What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #36

I still owe you a couple mini-reviews to the stuff I have watched lately. I actually got around to way more than I thought I did, although at least two of those shows were streamed while I barely looked at them drawing all the time, but still … I say they count.

Dark (Season 3/Final Season)

I cannot tell you how happy I was with this final season!

I hope you all know how much I adored this show, but I, unlike my much wiser friends, did not 100% believe that the producers planned every minute detail and had a solid plan. I was legit terrified they would ruin it in the end, but it completely made sense. Of course, there wasn’t going to be a super happy ever after or anything like that, but I found the finale we got very fitting.

There were only two or three decisions that I didn’t 100% understand or back the way they did them. But once again, super impressive casting choices and smart storytelling. I was really wistful when it came to the end and think it is one of the best German (and international) shows to ever come out of Netflix. Pro tip: watch it with subtitles and not dubbed! The cadence of the voices is far better that way.

If you want to talk about it in more detail with me, feel free to do so in the comment section. I just don’t want to spoil anyone who has yet to watch it.

For fans of: complex shows, time travel, different realities, international Netflix content

The Baby-Sitters Club (Season 1)

Unlike a lot of people on Twitter, I have never read or watched anything regarding the Baby-Sitters Club before. Maybe, and even that is a huge stretch, I have seen some film stills, but I would not have known what it is or where it’s from. I just think it’s more of an American thing? I could be totally off-base with that, but I can assure you that it’s nothing anyone would know in my country.

However, having said all that, I get why people like it. The kids, despite their young age, are super relatable and have complex and not just comedy-based interests and relationships. It talks about serious topics, but also has a light-hearted feel to it. While I don’t think this show will be a huge priority for me moving forward, I am still glad I watched it.

I’ve read everything from “It’s better than the books” to “the best adaptation yet”, so I feel pretty good about this being my first real contact with the matter. I can really recommend it, not just to parents who want to talk about more serious topics with their kids in a productive way, but also just for people who enjoy the nostalgia and cuteness of it all.

For fans of: kids being relatable, children with actual fully developed personalities, the books and the previous movies (?)

Warrior Nun (Season 1)

I kind of like shows that mess with angels and demons and I could not tell you why that is the case, it just is!

Warrior Nun is based on a comic series from the 90s, but Netflix definitely made it more angsty. The dialogue and the voice over from the main character can be … cringey to say the least. I think it has a lot to do with the actors and actresses being from a lot of different countries and sometimes they sound a bit off in their non-native tongue … like the intonation is just the tiniest bit different? If you can overlook that though, I think it’s a decent enough show.

I have to admit that I mostly wanted to check it out because Emilio Sakraya is in it and that would mean that non-German people would discover him and I had to know how he did! But, I kind of liked it overall, with Emilio being the lesser interesting part. However, beware of a cliffhanger at the end, with a lot of potential for another season.

Overall, this is a show that needs to grow on you and definitely needs a couple episodes to either win you over or not … and then it’s best to skip it.

For fans of: religion as undercurrent of story, action sequences, the og material?

The High Note

You all know how much I loved Late Night and this is basically the same just in music instead of comedy. I’m not even joking, the movies have the same director and both are about women lifting up women in a very competitive field. Like, it’s such a simple premise, but I am here for it!

First of all, the soundtrack for the movie is really beautiful and I would have gladly listened to the songs on repeat afterwards. I liked the lore they built around the characters and while I found the plot predictable, I still enjoyed the journey.

Lastly, this is not a movie that will stay with you forever (even though, if it does, all the more power to you), but it is a nice way to pass time. I am pretty sure you will come out of this movie with a fuzzy feeling inside of you and a smile on your face and sometimes that’s all I want/need from a film.

For fans of: Late Night (the movie), sweet but kind of forgettable stories, music industry setting

That’s it from me today! What do you all think? Do you have any interest in watching these shows as well? Have you already watched them? Let’s talk!

Trailers You Might Have Missed … (Jun 29-Jul 5)

This week was super busy! My self-imposed art challenge is actually very time consuming, but on top of that, we had a lot of preparations and final details for my grandma’s 80th birthday, which is TODAY! I am glad she enjoyed the day and liked her presents as everyone tried their best with creative input and such. But it also means I once again almost forgot about trailer day, yet here we are. Let’s go!

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What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #35

I told you that there was a lot to be watched, which is why this post has come so soon after the other one. The thing is, there’s even more ahead in the upcoming days and weeks. I’ve never felt this blessed with summer content as this year, even if I burn through shows in a matter of days. Here’s what I’ve been watching.

