Best TV series of 2017

It's that time of the year again for me to showcase some of the best TV series that I've watched all throughout this year. This year the list features some pretty cool novel and comic adapted TV series and a few original series made for the small screen.

The Man in the High Castle (Amazon Prime)

Imagine if Hitler’s Germany and Japan who had won World War II instead of the Allies. Germany dropped the atomic bomb on Washington D.C first and divides North America between themselves and Japan. That is the premise of Amazon’s hit dystopian alternative history TV series. Based on the 1962 novel by Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle presents an interesting narrative of what could have happened to America and the world ruled by Axis powers.
PG Rating: PG

The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)

From another dystopian novel by Canadian author Margaret Atwood - The Handmaid’s Tale tells the story set in a near-future New England in a totalitarian Christian fundamentalist group that has overthrown the United States government. The novel revolves around the journey of the handmaid Offred whose name derives from the possessive form “of Fred”, not unlike slavery-era America. In the era of declining birth rates due to increasing infertility, handmaids like Offred were forced to produce children for the ruling class based on the biblical story of Racher and her handmaid Bilhah. Messed up? I know. Watch it for yourself to find out how the story goes.
PG Rating: R

American Gods (Amazon Prime)

What if ancient and modern mythology were real? What if old gods like Odin, Loki, Czenobog, Anubis, Kali and Bilquis live amongst us in the modern world? How does these old gods compete with new gods such as the god of computers and the Internet, television, conspiracy theories, stock market and globalisation (for real)? This amazing TV series based on the novel by Neil Gaiman by the same name, American Gods is one roller-coaster ride of a series with a few good turn, twist and surprises round the corner.
PG Rating: R

Fresh Off the Boat (iFlix)

This sitcom follows the course of Eddie Huang’s Taiwanese family as they make their way from Chinatown of Washington D.C to Orlando, Florida to open a cowboy-themed steak restaurant in 1995. His mother struggles with the culture clash between her upbringing and a Florida community that does not have a large Asian population, his father embraces the “American Dream”, and Eddie struggles with assimilating into school. Yeah I totally copied all of that from Wikipedia but the point is this series is funny and entertaining.
PG Rating: G

The Americans (FX)

I love spy series and I love period dramas. Set in the early 1980s during the Cold War, it is the story of Elizabeth (Keri Rusell of Fecility) and Philip Jennings, two Soviet KGB officers posing as an American married couple living in the suburbs of Washington D.C, with their children. Their neighbor Stan Beeman is an FBI agent working in counterintelligence. Live their drama as they navigate through live of espionage, treachery, sabotage and marriage troubles LOL. Keri Russell, despite her age is still hot though.
PG Rating: PG-13

Marvel’s The Defenders (Netflix)

What happens when you combine Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist? You get The Defenders of course. This Netflix original combines some of the lesser-known Marvel Cinematic Universe on the small screen. In this series, the vigilantes team up in New York to fight their arch enemy: The Hand (Shoulder, Knees and Toes). Be very afraid. PG Rating: G

Riverdale (Netflix)

Remember the Archie Comics? You don’t? So do I because I’m too young to be reading them 😃. Anyway, Riverdale is an American teen drama TV series based on the characters of Archie Comics. It’s like a live action TV version of a Marvel or DC Comics except it’s Archies. Relive the nostalgia of Archie Andrews, Betty Cooper, Veronica Lodge and Jughead Jones as the explores the darkness hidden behind a seemingly perfect life in the small town of Riverdale.
PG Rating: PG

Fear The Walking Dead (AMC)

If you love The Walking Dead, you’re gonna love its companion series and prequel - Fear The Walking Dead. I know this particular TV series is 3 years old already but I just found out about it this year so it still counts. The series follows a dysfunctional family based in LA on the onset of the zombie apocalypse. They must reinvent themselves, learning new skills and adopting new attitudes in order to survive as civilization collapse around them.
PG Rating: PG

Billions (Netflix)

