There are plenty of movies that take place during the summer time.  But there are a few movies that stand out as classic summer movies.  Below are five movies that you can find at the Davenport Public Library.  Not included in this list are any movies that take place at a camp.  For help on finding these movies or any other ones, contact the Reference Department.


NLVacationNational Lampoon’s Vacation

The Griswold family decides to go on vacation at Walley World, “America’s Favorite Family Fun Park” which is located in Los Angeles, California.  Clark, the head of the household, thinks it will be a great idea to drive the family across the country so that they can bond.  Right away, things start to go poorly.  Clark orders a new car for the family trip, but the car is not ready.  So, the family has to take an ugly old station wagon instead.  And so begins the misadventures of the Griswold family as they travel cross country.  This comedy stars Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Anthony Michael Hall and Dana Barron.  This movie was directed by Harold Ramis and was released in 1983.



Stand By MeStand By Me

This coming of age film is based on a novella by Stephen King.  In 1959, four friends from the town Castle Rock embark on an adventure to discover the body of a missing local boy.  During their journey, their secrets and fears are exposed to one another.  Gordie thinks his parents hate him, Teddy’s father is crazy, Vern is bullied, and Chris is a kid from a “no good family”.  What started as a fun journey becomes a meaningful exploration of friendship and courage.  Filled with many memorable scenes, such as the pie eating contest, the leeches and the train bridge, this movie delights fans young and old.  Directed by Rob Reiner and starring Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Jerry O’Connell and Corey Feldman. This film was released in 1986.




No, this film does not take place at the Adventureland Park in Altoona, Iowa.  And the main character, James Brennan (played by Jesse Eisenberg) is not having a “fun-filled day”.  In fact, his life seems bleak to him.  James had planned to go on the trip of a lifetime to Europe after graduating from college.  However, his parents are unable to give him the money that they had previously promised him and advise James to get a job.  James finds work at an amusement park called Adventureland.  He meets Emily, or Em, played by Kristen Stewart and they start a relationship. But this summer romance has misunderstandings and complications. This comedy-drama was directed by Greg Mottola and was released in 2009.



dirty dancingDirty Dancing

It’s 1963 and Frances “Baby” Houseman is on vacation with her parents at a resort in the Catskills.  One night, Baby discovers where the staff hangs out after hours and gets an eyeful of the staff dirty dancing.  The resort’s dance instructor, Johnny Castle, gives Baby an impromptu dance lesson.  Johnny’s dance partner, Penny, finds herself pregnant and can no longer perform a dance routine that is scheduled.  Baby volunteers to learn the dance routine and perform with Johnny.  Johnny has to teach Baby how to dance and teach her the routine.  The two cannot help falling for each other.  Directed by Emile Ardolino and starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, this film was released in 1987.




The movie that terrified people so much that they stayed out of the ocean.  The movie begins with a young woman skinny-dipping in the ocean in New England.  Suddenly, she is pulled under the water.  The next day, her remains are washed up on shore and it is determined that she died from a shark attack.  More attacks follow and a bounty for the shark is posted.  Police Chief Brody, shark hunter Quint and oceanographer Hooper decide to hunt the great white shark terrorizing the town.  With one of the most memorable musical scores in cinema history, this film is full of suspense and thrills.  Directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss, this film was released in 1975.




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August and September are when the majority of TV shows release the previous season on DVD. It gives you just enough time to binge watch and get caught up before the start of next season. The shows listed on this blog can be placed on hold now and you will automatically be notified when it is your turn. Just click on the TV show title to get started!

