What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #42

I have focused on only a few things to watch these past weeks since my last post, but I still wanted to share with you. It’s going to be a lot shorter than usually though!

A Million Little Things (Season 1-2)

TW: suicide, depression

I was caught off guard by just how much I loved this show. I definitely wouldn’t recommend it to everyone, because the subject matter is really heavy and while I like that it talks about suicide and depression openly, I also know that it can be detrimental to the mental health of some to be confronted with that over a longer period of time.

What I adored most was that this was an adult friend group, who met as adults (cause not everyone keeps all their childhood friends) and that they really found a family in each other. Obviously, there are a lot points of conflict, but I like the way they handled most of them. There’s two characters that have easily become all time favourites (what’s up Gary and Katherine) and two that I think don’t deserve rights (go away Eddie and Delilah), but I just love being on a journey with all of them.

Filming for Season 3 is underway in Vancouver (although currently paused due to delays in the covid testing lab) and I am pumped for more episodes in November.

For fans of: found family drama, stuff that will make you cry, ensemble casts

Black Lightning (Season 2-3)

I just really played catch up on a lot of shows. Black Lightning is always such a refreshing superhero show to watch on the CW, because it is not so obviously tied to everything else in the Arrowverse (even if they did a crossover for Crisis on Infinite Earths or whatever it was called). Add to that the fact that it is a majority Black cast and I am happy for people to see themselves represented in that genre.

I had already watched half of Season 2, until a certain someone got their spine ripped out, and then it took me a long while to keep going. Season 3 felt a bit different than the previous ones, but I enjoy binging it on Netflix always (although my country always adds it pretty late, which is why I am always late). Still, Jenn and Khalil are mostly what I am here for? 

For fans of: CW superhero shows

Lucifer (Season 5)

I know how much everyone loves this show and I am so happy for them, but … I was not that invested this (first part of?) season 5. The thing is, I got bored with the whole Lucifer and Chloe thing and the other struggles felt very predictable as well. I guessed … everything and every plot twist (and I blame casting for a certain twist especially). On top of that, I wish they hadn’t shown the Michael dilemma in the trailer already, it would have been so much more fun to discover while watching the show.

Not saying it’s a bad show, but also not sad that it will end soon?

For fans of: celestial drama shenanigans paired with crime

Enola Holmes

This was way more fun than I expected it to be!

First of all, yes, I agree that Henry Cavill is slightly too handsome to be Sherlock. He also played the character very soft and emotionally aware and while I loved that … it didn’t feel as Sherlock as other iterations. But then, this is about Enola and her being a non-canon character in that universe and therefore Sherlock can also be his own version? Hope that made sense.

Anyway, I adored the 4th-wall-breaks of Millie as Enola. While watching, I kept comparing it to the 4th-wall-breaks of Fleabag and that makes all the more sense (despite them being such different genres and for different target groups), because the show and this movie had the same director.

It was fast paced and quick witted. The dynamics between the characters were golden and I would absolutely love to see them continuing to adapt the rest of the books with this cast. Also, very much enjoyed the parallels to current topics that made it feel relevant in many ways.

For fans of: teen non-canon Sherlock version with far more current topics than expected


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

Still Star-Crossed: Book vs. TV Show

Back in the day I used to make quite a lot of comparisons between books and their TV or movie adaptations. Whereas others hate movie tie-ins, I actively seek them out in the store. I am odd that way. Today I would like to talk about the book/show Still Star-Crossed. I want to point out that this is a spoiler free comparison but other than that, I think the way I am doing this is fairly self-explanatory so let’s just jump in!

General Plot

Still Star-Crossed follows the story of Verona’s most famous houses – the Capulets and Monatgues – AFTER Romeo and Juliet have found their tragic deaths. To unite the warring families, Prince Escalus, ruler of Verona, suggests a union between Rosaline of House Capulet and Benvolio of House Montague to finally bring peace upon the city. Neither one of them very inclined to marry the other, they have to work together to stop their wedding. An adventure with romantic entanglements, mystery, murder and betrayal ensues.

