Eclectic Pop

where "pop" culture gets "eclectic"

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Does 'The Vault' Lock Up A 'Money Heist' Worthy Movie On Netflix?

What happens when “Norman Bates” (“Bates Motel”) and “Ser Davos” (“Game of Thrones”) team up to pull off a heist on the level of a certain Netflix series? You get “The Vault,” a movie featuring a familiar premise that somehow manages to repackage it in a fresh, exciting way. New to Netflix, “The Va…

Best TV Of 2017: 'Bates Motel,' 'GoT,' 'Alias Grace,' 'Reign' & More

Another year of quality television has come and gone, and thankfully, there was no shortage of top-notch programming. There were costume dramas that thrilled with edge-of-your-seat danger and beautiful costuming. Action dramas that provided riveting intrigue. While long-running series bid television a fond and “bittersweet” farewell.

The 2017 Emmy Nominations' Most Heartbreaking Snubs

Bates Motel, The White Princess, Reign were among the most heartbreaking 2017 Emmy snubs
Another year of Emmy nominations can only mean one thing: another year of snubs. The 2017 Emmy nominations proved to be no exception. It was an especially brutal year for retiring series and departing actors' final performances. As the 2017 Emmy nominations marked their last chance to be recognized.

With “Game of Thrones” voluntarily out of the running, there was room for other series to make their mark. For long-time readers of Eclectic Pop, the well-known favorites depressingly ignored are easy to guess. Nevertheless, these are the Emmy snubs that have been the hardest to process.

Best TV of 2016: 'Poldark,' 'Daredevil,' 'Reign,' 'Bates Motel,' 'GoT' & more!

The Punisher, Poldark, Reign - Eclectic Pop's Best of 2016 TV
What everyone is saying is true. Television was at its best in 2016. Between gorgeous costume dramas, a mystifying sci-fi series, and an ambitious take on the superhero drama, these were Eclectic Pop’s picks for the best TV of 2016...

5 TV Shows Worth Being Thankful For

#5. "Daredevil" (Season 2)

In Season 2, "Daredevil" went from a good show to a great one, a qualitative uptick chiefly owed to the introduction of Jon Bernthal's Punisher.

After two feature films tried and failed to bring this fascinating character to life, "Daredevil" managed to bring him roaring to it.

Entertainment Inquiry #6: 'Game of Thrones', The Emmys, Netflix And More!

Since there is only so much time in the day to read 750+word reviews, it seemed right to boil down all of the sentiments expressed on Eclectic Pop into a simple question and answer format; getting to the point in a concise and clear manner that transforms those broader analyses into a bite-size read. 

If there is an entertainment topic you want a quick answer to, the Entertainment Inquiry aims to give it to you. These questions have been self-generated by taking into account current hot topics and the interests you already come to Eclectic Pop for coverage on. In this edition, you will find inquiries about the Season 6 Finale of ‘Game of Thrones’, what’s worth watching on Netflix, who/what deserved Emmy recognition and more…

Top 10 Most-Read Posts of May 2016


Another month has come and gone on Eclectic Pop, which means it is time to look back at May’s most popular content. So what were the top trends among readers? Let's find out. The TV Rundown and movie reviews tied with 3 spots each. The new Q&A-inspired feature Entertainment Inquiry landed on the list twice. The column discussing the movies on Netflix came in at #2, while the Inquiry covering the streaming giant’s TV options landed in the #8 spot.

TV Rundown: Week of May 8: The Mother of All Twists Rocks 'Bates', 'Reign' Makes 'Strange Bedfellows'

Bates Motel – Season 4, Episode 9 – ‘Forever‘

Micro Synopsis: 

As Romero (Nestor Carbonell) and Dylan (Max Thieriot) take a stand to get Norman (Freddie Highmore) re-committed to the mental institution, Norma (Vera Farmiga) makes the fateful decision to stand by her afflicted son. (Major Spoiler Ahead...)

The Rundown: 

I once heard a story on morning radio. A caller said that she loved sleeping with her pet python, lying in the bed beside her. Eventually she started noticing her beloved snake lying completely vertical, stretching itself to its fullest length.