Action Shows: Arrow season 3, Chicago Fire season 3, Hawaii Five-O season 5, and Rogue season 2

Comedy Shows: 2 Broke Girls season 4, The Big Bang Theory season 8, Brooklyn Nine-Nine season 2, The League season 6, Mike and Molly season 5, and The Mindy Project season 3

Dramas: Blacklist season 2, Blue Bloods season 5, Castle season 7, Chicago P.D. season 2, Criminal Minds season 10, Elementary season 3, The Good Wife season 6, Greys Anatomy season 11, Last Tango in Halifax season 3, Nashville season 3, NCIS Los Angeles season 6, NCIS season 12, Once Upon a Time season 4, Orange is the New Black season 2, Person of Interest season 4, Revenge season 4, Scandal season 4, and Vampire Diaries season 6

Horror: The Walking Dead season 5

SciFi: Bitten season 2, Falling Skies season 4, Helix season 2, and Supernatural season 10


Interested in the most popular shows at the library? The following shows took top circulation honors for the last fiscal year.
Action: Chicago Fire season 2 circulated an average of 25 times per copy.
Comedy: The Big Bang Theory season 7 circulated an average of 29 times per copy.
Drama: Blacklist season 1 and NCIS Los Angeles season 6 circulated an average of 30 times per copy.
Horror: The Walking Dead season 4 circulated an average of 28 times per copy.
SciFi: Supernatural season 9 circulated an average of 26 times per copy.


More TV shows will be added to the library catalog as we get closer to September. If you don’t see your favorite show on this list, keep checking the catalog.

Coming Soon: American Horror Story season 4, CSI season 15, The Following season 3, The Goldbergs season 2, Grimm season 4, Haven season 5, Penny Dreadful season 2, Portlandia season 5, Reign season 2

In the last year, there have been a number of internet hacking scandals that have the whole country wondering just how secure the information is that they are putting onto the internet. The most recent attack being on Avid Life Media, the parent company of Ashley Madison, Established Men, and Cougar Life. The group responsible, the Impact Team, brought to light the fact that the company was charging Ashley Madison users a $19 fee to have all of their data completely scrubbed from their servers. The Impact Team said that this was not the case, that the users’ information was still accessible. The hackers are demanding that those sites be shut down or the personal and financial information of their clients will be released onto the web (As of now, they have begun releasing the information of some). Many other websites, companies, and organizations have been hacked, from celebrities’ accounts to other retail companies. Each article published releases information to consumers about how to beef up their online security and to protect their identity, as the information that they post online can be used to track down to them in real life, as illustrated by the previous hacks.

Here I’ve gathered my some tips about how to make your online identity even more secure. (There have also been a number of security breaches of financial information of people who do not shop online, like Target, Neiman Marcus, and Michaels to name a few, but this blog is going to focus primarily on internet safety.)

fingerprint face

In order to keep your identity safe and to use the internet safely, you need to utilize as many layers of protection as possible. Just being aware of what could possibly happen and taking the necessary steps to help prevent that will not necessarily guarantee that nothing bad will ever happen to you online, but will certainly make it harder for someone to gain access to your information.

Here are some handy tips to help you use the internet safely:

1. Be careful what you post online. Everything you post online will be there forever. Even if you delete your account, certain websites, like the Wayback Machine, save websites over time and allow users to pull up a web address and pick any date in history to see what that page looked like on that specific date. Most social media sites allow you to make your page private, so look for the safety or security settings within that account. Share only what you are comfortable with everyone seeing and don’t accept friend requests from strangers.

2. Create a secure password. Change your passwords often and make them at least 8 characters long with a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. Avoid easy to guess words and personal information.

3. Think before you download an app. Most apps request access to your personal information, ranging from your pictures, contact lists, phone book, and friends list.  On certain mobile devices, you can deny the app access to your personal or financial information and still be able to download the app.

4. Make sure you have a secure location and you leave the internet secure. This involves making sure that you have an https:// connection at the top of the browser and locking for a padlock up at the top, meaning that the site you are on is encrypted. If you are accessing a website that requires you to log-in, make sure that you are logging out before you close out of the browser or someone else can easily access your account. Never give out your credit card information without checking to make sure that the site is secure. You can buy a disposable credit card through your credit card company or through a retailer that you can load with a preset amount of money, so that if you are hacked, your personal information is safe and the only thing that is compromised is what is on that card. Use all the security options present on your device. Many computers, tablets, and phones offer lock screens, passwords, and sometimes even fingerprint lock options.

5. Be on the alert for scammers. Don’t give out your personal information online to somebody that you do not know! Scammers will try to steal your information, so don’t give it out over text messages, phone, mail, or the Internet, unless you are 100% sure you know who you are dealing with. If you are even the slightest bit unsure, close out of your email, open a new browser, and type in the company’s web address to contact them through their customer service.

