When Caraval was released last year, I remember it being all the hype. People compared it to the Night Circus, which is one of my most favourite books in the world and therefore set standards very high. I bought one of the UK mystery hardcover editions very early on, but then soon realised that the hype was just too much and there was no way I could possibly enjoy it as much as I might have if I hadn’t heard a thing about it before. So, I waited and let some time pass to allow my brain to forget some of the things it had learned and I think that was a good call.
First of all, Caraval still wasn’t close to the Night Circus. Magic was there and it might have still been very intricate, but I feel like the focus of the story was less on enchanting the readers, but more on creating drama and putting all the characters in constant peril. As a whole, I still very much enjoyed the book. The story in itself was absolutely fascinating, but my issue was more along the lines of the characters.
Scarlett and I have a difficult relationship. I appreciate her undying devotion to her sister. I like that she has principals she is unwilling to relent on, but some of her behaviour just didn’t add up. Her past is tragic and I very much understand her mistrust in others after the abuse she has suffered from her father. However, she kept making the most naive decisions and wasn’t cautious with her trust at all. After a while, I was just constantly frustrated with her choices and and the people and things she chose to believe in or not believe in for that matter. Also, she constantly criticised her sister, Tella, for being impulsive, when literally none of her actions were thoroughly thought through. Speaking of Tella, she didn’t have the benefit of being present much in the story, but despite her overall motive of wanting to save Scarlett from a life in misery, she just still seemed utterly selfish to me.
I hear that the second book, Legendary, has Tella as a main character and that it is supposedly better than Caraval. I am definitely curious about how the story continues in the sequel, because Caraval was full of wonderful twists and turns and revelations. I call bullshit on anyone who claims to have predicted everything that happened in that book, because I am usually very good at spotting those kind of things and there was no way I could have guessed all of those twists.
In the sequel, I hope that we get to go a little bit more into detail on how Caraval actually works and that we get to find out more about Legend. I like a mysterious villain who may not be a villain at all.
Fazit: 4/5 stars! Liked the story more than the characters, if that makes any sense.
Have you been enchanted by Caraval? Is it a book you’d be interested in? Let’s chat!
Once again, I have turned to Twitter to help me make a decision and once again the result was a tie (Why do you keep doing this to me?). So, I have made the decision to review the first book, Annihilation, of the Southern Reach trilogy and that I will do another post for the movie and the remaining books. I still haven’t watched it yet, just because I have heard that there are some parts of the other books in it, even if it is supposed to only be about the first one and I don’t want to be spoiled. But for those of you who wanted a big post about everything concerning this series, you will still get it when I am done reading and watching.
I went into this book with fairly low expectations, which probably helped me incredibly in getting completely sucked into the world. I can see how the writing might not be for everyone, as it is very factual and without many embellishments. I would even go so far as to call it cold and distant, but considering the setting we were in, I kind of appreciated that scientific detachment. In a way, it added a layer of realism to it more than a flowery language ever could.
You never find out the names of any of the people involved, our MC is simply called the biologist. She wants you to think that she is objective when she details what happened in Area X, but it is very clear that she had an agenda of her own when she got there. Some part of me never quite liked the biologist, but at the same time I could relate to her on so many levels. I understood her need for solitude and I share the same ability of completely getting lost in my work. And I might not be identical to her when it comes to friends and family, but I still sort of got her behaviour.
Despite everything this book is, I didn’t expect to also find a heartbreaking love story in it, but all the bits about the biologist and her husband gave me exactly that. I am not saying those parts were my favourite … but they kind of were. It was so much about letting people in, knowing them in ways no one else does and about how everyone needs something different from a relationship.
“I loved him, but I didn’t need him, and I thought that was the way it was supposed to be.”
Should you ever pick up this book, I hope you don’t expect to find answers in it. It is an enigma until the very end. It probably leaves you with more questions than you started out, but there is beauty in its mystery. I am very much looking forward to what the next books have in store for me, but I also have a feeling that we, as the readers, will never get that full picture of everything. Still, it is so very imaginative and chilling! I know I probably should have been scared (seen as this is a sort of Horror SciFi book? And I hate horror?) but I was weirdly fascinated instead. I am also very curious to see how that all translated to the screen, even though I already know that they changed quite a bit (and made it look scarier from what I could tell from the trailer).
