What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #60

Before the end of the month, I definitely wanted to do another of these posts to showcase what I had been watching. As I’ve gotten back into network television and I don’t tend to mention these shows on here (but feel free to always assume that I am up to date with most of the weekly releases), this post won’t be super long. Enjoy!

Panic (Season 1)

Panic is an Amazon Original show based on the YA novel of the same name by Lauren Oliver. I actually read this book years ago (I think all the way back in 2014???), but I honestly can’t remember much about it and I know that to be true, because I was genuinely shocked by some of the twists on the show.

Where the book was written from a dual POV (Heather and Dodge), the show focuses on even more key players of the game Panic with a clear bias towards Heather and her perspective though. Having so many characters the audience is supposed to care about can be tricky and I don’t think it fully managed to make us invested in all of them. I found a couple performances really intriguing and even liked minor side characters, but definitely not all of the mains. The relationship between Heather and Ray was something that kept me interested. I have a soft spot for the boy who is always presumed to be the worst, but who actually really cares.

As for the premise in general, I find it hard to judge these teens for playing a game as stupid as Panic. First of all, this wouldn’t be the first time a really upsetting tradition was created in a small-knit and poor community, no matter how reckless participating is, and secondly, I truly believe that these characters thought taking part was the only way out for them. Of course, the thrill-seekers of the bunch are morons for playing a potentially lethal game, but if you had nothing to your name and all you wanted was to escape a place and your circumstances … maybe you would consider it too?

All in all, I really enjoyed the show. I binged it in one go and liked the thrill that came with some of the challenges. The acting was wooden in part, which didn’t help me connect to the characters, but as I said above, there were a couple performances I really enjoyed. The game in itself is something you just have to believe in no matter the plot holes for this work. A lot of the mystery is just for the mystery’s sake and the viewers know even less than the characters while watching, which can be frustrating at times. Still, I would watch another season.

Special (Season 2)

I had a great time watching Special when it first released on Netflix. I think they managed to get to do longer episodes this season (even if it was only by a little) and it helped strengthen their narrative. We weren’t stuck with last season’s plot at all, but naturally evolved with the characters. So much of it was finding out who you want to spend your time with after you’ve learned to love yourself, which isn’t an easy feat to begin with, but you might not want to compromise or settle. Kim’s love life was a highlight for me, because I adore that she just had men worshiping her. I love to see big girl love.

Army of the Dead

Not going to lie, this isn’t my genre at all. I’m not into zombie movies in general (Warm Bodies being the rare exception), but I genuinely wanted to see how Matthias Schweighöfer would fare among these other Hollywood actors. He must have made a great impression since his character is getting a prequel movie, which he will also direct and I found his character a really good comic relief.

In general, this movie was much more fun that I thought it would be. It has some weaknesses, but the zombies were different than the ones I’m used to and I felt entertained, which is the most important part anyway. I can see how this would lead to an entire cinematic zombie universe of its own, because there is definitely potential for sequels, especially some that are set outside of the US.

Doors

I don’t know why I felt to watch an anthology horror movie with extraterrestrial doors in the middle of the night, but I did. It weirdly gave me annihilation vibes and everything about the sound design and the visuals is specifically made to make you feel uncomfortable. Sometimes I was a little put off by the way writing was incorporated in the movie, but it definitely added to the unique style. I didn’t end up loving it, because it made me feel super off and wasn’t a very satisfying watch in my opinion, but I don’t regret checking it out.


I’m currently watching the second season of Ragnarok, so you can be sure that I will talk about that once the next post rolls around. What are you watching? Do you plan to view or have you already seen any of the things I mentioned?

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #59

I watched some stuff and they thematically all felt like they were in a similar realm, so I thought it was time to share all of that. I tend to forget that I do these posts and then content piles up, but not today. Two shows and two movies, that’s a decent amount. Here we go!

*I noticed that I scratched the “for fans of” section in the last post and don’t know if anyone is missing that bit, but I’m leaving it out here too. If you want me to bring it back, let me know in the comments!*

Jupiter’s Legacy (Part 1)

TW: suicide, gore, violence, substance abuse

I’m a huge sucker for all superhero content. Where other people moan and whine about networks and studios releasing more and more of these kind of projects, I relish them and Jupiter’s Legacy was high up on my excitement list. I have not read the comics the show is based on, but because it’s a Mark Millar one, I was prepared for it to be violent. Compared to other shows out there (e.g. The Boys), it was actually alright on that front though, but let’s start at the beginning.

