What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #68

I’ve watched so much in a short amount of time that I decided to better do this sooner rather than later. It will likely be a lengthier post, so I won’t talk about the weekly shows I am currently watching, just because they aren’t that many and haven’t really changed anyway (The Big Leap and Nancy Drew are my bright spots of the week!). So, let’s get this started!

An Astrological Guide for Broken Hearts (Season 1)

This was a really quick watch that I enjoyed far more than I initially thought I would. Basically this little hidden Italian gem of a show is based on a book, about 6 episodes for now and will hopefully (seriously, fingers crossed!) get renewed, because I need to know what happens next.

I’m not huge on astrology, but I like to have fun with it at times. I know my signs, but I honestly don’t take it very seriously. However, if you are very attached or protective of your star sign, beware that there is going to be some intense roasting of most signs (I think leos, which I am coincidentally one of, were the only ones getting off easy here). But the characters are really charming and will have you in a chokehold by the end of it. I’d sure like to have a Davide and a Tio in my life.

Locke & Key (Season 2)

I was semi-excited for the new season, but it was actually really good. Please do not read on if you haven’t watched the first season, because this is a spoiler, but Gabe was a great villain. The way he really seemed to have feelings for Kinsey made this so much more interesting to me. Generally, my takeaway from the show so far is that Dodge just wants to be a hot teen boy.

Anyway, the teens were still fools, the whole show is pretty far removed from the gory comics and targeted towards a younger audience, but it worked for me. This time around, they had to deal with the fact that they were growing older and that would mean they’d forget magic. It also dug deeper into the lore of the keys and set up an intriguing future season. I’d be here for more.

Another Life (Season 2)

I’m going to be real honest with you and tell you that I forgot pretty much everything that happened in season 1. It was a real struggle to get back into it, even though I remembered really being in love with the AI, William, so I wanted that feeling back.

In general, Another Life is quite brutal. Barely any crew members are safe and you really can’t get attached to anyone. Every season is “torture the AI” season, which I’m not a big fan of. Overall, it continued the story nicely though. I suppose I won’t be the only one struggling to remember everything that happened previously, but this felt like a good end. It could continue, but this season felt like an end to the show. At least it would be a neat one.

Stargirl (Season 2)

Last summer, I was so very invested in Stargirl and I had really hoped to feel the same way this time around, but the feeling never quite came back. Somehow, I felt a distance while watching the season and it could very well be because of them filming during the pandemic, but it also might have been, because they missed so many chances.

They set up super interesting characters (Green Lantern’s daughter, the Shade) and then barely used them or featured then at all for several episodes, all in favor of a villain that got super repetitive fast. I like the themes they dealt with this season and still adore the characters, but there was potential for some better plots. Still, they had some standout episodes and a really great finale. I’m excited for next season, which is titled “Frenemies”. It’s going to be so much fun!

Army of Thieves

To begin with, despite it being a prequel to Army of the Dead, this has nothing to do with zombies. They are barely even a B-plot, because this is squarely a heist movie. Having said that, I feel like the charm of the movie and the many references only work if you watched Army of the Dead first. In a way, I think it might even confirm some theories about the zombie movie in the final scene … but maybe I was projecting here.

Army of Thieves was very fun with a quirky cast of characters. It wasn’t groundbreaking, but Matthias Schweighöfer did a great job not only bringing a charming and fun backstory to his character, but also directing it.

The Harder They Fall

I was really excited for this movie, because it looked stunning, had an amazing cast and soundtrack and I had a whole plan about watching movies with black cowboys, but I wasn’t quite prepared for just how violent this movie was. I think my brain blocked out a lot of those gory scenes, because that’s not really what I’m about.

Aside from that, it has a lot of wit, humor and, again, amazing visuals. I’m sure it’s not for everyone, but as someone who is not usually huge on westerns, I enjoyed this. (You can really thank the outstanding cast for that!)