Fazit: 4.5/5 stars! A promising start to the trilogy.
Did you read the book? Did you watch the movie? Let’s talk!
Today I continue the theme of “shows that could do with more buzz“. After having talked about Here and Now on Tuesday, I wanted to do something that was targeted more at a teen audience. It was a close call between Everything Sucks (which is a nice nostalgia bomb for 90s kids) and my actual choice for today – On My Block. Maybe I will get to that other show at another point in time, but for now I think On My Block deserves more attention.
The show only premiered on Netflix a week ago, so I don’t expect everyone to know about it, but I didn’t see nearly enough people talking or tweeting about it as I would like to. Since it just came out, if obviously only has one season so far, but I really, really, really need it to continue because it ends on a terrible cliffhanger. I know that will scare some people away from watching, but I see no use in withholding that information from you just so you can be mad at me afterwards. It’s still very much worth watching and hopefully encourages everyone to give it another season.
On My Block is a coming of age story about a group of friends living in the gritty inner city of South Central Los Angeles.
There are so many reasons why one should watch On My Block, I don’t even know where to start. First off, our main group of friends are all people of color who live in a poorer neighborhood of LA. As with a couple of recent Netflix shows, they are really trying to move away from the predominantly white middle-class perspective and I am sure it will pay off on the long run (just think about how beloved One Day at a Time is! And yes, I will keep mentioning that show over and over until I finally hear something about its renewal).
On My Block generally has a quite light tone buckled with a lot of humour, but as the season continues it deals with increasingly more emotional and heavy topics. The actors and actresses are mostly newcomers and could definitely still improve, but nonetheless gave solid performances throughout. I am sure I am going to forget some of the topics that were talked about, but the show had such great moments all over, you don’t need to know every single one anyway.
Themes like first love, friendship and family are present during the entire season. Once again, this show proved that parents can be present and demanding and loving without being a hindrance to their children’s adventures and development. I love shows with complicated but positive family dynamics. We need more of that – always! And there were definitely difficult situations, especially in regards of generations being part of a gang and how difficult a legacy like that is, yet I am here for stories like that every time. There was also a great scene where one of the characters boldly called out cultural appropriation or another one that treated the devastation of current immigration laws. The show lets boys be vulnerable and girls be tough and also talks about how objectifying someone (no matter the gender) isn’t okay. None of the characters felt like fillers, but each had their own storyline and background. And I most of all loved how friendship prevailed and how despite some really stupid fights, they were all mature and recognised what was really important by the end of the season.
And, I seem to have a hand for those lately, On My Block is yet another show with a killer soundtrack. Music is so important for tone and vibe and it worked amazingly well for this show.
I am having difficulties with this segment this week, because a lot of the time I thought of the squad as an entity and not separate people. Obviously, they all have their own personalities and stories to tell, but it is difficult to just pick one because it will always be intertwined with someone else in some way.
I liked that Jamal’s story was without any hint of a love interest, because we need that too sometimes. I liked that Ruby fell in love with a girl and was ready to wait for her without pressuring her, fully knowing she could break his heart. I love that Cesar wanted to go public because he liked Monse so much, even if it could disrupt their group dynamic forever. I love that Monse was unabashedly herself and put others first even if that was one of the hardest things to do. I love that Olivia was simply a part of the squad because she needed them as a family and they had no hesitation in taking her in.
So, I am really into them as a group and that has to suffice. They all work together and they work as separate characters. In the end, this was just so much fun to watch and I binged the entire season in one day – no regrets!
Did you watch On My Block already? Do you want to? Let’s chat!
King’s Cage is the third book in the Red Queen series (click here for my review of Red Queen and here for my review of Glass Sword). Admittedly, I pushed this one back on my priority list for quite a while, mostly due to me not having liked Glass Sword at all. It was confusing and lacked intrigue and direction. Maybe Glass Sword just suffered the typical second book syndrome, but even after several of my fellow bloggers assured me that King’s Cage did not have the same problems, I wasn’t too eager to pick it up. Well, I guess it is time for me to join the ranks and say that King’s Cage is in fact better than Glass Sword, but I am still not fully back on board with the series.
