What I’ve Been Binge-Watching #8

The binge-watch-energy wasn’t as strong with me lately as it has been before, but I still have a little nice compilation ready for you. There’s not as much out there that I want to watch at the moment, maybe that played into it, but I know there’s quite a lot coming up.

**I don’t recommend any of today’s shows if you don’t like excessive swearing, nudity and/or gore in your TV shows**

Immortals

I don’t understand how NO ONE got the idea to recommend a Turkish vampire revenge drama to me? I had to discover this beaut all on my own and what a ride it was. As a little heads up, the dialogue is terrible in this and I don’t know if it has to do with dodgy translations or actual bad writing but it doesn’t even make sense sometimes. Regardless, this was weirdly addicting.

Based on the scenery, clothes, etc., I wasn’t always entirely sure when exactly events took place, but in the end it didn’t matter all that much. Immortals is about revenge, hunger, betrayal, desire and, at the core of it all, love (but in the least cheesiest way you can imagine thinking about other vampire stories and such). I can’t say that my allegiances switched very often, as some characters were just complete dicks 24/7, but it had some really neat twists and layered motives when it came to how it all ended.

This isn’t Netflix’ first Turkish show, so I don’t know what the chances are of them renewing it, but I had fun. It definitely has flaws in terms of storytelling, but I’d be curious to see where it goes.

Fleabag

I finally jumped on the bandwagon and started watched Fleabag just as season 2 started, which is what I am currently watching and now up to date with. I do understand why people like it so much, although I’d be lying if I said that I loved it.

The show has an amazing cast and Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a brilliant woman who can barely do any wrong, but it took me quite some time until I really connected with her character (who doesn’t have a name?). Since the episodes are quite short, I felt like the deeper moments got lost sometimes in some other nonsense of the episode. I am still really enjoying it and especially like the fact that Moriarty is playing a priest in season 2 now.

American Gods (Season 2)

American Gods is a strange show. Visually, it is a feast, but in terms of storytelling, things are a little more complicated. I think that, just like the gods this whole thing is about, the show needs your unwavering faith to work its magic. If you want answers fast and don’t like random detours, you will be very unhappy with what is presented to you. However, if you can enjoy the ride and just let it take you wherever it goes without thinking about it too much, this can be very interesting.

It would be a lie to say that I binged season 2, since there are only two episodes out so far, but I have watched those and am liking the pace and story elements a lot more so far. The parts don’t feel as disconnected as they sometimes did in season 1 and the whole Dead Wife and Mad Sweeney dynamic is still all I live for. (A Prayer for Mad Sweeney remains my favourite episodes and they’re going to have to do something magnificent for that to change)


Are you watching any of those shows? Do you like them? Do you plan on watching them? Let’s talk about it!

#CurrentlyWatching: Our Girl

I am going to be upfront with you, but today’s theme is a bit of a stretch. I had a very clear idea of what I wanted to showcase this week, but I struggled to give them a connecting link, so “UK shows (sort of?)” is my theme. Let me explain! I am starting this week with Our Girl, which is a BBC show about the British military, so it is definitely a very British show, but I am sure it’s 90% not set in the UK because of the tours they are on and that’s why there is that question mark.

This is actually not the first time that I have talked about the show! It all started out with the 2013 movie (of the same title) about young Molly Dawes, whose life changes drastically when she signs up with an Army Recruitment Office. It was so well received that her story subsequently received an upgrade to a mini-series in 2014. There were five episodes in that season and I reviewed all of them very spoilery except for the pilot (here are the links for Part 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5). Unfortunately, there were scheduling issues with the main actress, so for season two and three the focus changed to another medic by the name of Georgie Lane. To this day, the reviews for the earlier episodes are some of my most visited posts and therefore I thought it was time to talk about the rest as well!

This is going to be a little different than usually, because I am going to show both the trailer for the movie and the TV show (for Molly as well as Georgie). It is not strictly necessary that you watch the movie before the show (I watched it later on but I understood perfectly fine what was happening in the mini-series), but I still want to include it for completion’s sake. Also, the Molly and Georgie storylines are separate, even if there are some characters that stayed the same and there are references to Molly’s life.

Both, the movie and the show, focus on how the Army can change a person’s life with a special focus on women in the military.