TV Show

I want to start with the show, because that’s also what I saw first. It consists of 7 episodes, was produced by the Shondaland crew and aired on ABC this summer. I really, really enjoyed the show, which is why I was shocked when the network didn’t even give it a chance and canceled it after airing 2 episodes. They broadcast the rest of the season, but cut it short from the initial 9-episode-order to 7 and ultimately ended on a cliffhanger. To be frank, that makes me quite mad, because those two episodes they scratched could have perfectly concluded the story if you go from what happened in the book. There is no use in being bitter about it now, because ABC refuses to give any more statements on it, but that’s why I ultimately turned to the book. First more about the show though.

One of the first things I noticed was the variety of people of colour on the show and I am 100% here for that! The characters they played weren’t just servants either but princes, princesses and ladies – do you know how stupidly rare that is? I’ve been saying that historical fiction needs more diversity in its casting and I am glad to see Still Star-Crossed taking a step in the right direction. While history books unfortunately have been written by a lot of white people, they were by far not the only ones existing during that time and especially when it comes to fiction, you can simply do whatever you want. So, why not mix it up a little and make it less white? Give others a chance to see themselves represented. It worked for Hamilton, so it can work for pretty much anything.

While I wasn’t a huge fan of the visuals or the costumes (they looked cheap to me but were apparently super expensive and not worth it for ABC), I did love the relationships between the characters and their growth. We didn’t get to see much of them, obviously, but the show had some really badass women, good and decent men and also a lot of crazy people. My personal favorite was the development of the relationship between Rosaline and Benvolio. They truly hated each other, then became friends and only after that foundation of mutual respect and trust was built and tested, there was this option of something more. I was just in love with that. Also, their banter was genius.

Book

Needing to know what happened to my new OTP, I tracked down the book (not as easy as it sounds) and was determined to read it as soon as possible. Right as I started, I was immediately slowed down though. In true Shakespearean fashion, the language was way more flowery and old-timey, especially in terms of the dialogue. I am not saying that’s a bad thing, it is to be expected for this kind of story, but it does not always make for an easy reading time for me personally.

The major difference from the book to the show is the age of the characters (and that they all seemed very white). In the source material, they are only around 16 years old and therefore much more impulsive and superficial in their declarations of love and war. It makes sense for their age, but because I was so used to the TV representation, I missed the more mature versions of the characters.

There were a couple changes made to the story (e.g. in the book Romeo was initially pining for Rosaline, the show thankfully gives the princess a way bigger role, etc.), however, the main premise remains the same. I could easily follow the plot and compare it to the different episodes of the show, but that also meant that there were very few surprises left for me to discover. Ultimately I was glad I read it, because I got a very satisfying conclusion, but I think I might have liked the book better if I hadn’t seen the show first.

Fazit: 3.5/5 stars (click on cover to get redirected to Goodreads)

Conclusion

In the end, I would say that I prefer the show. It was more mature and less superficial, especially in terms of the romantic relationships. It gave a some characters that barely even appeared in the books a place to shine and definitely did a great job in making it even darker than the book. If I could change one thing, I would give the show a proper ending and make it an official mini-series.

Have you seen the show or read the book? Do you want to?

New TV Shows You Might Have Missed … (ABC)

tvpromo

I guess most of you know my weekly feature where I present movie trailers and TV promos that I’ve found during the week. Well, it’s that time of the year where a bunch of new shows pop up at once and I think those posts would get way too long. So, I’ve decided to concentrate on movies on the Sunday posts and split up the TV portion into the different networks and channels. I already showed a bunch of teasers for ABC’s shows, but I now present to you the whole trailers for possible new TV addictions:

Time After Time

So, the first sentence of the trailer is also what I would say to you!

Still Star-Crossed

It looks pretty good. Different than what I thought it would be, but still intriguing. I pictured something more along the lines of several generations actually being cursed, but whatever.

Conviction

This is for all the Hayley Atwell fans out there. It’s really different from her last show, but she’s still playing a bold character, so here’s to that.

Notorious

Live TV is difficult and the life of a producer of such a show is so stressful. I think I might like it.

Imaginary Mary

I remain of the opinion that this looks weirdly hilarious while I wonder if I can stand that imaginary something for a whole season.

Downward Dog

WHAT IS THIS? WHO CAME UP WITH THIS? WHY IS THIS DOG MAKING ME SAD?

Speechless

I didn’t really know what to think about it when I saw the short promo, but I am kind of digging this.

American Housewife

Yeah, that’s one too many comedies for ABC. They can’t all survive.

