TMP – TV Edition: 2020 Freshmen Series

It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for the Thursday Movie Picks feature. This series is hosted by Wandering through the Shelves and offers you a weekly prompt to post some movie recommendations/talking points according to the theme. Usually, you are supposed to post about 3-5 examples, which I find a very manageable amount.

I am sorry if this getting a bit repetitive, but today’s theme is all about 2020 Freshmen Series, which means TV shows that aired for the first time last year. Now, I did a whole post on that already when I ranked my favourite new TV shows of 2020 (which you can check out here if you need a reminder). Seen as I don’t want to do the exact same thing again, I’m going to focus solely on the shows I liked (maybe not my top picks, but still good ones) that I think went unnoticed by the public. A lot of series managed to reach quite a large audience, but others not so much, especially in terms of international content. I’m not just going to showcase foreign shows, but there’s going to be some! Let’s celebrate them!

Little Voice

2020 was surprisingly full of amazing music-centric shows. We had Julie and the Phantoms for a predominately younger audience and Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist for everyone else. I adore both those shows and would 100% recommend them to anyone who wanted something emotional and upbeat at the same time. But, I would also recommend Little Voice. With a beautiful cinematography and amazing songs from Sara Bareilles it is sure to capture your hearts! (Yes, once again, I am strongly advocating for Apple TV+ content)

Ragnarok

If you enjoy Norse mythology, but prefer a modern setting, this might just be for you! Tackling subjects such as climate change, Ragnarok feels current, but also captures the intrigue of old myths. It might not be the retelling you’d expect, but the lines on who is the villain and who is the hero aren’t always as clear as they seem. (Season 2 is already filming!)

Vampires

(would recommend watching it in French with subtitles, but could only find a French trailer without subtitles)

Vampire content fluctuates in popularity and doesn’t always manage to grab audiences. Vampires, on Netflix, felt pretty refreshing to me. Yes, I will admit to still shipping something that’s problematic and there must be some gene in vampires that makes them inherent stalkers, but it also felt different like so many other shows and movies I had seen with those creatures before. (Season 2 has yet to be confirmed)

The Mess You Leave Behind

This is (I think) a limited series, so it wraps up nicely. My main draw for the show was Aron Piper, but eventually I just wanted to know what had happened. Moving between present and past, the viewer learns about what happened at a Spanish school in the country and the mess the new teacher inherited. Not going to lie, it’s sometimes tough to root for … well, anyone? But the intrigue was kept nicely, even with a slow pace.

Blood & Water

Being one of South Africa’s first Netflix productions, it centers around the divide between the poor and the rich as well as child kidnapping and corruption – all things that hook you easily. True to being the teenagers they are, they sometimes trust too easily or are so closed off, it seems ridiculous. I wouldn’t hold it against them, but just be aware of the drama that comes with that. (Season 2 is confirmed)


If you are looking for more recommendations on TV shows that don’t have an onslaught of seasons out already, I’d love to redirect you to my 2020 ranking once again (click here). Did you watch any of the shows I mentioned? What were some shows you think deserved more attention in 2020?

Thursday Movie Picks – 2020 Releases

It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for the Thursday Movie Picks feature. This series is hosted by Wandering through the Shelves and offers you a weekly prompt to post some movie recommendations/talking points according to the theme. Usually, you are supposed to post about 3-5 examples, which I find a very manageable amount.

Since this week is all about our favourite 2020 releases, I want to direct you to my Top 10 movies of 2020 post, which you can read here! However, that list was about the movies I had watched that year but not necessarily only ones that released then. So, to not just duplicate it in part anyway, I wanted to highlight one movie from every streaming service I could think of/watched.

Uncle Frank (Amazon Prime Video)

This movie. It was sad but also beautiful and I loved the characters. I think it went kind of under the radar, as did many movies last year, but would deserve a bit more attention.

Palm Springs (Hulu)

Palm Springs is a whacky movie, but in all the best ways. The whole groundhog-day-scenario can get so tiresome, but they managed a fresh take on it that was fun to watch.

The Half of It (Netflix)

I’ve mentioned this movie so often, I don’t even think I still need to explain why it is beautiful, authentic and worth the watch.