Love, Victor (Season 1)

I liked Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and I liked the movie they made out of it. When they announced a spin off show, I thought it would be about Leah or any of the other people that Becky Albertalli had written books about, which are actually set in that universe. However, having now watched Love, Victor, I think they made the right choice to establish a storyline with a new cast. 

Coming out is always a unique experience and Victor doesn’t need long to realise that his won’t be anything like Simon’s story (I mean, I’d hope so. Getting outed against your will should never ever happen). His circumstances are different, he’s from a far more conservative latinx family, but we also see him questioning his sexual identity more than we did Simon’s. It was a great mix of nostalgia for the movie with cameos and definite callbacks to it (watch the gay character compliment Victor’s shoes in his first scene, just like Simon tried to compliment leaf blower dude’s boots) and entirely new elements.

Having this be formatted as a show, there was more room to explore the stories surrounding Victor rather than rushing through them like they sometimes had to in the movie. There really wasn’t any character that I didn’t like and I have a deep appreciation for the nuances to all of them. Mistakes are made, that’s just the way life goes. The episodes ended up only being 25 minutes and while I really enjoyed the final shot (it was brilliant!), I would have liked 13 or 15 episodes better than the 10 we got. I breezed through the entire thing in one afternoon and we will have to wait quite a while for more content (hoping there is more), so I just wanted that tiny bit more. I know, I am greedy.

For fans of: Love, Simon, coming out stories

The Order (Season 2)

Season 1 of the Order was a bit of a surprise to me. While I could see that the budget wasn’t always on par with what they were trying to accomplish, the show managed to completely reel me in. I had missed my wolves dearly, because let’s face it, the Knight of St. Christopher and Randall in particular were a prime reason for me to watch. Now I am done with the season and miss these idiots already again. You’d think I’d learn to pace myself, but no.

Anyway, the entire season was comprised of two-parters for episodes. That was strange, but worked pretty well, because it didn’t seem like it was too out of context but still with an overall arc that bound it together. I tend to get very angry at the choices the characters make, because a lot of them are inherently dumb, but I still like watching the show. Here are my main thoughts on this season:

  • Lilith deserved better and got the only romantic storyline I didn’t mind.
  • WHO asked for those new ships? NO ONE. I don’t like them. I don’t want them. The only romance Hamish has is with liquor and Randall is just too himbo for the person they paired him up with.
  • I actually liked Jack’s bleached hair. Make it come back.
  • Alyssa remains a big ???
  • Actually found the threats more credible this time around.

For fans of: magic, werewolves, secret societies, demons, haywire shenanigans

The Politician (Season 2)

The main reason I love this show is the impeccable cast. I’ve become more involved with politics as I got older, but it’s usually not a topic I seek out in particular, but The Politician is still something I enjoy very much. Maybe it’s because this show is so much more about ethics and morals (and their difference) rather than actual politics. There’s plenty of talking points the show goes through, touching on issues that concern us right now in real life, while mostly using them the way actual politicians do – as topics that could get you votes but that won’t necessarily be followed up on. Instead, the show keeps focusing on Payton and whether you need to be a good person to do good things for society.

While I do think that there’s a lot less bite to this season, there is something that just keeps me so very interested in what comes next. We’ve spanned about 7 years time in just two seasons and all I want to know is what Payton will do next. Will he be president one day? Will he actually do good things with the power he has?

Don’t expect anything realistic in this show, I hope that was obvious in the first season already. This is a satire and over the top! Messages are there, but they might not always be in your face, masked by louder topics instead. I firmly believe that you can take away a lot from this show, but most of all, it’s cast is just a joy to watch.

For fans of: satire, politics and scheming, the formidable cast, Ben Platt singing because Ben Platt

Doom Patrol (Season 1)

I am just trying to catch up on DC content, especially with the new season around the corner. I have sort of distanced myself from most of the CW content, not because I have anything against them in particular, but a lot of them just get worse as they go on. I’ve completely lost track of what’s happening, but also just found that I liked the darker aesthetic of the non-CW shows better.

Doom Patrol is incredibly random. I have no other way of describing it. More than once, you think that the episode couldn’t get more ridiculous, be it in visual effects or storyline, but it just seems laughable. Yet, at the same time, it deals with so many far more serious topics. I think they don’t always manage to keep the right balance, but they sure know how to keep it interesting. I’m excited for more.

The only thing I can’t stop thinking about is whether Matt Bomer and Brendan Fraser are always in their costumes or if they have stand-ins and do ADR (voice recording) later on. Don’t know why I can’t shake that thought.