I hope I didn’t confuse you too much with my explanation of the show. It’s really a lot simpler than it might have sounded. Our Girl focuses on strong women in the military and delivers a seemingly authentic experience through and through (seen as I was never part of the military, this is just my personal feeling and not based on experience!). Even through all that, it never glorifies the actions of the military or war itself, but rather questions them and their rules.

The characters are all very likable. They are regular folks in very non-regular situations. There’s a lot of heart and personal drama that went into this franchise, but they also managed to show life while being on tour and all the different kinds of dangers the service personnel might face. However, they also show the contrast of how displaced the affected people might feel upon their return home.

It’s difficult to talk about one particular part of Our Girl, because it keeps changing focus. Each series puts the characters in a new setting with new faces and challenges all around them. As I have mentioned before, some people remain constants throughout the different storylines, but at the same time I recommend not getting too attached to anyone.

There’s a beautifully chosen soundtrack, with a new theme with each season. I feel like they got more budget for the series than they did for the movie, as it is a lot more aesthetically pleasing.

Obviously this show is about women. It’s in the title, it’s in the premise and I think it’s such an important focus as well. The women aren’t just army wives or the daughters here (although there is nothing wrong with that and those experiences carry their own struggles with them), but here the women are a vital part of the team, they are right in middle of things. I adored Molly’s character and was devastated when I first found out that she wouldn’t be returning. At this point, I have gotten so used to Georgie though, that I couldn’t even imagine the show without her. They are both strong in their own ways, not afraid to face their fears and conquer life, but there is one person connecting them and through that being that glue for the entire show – Captain James!

He is the kind of person who sticks to rules, but always takes care of his people and someone you would absolutely want in your corner when things get tricky. I don’t think there was a single person who didn’t eventually fall for him as he slowly started to open up in series 1 and I was more than happy to see that he became the constant the show needed when Molly was replaced. Through him, the story still made sense and provided that link to make it all work.

I will never forget the gruesome weeks it took until they revealed his first name and how I laughed when we finally found out. Or how he made me feel like I was in a Nespresso commercial, direly needing to try the Rosabaya flavour, even though I don’t like or ever drink coffee. Someone stop me from swooning over him all day long, please!

Anyway, this was my very rambly post about Our Girl. I feel like this wasn’t as comprehensive as it maybe could have been, but I hope my love for the show still came across! It definitely won’t ever get boring!

Do you watch Our Girl? Is it about something you are interested in? Let’s chat!

#CurrentlyWatching: Peaky Blinders

Let’s continue with this week’s theme of “family business“, but with a show vastly different from Dynasty. If you follow me on Twitter, you will have seen me gush about it all of last week and that show is Peaky Blinders!

I joined in quite late, considering that the show premiered in 2013 and already has 4 seasons available, but then again, I am really glad I could binge it all in a short amount of time, instead of waiting a year or more between season (seriously, Season 5 won’t be out until 2019 and I am dying a little bit inside, but am also super grateful the show continues). Peaky Blinders is made by the BBC, but is also available on Netflix in most territories as far as I know.

**Please ignore that the official BBC speaker pronounces Cillian as Sillian, because it is Killian and I am ashamed for them**

Set in the early 1920s, Peaky Blinders chronicles the life of the infamous gang by the same name run by the ambitious and ruthless Shelby family.

While the Peaky Blinders as a gang really did exist, the show has no claim on being factually correct whatsoever. Whereas the series starts in 1919, the real Peaky Blinders operated from around 1890-1920 and would have most likely been extinct by the time the show begins. There is no proof of any of the characters having existed (except maybe some of the opponent crime bosses) and the razors the gang has sown into their caps were a luxury product at the time that probably not even the Peaky Blinders could have afforded. So, I personally do not care about any of these things at all, but some people might want to know that this is not based on real history. I always saw it as a pure work of fiction to begin with.

Right from the get go, I quite enjoyed the family dynamic of the Shelbys. Whereas the family business, in this case a buzzing gambling den, is usually run by the eldest sibling, it is Thomas Shelby (the middle child) everyone looks to. None of the brothers have come home from the war the way they left for France, but he has taken up the responsibility to care for his family and to get them the life he thinks they deserve for their service to their country – by whatever means necessary.

