What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #51

I didn’t come up with a better way to title these posts, so I stuck with the numbering. I wonder how high we will get with those eventually! Today I am going to talk about a couple shows and I will have designated spoiler sections for a couple of them. Please, beware and avoid them if you do not wish to know that much about the show/movie!

The Letter for the King (Season 1)

I was actually pleasantly surprised by the show at first. There are a couple really amazing misdirects and I think it is cool that it has characters that actually look their young age instead of being a decade older than what they are supposed to play, but then … they just had to go and ruin it. Without going into detail, they fall pray to the whole “bury your gays” thing, by killing a gay character shortly after having them start a relationship of sorts. It was completely unnecessary as the person in question could have just as easily been wounded and survived everything. It still has me so mad to think about it now.

For fans of: knights, magic, destiny

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Part 4)

Okay, so, I’ve already voiced some of my thoughts on the final season of CAOS in my post here, but did not go into detail, because it didn’t seem the right time. Overall, if you don’t want to be spoiled, I just want to say that I was not happy with this ending. I found it disrespectful to many characters, despite actually enjoying this season as a whole. But to elaborate a little bit:

SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

  • Sabrina being constantly jealous of her friends and family, because she was single for a longer period of time for the first time since the show started was majorly annoying. We really need to stop acting like it’s the end of the world when people aren’t in a relationship.
  • The eldritch terrors were interesting to me, although I am not familiar with them to a point where I could judge them based on previous iterations. I liked the foe of the week theme, as it moved the season along nicely and kept it more compact than with previous villains.
  • I think there’s a couple plotholes, e.g. Sabrina doesn’t stop being married to the Uninvited just because she locked him in a room outside of time and space and let the Void swallow it … don’t think that’s how marriage works.
  • Why do people keep hating on Cabrina as a ship? I think Morningstar and Caliban were really it and Caliban still scheming to rule hell was just very in character.
  • I am unsure how I feel about Sabrina dying. I think if the show continued, they’d have found a way to resurrect her, even the actress said so herself, so, to have Nick kill himself to be with her in the afterlife was a cruel thing to do. They acted like it was the most casual thing in the world, but I found it really disrespectful to the character. He had gained so many friends over the past seasons and to end his arc like that … not cool.
  • My favourite part of the season were the new and old Weird Sisters. Truly the best!
  • I know that they didn’t really expect to get cancelled for real, but even though you saw Sabrina in the afterlife, you have no idea how any of the other characters are doing and I think that’s a shame. The show wasn’t just about her and a funeral isn’t a series finale for me.

A Discovery of Witches (Season 2)

I binged the entire season in one day and only regretted it slightly, because I love this show. I know it’s not perfect, but it truly enchanted me in Season 1. In comparison, I think Season 2 couldn’t hold up as well in terms of aesthetics and pacing. The split timeline was a tricky thing to pull off, especially since the book solely focuses on Diana’s POV and the show on everyone. I don’t think they managed the balance very well and I would honestly have been frustrated watching it on a weekly basis if I wanted a certain storyline to continue just to get an entire episode set in a different time. It just gave the whole thing a bit of a choppy edge.

SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

I haven’t read the second book, so, I can’t say how faithful it was. Somewhere it said that Gallowglass was in love with Diana and I did not get that vibe this season, but they might explore that in the next one. I sometimes wished that some storylines went a little deeper, for example the adoption of Jack or the love story between Phoebe and Marcus, but it also had some great moments again. Finally getting to meet Philippe was a real treat! Also, I enjoyed Diana being fiercer and coming into her powers, although Matthew went in the opposite direction and became more chliché-vampire territorial/feral.

Life Itself

TW: graphic suicide and death

Life Itself has one of my most favourite trailers of all time. I had put off watching the movie for years though, because the reviews weren’t exactly glowing and now that I’ve finally seen it, I get it. The overall premise of life being an unreliable narrator and everyone possibly being the hero and villain in someone’s story is a good one. It’s even an excellent one, but the execution did not hold up at all. It felt like very disjointed storytelling and the emotions sometimes felt like they were overshadowed by certain scenes that seemed added for shock value. Unfortunately the film did not hold up to the trailer at all.

For fans of: stories within stories


Have you watched any of these? Do you want to talk about them? Let’s chat!

A Discovery of Witches: Book vs. TV Show

Every year, there is one of these book vs. TV show comparison posts among the most popular posts. I am so very glad you are enjoying them, because I so very much enjoy writing them. It’s been a while since I talked about this show, but here we go! I hope I remember everything correctly!

General Plot

It begins with absence and desire.
It begins with blood and fear.
It begins with a discovery of witches.