Clouds (Disney+)

I always feel weird judging movies that are based on real people, especially ones that are very, very recent. I remember Zach’s song when it first released and it truly wasn’t that long ago. Anyway, due to the personal connection director Justin Baldoni had with Zach, this movie is incredibly moving. There were some creative liberties taken, but I started crying about 20 minutes in and did not stop until the end of it all.

Amazing Stories “The Cellar” (Apple TV+)

Okay, this is actually the first episode in the Amazing Stories series, but it felt like a mini-movie and was really lovely. Considering that it was barely an hour long, it really fit a lot of story and emotion in it. Also, Victoria Pedretti and Dylan O’Brien will always be great arguments for any content. They made a great team together.

I vow to watch one of the Apple TV+ movies soon though! Maybe On The Rocks!


What are some of your favourite 2020 releases? Let’s talk!

December 2020 Wrap-Up / The Year in Review

I concluded the last year by reading a decent 5 more books. Considering that I went back to reading more in 2020 than in previous years, but still not a staggering amount, I am quite happy with that. I definitely managed to pass my Goodreads reading goal even earlier than that already, so, at least there was no “end of the year”-pressure involved. Here’s my December books:

The Bromance Book Club (Bromance Book Club, #1) The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue This Is How You Lose the Time War Beartown (Beartown, #1) This Is Not a Ghost Story

As per usual, click on the covers to get re-directed to Goodreads, where you are always welcome to add me as a reading buddy! My own reviews you’re able to find by clicking on the titles in the list above if there are posts for them.

Because this has also turned into a bit of a tradition on here, I’ll also share parts of my reading year (curated by Goodreads) with you again. You can check out the full post here. I know there are now a couple really interesting other platforms that offer even better statistics etc. and I plan to look into that for 2021 (e.g. Storygraph), but for now, Goodreads it is.

My plan for 2020 was to read 30 books and I ended up passing that goal and reading a total of 40 books, which translates to 12,586 pages in my specific case. I’ve had more time to read, for obvious reasons, than in past years, but I also still gravitate towards books of medium length rather than huge tomes. I don’t know how I more or less inhaled them in my younger days. My shortest “book” in 2020 was a single issue of Deadpool. Usually, I only put entire volumes towards my reading goals, but I only had that one and it was listed, so … I put it in too.

Lastly, my average rating has increased again. I always do try to actively choose books I might like instead of going for cover fancy as I used to do. I also managed to not get a single 1-star-book in 2020, so, there’s always that.

2020 was A YEAR.

2020 was full of loss and waiting and restrictions. I know it hasn’t been easy on anyone and I truly wish that more people had been empathetic enough to follow pretty simple rules to get this contained quicker instead of dragging it out for so long. I have found myself in a rather privileged position, having been able to stay with my parents when my plans to emigrate to Canada fell through. I really do not want to get into the personal details of my year, but let’s just say it felt like I was stuck in limbo for most of it. But I am tired of talking about it and thinking about it, because I can’t change much aside from doing my part in staying home and keeping others safe. I do not intend to put any kind of pressure or expectations on 2021, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I have the tiny hope of it being better again.

Having had so much time, I was able to have more time for the blog again. Not all things were bad! I am so very grateful for everyone who has made my year better by engaging and getting my stats up again, since 2019 was the worst blogging year. It has made me feel more connected to the community again and I appreciated that endlessly. Here’s some updated info:

  • The blog now has more than 2,666 WordPress followers, which is awesome. I did not grow in an excessive amount, but that anyone actually cares about my super random rambles – it’s forever a mystery to me.
  • This very post is post #1,245. I should probably go all the way back to my early days and maybe put some posts on private that weren’t of great quality, but that’s going to be quite the task.
  • Once again, I’d also like to give a huge thanks and shout-out to my top commenters! You keep showing up and making my day better and it means so much to me! So, please feel free to show some love to RamiLoisThe Orang-utan LibrarianRae, Becks and Marie!

MOST POPULAR POSTS OF 2020

(click on the title of the post to read the full thing!)

Something Different: Duskwood (Game) – I never talk about any sort of game, well I never did, but maybe I should reconsider that stance! My post about the mobile app Duskwood was by far the most clicked post in all of 2020. I still encourage anyone who wants to play a free chat-based mystery game to check it out (although I did splurge on a pass).