Love Hard

Did this movie have cute moments? Yes, it totally did. Does that excuse the fact that we are in the year 2021 and they are still trying to make catfishing cute in dating movies? No, not one bit. I’m just so tired of the trope. We’ve established that it’s not okay, so don’t make a million more redemption movies, where we need to fall in love with the person by the end anyway.


There will be a separate post where I talk about Eternals, which I have watched a couple days ago. I want to make it a post with spoilers, so I’m targeting next Wednesday, hoping I’ll have sorted my thoughts by then. But what about this post? Did you watch any of the things I mentioned? Let’s talk!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #47

Since I’ve had more time again, I’ve spent it in front of screens a lot. Aside from tearing through some MasterClasses, I binged a couple shows and movies, which I’m now, once again, going to share with you!

Grand Army (Season 1)

TW: sexual assault, adultification, terrorism, racial profiling, racial injustice

I feel like Grand Army is Netflix’ response to HBO’s Euphoria. We follow a group of teens through a rough time in High School with the portrayal being relatable and closer to reality than some of the glossier shows airing these days. I understand when people say they don’t just want a copy of Euphoria, but, as someone who struggled a lot with that show a lot, I actually preferred Grand Army. It doesn’t bank on visuals as much as Euphoria and in that sense, made it easier for me to connect with the characters.

At the end of this show, I was emotionally exhausted. I love to binge watch and rarely don’t do it, but Grand Army really had me take breaks between episodes because it was getting just so darn heavy. It’s not a perfect show, I don’t think that exists, but I loved how so many really difficult issues were handled and openly discussed such a variety of struggles without making it seem preachy.

For fans of: Euphoria but less stylized, realistic teen struggles

Over Christmas (Season 1)

In only three episodes, you follow Basti’s (probably) worst Christmas ever. His brother is now dating his ex, his parents are keeping secrets from him and he isn’t as honest with his friends as he used to be. The premise is fairly easy and includes a lot of elements (I’d almost say clichées) that most of us have seen in other productions. It’s not that it’s bad show, but when Basti eventually blows up and ruins everyone’s life in the process, I had a hard time sympathising with him.

BRIEF SPOILER MOMENT

Especially considering that he outed one of his friends to the entire town and they just brushed it off like that wasn’t some super evil thing to do, nevermind that he was angry at his friend for not telling him he was gay. Like … you really gotta make it all about you, huh?

SPOILER MOMENT ENDED

The show was just three episodes and only showed three days in the life of this chaotic family. It had some nice bonding moments, but also felt a bit over-acted at times. It’s an okay way to spend a couple hours, but it could have seriously fit into a movie too.

For fans of: Luke Mockridge, predictable Christmas stuff

Virgin River (Season 2)

This show was a surprise to me when I started it a year or so ago. I was so pleasantly surprised in turn afterwards when it got renewed almost immediately. To those who thought the previous season finale was cruel, this one will have you nothing but stressed.

Mel and Jack truly have some of the most natural and sizzling on screen chemistry and make this show so watchable! For me, personally, the “crime” element has started to take over a bit too much at times. I am not saying this is a crime show, because it is decidedly not, but I prefer the more human dilemmas that are about relationships and life circumstances rather than stuff that needs police involvement.

For fans of: small town charming romances with a lot of drama

Stargirl

I have not read the book and this has absolutely nothing to do with the show Stargirl, just thought I’d clarify that up front.

I’d definitely say it is targeted towards a younger audience, but not in a bad way at all. As far as lovers of the book go, they thought this version of Stargirl (the person) wasn’t as quirky and charming, but I found her absolutely enchanting (probably, because I had nothing to compare her to). Stargirl is one of those people that will come into your life, turn it upside down, teach you empathy and compassion and then vanish without a trace. I think there was definitely potential to go deeper and it was generally pretty slow moving, but the message came across. For one, it’s all about being YOU, but also so much about making mistakes and learning from them, showing compassion towards others without any gain for yourself and to not put people on pedestals. They are always bound to fall off.