Billions is not your typical courtroom or wall street drama series. Based on the activities of crusading federal prosecutor Preet Bharara and his legal battles with hedge fund manager Steve Cohen of S.A.C Capital Advisors. I know that sounded really boring but the actors really succeeded of turning this TV series into something interesting and riveting, keeping you wanting for more.
PG Rating: PG-13

Legion (FX)

Legion is a science fiction psychological thriller series based on the Marvel Comics character David Haller / Legion. Never heard of him? So do I before this year! But this character is connected to the X-Men film series so that should be good right? David Haller is a mutant diagnosed with schizophrenia at a young age only to discover that he actually has some kickass super powers. Spoiler alert: David Haller is actually the mutant son of Professor Charles Xavier, no wonder lah.
PG Rating: PG

Afif simplified PG Rating guide:

G - For general audience, totally safe to watch with kids
PG - Parental guidance suggested - may contain mild violence or horror but generally no nudity or sex scenes. Avoid if your kids can't take scary stuff
PG-13: Parents strongly cautioned. May contain some heavy kissing, brief nudity or sex scenes. Not safe to watch in the living room with family
R - Restricted. Contains some adult materials. Watch alone or with partner only.

Berjaya Times Square Theme Park

Berjaya Times Square Theme park is one of those places that is so close by and you think about going some time but somehow never really got going until now. It’s quite accessible, right in the middle of the city near Bukit Bintang but I thought we could always go there any time of the month, no rush so we went to other places first.

Getting there is not a problem because who could miss the massive Berjaya Times Square building in the middle of the city centre along Jalan Imbi. You can park at inside the building itself or next door across the road at Kelab Conlay for a whole day parking rate of just 9 ringgit which I did. Located on the 5th floor of Berjaya Times Square, the theme park occupies an entire 3 floors of the shopping mall/hotel. You just take the elevator to the 5th floor and there you are.

Here’s a protip: buy your tickets in advance online and spare yourselves from the massive queue at the ticketing counter, especially during weekends. Ticket price for Malaysians are RM41 for adults and RM30 for children. I took the Family Package (2 adults + 2 children) and another MyKad adult ticket so the total was only RM143 for the entire family. Pretty cheap compared to other theme parks we’ve been before but if you consider the limited number of attractions inside, it’s a reasonable price. Just print your online booking receipt and show them at the entrance. You’ll go straight to a special counter for online purchases. From the entrance, you’ll have to wear the usual wristband for visitors. Unlike some other places, you can actually go out and come in again into the theme park not once but twice on the same day. And you’ll probably want to rent a locker for 4 ringgit per day to store all your bags and belongings because you can’t wear them for most of the rides. Bear in mind though, you can only unlock the locker once before needing to pay to lock it again later. If you do buy the prepaid card, remember to return them to the cashier before leaving to claim your 5 ringgit deposit.

The attractions are divided into two, one for children and the other for adults. There are altogether 7 attractions for children in the Fantasy Garden and one of them the Crazy Bus is “closed for maintenance”. As for adults, they can go on the Galaxy Station area 4 major rides/attraction (if you don’t count the payable video game arcade). Yes only 4 because two of them Dizzy Izzy and DNA Mixer are still “closed for maintenance”. From what I learn from the reviews, they closed for quite some time now and they’re taking their own sweet time fixing them rides. Most of the adult rides have a minimum height requirement so you better tell your little ones in advance which ride they could take and which they couldn’t to avoid disappointment and that sad look in their eyes.

One of the more popular ride is of course the Supersonic Odyssey roller coaster ride. It is Asia-Pacific's longest multiple-inverted roller coaster that is 800 meters long and runs at a top speed of 80KM/H. Although only 800 metres long, I can assure you your adrenalin will still be pumping for a while after going through that ride. If you go bright and early there’s practically no queue for this ride and the crowd gradually builds up towards the evening.

