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 #58

I wanted to wait with this post until I had watched Shadow and Bone, but then I wrote a whole post just about the show yesterday. If you’ve missed it, you can check it out here, although I have to warn you that I did not hold back and went into detail quite a bit. Anyway, I still have plenty of shows and movies to talk about, so, let’s get started!

Starstruck (Season 1)

It was impossible to find a trailer for this show on Youtube, so I hope you can live with the link to the twitter post, but what a shame! Because this show was so adorable and funny and heartfelt.

I’ve always liked Rose Matafeo as a comedian and this was a passion project of hers for several years. She plays a woman in her late twenties, who just sort of got stuck in London after failed relationships that brought her to the country. Then, one night, she meets a famous actor (without knowing that fact about him) and a whirlwind romance starts.

The six episodes are short (roughly twenty minutes), but span over the course of a year. It has this kind of self-insert wish-fulfillment quality to it, in a way that makes you wonder if maybe a handsome actor could also fall madly in love with you if you just met them at the right time. I laughed, I cried, I enjoyed the open end that left the possibility for more. Genuinely think this is a hidden gem in the BBC programming.

Mythic Quest: Everlight (Single Episode)

I love Mythic Quest. It’s one of my favorite workplace comedies (which seem to be a specialty of Apple TV) and I like how they bridged the gap between Season 1 and Season 2 so far. Their quarantine episode literally had me sobbing, but I didn’t expect the Everlight episode to also hit home. While I wasn’t ugly-crying, I can’t deny how beautiful and uplifting Everlight was. It really brought the team back and set up the new season in a great way and I admired the use of CGI as well. So freaking well done! It may just have been one episode, but it made me so excited for the new content that will come May 7.

Dad Stop Embarrassing Me (Season 1)

Not going to lie, this isn’t really my kind of sitcom. It’s the laugh tracks and the characters turning to the screen to break the fourth wall. It’s kind of like The Crew wasn’t my thing either. I mostly ended up watching it for Heather Hemmens, because that woman has me in her grasp, and for that alone it was totally worth it! The show actually covered some deeper topics than I thought it would and I’m sure it will find its audience.

The Letter Room 

I don’t talk about short films often, but this one has Oscar Isaac. Need I say more?

Admittedly, my knowledge of the prison system is mostly from films and books. It’s essentially not a topic I have spent much time on, but I thought it was handled in an interesting way here. As Oscar’s character gets assigned to the letter room, to scan all correspondence, he gets too attached to a certain exchange. It all boils down to the fact that we all need someone to love us and I enjoyed this interpretation of it.

Monday

I was so excited for this movie, because I like Sebastian Stan’s random indie movie choices. However, this movie unfortunately didn’t manage to capture me. I’ll just copy and paste my letterboxd review (feel free to add me!):

Some relationships are like Fridays. You’re done with work, you’re ready for the weekend and the freedom that comes with it. There’s lots of sex, music, dancing and partying without thinking ahead too much. Why care about your troubles from the work week as long as you get to enjoy the now, right?
Well, at the end of it all, you still have to face Monday. The reality of life and all its messiness and your choices.

Monday (the movie) shows two broken people who would rather get lost in each other and ignore all their issues in favor of passion. It doesn’t always work and while I am sure people enjoy the various sex and nude scenes, they’re a lot and often just an avoidance in order not to have to deal with the real problems. The end is odd and open, because you’ve never seen them facing their issues and this might be the first step towards doing that, but the movie leaves you a bit empty and with a feeling of doom for the couple.


Have you watched anything I mentioned? Do you want to? Let’s talk about it!

My Thoughts on the Shadow and Bone Netflix Adaptation!

It has been no secret just how very excited I was for the Shadow and Bone series (as well as the Six of Crows duology) to be adapted by Netflix. While the streaming platform doesn’t always get it right, I was really optimistic early on and the trailers looked fantastic. Before I watched it, though, I caught up on all the books as to really know what I am talking about (only Rule of Wolves is missing for me now, but that’s irrelevant for the show at the moment) and even before going into details on my thoughts, I think they did a great job!

Obviously, the Grishaverse is huge and vast and has quite the fanbase because of the books series. But not everyone has read those and Netflix offers a platform that exposes the material to millions of people all over the world. Not everyone will be happy with everything, but I would like share my personal opinions in the following post.

