actually made a huge difference in the final outcome of the season?  As opposed to the producers of Big Brother (who really seem to think that the audience is really into each season’s new twist), the people behind Survivor appear to understand that the main reason we watch is to see how much weight everyone loses while scheming against each other.

“Oh My God!  Just like Me!” Moments

There’s always quite a few of these whenever I watch any episode of Survivor because, like a lot of reality TV fans, I tend to place myself in each episode and debate what I would have done.  And while we always like to tell ourselves that we would have done the complete opposite of whatever foolishness we’ve just witnessed, we all know better.  Whenever I watch this show and I see someone totally failing in a physical competition, accidentally blabbing on until everyone votes for her just to make her shut up, or have a meltdown on-screen, I know that I’m seeing what would happen if I ever actually made it onto Survivor.  That’s also the same feeling that I get whenever I see some poor girl go through several episodes with a mass of pixels over either her boobs or her ass.  I’ve sat there and shouted, “That would so be me!” 

(Actually, I don’t do that as often ever since I was watching an episode over at my sister Melissa’s place and she said, “That already is you, Lisa Marie.”)

Anyway, on last night’s episode, I found myself hiding my face in shame as Francesca, Kristina, and Philip basically gave away their entire strategy during tribal council, announcing how they were planning to vote out Rob before anyone had actually voted and while Rob was sitting less than a foot  away.  That’s a perfect example of one of those moments that make us shout, “You idiots!” even though we know we’d probably make the exact same mistake.

Also, it was clear that most of Team Rob was crushing on Rob and I don’t blame them because you know what?  Rob Marciano is hot!  The new gray in his hair just serves to make him even hotter. 

(Guys are so lucky in that regard.  I thought I found a gray hair a few days ago and I ripped it out of my head and oh my God, it hurt!  And then it turned out it wasn’t even gray, it was just a lighter shade of red and the light was hitting it in an awkward way.)

By the way, here’s my strategy of how I’ll win if I’m ever on Survivor: Boobs, boobs, and more boobs.  Like, the  whole way to tribal council, I would be the one going, “Do you really want to vote these out?”  I would also probably try to fly under the radar, be everyone’s friend, and flirt a lot with all the males.  Of course, once we merged, then it would be time to go all girl power and start voting them out one-by-one.  But, for the most part, my strategy would come down to: boobs, boobs, boobs.

Lessons Learned:

Be wary of former federal agents in fuchsia briefs.