One thing you will have to look past right from the get go are the terrible wigs and the make up etc. that is supposed to make the cast look aged. It’s just ridiculous and lacks authenticity, but I understand why they wanted the same actors through all the stages of the show. The pilot immediately drew me in and set up an interesting premise. Split into two distinct timelines, you have the main characters in the late 1920s on their journey to getting their powers as well as the struggles they now face in the present day. Personally, I thought that the balance between those storylines could have been handled better, because I had a hard time connecting (and liking) some of the new generation characters. In the beginning I was frustrated with how long it took us to accompany the characters in the past, but looking back, every bit of that was needed and I got chills when they finally go their powers.

These heroes live by a code! They don’t kill and they don’t govern, because they need to inspire humanity to do better and not rule them instead. Overall, I think that’s a beautiful sentiment and I was impressed to learn that the old guard had never killed anyone in the 90 years they were active. None of the Avengers or the Justice League could claim that … but it’s also not a practicable code in some situations that simply are life or death, which ultimately sets up one of the biggest conflicts of the season. As a viewer, I didn’t even know what side to take, because I want to believe that situations can be solved non-violently, but at the same time I’ve never been in a “it’s you or me” predicament.

Overall, this season won’t answer all your questions, but is a really good set up for the world and the problems ahead. I was left to wonder about so many characters and needed more info on quite a lot of them, but this is part 1 of a much larger story and I, for one, am excited to see more.

Invincible (Season 1)

TW: gore, violence

I don’t watch many animated shows, but so many people hyped it up and the voice cast is absolutely amazing, I just waited until all episodes were out and binged it in one go. Ultimately, I’d say Invincible definitely deserved the hype it got.

I always enjoy a bit of a different look on a show about superheroes and don’t mind it when they get a bit jaded. I find this show difficult to review without spoiling anything, but I loved the twists and corrupt morals. Mark still has a lot to learn, but they set up amazing storylines for him in the future. All throughout the season, the stakes just got higher and higher, but in all honesty, the people who are coming for Amber on social media can miss me with that bullsh*t. How anyone can claim that a teenage girl who was able to communicate her boundaries clearly was the true villain compared to the actual one who committed genocide and mass murder is beyond me.

Season 2 and 3 are already approved, so people can be sure to get more Invincible content!

The Mitchells vs. the Machines

I was surprised by just how much I loved this movie, but oh boy, I did.

To say that the animation was like nothing I had ever seen before might be a bit of an overstatement, but it felt fresh and unique and engaging. There’s a lot going on in terms of visuals and I would not recommend it to people who struggle with flashing images, but I had a grand time with it, although it really is borderline too much sometimes.

The story revolves around family and growing up and pursuing your dreams, but is set in a ridiculous scenario that just ups the fun tenfold. The generational divide was so well handled and made some really good points. I laughed so much watching the movie, but it also brought me to tears and I just can’t deny that Sony is really stepping up their game when it comes to animation movies these days. Definitely something for the whole family, even with older kids.

This movie *almost* made me want to adopt two broken robot boys, even if they might try to take over the world with the wrong software update.

Bliss

TW: homelessness, substance abuse, suicidal ideation, mentions of undefined mental illness

I was interested in this movie, because 1.) my former roommate’s husband was the cinematographer for it and 2.) the trailer looked really interesting, but I’m sad to say that I did not love it.

Owen Wilson and Salma Hayek are an odd choice for the leads here. While they are both capable of great performances on their own, I didn’t buy into them being soulmates at all. Their chemistry together was just off, which made scenes awkward and less credible. However, I will say that I love Nesta Cooper getting roles in big productions and I wish she had been in this movie even more than she was. She will always be a highlight for me.

Aside from that, I just really struggled with the story as a whole. I didn’t know if it was all part of a depressing metaphor for mental illness, or if it was supposed to be about an actual multiple-reality-story like so many great sci-fi movies and shows have done before. Even at the end, I was not sure and it bothered me? On the one hand, I liked the end, but on the other hand, I didn’t find it satisfying at all. Maybe I just really wasn’t the right viewer, because I did not understand it.


Have you watched any of these shows or movies? Do you plan to? Let’s talk about it!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #54

It’s not been two weeks yet, but I still wanted to talk about a couple things I watched, because I didn’t want the list to get too long. It’s also a decent mix of shows and movies at the moment, so I gotta seize that opportunity to hopefully create a well rounded post!

