What I’ve Been Binge-Watching #5

Being home sick has given me plenty of time to watch stuff (I was basically ordered to do so by my doctor, so who am I to decline that suggestion). So, let’s see what’s been on my screen:

Russian Doll

I thought this was going to be so stupid and just like Happy Deathday, but Russian Doll is one of the most brilliant shows I have watched as of late. With a short 4-hour-binge, you will be taken into a world of weird but excellent acting, formidable script-work and a beautiful range of characters. It is so much deeper and complex (but still fun!!!) than I expected. It’s like an existential life crisis dramedy and I had no idea that was even a thing.

I want to say that it wraps up pretty nicely. I am not sure if this is supposed to be a limited series or not, but I wouldn’t be mad if it ended here. In fact, I believe a second season might ruin it … And just as a little inside tip from me, stick with it until at least episode 3.

In the end, I just sat there and I wanted to hug all the characters goodbye. What an amazing journey they took me on!

Siempre Bruja – Always a Witch

You know that I love contemporary witches, but I also very much like witches that are fish out of water because they’ve been transported to contemporary times. This was such a fun show and I keep appreciating all the international content on Netflix. This one is set in Colombia and I watched it in Spanish with subtitles, I believe that’s the best way to get the experience right.

I will say that it was very hard for anyone to root for Carmen to be able to go back to her original timeline. In the 1600s she was a black slave who had fallen in love with her white master’s son, but in our time, she had so much more possibilities for her future. As soon as she had felt at home in the 21st century, you just knew she could never again be content with her old life, but at the same time she was unwilling to give up on her love. Without wanting to give away anything, there is a lot of room to explore more of that in a second season.

Not going to sugarcoat it, I called a lot of what was happening with the baddies on the show. Not all of it, but enough to not be seriously surprised. There is a very teen drama soap feel to some of it, but I don’t mind that at all. It’s just something to think about if that’s maybe not your thing.

9-1-1

This isn’t really a new one, but I just felt like bingeing it all again, especially season 2. The cases on this show are so over the top and there are so many too. You might think that they go to one accident per episode or a max of two, but no! This is more like 5+ every single episode, while still giving us plenty of personal relationship stuff too.

I just really wanted to watch it again, because I am into the Eddie and Buck ship, which is not canon but I don’t even care. They could just have a beautiful non toxic male friendship as well and I wouldn’t be mad about that either, but they’d make a cute couple too. The writers even admitted that they were throwing crumbs at the viewers but I am not sure if they are queerbaiting the audience or not. They do have a canon lesbian couple, which is already pretty awesome. But yeah, the guys … one of them has a son and a random lady thought they were both his dad and told Buck what an adorable kid they had and he didn’t negate her. He just took a beat, smiled and thanked her. COME ON!

Carmen Sandiego

I never religiously watched the original Carmen Sandiego, but I remember it from my childhood and this new style of animation wasn’t exactly what I wanted out of a reboot. The voice actors are all doing a great job though and the story was interesting enough. I just believe that this is targeted at a younger audience than me and I found myself bored sometimes. 

Overall, not a bad show, but I also don’t have a lot to say about it either. If you can’t find anything else to binge, this isn’t too bad of an option I suppose.


Have you binged any of these shows? Do you intend to? Let’s talk about it! 

What I’ve Been Binge-Watching #3

It’s been one of those weekends again, where I just couldn’t resist a good old binge of TV shows. There were some new releases on Netflix, but I’ve also finally started something I’ve been eyeing for a long time now. Here’s what I got for you this time:

Sex Education

Not gonna lie, I thought this was gonna be garbage, but the show had something really endearing about it. Obviously, if you aren’t comfortable with the topic of sex or just don’t care about it, maybe the show isn’t entirely for you, but there’s so much more to it. Although it might look like it’s set in the 80s, it very much plays in our world today, in some part of the UK that I could not specify if you begged me to.

I feel like this show is so relatable for so many questioning teens out there. It isn’t really so much about regular high school drama, but the discovery of yourself as a person and your boundaries, the things you are capable of and your limits. Pair all of this with some really great acting, great humour and a more than solid plot and you do have my attention. At this point, I would be delighted for another season!

Friends from College (Season 2)

Friends from College is one of those truly underrated shows on Netflix. It has a star-studded cast, is absolutely hilarious and tackles some really great topics. I might be drawn to this more now that I am in my mid-twenties and adulthood is inevitable, but I genuinely enjoy every single episode of this show and Season 2 was a real blast.

