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Echo Kellum Talks ‘Arrow,’ Crossovers, and More

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With a name like Echo, it’s no question why it clings to your memory with a resounding effect. Luckily for actor Echo Kellum, you won’t have to ask for his name twice. Kellum stars in The CW’s hit superhero show Arrow and also may be best known as Tommy from FOX’s former show Ben and Kate. He’s come a long way from portraying a lead character’s best friend to now a superhero known as Mr. Terrific. Check out our interview below as Echo Kellum talks ‘Arrow,’ Crossovers, and more. Kellum, you have not failed anything. 


Cliché: When you were younger, did you know the entertainment industry is where you wanted to be?
Echo Kellum: Well, I started my career as an actor. I started acting in church plays when I was younger and then school plays. When I was 13, I was fortunate enough to join a theater troupe that did live theater and professional shows. We got paid doing shows throughout Chicago and we performed for thousands of kids. That was kind of where I got my start. Some of my heroes that I look up to, that influenced me to get into acting, are Jim Carrey and Will Smith. Then, as I got older, I started doing stand-up and just really delved into comedy with improv and sketch. I always knew comedic acting was where my heart was, so I moved out to LA and really started getting into the comedy scene, and tried to figure out where I wanted to go with my career. I was fortunate enough to start booking commercials and then television shows.

If you could tell your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?
It would be to keep your head up and that no matter what obstacles life throws at you, know that everything is going to be okay. And know that you will get to do what you love one day.

Season 5 of
Arrow has so many things happening. Before you started shooting, what were you anticipating the most this season?
Really coming into the fold as a part of Team Arrow in the vigilante sense was the most exciting part for me and it’s been a whirlwind journey.

What is the dynamic like having huge superhero shows in the same vicinity when you do crossovers?
The dynamic’s really interesting and I think it adds a lot of different energy, a lot of positive energy, that comes with it because I grew up loving these heroes and these characters and seeing the actors that really bring them to life. I love the energy and spirit they bring when we get to crossover and it’s really nice to get to work with different people that you admire.

It’s a given that if you were in
The Flash, Curtis would hit it off with Cisco. Who do you think would be Curtis’ confidant in Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow?
I think Curtis would confide in Supergirl. I feel like she’s a nerd and they would have some connection with that. On Legends, I feel like him and Ray Palmer would have a deep connection because of their love of science and technology. Curtis would probably just want to fanboy over how he shrinks into The Atom. I think they would really have a lot of fun science and technological banter back and forth.

If you could have any DC superhero guest star on your show that hasn’t been on yet, who would it be?
Batman! I love Batman. I would love for Batman to show up on one episode.

Arrow
and the DC TV Universe has a MASSIVE following now. Have you felt pressure of perfecting Curtis Holt/Mr. Terrific’s character?
There’s definitely pressure there, but I think the fans are so awesome, passionate, and willing to go on the journey with you, so they really help in that aspect.

The fandom has a huge liking to Curtis, but what do YOU love most about him?
I love his resilience. You know, that he can take a punch, get up, and keep going. I think that’s a huge thing for people to know: when you get knocked down, get up, and keep persevering. Life will be okay and you will make it through whatever struggles you’re dealing with.

Steering away from television and into music… I also hear you’re working on a hip-hop album! Can you tell us anything about that?
The one thing I can say is that my brother was a rapper from Chicago in this group called LEP, so I’m kind of making an album as an homage to him. I hope for it to be completed by the summer of 2017, but it’s something I’m definitely taking my time with. I have a really busy schedule, so it’s something I’m trying to work on here and there, and put some time into. I’m not really expecting anything from it, but it’s a labor of love because it’s something I’ve always been really passionate about and I’m really doing it for my brother because he passed away.