The first time I opened the book, I immediately noticed a vast improvement. The book has a map! I remember being completely lost in terms of the country’s scope and the different towns and the travel time between destinations in the previous book. I was bored with the amount of moving back and forth and my lack of understanding where anyone was going, so this was a big plus already.
Then we are right there with Mare, still prisoner to Maven. The torment and weight of the situation was palpable throughout the entire time. It gave us a vulnerable Mare, which was direly needed in my opinion, because no one person can do everything, but it also gave us real insight into Maven and why he is the way he is. I enjoyed those chapters a lot, despite the slightly repetitive nature of the scenarios that played out. I know that Maven isn’t a good person and I am not making excuses for his behaviour, despite understanding that it might not be entirely his fault, but he is still the person I like to read about most in this series. (Yes, once again, the villain is my fave – what a surprise!) I think it really helped to see his side of things and Mare’s reactions to his confessions.
King’s Cage brought about another change though and it’s one I am still not sure how to feel about. There are multiple POVs this time around and just for the sake of keeping some surprises, I won’t tell you who they were from. I am not going to lie though, it took me quite some time to even remember who this person was and to this day, I still only have a hazy memory of them. This seems to be a reoccurring theme with the series. Aside from the people that appeared in the first book, I have troubles remembering anyone, just because there are too many people that are very insignificant for long-term plot developments. The names and abilities start to blend together, so I actually needed these constant reminders of who did what for what house and which color belonged to whom etc.
Overall, I liked the direction the book went into. Stakes were upped again, I started to like Mare better again as well, even though she is still not one of my faves. Cal is just cancelled, there’s something about him that just rubs me the wrong way. Maven is still my wicked darling. And I really had a change of heart when it came to people I previously disliked whole-heartedly *cough*Evangeline*cough*. I still don’t believe this series has a strong priority in my mind, but I am curious to see how it all ends. I think there is the real possibility to not go the classical route and insert some great twists instead.
Fazit: 4/5 stars! Improvement from Glass Sword for sure!
Have you read King’s Cage? Or the Red Queen series as a whole? What are your thoughts?
I did a Twitter poll to decide on this week’s theme (only for a short amount of time, so don’t worry if you missed it) and … there were two winners, so the poll wasn’t helpful at all. Still, it narrowed down my options by a little bit and I ultimately went with “Shows that could use some more buzz“. I know that a lot of you haven’t even heard of some of the shows that I promote as it is, but whenever I am on social media, I either feel like shows are getting attention or not. This week, we will talk about the ones that don’t.
To describe today’s show Here and Now is a thing of impossibility. It’s like the OA meets This Is Us but because of the lack of focus on one genre, it doesn’t quite do as well as either of those shows did? It currently airs on HBO and is still in its first season.
Here and Now focuses on a multi-racial family with three adopted and one biological child as things start to play into their lives beyond anyone’s understanding.
What even is this show? I don’t know! I honestly cannot tell you. It’s a lot of things and it is none of those things. It’s an enigma wrapped in a mystery. I have never been so frustrated with the lack of an aha-moment, yet felt so compelled to tune in every single week at the same time!
One the one hand, Here and Now is a family drama. It deals with adoption and especially what it means for the parents and children if you adopt outside of your own race. But it is about so much more than that, it’s about religion, mental health, sexuality and belonging into the world. Even within the pilot alone, you see that you get fleshed out characters that are all dealing with their own stuff in their own ways. Everyone is connected to the others, however, at the same time, it all feels very much like they all have their own stories apart from one another. So, taking all that into consideration, you might think you are watching just another contemporary drama, but that’s not the truth at all.
There is an element of mystery that, even after 6 out of 10 episodes, I cannot put my finger on. And I am not talking about a murder mystery here, I am talking about full on spiritual, supernatural or magical connections happening very reminiscent of the OA and Sense8. The numbers 11:11 play a huge part in it all, but it doesn’t feel like we are anywhere near the discovery of what it all means. This is partly the show’s downfall, as it sometimes seems to forget what it’s trying to convey with so many characters and their real life problems that the supernatural sub-plot just gets put on the sidelines. It often feels like Alan Ball is trying to throw in so many debates about culture and identity, that he never truly hits home with anything. I do want to give him points for trying though.
