Kat’s Weekly TV & Movie Recap #1

As I’ve mentioned in my “All My 2022 Goals“-posts, there’s going to be some slight changes to regular features on this blog. Sundays with trailers are a fixture already, but I want to switch it up for Thursdays. Basically, this series will be the replacement for my binge-watching posts! This is a space where I’ll talk about everything I’ve watched in the course of  a week and where we can discuss most recent releases and even single episodes, if you like.

Today, however, will include some stuff I’ve watched during the past month or so, just to get caught up. Wouldn’t want you all to miss out on my random ramblings on all things TV and movies. Therefore, this isn’t a super accurate depiction of how lengthy and detailed future posts are going to be.

FINISHED TV SHOWS/SEASONS

The Wheel of Time (Season 1)

This show reignited my love for High Fantasy TV shows and I cannot tell you how grateful I am for that fact. The characters were so easy to get attached to and the world-building was so fascinating, I’m going to read the books soon. Because yes, I have not read the books before and I know there were a lot of changes, but I still feel like I need to know more about the lore.

Generally, I feel like they did a great job with casting; everyone is bringing something special to the table. However, you have to admit that the women were either written better or are just doing a better job, because they carried the first season. Especially towards the last episodes, things became more and more rushed and I wish they had granted the showrunner the additional episodes he had asked for. I know a lot of it is due to Barney Harris’ (the actor who played Mat) sudden departure from the show and the way they had to rewrite everything from the end of episode 6 onward. No one knows what happened there and I doubt my curiosity will be satisfied anytime soon, but it disrupted things for sure and I know I will miss Harris’ portrayal of the character. I’m sure his replacement, Dónal Finn, is a fine actor, but he has huge shoes to fill.

The world of the Wheel of Time is vast and complex in part and I don’t think they were able to portray everything in a way that made sense to both, new viewers and book fans. Still, it was a huge success for Amazon and I hope they’re going to consider lengthier seasons for the future.

A Discovery of Witches (Season 3/Final Season)

In case you didn’t know, I love this show. It can get corny and tropey at times, but there’s something about witches, vampires and demons set in modern day while still honoring history that just … works for me. Some may remember that I compared the first season and the first book (you can check that out here, if you’ve missed it) and I didn’t continue reading the series afterwards, because I enjoyed the TV portrayal more. The aesthetics and the acting were divine.

I understand why they went with a three-season-format, sticking to the plot of each book, but I could have easily seen this show expand beyond that and am a little sad it didn’t. I heard rumors of a spin-off for my favorite character, Gallowglass, which I would absolutely be here for, but I cannot tell if that announcement was a joke or not. Either way, they definitely managed to deliver a satisfying conclusion to the main plot, but I would have loved to follow the characters for a time longer. I know there’s only so much material from the books, but you can go off page. It has happened before.

As you can tell, I’m going to miss it!

Dickinson (Season 3/Final Season)

I don’t know how to put this, but I was a little underwhelmed by the final season? I liked the freedom they took with Emily’s actual history and the bits they stuck with for the most part. I always knew it was a weird show, but some aspects just didn’t work as well for me this time around. It’s a me-thing for sure, because I know for a fact that most of the audience loved the conclusion to the series.

Emily in Paris (Season 2)

Emily is just not a very good person. Stereotypes were enforced even more this season. And yet … Emily in Paris got renewed for TWO more seasons. I’m definitely part of the problem, because while I don’t like what they depict in that show, I binge it in a single day every time a new season releases. That probably says more about me than I’m comfortable facing.

Anyway, I’m neither on Emily, Gabe or Camille’s side on this one. They made a whole mess for themselves, but dang, Lucien Laviscount came into that show and really brought the charm. Emily is so gonna mess this up with him. She messed it up with Mathieu too and I really liked him.