Designated Survivor

I am afraid this is not my cup of tea, but for completion’s sake I’ll still show you the trailer. Then again, Maggie Q is good in conspiracy stuff …

Is there something in there for you? What do you want to watch?

Trailers You Might Have Missed … (May 9-15)

trailers

Most weeks these posts are very movie-heavy, but it’s that time of the year where a ton of shows get cancelled (you’ll be missed Undateable) and other new ones get introduced. Prepare for some very short teasers to possible new shows as well as the usual movie trailers!

Movies

Assassin’s Creed

Many people have feared and dreaded this trailer. Game adaptations don’t always work so fine, but I actually like this one. I guess the music is highly debatable and I’ve never played the game, but I think look-vise it seems legit. Any gamers who want to give us their input?

Nerve

I thought this actually looked like an interesting and funny sort of teen- or at least younger-ish audience movie. Then it totally turned dark and dangerous. I still want to watch it though.

The Accountant

Uhm, not a fan of Ben Affleck, so that sort of puts me off. Also, I am not sure how well he will mix with Anna Kendrick. But I bet this could somehow make an interesting Thriller if you are into it.

Indignation

Awe, Logan Lerman is seeming more grown up with each new film I see, even though I doubt that this is my cup of tea.

Hell or High Water

In the beginning I was like “meh, even with Chris Pine I am not sure” but the second half kind of made me want to see it. That’s some real sibling-love.

Into the Forest

This is not my kind of movie, because it creeps me out. But I do believe that this one has great and subtle cinematography.

TV Shows

Time After Time (ABC)

I am intrigued to be honest. Time travel shows are always interesting!

Still Star-Crossed (ABC)

An eternal curse on the families of Romeo and Juliet because of what they have done? I like it!

Notorious (ABC)

I don’t actually know what this is about, but the colours and the fact that Piper Perabo is in it kind of reminds me of Covert Affairs. Guess that’s definitely not it.

Conviction (ABC)

ABC must really like Hayley Atwell. I am not super into law dramas (which I am guessing this one is) but I will check it out nonetheless.

Imaginary Mary (ABC)

This already looks super awkward and kind of hilarious. Her imaginary friend reminds me of the worry eaters though.

Speechless (ABC)

Well, that left me a little speechless.

Dark Matter & Killjoys Season 2 (Syfy)

I LOVE BOTH THOSE SHOWS SO MUCH! *fangirling over*

So, that was a lot for one day. What are you going to watch? What are you going to pass up?

Agents of SHIELD Season 3 Premiere

I have to be honest and admit that I needed a little refresher about what happened last season on Agents of SHIELD. However, after looking up some details I had completely forgotten, I have to say that I liked the Season 3 Premiere. shiled

I had to get over the weirdness that Skye is now officially calling herself Daisy, but other than that I think they set up the new season nicely. SHIELD is trying to protect the growing Inhuman population, while there are new “enemies” who try to neutralize them instead. One is the new task force called ATCU (Advanced Threat Containment Unit) and the other one a powerful blue monster-guy named Lash. Let’s break it down though:

  • I think seeing Skye Daisy fully embrace her powers is cool. Her helping the new guy Joey (who did a wonderful job of playing the confused normal guy who gets thrown into craziness) was really interesting to see but I am glad that she still wants Lincoln‘s help. I mean she’s good with Mack as her partner, but better with Lincoln. Those two pairing up and combining their powers is just awesome.
  • Coulson‘s meeting with Rosalind, head of ATCU, was great! I mean we now know that ATCU isn’t all bad, but I hope it doesn’t turn out that they are like the real/new SHIELD or something like that.
  • Bobbi and Hunter are cute, but they need to decide what they want. Are they together or not?
  • Can we all just appreciate how amazing Fitz/Iain De Caestecker was in this episode? Having to save Jemma really made him a badass and I never thought I would see him go on dangerous solo missions. The final scene where he just screams at the Monolith was brilliant!
  • So Jemma is not dead. Which we already knew, since she’s still part of the cast. It seems she’s somewhere across the universe and I want to know how they’ll get her home!!!
  • May and Ward were noticeably absent this week. It was already shown in the promo that Ward would return next time, but the team definitely needs Melinda May on their side. How can she just not come back from her vacation?
  • The events of Sokovia (Avengers 2) were mentioned a couple of times and I think it’s always nice that they keep integrating the whole Marvel universe.
  • Just a little final question: Who exactly is funding SHIELD now?

