Mike’s Quarantine Top 10: TV Picks

From nostalgic family-friendly programming to competition shows and documentaries. Here’s what I’ve been watching during the quarantine.

Like everyone else, the KCR Staff has been self-quarantining, hunkered down in our respective living spaces, carefully planning grocery store trips, and six feet physical distancing self workouts in our neighborhood. And like everyone else, I’ve been watching a lot of shows during my downtime to distract, pass the time, or simply unwind. Now that the fall semester has wrapped now’s the perfect time for some new shows. Think of this as your guide to your next binge-watching session.

Jack Ryan [Action] (Amazon Prime)

Screenshot of Jack Ryan Cover Photo from Jack Ryan Facebook Page

In this Action Spy Thriller, Jack Ryan (played by John Krasinki), based on the character of Tom Clancy, follows a C.I.A. analyst. In the first season, we are introduced to Jack Ryan as he is moved from his desk job to fieldwork after uncovering suspicious bank transfers. The bank transfers turn out to be carried by Islamic extremists. The second season takes a different turn and sees Jack in Venezuela’s corrupt political war, which involves nuclear weapons. This show is action-packed and guaranteed to have you hooked. Jack Ryan takes you to various countries around the world without leaving the comfort of your home. Both seasons are currently on Amazon Prime for streaming. Amazon announced in April 2019; the show renewal for season 3, which is on the way.

Perry Mason [Mystery] (HBO)

Screenshot of Perry Mason Cover Photo from HBO Max show site.

This series closes in on the story of defense lawyer Perry Mason, which is based on characters from Erle Stanley Gardner’s novels. Mr. Mason is not your typical lawyer making hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Mason lives paycheck to paycheck as a low priced private investigator. He is dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from time served in the war and troubled marriage. Set in 1932, Los Angeles is booming, but the rest of the United States is still recovering from the Great Depression. A kidnapping gone wrong has Mason searching and exposing a damaged city while uncovering the truth of a horrific crime. Matthew Rhys plays Perry Mason and features fellow cast members Tatiana Maslany, John Lithgow, Chris Chalk, Shea Whigham, and Juliet Rylance. The first episode of the first season is available for free on HBO Max along with all of season 1. (HBO subscription required). Before the season 1 finale, HBO renewed Perry Mason for a second season, coming in 2021.

The Challenge: Total Madness [Competition] (MTV)

Screenshot of The Challenge Total Madness Title Card from MTV Show Site

The Challenge is one show that keeps on going and let me tell you; there is no stopping this show any time soon. In its thirty-fifth season of the MTV reality competition series. The Challenge: Total Madness brings alum from The Real World, Are You the One?, Big Brother, Celebrity Big Brother UK, The Amazing Race, Survivor, Georgie Shore, Ex on the Beach (U.S. & U.K. version), Shipwrecked, and Survival of the Fittest to compete for their chance at $1 million. Locked inside a bunker, each week, contestants compete in groups or individually to avoid elimination. Challenges this season included dropping an explosion of items, drifting in cars to knock down as many things as possible, extreme swimming challenges, and endurance competitions. The Challenge will have you shouting at your T.V., cheering your favorite players each episode. You can stream the entire season of The Challenge: Total Madness at MTV.com or the MTV App from the App Store or Google Play Store (Cable login required for streaming).

Down to Earth with Zac Efron [Documentary] (Netflix)

In this eight-episode web-based documentary, viewers are taken around the world with heartthrob Zac Efron. Efron and Darin Olien, who is also Executive Producer of the series, travel to various countries such as France, Puerto Rico, London, Iceland, Costa Rica, Pery, and Sardina. During each episode, they focus on the theme of travel, life experiences, green energy, nature, and sustainable living practices. You can watch all eight episodes of this informative documentary on Netflix now (Subscription Required). You can also visit the official Down to Earth with Zac Efron website for more resources and information from the first season.

White Collar [Drama] (Hulu)

Photo Credit: Screenshot of White Collar Cast from White Collar Facebook Page

In this riveting procedural drama, forger, thief, and con artist Neal Caffery (Matt Bomer) is captured during a three year game of capture the criminal with F.B.I. Special Agent Peter Burke (Tim Dekay). Caffery has three months left of a four-year sentence decides to break out of prison to pursue his girlfriend, Kate Monroe. Special agent Burke captures Caffery again and puts him back in jail. Only this time around, Caffery strikes a deal to assist agent Burke in the apprehension of other White Collar criminals sought by the F.B.I. as a part of a new work-release program. White Collar is the perfect show to unplug to after a long day, while it is an F.B.I. show that is more on the lighter side. White Collar originally ran from 2009 – 2014 for a total of 6 seasons (81 episodes). You can watch the entire series of White Collar on Hulu* at the Hulu website or download the Hulu app for iPhone or Android. *Hulu subscription required for viewing.