6. Install security software. Run the virus checks and make sure that everything stays updated. Most businesses recommend virus, malware, and firewall protection. Some examples of these are AVG, McAfee security scan, Microsoft security options, and ZoneAlarm free firewall. There are other options available online. Do your research to figure out which one is the best for your needs. Some new computers come with free antivirus software as well.

7. Dispose of your personal information. If you are planning on recycling your old computer, make sure to wipe the hard drive; just erasing it will not do the job. Your hard drive stores all of your personal information and a not wiped one is a scammer’s dream to find! Make sure to recycle your electronics and shred any personal documents as well.

Check out some resources the library has available to help inform you on internet safety, online security, identity theft, and identity protection, as well as some real-life stories. Click on the covers for more information and to put these materials on hold!

internet safelyis it safeart of intrusionprotecting your internet identity50 waysstopping identity theft

bomb2July 16, 2015 marks the 70th Anniversary of the Trinity Test. What’s the Trinity Test? This was the first successful test of the atom bomb at the Alamogordo Bombing and Gunnery Range in New Mexico. This site was flat and located relatively close to Los Alamos where the bombs were designed and produced. This section of land was given the code-name “Trinity” and thus July 16, 1945 was known as the Trinity Test. (Interesting fact: The Trinity Test Site is open twice a year for visitors, once in April and once in October. This is the article discussing this year’s visits. )

The Manhattan Project was a top-secret research and development project during World War II that produced the first nuclear weapons. President Roosevelt signed the order for the initial research committee in 1942 which eventually went through many iterations to become the core Manhattan Project group. Major General Leslie Groves was put in charge of the project from 1942 to 1946 and was the person who brought on Robert Oppenheimer, a physicist who was the director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, the site that designed the actual bombs.

Secret facilities were popping up all over the country with the express purpose of manufacturing different parts of the bombs, for researching different aspects, and for trying out different methods. Everything was top-secret. Oppenheimer recruited the top scientists in their fields without being able to tell them what exactly they would be working on, except that it had a possibility of helping them end the war.

With so little information to go off of, many scientists packed up their families to move to Los Alamos, where they lived and worked in isolation, not even able to discuss their work within their own families. Everything was kept secret and compartmentalized.

This blog is just an introduction to the Trinity Test and the Manhattan Project. If the description above interested you, check out the resources below.

trinityTrinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm gives a detailed history, not just on the Manhattan Project and the Trinity Test, but the very beginning of atom research, in laboratories of nineteenth-century Europe all the way to the Trinity Test.

This graphic novel goes into incredible detail about all the people involved in the history of the atom and its discovery. While most histories of the atomic bomb tend to focus on and use more scientific terms, Fetter-Vorm is able to include pictures and drawings through the graphic novel format that allow for a better conceptual understanding of a nuclear reaction and how atoms split. Readers are transported into the labs and lives of Major General Leslie Groves, Enrico Fermi, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and the other brilliant scientists who brought to life atomic bombs and ushered in a new era of warfare.

After the successful test of the atomic bomb, Fetter-Vorm then goes on to illustrate the decisions behind the dropping of the bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. This graphic novel is an excellent depiction of what life was like for those directly and indirectly involved in the making of the first atomic bomb.

manhattan season1What initially reminded me of the Trinity Test’s anniversary was when I started watching season one of Manhattan. This television series follows the many scientists as they work to build the world’s first atomic bomb in Los Alamos, New Mexico and the struggles that their families go through moving to the middle of nowhere, being cut off from everyone outside the community, and being kept in the dark about what their family members are doing.

This show really hooked me because in addition to all the science and descriptions of the different models they were building, it also deals with the bureaucracy of this governmental entity, how they have to finagle getting supplies since where they are is only a P.O. Box and not an actual address, and how secrets and gossip run rampant through the entire community, fueling the suspicions that multiple people are spies and that others are committing treason. Tensions run high, both between the individual families and the two different science camps, each competing against the other to have the first successful atomic bomb design and then test.