What do you hope to accomplish in the new year?
Definitely that album; that’s one of my biggest goals. The second goal is my screenplay; I would love to shoot this feature that I’m working on right now about something that happened in my life. And I would love to get picked up for another season of Arrow. That would be great!
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Echo Kellum Talks ‘Arrow,’ Crossovers, and More: Photos Courtesy of Lesley Bryce

5 Ways to Stay Healthy and Fit This Year

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So your New Year’s Resolution was to stay fit and healthy in 2016. First day of the year, you woke up hungover and decided to give it a day. Then, the next day was a Saturday and you still had leftovers from that mouthwatering dinner. Everybody knows you can’t start a diet on Sunday, so you waited until Monday, had a green tea in the morning, a salad for lunch, and a healthy protein infused dinner. You worked out a few days of the first week of January, fewer days on the second week, and here you are, a month later wondering where it all went wrong. Well, it’s not too late. The year is still young and there are ways to help you stay on track! Here are five of them.

1) Set Goals

This may sound like a given, but hear me out. Setting goals is not just saying: “I need to lose weight” or “I want to fit in my jeans again.” You need to really know what you want to achieve. Set tangible goals such as: “I want to lose 10 pounds by July” or “I want to be a size 4 by mid-August,” something to this effect. You need goals that are measurable so you can track your progress, and when you track your progress, you’ll get motivated to achieve more.

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2) Be Organized
Speaking of setting goals and tracking your progress, it’s important to keep things organized. Writing your goals down can have positive effects on your brain. Keep a journal, set weekly goals and document your progress. The Fitbook offers amazing tools to help you measure your progress. Their 12-week Fitbook: Fitness + Nutrition Journal is a great way to get you started and motivated, and so is their Goal Getter Journal.

Fitbook.com

3) Eat Bad Foods
It’s very important to eat healthy, but don’t forget, fatty foods are good for you as well. Foods like avocados, nuts, chocolate, and even cheese are loaded with fats, and it’s essential that you don’t refrain for them. When you don’t eat enough fat, your body goes into starvation mode, which makes your body store more fat, and not to mention the numerous other risks it has on your health. Eat all things in moderation, even indulge every once in a while, it will shock your liver and help you burn fat faster.

4) Keep Moving
Exercise as much as possible. With that in mind you’ll definitely want to check out some workout clothes for men. But it’s not just about exercise. Sitting for long hours can have calamitous effects on your health, let alone your weight. Try to get up and walk around for ten minutes every hour. It will keep your blood flowing and raise your serotonin levels.

5) Stay Motivated
The path to your goals is long, so it’s important not to get discouraged by the process. Surround yourself with like-minded people who live a healthy lifestyle, put on some uplifting music, and buy yourself some nice gym gear. Arrow from Birchbox offers a variety of beauty products that are specifically catered to women with active lifestyles. So put on your kicks, your new gym outfit, the Arrow lip balm and cheek tint, gather your gym buddies and go take over the world—or the treadmill, whatever you can conquer first.

www.Birchbox.com

In short, be specific about what you want, stay organized and track your progress, eat all things in moderation, stay active, and remain motivated and look awesome while doing so. Remember, being healthy is not a diet or a phase, it’s a lifestyle, so chose one you can commit to long-term.

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5 Ways to Stay Healthy and Fit This Year: Featured image courtesy of Fitbook

DC’s ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ Premiere Recap and Review

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If you watch Arrow or The Flash, most of the characters from DC’s Legends of Tomorrow will look familiar to you. Most recently, some of them were introduced in crossover episodes. I suppose that’s necessary when you have a team of eight people. And the formation of this eclectic group is how the season premiere of Legends begins. So here is the recap and review of the premiere.
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We’re first introduced to Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill), a Time Lord Master trying to convince the Time Masters Council that he needs a team to help him stop Vandal Savage (Casper Crump). Savage was introduced in the crossover episodes as the big bad that was sort of defeated, but apparently not so much. Hunter’s drive is the fact that by 2166, the immortal Savage has managed to take over the world to devastating results. He kills a mother and child right away for goodness sake!
Hunter heads off to collect this team by zapping them with some light? The team he wants to assemble consists of this hodgepodge of misfits:

  • Ray Palmer, a.k.a. The Atom (Brandon Routh) — Thought dead in Arrow, Ray is very much alive. He’s completing a mission for Oliver Queen when Hunter shows up.
  • Sara Lance, a.k.a. White Canary (Caity Lotz) — Another “dead” person from Arrow, Sara is brought back from the dead thanks to the Lazarus Pit. She’s in a bar fight with some man in Tibet when she’s zapped.
  • Martin Stein (Victor Garber) and Jefferson Jackson (Franz Drameh), a.k.a. Firestorm — This duo, first introduced in The Flash, has gone through a few changes. Jax is new to this life, so Stein and Jax are trying to get a handle on each other’s personalities and skills when Hunter shows up.
  • Kendra Saunders (Ciara Renee) and Carter Hall (Falk Hentschel), a.k.a. Hawkgirl and Hawkman​ — They are the ones tied to Savage in that he has been after them for thousands of years. They are immortal by dying and resurrecting in different bodies every time. They were first introduced in The Flash. Kendra is still getting used to her powers and doesn’t remember her past lives yet.
  • Leonard Snart (Wentworth Miller) and Mick Rory (Dominic Purcell), a.k.a. Captain Cold and Heat Wave — These criminals were terrorizing the Flash with their dangerous weapons. But they aren’t all bad, even though Hunter catches them when they are committing a crime. Eh.

After Hunter gathers them all together, he explains that he needs their help to stop an immortal mad man from taking over the world. He says that their destiny makes them “legends” in the future, no matter what they think now. Hawkgirl and Hawkman are obviously confused because they thought Savage was dead, but no matter. Hunter gives them 36 hours to decide.
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Ray turns to Oliver (Stephen Amell) to discuss his options. He decides to go and make his life worth something, because after he was presumed dead, he didn’t feel like he left an impact. Sara talks with her sister Laurel, Arrow’s Black Canary (Katie Cassidy), about the choice. Laurel convinces her to do it and gives her the name White Canary (outfit included!). Hawkgirl and Hawkman decide to fight it out because Hawkgirl doesn’t really want to risk her life on a past she’s trying to figure out still. Guess who wins the fight? Heat Wave follows Captain Cold, so when Cold decides that they could commit crimes in the past, they’re both in. And last but not least, Stein and Jax can’t agree, so Doctor Stein does something seemingly out of character: he DRUGS Jax and basically kidnaps him.
Everyone shows up, and Hunter then shows them his time ship, the Waverider, and Gideon, the artificial intelligence that controls the ship and is Hunter’s right hand. If you watch The Flash, you already know her.
Hunter breaks down the main mission: Savage is nowhere to be found, so they have to travel to an expert in the subject, a man named Aldus Boardman, who has been studying Savage for years. The only thing is they have to travel to St. Roch, New Orleans, October 1975 where Boardman is alive and teaching.
The team is warned about some of the time travel side effects and the ship takes off, but not before two innocent bystanders spot it. Unfortunately for them, a robot soldier thing from the future zaps them to death for not being “integral to the timeline.” Looks like he works for the time masters, so why is he shooting at Hunter’s ship?
After landing, Hunter tells the group that they must split up. He doesn’t quite need the violent ones of the group (Sara, Cold, and Heat Wave), so he wants them to stay behind. As for Jax, he volunteers to stay back because he’s furious at Stein for drugging and kidnapping him. Understandably so.
The rest of the group follows Hunter to find Boardman. Apparently he is supposed to die the next day anyway.
The trio of Heat, Cold, and Sara leave Jax on the ship to go drink in the 1970s. But obviously this couldn’t just be a calm event; a bar fight breaks out after Sara goes after a sexist man.
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After meeting with Boardman some new facts are discovered, and he reiterates the past story shared on The Flash about how Hawkgirl and Hawkman are connected to Savage. But the biggest shock? Boardman is the son of a previous incarnation of Hawkgirl and Hawkman. They were killed when he was 10. He shares the information about where Savage is located, but as they prepare to leave, Stein senses that something is wrong back at the ship (thanks to his connection with Jax).
The soldier thing is named “Chronos,” and he has found them. He’s shooting at the ship and disabling their camouflage.
The group rushes back, along with Boardman, because his mom doesn’t want to leave him behind. Mother’s instincts. The trio that was out drinking returns in time to see the fighting happen (Cold makes a funny Boba Fett comment), and they all barely make it back inside because all of the weapons and suits are basically in the ship. Boardman is shot in the process.  
The ship needs repairs and Boardman is taken to the infirmary. Hunter puts them in “time limbo” so he can fix things, but the team, like me, wants to know why they were being shot at. Kendra and Sara punch him to make him tell the truth, and it turns out he lied to them.
The council didn’t want him to go back and change time, so he ventured out on his own to get this team together. He picked them because they weren’t “legends,” in fact, they pretty much left no impact on the world/timeline. Talk about a depressing realization. But Hunter so desperately wanted to change the time because remember that mother and son killed at the beginning? Yeah, that was his family, a family he wasn’t even supposed to have because the Time Masters don’t encourage it.  
This means the team members have a decision to make: to stay or not to stay?
Kendra goes to talk to her son, and he dies from his wounds after giving her an old ring that used to be hers. (Hunter explains that time has a way of getting what it wants. Since he was destined to die, he did, just in a different way.)
Jax agrees to stay with Stein after Stein apologizes, because he sees the team as something that can do good now, if they work together.
Ray is struggling to decide, because he joined to become a legend. Thanks to Sara, he manages to put his bruised ego aside for a moment and decide to try and save the world and change his fate.
The criminals of Heat Wave and Captain Cold just really don’t care. They can be bad anywhere and anytime, so they’re still in. Looks like the team isn’t going anywhere.
So now that the team is still together and the ship is fixed, Hunter charts the course for their next location, Norway, 1975. Scene flashes to Savage and we see him there. To be continued.
I see this show heading in the right direction, but with such a large cast, they are going to have to find a way to make everyone useful, but also not always use them all together. I think they need to develop these characters individually, which is hard when you focus on all of them all of the time. I’m intrigued.
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DC’s ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ Premiere Recap and Review: Photographs courtesy of the CW