Overall, I think that Here and Now might be more enjoyable as a binge-watch. It is told slowly and with many taboos and straight forward confrontations typical in the style of HBO. The show has no to very little need for the use of CGI, which makes it feel grounded in reality. I am very curious as to what the whole 11:11 shebang means, because that’s just who I am. Whenever I randomly look at my phone and it’s exactly 11:11, I think of the show. I want the answers and I hope Alan Ball delivers before I get too impatient.
As I mentioned above, every character has their own story to tell, their own demons to face, their own hurdles to overcome. I am sure there are characters that appeal to someone that might not appeal to another person but there is something there for everyone. I personally feel very detached from the parents of the family. Their narrative is kind of lost on me, just because I cannot connect to them emotionally. Their children all hold my attention far more! It was difficult to choose who to talk about. Ashley struggles in her marriage and also with the fact that no one in her family can relate to being a black woman in America. The celibate Duc seems to be haunted by his past, but rather micro-manages other people’s lives as a “motivational architect” than face those memories. And Kristen just wants to be unique in a family that has so many stand out members. But in the end I went with the person who really started things in my eyes.
This someone who immediately caught my eye was Ramon. He was adopted from Colombia when he was 18 months old and is now an openly-gay student who is designing video games. He is the darling of the family and his adopted siblings suspect it is because he is white-passing and it was therefore easier for their parents to “deal” with him. He very much felt like the main character, despite everyone being important to the plot, just because his supposed hallucinations kick off the mystery plot. At first, the unsettling images are confined to his dreams, but then the visions seem to sweep over into reality.
All of his relationships are interesting. As I said, he is kind of the darling boy of the family, but I was especially intrigued by his not-yet-disclosed connection to his new therapist, Farid. I expect that, should the aha-moment that explains the entire supernatural sub-plot ever come, it will take place in a scene between those two.
But I also love Ramon’s relationship with Henry. There were some recent developments that I don’t want to get into, but I hope they can get over their fight and be the cute couple they used to be. I was very mad at Ramon for that one … I really thought they were hitting it off.
While it may not seem that way, there is more than just one family to take into consideration when it comes to Here and Now. Ramon’s therapist’s family takes up an important part of the narrative as well and they are connected through more than Ramon when Farid’s son, Navid, tries to befriend Kristen, Ramon’s sister, at school. The Shokranis are used mainly to show the fanatic and healing side of religion (in their case they are Muslims), but with Navid they also explore the topic of being gender-fluid.
I am not sure the show was strictly necessary. Maybe I should have waited until they were actually done with their first season, but I think there is a certain appeal to it all. It is far from perfect, but I think it tries really hard to put in as many current issues as possible. Sometimes it ends up being really clunky, but other times it can also be beautiful.
Have you ever stuck with a show despite not knowing what was going on? Would you want to try Here and Now? Do you think it might deserve some more buzz or do you think it is trying too hard to succeed?
Usually I try to have at least one non-TV-related post between the #CurrentlyWatching features, but … that didn’t happen this week. Instead, I am just going to seamlessly continue with my theme of “competitive environment” by introducing you to a show called 3%.
As so very often with my posts, 3% is a Netflix show, however, it is a dystopian thriller from Brazil, and that is not so regular at all! You can watch it in its original language with subtitles, but there are also dubbed versions available. Coming from a country that has absolutely EVERYTHING dubbed from movies and shows to whatever-you-have-it, I am quite used to it. Nonetheless, it can be very distracting for people when the movement of the lips isn’t entirely in sync with what’s being said, so I just want to say that a lot of folks online recommend watching it not dubbed. I am someone who likes to do other things while watching my shows sometimes, so if I had to read the entire time, it just wouldn’t always have worked for me. I can therefore say with a confidence that the dubbing is not that terrible. I can’t really say how accurate the translations were though, as I suspect that would also be an issue if you read the subtitles? Anyway, there is currently one season out and the second season is set to release in 2018 (but no specific date has been announced as of yet).