*I could not do this without going into detail on some topics, so this might not be for you if you want to go into the show with as little knowledge as possible. SPOILERS ahead!!!*

THINGS/CHANGES I DIDN’T LIKE

I want to get the “bad” things out of the way, because some of it really irked me. It did not overshadow my enjoyment entirely, because I binged the show in a day, but I find it necessary to point them out regardless.

  • Casting Jessie Mei Li as Alina was a beautiful choice. Jessie is a ray of sunshine and hence amazing to watch as the sun summoner. They have great chemistry with on screen partners and I’m so very glad they got cast for this role. In the books, Alina wasn’t biracial though. This was a choice made to bring more diversity to the on screen adaptation, but where they went wrong (in my opinion) was by adding anti-Asian slurs and racism to portray the treatment of people from Shu Han. Nowhere in the books was this kind of racism ever present and we are dealing with a Fantasy world where Alina already faces enough struggles and could have dealt with a number of different circumstances that made her feel othered if that was what they wanted to portray so badly. Every time they inserted a slur such as “rice-eater” or “half-breed” it felt forced and unnecessary and I imagine hurtful to certain audiences. The problem is that they never contextualize this behavior, because they simply claim that being at war with Shu Han is enough to warrant the hostility, but that’s really not the take they thought it was.
credit: Netflix
  • Amplifiers in the books, while still kind of barbaric, are jewelry made out of bones/scales/claws/etc. and can be anything from a necklace to a bracelet or ring. Grisha can only have one amplifier in their lifetime (yeah, I know exceptions exist) and can never take it off. The Grisha who killed the animal the amplifier is from has the power over it. I think that’s all pretty cut and clear, so, why did the show change them into some kind of body horror?
    When the Darkling puts the antlers on Alina, she does not get a badass necklace, but rather the antlers fuse into her collar bone, making it an extremely uncomfortable scene to watch. I worry about this change, not just because she eventually absorbs the antlers into her body entirely and they are not visible anymore at all, but also because it makes me feel that the producers thought putting a literal collar on a person was not horrific enough and they needed another violation of Alina’s body to showcase the Darkling’s evil nature. Apparently, people wouldn’t be put off enough by his disregard for consent and need to control everyone around him.
  • Speaking of the Darkling! Due to budget constraints and everyone adoring Ben Barnes (he is a great actor), they opted to not show the Demon in the Woods short story as part of a flashback, where the Darkling would have been only 10 years old, but rather showed a grown up Darkling. In that tidbit from the past, he seemed enamored with a Grisha called Luda, who did not exist in the books, but came across as a love interest in that scene. Her death causes the creation of the Fold, making it feel like fridging (where the girlfriend/wife/love interest of the male protagonist dies in order to propel his story). In an interview with Insider, the showrunner explicitly said they weren’t trying to do that and even actively tried to avoid it, but nothing in that scene told me they weren’t romantically involved. (You can read the interview here!)
    Also, I keep calling him the Darkling, because that’s how I knew him for 7 books. Yes, his first name is Aleksander, but in the books that’s revealed very late. His name is a mystery and Alina is the only person in that world to know it, which felt special, but here he just throws his name around like it means nothing. The show really humanised him a lot.
credit: Netflix

GENRAL STUFF I ENJOYED OR NOTICED

The following points that I will mention were neither huge mistakes nor masterful choices. I just collected some of my thoughts that I found interesting or necessary to mention to give you all a complete picture.

  • As someone who has read all the books, short stories and anthologies (Language of Thorns and Lives of Saints), I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on the Grishaverse. However, had I been someone who didn’t have that prior knowledge, I could have easily seen myself struggle with some of the concepts. They really barely explained anything to do with Grisha orders, amplifiers or something as simple but vital as the belief systems (Fjerdan god vs. Ravkan sainsts etc.). I doubt that anyone could understand some of the important components to their full extent having none of that knowledge and background info. Whereas I understand it’s difficult to include, a little more would have been appreciated from my side.
  • While waiting for the show to release, I always said that I did not care about the faithfulness of the story, but rather about the accurate representation of the characters and their personality and I still stand by that. Yes, Jesper should have been played by a dark-skinned actor, but Kit Younger has his personality DOWN. And not just him, EVERYONE either behaved exactly like I imagined they would (even if they didn’t all look like they had in my head) or even improved on the characters by playing them softer and with more nuance and vulnerability (e.g. Matthias Helvar). I cannot wait to see who they will bring in for the twins, Nikolai and Wylan next season.
credit: Netflix
  • The overall pacing and the amount of story they packed into this first season was well handled. From what I heard, the showrunner has a three-season-plan, which would correlate nicely with the three Shadow and Bone books. I really hope that the next season would also start implementing the Six of Crows plot, because this was a nice prequel to their characters, but I need to see the big heist happening. However, since everything is more interconnected, they might change things up further and I’d be excited to see what that looks like.