David Ramsey Interview

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Since finding his appreciation for theater in middle school, David Ramsey has continued to pursue his passions. He currently stars as John Diggle in The CW’s Arrow, as well as recurs on Blue Bloods as Mayor Carter Poole. A long practitioner of jeet kune do and studying boxing and tae kwon do, Ramsey takes his skills to the set of Arrow. And like Diggle’s introduction to fatherhood this past season, Ramsey has a 4-year-old son at home, so he’s balancing that home and work life (with a lot of trips to Disneyland). We got to talk with Ramsey about his journey into the DC Universe, some of his favorite moments on set, and what’s coming next.
Cliché: How’d you first get into acting?
David Ramsey: I got into acting back in Detroit, and I was in plays. I’ve talked to a lot of kids and folks in the area about getting into the business, and it’s exactly what I did and exactly what I tell them: start where you are. Believe it or not, even in the smallest and most rural of places or the most concrete jungle of places, there are always artists around. You’re less alone than you think. You just have to get out there and explore. I started doing plays and got bit by the bug in junior high and continued in high school. My school was very urban and in the heart of Detroit in the ‘80s. There was a lot of violence, but for me, I loved theater, and there was a big art community in the school. From there, I studied theater at Wayne State University, which is also in Detroit, and got my BFA. I did some stuff in Chicago and Miami, and then I came out to LA, and it’s been great ever since.
Were you a fan of the DC Universe (or comics in general) before getting the role of Diggle?
I was a huge fan of the DC Universe. It’s funny though because I grew up attached with and identifying more with Marvel, especially the X-Men, Spider-Man, and the Hulk. The whole “outcast, nobody understands me vibe” they were giving off matches that teenage mentality, and Marvel was emanating that. But then as I got older, I got into Batman, Superman, the Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow—just more into the DC Comics, so I was very well-versed with who Oliver Queen was by the time Greg Berlanti approached me about the project.
How was it joining the DC Universe?
It’s awesome. This is such a good time for comic book characters in general. It’s like a renaissance. I would have loved to have had this when I was 12 or 9 or 15. I would have loved to turn on any channel at any time. We’ve got Arrow, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Flash, Gotham—it’s crazy. What’s even better than that is that the content is good. These are good shows. It would be one thing if they came or went because they weren’t high-quality or the writing wasn’t good, but the shows are solid. So how does it feel to be a part of the DC Universe? It feels like a dream come true.
How did you prepare for the role? Did you know the character was going to stick around?
It’s funny you say that because David Nutter, who was the director of the pilot and also directed The Flash pilot, Andrew Kreisberg, who is a producer on the show, and Greg Berlanti, who is a creator of the show, all saw me on this show I used to do—and still do—Blue Bloods. I was recurring on that show. Blue Bloods wasn’t ready to pull the trigger and make me a regular, so Greg Berlanti reached out and said they had a great show about the Green Arrow. Kreisberg said [about Diggle] that he’s not doing much with the pilot, but this guy would be the first one to find out who Oliver Queen really was, and that he was going to have a ton of stuff to do and be Queen’s right-hand guy. What was cool about Diggle was that he was not a part of the comic book at the time. There was no book or anything about him. There was no comic lore about John Diggle, so we were just making it up, which is awesome. He can be anything he wants to be, and still can be, because though he is in the comic books now, we’re still making him up as we go along. It’s awesome to me because when he became part of the DC comic books, I thought to myself, “20 years from now, someone can play John Diggle, and I was the very first person to play him.” He never existed before this, but he’ll exist 20 to 30 years from now.