The Offshore is the big dream for everyone living in the Inland. It’s a way to escape poverty and suffering, but only if they make it through the Process. Only 3% of candidates will be able to get that better life for themselves – what are they willing to do for it?
Where to start? I did not really have any expectations for this show. I am pretty sure that I watched it while I was in Toronto the first time, when it rained quite a lot and I needed some sort of distraction. I like to try all sorts of new things and a worldwide success from Brazil in the shape of a dystopian show definitely made its way onto my radar. Honestly, I thought I was over dystopians a little bit, but they did everything right with this one.
While watching 3%, you are never overwhelmed with information, in fact, you really only get it piece by piece over the season. I wouldn’t say it is unpredictable, but there are certainly revelations that keep building up constant tension. With a simple yet meaningful cinematography, 3% tells the story of a social divide and corrupt system at its own pace. Each of the characters has their own reasons for being part of the Process, their own backstory and beliefs. With a cast quite big, I always find it admirable when the creators manage to balance those peeks into everyone’s lives. I don’t know how famous the actors and actresses are in their own land, but they were new faces for me and somehow that even added to the realness and rawness of it all.
To me, 3% was an interesting exploration of how far humans would go in various scenarios. There were a couple deeply psychological aspects to the narrative and no hesitation to go darkwhen necessary. Moral issues were explored and were woven into a strong plot that still has potential to go pretty much anywhere they choose to take this story in season 2. Either way, it is very thought-provoking already and I have some hopes for what might happen in the episodes to come.
Usually, I am all over ships in shows and movies, but that wasn’t really the case with 3%. To be honest, I kind of dreaded some of the romantic entanglements and if you know me, you will understand how rare of a thing that is for me to say. I appreciated that we got to explore so many different characters and their relationships as they either intensify or grow apart during the Process. There is definitely something to say about each and every character of the show, be it good or bad, but I think I want to focus on Michele just because she was one of the first people I felt like I connected to.
Michele joins the Process because of revenge. That is already something that easily catches my attention. On the surface she is a very level-headed and reasonable young woman. She proves to have good leadership qualities and a sense of justice when it comes to the different tasks, it was just really simple to like her. However, still waters run deep and there is a lot more to her, especially a ruthlessness when it comes to avenging her late brother that you might not immediately see at first glance. In some ways I found her really manipulative, which is why I was always a bit on guard when she got close to people. I feel like she is a good person at heart, like she doesn’t enjoy bad things happening to others, but she also has priorities … if that makes sense. In the end, I enjoyed watching her navigate the Process and the relationships that came with it. I cannot wait to see where her character goes in Season 2. There is something in particular that I am hoping for, some romantic stuff I actually want to happen, but spoilers … so that’s it from me for today!
Have you watched 3%? Would you want to? Do you appreciate Netflix branching out into non-English territory more and more often as much as I do?
I am back with another theme this week and it will lead you into some “competitive environment“. I do have some more themes in store, but I think I will eventually go back to single #CurrentlyWatching posts per week, just because this is a lot of work and my schedule change and some other factors have made it more difficult to keep up with blogging. So, if there is no post on a Tuesday, you’ll know what has happened.
It should come to no one’s surprise that Greenhouse Academy is a Netflix show. However, it is based on a show from Israel that was so successful on a national level, they wanted to do an English remake (I hear that’s a foreign network’s dream!). I can’t say anything about the original show, as this post will focus only on the Netflix version, which was filmed in Israel and produced by the showrunner of the original though. There are currently two seasons available and chances are looking alright for another season, but I gave up on predicting Netflix’ decisions about their shows (still bitter about the hold up concerning One Day at a Time …).
The relationship of the Woods’ siblings is tested after their mother’s death and their enrollment at one of the country’s most elite private schools.
I am going to be upfront with you here, I did not exactly expect to love this show. As surprising as it was, I found it really engaging and quickly became very invested in the fate of various characters. I think the idea of having a school separated in Eagles and Ravens, basically the equivalent of sport-interested and smart kids, very much reminded me of Hogwarts Houses and the appeal of figuring out which one you could possibly belong in (Raven all the way here!).