Lupin (Part 1)

I’ve always been a fan of Omar Sy and not just because of the Intouchables or whatever it was called in English, but because he is a fantastic actor. Seeing him as the lead in this gentleman-thief-esque story had me so excited and the show did not disappoint. Everyone I know enjoyed this and even though I warned my parents about the massive cliffhanger, they binged it too. Well, at least we can all be happy to know that the next part in the series is coming this summer already! (I have a sneaking suspicion that they filmed more and then split it up)

Please, do yourself the service of watching it in French with subtitles. I know dubbed versions exists, but the voices are just so much better in the original.

For fans of: Omar Sy, international Netflix content, heists, thieves, revenge stories

Equinox (Season 1)

When I first saw the trailer of Equinox, it felt like a Danish Dark in a way and … that is a fairly accurate description of the show, just adding more of a mythology aspect to it. I should probably mention that this is based on a Danish podcast “Equinox 1985”, which was super popular and sounded like a true crime podcast, but was actually fiction. I’d be interested to see more podcasts turned into shows.
At times a bit too slow for my taste (and I usually like slow, but if I can skip 30 minutes and not miss a thing … eh, time to overthink that scene), it still had me interested in its mystery.

I know I shouldn’t compare it to Dark so much (and it’s not Dark and nothing will be as good as Dark, but yeah, here we are anyway), but it had that same generation-spanning, “who is behind this?” and time-warpy feeling. I also didn’t like any of the characters really, which much reminds me of the beginning of Dark too, but it was still such an interesting ride. You get some, but not all the answers in Season 1. To me, it felt like it could be a limited series and end there with some things in the air, but I think they might continue the show. (nothing is renewed yet)

For fans of: international Netflix content, Dark, the OG podcast?

Onward

I was unsure because some of the voice-actor-casting, but eventually, I just wanted another emotional animated movie and I really liked it. I enjoy when stories focus on family and grief, as you probably know if you have been a long-time reader of this blog. I thought that especially the brother-relationship was done so well and I ended up crying. As I often always do with Pixar movies. This is definitely one for the whole family!

For fans of: movies about family and magic

To All the Boys 3: Always and Forever, Lara Jean

Okay, so … I wasn’t sure if I should read the book before or after the movie. I have done it both ways already and I always liked the thing that I read/watched first better, which is also the case here with me having read Always and Forever before watching it. I liked some of the improvements in the movie, like Margot not completely hating Mrs. Rothschild and the Lara Jean and Gen growth was magnificent, but there were also some bits and pieces I really missed.

I thought the dad-storyline with Peter felt rushed and his mother never even appeared in this one at all. She was kind of elemental in some ways. I also did not grasp why Chris dated Trevor? I will never object to having Ross Butler on my screen for however little time, but I did not feel their point exactly. The family issues on the Covey-Song front just fell a bit short for me as well, although they attempted to include parts of it.

In general, I believe that choosing between what’s right for your own future and wanting to be with someone is a decent premise. It’s also a bittersweet and cutesy ending to this series. I still believe that the first one was the best movie though and I whole-heartedly believe it’s because it was directed by a woman and like in so many other cases, the sequels were directed by men who definitely let Peter shine more than Lara Jean (this is more of a dig towards movie 2 than 3 …).

For fans of: the previous movies, the cast, the books, cutesy romcoms

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things

My brain tells me that this was an average movie, but my heart really really loved it. Much alike to Palm Springs, this feels like a not-so-tired version of the groundhog-day-scenario, just targeted at teens.

I thought that the casting was really charming, it never felt too long for me and had a way that made you cherish the small things as well as some deeper things in life. Maybe the logic doesn’t work out entirely (because … is that really how it all started?), but it still feels sweet and warm and sad. I cried, but not ugly-cried, so this was a good kind of sad.

For fans of: Palm Springs but make it teen, groundhog-day-scenarios


Did you watch any of these as well? Do you plan to? Let’s talk!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #53

I think at this point, I hardly have to explain what is going on in these kind of posts. I’m just going to tell you a bit about all the different stuff I have watched and we can discuss them in more detail in the comments below!

Firefly Lane (Season 1)

I wasn’t super eager to watch this show, but then the automatic preview kept showing up on my Netflix account and I caved. I tore through it in about 1-2 days and don’t think it’s a necessary watch. Much like Sweet Magnolias (which was also adapted from books), it is centered around female friendship, however, with a very co-dependent note to it. It’s also a show that takes you on a nostalgic trips through the decades, starting in the 60s and spanning all the way to the early 2000s.

The thing is, the “present” POV takes place in 2003 and this show truly feels like something in that was made in 2003. I don’t really buy it when they pretend Heigl and Chalke are in their 20s just because they changed their hairstyle and topics such as sexual harassment at the workplace and journalistic integrity have been done better in different shows (e.g. The Morning Show) as well. But still, Firefly Lane has its moments and manages to capture you emotionally every now and then.