Movies and TV Shows for Book Lovers – I mean, the title says it all and the topic pretty much combines all my passions aka books, movies and TV shows. I really hope the post included some content you weren’t already aware of.

Kiss, Marry, Kill: TV Edition 2020 – You all love that feature so much, it’s literally in the top posts every single year, no matter the theme I choose. I think you all like to see me squirm, because I never want to off any of the characters that get picked.

A Discovery of Witches: Book vs. TV Show: These are my favourite posts to write and although they don’t always garner a lot of comments, they do get a lot of clicks, which makes me think that people enjoy the comparisons. On a side note, I am also very pumped for the new season, which starts in a less than two weeks.

Mind the Gap, Dash & Lily (Book Review) – Nothing warms my heart more than to see an actual book review among the top clicked posts. We all know that despite blogs being all about reviews, they are often not the posts that garner any kind of attention. This makes it feel worthwhile.

MY 2020 RANKINGS

I’ve also gone through the trouble of ranking all the content I read and watched in the past year. I am pretty sure I missed stuff (how did I not even mention the second season of the Boys!?), but it still is a pretty accurate reflection of my viewing and reading preferences. Here are the links in case you missed them:

MY OTHER DECEMBER POSTS

VARIOUS TAGS AND POSTS

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

THURSDAY MOVIE PICKS

TRAILER POSTS


Now, before we leave this dreadful year behind: were there some posts you really enjoyed on my blog this past year? Finally, I hope we all have a better, healthy and prosperous 2021! THANK YOU FOR BEING PART OF THE COMMUNITY ON HERE!

My Top 20 New TV Shows of 2020

This is the final post in my rankings and lists of 2020! If you have missed the previous part on ongoing TV shows, click here to check it out. Today will be all about TV shows (both limited series and shows that might still continue) that first released in 2020. There’s been a lot of good content, which was helpful considering how much time most of us spent at home. Let’s dive into my faves!

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Trailers You Might Have Missed … (Dec 28-Jan 3)

Just in case you are one of the lovely people who visits my blogs to get their fill of trailers only, I wish you all a happy new year! (I don’t think I actually said that in any of my posts these past days yet … I was too busy talking about 2020. Only TWO more posts about that dreaded year to come and then I will move on too).

I am afraid there’s once again not very many new trailers, seems like companies didn’t feel like banking on people’s attention between the years. Here’s what I found anyway.

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My Top 10 Movies of 2020

Let’s be real, I could probably name more movies than just ten for this list, but with the TV show posts being so extensive, I wanted to make sure you didn’t have to endlessly scroll through all these rankings. Even though I haven’t been to a cinema since January 2019 due to obvious reasons, I still watched a whole lot more films than usually.

Again, to clarify, not all the movies that you will find on this list were released in 2020. That’s just the year I watched them in. You are also very welcome to follow me on letterboxd to stay up to date with what I am watching!

10. Late Night

Emma Thompson, Mindy Kaling, a whole writer’s room full of dudes who need to be taught that the world doesn’t revolve around them – I love to see it. Literally adored this.

Also adored the director’s other work The High Note, which also deals with women lifting women up in the workplace and that’s just the way it is supposed to be.

9. The Photograph

It’s a simple romance, mostly set by the music and aesthetics. Technically, it’s two stories put together, which sometimes works better and sometimes not so much. LaKeith and Issa have amazing chemistry, but I also loved the discussion of parental love here.

8. Palm Springs

This is a crazy movie filled with quantum theory and shenanigans. I can see it being a bit much for some people, but I had a grand time. It’s just pure weird fun!

7. Knives Out

I’ve legit watched this movie about ten times now and I have no regrets. I still love the casting, I still love the twists, I even came to terms with Marta’s ridiculous condition. It’s a murder mystery to my liking and I am glad they are doing a sort of series for the detective character.

6. Love and Monsters

Dylan O’Brien will forever be an amazing argument for me to watch a movie, but I did not expect just how much fun I would have with it. Yes, the real star is the dog, but that’s okay too.

5. Soul

This movie – it was so beautiful. The animation was gorgeous and the message was inspirational and the scenes were emotional. I teared up for sure! Also – the music! (But again, please stop transforming black characters into blobs or frogs or other animals for the majority of a movie.)