As much as I liked the show, I am also not delusional. The acting is mediocre at best, the sets look nice but also have something very fake about them at times and the actual school made no sense whatsoever if you took a closer look. They claim to have brought up some of the most influential and intelligent people in the country, but they barely teach the kids anything and then expect them to ace tests. I am serious, when do these kids even have class? Also, the very prestigious and successful basketball team they have is just for the boys while the girls are cheerleaders? Like what is even happening? The way girls are treated in general seems very behind. In my head, I made up this entire secret life of all the school students that aren’t shown where they have female sports teams and actual classes, because that was the only way this would have made sense to me.
Having said all that, I think it’s a decent teen show, especially for a younger audience. It doesn’t require too much thinking and isn’t graphic or violent (like many other shows of more quality on Netflix), yet it offers elements of mystery (but please don’t expect anything unpredictable or realistic!) as well as love triangles and drama that will keep you glued to the screen eventually. Especially the season two cliffhanger had me on edge (WHO IS AT THE DOOR?) and I would definitely be up for another season. Yes, it is very cliché and cheesy, and there are loads of aspects that could do well with some improvement, but if you don’t take it serious, I am sure you can laugh about it and just be entertained by the ridiculous parts. Also, bonus for good music – that’s always something I can appreciate.
With all its faults and shortcomings, I really enjoyed the friendship, rivalry and family aspects of the show (parents are actually present *gasp*, but I am not saying they are all being good just because they are present). There is some slow-building romance here and there, girls supporting girls no matter what and long-time rivals who can’t stand each other but still have some real respect and concern for the other’s well being.
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows though, especially when it comes to Hayley and Alex – the main characters. At first I was really hoping for a supportive sibling-relationship, but was quickly disappointed by how easily Alex turned on his sister when it came to the rivalry between the two dorms. Hayley, who was very much distrusting of the entire Greenhouse Academy scheme, was by far among my favourite characters and only tried to be there for Alex, especially when he was bullied. I guess, when it really counts, they stick together, but I still wish their relationship had been laced with less betrayal (in the end, on both sides if you ask me).
My other faves of the show are nerd Max and rebel Jackie and their blossoming friendship. They couldn’t be more of polar opposites, but that is what makes them work so well. Max may be awkward and rambly, but he is kind and nice to people just because he can be and Jackie is not used to that. It takes her a moment to warm up to him, but then she realises that he is truly that sweet of a guy and becomes his wing-woman and shadow wherever they go. I swear, they couldn’t be any cuter and make a stellar duo! There was this one time he sets up a private screening of a movie for her, so she can do an assignment for class even though she felt ashamed for not having seen the movie in the first place. He never makes fun of her in those cases, but simply quietly helps her.
I think that is more than enough on the show for now. Have you watched it? Would you consider tuning in to it? Let’s chat!
When Michelle @The Writing Hufflepuff published her original Your WIP in Gifs Tag, I was keeping my fingers crossed that she had tagged me – AND SHE DID! As you can see, I am really excited already. I love talking about Arcadia (even though I should probably channel that excitement to actually write some more) and while this isn’t exactly easy, I imagine it to be a whole lot of fun!
💛 Thank the person who tagged you
💛 Credit the creator of this tag (Michelle!) and link back to this post so she can find out allll about your WIPs!
💛 Try to limit the amount of gifs you use per question – I’d say maybe stick to five or less but I’m not the boss of you
Sum up your WIP in 4 gifs!
This looks hella bleak … it’s not all bleak?
Time to introduce your main characters!
Because there are so many characters, I am going to try and do ONE gif per person. Wish me luck!
How would your main character react in a crisis?
If you were to meet your main characters, how would you react?
And if you were to meet your antagonist?
Is there any romance in your WIP? How would you sum it up in gifs?
Kas and Dyson 5ever! (All of the chosen visuals are from before they were tragically separated.)
How do other characters feel about this ship?
How do you want people to react to reading your WIP?