I especially found myself in Kate, which is eerie considering how similar our names are on top of everything. I did not understand how she ended up with who she ended up with until the very last episodes, but now I am invested. And Tully, that woman has to go through all the bad things that can happen to a person, it’s grueling. In the end, I did care about them, but it still wasn’t really a must-watch. I was just mad that they did not reveal what big bad thing happened that finally broke the friendship (and it is rumoured they might not go with what happened in the books should they get another season).

For fans of: Katherine Heigl, Sarah Chalke, book to screen adaptations

Star Trek: Below Decks (Season 1)

I am not a Trekkie and just a really casual viewer of the more recent Star Trek movies. I am also not a huge enthusiast for adult animated shows? I do watch them, but not a lot. And still, I really had fun with this show. I don’t know how well it fits into the universe and it’s definitely more on the silly side, but I was really entertained! That’s the most important thing to me.

For fans of: animated Star Trek?

Bonding (Season 2)

I enjoyed the first season, but literally know nothing about the dom community. Apparently, they had quite the quarrels with the first season though and the writers of season 2 made sure to address the concerns. It’s such a fast-paced show and I am really more here for the relationships than anything else. I don’t even know who is really in the right in that final fight.

For fans of: BDSM, relationships that aren’t just romantic

Yellowstone (Season 1-3)

I actually watched S1 a couple years back, but forgot so much that I had to rewatch it. If you are into slow-paced shows with a good production value and a fantastic cast, this might be for you. Don’t get me wrong, it’s brutal and violent in part and that is not for everyone, but it is also so amazingly complex. Family relationships like that always catch my eye and I like watching their dynamic, even if it’s tough to find anyone likable in this mess. It’s still such an underrated show and I am nervous about who will actually return for season 4.

For fans of: cowboys, family dynasties

Finding ‘Ohana

I love the Goonies. It’s one of my most favourite childhood movies and Finding ‘Ohana is the most Goonies thing since the Goonies, just set in Hawai’i and with Hawaiian myths included. It was funny and sweet and tugged at your heartstrings with the family vibes. And seriously, no other movie can pull off Meghan Trainor’s “All the Way” in the midst of a dangerous life or death situation!

For fans of: Goonies, adventures with kids


Did you watch any of these shows/movies? Would you like to? Let’s talk!

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!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #49

As mentioned already, at least I think I’ve said it before, I now have designated binge-days on Friday where I really tear into new releases and then finish them over the weekend. That way, I feel super up to date and can share my thoughts on a lot of things with you in a quick fashion. If you ever want more detailed reviews again, please let me know! I just figure that these short mini-reviews get more done, but maybe you’d want to know more!

The Wilds (Season 1)

I don’t want to go into a lot of detail, because I really don’t want to spoil anything for you. Suffice to say, this show is very character-driven and what brilliant characters they are. Maybe you won’t always like everyone right away, but they are complex and authentic and will inevitably grow on you.

There’s a couple good “WTF!?” moments, even if I found some of the twists and turns predictable because I watched too much similar content. It’s all very twisted and disturbing and deals with heavy subject matters such as mental health, predatory relationships, body image issues, adultification and judgment of gay relationships. Add to that that they are teen girls stranded on remote islands and I think the potential for conflict is clear.

For fans of: Lost, the Maze Runner but with girls, female-centric plots

Tiny Pretty Things (Season 1)

I have not read the book this is based on and cannot tell you if it is a faithful adaptation. I saw a lot of people in the book community excited, so I’d like to think it’s close to the source material, but I also saw that names of main characters were changed, so … I don’t know.

The promotion for this show was very misleading. It made it look like Neveah would be the lead character, therefore having a focus on a black ballerina, which would have been cool but is not actually the case. However, in reality, Tiny Pretty Things is very much an ensemble show and Neveah’s character gets sidelined a lot. I thought it was important to mention that.

Having said that, I watched Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker (a brilliant short documentary about Debbie Allen’s dance academy) before this show and it introduced Kylie Jefferson, who plays Neveah, to me ahead of time. I grew quite attached to her and didn’t mind that the acting wasn’t always top notch. This show hired dancers rather than actors and sometimes that’s quite obvious, but the dance scenes are all the better for it.

I am not going to say that it’s the best show out there, but I did enjoy myself. The relationships kept changing and I really enjoyed a certain bromance and some ships, despite the ones I wanted to happen not happening.