For fans of: quirky “magic” girls

Black Beauty

Again, just to say that up front, I haven’t read the book, even though I know it’s a classic.

When I was little, I went riding at a stable that had a lot of rescue horses. Not all of them were suitable for children and there were some I loathed to ride, but mostly I was fine. I had my favourite horses and when I got them, all was good. Still, I fell a lot and eventually turned to other hobbies when it became more of a chore than a joy to go riding, but my inner horse girl always remained in some part.

This movie has absolutely beautiful cinematography and had me tearing up almost every other minute. But it’s also a fairly slow moving story and the heavy reliance on narration probably won’t be to everyone’s liking. However, I did like it overall. It gave me all the whimsical and nostalgic feels that I want in a horse movie.

For fans of: horse stories


What have you been watching lately? Do you want to see any of the things I mentioned? Let’s talk!

#CurrentlyWatching: Stargirl

It’s finally here – the post I have been talking about for weeks now! Stargirl has, more or less, taken over my life in the past months and I mean that in the absolutely best way. I did fanart and met some fun people through it, never mind the absolutely lovely cast. That show was a godsend during lockdown but while I have mentioned it regularly, I still wanted to wait until the season was out in its entirety before I reviewed it properly. So, after FNL, this is definitely the show that deserves a full on #CurrentlyWatching post!

Stargirl is a DC comic book adaptation that was released on the DC streaming platform as well as the CW and currently consists of one season of 13 episodes, but has already been renewed for a second season (which will air only on the CW). Thanks to one of the best people I know, Lois, I have actually been able to read the definite collection of Stargirl comics created by Geoff Johns, who is also in charge of the show! It’s probably due to that fact that it isn’t a 100% faithful adaptation, but one that rings very true.

After discovering that her step dad was a superhero’s sidekick and having been chosen by a powerful weapon to carry on the legacy, teenager Courtney Whitmore has to become a superhero of her own.

There’s something about Stargirl that is really special. I want to preface this for anyone who didn’t know this, but Geoff Johns, the creator of the comic book character Stargirl and the show, shaped Courtney Whitmore after his late sister. She passed away at a young age and he wanted to immortalize her in a way. Through that alone, the character has so many more layers and it was the loveliest way to honor her.

If you look closely, this photo of the real Courtney and Brec (who plays Courtney on the show) is featured in the pilot episode. Credit: CW

When I first started watching Stargirl, it didn’t feel like any of the other currently airing superhero shows out there. It had a cinematic look to it and was visually pleasing, but also included bursts of humour that made everything immediately more endearing, while maintaining a cast of relatable characters. A lot of the times people complain that the heroes are either all kids or all adults, but here there is a great mix of both. Whether you prefer a bit of high school drama or more grown up issues, there’s likely something in there for you.

Something I massively appreciated about the show was that everything felt incredibly intentional. No episode, and that is really rare, felt like a filler episode, as it was all leading up to something. While I will say that I sometimes wished that a couple characters got more screen time, everything we saw made sense and led towards the progression of the story and development of the heroes.

This season very much focused on Courtney and her journey, which is funny, because a lot of the time people were just really annoyed with her. But that’s the beauty of a show that isn’t afraid to show a flawed character growing. Courtney was so stubborn and sometimes even entitled, that her behaviour could be frustrating, but you really see how much she grows and where here insecurities and beliefs come from through the episodes. Her relationship with Pat (played by Luke Wilson) was one of the most precious things and an absolute joy to watch. In the end, the main theme of the show is found family (one of my absolute favourite themes ever) though and that affects so many more characters than just Courtney.

Another thing that I enjoyed about Stargirl was that it often threw you a curveball. The heroes don’t always win or succeed at the first try. It is stated clearly that they aren’t natural talents without any sort of training and that no one can really do it alone. There are consequences to actions and no one is really save. Oh, how I wished I could get some characters back, because they trick you and peel off layers to make you like someone you never thought you would just to rip them away from you.