Check out this television show to gain a better understanding of the complex secrecy of the Manhattan Project and how the segmentation of their lives, in addition to bringing immense tension, in the end allowed work to secretly flourish and bring together an explosive ending.

Enchanted AugustI was well into Enchanted August  before the (admittedly obvious) similarities to Enchanted April impinged upon my consciousness. In both,  several people who’d not be friends in normal circumstances find themselves sharing a vacation home in an idyllic vacation spot. They become better versions of themselves, more generous, open-hearted and kind. Marriages are improved, and friendships fostered.

Brenda Bowen’s novel is modeled on The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnin. Published in 1922, it was made into a film in 1992, starring Miranda Richardson and Michael Kitchen.

In Bowen’s novel, Lottie and Rose happen upon an advertisement for a  cottage (in fact, a huge, Victorian house) on Little Lost Island in Maine. They are both at low points in their lives, stressed out about their children, husbands and life in New York City. Like Enchanted April, the desire and the plan take root during a pouring rain. All the better to contrast with the buoyantly sunny skies of Maine and Italy. Caroline Dester (a movie star in Enchanted August and Lady Caroline in Enchanted April) are struggling with the demands of fame and privilege.

The four occupants (the joyously optimistic Lottie, the quieter poet Rose,  beautiful Caroline and eccentric, grieving Beverly) meld into a family of sorts, even as it expands and embraces extended family members.  Maine itself is a character – ever-changing but always exhilarating, working its magic on all who spend time there. The very remoteness of the island (no cell phone service) changes how they go about their days and how they interact with each other and those off the island. There is a charmingly retro vibe to the story and the setting.

If you can’t physically get away this summer, dip into this virtual vacation between two covers, and you’ll feel as refreshed and restored as if you’d actually left your house.


Cult Classics are films or TV shows that initially do not catch on with mainstream audiences, but develop a devote band of followers. A spectacular example of this is the original Star Trek series that premiered in September of 1966. Ratings for the show were consistently low, and the show was cancelled after 3 seasons. Shock is a perfectly normal reaction to this news. After all, Star Trek was the first of its kind, and since then numerous movies and TV shows have been made using the Star Trek franchise or its fundamentals. Fast forward to today and Star Trek is part of American culture. Popular catch phrases from the series such as “beam me up Scotty” are often used in TV and Cinema or in everyday interactions between friends. There is even a word for the franchise’s most loyal fans, Trekkies. Multiple Star Trek conventions throughout the year are held all over the United States.  Star Trek is the ultimate cult classic. Most cult classics never attain that level of notoriety but nevertheless still deserve recognition.

There are plenty of TV shows or movies that could be considered cult classics depending on who you ask. Many shows develop a cult following and remain on TV for many seasons like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I thought it would be fun to look at the cult movies that didn’t let a box office flop get them down. These movies became cult classics despite having a poor initial audience response to them. The website Gamesradar provided a nice list of movies. Some of these I have seen and love, and others I have never heard of. I’m going to highlight some of them that we have at the library. For the full list visit Gamesradar. I’d recommend writing these down or putting them in your phone. It can be a fun way to spend an evening with friends or maybe just watching something different from the norm.

clueClue premiered in movie theaters in 1985 and had a box office gross total of 14 million dollars. The budget for the movie was about 15 million dollars so it almost broke even. The movie stars Tim Curry, Christopher Lloyd, and Madeline Kahn. Clue is based on the popular game of the same name. The movie begins with a group of people arriving for a dinner party at a lavish home. During the dinner party, a murder is committed. The guests spend the rest of the movie running around trying figure out who done it and how! With outrageous characters with names like Professor Plum and Colonel Mustard, its no wonder it was quick cult classic.


office spaceOffice Space came out on the big screen in 1999 and grossed 10.8 million dollars. However on DVD it made nearly as much as it did at the box office.  The movie stars Jennifer Aniston, Ron Livingston, and David Herman. The movie is a good comedy, but just had bad advertising when it came out in the theaters. Three office workers plot to rebel against their unlikable boss. Perhaps it hits home with the disgruntled office worker in all of us, making it an office cult classic.