Alarmed, she asked the vet about this odd change and they explained the snake’s behavior. It was physically preparing itself…to eat her. This is in a lot of ways, the perfect parable to describe what became of “Bates’” tragically flawed, central figure in the penultimate episode of its fourth season.

TV Rundown: Week of May 1 | 'Bates Motel' Braces For Tragedy, 'Game of Thrones' Averts One

‘Bates Motel’ – Season 4, Episode 8 – ‘Unfaithful'
Micro Synopsis: Norman’s (Freddie Highmore) homecoming sends all of ‘Bates’’ central characters careening towards total oblivion and utter tragedy.
The Rundown: Nightmarish tonality summoned a defining moment for ‘Bates’; ushering the series into…

TV Rundown: Week of April 24 | 'Reign' & 'Game of Thrones' Return, 'Bates Motel' & 'Blacklist' Prep for a Reckoning

Reign: Season 3, Episode 11 – “Succession”

What Happened: Mary (Adelaide Kane) bonded with Gideon (Ben Geurens). Catherine (Megan Fellows) meticulously planned Charles’ (Spencer MacPherson) coronation. The identity of the serial killer stalking the castle halls was revealed. Lola (Anna Popplewell) proved useful to Elizabeth (Rachel Skarsten) in an important way.

The Rundown: The regal series finally returned and in as high a fashion as it left. Tying up loose ends and beginning new strands of story, “Reign” featured its three queens learning shocking truths about the people around them and discovering deeper ones about themselves, in the process. As Mary contemplated a marriage to a prominent Protestant to calm tensions in Scotland, issues of personal politics quickly arose. Her idealism dashed upon the rocks of reality’s need for compromise.

TV Rundown: Week of April 17 | 'Bates Motel' Opens a Vault, 'Blacklist' Gets Trippy - Plus, 'Vikings' Mid-Season Finale

Bates Motel: Season 4.Episode 6 – “The Vault”
What Happened: Norma (Vera Farmiga) struggled to find a way out of Chick’s (Ryan Hurst) blackmail scheme. Norman (Freddie Highmore) In his session with Dr. Edwards (Damon Gupton), he was told for the first time that he has D.I.D. (dissociative personality disorder). Dylan (Max Thieriot) told Norma he was moving to Seattle with Emma (Olivia Cooke).

Entertainment Inquiry #1: Answers About Movies, Music And TV

Welcome to the very first Entertainment Inquiry. So what is this new feature about? Good question. Since there is only so much time in the day to read 750+ word reviews, it seemed right to boil down all of the sentiments expressed on Eclectic Pop into a simple question and answer format; getting to the point in a concise and clear manner that transforms those broader analyses into a bite-size read.

TV Rundown: Week of April 10 | 'Blacklist' Delivers Perfection, 'Bates Motel' Follows Suit - 'Vikings' Preps for Mid-Season Send-Off

The Blacklist: Season 3.Episode 18 – “Mr. Solomon (No. 32): Conclusion.”
What Happened: Mr. Solomon’s (Edi Gathegi) relentless hunt for Liz (Megan Boone) led to a car accident that triggered the premature birth of her and Tom’s (Ryan Eggold) daughter. A series of health complications ensued, resulti…

TV Rundown: Week of April 3 | 'The Blacklist' Weds, 'Vikings' Shocks 3 Times Over

The Blacklist – Season 3. Episode 17: “Mr. Solomon (No. 32)”

NBC’s thrilling series returned with rice and plot twists, firmly in hand for its spring premiere. The topic of the hour was Liz (Megan Boone) and Tom’s (Ryan Eggold) impending nuptials and what a topic it was, everyone from Red (James Spader) to Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) weighed in on whether Liz should go through with her second marriage to the same man.