For fans of: Black Swan, Flesh and Bone, Center Stage, ballet, the book this is based on

The Mess You Leave Behind (Season 1)

Not gonna lie, I started this show solely because of Aron Piper, who you might know from another Spanish hit Netflix show – Elite. The Mess You Leave Behind also deals with the unraveling of the death of someone in a tight-knit community and an “outsider” coming in and figuring things out. However, this is the more “adult” version of Elite I suppose. Anyway, Aron can play the biggest douchebag and I’d still enjoy his face on my screen.

The Mess You Leave Behind seemed like a limited series to me and I don’t think I would need/necessarily want another season. The characters were sometimes hard to root for, but eventually they do grow on you. Although, I still don’t agree with a lot of stuff that happened, it was an aesthetically pleasing show.

For fans of: Spanish Netflix content, Aron Piper?, thrillers, mental health examination

Home for Christmas (Season 2)

I love this show! The main character, Johanne, is so messy, but you simply want her to be happy and find that person she is looking for. Episodes are very short, so, you kind of blink and the new season is over again, but it still leaves you with a happy feeling. This time around, there is no cruel cliffhanger, but instead you see her ending up with someone you might not have necessarily guessed in the first season. I adored the ending and would love maybe one more season to see them make it work.

For fans of: Norwegian Netflix productions, messy adult love life

The Mandalorian (Season 2)

This season was so good!

The Mandalorian has quickly proven to be far better than the sequel trilogy and restored a lot of people’s faith into the Star Wars franchise, including myself. They weave characters from the past into the storyline so effortlessly and brilliantly, it’s just a joy to watch. You never cease to get that giddy feeling when a familiar face pops up and they don’t mess up the integration of the character. I am genuinely happy we will get more seasons of this.

For fans of: Star Wars?

Safety

You know that I have a thing for sports stories, American Football alongside Baseball and Ice Hockey in particular, so this movie would have been interesting to me anyway. The fact that Hunter Sansone, from Stargirl, had a role in this as well and kept promoting it a lot and me being happy that he was getting more roles had me downright pumped.

Safety was such a nice movie! In true Disney fashion, it does not get as dark as the real life circumstances probably were and yes, this is based on someone’s life and I am sure it wasn’t always easy. But it had you invested and rooting for everyone to be successful despite ridiculous rules. Definitely sweet and inspiring, something for the whole family. 

For fans of: inspiring sports movies, tight family, found family trope


Did you watch any of these programs as well? Do you plan to? Let’s talk!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #48

I really watched all over the place in these past days, but seemed to have especially found some kind of nostalgic streak with reboots and the era things were set in. Let’s check it all out!

The Hardy Boys (Season 1)

I have never read a Hardy Boys book (or Nancy Drew book for that matter) in my whole life. When I asked my parents, neither of them had every even heard of them. I do know they mean a lot to people, but my country just did not have them and focused on local groups of book-kid-detectives instead. I’m telling you all this so you know that I have no nostalgia for the books (or even previous TV shows/movies) when it comes to the Hardy Boys. I just like watching them the way I like watching Nancy Drew adaptations.

When I first saw the trailer, I expected this to be hulu’s response to CW’s Nancy Drew, which I like very much despite it being far more supernatural than I expected. It has a darker look, but The Hardy Boys are still squarely set in the 80s. I think it’s funny how you really need to take a hard look these days, because so many shows have established an 80s/90s aesthetic without being set in that decade. I like those vibes coming back, but I was also intrigued by it actually being set at the time.

I really enjoyed myself throughout the entire season even if I wasn’t exactly surprised by any of the twists. It is nicely paced and I was really impressed by the acting even from the younger cast. I think they would do well in continuing this show!

For fans of: The Hardy Boys nostalgia

Saved by the Bell (Reboot – Season 1)

Just like above, I have never watched a Saved by the Bell episode in my life. I went into this out of boredom and then watched the entire season in one sitting. I have to say, and again, I have no reference point for comparison, this show is A LOT. Like, if you want authentic teens, this is not it. It’s so overacted and weird sometimes, but after a while these characters grow on you anyway. I can’t give it any points for nostalgia due to obvious reasons, but I had fun.

For fans of: Saved by the Bell???

Fierce

This is a movie made in Poland about a girl whose father is a big time musician and never wanted to have anything to do with her, so, she makes it onto the music competition show he is a judge on as a sort of revenge? The plot says it all? Kinda?

I think this wasn’t the best possible iteration of a story we’ve all seen in some shape or form before, but I liked it well enough. It was a good vied on fame and sticking to your true self, even though it got VERY dramatic sometimes.