Chrisley Knows Best [Reality] (USA Network/Peacock)

Photo Credit: Chrisley Knows Best Season 8 Cast Photo from show official website

This hilarious reality show follows the life of southern Multimillionaire real estate mogul and entrepreneur Todd Chrisley and his family living an over-the-top lifestyle. Still, like any other family, there are problems and, of course, drama. Todd treats life like he does business with no B.S. and doesn’t care who he gets upset with. Todd is known for micromanaging his family and the money they spend; nothing is out of order in the Chrisley household, at least to Todd’s belief. Unlike other reality shows, this one feels more organic as you see everything the family is going through; Simultaneously, it is a lot more positive., there is always enough drama to leave you satisfied because what is reality T.V. without the drama? You can stream all previous episodes of Christley Knows Best on the N.B.C. Universal streaming service Peacock and catch new episodes on U.S.A. Network.

Defending Jacob [Psychological Thriller] (Apple TV+)

Photo Credit: Screenshot of Defending Jacob Main Cast Barber Family from Apple TV+ Show Site

Apple TV+ launched a year ago, and I was skeptical because I thought to myself, what could Apple bring to the entertainment industry? They are known for electronics, after all. Well, they delivered and brought some solid entertainment. Defending Jacob is one of those shows that had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. This miniseries is about the barber family, whose lives are interrupted when their son is accused of murdering a classmate. The miniseries stars Chris Evans, Michelle Dockery, and Jaeden Martell. Based on the book from William Landay’s novel “Defending Jacob.” You can stream* the entire miniseries on AppleTV+ on your all apple products and on the Apple TV+ app through select smart T.V.s. Free trial new subscribers available. *Subscription to Apple TV+ Required

MTV Unplugged (Music/Special) [MTV]

Photo Credit: Screenshot of MTV Unplugged Title Card from MTV Unplugged YouTube Page

While I have listed some great T.V. shows to check out and still have a few more to tell you, I wanted to mention MTV Unplugged. While this is more of a music special that does not have a set number of episodes released every week throughout the year, this is one of those shows that comes out as artists decide to open up to their fans. One thing that has helped me personally through quarantine is music. We cannot attend concerts in persona and probably won’t be able to for the next little while, but thankful for the recorded shows and Instagram lives that some artists are hosting, but most of all, I am grateful for MTV Unplugged. For those who don’t know, MTV Unplugged is a music series that showcases artists and artists on the rise in the music industry performing acoustic versions of their songs. Some of my favorite episodes include Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Shawn Mendes, Alicia Keys, and Rod Stewart. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, MTV organized an MTV Unplugged at Home special consisting of 15 episodes. You can watch these episodes on the MTV app for iPhone and Android and MTV.com.

One Tree Hill (Drama) [Hulu]

Photo Credit: Original One Tree Hill Cast Photo from One Tree Hill Facebook Page

This scripted drama follows the lives of young adults work, going to school, and starting their own lives in the fictional town of Tree Hill, North Carolina. The most important thing in town is the Basketball Team, where we are introduced to half-brothers Lucas and Nathan Scott. They start as rivals but eventually repair the wedge their biological father, Dan Scott, has placed between them. Along with improving their relationship, brothers are trying to balance their work and social life. One Tree Hill originally ran from 2003 – 2012 for 187 episodes, which ran over 9 seasons. You can watch the entire series of One Tree Hill on Hulu* at the Hulu website or download the Hulu app for iPhone or Android. *Hulu subscription required for viewing. *Hulu subscription required for viewing.

Siesta Key (Docu-Soap) [MTV & CBS All Access]

Photo Credit: Current Siesta Key Cast Photo from Siesta Key Facebook Pag

From the producers of the 2004 hit Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County Siesta Key follows a group of young adults addressing problems of betrayal, love, friendship, family, and adulthood as they spend their summer in their home town of Siesta Key, Florida. MTV cameras get full access to this group as they figure where they want to go in life and, more importantly, who they are. This show will keep your eyes glued to your screens as there is no shortage of drama. You can binge all seasons of Siesta Key on MTV.com. CBS. All access, or on the MTV app for iPhone and Android

Let me know on socials which shows you check out and end up binging by hitting me up on Twitter or Instagram @MikeStarkCA

Written By: Mike Stark

New Album: Yungblud “Weird!”