Thomas Shelby is a complex character and I love him all the more for it. Is he a good man? Debatable for sure. I wouldn’t even go so far as to say that he always has good intentions in mind, because it wouldn’t be the truth. People fear him, but they also adore him. He provides protection, but at the same time he is often the reason people need protection to begin with. Whatever he does, it always feels like a two-edged sword. He wants to go legit, but in the end there is always one more thing to do, one last heist, one last mission. I am not sure he would actually be able to be content with a life in peace if it was right in front of him.

Cillian Murphy’s portrayal of Thomas is perfection in my eyes. He has no problem showing his callous and ruthless side, he can turn on the charm and self-confidence that is required to navigate certain situations, but there is also an underlying vulnerability and endless sadness to him. All this affects his every relationship at one point or another and shows how broken war has left him.

Women were at a clear disadvantage in the 1920s, however, I appreciate that there is an element of progressiveness among the Peaky Blinders. Women’s issues are discussed, equality is at least attempted and it is in no way implied that they are just damsels in distress that need to be saved and protected all the time. Women have their own head in this show and oftentimes sneakily manipulate the men in their small ways. I am not saying that the female representation is perfect, but considering the time period it is set in, I certainly enjoyed the direction they decided to go in.

There is no denying that the show can go quite dark and violent. I suppose that is part of the whole ogranised crime topic we are dealing with. However, it also handles topics such as mental health and PTSD in particular. Considering how little regard there was given to mental health issues at the time, I always find it interesting to see how people dealt with it. There is a lot of emotional trauma to deal with throughout the series and they constantly managed to break my heart.

All in all, I hold Peaky Blinders in high regard. It has most stellar acting in all roles, be it the main casting or supporting characters. The setting is not one you see on TV every day and even throughout several seasons, it never seizes to amaze me in terms of intricacies of the plot and characters. Also, one final shout out to all the epic walking scenes on that show. You should never underestimate how difficult it is to walk normal or cool while being filmed.

So, by the order of the Peaky Blinders, I command you to watch this show. Just kidding! But if you do think this one is for you, check it out and tell me what you think!

 

Doctor Who: Oxygen

Well hello there to another one of my super quick and not very thought-through Doctor Who reviews! This one is for episode 5 of series 10 titled Oxygen. As always, be aware that this review includes Spoilers!

What was it about?

The Doctor gets a case of wanderlust and takes Bill to a dystopian space station where the crew is direly in need of some help.

My thoughts?

The formula of this episode seemed pretty standard, but by the end I was releasing a breath of relief, thinking “We are finally getting somewhere”, but more about that later. These past weeks have not been easy for me. I want to like Doctor Who as much as I used to, but it’s such a drag to watch it, because there’s simply nothing that excites me about it. No episode has truly emotionally touched me, and just to clarify, neither has this one. I remain of the opinion that Nardole has been utterly useless so far, even if he finally got a little more screen time than in previous episodes. I don’t even find him particularly funny, which is a shame, because I suppose that’s his role here. Bill‘s wonder at experiencing life with the Doctor for the first time is still fun, but it cannot save the plot. I am seriously just scraping by and trying to find things I appreciate, so here’s what I got for Oxygen:

  • I liked the constant double meaning of their remarks towards suits.
  • Bill’s mum obviously plays a bigger role and I am curious to find out what it is.
  • The show playing with the notion of racism again (as they previously did in Thin Ice).

I am not a person that gets excited about space zombies (unless we are talking Illuminae files or something like that), but I am interested in the vault, the reason for the Doctor having to stay on earth and most of all the Doctor turning blind. I know that he has a special awareness of the world around him, but I wonder how long he can keep up the ruse of pretending he can see. Will this be a permanent condition until his regeneration? It’s like the first time we don’t have an entirely able bodied Doctor and that’s an interesting representation that I am curious about.

That’s all I got for you today, except for my favourite quote of the week:

“The universe shows us its true self when it asks for help, we show ours by how we respond.”

I caught a glimpse of Missy for next week, so I am hoping that will bring some much needed urgency to the episode! What are your thoughts, folks? Did you enjoy Oxygen?