For fans of: random chaos, antiheroes, misfits turned family


This is it! Did you watch any of those things? Could I persuade you to check them out? Let’s chat!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #34

There’s a lot of content I’m excited about releasing this and next week, so I wanted to make sure I update you on the stuff I’ve watched lately before I dive into those new and shiny things. Let’s go!

Love Life

Romance isn’t everything. I was in a really weird mood when I started this show and them telling me about the average number of relationships a person goes through and so on just knocked me down even more. I don’t have any relationship stats to share. I don’t have an epic (or even lame or otherwise) love story to tell and sometimes watching those shows that hyper-focus on the way to finding “your person” hit me in the feels especially hard.

Having said all that, it wasn’t a bad show after all. I really liked the ending, although I struggled with some episodes in the middle. I found Darby and her behaviour quite cringey from time to time and struggled with massive secondhand embarrassment from time to time. But you know what? I like that she wasn’t the perfect person. She had flaws, she needed to grow and sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them or planned them to. I can appreciate a show that doesn’t portray it all through rose-tinted glasses.

For fans of: introspective love stories, realistic portrayal of not everything being happy all the time, complicated family structures

Siempre Bruja/Always a Witch (Season 2)

I had meant to watch this for the longest time, but didn’t feel like reading and concentrating on subtitles. My Spanish is not good enough to go without them and I’d really recommend this show without dubbing (although it exists). Anyway, finally watched it!

I have to say, I didn’t enjoy this season as much as the first one. The villain was less defined and therefore made everything feel a bit all over the place. One of the biggest parts/problems of the season completely went over my head and I now feel stupid. It’s like everyone had to give up on something to help Carmen, just for them to get all of it anyway and yeah … did not get it.

However, I was here for the various romance storylines. Kobo and Alicia in particular are star-crossed over the centuries and I love that. And while I wasn’t to happy about Esteban being sidelined, Carmen’s new love interest has my attention.

For fans of: international Netflix content, witches, time travel

Alexa and Katie (Part 4)

Katie is one of my favourite fictional characters and that’s just that. I wish for everyone to have a Katie in their lives and I want to be someone’s Katie. This show has given me so much joy and even though it seems super bubbly and bright and like something that would run on the Disney channel or Nickelodeon, but it has talked about some great and frankly deep topics over the seasons. I cannot speak to the realism of the cancer portrayal, but the way they handled panic attacks meant everything to me.

I loved the ending to the show! It was wholesome and sweet and heart-warming. Without wanting to spoil anything in particular, I just want to say that I am going to ship Aidan and Katie forever. That’s just a fact now (and he better find an art college to attend in NYC). If they decided to do a special on them in college or after college, I’d tune in to it, but I also get ending it where they did. I am really happy with it all.

For fans of: bestest of friends, looks like a superficial Disney show but has amazing in depth topics

Gifted

It was Chris Evans birthday and for some reason I hadn’t watched Gifted yet, so I remedied that. I don’t actually have very much to say about it? It’s a good movie, because I enjoy complex family dynamics. I like when it’s not obvious what the right thing is for a child (although I felt it was fairly clear here) and the main party struggling to make all the right choices. Obviously, Chris Evans is always a joy to watch, so, go for it?

For fans of: Chris Evans, genius kiddos


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

Trailers You Might Have Missed … (May 25-31)

This feels like an incredibly trivial post considering the world’s current state. I’ve tried to retweet and share sources and links that I found helpful on Twitter and encourage everyone to educate themselves in case they still don’t know what’s going on right now. We need to stand with the people seeking justice and equality! This is a global issue.
Regardless, I also know that a lot of you are looking for distraction, so I hope this will offer such a brief moment.

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Normal People: Book vs. TV Show

Normal People has been all the rage when it first released with people binging it up and down. Since the book it’s based on is also a bestseller, I can only say I missed out on that hype as well. Late to the party, as I tend to be quite a lot sometimes, I really wanted to catch up on the phenomenon and indulged in both recently. So, what else would be the perfect subject for yet another book vs. TV show post?

General Plot

Connell and Marianne have known each other since school, running in different circles and yet finding and undeniable connection between them. Even when life takes them into separate directions, they find themselves gravitating towards each other continuously. Told through snapshots of specific moments and turning points in their lives, often with time jumps of several months in between them, you get to witness their unending love, their platonic and romantic entanglement.