Here we go continuing with my weekly theme of “UK Shows (sort of?)” after Tuesdays post centering Our Girl. Today we take a step away from the realistic and venture into a bit more manufactured drama with The Royals. The theme is really fitting here, because despite it being about a fictional version of the British monarchs, this show is produced by an American Network (E!) that usually has more reality shows than purely fictional content. So … it might be set in the UK (they film there as well as far as I know) and it might be about the royal family but there’s definitely Americans behind it.
The Royals is another show that I have talked about before and I have called it a guilty pleasure back in the day. I would go away from that expression now, because there is no guilt involved with watching this show. I have chosen this specific Friday to talk about the Royals, because it is returning for its 4th Season this upcoming Sunday (March 11th)! It’s a return I have awaited eagerly and am just so excited about. I am a hardcore Loyalist (what the fandom is called) and for some obscure reason, the show even follows me on Twitter and that will always give the show a special place in my heart.
The Royals centers on the struggles and drama of a fictional version of the British Royal family after an unexpected death in the family is bound to change the entire future of the monarchy.
When I first thought about watching the show, I was sure it would just be silly over the top drama and I wasn’t wrong, but it is also so much more than that. Over the seasons, the Royals has proven to provide quality entertainment that surely never gets boring.It has witty and humerous writing but also real heartfelt moments. I think a lot of it has to do with a very visible increase in production value over time and a regular change in the cast aside from the main characters (bitter about some exits, but insanely happy about some of the new additions).
In general, I want to give a huge shout out to whoever did the casting for this show, because the actors actually look like family. There have been some photo edits where you can see the similarities in the faces and I am living for that kind of attention to detail! Sometimes the accents slip a little, as people on this show tend to play other nationalities than the ones they are in real life, but overall, I am sure you will quickly fall in love with this cast!
There are some … hints at who the real life counterparts of the characters might are, but this is by no means a satire show targeted at the current monarchy. Rather it is just supposed to be a fresh and modern take on the subject with a familiar environment to put them in. Quite frankly, I don’t think it would have made much of a difference if they had made them rulers of a fictional country, except that they maybe would have had to change the color schemes because the flag would have to be changed.
Usually I like to focus on all the positive things surrounding a show, but there is something that is nagging at me and I feel like I need to mention it as well. There have been several sexual harassment allegations towards Mark Schwahn, creator and showrunner of the Royals as well as formerly responsible person for One Tree Hill. A lot has come to light during this past year and I am always in shock when I hear something from shows I really treasure. I was so relieved to hear that E! fired Schwahn, because neither the cast nor crew should be subjected to a man like him. I was so sad to hear the accounts of the women involved as well as the tense climate when he was on set, but I was also really glad that their male co-stars and co-workers had their back. However, despite me very much approving of how this was handled, I just really hope it doesn’t put the show in jeopardy. There are no news on Season 5 yet, but if you are able to, please tune in live or tweet about the show regularly. I don’t want these women, who were brave enough to come forward and give their support to the women from OTH, to not be able to continue work that they love because of one man. I am sure they will find excellent replacement for him, but the show still needs our support.
Now, it’s time to get to my favourite part of these posts – the character spotlight! There were so many people to choose from and there was no way I would just be going with one. So, I want to start right with my OTP – ELEANOR & JASPER aka Jaspenor!
Thinking back, their relationship had such a problematic start. I mean, there was literal blackmail for sex involved. But my babies have grown so much with time. When this all started, Eleanor was a spoilt brat and Jasper pretty much a con man, but they uncovered each other’s layers and with that the genuinely caring and good people they are. Do they have issues? Yes, but that’s what makes them three dimensional characters with a past and baggage. If they are not endgame, then I renounce my title as Queen of TV, but it is such sweet torture watching them either way.
Another person I simply could not resist talking about is Willow. She entered the show a bit later on and replaced someone as a love interest, which was why it took me a bit to warm up to her. But as soon as Season 3 came around, I feel for her character hard. She is someone I can most relate to as she is honest, ambitious, witty and smart. She knows what she is doing as the royal family’s social media consultant but she is a generally humble person. Also, she’s a fellow Ravenclaw and the reason I keep using the below gif over and over and over and over.
There’s other people I would like to talk about but SPOILERS. As I mentioned above, I really appreciated some of the additions that came with the seasons. The show definitely has one of my favourite villains out there and I will love him even when everyone else hates him, cause I can.