#CurrentlyWatching: Class

My love for Doctor Who is no secret and if you’ve known me for a while, you are probably also aware of my adoration for its spin-off series Class! The show premiered in October last year in the UK, however, there is a reason why I chose to talk about it just now. Despite having been really well-received (from what I heard at least), the show just started on BBC America now. The first episode aired last week and from now on it airs every Saturday after the new Season 10 episodes of Doctor Who. The fate of its future and a possible Season 2 (which I NEED) now depends on the American ratings. I am really unhappy with that, because why on earth does it depend on US ratings now to renew a perfectly British show, but whatever. This post is a plea for you to watch it and ensure that Class definitely gets another season!

I want to start off by saying that a lot of small references or certain villains will probably make more sense if you have watched Doctor Who, but it is not strictly necessary to have watched the “parent show” beforehand. The Doctor makes a short appearance in the first episode, but thus far that’s all in terms of crossovers.

The students of Coal Hill Academy once more have to deal with extra-terrestrial threats and the stressful fact of being a teenager at the same time.

Class was created and written by Patrick Ness, a name you will probably have heard in the world of YA books before. I’ve only reviewed one of his books, which you can read here, but when I got news that he would be involved I was excited from the start. Class is a fast-paced show, yet it still manages to get you utterly invested in the fate of everyone. There are so many reasons why I love the show and it’s difficult to wrap my head around where I should even start. So, I am going to do this old-school and make a list:

  • A super diverse cast: We have POCs and people of different nationalities as main characters, we get to see different religions, disabled characters who are not defined by their disability and a canon gay relationship established in the first episode. There’s not just inter-racial but actual inter-species love because of our cinnamon roll alien prince, Charlie. Doesn’t that all sound swoonworthy amazing already?
  • Girls and boys can be friends – and JUST friends at that! The relationship between Ram and Tanya was one of my favourites, because they were so close but it never crossed over in the romantic world. It’s sad how rare that is on TV.
  • Boys get to be vulnerable and girls get to be badass. (I think this is self explanatory. Yay for defying stereotypes!)
  • Family matters! All too often when the teens get to go on adventures, the parents are just sort of … I don’t know, forgotten? Here the parents don’t hinder the action, but they worry and fret for their children. Their presence is at least always there in the back of your mind.
  • It tackles heavy topics with grace, such as homophobia, grief and complex moral questions.
  • Not one character is ignored. They each get their time to shine and it’s so worth it, because there is not a single character I don’t like. The relationships and the group dynamic is just amazing. While the romantic ships feel a bit rushed sometimes, due to the fast pace in general, I never once doubted the friendship and closeness. It just really fits the tone of the show.
  • Pop culture references! Wohooo!
  • Best one-liners on TV! *cough* I don’t like knives *cough*
  • Actually scary villains and a surprise return of an old foe in the end.

See, I am just in love with that show! Please, please tell me what’s not to like about it? I am waiting! Because here I am sitting and just enjoying it all and really hoping that I will get to see more of all those fantastic people. So, go and get caught up on that episode from last week and then tune in live or via the BBC America website for the rest of the season.

Class definitely felt a lot more adult to me than Doctor Who sometimes does. This is not exactly a show for kids, but Patrick Ness himself said that if you are into YA books and can deal with what’s going on there, you will be able to handle the show as well. There’s a LOT more blood and naked skin than in Doctor Who for sure.

Did you watch Class? Are you hoping for another season as much as I do?

Doctor Who Christmas Special 2015: The Husbands of River Song

Series 9 of Doctor Who has reignited my love for the show! The Husbands of River Song was just the perfect ending for this whovian year and now the wait for the next series begins. But let’s talk about what happened last night!

husbands

What was it about?

The Doctor finds himself being called to help with a surgery on a crashed space ship, not knowing that River Song is behind the scheme. She wants the Doctor to detach the head of her husband, King Hydroflax, because it currently has a very valuable diamond stuck in it. Consequently they get into a lot of trouble, all the while River doesn’t even realise that the Doctor is her actual Doctor. They manage to survive and the episode ends with them spending their last night together.

My thoughts?

I am in love with the episode! I did not care about King Hydroflax or the Cyberman-hybrid body. I didn’t even care about all the different guest stars and aliens that appeared, which were pretty cool sometimes. All I really paid attention to were Twelve and River! It was such a fun and quirky yet also bittersweet episode and I filled a whole document with the hilarious quotes of the two of them. I think it was a great choice to not make River realise that he is her Doctor, because it gave so much more room for exploration of their relationship.
The Doctor got to play the person who see the inside of a TARDIS for the first time and he really can prod River’s thoughts on her feelings about him, without her knowing who he is. I loved how you could see the worry in his face, Twelve questioning what if anything in their relationship was ever real. But then there was the highlight, River expressing her love for him and it was so beautiful. I think the episode and their first encounter didn’t exactly go down as many have thought it would, but Twelve and River had some great chemistry and I think it was a really memorable part of their relationship together.