The characters and their relationships are so complex and while their decisions are often faulty and misguided, you do understand where they come from. There’s hours upon hours of material up for discussion after watching this but I just need everyone to back off of Lisa. The woman is no saint, but Ethan’s transgressions were like a 100 times worse and I stand by that.

Halt and Catch Fire (Season 1)

Okay, I haven’t actually finished the first season yet, but I am officially in love with this show! I’ve known of its existence for a while now, but Karen Gillan’s The Party’s Just Beginning made me yearn for some more Lee Pace stuff I hadn’t watched before, and that’s when I finally started it. Best. decision. ever!

Halt and Catch fire is an incredibly intelligent drama about what seems to be the 80s computing industry, but is really only the backdrop to showcase some intriguing and real characters (real even has a double meaning here, because it’s supposedly largely based on true events). They have their faults, dang they are all introduced in a less than flattering way, but you want to know more about them. It’s a truly character-driven show. I can’t wait to watch all the rest!

Have you watched any of those? What are your thoughts on them? (For those of you surprised that Titans wasn’t in the post, it will probably be featured in the next one) Let’s chat!

What I’ve Been Binge-Watching! #1

I always used to love to talk about TV shows on the blog and nothing really has changed in that regard. However, I don’t have the time to do a full-fledged break-down of a series like I used to do with my #CurrentlyWatching posts in the past. Instead, I am going to keep it short and simple (à la Random Movie Recommendation). If you want to talk about any of the examples I am going to list below in detail though, just hit me up in the comments!

Plan Coeur/The Hook Up Plan

First off, I want to say that I KNOW that romantic love and sex isn’t everything in this world. People are darn well capable of leading a happy fulfilled life without it and this show is super over the top in that regard, but when I actually watched the whole thing in one sitting, it didn’t bother me as much. This show actually focuses on all sorts of relationships and especially on the one between the three women.

Having said that, Elsa, the girl who gets set up with a hooker without her knowledge, is my absolute favourite character. She is beautiful and hilarious and super awkward and rarely gets the effect she has on people. The things she says, you want to cringe hard but at the same time it’s incredibly endearing. She’s one of those cases where you can clearly see what self-confidence can change in a person. I shipped her and Jules so hard!

The end of the show is a bit of a controversial topic. Some love it (like me) and others hate it. I think it was cruel perfection and the perfect set up if they decide to continue with the show!

Tidelands

I have previously described this show as H2O for adults and I still stand by that statement. I really, really, really enjoyed their take on sirens and the mythology it accompanied. It’s not a perfect show, but rarely any show is. People take off their shirts for no reason whatsoever way too often and it does give you a little bit of a CW vibe, but there’s nothing wrong with that per se. A lot of people like that kind of aesthetic or approach to the material (me included).

The build up and twists over the course of the episodes really kept a nice tension going and the last episode was packed full of surprises. They were very smart in never really showing the sirens entirely. In addition to that, I wanted a certain ship to happen, it did and that just always makes me happy.

I like a lot of Australian shows, so if this is Netflix’ gateway into more original series from there, I am in. After that ending, I’d definitely be up for a second seasons!

Travelers

I’ve actually talked about this show in detail in the post here, but it has moved from being a Showtimes-Netflix co-production to Netflix entirely for Season 3 and it was one of the best seasons yet. I hope you don’t expect an action packed SciFi series, because that’s not what Travelers is. Instead it is a character study with developments that span seasons. I honestly cried through almost the entire second half of Season 3 and the ending was something I did not expect at all. It’s one of those shows that keeps you guessing and I feel like not that many are able to do that for me nowadays, so I appreciate that element a lot.

I sincerely hope they will continue the show. I would love nothing more than to find out how they want to keep going after that finale.

Have you watched any of these shows? Do you plan to? Let’s chat!

Random Movie Recommendations: Rom-Coms

So, I don’t know who all remembers this feature, but it pops up pretty rarely since I am more of a TV rather than movie person. Anyway, it’s fairly simple, I pick a theme and then recommend two or more movies that I recently watched and thought the world should know about. There is no in depth analysis, but really just a short and sweet paragraph or so to let you know why people should watch it.

Here we go! This time I really want to showcase some great Rom-Coms (short for Romantic Comedies). Despite a lot of critics complaining about them, I KNOW that people have been craving a comeback of that genre. There is nothing wrong with some formulaic love story every now and then, because that in no way means it cannot be entertaining and memorable. These are my picks:

Set It Up

I have been screaming about this movie for what feels like weeks now. First of all, the casting is more than stellar, I adore every single person on this movie and would have watched it if it had been a potato sack commercial. Luckily, it was not and instead I got one of the best romantic comedies in recent years. I know, I know, that is high praise, but here’s some reasons why it works so well.

