What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #34

There’s a lot of content I’m excited about releasing this and next week, so I wanted to make sure I update you on the stuff I’ve watched lately before I dive into those new and shiny things. Let’s go!

Love Life

Romance isn’t everything. I was in a really weird mood when I started this show and them telling me about the average number of relationships a person goes through and so on just knocked me down even more. I don’t have any relationship stats to share. I don’t have an epic (or even lame or otherwise) love story to tell and sometimes watching those shows that hyper-focus on the way to finding “your person” hit me in the feels especially hard.

Having said all that, it wasn’t a bad show after all. I really liked the ending, although I struggled with some episodes in the middle. I found Darby and her behaviour quite cringey from time to time and struggled with massive secondhand embarrassment from time to time. But you know what? I like that she wasn’t the perfect person. She had flaws, she needed to grow and sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them or planned them to. I can appreciate a show that doesn’t portray it all through rose-tinted glasses.

For fans of: introspective love stories, realistic portrayal of not everything being happy all the time, complicated family structures

Siempre Bruja/Always a Witch (Season 2)

I had meant to watch this for the longest time, but didn’t feel like reading and concentrating on subtitles. My Spanish is not good enough to go without them and I’d really recommend this show without dubbing (although it exists). Anyway, finally watched it!

I have to say, I didn’t enjoy this season as much as the first one. The villain was less defined and therefore made everything feel a bit all over the place. One of the biggest parts/problems of the season completely went over my head and I now feel stupid. It’s like everyone had to give up on something to help Carmen, just for them to get all of it anyway and yeah … did not get it.

However, I was here for the various romance storylines. Kobo and Alicia in particular are star-crossed over the centuries and I love that. And while I wasn’t to happy about Esteban being sidelined, Carmen’s new love interest has my attention.

For fans of: international Netflix content, witches, time travel

Alexa and Katie (Part 4)

Katie is one of my favourite fictional characters and that’s just that. I wish for everyone to have a Katie in their lives and I want to be someone’s Katie. This show has given me so much joy and even though it seems super bubbly and bright and like something that would run on the Disney channel or Nickelodeon, but it has talked about some great and frankly deep topics over the seasons. I cannot speak to the realism of the cancer portrayal, but the way they handled panic attacks meant everything to me.

I loved the ending to the show! It was wholesome and sweet and heart-warming. Without wanting to spoil anything in particular, I just want to say that I am going to ship Aidan and Katie forever. That’s just a fact now (and he better find an art college to attend in NYC). If they decided to do a special on them in college or after college, I’d tune in to it, but I also get ending it where they did. I am really happy with it all.

For fans of: bestest of friends, looks like a superficial Disney show but has amazing in depth topics

Gifted

It was Chris Evans birthday and for some reason I hadn’t watched Gifted yet, so I remedied that. I don’t actually have very much to say about it? It’s a good movie, because I enjoy complex family dynamics. I like when it’s not obvious what the right thing is for a child (although I felt it was fairly clear here) and the main party struggling to make all the right choices. Obviously, Chris Evans is always a joy to watch, so, go for it?

For fans of: Chris Evans, genius kiddos


Did you watch any of those things as well? Let’s chat!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #19

I have caught up on so many of my shows, that I feel like I really need to share this update on what I’ve been watching with you. I only did two of them last month and usually I can get in up to four posts. I need to start early in September to get my watching-game back on (seen as reading is still on a low).

Elite (Season 2)

It took me forever to watch the first season, but not Season 2! It was released and I watched it all that day, but it really wasn’t enough. I can’t say that I remembered everything from the previous storyline, but I could easily find my way back into it all.

Everything I really want to talk about is a spoiler, so I am trying to think really hard about what I can tell you all. My thing with this show was always that I didn’t really care about the investigations and crimes at all. It was more the gossipy/relationship stuff that I was into, so I was thriving on my Guzman-Nadia-ship this season. I also liked the addition of Valerio, which I guess could be controversial, but I hope to see him next season and mend his friendship with Nadia.

There were other ships that I was a bit disappointed in this time around, because I either didn’t feel them at all, or they had drastically changed in their dynamic and I didn’t know what to root for anymore. Overall, I had the best of times though and wish I didn’t already know that I’ll have to wait another eternity for the story to continue.