Diana Bishop, historian and reluctant witch, doesn’t realise that the book she just requested at the library will change her life forever. The volume has been lost in history, but for her it appears and reawakens magic she never knew she had in her. Now being sought out by the entire magical community, she finds herself enthralled with the supposed enemy, vampire genetecist Matthew Clairmont. As they slowly warm up to each other, it turns out their connection is far deeper than anyone could have foreseen.

TV Show

There was a lot of controversy when the show first aired, because how dare anyone release something in Europe months before it is coming out in the US. I, for one, didn’t think it was such a big deal, because what do you think anyone outside the US has to deal with when it comes to books, TV shows and movies 90% of the time? Anyway, my point is that there was a lot of buzz before it even aired and seen as it wasn’t on any of the traditional networks or streaming services, I feel like that was a good thing.

When I started that first episode, I was immediately enthralled with the show. The cinematography is one of the most beautiful ones out there, the pacing is slow but without making it seem like they are dragging things out and the chemistry between the main leads is just on fire. I will admit that the romance felt cheesy or like it was developing too fast and too intensely, but I just as equally have to say that I didn’t mind? There was a magical connection between them and as you go along with the show (or book for that matter), you’ll notice that Diana and Matthew were inevitable. So, yes, you do have the cliché vampire who stalks the pretty girl, but you also have a fascinating magical system behind it to back it all up. Lastly, I also really enjoyed the way they incorporated science into it all!

Another thing I really liked about the show was the fact that you didn’t just get a glimpse of the main couple and their lives, but all the minor and major characters that surrounded them. It made for a better whole picture and while there are still a lot of unanswered questions, you can see why certain characters did the things they did. Especially the daemons get a whole lot more attention on screen than they did in the books, where it mainly revolved around vampires and witches alone.

The show was renewed for season 2 and 3, which likely means they will film the trilogy as it was in the book, since they also stuck to the storyline of the first volume for the first season. This is good news, because it will mean that there will be a proper ending guaranteed.

Book

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1)Contrary to the show, the book is entirely told from Diana’s perspective. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but it left the motivation behind certain characters’ actions up to your imagination, while I prefer knowing how things come to be that way. Especially when we are talking bad guys, I like them to be more layered than just plain “I prefer the old way and that’s why you can’t do what you want to do” behaviour.

Still, overall I struggled a little bit with the book. It could stem from me not being used to long and detailed storytelling anymore (it’s a whopping 594 pages filled with different languages and historical accounts as well as architectural observations), but I also found Matthew’s and Diana’s behaviour a little more irritating. In that universe, witches are wild and stubborn, while vampires are territorial predators. It is like that in the show as well, but I feel like they managed to tone it down and made it less aggressive traits of the characters.

The beginning wasn’t adapted to the screen very faithfully, because there definitely wasn’t any vampire yoga class (which I found silly), but the second half of the book felt very accurately represented. There are still some changes that I am intrigued about, because they didn’t seem minor to me, but since the show continues, I am not worried it won’t be addressed. However, there was a certain magical ability, that I don’t want to spoil, featured on the show and I had hoped that I would find it more comprehensive once I read about it, but I still don’t understand it. Seen as they literally described it, I find it frustrating that I wasn’t able to grasp the concept fully. I still have so many questions.

Fazit: 3/5 stars! It took me about a year to finish the book, because some of the descriptions were tiresome and the characters felt a little more irritating to me, but in the end, I was just as intrigued by it all as I was with the show.

Conclusion

In general, I believe the show found a way to bring the book to life in a graceful and comprehensive way. There are a couple of plotholes here and there, but they aren’t limited to the screen adaptation in my eyes. So, I prefer to watch it all unfold beautifully, than to be confused by overly detailed descriptive text.


Have you read or watched A Discovery of Witches? Did you enjoy it? Let’s talk!

Contemporary Witches are BACK on TV!

When I was little, I was always fascinated by any story that involved magic. However, in fairy tales, the witches are often the baddies, but growing up, I mostly saw them as powerful, good (or at least morally ambiguous) women on TV. I adored those portrayals and that’s part of why I am so happy that contemporary witches are having a real comeback on the small screen. Not to say there’s anything wrong with historic settings, but I do like to see them integrated in life nowadays – makes the daydreaming easier, if you know what I mean. Here are some of the most recent examples that you can currently find on the telly:

**Disclaimer: I haven’t seen the full season of any of these shows yet!**

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Very few people seem to know this, but The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina isn’t just a remake of the 90s sitcom Sabrina the Teenage Witch, it’s actually based on a series of comics that are part of the Archie universe. Yes, that means that Riverdale and Greendale are effectively in the same universe and a crossover is not unlikely. But I am getting ahead of myself.