WEEKLY TV SHOWS

The Cleaning Lady (Season 1)

I’m not a crime and thriller kind of girl, but this show has me hooked. Tropes and themes I usually don’t like, such as organized crime, infidelity, heavy sickness of a child; all make this show even more compelling. There is an urgency and sense of peril at all times. Thony just wants to survive and take care of her kid and you gotta admire a mother who goes beyond what her morality tells her to do. Also, the two male leads are nice to look at. I had to say it.

Call Me Kat (Season 2)

I’m glad Call Me Kat is back! It’s one of those brief escapes from reality filled with cats, awkwardness and humor. It’s just nice and fun! I’m glad they resolved the love triangle cliffhanger from the last season finale fairly quickly and I’m looking forward for what the seaosn holds.

Superman and Lois (Season 2)

I feel like a lot of people aren’t giving this show a real chance, but I love it. It’s one of the best portrayals of Clark and Lois in a long time. They’ve brought original ideas to the show, especially concerning the twins and parenthood, while still honoring a lot of characters from the comic books. While the second half of Season 1 wasn’t my favorite, Season 2 opened strong and has me very excited for what they’ve got planned for us.

Nancy Drew (Season 3)

I’m not vibing with this season as much as previous ones. I don’t know if it’s the constant breaks or the slow destruction of my enjoyment of the Nace ship, but it’s something. I still like the characters a lot, but if they drag certain storylines on for much longer, I’m not sure they still have my interest.

9-1-1: Lone Star (Season 3)

Everyone’s in danger. Nothing and no one is where they’re supposed to be. They only aired two episodes and are already on break and I cannot stand it. They’re really out there playing with my heart.

MOVIES

The Four of Us

Couldn’t find an English trailer, but it might be on Netflix internationally as well? Either way, couldn’t resist mentioning a German production (again).

The movie didn’t get the best of reviews and I’m not saying it’s brilliant, but it’s also not terrible. The thing is, this is one of those movies that would have worked equally as well as a theater production. There was no discernible advantage to this being a movie, so I can understand how it’s just not for everyone. I thought it was enjoyable though and a great take on modern relationships.

Encanto

I LOVE THIS MOVIE! I’ve watched it so many times at this point and I know I keep saying that, but it keeps being true. Not a day goes by where I don’t sing “Surface Pressure” or “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” to myself, they’ve just captured my heart. I kind of wish Disney would make this into a whole series, so we could continue to see what the Madrigals are up to. I’m so curious about each of their rooms and would have loved more time with Luisa, Dolores, Camillo and Antonio. Or, you know, just EVERYONE!


Do you like this new format? What are some tweaks and changes you’d like to see in this feature moving forward? Did you watch any of the things I mentioned? Let’s talk!

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert (Book Review)

Publisher: Piatkus
Page Count
: 384

All my friends, and I really mean all of them, who have read this book (be it in physical form or via audiobook) have raved about it and loved it with all their hearts. Not going to lie, that set the standard for this book pretty high, but I am glad it didn’t disappoint in the end.

Chloe Brown, a chronically-ill Black woman, and Redford “Red” Morgan, a tattooed rough-looking whtie ginger guy, do not fall in love at first sight. In fact, they are so convinced that the other one doesn’t like them, that they end up not liking each other. It all perfectly makes sense, because once they actually take some steps towards each other and open up, they learn just how different their true feelings are. The fact that it really starts going because of a floof monster of a cat just makes it a plus point for me!

There’s much to like about Get a Life, Chloe Brown. The characters are well rounded and feel real. They have pasts that have created insecurities, they have lives that are complex and filled with people they have history with. So often, I feel like the baggage everyone carries isn’t addressed so much in the woes of new love, but Chloe and Red really had some interesting hurdles to master and it was nice to see that neither of them was perfect, but they were perfect for each other.

“So I’m doing it for you because that’s how people should behave; they should fill in each other’s gaps.”

To simply Talia Hibbert’s writing style in saying that it is merely funny would be a grave disservice to her. She manages to capture so many different emotions and really makes you feel in the moment! It was so easy to understand the thought process of the characters, be it in their pain or joy or lust, that you might have been in their heads just as easily.