SOME IMPROVEMENTS

In some cases, I even think that the show did better than the book. Having the ability to show several points of view, whereas Shadow and Bone the book only offered Alina’s side really gave them the chance to explore the characters some more. Also, it probably helped that the producers already knew about all the later books Leigh Bardugo wrote as well. Here’s some changes I thought worked well:

  • When I first read Shadow and Bone, I hated Zoya. She literally broke Alina’s ribs and just treated her terribly, because she was jealous. Early on in the books, there are few redeeming qualities to Zoya and while she improves over time, I always felt a grudge until I got her side of things in King of Scars. While she starts out similarly in the show, I was grateful that they allowed an insight into her backstory earlier in the season than in the books. She is such an important character, but I think audiences would have struggled later on, just like I did while reading, if they hadn’t softened her up.
  • I think I am part of a small group of people who actually liked Mal in the books, but I think Archie and the writing on the show made the character so much better. They scratched unnecessary and childish jealousy scenes (which was annoying but fine in the books, because they were younger) and genuinely made his connection to Alina seem sweet and fated. I’m so happy people are now actually rooting for them.
  • Milo the goat is the real MVP.

VERDICT

I loved seeing some of my favorite characters brought to life on the screen. My expectations were high and I could have easily been disappointed but I was really pleased with how everything came together. Shadow and Bone is by no means flawless, but the effort they put into wanting to do the material justice came through. I honestly didn’t know if I would understand the involvement of the crows before watching, but it was integrated beautifully and they provided some of the best parts of the season. If you enjoyed the books, I think you will like this as well. Even if you weren’t a huge fan of the Shadow and Bone books, but only enjoyed Six of Crows, I can easily see you liking this better. 

credit: Netflix

Previous Reviews from this books series and Leigh Bardugo’s work:


Have you watched Shadow and Bone yet? Do you plan to? What were some of your favorite and least favorite moments? Let’s talk!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #57

I’ve watched a decent amount of shows and movies, so, I figured it was time to do mini-reviews again. It has gotten increasingly hard to get enthusiastic about content, which I know I’ve mentioned a couple times already, but I still hope you’ll enjoy the following recaps of my watch habits.

The Irregulars (Season 1)

I don’t know how many of you remember this from the trailer posts, but I was really excited for this show. I’ve always enjoyed stories in the Sherlock realm and this one seemed promising in terms of paranormal excitement. However, I found myself really struggling to get into the whole thing. Parts of it were a bit more horrifying than I might have imagined (getting all my teeth stolen and someone skinning faces and using it for themselves is some of the stuff my nightmares are made of), but I also just didn’t connect to the characters right away. In fact, I actively disliked people such as Jessica and Watson, which were essential for the story and integrity of the group.

All of that aside, I kept watching and while I found a lot of the plot predictable, the final two episodes is where the real heart of the show was lying. Especially in those final moments, I was close to tears and fully invested, so the pay off was 100% there in the end … but it takes its time.

For fans of: Sherlock lore, paranormal events, misfits and found family

Wynonna Earp (Final Season SPOILERS)

*full post on Wynonna Earp and my love for it from the beginning can be found here*

I’ve been a Wynonna Earp fan from the get go. I own a replica Wynonna necklace and a friend once gifted me one of Waverly’s necklaces (to date, one of the best gifts I have ever received and don’t know how to repay) as well as signed copies of the comic books topped with a personalized thank you video from Tim Rozon who plays Doc. So yes, I’m an Earper and not afraid to say it. But … the past two seasons have been a struggle.

With the network and production company struggles, adding the delays due to covid and the constant uncertainty of whether the show would find a new home or not had dampened my excitement considerably. I would be lying if I said I couldn’t wait to tune into each episode, because I just let those episodes pile on and … now the show is over. I know there’s still some hope out there for it to get picked up by someone else, but I was actually pleased with the ending we got.

If you think about it, that final episode gave us almost everything we wanted (cause no one can give us Dolls back and that’s the real shame). I felt like a lot of the past seasons skimmed on Wynonna and Doc thinking or talking about their daughter, so them seeking her out is my ultimate happily ever after. The WayHaught wedding was the pinnacle of what I had envisioned for them and all the remaining characters got a hopeful outlook as well. It was just such a generally sweet goodbye that anything more would ruin that in way?