Just yesterday, Netflix released the full first season of the show. Even a cursory glance at it will show you that it has very little to do with the 90s show some of us might still remember, but that is probably for the best. It rarely works if you try to recreate something exactly the same way (although they should have kept the talking cat – Salem was just too iconic).

The visuals now are a lot darker, with a modernised perspective on things as well as a certain touch of retro to it all – I haven’t seen so many people use landlines in a decade! You can be certain that the set designers and cinematographers took great care when they created this show, especially in terms of playing with colour. While I do appreciate the new spin on things, I can’t say I love the show. It’s hard to put my finger on what it is that I am missing, but maybe it’s just moving a tiny bit too slow for me.

Light as a Feather

Staying on a darker path, this show is for people who enjoy the horror side of it all. Based on a former wattpad story and now published book, Light as a Feather is a new Hulu show that draws on works such as Final Destination and Carrie.

I may have expected this to be even creepier and gruesome than it was, but so far there were still a couple nice twists and turns. Albeit it being a little predictable at times, it’s still interesting to see the characters react to certain situations they are put in. My main complaint for it would probably be that I really didn’t understand the why of it all after watching 2/3 of the first season. I hope it will explain things to some extent, as I am really not expecting a full on tell all in the final three episodes, but a little clarification as to what’s going on would be nice.

Having said this, putting the show in a post about witches might have been a bit of a stretch since I don’t know what’s happening. But the whole “Light as a feather …”-chant does always remind me of witchcraft, so there’s that …

Charmed

A couple of you already know this, but I was one of the biggest fans of the original Charmed show. If I had any say in this matter, the CW reboot would have never happened and we would have gotten a Next Generation kind of show instead. Alas, that’s not what happened and here we are.

I think the biggest mistake the CW made with this show is alienate some of the original fans previous to the reboot’s release by saying that the new version is a feminist spin on the original. Three powerful women living by themselves, rocking their careers and not actually being all about men despite that being part of their life sounds great to me, but apparently it wasn’t enough for the CW. Nevertheless, I really wanted to give this a try. If it could introduce a new generation to the power of three, why not? Right?

Well … I am not entirely convinced. I am glad there seem to be more inclusion in terms of casting and portrayal, I would never ever argue with that. However, to me, the charm of the original was that they had to figure out the magic on their own. Their guardian whitelighter didn’t show up in the first episode to explain everything like it happened here. Furthermore, in terms of visuals, this new Charmed just seems to draw from a lot of modern day pop culture and I think that’s a bit lazy. The first demon you see could be a Game of Throne’s Ice King doppelganger and the way their whitelighter teleports looks like apparation from Harry Potter. Why did they change that anyway?

As you can see, I am very skeptical. The second episode was better than the pilot in my opinion, but it has a long road if it wants to become a fan favourite like the original.

A Discovery of Witches

Did I save my favourite one for last? I absolutely did! So far A Discovery of Witches, based on the book by the same title, has only aired on Sky One in the UK, but it will be out in the US in 2019.

There’s a lot that is wrong with this show. In my heart and my mind, I absolutely 100% know that. People who compare it to an adult Twilight are spot on. It has the cliché vampire who stalks the girl who falls in love with him anyway, the forbidden love and whatnot. But it also has an intriguing system of magic and a scientific background to support it. Combine all that with a perfect casting of Matthew Goode and Teresa Palmer as the leads (their chemistry is off the charts) as well as beautiful scenery shots of Oxford, Venice and remote places in France – I was hooked immediately.

Maybe, as I get older, I am more drawn to adult shows? I feel like that’s not universally true, but little did I know that I was still craving vampire stories just like I did when I was 13 years old. Out of all the shows I mentioned, this is the one I am yearning to see the next episode of. I know that the book is a tome, so in comparison I think they are moving quite fast on the show without making it look like a rush job. This is for sure my latest obsession.

Honorary Mention – Legacies

I really only want to mention this briefly, but Legacies is CW’s latest spin-off show of The Vampire Diaries and The Originals. I can’t really recommend this for anyone who hasn’t watched the previous shows at all, as they don’t really waste time explaining who’s who, but rather just assume it’s a given that you know them. Still, it does have witches, vampires and werewolves – so it definitely fits the theme and if you are into that and liked the previous shows, then it might be worth checking out. The first episode was decent enough.


What’s your take on witches? Are you glad they are back as well? Don’t hesitate to comment if you want to chat about any of the above mentioned shows!