TV Rundown: Week of March 27 | Trouble Circles 'Bates Motel', 'Vikings' Shows No Mercy

Bates Motel – Season 4.Episode 4: “Lights of Winter”
In the last episode before a two-week break, “Bates Motel” left viewers on the edge of their seats. Following his short-lived breakout from the mental institution, Norman (Freddie Highmore, in another phenomenal performance) finally came to the realization he is not mentally stable. In the episode’s heart wrenching ending scene, he admitted he needed help to Dr. Edwards (Damon Gupton) and showed a never-before-seen determination to get a handle on his mental state.

TV Rundown: Week of March 20 | 'Vikings' Sets Sail, 'Bates Motel' Honeymoons

Vikings: Season 4. Episode 6 - What Might Have Been
You can boil this entire episode down to a single scene towards the end as Ragnar (Travis Fimmel), high on drugs, looks out into the distance to see his old life literally staring back at him. It was a vision where departed loved ones and deceased relationships were alive again. As a reminder of everything that has changed for its leads since the show began, it was a deeply affecting scene, quiet and serene with a mystical gleam that caught the eye without blinding it.

It is often in these quiet moments that Fimmel does his finest work as Ragnar and here was no exception. Without saying a word, he said it all in a medley of expressions that veered from the joy at recognizing what was and the ache at knowing it would never be again. There have been many moving scenes throughout the course of “Vikings” 4 seasons and this was another top drawer entry into the pantheon.

TV Rundown: Week of March 13 | 'Daredevil' Returns, 'Bates Motel' Enraptures, 'Vikings' Builds & 'Pretty Little Liars' Departs

Daredevil – Season 2.Episode 1 (“Bang”)
The new season of Netflix's original series premiered on the streaming giant last week with a shockingly strong debut episode. The first season of “Daredevil” had its moments and definitely showed potential; however, nothing could have hinted at such a ste…

TV Rundown: Week of March 6 | 'Bates Motel' Checks Back In, 'Vikings' Halts & 'Pretty Little Liars' Plots

Bates Motel – Season 4.Episode 1 (“A Danger to Himself and Others”) The best show on television returned with another stellar season opener. Picking up shortly after the events of last year’s finale, Norma and Dylan had mounted a low key search for Norman before he was discovered roaming the field …

TV Report Card: 'Bates Motel' Season 3 Review

Overview: The Bates family faced further trials and tribulations in the series' outstanding third season. Convinced that Norman (Freddie Highmore) had killed a motel guest, the season’s core mystery revolved around whether he was actually guilty and if so what Norma (Vera Farmiga) was going to…

Best Television of 2015: 'Bates Motel', 'Vikings', 'Reign', 'Narcos', 'The Flash' & more!

A full year of television has come and gone, and after watching a plethora of series – the time has arrived for Eclectic Pop to recognize the best and brightest. 13 series made the cut to be mentioned among the year’s best. They span the contributions of cable, streaming and network broadcasting. Below you will find zero straight-up comedies, loads of dramas (set in both the past and the present), a single superhero series and two horror programs. It’s an eclectic mix and we begin with the selection for the year’s #1 show…
Best Show: Bates Motel
For the third straight year in a row, “Bates Motel” proved to have no equal. The latest season of the A&E series focused on the escalation of Norman’s (Freddie Highmore) unraveling psyche, as his protective mother (Vera Farmiga) and vigilant brother (Max Thieriot) struggled to come to terms with what to do about it.

Mental illness is something a lot of shows vaguely discuss and fewer explore on a deeply seated level. “Bates” is unwavering in its pursuit of the topic as a significantly silenced issue facing families. While the domino effect of Norman’s affliction touched every character on the canvas in a unique way, the season also gave its characters a chance to explore themselves outside of their connection to him.

Balancing the overarching umbrella that connects them and the smaller nuances of their individual development is essential to the entire series and writers Kerry Ehrin and Carlton Cuse kept the ball rolling in explosively compelling ways.

“Bates Motel” gave viewers moments of dark humor, tragic drama and heartening romantic quests. It continued swimming in taboo thematic waters with its signature grace, careful to never push the envelope for the sake of sheer shock value.

“Bates” finds its power in restraint. In exploring the manifold of psychological layering that comprise a complicated and all-encompassing characterization.

