Best of the Year – 2017

Hi everyone,

2017 has been a year of surprises. The biggest one? That I actually enjoyed a lot of the things that came out of it! Movies in particular were better than they’ve been in years thanks to entries like Beauty and the Beast and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

Today, I’m revealing my absolute favorites in 5 different categories – Best Movie, Best Song, Best Album/Soundtrack, Best Television Show, and Best Book. I’d love to hear your favorites too. Without further ado, here are my favs!

Best Movie:

Thor: Ragnarok

What can I say about this masterpiece that hasn’t already been said? A true “marvel”, Thor: Ragnarok is everything superhero nerds like me want — action, humor, style, did I mention humor? Thor 3 is full of one-liners and one-two punches. Not only that, it’s also brimming with characterization, turning what was essentially the most mediocre of the Big 4 Avengers into a star. Loki is also treated perfectly, vain, conflicted, deceitful. Brava! Oh, and all the new characters – Valkyrie, Grandmaster, Hela, Skurge — are dynamic and fun. It’s a non-stop joyride, and you’re crazy not to get on it!

Best Song:

Bad Liar – Selena Gomez

Earlier this year, I did a post called 10 Best Songs of 2017 (So Far). My top pick was, and still is, “Bad Liar”. We’ve had some great songs since June (“Feels” by Calvin Harris, “How Long” by Charlie Puth, “Thunder” by Imagine Dragons), but none compare to Selena Gomez’s clever ode to unspoken feelings. It sounds like nothing else on the radio, so merely for that, I like it. Selena’s voice also sounds great, it’s creative, and I hope to hear more songs like it in 2018.

Best Album/Soundtrack:

Tie: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 soundtrack and Anastasia Soundtrack


This was seriously a toss-up. The Guardians of the Galaxy 2 soundtrack kicks intergalactic booty with another powerhouse sampling of 70s hits including “The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac and “Mr. Blue Sky” by ELO. We are immersed in the film’s stellar moments thanks to Director James Gunn’s excellent song choices. On the other hand, Anastasia picks up right where the 1997 film left off with bright interpretations of classics like “Journey to the Past” and “Learn To Do It.” Plus, the same songwriters from the original film, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, include new songs such as “In my Dreams” and “The Neva Flows”, crafting an enchanting musical embrace that takes you way back in time. Both go to show that some of the best music today lies in the past. Whether you’re in the mood for sweeping ballads or classic rock, these are two albums you definitely need to listen to.

Best Television Show:

The Orville

My most anticipated show of 2017 turned out to be one of my absolute favorites ever! And that’s saying a lot because I’ve seen a ton of shows. Seth MacFarlane is one of those guys you either love or hate. I personally love him! Family Guy aside, he’s funny, cheeky, dark, strange, and yet surprisingly heart-felt (Ted and Ted 2.) My original expectations for Orville, as they were for many people, revolved around the show being an out-and-out Star Trek parody. Boy, were we wrong! Orville is more like a space satire, a hodge-podge of funny episodes and impressive subversive episodes that critique societal norms.

What? From Seth MacFarlane? Yes! And I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love how Seth often takes a backseat as his character Ed Mercer, while his crew have unique, individual episodes of their own. He’s made a family at Fox, and I’m looking forward to seeing Season 2 blast off next year!

Best Book:

Caraval – Stephanie Garber

Before this year, I never picked up a brand new book for the simple reason that — I’m cheap. I’d rather wait until the books is on sale. But this story, I had to have right away. . .and I’m so glad I spent the money. This magical YA novel follows a young girl named Scarlett as she races through the mystical town of Caraval in order to rescue her kidnapped sister from the clutches of the elusive Legend. It’s a heart-pounding journey through a dark, fantastical land filled with love, danger, and sacrifice. This is YA at its finest people, and by a debut author no less! If you read one book next year, pick this one up. Oh, and it’s getting a sequel next year too. . .so there’s that!


And that’s 2017 for ya! Compiling this list was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed sharing my favorites with you guys. But these are just a few of my favorite things. I’d love to know yours. So please share in the comments.

Have a great holiday (hope no Grinches steal your presents!)


10th Kingdom Sequel?

Hi guys,

It’s been a few months, I know. Sorry about that! Well, upon my return, I wanted to come back in a big way and what bigger way than to say The 10th Kingdom may be getting a sequel?

For those that don’t know, The 10th Kingdom is a mini-series done by Hallmark in 2000, centered around a woman named Virginia and her father Tony as they journey into the 9 kingdoms to help a prince-turned-dog reclaim the throne while they find a way to return home. Along the way, they meet a bevy of crazy characters including Wolf, a man-wolf hybrid with a particularly insatiable appetite for Virginia (in more ways than one.) Here’s the trailer:

The 10th Kingdom is one of my favorite mini-series of all time and just a few days ago, I found out that Simon Moore (the creator of the show) and Scott Cohen (who played Wolf) are asking fans to sign a petition to get a sequel off the ground. It’s through Change.Org and you don’t have to pay for anything. If you’re fan, you definitely don’t want to pass this up!

If you would like to sign the petition, below is the link:

10th Kingdom Sequel Petition:

Oh, and if you want to keep up with progress,  there’s also a Facebook page called the 10th Kingdom Connection that you can follow!

10th Kingdom Connection

So please enter the portal and sign the petition! I’m crossing my fingers, and wishing on a star, that this sequel will be produced. And for anybody that does sign, I want to give you my sincerest thanks!


Happy October from The 10th Kingdom!





Lucifer and Pure Genius: 2016’s Best New Shows (and Why You Should Be Watching Them!)

Hey Guys!