I know this was rather short, but my main opinion came across. What did you think of the Season 3 Premiere?

Fall Review: Quantico and Blood & Oil

Today’s shows are both from ABC. While they do have to work on their CGI, they definitely know all about drama. Here’s what I’ve got for you!

Quantico

CastPriyanka Chopra, Aunjanue Ellis, Josh Hopkins, Jake McLaughlin, Yasmine Al Massri, Johanna Braddy, Tate Ellington, Graham Rogers, Anabelle Acosta, Mark Pellegrino, Brian J. Smith, …

An explosion in the middle of New York, the city is in chaos. Amidst it is young FBI agent Alex Parrish and it seems like she is going to get framed for the whole incident. Now she has to go back to her training at Quantico to find out who of the other cadets or staff could have done this.

The first episode definitely starts with a bang – both literally and figuratively. I can’t believe how many known faces are in this show, I was just like “Oh, I know you from somewhere and you and you …”. At first I thought that the constant switch between present day and the start of the academy was a bit too fast and random, but it worked better as the episode progressed. I like a lot of the characters with my current favourites being Simon, Nimah, Shelby and Ryan, but it’s a ton of information at once. Especially considering how many lies and secrets are uncovered in those first 45 minutes.

I was personally more invested in what’s going on at the Academy, because we still need to get to know everyone and can’t really judge who’s framing Alex from the get go. The whole explosion is just too far in the future and too many pieces are missing inbetween. However, the show knows how to deal with drama and is surprisingly funny at times. I definitely want to continue watching, even though I am still sad that Brian J. Smith‘s character was such a bust.

Blood & Oil

Cast: Chace Crawford, Don Johnson, Scott Michael Foster, Rebecca Rittenhouse, Amber Valletta, India de Beaufort, Adan Canto, Miranda Rae Mayo, Delroy Lindo, …

Billy and Cody gave up everything to make a better life for themselves during the modern-day oil boom in North Dakota. While they are resourceful and hard-working they have no idea what they are getting into, playing with high stakes and rich devils.

This is not my typical TV show. It’s very Dallas-y, which you could probably already guess, and while I appreciate some good soap drama, there is just not much mystery to it. First off, Blood & Oil does not seem realistic at all to me. There are already so many twists and turns, money owed and deeds to pay, they could have easily put those in 3-4 epsiodes. I cannot imagine how they’ll keep up with the pace.

I started watching the show because of the cast, really being excited to see Chace Crawford on TV again. Also, Scott Michael Foster is one of my favourites and he is reprising the role of a rich bad boy. Unfortunately, I think I have to be disappointed and he won’t have a golden heart deep down though. But I am not sure that will be enough to keep me as their viewer. While I do understand the motives of everyone, I don’t really feel sympathetic with a lot of the characters – it’s all happening too fast.

I’m going to stick around for a couple more episodes, hoping for a little slower pace and for the characters actually having to work for what’s coming to them.

So, what do you say? Are you in for the drama?

Summer Sitcoms You Might Have Missed

sitcoms

I was thinking about what kept me upbeat during the TV hole that is summer and I came up with a couple of sitcoms. Some of them are still running others were during the summer only. However, here they are!

Clipped

Channel: TBS
Cast: Ashley Tisdale, Mike Castle, Lauren Lapkus, Ryan Pinkston, Matt Cook and George Wendt

I have to admit that I started watching Clipped purely out of boredom, but I was pleasantly surprised by it. It’s a workplace comedy that almost exclusively takes place at the barbershop. The characters are all quirky in their own way and you can’t help but like them. Maybe it didn’t stand out next to brilliantly scripted shows like UnREAL, but it’s fun in its own way. It definitely helped me through some boring and hot days where I didn’t feel like leaving the house.

Significant Mother

Channel: CW
Cast: Josh Zuckerman, Krista Allen, Nathaniel Buzolic, Emma Fitzpatrick, Jonathan Silverman, Jay Ali, …

Significant Mother takes place in Portland, Oregon – one of my favourite places on the planet. Portland is weird and so is this show, which is only one of the reasons why I like it so much. It’s just really fun and plays with stereotypes a lot. If you haven’t given it a try yet, you definitely should!