fight clubFight Club appeared on screens in 1999 and grossed 37 million dollars. That number might be good for some movies, but this movie stars Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. Not to mention the budget was about 63 million dollars. Ouch. Luckily, you can’t  keep a great movie down. Word about Fight Club’s awesomeness quickly spread, and the movie made 100 million dollars in DVD sales. The movie is about a loner that forms a friendship with the coolest guy he’s ever met. Together they start a fight club where misfits gather to fight, sell goods, and cause mischief. With a great message, fun script, and intense acting, this movie remains a chronic topic of conversation among thirty-somethings.


big lebowskiThe Big Lebowski hit theaters in 1998 and grossed 17 million dollars. While the film technically didn’t lose money, it did not make nearly as much as was projected. The movie is a comedy about mistaken identity with high stakes, and stars Jeff Bridges, John Goodman and a slew of other well known actors. This movie is loved by many, especially the male population between 20-40. It is almost a rite of passage into manhood. It is definitely an ultimate cult classic.


rock horror picture showThe Rocky Horror Picture Show was pulled from theaters in 1975 after its release in 8 cities grossed a mere 22,000 dollars. The movie stars Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick as a young couple that have car trouble and have seek help from an eccentric doctor living in a nearby mansion. Eventually midnight showings started in New York and spread nation wide. The catchy tunes and crazy wardrobes brought fans out in droves to dance and sing along in theaters. This cult classic is still holding midnight showings today.



If you are interested in more cult movies and TV shows, here are some links to direct you to even more lists!

Rolling Stone’s reader’s poll of best cult movies of all time

Games Radar’s 34 best cult classics of all time

Rotten Tomatoes list of top cult movies

Entertainment Weekly 26 cult TV shows

I have a love/hate relationship with movies that are based on books. Sometimes the movies are well put together and follow the plot lines and character development of the book almost perfectly. Other times, I can tell just by the preview that the movie has completely gone off the rails and does not follow the book. Depending on how attached I am to the book, I might be able to let go of the differences in the movie, but if I feel any deep connections to the book, I pity the people next to me in the theater because I will point out how the two differ. Thankfully, I have found a few book-based movies that have changes that enhance the book or even make more logical sense than the world created in the book.

With the recent upswing in popularity of post-apocalyptic dystopian literature, especially those marketed towards young adults, movie producers have seemingly been turning to these novels as fool-proof ways to draw people into the theaters. (Case in point: The Hunger Games movies based on books by Suzanne Collins, as well as the Divergent movies based on books by Veronica Roth.) A similar post-apocalyptic dystopian book/movie pair just made it to the top of my to-be-read/to-be-watched list and I must say that I actually enjoyed the two.

the maze runnerThis pairing is the book, The Maze Runner written by James Dashner published in 2009, as compared to the movie The Maze Runner released in 2014 by Twentieth Century Fox.

In the book, Dashner begins the story of the Maze by introducing Thomas, the newest Greenie who wakes up in the bottom of the Box not knowing anything about himself, not even his name. He is greeted by the other boys, the Gladers, and shown around his new home, the Glade, a large expanse of land surrounded and enclosed in huge stone walls. Each boy has to pull his own weight in order for them all to survive, leaving them all with jobs to make their enclosed community run smoothly.

As Thomas soon learns, the Gladers are sure of only a few things: every morning the stone doors open, every night the doors close, and you do not want to be stuck in the maze at night because that is when the Grievers, a weird mechanical, bulbous type of monster that, if they corner you, can sting you and make you go through the Changing, come out. Every night after the doors close, the maze changes, making it even harder for the boys as solving the maze is the only way they can escape. Every thirty days a new Greenie is delivered in the Box. These things have been consistent since the first group of boys woke up in the maze over two years ago. Until Thomas shows up… Then everything changes.

the maze runner dvdThe movie version deviates from the plot of the book, but in a good way, in a necessary cinematic way. Some of the plot points Dashner makes in the book would have been difficult and a little far-fetched to allow for on-screen time, but at the same time, the exclusion of those significant details changed the plot from what Dashner wrote in the book. (For example, the exclusion of the Cliff, the abyss that is mentioned throughout the book, allowed the movie producers to instead dive more into the mechanics of the Grievers and the interlocking technology aspects that WCKD, also known as the Creators, used to control the boys.) Many other changes were done to enhance the book, but the overall themes of the book are still present within the movie.