For fans of: supernatural westerns, badass female characters

Godzilla vs. Kong

Do you watch these movies for plot? Cause then I can promise you this will be a painful experience. The humans are more of a detriment than helpful in most cases, and when they do add to the narrative, they prove to have miraculous insight in something they had no prior knowledge of before. When I’m being completely honest though, it does not matter one bit. I loved seeing Kong communicate and bond with a little deaf girl – she is truly the star of that movie! (And we are going to ignore that she is from the Iwi tribe, which is like saying Chai tea or naan bread … cause Iwi in the Māori-language just means people or “tribe” … so they’d be tribe tribe. But whatever … that’s way beyond my expectations for this movie anyway).

These movies are really supposed to be watched for the monsters bashing each other and for plotholes to be conveniently forgotten or ignored. AND THAT’S OKAY! Do we need to discuss how a high ranking officer’s teen daughter got from the US to Hong Kong? No, let’s just watch Godzilla in Hollow Earth instead. Isn’t Hollow Earth powered by radiation dangerous to humans? Who cares, we have a research center down there now and apparently sunshine as well. You get my drift …

For fans of: monsters fighting each other

Thunder Force

This movie is ridiculous! I am sure there’s people out there who enjoy the humor, but I’m afraid it’s just not my cup of tea. The man who was half-crab … I will never be able to forget that imagery of her buttering him up. I just won’t.

Don’t get me wrong, it also has some really nice moments about friendship and family and I enjoyed those very much. It’s just that I didn’t find the funny parts all that funny, but cringy instead, so it was a bit of a mediocre watch. I don’t think it’s a must watch.

For fans of: ridiculousness in the superhero realm

Endings, Beginnings

TW: rape, drug use

People don’t hate this movie, but I barely know anyone who actually liked or enjoyed it a lot – then *I* came along!

Endings, Beginnings is 90% vibes and 10% plot. It’s slow and disjointed and introspective. The storytelling is anything but straight forward and I believe you have to be in a very specific mood to be able to fall in love with it as much as I did. 

Aside from the fact that I know that a lot of the performances were improvised and seemed genuinely authentic, this will make you fall in love with these actors and actresses even more than you possibly were before. I know people mostly watched it for Sebastian Stan (and I GET THAT), but I connected to Shailene’s character so much more than I anticipated. Not allowing yourself to be loved, being adrift, finding your purpose – it hit home way too hard. I really do believe that I will think about this movie and its message for a while, even if you never get a neat end to it.

For fans of: more vibes than plot, non-linear storytelling, “moment in time” rather than conclusive storytelling


Have you watched any of these or do you plan to? What have you been watching lately and do you think I’d enjoy? Let’s talk!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #56

Before the end of the month, I wanted to make sure to have another one of these posts ready for you. I have been watching on and off, but not a lot of it with great enthusiasm. This past year, I have consumed so much content that it has become increasingly difficult to really excite me, but I hope I can talk to you about a couple things today!

Calls

TW: emetophobia

Many people will likely say that this show could have easily worked as a podcast, but I actually appreciated the text and visuals provided. They had a certain hypnotizing quality and not seeing what was actually happening beyond the phone call just made it all the more terrifying in many cases.

Overall, this was such a unique and intense experience. It does get a bit repetitive towards the middle, but the overall picture was chilling and even gave me slight Dark vibes. Another very brilliant Apple TV+ production with many well-known voices to enjoy. I keep loving their content!

For fans of: podcasts, strange happenings and ensemble casts

Zero Chill

It’s no secret that I have a thing for ice skating shows. I was ALL for Spinning Out when it premiered on Netflix, just for them to cancel it after one season. To be frank, if I could have picked another season of Spinning Out or this show, Zero Chill, I would have picked the former.

Zero Chill is much more lighthearted than Spinning Out and doesn’t quite convince as much with their performances (on and off the ice). What I originally thought to be about an ice hockey player and a figure skater working together, is rather a drama about a family that struggles to fulfill both their children’s dreams. It has some really great moments, especially when it comes to friendships and relationships in general, but I think it’s one of those shows likely kept on in the background.

For fans of: ice sports

The One

I’m pretty sure we all have heard of a similar concept to that of The One before. Initially, I was intrigued by the genetic component, making it a scientific matter to find your one true soulmate (barring that I think it’s silly to think there’s only ONE person for you out there ever and insinuations that come with it as a whole concept, but the show proves it isn’t that simple anyway). It quickly became obvious that this series isn’t just about romantic struggles though, but has a lot of focus on mystery and thriller elements. The police investigations take up a big chunk of the screentime.