Kevin From Work

Channel: ABC Family
Cast: Noah Reid, Paige Spara, Jordan Hinson, Matt Murray, Punam Patel, Jason Rogel, Amy Sedaris, …

I was sort of dubious about it at first, but it had Matt Murray from Rookie Blue in it, so I checked it out. Man this is so much cuter and weirder than I thought it would be. Noah Reid as Kevin is adorably dorky and very relatable in my opinion. Many of the characters are way over the top and I think you kind of have to be into that sort of thing. However, I like it.

Fried

Channel: BBC Three
Cast: Mandeep Dhillon, William Melling, Katy Wix, Imran Yusuf, Matthew Cottle, Lorna Gayle, …

I had to get some diversity into this list, which is why I also included a British comedy. I still can’t believe how long it took me to realise that Joe (played by William Melling) is little Nigel from Harry Potter all grown up now. Fried is definitely an oddball as well, but I like that sort of British humour. The show is often really ridiculous, but in a good way.

Have you missed out on some of those shows? Or have you actually watched them? If so, did you like them?

Fall Review: Limitless, The Muppets & Scream Queens

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I am trying to review a lot of the new Fall Season TV shows. Today there are even three shows I want to talk about and all of them are very different in genre.

Limitless

Network: CBS
Cast: Jake McDorman, Jennifer Carpenter, Hill Harper, Bradley Cooper, Ron Rifkin, …

I have to admit that I was positively surprised by this one. As the title already suggests, Limitless is based off the movie of the same title, but I didn’t actually expect it to be an extension of the existing story. It was great to see that Bradley Cooper (who played the main character in the movie) would actually be guest starring in a couple of episodes and therefore be a vital part of the story.

This time around the focus is on Brian Finch, a good guy who’s life isn’t really going anywhere. When his dad gets sick, it is time for him to step up. I liked that he didn’t take NZT-48 (the drug that enhances brain efficiency) for his own good, but mainly to help his dad and later to solve a murder case. I think Jake McDorman, who was very unlucky with his show Manhattan Love Story last year, fits this role alright, but doesn’t exactly stand out. I like his dynamic with Jennifer Carpenter‘s character though.

BUT it’s looking like this will be a sort of crime drama, seen as Finch will be a counselor for the FBI. The drug just becomes an excuse for him to go sherlock-ing around and that’s a bit boring in my opinion. However, I am interested to see how far he’ll be pushing his brain in other areas of his life. For now, I intend to continue watching this show!

The Muppets

Network: ABC

The Muppets is an attempt to bring the show into modern-day TV. I honestly am not sure how exactly I feel about it. It’s all a lot more grown-up now, which is fine, but I just didn’t think it was all that funny.

The show is a mix between a sort of Behind-the-scenes-mockumentary and just “normal” life on set of a late-night talk show. In my opinion it felt a bit forced every now and then and the different celebrity cameos didn’t help that much either. I think the show will have to be careful to not push it too far sometimes. I am sure it will gather a lot of curiosity, not just among nostalgic fans, but I just don’t know if that will be enough for the long-haul. The Muppets is definitely on the brink of loosing me as a viewer.

Scream Queens

Network: FOX
Cast: Emma Roberts, Skyler Samuels, Diego Boneta, Lea Michele, Glen Powell, Nick Jonas, Abigail Breslin, Keke Palmer, Oliver Hudson, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ariana Grande, …

Okay, everyone who knows me, knows that this is not my genre. Anything with Horror, even if it’s Comedy-Horror, is just not an area where I feel very comfortable. I am a wuss, I admit it. However, there was such a big hype around Scream Queens and so many big names that I knew, I thought I should at least check it out.

I think the show is ridiculous. I just can’t deal with gross deaths and then some sort of comical scene. Barely any of the characters are really likable (or sane of mind) and that is such a shame because. The only people that really intrigue me so far are the characters of Diego Boneta, Skyler Samuels and Nick Jonas. At times the show is really predictable but then again I do sort of wonder who the serial killer is, but I don’t think I want to know it bad enough to keep watching this week after week. But if they keep killing characters (especially the celebrity kinds) like they did in the first two episodes, there soon won’t be many people left anyway.