On December 4th, British artist Yungblud released his new album “Weird!” featuring his 6 singles “Weird!”, “Strawberry Lipstick”, “God Save Me, But Don’t Drown Me Out”, “Cotton Candy”, “Mars”, and “Acting Like That,” which features Yungblud’s good friend and fellow artist Machine Gun Kelly.

The album “Weird!” is about the fans and for the fans. Yungblud hopes that this album shows his listeners that it is alright to ask questions, to be different, to be strange, and to be unique, or in the words of Yungblud “why be someone else, they are taken.”

Yungblud has made it clear that he is very involved with his fanbase. He sees “Yungblud” as more than himself but as a community involving him and his listeners. He says Yungblud is about humanity, unity, and bringing people from all walks of life together. Yungblud was able to showcase this by releasing the song “Mars”. “Mars” is about a Yungblud fan who is transgender whose parents were not accepting of her identity but instead she was able to find acceptance within the Yungblud community. Yungblud wanted to make her voice heard and thought the best way to do this was to make her a song and share it with the Yungblud family in hopes that someone else would listen to the song and see that they are not alone.

This album features the song “love song” which Yungblud revealed is the first love song he has written. Yungblud felt that he is finally comfortable enough with himself and his fanbase to reveal this softer side of him. Yungblud disclosed that growing up watching his parents fight all the time he was never able to see what true love was. In “love song” Yungblud sings about how his relationship with an ex-girlfriend taught him what love should be. Yungblud mentions that even though the relationship ended, he is grateful for the experience and what he was able to learn from it.

The song “Cotton Candy” is about sexual liberation and losing yourself in others in order to find yourself. This song has a strong driving bass line with a laid back vibe that makes you want to sway to the music. Yungblud’s music video for “Cotton Candy” features him and a group of people of all ages, sizes, races, and sexes making out and enjoying themselves.

If you are searching for alternative music with a punk influence look no further than “Weird!”. Not only will this album make you go “bonkers” but it will leave you with a sense of community and belonging. The songs on the album are so diverse yet they go together perfectly, there is a song for every mood you are feeling.

Feature Image By: Tom Pallant

Written By: Faren Holland

Feeling Stuck? 5 Ways to get Yourself Up Again

2020 has been insane. Between coronavirus, quarantine, the election, virtual school, and the regular everyday stressors, we may get stuck. It’s ok, though; we’re in the middle of a pandemic. The important thing is getting yourself back up when you’re feeling stuck. Here are 5 activities to lift your spirits

1.  Journaling: I know what you’re thinking; what’s the point? In the abbreviated words of my rocker listening/motorcycling therapist, journaling is a mindfulness activity that is good for you. It gets everything out of your head and on paper, causing your mind to slow down, something that happens when you are anxious or stressed. You do not need a fancy journal or an expensive app to do this activity. You can use the notes app on your phone and then lock the note or go old school with some pen and paper around the house and then shred or keep your entry in a binder.

Photo Credit: Screenshot of Individual journaling from NAMI.

2. Sweat-It-Out: I cannot describe how good I feel after taking an outdoor Orange Theory Class. When you are stressed out, the last thing you want to do is go for a run or take an at-home fitness class but trust me when I say afterward; you will feel much better you did because those endorphins will lift your spirits.

3. Blast your Favorite Playlist: Create a playlist of your favorite songs, and when you are feeling down, blast that playlist in your house and feel free to dance around shaking off those blues.

4. Socialize: Socialize, but not on social media. Connect with a friend or family member via facetime or zoom. By nature, we are social creatures, so when we connect with people, we love this improves our mood. Even if you are struggling, reach out to a friend and let them know what’s up but don’t overwhelm them. Let them know why you are struggling and see if talking it out helps. If not, you can always seek help from a campus therapist (619-594-5220) who can guide you in the right direction of getting you the help you need.

Photo Credit: Screenshot of Zoom Meeting from Zoom.Us Blog

5. Get your dose of Vitamin D: Getting out to get some Vitamin D has proved to improve mood, be sure to keep your physical distance and wear a mask, but head to the beach, bay, or your favorite park and lay down soaking up the sun. Don’t forget your sunscreen.

What tips will you be trying, or songs have you added to your self-care playlist? Let me know by hitting me up on socials @MikeStarkCA on Twitter and Instagram.

Written By: Mike Stark

Behind the Seams with Blake: Active NFL Players with All-Time Great Career Stats

Some might say these stars have lost a step over the years, but that isn’t stopping them from steadily marching towards football immortality.