Where do I even start? I fell in love with so many characters, whether their roles were small or big, I have no clue what to say! The cast of villains was some of the best I have ever encountered. The Injustice Society of America, while ruthless, made sense and you even found the occasional scene where you rooted for them. Not to mention that they were just highly entertaining and I would watch a spin-off show of Icicle, Brainwave and/or Tigrees & Sportsmaster without so much as a second of hesitation.

Every character had their own journey to undertake and many still have so much more story to tell, but I guess if I had to pick a major draw for me, I would say HourNite! It has the grumpy angry guy and smart cheery girl dynamic that I love and while there were hints and crumbs, I just knew I’d ship them unconditionally when episode 8 happened.

Rick (Hourman) and Beth (Dr. Midnite), who make up the ship that is Hournite, are both such great characters on their own. I would legit do anything to protect Beth, who is bold and so smart and always positive. People were giving her a hard time, because she didn’t know how to fight on the show, but honestly, we need people who do the intel stuff and despite not having combat skills, she still went into dangerous situations to help her friends. I wanna see those critics do that!

And Rick, my angry angry boy, he came such a long way this season. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I was just so proud of him in the finale. That’s what I call growth!

Putting those two together would be such a smart move, and not just because they are canonically married in the comics, but because Beth can logically argue and calm Rick when his temper gets the better of him and he is there to make sure nothing harms her when she puts her life on the line for the people she cares about it. It just works!

I KNOW that I could go on and on about so many more characters, but this post is already over 1K long and I know that it’s the breaking point for a lot of my readers. I hope this enticed you to check out he show if you haven’t yet! Season 1 ends beautifully with a tease of what’s to come, but no brutal cliffhanger at all.


Did you watch Stargirl? If so, who is your favourite character? Who do you want to see more of in S2?

Recap: My 30 Day Art Challenge

I posted about this challenge at the half-way point already (read more about it here), but now the challenge is done and I just wanted to recap what all went down and share some more of my art!

STATS

I am happy to announce that I have managed to write more than 13K words this past month. I know that it’s not nearly as much as many reach during their NaNoWriMo challenge or camp sessions, but it catapults me to over 35K words for my current WIP (a YA contemporary), which means I am more than halfway through what I want the first draft to be in terms of length.
I will admit that I skipped out on writing during a couple of the last days of the challenge. I was just so stuck with where I wanted to go and wanted to do some plotting. I really wasn’t sure what to do in the last third of the story, to make sure it actually had tension and wasn’t just trickling along. Therefore, I plotted, which is writing-related, but had no word count to speak of.

I drew a total of 14 more drawings since the last update. I followed my own advice and didn’t overdo it by trying to complete a drawing per day. Sometimes I would do the line work on one day and then the colors on the next. It definitely helped me feel less stressed about it, while I was still doing something daily.

REALIZATIONS

I think I already covered quite a lot of the realizations last time and they still sound true to me. Doing everything all the time is impossible, external validation helps and so on, but I will try and tell you a bit more anyway.

  • Forcing yourself to do something every day will yield results, but not necessarily good ones. I am happy I did the challenge and it really got my creative juices flowing again, but there are days where you just don’t have it in you. I still ended up doing my writing (or writing related activity) and drawing every single day, but the results weren’t always something I was happy with. Accepting that not everything will be perfect is another thing you need to learn as an artist, but it’s still frustrating when things don’t work. Just make sure that doesn’t deter you.
  • It’s perfectly okay to draw something because you know it has an audience. While I didn’t stick to just Stargirl portraits in the end, the cast and characters still made up the majority of what I drew. I just knew, and clearly saw in my stats, that these posts worked a lot better and make up the posts that perform the best. The fact that the cast likes to interact with that stuff helps too, of course. So, I don’t see why I shouldn’t lean into doing something, even if it seems repetitive in terms of motif, knowing that there’s a group of people who will hype it up.
  • Try to make yourself do something new and get out of your comfort zone! It’s obvious that I only did portraits, however, I leaned more into doing pencil instead of watercolor work again, which wasn’t something I felt too comfortable with earlier. And I also started experimenting again with gold/silver foil and am really happy with the results.