In the end, I think you should check it out for yourself, seen as I am not the most reliable source in this kind of genre. Tell me what you think about it in the comments!

So, did you watch any of those shows? What are your thoughts?

Summer Review: The Astronaut Wives Club

Although it looks like we’re following a theme here, The Astronaut Wives Club is in no way a Science Fiction TV show like the others I just reviewed. Beware of Spoilers ahead!

Based on Lily Koppel‘s true-story-novel of the same title, The Astronaut Wives Club revolves around the American First Ladies of Space, meaning the wives of the first American astronauts to be sent to space.

Since it’s told from the female point of view, I could imagine that it’s not as interesting for men as it would be if the astronauts themselves recounted their tales. But I am not a man and I like to see that there wasn’t only a rivalry between the men, but also the women. It may seem silly, but those women were strong and they sure didn’t have an easy job holding it all together in the eye of the public. One of my favourite parts of the show is that the men (at least most of them) love their women so much and they know what a tough partner they have in them. They need their wives support but they are also there for them when they need them. Also, I absolutely love the growing tension between Max, the reporter, and Louise, one of the wives that gets cheated on by her now famous husband. So much love all around!

At first I thought the show took on too much. There are so many fabulous characters and you simply cannot give every one of them the same amount of attention. Yet, somehow it works! You soon find yourself rooting for more than one of the wives, while they grow closer as a group, facing their very own and only slightly less important struggles than their men. The show deals with great topics, personal hardships and social taboos of the time.

I think that all in all the show can be very interesting, even for people who aren’t space-fanatics. I’d give it some time, so that you really get the chance to get to know all the wives. The show is really fast paced, sending another man to space every episode. So, you can rest assured, the spotlight is always on a different person.

For all of you who’ve watched the show already: What do you think?

Agents of SHIELD Mid-Season Finale

Another show that went off to it’s well deserved winter break was ABC’s Marvel‘s Agents of SHIELD. Again, beware of major Spoilers for the Mid-Season Finale right ahead!

So, that’s definitely how you go out with a bang (quite literally in fact)! After last episode we were left with a lot of questions unanswered and … well now we do have a lot more questions, but we also got some answers to previous stuff. I really enjoyed this season so far and think that, even though this wasn’t their strongest episode, they hit the mark a lot better than last season. Here are my thoughts on the mid-season finale:

  • Jemma and Fitz finally spend time together again! It’s still pretty awkward a lot of the time, but they are getting back to being a team. That just makes me insanely happy, although I very much enjoyed the bromance between Fitz and Mac.
  • Speaking of Mac! He’s alive and back to normal, I think. Yay to that!
  • Bobbi … what is the secret you are keeping from Hunter? He really cares about her and she is hiding something (bigger than a thumb drive). Mac apparently also knows about this thing, but while I first thought he might have hooked up with Bobbi and didn’t want Hunter to find out about it, I don’t think that’s the truth any longer. This is something way bigger.
  • After Skye’s dad let Ward kidnap her, he certainly doesn’t get the reunion with his daughter he imagined. Also, he doesn’t get to live out his revenge fantasy either, because Coulson kills Whitehall before Skye’s dad can do so. The only thing he has going for him right now, is that Skye couldn’t shoot him …
  • I love Coulson and Skye‘s father-daughter-relationship! Just wanted to throw that in the mix as well.
  • Ming-Na Wen (Agent May) is as always really bad-ass in her now two roles!
  • Ward is just weird this season. His loyalties are … with Skye I suppose?
  • After the team rigged the whole hidden city tunnel system with explosives, Skye wants to make things right and follows Raina, who has the Obelisk, into the tunnel. Now Trip has to go after her (and weirdly isn’t affected by the alien powers down there after all) in order to assure they don’t all blow up. The final scene is really mesmerizing and I can’t really explain what happens. Suddenly, Raina, Skye and Trip turn to stone. While Skye survives that (Raina maybe did as well), Trip turns to dust … He’s dead. I am really sad about that. He was a great addition to the team and while I didn’t want him to be with Jemma, I could see him with Skye. (I can always find the romance angle in everything as you can see) I am sorry to see him go, but at least Mac isn’t dead as well.

So, I have no idea what that final scene meant for Skye or the team … I generally have no clue what’s next, but I am looking forward to finding out! Your thoughts?