Diggle has had to step it up this season by becoming a father and spearheading everything when Oliver went missing for a bit, so what can fans expect from the rest of the season?
Well, obviously the Suicide Squad. The Suicide Squad returns. There will be a very nice wedding, but as things happen on Arrow, things might seem great for a moment, but all hell will break loose pretty quickly. The group that hired Deadshot to kill my brother, Andy, that group is called Hive, and they’ll get into that, particularly next season. The big story is Ra’s al Ghul. He’s going to make Diggle’s life and all of team Arrow’s life a living hell. We aren’t done with Ra’s al Ghul, and we aren’t done with the League of Assassins. We’re ramping up to that.
With The Flash starting this season, there have been a few crossover episodes. How has it been merging with The Flash and watching that take off?
I’m such a fan of the genre and the comics and the characters that I feel very privileged to be a part of it. Looking at the finished product, the crossover, I was like a kid watching it. I was so stoked to watch it. Sometimes I feel a little out of my body, like I’m 12 again. To answer your question, it was just exciting. The Flash has a whole different tone, so it’s fun to go over to Central City, because the writers make Diggle more like me, which is very silly. They give him quips and funny one-liners, so I always look forward to that. From my understanding, there are going to be more crossovers, so I’m looking forward to that. Anytime the shows get to merge, one, I think the fans love it, and two, for me, it’s always fun to watch.
Do you have a favorite memory from set?
Oh, gosh, many moments. One that just happened recently is our ongoing pursuit to break Katie Cassidy, who plays the Black Canary. First off all, it’s amazing that Stephen [Oliver Queen] and I get any work done at all. We are cracking each other up at all times. It’s just dumb, adolescent stuff. Any time anyone works with us, they have to get silly because we are going to get silly. Katie Cassidy is silly, but she doesn’t like to break character. She’s right on it, stays in the moment, but Stephen and I can glance over at each other and break. Katie, not so much. We have taken it upon ourselves to break Katie. To that end, he and I decided that at the end of a scene, we would just give her a kiss on the cheek right in the middle of the scene as the camera was rolling. We both did this on two separate occasions, and she did not break. She just stayed there in the moment. She is a real actress. That’s one of the funny things on set, and right now, that’s our mission.
You were in Accidental Love, which was released online February 20, so can you tell me a bit about the film and your role in that?
Jake Gyllenhaal is a senator, and Jessica Biel is a woman who worked in a diner and gets hit in the head with a nail gun. She doesn’t have health care benefits, so she is going to Washington with some other people to lobby for health care. She falls in love along the way, but she also encounters some resistance, and I’m a senator that decides that I don’t want to champion their cause. I’m playing a not-so-nice guy, but it’s very funny. Everyone was fantastic. When you work with good actors and actresses, you have to raise your game. David O. Russell was fantastic to work with, a very interesting director, but fun. It was a big hoot. The film had some issues, so we actually shot it a couple years back, but the whole experience for us as actors was fun.
When you’re not working, what do you do for fun?
Whatever my 4-year-old son says we’re doing, we’re doing, number one. We have season tickets to Disneyland, and if I ever hear the word Disneyland again, I don’t know what I’m going to do. The boy just loves it, and we’re there all the time. It is the happiest place on Earth for him, for sure. There’s that, and then there’s my martial arts training. I’m lucky enough to be on Arrow and practice that. I’ve been studying for 22 years.
What’s next for you?
Right now, between Arrow and Blue Bloods, which they still let me do, I’m on two hit shows, and that’s just awesome. Between those and a family life, I’m just thanking my lucky stars. I’m lucky and fortunate. There was a good while there that I was just waiting for the phone to ring, so I’m not complaining.
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David Ramsey interview: Photographed by Patrick Maus