While it does play into certain stereotypes, it simultaneously fights against them. Women aren’t given an expiration date or are made to choose between love and a career. There are no double standards for gender roles and friendships are shown how they are supposed to be – supportive with that kick in the butt when necessary. People struggle with what they want in life and make mistakes and there are consequences, all the while this movie is highly entertaining with both hilarious and relatable dialogue and quotes that I’ll probably reference to friends for years to come.

And on a side note, if you are a writer, this movie gives some really good advice. Never thought I’d take advice from a Netflix flick either, but here we are!

Ibiza

Okay, fine! I only watched this because Richard Madden was in it and I haven’t really seen him in a movie or show since Game of Thrones. Not going to lie, I don’t hold Ibiza in the same high regard as Set It Up, but it was still a lot more fun than I thought it would be.

Granted, this isn’t exactly my kind of humour, so that’s probably part of why I wasn’t head over heels into it, but if you are looking for some women who aren’t afraid to have a fun time and an adorkable love interest – Ibiza delivers. Gillian Jacobs and Richard Madden were just the right amount of awkward and cute, their scenes were the best part for me. It gives you that total vibe of a summer romance that could be more if you are brave enough to try.

When We First Met

Before starting this movie, I messaged my friend how I thought the movie would end I was 100% right. As I mentioned in the opening of this post, I don’t think there is anything wrong with movies, especially in this genre, being a little predictable and it didn’t bother me here either. It doesn’t change the fact that When We First Met is a feel-good movie and exactly the right thing if you just want to be entertained.

Overall, it’s a little like Groundhog Day with a twist, a movie with ideas that may have been executed before and in better ways also, but that’s still enjoyable. It stays down to earth and has a cast you will surely recognise from other shows and movies. I always like when you have those worlds-collide-moments.

Have you watched either one of those movies? Would you be interested in getting some rom-com type movie recommendations with teen characters as well? Let me know in the comments below!

#CurrentlyWatching: Lost in Space

I am finally back with another installment of #CurrentlyWatching. I have discarded all sorts of themes (although I probably still would have had a couple up my sleeves I suppose) and will just do one post per week again. I wanted to give you all a little break to catch up on your watching, because today I am here to talk about Lost in Space.

Lost in Space is a new Netflix original, which is technically a remake of the 1960s science fiction and adventure show as well as a late 90s movie. I have seen … none of those? Which is not an issue whatsoever for me personally, as it is a total reboot and starts fresh again. There’s one season out so far and there are mixed reviews. Similar to the Anne with an E reboot, a lot of people were missing the happy and quirky, more humerus approach. I guess you just need to watch it as something completely different than the work it is based of? I understand that can be difficult to do if it is something you loved, but then I just feel like people should understand what Netflix does by now, cause that is how they tackle most of their narratives – make it more darker and troublesome.

Lost in Space follows a family, the Robinsons, after they crash-land on a unknown planet and have to survive to make their way to the human colony in space.

I know my reading list is mostly full of fantasy and contemporaries, but just like with my books, I love SciFi as well. I don’t crave it all the time, but when I hear or in this case see that something is done right, there is no hesitation from my side to check it out. With this one, it was most of all the cinematography and the top notch CGI that drew me in. If the story is solid, I might be able to overlook low budget effects, but I am always overjoyed when I don’t have to. Also, I took one look at the location and knew immediately that they filmed it near Vancouver, which made my heart rejoice. That may be a very biased way to judge a show, but if it gets me to watch the program, does it really matter?

Anyway, let’s talk more about the story and the characters. I find myself gravitating more and more towards stories that focus on family and all that comes with it, which is the definition of this show. The Robinsons aren’t perfect, they fight, they have their problems in the past as well as the present, but they also would do anything for one another. They are a kind of patchwork family, which is just another way of modernizing the story, which I very much appreciate. Each family member has their role to play, with all their weaknesses and strengths.

For me, the emotional components balanced nicely with the more scientific stuff, that I mostly try to let sink in but don’t always get entirely. I have no problem suspending disbelief and just going with whatever I am told in that kind of setting. Do I think that there might be tiny plot holes every now and then? Yes, absolutely. But I was here for the characters and their relationships more than accurate depiction of space travel to begin with.