All in all, the movie allows viewers who have read the book a better understanding of the workings of the boys’ minds, to see in better detail the immensity and confusion of the maze, and the destruction that the Grievers, and therefore the Creators, run the boys through on a day-to-day basis.

In my opinion, the movie version did not detract from the book, but instead adds a necessary level of cinematic pop to keep viewers engaged in the Gladers’ lives and their struggle to get free.

The Maze Runner is also available as an e-book, an e-audiobook, a playaway audiobook, and a cd audiobook.



still aliceStill Alice by Lisa Genova has been on my list of books to read since it was published in 2009. Recently, the audiobook version of the book arrived at the Davenport Public Library and I eagerly checked it out.  I wanted to read it before I watched the movie version of Still Alice, which stars Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kate Bosworth and Kristen Stewart.  The DVD of Still Alice is available at the library too.

Still Alice is the story of a Harvard psychology professor named Alice Howland.  Alice specializes in linguistics.  She was a student at Harvard and has taught there for over two decades.  Alice met her husband John at Harvard where he is a professor of biology.  They have three grown children: Anna, Tom and Lydia.  Anna is a lawyer and Tom is a doctor which makes Alice very proud.  Lydia refuses to go to college and is pursuing an acting career.  Alice worries about Lydia’s future which causes tension between mother and daughter.

At a conference, Alice begins to have trouble remembering words.  She notices other problems with her memory and consults with her doctor.  Still uneasy after her doctor visit, she sees a neurologist.  Alice is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s.

It is quickly apparent why this novel was a best seller.  This brilliant scholar slowly begins to lose her memory, her lifestyle and her sense of self.  I believe that listening to this book on audiobook was more powerful since I could hear the doctor diagnosis Alice with Alzheimer’s disease and I easily imagined what it would it would be like to be Alice.  The majority of the book is filled with conversations between Alice and those around her so this book made an excellent audiobook.  Alice and her family learn to make adjustments in their routine and adapt to Alice’s changing mind.  Even though this book is heartbreaking it is also a beautiful story of strength and the human spirit.



I’m a sucker for television shows that cross genres and formats. One of my most recent finds was the television show, Falling Skies, which also has a videogame and a graphic novel out at this time.

falling skies tvThe library currently has multiple seasons of Falling Skies available for check-out. If you have never heard of this show, Falling Skies is a science fiction, post-apocalyptic drama that runs on TNT with its final season premiering on June 28th at 9pm. Falling Skies takes place after an alien attack has happened on planet Earth, forcing citizens to gather together and attempt to fight back. Boston professor of history, Tom Mason, played by Noah Wyle, is struggling to deal with the fact that his wife has died and his son has been captured by the aliens. Groups of people are being held captive, the number of dead is rising, and in order to rescue the captives, militia groups are forming to protect the survivors. What seems like a straight and easy plan becomes increasingly complicated as the survivors realize that the aliens are more intelligent and crafty than they initially believed. Mason and his group must band together and come up with new ideas to outsmart the aliens.


falling skies gn

If the television show interests you, check out Paul Tobin’s graphic novel Falling Skies with artwork by Juan Ferreyra. Tobin’s graphic novel serves as a prequel to the television show. Here, you follow the life of Professor Tom Mason and his three sons who are forced to come to terms with the fact that Mason’s wife has died. Mason believes that in order to survive, they must all hide, which ultimately backfires when one of his sons is captured by the aliens. The artwork in this novel draws from the likeness of the television characters with viewers of the show easily able to recognize their favorite characters. Tobin draws a tale for readers about the months after the alien attack and Mason’s decision to join a militia group to rescue his son. Fans of the television show will not be disappointed in the graphic novel.

falling skies gameThe final part of Falling Skies’ transition across genres in the videogame available on PlayStation 3 called Falling Skies: The Game. This game expands upon the tactical warfare element of the television show and by extension, Tom Mason’s vast knowledge of historical warfare and battle strategy. In the videogame, players have the option to customize and maneuver their squad in order to outsmart the enemy. In addition to the over 90 tactical warfare missions, players are also given the option to undertake an infinite number of side quests. This turn-based style of gameplay allows you to complete missions and finish objectives as you command a squad made up of anywhere from 1-6 units.