For fans of: Spanish Gossip Girl with a murder mystery/other criminal investigation thrown in

Carnival Row

I surprisingly really enjoyed this show! It’s not that I was shocked in general, because the topic and aesthetic is very much something that I would go for, especially with such a high production value. It’s just that from the get go, I didn’t really buy into the Cara Delevigne-Orlando Bloom-romance and they were banking heavily on that. Even in the end, I am not 100% on board with that ship. I buy it more from Orlando than Cara, but maybe it’s just because I don’t love her as an actress.

Anyway, the show has some really familiar themes, but presents them nicely. I personally wasn’t surprised by any of the larger revelations and only didn’t pick up on minor details. It was woven together nicely and could probably have ended as a limited series, hadn’t they upped the political issues towards the end and already announced a second season prior to the release of this one.

I would watch more of the story! My only complaint was that the scenes were sometimes really dark and I don’t mean in terms of story (although people were ripped to shreds by a weird creature), but more about the light situation. It was literally a very dark screen for me where I couldn’t make out much at times.

For fans of: fairies, pucks and other creatures, old-timey vibes, fantasy take on classicism and racism as societal issues

Stranger Things (Season 3)

I was so late to the party this time around and I don’t really know why. Last season, I stayed up till midnight (because I was in Canada and could watch the midnight release) and then just binged the whole season. But somehow I just wasn’t feeling it for this one and I had to really sit down and wait for the right mood to strike me – which eventually came!

It’s not my favourite season, but I did like that they managed to branch out some relationships, while also keeping the group close-knit. I am especially glad of the addition of Robin to the crew, because I adore her and think it’s great that Steve now also has a female platonic friend who isn’t his ex. I am also happy to announce that I will be dressing up as Robin for Halloween, the costume has already arrived and I just need to get shoes now (never been ready this early before!).

As per usual, the show keeps you guessing if some character deaths were really permanent. I am hoping not, but then they are also very adamant on some people staying dead … sooo, you never really know? I just hope they make more, because I enjoy watching those kiddos grow up and grow into themselves.

For fans of: American summers in the 80s, conspiracy theories, general Stranger Things madness, The Neverending Story song

13 Reasons Why (Season 3)

Not going to lie, I didn’t dislike the show when it first started. I did a really long post (which you can read here) on why you should or should not watch this show, because let’s face it – it is not meant for everyone! I cannot stress this point enough. This show depicts things I never wanted to see, yet now those images are branded into my mind and I don’t want to imagine what it would do to people who have experienced trauma similar to it themselves. It’s not easy and it’s not worth risking your mental health! It’s just TV. And the thing is, I do believe that it opens the eyes for some people who have been ignorant to the topics, but I am totally going off course.

Over the seasons, 13 Reasons Why has lost its reasons to still exist. Basically, Season 3 was entirely dedicated to humanising Bryce Walker, something none of us asked for and none of us needed. There were some really amazing emotional scenes and Tyler was a breakout character, especially seen as I hadn’t been much of a fan previously, but other than that I mostly just kept shaking my head. (Zach Dempsey is still ma boy though …) The content is all over the place. I was massively annoyed with the new narrator and 90% of the decisions the characters made. 

Sometimes characters don’t need redemption. Sometimes we need to let the bad guy be the bad guy in the given scenario. Do I know that it isn’t all black and white and that change is possible? Of course, but that doesn’t mean that I want to watch a whole season of a show that makes me try to like someone I really, really don’t want to like.

Anyway, they got renewed for a season 4 and that should be the final one and I will probably still watch it. There were less graphic scenes this time and I heard that they removed sensible scenes from previous seasons, so at least they are learning in that regard.

For fans of: self-torture because why am I doing this to myself every season?

Paradise Hills

I am still surprised this movie isn’t based on a book, because it feels like a YA dystopian novel more than anything. Depending on how many movies you watch and books you read, you will either think that Paradise Hills is really original or predictable. I quite enjoyed it overall and especially liked the aesthetics. If I am not mistaken, the director previously did perfume commercials, so she knows how to make something look pleasing to the eye.

There were a couple turns towards the end of the story, where they kind of lost me a little bit. I felt like they were trying to cram too many genres into it at once and lost the message on the way. I am not saying that I disliked it, but it wasn’t sure if it wanted to be sci-fi, dystopian or add magic after all. I think I just would have preferred it if the magical element had been left out. Still a nice watch though!

