Michelle Stark, Times Staff Writer

Michelle Stark

Michelle Stark is part of the Things to Do crew and co-host of Play Tampa Bay. She also designs the Times' daily entertainment page, and is an editor/writer in the Features department, where she writes weekly about television at The Feed blog. She also manages the Things to Do social media accounts. Stark joined the Times after graduating from the University of South Florida in 2010 with degrees in mass communications and international relations. After an intern stint on the copy editing desk, she moved to Features.

Phone: (727) 893-8829

Email: mstark@tampabay.com

Twitter: @MStark17

  1. Yes, it is worth it to cut the cable cord - here's why


    Every Monday I settle in for a night of hokey reality competitions: NBC’s The Voice or ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. On Tuesday, it’s New Girl and The Mindy Project on Fox; Thursday is Shonda Rhimes nights with Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder. Friday mornings, I catch up on what I missed Wednesday and Thursday. 

    I haven’t had cable in four years. And with the recent news that HBO has plans to offer a standalone online streaming service, and CBS is currently offering the same, we might be moving toward a world in which this sort of TV consumption, without a traditional cable subscription, is the norm....

    Netflix's 'Orange is the New Black,' one of the many things I watch without traditional cable.
  2. Top TV week of Oct. 20: 'Parenthood,' 'Gracepoint,' 'The Blacklist'

    The Feed


    SEASON PREMIERE The Millers, 8:30 p.m., CBS

    Season 2 opens with Carol's (Margo Martindale) wish for her own place. Our wish is to get Martindale off this show entirely so she can resume stealing scenes on The Americans. Oh, and Sean Hayes (Will and Grace) is now a season regular.

    The Blacklist, 10 p.m., NBC

    James Spader's Red uses his gifts of lies and manipulation to pursue someone close to him. Yawn, what else is new?...

    Casey Wilson, right, and Ken Marino in Marry Me.
  3. CBS also launches an online-only streaming service


    Remember yesterday, when HBO announced it would offer an online-only streaming service? Well, another, very different kind of channel has followed suit.

    Broadcast network CBS has launched a stand-alone online streaming service, CBS All Access, for $5.99 a month. Unlike the HBO news, though, CBS moved fast on this one: You can already sign up for CBS All Access here....

    The Big Bang Theory
  4. Neil Patrick Harris is hosting the Oscars - finally!


    We must log in the fact that entertainer extraordinaire Neil Patrick Harris is set to host the 2015 Oscars. Harris has also previously presided over the Tony Awards (four times) and the Emmy Awards (two times), and those Tony telecasts won Emmys each time he hosted. With the Oscars now on his resume, it's an awards show hat trick!

    Harris announced the new gig Wednesday, with this video on Twitter....

    Yeah, Neil was made for this hosting thing.
  5. Every episode of 'Friends' is coming to Netflix


    Continuing today's exciting streaming service news, Netflix just announced that it reached a deal with Warner Bros to make all 236 episodes of Friends available on the streaming service in the U.S. and Canada. Take that, HBO!...

    The Friends!
  6. It's about time: HBO will soon offer online-only streaming service


    Cable-cancelers everywhere, rejoice! HBO announced Wednesday it's going to implement an online streaming service sometime next year, a la Netflix. That means someone without a cable subscription (or HBO subscription) will be able to sign up for the service and access all HBO content in an online-only platform. If you're a cord-cutter like me, this is the most exciting TV news of the year. (I ditched cable about three years ago, opting for an HD antenna, Hulu Plus and Netflix.)...

    Now you can catch up on all that  Game of Thrones.
  7. Halloween TV specials: 'It's the Great Pumpkin,' 'The Simpsons,' 13 Nights of Halloween and more


    Let's face it: We can’t rely on seasonal shifts to mark the start of a festive fall season. October in Florida needs all the help it can get. That’s why we need spooky decorations, haunted theme park attractions and, of course, Halloween-themed television. To get you in the mood, here are some of our top TV picks airing over the next few weeks.

    31 Days of Halloween

    Syfy’s seventh annual 31 Days of Halloween event kicked off Oct. 1, natch, with hundreds of hours of TV specials, including the 10th anniversary of Syfy show Ghost Hunters and the series premiere of Town of the Living Dead, plus horror movies like Hellboy, Let Me In, Boogeyman, The Revenant and more. For a full schedule, see syfy.com.

    OCTOBER 15
    Toy Story of Terror, 8 p.m., ABC
    The 30-minute Disney-Pixar short returns after its debut last year. A fun road trip for Woody, Buzz and the rest of the gang (voiced by originals Tom Hanks, Tim Allen and more!) takes a turn for the worse when the trip detours to a roadside motel. Yikes, let’s hope they don’t run into Sid.

    It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, 8:30 p.m., ABC
    It’s not Halloween without this 30-minute Peanuts special that always seemed so much longer when you were a kid!...