By the end, it seems that River’s story has now come full circle. I think that in a way, the whole story with Clara taught him that he couldn’t drag it out forever. It may have been a little cheesy, but since they are now at last at the Singing Towers of Darillium, I am happy that a night there is 24 years long. For once, they get to be together just like that. The “And they lived happily ever after” at the end was a little unnecessary in my opinion, but then again, River explained that “happily ever after” doesn’t mean forever, it just means time.

At last, I am happy that even the Doctor mentioned how ridiculous a Sonic Trowel is, but at least now we know how River got her Sonic Screwdriver!

Now the waiting begins! Who will be the new companion? When will the show return? Will Series 10 be Capaldi‘s last season? Nothing but questions but hopefully the next year will bring all the answers!

Doctor Who: Hell Bent

What a loaded Season 9 Finale of Doctor Who! Hell Bent definitely wasn’t the way I thought it would be, but with this show surprises can definitely be something good. Spoilers are coming your way!

hell bent

What was it about?

The Doctor uses his status as a war hero on Gallifrey to get back his beloved Clara. He is willing to tear apart time itself apparently, but his realisation about the hybrid and his best friend leads with them having to part ways anyways. 

My thoughts?

I know I say this almost every week, but I seriously don’t know where to start! I enjoyed last week (although not as much as some of you guys), but I definitely didn’t see this continuation of Heaven Sent coming! At the same time, this is exactly what I wanted. I didn’t think that Clara deserved such a short and uneventful death like the one in Face the Raven. She was and still is important to me and I wanted her to get a spectacular exit – Hell Bent gave her that and so much more! In the end she became what she was heading towards the entire time – immortal, running away with a TARDIS and possibly even her very own companion – basically the Doctor. I am sure that many won’t agree, but to me, that was really the perfect ending for her. And like with River, there is a slight possibility of Clara and the Doctor crossing paths again. I LOVE IT!

I think what got to me the most though, was that this was almost like a reversed Donna-scenario. When I realised that Twelve didn’t recognise Clara, I was heartbroken for her! Imagine your best friend not knowing who you are anymore … it’s really quite sad, especially since he was so convinced that he would recognise her. In the past I’ve complained about the excessive use of Twelve and his electric guitar, but wow, I am so glad he played Clara’s theme, that put some more cracks into my heart. Anyway, I am still wondering what exactly Clara told the Doctor in the Cloisters …

We haven’t had an episode on Gallifrey for a long time and they didn’t shy away from including some popular monsters as well. I almost wish they’d made it more Gallifreyian centered though, because it’s such a great setting for all kind of stories. However, aside from that I loved seeing all the other Time Lords and Ladies and how they idolise and fear the Doctor. Then again, I couldn’t believe some of the changes he had went through in those 4.5 billion years (still can’t believe it was that long!). He wasn’t really the Doctor anymore, I mean for crying out loud, he shot someone (even if he knew that he still had a regeneration left). It’s kind of frightening to think what all the Doctor would do for Clara. Which brings me to my next point!

The hybrid was Clara and the Doctor in the end? Did I get that correctly? Was that what was happening? Because after the last episode it was pointed out to me that “me” could have been the Doctor or Ashildr, which I was apparently way too tired to really notice. Many would have liked to see Ashildr become the Doctor’s new companion (I wasn’t one of them), but she ruined her chances of that. However, it was fitting that they met at the end of time and I am  now sort of hoping that she’s Clara’s new travel companion, taking the long route to Gallifrey.

Now, last but not least – THE SONIC SCREWDRIVER IS BACK! And it’s a glorious and fantastic looking one that I would love to add to my own collection!

I am sure I once again missed a ton of references to pre-2005 Whovian episodes, so if you wish to share some of your observations in the comments, be my guest! Also, sorry if I went on a tangent every now and then … it’s late. Other than that, I can only finish with being really excited for the Christmas Special. River was always one of my favourite characters!