As with all other theme parks, the food sold inside are pricey and not worth it. Thankfully you can go in and out of the park twice remember? So we had some ayam penyet lunch in Sungai Wang Plaza next door and then do our Zuhur prayers on the 8th floor of the mall.

So is it worth it to bring your family to the Berjaya Times Square Theme Park? For the price - I think it’s okay. Had they fixed the 3 permanently broken rides it would be more value for money. The park is open from 10:00AM to 10:00PM so you can spend 12 hours inside the park if you want to (we got out after 7:00PM). Would I go back in the future? Not anytime soon.

TM Resorts Fraser Hill Sri Peninjau review

While the kids were away, we took this opportunity to go for a short getaway in Fraser’s Hill near Raub. I have always had a soft spot for Fraser’s Hill. It’s cool, peaceful and tranquil there away from the bustle of other highland resorts such as Cameron highlands or Genting. The area is small enough to be spared from the horrors of plantation and over-development. I’ve been there a few times with friends and family. With friends it was for a hiking trip to the Pine Hill and Twin Peak trail. I stayed with my sister, mom and both our family once at the Pines resort a couple of years ago and that’s about it. We’ve never returned back to the highland resort ever since.

Usually it’s virtually impossible to get a good (read: affordable) deal during school holidays or weekends but this time after much persistence and effort I’ve managed to snag a relatively good deal at one of the hotels there. The place we stayed were called TM Resorts Fraser Hill Sri Peninjau apartment, tucked away at the highest point in Fraser’s Hill. Fraser’s Hill is only a short 2 hours drive away from home, another reason why I liked the place very much. From the clock tower in the middle of the town, I had to drive another 3 kilometres to the apartment along a winding and gradual climb up the hill.

First look, the place looked like a typical apartment housing, 4 stories high. Parking space was limited and I had to negotiate a sharp and narrow turn to the back of the apartment. Nobody was present at the reception but one guy showed up minutes later, probably back from a toilet break. To be honest the reception is nothing more than a small room not unlike the maintenance office at my flat. I filled up some forms and got our keys to a room on the 2nd floor. It’s a relatively spacious one bedroom apartment. There’s a living room and then the bedroom. As we enter, there’s a whiff of musty smell mixed with the smell of something burning in the air.

The burning smell slowly subsided but the musty smell persisted throughout our stay. The windows were ajar when we got there and I could only guess that rain water or the damp climate somehow contributed to the aroma. There were some rattan furniture and a small 21” LCD TV in the living room. No Astro or cable TV whatsoever so we had to make do with terrestrial TV hooked to the antenna. The bedroom is attached to the bathroom. Didn’t expect any bath tub or jacuzzi in there but I expected then to be clean at least which is not the case. The toilet bowl looked like it had just been cleaned after a while and the little sink is leaking. The bed sheet looks alright at first glance but upon closer inspection by the wife, she found several unsightly stains on it. We then straight away called the reception to change our bed sheet which they did but the new sheets was only slightly better than the one earlier. At least we knew from a fact that this one is washed and new.

Frankly speaking, I didn’t have high hopes for a 140 ringgit per night apartment from Expedia. The bare minimum was it should be clean and free from smell. That said, you get what you pay for and that’s exactly what happened in my case. The rest of our visit was uneventful. We took a stroll and had a little sight-seeing tour around the town centre and had coffee and hot chocolate at one of the newly opened café. Later we had dinner at the usual eateries near pine road. We had planned to go for a short hike around one of the many trails there but unfortunately almost all of them are closed until January or February I think which is a common occurrence these past few years. Our only other option was a trek to the popular Jeriau waterfall but unfortunately it started to rain later that afternoon.

Will I be coming back to Fraser Hill? Definitely but most probably somewhere else apart from that Sri Peninjau apartment. If you’re low on budget and don’t mind staying at a 1 star resort then the TM Resorts Fraser Hill Sri Peninjau apartment would be perfect for you. You can call them at this number below number for reservation or you can always book one on