On a side note, I know the English dubbing is bad … I watched it with German dubbing, which was better. But I’d also recommend just checking out the subtitles?

For fans of: music competition shows + family drama

Godmothered

Do you remember the movie Enchanted? This totally gave me similar vibes. We have a character from an actual magic world placed in our much harsher reality, but instead of them needing to find true love, they want to help others. And that, does not look the typical fairytale way, so don’t worry about it being too cliché.

It’s a really heartwarming and funny tale, one that works for the whole family. Maybe the humour won’t always hit home 100%, but I think in general it’s a sweet movie and even very fitting for the Christmas time! I definitely came out of it utterly enchanted.

For fans of: sweet fairytale style fun that’s for the whole family

Uncle Frank

This movie. I loved it so freaking much!

Don’t get me wrong, you need to go into it with the right mindset and be prepared for the trauma involved, because this is both a happy and incredibly sad coming out story at the same time. From the trailer and premise it does not look as deeply sad as it is sometimes, but then again, it also does have these amazing moments of humour.

This movie is so many things. I don’t know how it could have been so simple at it’s core, yet also so smart and complex. But I just hope everyone has an Uncle Frank in their lives to open their eyes, but even more so, I hope that everyone meets a Wally and lets them into their hearts! Also, this was a deeply personal movie for Alan Ball and it’s worth it checking out why he made the movie.

For fans of: coming out stories, family centric stories


Have you watched any of these shows or movies? Do you plan to? Let’s talk!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #43

I’ve watched astonishingly little these past weeks. Maybe it had to do with me finally getting my laptop to work again and falling into a rabbit hole of playing Sims, or I just wasn’t in the mood. Either way, I got a couple movies in, so, let’s talk about all that.

Dickinson (Season 1)

While I always liked the trailer, I never felt very compelled to actually watch it. I knew of Emily Dickinson, but only barely so and just had no connection to her lifestory or anything of that kind. However, once I started, I could not stop watching!

I can see a lot of people not being huge fans of the anachronistic language, music and so on, but that’s what I found so enticing. Whenever popular music from our decade (or even the last year) started playing, I just vibed with the scene even more. I didn’t even mind the twerking in the huge dresses. And the use of language was just hilarious, with several nods to how ridiculous life was back then sometimes.

The cast did not disappoint either, but it’s what I expected with some of the names on the list. All around, I really enjoyed the whole season and am looking forward to Season 2, which will start airing early January 2021. On a side note though, I would have just watched a show where a girl plucked out of history was dating death. Legit love that as a premise, even if it’s not this show.

For fans of: anachronistic historic content

Can You Keep a Secret?

When I was younger (say around 15?), I had a huge Sophie Kinsella phase and Can You Keep a Secret? was my favourite. I’m now more than a decade older and remembered scarely anything from that book, but was still pleasantly surprised to see it being made into a movie with Alexandra Daddario and Tyler Hoechlin as the leads – so here for those two!

To keep it short, the movie is ridiculous! You will cringe and secondhand embarrassment is also no stranger to the viewers, but it was alright and I laughed quite a bit too. Not the best current romcom out there, but definitely a fun little something.

For fans of: Kinsella’s book, ridiculous romance movies

Secret Society of Second Born Royals

I think I am too old for these movies now? When did Skylar Astin become the dad-/mentor-figure … WHEN!? But anyway, aside from that shocking part, I just found the whole movie very predictable. I don’t understand why every Disney production has to have at least one musical number in it and why everything has to look so fake when it comes to the CGI … so, in conclusion, I am just not the target audience of this anymore. Children out there could probably still enjoy this a whole lot.

For fans of: typical Disney-esque movies with Disney-esque faces

Chemical Hearts

First off, I have not read the book, therefore I have no way of comparing the two and will leave that to other people. I don’t think Chemical Hearts is a bad movie, it’s just … not a very engaging movie either? For long stretches of times, nothing happens. Teens are being their dramatic selves (as they should be! Lord knows I was dramatic af when I was a teen) and emotions are running high all the time. But the director also tried to bring a certain aesthetic to the movie, make it look artsier than the subject matter ist.

I know there is a message about grief and friendship and love in there somewhere, but I felt bored.

For fans of: angsty dramatic teens but with artsy vibes

The Babysitter/The Babysitter: Killer Queen

I don’t do horror. I don’t know how often I’ve said that before and then just do a 180 and watch spooky/scary stuff anyway. The more familiar faces in it, the more I can detach this from becoming scary in reality (cause I really do not enjoy being scared) and this cast seemed to offer me a good enough attempt at watching horror again. It wasn’t the worst?