One thing that bothered me a little was how the villain was handled. Look, I am all for villains, but they have to have some sort of character development, motive and maybe a tinge of redeeming quality about them. With Dr. Smith there was none of that. She was manipulative, but to a point that didn’t even make sense. They were all fighting for survival and she was clearly not trained for the kind of situations they were faced with, so she needed the others.

On the other hand, I really enjoyed the alien robot storyline. I’ll admit that he looked like a tall person in a suit with a mask on sometimes … but his relationship with Will, his learning progress and the continued mystery about his origin was fascinating. I, of course, don’t know if there is another season, but that robot’s story is not done yet and I am very happy about that. (The robot made me cry, folks! The robot did that!)

This is the point where I usually have my character spotlight, but the thing is that I don’t know who to spotlight in the family? Maureen is a fierce and brilliant mother and engineer, showing that you can really do it all. John is a former soldier not letting anything come between him and his kids as he has lost too much time with them already. Judy, the eldest daughter, is only 18 but has received accelerated medical training and is now the doctor for the next wave of space colonists. Then there is Penny, who seems superficial at first, but who is brave and cunning when others need help. Or Will, the youngest with only 11 years, but one of the kindest, sensible and most thoughtful kids out there who managed to befriend an alien robot that might as well could have killed him? They are this perfectly imperfect family with so much heart, because they do make mistakes and sometimes really stupid ones considering their IQs, but they are still very lovable as a whole.

There is just one last thing I want to talk about before I conclude this little post. While watching this show, I felt certain … vibes between Judy and Don (a roguish technician) and I was wondering if I only imagined them. In former versions of this story, I believe they were a couple, but I am not sure how audiences would feel about it here. As I mentioned, Judy is only 18, but Don looks like he is in his 30s (the actor is 36) and while I don’t mean to say that age difference necessarily has to be a problem when it comes to love, they do make it a lot harder to root for them? I will withhold judgement on this (cause it worked pretty damn well in From Dusk Till Dawn despite the age thing), but I am just trying to say that it might stir up some controversy. Anyway, him giving her his pet chicken to look after was one of the best moments of the season.

Believe it or not, this was one of the most fun relationships on the show!

Did you watch Lost in Space already? Are you going to? Did you miss #CurrentlyWatching? Let’s talk!

The Netflix Book Tag

Seen as I am basically already an unofficial Netflix hype girl, I was more than happy when Heather @Frozen Books Blog tagged me to do the Neftlix Book Tag! I am so pumped to answer some questions! Let’s get started!!

RECENTLY WATCHED: The last book you finished reading.

Coincidentally, I have another tab open with the not yet finished review for this book and that is Dear Martin by Nic Stone! It wasn’t an easy read, but a necessary one that I absolutely loved. The actual review should be up soon!

TOP PICKS: A book that has been recommended to you based on books you have previously read. 

To Kill a Kingdom

Uhm, this is actually a tough one … I am currently reading To Kill a Kingdom and on the cover it says for fans of Leigh Bardugo’s writing – does that count? I am going to say it counts, just because in addition to liking Leigh Bardugo, I also ADORE siren and pirate stories, so it would make sense as a recommendation anyway.

RECENTLY ADDED: The last book you bought.

Technically that was also Dear Martin, but since that’s a boring answer, I am going to go with the last book that was delivered to me aka the last book mail I got. And that is the movie tie-in from The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

POPULAR ON NETFLIX: Books that everyone knows about. (2 you’ve read and 2 you haven’t read or have no interest in reading.) 

Books I have read:

Books I haven’t read:

Please don’t kill me for not having read HP, but it’s just not going to happen anymore.

COMEDIES: A funny book.

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo (The Epic Crush of Genie Lo #1)

For some reason, I tend to gravitate more towards sad books, but The Epic Crush of Genie Lo is definitely a book that has had me laughing out loud a couple of times.

DRAMAS: A character who is a drama queen/king.

Stealing Candy

I don’t know why this book came to mind, but Candy from Stealing Candy basically enjoyed being kidnapped and decided one of her abductors was hot? So … she scream drama queen to me.

ANIMATED: A book with cartoons on the cover.

We Are Okay

Cartoon may be an overstatement but I do love the illustration on We Are Okay. It is so freaking beautiful and I am in love with the imagery and the colour scheme just as much as I love the story.

WATCH IT AGAIN: A book or series that you want to re-read.

Sooooo … I have said this a lot already, but I do NOT re-read. However, sometimes I go back and check on certain paragraphs and quotes and I have done that the most for Call Me By Your Name recently.