I honestly don’t care much for the sexual and very physical parts. It’s not my thing or something I pay a lot of attention to, but I did find the writing very sensual and not unappealing? I really don’t know what more to say to that, because I do understand the physical attraction between the two and how it seemed to be amplified by the fact that they fit each other like two missing puzzle pieces in terms of characteristics and personality – like, it was sizzling – but also … I care more about the conversations they had? They really were so compatible on all fronts, it was just a joy to see them try to make this work.

“Life hurts,” he said fiercely. “It’s unavoidable. But I know the difference between torture and growing pains.”

Still, in the end, there’s really nothing not to like about this book! The conflict made sense in terms of character development, without suddenly disliking anyone for the choices they made to protect themselves. I had a blast with this one!

“Love is certainly never safe, but it’s absolutely worth it.”

Fazit: 5/5 stars! Already looking forward to diving into the rest of the Brown Sisters’ books in the near future!

Have you read a book by Talia Hibbert? Did you enjoy it? Do you plan to read one? Let’s talk!

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik (eARC Review)

Publisher: Del Rey Books
Page Count
: 336
Publication Date: September 29, 2020

*I was provided with an eARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!*

CW: a bunch of really murderous monsters of various kinds

This was my first Naomi Novik book and I had an absolute blast with it. From the premise alone, I already had a strong feeling I would enjoy A Deadly Education, the first book in the Scholomance series, but I wasn’t prepared for just how much fun I had with it.

From the beginning, Galadriel, who is usually just going by the name of El, was a hilariously snarky narrator. She finds very little to like about the people around her or the situations she finds herself in. Where other people try to see the good to get by, she is utterly prepared for the worst and expects nothing from no one. The amount of times she described herself as not being able to stop seething almost felt like a running joke at some point, because she really did have the hardest of times feeling anything but angry, which makes the moments she feels vulnerable all the more special.
However, what could have easily been an annoying trait after a while, worked well for her. Death seems to be a constant companion at the school and everyone is way too okay with more than half the class dying until graduation. They had to prepare to be eaten by monsters pretty much their entire lives (unless they were from a well-off enclave … which weirdly are only New York and London?). It felt so callous and cold, but I tried to jot it down as a coping mechanism. All I wanted from El was for her to actually care for someone, to break that carefully crafted facade, and during the course of A Deadly Education, that’s exactly what you get, which is what makes it such a joy to read.

The strong suit of the story is definitely El’s interaction with her fellow classmates, be it with enclave kids she hates, the few kids that tolerated her or, most fun of all, shinning knight and do-gooder Orion. If I had to describe him, I’d say he was a classic example of a himbo – not the brightest bulb out there, but a boy with a heart of gold … and not bad to look at either. His banter with El was really EVERYTHING! If you can give me a good “Why are you being nice to me? Are you mad at me?”-kind of dynamic, I am hooked! I don’t really want to speak more to the nature of their relationship, because I don’t even know if I can call it fake dating or not, but it’s hilarious.

Where the novel struggles a bit is the world building. I never really found myself confused by the concept of the school, the international aspects with students from literally all over the globe being in this one void place or the onslaught of murderous monsters. What I did struggle a bit with was the enormous info dumps though. El is telling everything from her point of view (with a really interesting 4th wall break at some point), with long paragraphs of inner monologue and little else, which establishes her voice nicely, but also just means info on info on info in some sequences of the book. I wish there had been a sleeker way to introduce all that to us, but it kept happening throughout the novel, even after the initially very info-dump-heavy first chapter.

What really throws you for a loop is the final line of the book though! Honestly, this could have easily been an interesting standalone book (with only a couple unanswered questions left), but with that one last line, it turns your whole world and the experience you just had upside down. Now I am really full of questions and anxious to find out what the frick is going on!

Fazit: 4/5 stars! Absolutely loved this and am already so looking forward to the sequel!

Do you intend to read A Deadly Education? Have you read other books by Naomi Novik? Let’s chat!