Led by the remarkable talents of Vera Farmiga, it is a testament to the strength of its ensemble that every cast member can stand toe-to-toe with her and capably hold their own. The collective performances of Farmiga, Freddie Highmore, Max Thieriot, Olivia Cooke, Nestor Carbonell and Kenny Johnson, comprised the best work an entire cast contributed to TV in 2015.

The critical apathy for this phenomenal series is frustrating. There’s nothing this show is doing wrong to explain the indifference. It is flawless. In a climate where there has been an increasing call for female led series, “Bates Motel” is ferociously captained by one and not just any one either.

Norma Bates is a complex buffet of human emotion; a mother and entrepreneur trying to take care of her family under harrowing circumstances and Farmiga portrays her struggle with a stunning clarity that awes in every episode.

For that reason and many more, "Bates" earned the top spot on this list for the third consecutive year. Simply put, no other series deserves it more.

Best Horror Series: Penny Dreadful
The first season of Showtime’s horror series made a strong first impression and its second season managed to build on that sound foundation by striking a sleek balance between gothic gore, mystical mystery and towering romance.

Boosted by the phenomenal central turns of Eva Green and Josh Hartnett, “Penny” shined brighter than one could’ve ever anticipated. Of furthering surprise is that “Dreadful” is has proven to be a horror show with heart, a weird dichotomy that sounds strange on paper and only makes sense when watching.

Proving that point was the stand-alone episode “The Nightcomers” featuring guest star Patti Lupone, which catapulted the series to a newly realized creative pinnacle. A powerfully moving hour of television that earned a spot among the best the medium has ever presented.
Most Underrated Show: Tyrant
Another show ignored by critics, FX’s exotic Middle East drama brought the heat in a follow-up season that extended its attention from the inner conflicts of the Al-Fayeed family to the fight over their homeland in Abbudin. An aspect “Tyrant” manages to consistently get right is how it balances an operatic arc like Barry’s "death" with the larger real-life picture of geopolitics.

Backed by one of the most underrated ensembles on television, Adam Rayner, Moran Atias, Ashraf Barhom and Jennifer Finnigan continued giving incredible performances that sold all of the show’s big moments alongside its small ones. While showrunner Gideon Raff kept up the enthralling pace of its freshman season.

Best Comeback Series: The Blacklist
“The Blacklist” had an interesting 2015. In the midst of an undeniable sophomore slump, it managed to fight back and reclaim its former glory; proving it’s not impossible to surmount a second season slip-up. Anchored by the venerable James Spader as the series’ enigmatic protagonist and Megan Boone as its endearing heroine, “The Blacklist’s” comeback was not entirely unexpected.

Showrunner Jon Bokenkamp has proven to be highly adept at delivering what viewers want and succeeding at exceeding even those expectations. The reunion of the feisty/made-for-each-other Keens, proved to be one such example of long shot hopes that were rewarded in 2015.

Best Summer Series: Scream
When MTV announced it was making a television adaptation of the hit movie franchise, you could practically hear the chorus of skepticism ring out amidst the universe of pop culture. My how “Scream” proved the naysayers wrong.

By assembling a young cast of relative unknowns and pairing them with the highly familiar scenario of the slasher genre; MTV hit an unexpected home run.

Best New Drama: Bloodline
A picturesque location gives way to ugly secrets in this Netflix original. Charged by the tour de force performance of Ben Mendelsohn as the black sheep member of the Rayburn family; “Bloodline” simmers for quite a while before reaching the last half’s explosive boil.

For those missing the family drama ABC’s “Brothers & Sisters” supplied, “Bloodline” has the dose you’ve been missing. Just be warned that when the Rayburns get together for dinner, it’s a much graver affair.

Best New Historical Series: The Last Kingdom
BBC challenged “Vikings” and “Game of Thrones” by throwing down the gauntlet with their own historical drama. Well-paced, engrossingly directed and engagingly acted, “The Last Kingdom” did not outperform its rivals but made for an appealing entry to the genre, all the same.