As per usual, I did not care for the violence and the gore, legit skipped those parts, but other than that, it was actually decent fun? It was also dumb in a lot of parts, but I watched both movies back to back at night and didn’t get nightmares, so I am cool. Also, I really, really appreciate that they got the ENTIRE cast from the first movie for the sequel. That’s not always the case.

For fans of: horror comedy with still quite a lot of violence

Read More »

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #38

As you can see, I haven’t really had the time to read lately, because drawing and writing every day takes up a lot of time. However, it’s super easy to just have a show or movie play in the background while I work, so here’s another post on what I’ve been watching!

Little Voice (Season 1 ongoing)

Ever since I saw the trailer, I knew I wanted to check out the show! The music is absolutely the kind I like and I prefer shows where people don’t just start singing randomly, but rather have a reason to do so. If I had to complain about one thing so far, it’d be that Apple didn’t release all episodes at once, which I would have much preferred. One episode isn’t very long, so by the time I really am vibing with it and feeling like I’m in that world, it already ends again. But that’s just my spoiled mindset with all other streaming services out there dropping their content all at once.

I find the characters all super likable and relatable. They feel real and I especially appreciate Bess’ (the main character) relationship with her autistic brother Louis. Those two are so precious together and their shared love of music and musicals is everything. I am a little more torn on the romance front, just because I don’t like the idea of cheating? Obviously Sean’s character Ethan is a dreamboat and there’s a connection there with Bess, but so is with Samuel and he’d definitely be the better choice in terms of availability.

Lastly, there is also a lesbian storyline for a character with a traditional Indian family background and I’m super curious to see how they will explore that in future episodes.

For fans of: Brittany O’Grady singing, JJ Abrams going back too his Felicity-esque roots, Sara Bareilles songs, music seamlessly incorporated in TV without making it a musical

Blood & Water (Season 1)

I had meant to watch this for the longest time! This is one of the first productions on Netflix that came from South Africa and I know that a lot of people had been waiting for it. There’s definitely a bit of buzz around the show and I was so relieved that the wallpaper with the season two production announcement came right after I finished this season.

The plot has a whole is super interesting. Adoption scandals, child kidnappings, rich people vs. poor people – all of that had me hooked pretty easily and I was invested in finding out what actually happened. Sometimes I was a bit annoyed with the secrecy and the lack of trust vs. blind faith some of the characters portrayed, but I just tried to remind myself that those are all teenagers and I was dramatic af as a teen myself (I still am sometimes).

For fans of: international Netflix productions, majority Black cast

Cursed (Season 1)

I have not read the book this is based on and neither do I intend to, so, I can’t really talk about any similarities or differences in that matter. However, I can tell you that this definitely isn’t a traditional retelling of what you’d consider an Arthurian legend.

I’m not going to lie to you, it was off to a rough start for me. I hated the transitions (until the very end) and thought that things just looked a bit off. Everything had such a bright (which sometimes looks fake?) look, but then also was just extremely violent with chopped off body parts multiple times per episode. That didn’t exactly fit together in my head? But ultimately it didn’t deter me and the show grew on me with every episode I kept watching.

There’s not yet been an announcement on whether they’ll continue with the show, but I’d definitely watch it if it got released, just for the sake of finding out how this will end up with Arthur on the throne and all the key players in their “traditional” places. Cause at the moment, I cannot see that happening at all yet. But I guess I also wouldn’t be sad for days if it didn’t get renewed.

And yes, on a final note, I totally kept watching because I liked the weeping monk. Sue me! (Other favourite characters included Squirrel, Morgana, Pym, Merlin, Gawain and when he wasn’t a fool in love, Arthur.)

For fans of: twists (and not very accurate) Arthurian legend inspired material

Absentia (Season 1)

I 100% started watching this show because of Neil Jackson. This is NOT my genre at all and I couldn’t look at some of the bleeding eye/drowning stuff. The storyline was interesting to me, because while I often care very little about the crime element, I am fascinated by family dynamics in unusual situations. I definitely didn’t understand all of the choices made by the characters, but I’m also no FBI agent … who knows? Maybe they actually knew what they were doing constantly going off on their own.

I already started to watch Season 2, but I actually need to pay attention, so, I can’t just play it in the background like some other stuff.

For fans of: Stana Katic, dark psychological thrillers, shows that aren’t afraid to get gross

The Kissing Booth 2

Look, I get it. A bunch of people watched the first one, they made another one and set up a third. Views don’t lie? But that doesn’t mean I don’t think this movie series is still utter trash. Granted, the sequel was actually less annoying than the first Kissing Booth movie, but doesn’t make it a good movie all of a sudden.