DRAWINGS

This time it’s really a mix of things! There’s Jeanine Mason from Roswell, New Mexico, cast and characters from Stargirl (where I often made sure to focus on characters/scenes that were important for the airing episode) as well as Bess from Little Voice, the weeping monk from Cursed and two self-portraits (one experimental and one more traditional).


I hope you enjoyed this look into my challenge! Feel free to ask me anything about it! In hindsight, I think it was more about being consistent than making progress with my skill set, although I think I came into my style some more as well.

Half-Time Check In: My 30 Day Art Challenge

For those of you who missed the announcement, I have been challenging myself to draw and write every single day starting July 1st. It was very important to me to lean more into my creative side and to push myself even when I wasn’t feeling it all the time. Having now surpassed the half-way mark, I thought it was time to check in on the progress etc.

STATS

I have decided to keep writing my Football WIP! Coincidentally, July 1st was also the start of Camp NaNoWriMo, which meant that I had the perfect tool to track my writing with their website. Honestly, my motivation for drawing was much higher than for writing, because I stopped at a tough chapter back in May. But I still wrote every single day and made a whooping progress of 7,364 words in total so far!

As intended with this challenge, I have also managed to draw every single day. I completed 12 drawings (most of them full watercolor portraits) and sketched with pencil but not in way I would like to showcase the other days.

REALIZATIONS

There’s a couple things I learned from this so far and I really would like to share as well! It will also be fun to see if I still think the same once I have completed the 30 days.

  • I can’t do everything all the time! This was probably the hardest one to come to terms with. If I draw every single day and if I write too, that amounts to the time a regular person would spend at a full time job. As much as I wanted to read all the books, write all the blog posts and watch all the movies and TV shows, it’s impossible to do it all. There’s not enough time and quite frankly also not brain power/creative energy to get to every single thing.
  • While I am fairly self-motivated, external validation helps! I would definitely be lying if I said that validation from others doesn’t help. I really do appreciate every single like and comment, because it has helped me so much in keeping up with this challenge. Also, I went from 160 followers to 200+ in two weeks even though I have had my account for years, so this is just mind-boggling to me (click here if you want to follow my art insta too).
    I will post my drawings at the end of this post, but you will see that they are mostly exclusively about the cast from Stargirl. This is not just because I adore the show (which I do), but because the cast is incredibly friendly and appreciative of fan work. It’s so lovely to do this and get the recognition from the people you drew.
  • Some things won’t ever look the way I want them to, and that’s okay! Having done this challenge, it has helped me so much with accepting that not everything I put out into the world needs to be perfect or flawless. Some things don’t work out the way I want them to, that’s fine and I just need to let it go. So often, people still appreciated my work, even when I didn’t love it. (I’m being serious here, I maybe really really like three of the drawings from the past two weeks …….)
  • Writing is hard (duh!), but editing exists for a reason. I was always someone who was very focused on working on a single project, until things got hard and I dropped it. I also always wrote very linearly, but not this time. I was really super stuck, but I didn’t confine myself to just keep writing a chapter I disliked, but rather wrote other scenes I was looking forward to. The chapter I finally managed to conclude and still don’t like won’t deter me any more either, because that is what editing is for. Just because I don’t currently know how to fix things doesn’t mean that I won’t ever know.

DRAWINGS

As I’ve already mentioned, all of these drawings are from the show Stargirl or its cast. (I am pretty sure I will do a full currently watching post about the show once I am done with the entire season, because I really do love everything about it.) There is only one more drawing that I didn’t include, because it was a private one I drew for a family member and don’t think it should be online.


What do you think about my challenge and my progress? Do you like my art? I am happy to chat about it here!

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!