Hello again readers, this is the final post I will be writing this semester, and the NFL season will likely be in the postseason if not finished by the time I write again. Because of this, I’ve decided to dedicate this post to the “old men” of the NFL, who are all over the age of 35 (Ancient, am I right?) It isn’t certain that all 4 of these players will return in 2021 after this NFL season concludes, so there’s no better time than now to recognize them for their well-earned achievements.

Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Frank Gore, and Larry Fitzgerald have been stacking up numbers throughout the past 2 decades and have thrown (literally in Brady and Brees’ case) themselves into the all-time NFL record books in the process. Brady and Brees have taken control of the majority of the highly-sought-after passing statistics, while still performing like they did in their prime. The latter two players aren’t producing numbers like they once did, but Gore has slow and steadily climbed up the career rushing yards leaderboard, as has Fitzgerald in terms of career receiving yards and receptions. Let’s dive deeper into each of these players’ numbers and how they compare to the football greats of the past.

Tom Brady & Drew Brees:

I have chosen to write about Brady and Brees together because of their commonalities as fellow quarterbacks and having similar career stats. Tom Brady is now 43 years old after spending 20 years with the Patriots and is currently in his first season with the Buccaneers. Drew Brees, at 41 years old, is the “younger” of the two, and he too has enjoyed a very long career, beginning with a 5-year stint as the Chargers QB, and more-famously the Saints QB of the last 15 years. The pair of ageless quarterbacks have spent the 2020 season playing ping-pong with the all-time record for passing touchdowns, with Brady currently sporting a 4 TD lead with 569 over Brees’ 565 due in part to Brees being injured for the past 2 weeks and likely 2 to 4 more weeks. Regardless, Brady and Brees sit 1st and 2nd in all-time passing TDs, while Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, and Dan Marino round out the top 5. Keep an eye on current Colts QB Philip Rivers though, as his 413 TDs sit just 7 TDs below Marino’s 420 with 5 games still left to play this season.

Frank Gore:

“The Inconvenient Truth” is still a starting running back at 37 years old, albeit for a horrible Jets team. (Hey… you gotta get those rushing yards in any way you can.) Gore likely could have chosen to sign as a backup with a much better team in hopes of securing his first Super Bowl ring, but it’s understandable why he chose to go to a cellar-dwelling Jets team where there’s a much easier path to carries. At this point of his career, every rushing yard counts more than ever for Gore, as he currently is 3rd all-time in career rushing yards, trailing only Hall of Famers Walter Payton and Emmitt Smith. Over his 16 years playing with 5 teams in the NFL, Gore now has 15,868 rushing yards, which puts him 858 yards behind Payton who sits 2nd all-time with 16,726. Gore would likely have to play into his 40s to approach Smith’s 18,355 total, but we have all learned that it isn’t wise to bet against Gore putting up numbers each year. No, they aren’t fantastic numbers anymore, but they do still add up. By the way, (Yoda voice) “there is another (Gore) in this galaxy”, as Frank Gore Jr. is a college freshman RB for Southern Miss, so be sure to mentally prepare for a new Frank Gore to replace the current Frank Gore in the coming years.

Larry Fitzgerald:

“Larry Legend” has spent his entire 17-year career with the Cardinals, spending the majority of it as an upper-echelon wide receiver in the NFL. Fitzgerald continued to perform spectacularly even into his age 34 season with the team in 2017, when he put up 109 receptions, 1,156 receiving yards, and 6 TDs. He hasn’t approached that level of production since then, and it’s unlikely that he will return to those levels with DeAndre Hopkins now the WR1 of the team, but he has continued to be useful as a safety-net for QB Kyler Murray in the dangerous Cardinals offense. Fitzgerald has also considered retirement over the past couple years, but each time he decided to return because of his desire to win a Super Bowl before he calls it a career. Fitz currently sits in a distant 2nd place for career receiving yards with 17,419 behind Hall of Famer Jerry Rice at 22,895. He’s also 2nd all-time in receptions with 1,421, trailing only (you guessed it) Jerry Rice, who reeled in 1,549 catches in his career.

It’s fair to wonder how many years on the field these four players have left in them, but I must say that it’s been a pleasure to get to watch each of them climb up the leaderboards of their respective counting stats. It’s cool to know that some of the very best players of NFL history are playing in 2020. If I were to look into my crystal ball and predict who we could see at or near the tops of leaderboards in the coming decades, I’d expect Patrick Mahomes, Michael Thomas, Derrick Henry, and DeAndre Hopkins to show up next to Brady, Brees, Gore, and Fitzgerald.

Written by: Blake Koziel @thek0zy1 on Instagram

Photo Sources: Orlando Sentinel, Pro Football Rumors, DraftKings Nation, My Hero Project