2016 is almost over! It’s been a rough one in the real world, but in TV world, things have been quite interesting. I’ve always been more of a movie buff than a TV guru, but sadly, this year, the big screen didn’t generate as many memorable blockbusters as in previous years.

However, on the small screen, there was a pair of wonderful surprises that made watching television fun again — Lucifer and Pure Genius. Both of these shows have great lead characters, good supporting casts, interesting storylines. And heart. Lots of heart. If you haven’t watched them before, I’m here to tell you why you should watch them (and hopefully, save them from cancellation!)


This was my most anticipated show of 2016 and it didn’t disappoint. Centered on the devil  as he helps the LAPD solve heinous crimes, it’s a supernatural cop procedural that never forgets to keep it cheeky and fun. Lucifer has quips for days, which keeps the mood light amidst the seriousness of the subject matter. Tom Ellis’ performance is full of pathos, humor, and tenderness. I adore watching Lucifer discover his own humanity, seeing his relationship with Chloe (the cop he works closely with) change, and witnessing him want to punish the bad guys rather than encourage them.

Here at Pop Culture Grinch, we love characters that have a change of heart. Just as wonderful? Seeing the devil realize he has one. Bad has never been so good!

Speaking of changes of heart, the supporting characters have even morphed over time too. The most improved character is definitely Maze. She is Lucifer’s demon sidekick, who started off being more of a boring, manipulative second-in-command. Over time, she’s reflected Lucifer’s humanizing journey, by becoming friends with Chloe and her daughter (just as Lucifer has) and getting therapy (like Lucifer has.) I love seeing her try to hide the seeds of goodness underneath her cool exterior. Next to Lucifer, she’s become my favorite character to watch. She’s funny and bad-ass. A lethal combination.

Also, Detective Dan (or as Lucifer so adroitly calls him – Detective Douche) has changed too. He’s more of a goofball than he ever was, and surprisingly, it works for him. Rather than constantly compete with Lucifer, he works with him, and even envies him. Another great example of the development of this show and its cast.

To me, the storylines that work the best are the ones that primarily involve the main characters, rather than the crimes themselves. Every character helps bring out Lucifer’s true nature. His transformation is at the core of the show, and each character has a hand in it.

Chloe helps him realize what’s like to care about someone besides himself. Dan helps him understand what it’s like to be a good man and father. Maze helps him see the life he could have had while reflecting the life he has now. Chloe’s daughter helps him bring out the friendliness in his fiendish nature. His therapist helps him uncover pieces of character he never knew he possessed. All of these characters, and more, shape Lucifer, for better or worse. They are the ventricles through which blood pumps to the heart of this show — Lucifer himself.

Already in its 2nd season, this is a show that deserves more time on screen. It’s funny, charming, and surprisingly heartfelt. Plus, it returns to Fox on January 16. If you haven’t watched it yet, make watching Lucifer your New Year’s Resolution. Worry about getting in shape in 2018. The devil won’t mind!


Pure Genius

Talk about surprises. This show came out of nowhere and proved itself to be the most beautiful, heartwarming show I’ve seen on television in a long time. Scratch that. The most beautiful, heartwarming show I’ve seen on television. Ever.

Pure Genius is a medical drama focusing on the exceptional doctors of Bunker Hill, an innovative, technologically-advanced hospital, and the eccentric billionaire who devised its creation. Patients that come here have unique medical cases, and are treated for them without having to pay. It’s a premise that speaks to the current climate of technology and to our own sense of humanity.

As a person who would rather go to the doctor’s than actually watch an entire season of a medical drama, I was uncharacteristically intrigued by this show. It was formally introduced to me through CBS’ 2016 fall preview where it first piqued my interest. Out of curiousity, I decided to watch the pilot. I’m glad I did. The actual show, especially its subsequent episodes, ended up far exceeding my expectations.

The reason? Its indelible lead character, James Bell. James is the quintessential eccentric genius, with a heart even bigger than his own eccentricities. Augustus Prew, who plays James, imbues him with gentle emotion and quirky facial expressions. James cares deeply for every single one of the patients that comes his way, and we see that clearly in each episode.

Another fascinating component to the show? James is dying. And he’s dying quickly. He has a disease called GSS (Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker disease) that affects the brain, causing dementia and involuntary muscle coordination. In 5 years time, he will no longer be able to communicate or function properly. In that time, James is desperately  searching for a cure in the hopes of living a normal life someday. This uncertainty keeps the show tense as everything hinges on one single question — Will he find a cure?

I’d love to see the show tackle this disease as the years progress.  It would be interesting to see it progressively take over James’ body, how it would affect him and his relationship with his friends and colleagues. I’d be holding my breath every time there’s some revolutionary break-through that could be the answer. That’s good television!

Besides Pure Genius‘ memorable lead character, the show’s medical cases themselves are also fascinating. From an astronautical appendectomy to a chain of kidney transplants, they’re unique and add an extra dimension to the show. Another thing I like is that Pure Genius always manages to balance the doctors’ interpersonal  lives with the patients’ stories. It never feels like the cases are put on the back-burner to the doctors’ relationship drama. Instead, they empower, enlighten, and entertain. It would be a shame to see Pure Genius end so prematurely. James doesn’t give up on his patients. I hope CBS doesn’t give up on this show.

It returns this Sunday, January 1. Start the year off right. Tune in!



Two great shows like Lucifer and Pure Genius are what give me faith in TV. Faith that it can be real, and warm, and tender. Faith that heart and soul can be just as interesting to watch as greed and manipulation. If that’s what you enjoy too, then give them a chance. Who knows? Maybe the devil and the genius will get another shot at life.

2017, here’s lookin’ at you, kid!