DOCUMENTARIES: A non-fiction book you’d recommend to everyone.

I actually struggled to choose a book for this particular question. Born a Crime is a fantastic book that I would definitely recommend, but in the end I want to go with Quiet by Susan Cain, because I think it’s just more generally applicable. It touches upon the differences of introverts and extroverts and how we can understand each other better. I absolutely love it!

ACTION AND ADVENTURE: An action packed book.

My first thought here went to the Wolf by Wolf duology! It has a bike race, deceit and high stakes – if you don’t call that action-packed, then I don’t even know.

NEW RELEASES: A book that just came out or will be coming out soon that you can’t wait to read.

Leah on the Offbeat (Creekwood, #2)

There’s a lot of books I am excited to get my hands on this year. I feel like we just get better and better content each year (with a couple unfortunate exceptions), but Leah on the Offbeat has been on my list for probably the longest time.

I TAG THEE

As always, don’t feel obliged to do the tag if you don’t want to! And let me know your thoughts on my answers in the comments below!

#CurrentlyWatching: On My Block

Today I continue the theme of “shows that could do with more buzz“. After having talked about Here and Now on Tuesday, I wanted to do something that was targeted more at a teen audience. It was a close call between Everything Sucks (which is a nice nostalgia bomb for 90s kids) and my actual choice for today – On My Block. Maybe I will get to that other show at another point in time, but for now I think On My Block deserves more attention.

The show only premiered on Netflix a week ago, so I don’t expect everyone to know about it, but I didn’t see nearly enough people talking or tweeting about it as I would like to. Since it just came out, if obviously only has one season so far, but I really, really, really need it to continue because it ends on a terrible cliffhanger. I know that will scare some people away from watching, but I see no use in withholding that information from you just so you can be mad at me afterwards. It’s still very much worth watching and hopefully encourages everyone to give it another season.

On My Block is a coming of age story about a group of friends living in the gritty inner city of South Central Los Angeles.

There are so many reasons why one should watch On My Block, I don’t even know where to start. First off, our main group of friends are all people of color who live in a poorer neighborhood of LA. As with a couple of recent Netflix shows, they are really trying to move away from the predominantly white middle-class perspective and I am sure it will pay off on the long run (just think about how beloved One Day at a Time is! And yes, I will keep mentioning that show over and over until I finally hear something about its renewal).

On My Block generally has a quite light tone buckled with a lot of humour, but as the season continues it deals with increasingly more emotional and heavy topics. The actors and actresses are mostly newcomers and could definitely still improve, but nonetheless gave solid performances throughout. I am sure I am going to forget some of the topics that were talked about, but the show had such great moments all over, you don’t need to know every single one anyway.

Themes like first love, friendship and family are present during the entire season. Once again, this show proved that parents can be present and demanding and loving without being a hindrance to their children’s adventures and development. I love shows with complicated but positive family dynamics. We need more of that – always! And there were definitely difficult situations, especially in regards of generations being part of a gang and how difficult a legacy like that is, yet I am here for stories like that every time. There was also a great scene where one of the characters boldly called out cultural appropriation or another one that treated the devastation of current immigration laws. The show lets boys be vulnerable and girls be tough and also talks about how objectifying someone (no matter the gender) isn’t okay. None of the characters felt like fillers, but each had their own storyline and background. And I most of all loved how friendship prevailed and how despite some really stupid fights, they were all mature and recognised what was really important by the end of the season.

And, I seem to have a hand for those lately, On My Block is yet another show with a killer soundtrack. Music is so important for tone and vibe and it worked amazingly well for this show.

I am having difficulties with this segment this week, because a lot of the time I thought of the squad as an entity and not separate people. Obviously, they all have their own personalities and stories to tell, but it is difficult to just pick one because it will always be intertwined with someone else in some way.

I liked that Jamal’s story was without any hint of a love interest, because we need that too sometimes. I liked that Ruby fell in love with a girl and was ready to wait for her without pressuring her, fully knowing she could break his heart. I love that Cesar wanted to go public because he liked Monse so much, even if it could disrupt their group dynamic forever. I love that Monse was unabashedly herself and put others first even if that was one of the hardest things to do. I love that Olivia was simply a part of the squad because she needed them as a family and they had no hesitation in taking her in.

So, I am really into them as a group and that has to suffice. They all work together and they work as separate characters. In the end, this was just so much fun to watch and I binged the entire season in one day – no regrets!

Did you watch On My Block already? Do you want to? Let’s chat!