My struggle here was that I simply did not like or care for many of the main characters. It’s really hard to have a story centered on someone you don’t like and especially with the character of Rebecca Webb, you just didn’t know what her endgame was. She seemed ruthless but to what point exactly was unclear to me and when I cannot gauge someone’s motives, I just get frustrated.

But … I’d still let myself get matched if we had the technology … I’m THAT desperate.

For fans of: soulmatery and crime

Country Comfort

This is one of those really silly shows with questionable acting and laugh tracks which you will either put on for the heck of it or not touch with a ten foot poll. It’s up to you! It had some lovely moments about grief, family and moving on, but it’s also the definition of corny and over the top.

For fans of: The Nanny but make it more Christian and country


Did you watch any of those shows as well? Let’s talk!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #55

I almost forgot doing this post, because I haven’t felt super into watching things lately, but thankfully I keep a list on my phone to track what I’ve already seen. So, you get a little taste of that again!

The Crew

I don’t know why I started out with this one, because I don’t actually have to say all that much. I think after the success of Ted Lasso, more workplace sitcoms (maybe even more set in sports) will pop up, but this wasn’t it. The jokes felt forced, the characters too over the top and cartoonish. In general, a lot of it just had a dated vibe to it, but I guess, if you just want something playing in the background, this works? I’m sure the people involved put a lot of heart into it, but it just didn’t convey that spark to me.

For fans of: workplace sitcoms?

Tribes of Europa

TW: rape, slavery, genocide, mutilation, beheading, suicide, other violent deaths

I wanted to love this show so bad, because 1.) it’s from the producers of Dark and 2.) I’m a fan of many of the German actors and actresses involved but mostly 3.) I’m always rooting for more international Netflix content, which was why this was a bit of a disappointment.

In general, I think the premise is very good. You have a family from a formerly hidden tribe, separated and fighting to find their way back to each other. It offers a great opportunity to show different viewpoints and parts of the world the series is set in. I was also interested in most of the storylines, even if a lot of them were quite brutal, but the dialogue … oh boy, the dialogue was not great. I don’t know if people will notice it as much should they not understand German, but it felt so stilted and unnatural.

For fans of: international Netflix content, post-apocalyptic vibes

Ginny & Georgia

TW: racism, self-harm, domestic abuse, child molestation

Look, I know what’s been going on on social media. Yes, the Taylor Swift joke wasn’t great and yes, some scenes are cringey and could use improvement (even though some clips were taken out of context), but a) don’t you ever dare attack young actors who are just starting out for something the writers did and b) I did not hate it.

I think this show tries. It does not always succeed and if it’s not your thing, by no means should you watch it. But I thought it had some really good portrayal of teenagers in it (and they make mistakes and they are dumb sometimes and do hurtful stuff) and also a really interesting family dynamic and much darker backstory than what it might look like. This is not some new weird spin on Gilmore Girls, this is about doing EVERYTHING for your family, no matter what. Is that always the right thing? No, but the show also never implies that it is. It never felt like they condoned what the characters did or said, but rather portrayed a messy life with some really bad takes, but that’s closer to reality than a lot of other stuff out there?

The show is not perfect! I’m not saying that, because a lot of the criticism is valid. But the young actors were involved in a lot of the scenes that were important to them (the racial debates, etc.) and drew from real life experiences. I don’t think that should be discarded entirely.

For fans of: teen shows with twists

Flora & Ulysses

This movie is just so cute!

Having a home at Disney+, they can make references to all the Marvel heroes, but Flora & Ulysses is a superhero movie all of its own. This squirrel is not just freaking cute, but it will worm its way into your heart for sure. The film works for the whole family and is sure to delight.

For fans of: superhero stuff for kids and the whole family

Moxie

I was really excited for this movie and it did not disappoint (mostly wanted to watch because Anjelika Washington from Stargirl is in it, but ever since I saw the trailer, I knew this was gonna be good). The message isn’t a new one and it sucks that women and girls still have to fight for equality. A lot of teenagers are much more outspoken and braver these days than I ever was. They are observant and less tolerant of antiquated bs, but it’s movies like this that give you the extra boost to believe again that things actually can change. 