The relationships these kids have are not healthy. They lie and cheat and clearly have boundary issues, but they rarely look for the fault in themselves. I don’t understand why everyone is so enchanted by Elle as if she’s a really great person, when she’s just as flawed as the others?

Anyway, this is no way needed to be 2+ hours long. Just no.

For fans of: the wattpad novel? the cast??


This is what I’ve been watching! Have you seen any of those things? I’d love to chat!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #23

Hello again, I’ve been watching some great stuff! I even considered doing a more thorough #CurrentlyWatching post for some of them, but then just didn’t have it in me. I hope these briefer accounts work for you as well and that you’ll maybe check some of them out!

Reprisal

Whatever you think this show is, you are not prepared! It released last Friday and I sat there and binged all 10 hours of it, because I was so transfixed, and even then I just wanted more. Reprisial is brilliant, noir, funny, smartly edited (in both visual and sound-mixing ways), aesthetically pleasing and despite an a tale as old as time revolving around revenge, utterly and completely unique. You have to understand, this isn’t our world, our earth. This is an entirely new universe. It’s as if someone mixed all the eras we knew and made something completely of their own by having rock-a-billy style clothing, burlesque, beautiful old cars and cellphones exist on the same plane.

If I had to pick a favourite performance, I really couldn’t (although I will forever hold a soft spot for the three River Phoenixes). Someone meticulously casted this and made sure that even side characters would remain memorable. The occasional 4th-wall-breaks just add to the ambiance. I generally like gang-settings (if they aren’t too tied with boring drug business) and this was no exception. When you watch those characters, you will get chills because they are so sweet and dark at the same time. All I want is another season now … like, literally, right NOW.

For fans of: stylized noir Sons of Anarchy, complex characters with shifting loyalties

Virgin River

Sooo … Netflix recommended this to me (cause my profile is curated very well and recs are usually on point), but doesn’t promote this in any way whatsoever. That is super apparent when you look at the trailer … For those of you who think “wow, this just seems like Hart of Dixie”, I get it. The comparison alongside with one for Saving Hope was one of the first that came to mind for me as well. However, the books this show is based on (and believe me it’s a long series of books) were released way before Hart of Dixie … so, I don’t know who took inspiration from who. The casting is a little funny considering the resemblance of the content though.

Anyway, I really liked this! It has drama, but not the unnecessary kind, just the personal one that everyone who has lived a life with some baggage brings along. It has a lot of heart and now one of my favourite “boring” ships, as I like to call them. There’s obviously heartbreak, but the development of the relationship has a certain pureness to it. Something that builds from friendship and genuine care for one another into something more. I love those!

For fans of: small town love stories with medical aspects

Merry Happy Whatever

This was okay? I am not going to go around and praise something to the heavens that I didn’t absolutely love, but it was alright. I find it tricky to really make this into a continued series, since it would mean you only ever get to see the family around holidays or special events with large breaks inbetween. I am someone who doesn’t love that, because then they always pretend like nothing whatsoever happened in those 10-months or whatever and only the 5-day holiday is where all the drama stems from.

Anyway, it’s still a nice, family-oriented show. I loved the coming-out storyline for one of the characters (not going to say who, because spoilers?), but other than that, it was a lot of standard stuff.

For fans of: former Disney kids

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Season 3)

I love this show so, so very much! It breaks my heart whenever a season ends and this time was no different. Maybe it was even more heartbreaking that last time and I didn’t think that was possible, because Zachary Levi is a darling and basically played the perfect man on the show and I am rambling … Anyway, I consider Miriam “Midge” Maisel to be one of the smartest and most funny people, but boy, she messed up … I saw this coming a mile away and it still hurt like hell.

None the less, this season was another treat! I don’t know how they keep the brilliance coming, but they just do. My favourite episode was maybe episode 5, because Luke Kirby as Lenny Bruce is just pure magic. His sadness is killing me and the way he looks at Midge – seriously, get yourself a partner that looks at you the way Lenny looks at her. I am just always so terrified, thinking about what happened to him in real life and I just don’t want to see that on screen. He shows up like once or twice a season and still is one of my favourite characters in the entire series. (And Benjamin. I do love Benjamin.)

For fans of: Midge Maisel, Lenny Bruce looking at her like she hung the moon

Did you watch any of the shows mentioned above? Would you like to? I am always here if you want any more information, let’s chat in the comments!