Check out any of the Falling Skies materials available at the library and let us know if there are other materials for which you are looking!

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It’s that time of year again…when we are forced to say goodbye to shows that have been part of our lives for years. They were characters and stories we could count on to teach us, shock us, entertain us, and so much more. The following shows are ones that I have watched from the beginning and would recommend if you are looking to start watching a great show.

Boardwalk Empire is all about corruption and bootlegging in 1920’s Atlantic City. The makers of this show took real events, a real place, and even real historical figures and wrote their own version of history. There are some accurate historical accounts in the show, but the writers took many liberties. Some characters stayed true their real life counterparts such as in the case of Al Capone. During the decade of time covered by the show we see Al Capone get his start as a lackey for Johnny Torrio, rise to fame and power, then his inevitable arrest in 1931. The real star of the show is Enoch “Nucky” Thomson played by Steve Buscemi. This is one of the real life figures that the writers completely changed in order to create the story line for this show. Boardwalk promises a lot of action, drama, and history. This is a great show for anyone interested in the 1920’s and the original gangsters. I personally liked the drama that the first few seasons offered. I continued to watch the show in the last couple seasons, but shows would often pile up on my DVR as my enthusiasm had waned. Nevertheless, this was a great show. This show is rated TV-MA.

If you watched Boardwalk Empire and would like to learn more about the real life figures, check out Time Magazine.

Total Seasons: 5


Glee is one big giant ray of sunshine. I have always had such a strange relationship with Glee. I think the difficulty I had was the time slot. There were other shows happening at that time that won out on my DVR, but I always found a way to catch up on this good natured show. When I finally did watch the show, I would be completely uplifted and wonder why the heck I’d put off watching it for so long.

Anyway, lets state the obvious. Yes this is a show about teenagers singing…but it is fantastic! The actors have amazing vocal range and ability and the choreography is top notch. What I found to be most enthralling were the arrangements of the music they sang. Some songs were written decades ago and others were new, but all of them had the Glee take on it. This group can sing anything! One of my favorite performances was a mix of the classic Singing in the Rain and Rhianna’s Umbrella. For the YouTube video, click here. Other awesome things about this show include guest appearances by loads of actors and singers, the hilarious commentary of Sue Sylvester played by Jane Lynch, and watching teens make mistakes but learning to do what is right and why you do the right thing. You can’t go wrong with this show.

Total Seasons: 6


 The Newsroom is very different than any show I have ever watched. I am quite sad that this show was only three seasons. Despite having a short life span, Aaron Sorkin (writer) wrapped up the show very well. No surprise that the set of this show is a fictional newsroom for a nightly news program in New York City. Early on it becomes the goal of this news show to start telling the news as it is, no matter the consequence. The twist is that although season 1 airs in 2012, the story line begins in April 2010. This allows the news station to cover events that have already happened for the viewers. We get inside information on the news stories we kind of heard about in real life. There are many ‘ah ha’ and ‘you don’t say’ moments as Sorkin picks and chooses what information he wants to recreate on his news show.

This show is very smart. It can be difficult to keep up at times and I often had to rewind to catch this or that. The intelligent banter is a refreshing change from what you usually see on TV.

Total Seasons: 3


Mad Men  is another period TV drama, but very different from Boardwalk Empire. The show begins in the 1960’s at a New York ad agency. There is an interweaving of history with fiction as a cast of made up characters live in a world that is bound by real fashions, products, and events that leave little room for error. The products they are trying to sell are the real products of that time. This show is the story of how a group of ad agency workers stop at nothing to be the best at what they do. Each person has their own story and as the years go by we see the ups and downs, but they never give up.

You never know quite what you are going to get with each episode. Sometimes episodes will be very straightforward and serious, but other times a song and dance will make its way into a scene. What you can count on with this show is guts. The characters take risks and often put it all on the line.

Total Seasons: 7


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