TW: emotional, physical and sexual abuse, depression, suicide and suicidal ideation, anxiety/panic attacks (+for the show especially: graphic nude scenes, full frontal nudity)

Book

Normal PeopleI went into this book without any sort of expectation. I might have come across the trailer at that point, but I’m consuming so much media, I hardly remembered anything. I was a blank slate going into Normal People.

Reading it ended up being exhausting and frustrating and intimate and soul-crushing and strange. I was not ready for the harshness that the reality of the situations brought with them. In the beginning, I was too distracted by the format and lack of quotation marks (which I really, really missed) to realise just how deep this story was going to cut.

It’s rare that you find someone you click with on such a profound level. Connell and Marianne could be their best and their worst selves with each other and I found very little judgment that came with it. They were infuriatingly frustrating in that they lacked the communication skills to just tell the other person outright what they wanted, when all they seemed to need was each other, happy. A connection like that is nonetheless rare and even when they, once again, messed everything up with each other and hurt deeply, it was undeniable that they preferred to be in each other’s lives.

It’s a tough read, because it feels truthful and real in a frightening way. The situations were always portrayed as vulnerable and ugly, but also warm and hopeful in far fewer but still existing moments.

This book carves a hole into your soul and leaves you with an empty pit inside you. There’s simply nothing there afterwards and you want to fill it with something, but just like the characters have proven time and time again, it’s really difficult to find something that will actually make you feel better instead of just more miserable. I don’t know if this open end was genius or the final cruel gut punch. It leaves it up the reader to interpret whether happiness is fleeting and we should appreciate the moments we get, or whether this is not the end. Not truly at least.

Fazit: 4/5 stars! The only reason I subtracted a star is because this book made me feel miserable in so many moments, but that’s a very personal reason.

Page Count: 290
Publisher: Faber & Faber

*click on the cover to get redirected to Goodreads*

TV Show

For those of you who know me, you are well aware that I watch a lot of shows and movies that have been adapted from books (sometimes even vice-versa), but this one truly hit me in an unexpected way. It’s rare to see something so flawlessly translate to the screen, where the vibe, the expressions, the dialogue, the atmosphere and the feeling remain exactly the same as I had felt them during my reading experience.

The casting of (at least to me) rather unknown Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones was a bold choice that paid of in its entirety. The show hinges a lot on their talent, but they were magnificent in their roles. Their performances felt authentic and raw, dragging you into the tumultuous emotional life of the characters even deeper. There was something so utterly intimate in the way they portrayed Connell and Marianne, I would have believed they were those people instead of acting if anyone had claimed it to be the case.

There’s a couple things that are hard to watch. All these moments are existent in the book as well, but there is something so very different about imagining it and seeing it actually happen in front of you.

The only real difference I could spot was maybe Marianne’s mother. It’s not that she was necessarily a better person, but while I found her completely uncaring and cruel in the book, I thought she had glimpses of thought and care for her daughter on the show.

I must give great credit to the various directors of the episode, editors and just all crew involved. Whoever did the score (actually let me look that up real quick to tell you) … it’s several people, but the score is comprised of mostly acoustic and instrumental tracks, with some covers here and there that fit the atmosphere perfectly. So, whoever did the song selection, you also did a phenomenal job! Everything about the show managed to convey emotions, be it in the framing of the shots, the music, the silences, the colors, the set design or looks interchanged between the actors. Everything felt intentional and there’s very few instances that don’t manage to hit home.

From the massive response the show has received, I can tell that there is a certain want or need for a second season. This sequel would be completely unrelated to the book, because it finishes the exact same way as the show has. Open, free to interpretation, mournful. I would be interested to see this end on a happier note, although I am not sure that’s what the story is destined to be. For now, the cast has said there is no definite talk of a continuation. Maybe that could change with the increased interest?

Until then, you can lust after Connell’s chain with me and the rest of the internet. I love how iconic it has become and that it has its own Instagram profile. Even more so do I love the fact that Paul Mescal is raffling off one of his chains for a good cause. You have until the 8th of June, 2020, to try your luck here. Paul chose a great organisation, Pieta, which provides free therapy to those engaging in self-harm, with suicidal ideation, or bereaved by suicide in Ireland.

Conclusion

There is no better or worse in this case. I have rarely encountered such a faithful adaptation that doesn’t just match the actual dialogue, but also manages to convey the exact same vibe of the story. While I do think that the book adds a bit of inner monologue that’s helpful in some scenes, and I’d therefore recommend reading it first, they are equally as good as the other.


Have you read Normal People? Have you watched it? Are you as obsessed with Connell’s chain? Let’s chat!