For fans of: aesthetically pleasing movies, large female casts, dystopian movies, weird twists that don’t necessarily make sense


Did you watch any of these shows or movies? Do you want to talk about it? Let’s chat!

#CurrentlyWatching: 13 Reasons Why

I debated for a very long time with myself whether I should do a post about 13 Reasons Why or not. The first thing I have to make absolutely abundantly clear is that I do NOT recommend everyone just run off and watch that show. Fact is that watching it was quite the experience for me and I found value in it, but I can also see how this is very unfit for certain people. It’s not only an uncomfortable topic, but it’s also very raw, realistic and graphic in its depictions. So, I really want to urge you to carefully read the trigger warnings (as always at the end of the post) before deciding if this is something for you!

13 Reasons Why is based on the YA bestseller of the same title written by Jay Asher and is an original Netflix series, produced by Selena Gomez. As the title already suggests, it has 13 episodes in its first season, although I believe that a sequel is not only very likely but highly necessary at this point. Most of the time when I have done these posts, I haven’t read the comic/book beforehand, but that’s not the case here. I was about 18 or 19 years old when I read 13 Reasons Why and I did not enjoy reading it very much. In my mind there was just something fundamentally off with the story, but I could never put my finger on it, so I ended up giving it a pretty mediocre rating (I’ve never reviewed it though). So, when the show was announced, I had mixed feelings, but as soon as I saw the trailer, I knew that this was going to be … different.

Hannah Baker decided to end her life. The show explores how the people in her life deal with it, especially upon exploring the reasons why.

For those of you who haven’t read the book, it was told solely from Clay’s POV and stretched over the course of a single night. Now, that’s the first thing the show changed for the better. 13 Reasons Why spans over several weeks and shows the story from multiple angles. This was truly necessary to accurately depict all the layers and background stories of the characters. I especially appreciated the performance of Hannah’s parents which was entirely lacking in the written format. Everything they went through felt so devastating and real. The actors and actresses of this show all deserve some sort of award for their performance though! I felt so very deeply for them, because you really get the chance to explore each of their stories and see their struggles. None of them, not even the best of them, are perfect but have some very realistic flaws. So, even if you end up utterly hating the guts of someone (those who watched know who I am talking about), it still means the actor/actress did their job right! I could go on about my favourites *cough* Tony and Jeff *cough* now or about the people that made me feel sick, but that’s really not what this post is supposed to be.

There are so many ways I could describe my viewing experience – moving, disturbing, brilliant, unflinching, profound but also massively important. Rarely have I felt like teenage-hood was portrayed so realistically and accurate, with all its ups and downs. It’s a tale of cause and effect. While I don’t agree with the way Hannah went about this – I found it quite manipulative but was glad that her truth and actions were challenged, which they weren’t in the book – she unabashedly showed that what we say and do has consequences. How we treat others matters! And maybe even more importantly it shows that communication is key. You don’t even always have to say something back, but if someone comes to you and opens up, you listen and you believe them. You don’t have to agree with everything, you don’t have to like everyone – people experience life differently and people are flawed and make mistakes, that is something we just need to accept. I’ve basically binged that entire show in less than 24 hours and my heart is still torn a week later. There are scenes I doubt I will ever be able to get out of my head and I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing. But that show did something, I simply couldn’t stop watching.

As a final side note I just really want to mention that I loved the soundtrack! (Can’t stop listening to Lord Huron again …)

As you are aware by now, the show revolves around the topic of suicide, but it also features scenes of rape, emotional and physical abuse. Netflix provided trigger warnings of their own, but not for all the episodes and therefore, in my opinion, neglected to do so on a couple smaller but nevertheless still upsetting scenes. Even if these scenes are necessary for the show, I want you to understand that there is NO sugarcoating. 13 Reasons Why is brilliant in part, because they very much deal in realism, but it also means they intensely show the bad stuff. You can often get by with skipping scenes, but if you are ever not sure that you can handle viewing or even listening to such moments, avoid the scenes or maybe even the show at all costs! I understand that something that might not seem like such a big deal to me can have a much deeper impact on others, so by clicking here, you can find time stamps for the most graphic scenes in episodes 9, 12 and 13. And by clicking here you can read a summary of almost ALL triggers throughout the show (includes Spoilers as to who is on which tape). Stay safe while watching!

What are your thoughts on 13 Reasons Why? Let’s talk about that!