4. The Half of It

I fell for this movie so hard, I don’t even have words. Alice Wu, the director, told a very personal story here and had beautiful symbolism incorporated in her storytelling. Also, loved the friendship love in this one.

3. Uncle Frank

My heart. This movie was sad and complex and funny and well paced. The characters were amazing and once again, it shows that stories that are personal to the people involved can translate just so well to the screen. I wish everyone had a Wally in their lives!

2. The Broken Hearts Gallery

This is now one of my favourite RomComs of all time. It’s that fun and good and sweet. More of this please!!!

1. Little Women

Okay, this was the last movie I had seen in cinemas and I still remember the experience so vividly. For a lot of teen girls in the audience (and believe me when I say the room was packed – what a concept!) this was their first encounter with the material and they laughed and gasped and cried in unison and mirrored all my feelings and this movie has such a place in my heart now.

Honorable Mentions

Okay, this is now a fixture in all my posts anyway, cause I can never contain myself. Not that anyone thought I could to begin with. Here’s some more movies I liked:

  • Happiest Season
  • Banana Split
  • Clouds
  • Enola Holmes
  • Safety
  • Godmothered
  • Uncorked

What did you think of my picks? I feel like this was all very on brand for me. Did they make sense to you? What are movies that were your absolute treasure of 2020?

My Top 20 (ongoing) TV Shows of 2020

Yesterday I gave you my thoughts on the 10 best books I read in 2020, but we all know that the topic I really can’t stop talking about are TV shows. So, not only am I giving you a list of my top 20 shows, I actually split it up in two categories – new and ongoing shows. (The post for the new shows will be up in a couple days, but tomorrow is movie ranking day!) I simply could not contain myself.

I am aware that the phrasing “ongoing shows” might be a bit misleading, which is why I want to clarify what I mean. I included all shows that released before 2020 in this list! That means, they may only have one season that aired previous to that year, but they also might have had their series finale in 2020. Ongoing here doesn’t necessarily mean it is still airing now or that they released follow-up seasons during the last year. Hope that made sense!

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What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #50

So, here it is, my last update on what I’ve been watching in the year of 2020. I really tried to pack in as much as possible, but some things just didn’t fit in (e.g. I only made it halfway through the final season of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina so far). Now, I honestly have to say that I am rethinking this format a little bit. I’ll likely always watch as much, but to continue the numbering will be … interesting, as we are so high by now. I am open for title suggestions!

Bridgerton (Season 1)

Bridgerton is based on a book that I have not read and cannot make a comparison to, but I enjoyed my binge of the show very much. It’s not without fault and I can see certain moments being problematic even, but this is basically Gossip Girl during regency times. (I hope we all know that the people in GG were not it)
I liked that they changed history and did not mean to completely portray the reality from back then. Instead they put people of color in ruling positions and honestly, why not? Also, I thought it was funny that the showrunners called this season “the education of Daphne Bridgerton”, because she really does have her sexual awakening. Be aware of many sex scenes!

For fans of: Gossip Girl in regency times

Hilda (Season 2)

I don’t often talk about animated shows, so, I just wanted to make sure that I include the ones I actually really enjoy. I like the Scandinavian vibes of Hilda and how it explores family and friendship packed into fun magical adventures. Simple as that.

For fans of: cute animation

We Can Be Heroes

This is not a serious recommendation or anything. I haven’t even seen Lavagirl and Sharkboy in full, so I am not even a fan of that movie to justify watching the sequel, but Pedro Pascal. As a dad. That’s my weakness.
Maybe, if I was a kid, I would have enjoyed it more, but it’s tacky and over the top and not exactly acted very well. I can’t blame them, cause they are kids and that is totally okay. It had fun bits. But it was also ridiculous.

For fans of: Lavagirl and Sharkboy, Pedro Pascal as a dad

Wonder Woman 1984

I wanted to like this so much, but I only found it mediocre. The thing is, there’s no way the movie had to be two and a half hours long. It also felt tonally different in the first and the second half and I much preferred the first.
It’s hard to explain, because I understood the motives of the villains. I completely got the point of the sacrifices that were made. I definitely think I comprehended the message they were trying to convey, but … I just didn’t buy it. While Diana had some great and frankly emotional scenes, I also just didn’t buy into others. Some things were resolved too quickly, others left in the air. I don’t know if I just expected too much.