For fans of: feminist uplifting storytelling


Did you watch any of the things mentioned above? 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 #52

Looks like I have fallen into a bi-weekly rhythm of updating you on my viewing habits! I think that usually gives me a nice amount of time to catch up on some new (and old) releases, so, I hope you enjoy this as a probably established schedule now. Here we go!

Fate: The Winx Saga (Season 1)

Okay, where to start?

If you are a fan of the original animated Winx series or the comics … this ain’t it? Even if I disregard the casting choices and the erasure of certain characters of color or with a diverse background, it just doesn’t say Winx to me. Neither in cinematography, nor the pacing, nor anything else. They just took some names and abilities and made something different in my opinion, which is okay, but the Winx-connection makes it weird.

I watched the whole thing in a day, so there must be something not horrible about it, but a lot of the characters (*cough* Riven *cough*) made me cringe so hard with their more than problematic statements. It’s not … great? But I did end up really enjoying their take on Musa as well as the new addition Terra, Sam and Silva. 

If you feel like giving it a go, sure, why not? Just lower your expectations considerably.

For fans of: drama-filled teen fairy stories

Sanditon (Season 1)

I fully understand why this was recommended to people who enjoyed Bridgerton, as it’s very much in the line of Daphne and the Duke’s love story in part.

For those of you who don’t know, Sanditon was Jane Austen’s final novel, which she never got to complete herself. She gifted it to her niece, who also didn’t finish it, but it eventually did get an end. The itv series decided to do their take on the material and I thought they did a great job. Some characters were insufferable, but the main love triangle was interesting to me, because I could see the woman end up with either one of them. (We shall not speak of the other love-hexagons that were just iffy in part) I was so invested in the fates of everyone, I felt genuinely sad whenever a new problem arose.

Since this is not a mini-series, but something that is designed to go on for a couple seasons, I am so very happy that the fans of the show rallied in support and got it another season. It completely flew under my radar before that.

For fans of: Jane Austen, Bridgerton, Poldark maybe, regency romances

Cobra Kai (Season 1-3)

Why has it taken me so long to watch this show? I do not know. For one, I don’t really consider myself the target group for it. I literally have no recollection of ever watching Karate Kid (any version of it) and I only really associate it with HIMYM for some reason. However, I do understand the hype around it.

But, and this is really a very me thing, while I did enjoy it, I think I didn’t take away what you were supposed to. All I could feel for the majority of the three seasons was sadness. I would not want my kid in any of the dojos, because people repeatedly kept ending up in the hospital and juvenile detention/prison. For many characters, karate was their saving grace. It gave them confidence, purpose and something to believe in, but I was just so pissed at the adults most of the time. They had these kids look up to them and believe their every word and what did they do with that? Fight. Some of them are actual psychos and I don’t understand the point of their “war”. What is the end of it? Someone literally dying??

So, while the show does have some emotional moments, I think it’s mostly supposed to be fun? And I do love some of the characters, but … yeah. I was mad a lot.

For fans of: Karate Kid

Disenchantment (Part 3)

Not gonna lie, I was massively bored this season. Except for one big reveal, which I won’t spoil, I feel like we barely moved anything along and Richard Ayoade voicing a character was its saving grace for me. In general, Disenchantment is a show I tend to just let run in the background rather than pay a lot of attention to, but this time I didn’t even feel bad for doing that …

For fans of: animated stuff but for adults and make it magic?

Promising Young Woman

This movie was everything I had hoped it to be!

The mix of sugary-sweet cinematography with a very jarring look at our grueling society that favors promising young men over the fate of women over and over was *chef’s kiss*. Carey Mulligan shines as Cassie and will always keep you in suspense about what she might do next. The entire movie makes so much sense, hits hard in many, many moments, but also surprises you constantly. The casting of actors who formerly played absolute sweethearts and lovable characters as the douchebags and predators was another a stroke of genius. Also, top notch soundtrack!

I don’t even want to tell you too much about it, because it’s best to just experience it for yourself.

Side note: I don’t think any other movie could have managed to bring back Paris Hilton’s “Stars are Blind” the way Promising Young Woman did.

For fans of: empowered women, social issues such as rape culture, anyone from the cast


Lastly, I wanted to include something new. The shows I mentioned above are all ones that I have watched the entire seasons of, as I otherwise loose track of what I have “reviewed” or talked about already, but for the first time in a long time, network TV shows are back on the weekly. So, here is my viewing schedule and you are always free to talk to me about anything on here and can expect me to be up to date on the program. (Also, have watched the pilot of Walker, but it’s not listed)


Did you watch any of the shows or movies mentioned? Do you plan 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!