What to Watch During the Winter Hiatus

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As we approach the holiday season, it’s now time for the yearly TV hiatus that takes place through the winter months. Our favorite shows won’t be back until January (some, in February!) And though this is an unfortunate time, it does mean that we have a little more time to catch up on what work or school keeps us from. There are a number of shows that I have become addicted to over the past few weeks that I will sorely miss, there are shows I cannot wait to return, and there are some shows that I want to start watching. I’ve come up with eight of the ones I’ve been sucked into, but there are so many I wish I could include. Though we may mourn for the shows we sorely miss, take advantage of this time! Here is what to watch during the winter hiatus:
Gotham; returns Jan. 5
With only 10 episodes to it’s first season, Gotham has covered quite a bit of ground in exploring Jim Gordon’s introduction to the Gotham police force, while also introducing some of Gotham’s most vile villains before they become the popular characters known today. With the case of the Wayne murder hanging over Gordon’s head, the corruption and violence in Gotham gives Gordon a reason to fight. It’ll be interesting to see who is introduced in January.
American Horror Story; returns Jan. 7
Since the Murder House miniseries premiered in 2011, the American Horror Story series has been praised since then. Each miniseries has different characters and a new story, but features many of the same actors. Now, I have never seen any of the American Horror Story series. The reason I’ve avoided it is because I know I can’t watch them by myself or I’d probably have a nightmare. My sister and I have decided to watch them over winter break, so I’ll be right there with you if you decide to start now as well.
Parks and Recreation; returns Jan. 13
This beloved comedy is returning for its seventh and final season on Jan. 13. Unfortunately, the season will only have 13 episodes. As much as I am saddened by this show ending, I can’t wait to see where the characters end up. You have plenty of time to watch the last six seasons and come to love these characters as much as I do.
The Flash; returns Jan. 20
A spin-off of Arrow, The Flash has 10 episodes to its first season, so it’ll be fairly simple to catch up. The season starts with an introduction to how Barry Allen got his powers and follows him as he learns how to control them. Towards the end of the season, there is a Flash/Arrow crossover, which is why I highly recommend catching up on Arrow.
Arrow; returns Jan. 21
Arrow is currently in its third season, so if you haven’t caught up yet, Netflix has the first two seasons. I can’t speak much to the newest season, because I got a late start and am only on season two, but what I have seen so far has been tremendous. The show flashes between the experiences Oliver Queen had to become the Arrow and what he is using his abilities for.
How to Get Away With Murder; returns Jan. 29
Well, this show has had quite the first season. From showing a murder through flashbacks and through the eyes of various characters to focusing on a larger case throughout the series to working on smaller cases, there was always something happening on the show. There are only nine episodes to watch from now until January, so you have no excuse to fall behind.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.; returns March 3
I love the Marvel franchise, but I’ll admit that I wasn’t really impressed with season one, but this show returned with an incredible story for season two and has been on an upwards trajectory. The mid-season finale introduces a new Marvel character to the universe, who will be familiar to fans of the comics. Though there is a long break before its return, Marvel’s Agent Carter will be premiering on Jan. 6 and will air during the break.
Game of Thrones; returns Spring 2015
So I’m including this show on the list even though it has been off the air since June and won’t return for its fifth season until the spring, because if you haven’t started watching this show, you really need to. Game of Thrones is phenomenally put together and the storylines will drag you in. Also, you should probably read the books too if you don’t mind some spoilers, because they are amazing.

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Photo: IGN.com