For fans of: Wonder Woman, Pedro Pascal as a dad

The Midnight Sky

This movie did not need to be more than two hours long. Aside from the storyline seeming very familiar to anyone who has watched any movies set in space as of late, there was just a legit 10 minutes of the crew repairing a ship. I do not need to see that for such a long time and it might have felt more dynamic and engaging with a different cut. On top of the predictability and length, it was just very choppy, with three different storylines finding their way together. The “solution” to their problem didn’t even make sense to me in the end. There’s no way I would recommend this as a worthwhile watch.

For fans of: space movies, slow pace, George Clooney as director and actor

Sylvie’s Love

Jazz enthusiast will surely love the soundtrack of this movie. It was beautiful and warm and such a nice watch. Obviously, the cast is top notch. The styles incorporated fit the decades depicted so well and all the costumes are to die for.
It has an “old Hollywood” kind of vibe, but with a black cast that might not have been able to see themselves in a sincere love drama like this back in the day. I fully support this revival of something that felt a bit old-fashioned, but I also have to say that it had its lengths. While I am sure people will fall under the spell of the impeccable mood depicted, the story stilted sometimes and some moments felt too planned and/or convenient for the narrative.

For fans of: anyone on the cast, jazz, music, sweet love stories that span decades

Soul

Soul is just a really lovely, inspirational movie. All criticism, especially that black characters either get turned into animals or blobs for the majority of movies, is completely valid, but I also enjoyed myself so very much. The music was fantastic, everything was jazz-infused. I loved the animation style that made so many objects and lighting situations feel so realistic. I really don’t know what else to say other than this was a work of art and is definitely worth the watch.

For fans of: lovely heartfelt animation movies, Pixar


Have you watched any of the show or movies above? Do you plan to? What are some of the last things you binged in 2020?

TMP – TV Edition: Space/Aliens

I just want to preface this by saying that there’s another post about what I’ve been watching coming your way as well today. AND I also wanted to say that all my rankings for 2020 (be it film, TV or books) will be posted in the upcoming days. So, loads of posts ahead – I hope you won’t get tired of me!

As we’ve established by now, I am doing the Thursday Movie Picks feature. This series is hosted by Wandering through the Shelves and offers you a weekly prompt to post some movie recommendations/talking points according to the theme. Usually, you are supposed to post about 3-5 examples, which I find a very manageable amount.

The thing is, to keep the lists spicy and interesting, there’s sometimes exceptions to the theme where we get to venture into the land of TV. You all know that it’s more my strong suite than movies, so I am excited to talk about aliens and space today!

Lost in Space

This show will soon go into its third and final season and I have enjoyed following the lives of the Robinson family so much. The visual effects are top notch and the characters will all grow on you so much. I haven’t seen the original, but dang, do I love this version.

Another Life

I am just trying to patiently wait for season 2, because I need to know how my favourite AI is doing. Otherwise, the crew can get a bit annoying … because who picked for those people to be in a tightly confined space together?? But I’d still like to know how it continues.

Roswell, New Mexico

I actually adored the original of this one, but I have come to love this version as well. It has its flaws and season 2 was all over the place (which cannot even be blamed on covid entirely). I just want Maria to be treated better and get all the happy she wants and deserves.

Steven Spielberg presents Taken

Taken is a mini-series from the early 2000s, so, bear that in mind should you want to check it out. I was OBSESSED with it as a kid and I am sure we still have the DVD box set at home somewhere. It’s this multi-generational tale of how people were abducted by aliens and how that affected the course of their lives. The aliens themselves were pretty cliché, but the families – so intriguing how everything came together.

Honorable Mentions

This is actually a “genre” or topic I quite enjoy, so, there’s loads and loads of shows I love to watch. Here are some other examples that I enjoyed but that I didn’t want to go into detail with, because I do have a problem with keeping these posts short.

  • Roswell (the OG version)
  • Dark Matter
  • Killjoys
  • Doctor Who
  • Torchwood
  • Firefly
  • Steven Universe

What did you think of my picks this week? What are some of your favourite space/alien-themed shows? Let’s chat!