That’s it for today! If you have watched the show already, how excited are you for the new season? Will you be giving this one a shot if you haven’t yet? Feel free to ask me anything in the comments if you need more info! Let’s talk!
I am going to be upfront with you, but today’s theme is a bit of a stretch. I had a very clear idea of what I wanted to showcase this week, but I struggled to give them a connecting link, so “UK shows (sort of?)” is my theme. Let me explain! I am starting this week with Our Girl, which is a BBC show about the British military, so it is definitely a very British show, but I am sure it’s 90% not set in the UK because of the tours they are on and that’s why there is that question mark.
This is actually not the first time that I have talked about the show! It all started out with the 2013 movie (of the same title) about young Molly Dawes, whose life changes drastically when she signs up with an Army Recruitment Office. It was so well received that her story subsequently received an upgrade to a mini-series in 2014. There were five episodes in that season and I reviewed all of them very spoilery except for the pilot (here are the links for Part 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5). Unfortunately, there were scheduling issues with the main actress, so for season two and three the focus changed to another medic by the name of Georgie Lane. To this day, the reviews for the earlier episodes are some of my most visited posts and therefore I thought it was time to talk about the rest as well!
This is going to be a little different than usually, because I am going to show both the trailer for the movie and the TV show (for Molly as well as Georgie). It is not strictly necessary that you watch the movie before the show (I watched it later on but I understood perfectly fine what was happening in the mini-series), but I still want to include it for completion’s sake. Also, the Molly and Georgie storylines are separate, even if there are some characters that stayed the same and there are references to Molly’s life.
Both, the movie and the show, focus on how the Army can change a person’s life with a special focus on women in the military.
I hope I didn’t confuse you too much with my explanation of the show. It’s really a lot simpler than it might have sounded. Our Girl focuses on strong women in the military and delivers a seemingly authentic experience through and through (seen as I was never part of the military, this is just my personal feeling and not based on experience!). Even through all that, it never glorifies the actions of the military or war itself, but rather questions them and their rules.
The characters are all very likable. They are regular folks in very non-regular situations. There’s a lot of heart and personal drama that went into this franchise, but they also managed to show life while being on tour and all the different kinds of dangers the service personnel might face. However, they also show the contrast of how displaced the affected people might feel upon their return home.
It’s difficult to talk about one particular part of Our Girl, because it keeps changing focus. Each series puts the characters in a new setting with new faces and challenges all around them. As I have mentioned before, some people remain constants throughout the different storylines, but at the same time I recommend not getting too attached to anyone.
There’s a beautifully chosen soundtrack, with a new theme with each season. I feel like they got more budget for the series than they did for the movie, as it is a lot more aesthetically pleasing.
Obviously this show is about women. It’s in the title, it’s in the premise and I think it’s such an important focus as well. The women aren’t just army wives or the daughters here (although there is nothing wrong with that and those experiences carry their own struggles with them), but here the women are a vital part of the team, they are right in middle of things. I adored Molly’s character and was devastated when I first found out that she wouldn’t be returning. At this point, I have gotten so used to Georgie though, that I couldn’t even imagine the show without her. They are both strong in their own ways, not afraid to face their fears and conquer life, but there is one person connecting them and through that being that glue for the entire show – Captain James!
He is the kind of person who sticks to rules, but always takes care of his people and someone you would absolutely want in your corner when things get tricky. I don’t think there was a single person who didn’t eventually fall for him as he slowly started to open up in series 1 and I was more than happy to see that he became the constant the show needed when Molly was replaced. Through him, the story still made sense and provided that link to make it all work.
I will never forget the gruesome weeks it took until they revealed his first name and how I laughed when we finally found out. Or how he made me feel like I was in a certain coffee brand’s commercial, direly needing to try the Rosabaya flavour, even though I don’t like or ever drink coffee. Someone stop me from swooning over him all day long, please!
Anyway, this was my very rambly post about Our Girl. I feel like this wasn’t as comprehensive as it maybe could have been, but I hope my love for the show still came across! It definitely won’t ever get boring!
Do you watch Our Girl? Is it about something you are interested in? Let’s chat!