    Hocus Pocus
  8. Review: 'Marry Me' is one of the fall TV season's best new sitcoms


    I miss NBC's canceled sitcom Happy Endings on a daily basis. So it's a real delight to watch the network's new show Marry Me, from Happy Endings creator David Caspe, and feel some of that zany Endings energy come through the TV. The show comes off as sort of gimmicky in its pilot episode premiering Tuesday, but it's more than funny and charming enough to make up for it. Casey Wilson and Ken Marino as a couple on the verge of getting engaged are a dream....

    Wilson and Marino
  9. RECAP: 'The Walking Dead' opens Season 5 with bloody masterpiece … or not


    Did we just witness the tautest hour in the history of The Walking Dead, a cutthroat Season 5 premiere for the flesh-eating ages? Sean Daly thinks so. Or is the AMC phenomenon (the highest-rated series in basic-cable history) a beyond-tedious mess at this point? Um, super casual Dead fan Michelle Stark thinks so. Herewith, the Tampa Bay Times TV nerds debate Sunday's kickoff episode. Needless to say, they don't agree....

  10. What to watch this week: 'The Voice,' 'Marry Me,' 'Jane the Virgin,' 'The Flash'


    This week's top TV includes two new shows that are worth putting on your radar: the very funny new NBC sitcom Marry Me, and the CW's campy, fun Jane the Virgin. Plus, The Voice heads into one of the best parts of the show: Battle Rounds!

    Click here for our full list of top TV picks....

  11. Top TV week of Oct. 13: 'The Voice,' 'Marry Me,' 'Jane the Virgin'

    The Feed


    The Voice, 8 p.m., NBC

    The battle rounds start this week! At which point the niceties of the blind auditions end and things get real between the competitive coaches (looking at you, Levine!). Plus, they each bring on a music adviser to help with the contestants: Gwen Stefani chose her husband, Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale (snore); Adam Levine gets Stevie Nicks; Pharrell chose Alicia Keys; and Blake Shelton has fellow country stars Little Big Town. Even better: Only two more weeks till Taylor Swift shows up....

    Adam Levine, Gwen Stefani, Pharrell Williams and Blake Shelton head to the battle rounds this week.
  12. Review: NBC's 'Marry Me' is funny enough to overcome gimmick

    The Feed

    NBC's new sitcom Marry Me starts full-throttle funny and doesn't let up. Starring Casey Wilson (Happy Endings) and Ken Marino (Childrens Hospital) as a longtime couple on the verge of getting engaged, the show premiering Tuesday from Happy Endings creator David Caspe opens on Jake's (Marino) botched marriage proposal to Annie (Wilson).

    He's trying to surprise her after a vacation; she pre-empts the question with a rant about how he's waited too long to ask. "Your friends are garbage people!" she complains. About his mom: "She doesn't like me, does she? Guess what, don't like her!" ("She is an angel walking amongst us," Jake replies.) What Annie doesn't know is that all of those people and more are gathered secretly in their apartment, waiting to surprise the happy couple....

    Casey Wilson as Annie and Ken Marino as Jake in 'Marry Me.'
  13. Review: 'The Affair' lures you in with fresh take on a tired topic

    The Feed

    Stories about people having affairs in pop culture have become frustratingly rote.

    There's always a series of predictable steps. First is the attraction to someone the character is not supposed to be with. Then the part where he or she really shouldn't do a certain thing but does it anyway. Then the part where the partner gets blamed for pushing the other to stray. And, finally, the terrible moment when everyone finds out....

    Dominic West, Ruth Wilson and Maura Tierney in Showtime’s new drama.
  14. Get started in making your own candy


    This time of year, candy is everywhere. So why not lean into the glut of toothsome sweets? Instead of the same old Snickers and Smarties, try crafting your own candy for a more sophisticated, luscious treat. • The trick? Having the right attitude. • Yes, it will be time-consuming. No, the results won't be perfect on the first try. There's a good chance something will burn, and an even better chance that nothing will come out looking like a Hershey's bar. • And you will definitely get chocolate everywhere: on your hands, on the stove, on places you won't even know about till weeks later. • But homemade candy isn't as scary as it seems. • And with a bit of patience and the right equipment, the benefits outweigh any extra hassle. From-scratch truffles dusted with bitter cocoa powder, nutty chocolate bark, sweet-and-salty toffee: They have a flavor and freshness that fun-sized Three Musketeers bars can only dream of. • Plus, homemade candy makes a great, one-of-a-kind gift (Christmas is closer than you think!), especially for those hard-to-shop-for family members. One of the easiest and most mouth-watering treats, toffee, is gorgeous when broken into pieces and sprinkled with crushed nuts. Trust me, Dad will like it more than another tie. ...

    Homemade candy by Michelle Stark, Staff Writer English Walnut Toffee Photo: Patty Yablonski
  15. What to watch this week: 'The Affair,' 'American Horror Story: Freak Show,' 'How to Get Away with Murder'


    Looking for something new to watch this week? You've got plenty of choices. An excellent new Showtime drama premieres, another edition of American Horror Story kicks off and Viola Davis's new hit heads into its third episode.

    For our full list of this week's top TV, click here....

    'The Affair'