What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #67

We shall not speak about the dire state of my reading this month, but I’ve actually managed to watch quite a lot. I’m so happy to get to do these posts more again, even if it’s just a clear sign that I struggle to balance my reading and watching schedules with work. So what? Let’s talk shows and movies!

Midnight Mass (Limited Series)

I finally made it! Not going to lie, this is the Mike Flanagan show that took me by far the longest to get through. It’s not that it was bad – not at all – but it felt heavier and slower than the others, possibly because of the heavy religious focus. Over all, Flanagan did it again and managed to bring impeccable characters to our screens. He really is my exception when it comes to horror content, at least his shows are. I love that he tends to stick to cast members from previous projects and hope that trend will continue with the upcoming shows.

Overall, I was able to predict a lot of the underlying plot, but it had great emotional moments again. (Still like Bly Manor and Hill House more though.)

Pretty Smart (Season 1)

This is the kind of show, you want on a slow day in the background. It doesn’t require a lot of attention, it’s super over the top, so you’ll always get what it’s about and it’s a nice way to pass the time. I binged it in a day, because I didn’t feel like doing much and liked it a lot. It’s silly for sure, but I laughed so much during the pottery episode, I couldn’t remember the last time a show cracked me up like that. So, if you don’t mind ridiculousness, clichés and over the top acting, this is for you. Again, I’d recommend it as a bit of a background show?

YOU (Season 3)

I was so ready for this season and I watched it as quickly as work allowed me to. It’s strange how this story just goes on and on and they don’t get discovered, despite being really bad serial killers. I don’t want to give away too much of the season, but I think we all know the formula by now. There were a couple nice new characters, few surprises, but somehow this series just works. I do not, however, get how people still lust after Joe. I do not trust a man who hasn’t picked up a single book written after the 1950s. Sorry.

On Our Block (Season 4)

I’m glad they got a final season to wrap things up, but I wasn’t super impressed by the finale. I think there’s one character who would have just deserved better and I didn’t feel as emotionally impacted by their fate as I would have suspected, so that felt a bit like a let down. Either way, it tied up the loose ends, especially the confusion that reigned at the end of Season 3. I know they already have a spin-off planned, but I’m undecided on whether I will check it out.

Night Teeth

Do you like aesthetically pleasing, but campy vampire movies? This might just be for you! I think it definitely has some flaws. I will never understand why it was promoted with Megan Fox and Sydney Sweeney, who could not be more inconsequential for the movie if they tried, but lets not riff on it too much. There was some interesting lore there, which I wish they’d have dug deeper into, but they focused a lot on the more cutesy parts. Again, I think there was potential for it to be just a lot MORE, but I can also see them do a sequel … maybe. I’d watch it. It was really pretty and the characters I cared about were cute.

Shows I Watch Weekly

This is the part where I talk about the shows that I watch each week and that are still ongoing. It’s my way of not forgetting them, because I can’t binge them in one go and mostly talk about finished seasons in the above section.

The Big Leap – This is the show I look forward to the most every single week! I can’t tell you how much I adore the characters and all the various dynamics. There’s so many ships, but not even just romantic stuff. I’m so here for it, while the back of my mind screams to not trust FOX.

Stargirl (Season 2) – I have my issues with this season, because the characters feel different. I’m so here for Beth’s emancipation, but they did not utilize this version of Green Lantern well. They just introduced her and then didn’t use her for episodes. There’s great moments in between (that Yolanda episode was everything), but I’m very tired of the big bad of the season. The Shade was an awesome addition though, while it lasted.

Nancy Drew (Season 3) – Still beyond happy to have the crew back, even if I’m always a couple days late to watch the episode.

9-1-1 (Season 5) – There were a couple emotional hooks in there already, but nothing too out there yet. At least for me. I miss Chimney.

Station 19 (Season 5) – Crisis One is such a great topic, not just because it gives my bae Dean Miller more screen time, but also because it is based on a real initiative in Seattle. I wish they’d communicate and promote that more in the credits or something.


What are you watching? Anything on here you’d like to or have watched too? I’m currently in the midst of the new season of Locke & Key, as well as some German RomCom movie marathons. 

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #66

Let me tell you, I’ve watched way more than you might think from the lack of posts on here. But, the problem is that I started a lot of things, but I finished embarrassingly few things. Still, I didn’t want to wait any longer, so we are going to talk about some shows and movies!

Ted Lasso (Season 2)

This show will never not have my whole heart. As many of my friends can confirm, I can write entire essays on the character work that has been done here, but I will refrain from making this too long. I just want to say that they managed an amazing sophomore season. It’s not easy to continue with a show, the vast majority of the world considers a feel-good-series and still give it meaningful and complex plotlines, but they managed it.

My heart was warmed and crushed alike. It definitely didn’t feel as light as last season, but it shed a beautiful light on various characters and gave more flesh to those usually on the sidelines. Everyone felt important, which was the reason that a lot of the betrayals felt so hard-hitting. The growth from most of the characters though – chef’s kiss.

This season heavily focused on mental health in athletics and in general, as well as themes of loss and abandonment. It’s definitely not all happy, but the balance was achieved in my eyes.

Sex Education (Season 3)

I liked the season, a lot. I wasn’t sure I would still be so invested, but I really was. I binged it pretty much in one go and also read Ace of Spades simultaneously, so the racism of certain characters/institutions really jumped out at times. Still, thoroughly enjoyed it. I think I now prefer Ruby and Otis to Maeve and Otis, which I was never really invested in anyway (let’s go Maeve and Amy!), but the storyline was continued quite beautifully.

There were a couple subplots I wasn’t 100% happy with. I expected more from Viv and Jackson’s friendship, but through the introduction of Cal, they added an amazing character that I wouldn’t want to miss from the season at all. Usually, I also really don’t like the whole “closeted gay/bi guy bullies gay kid, who later becomes his love interest and he gets a redemption arc”-thing, but they wrote Adam so well! Eric still remains one of my favorite characters and I love that he got more story of his own, while his friendship with Otis still shone through.

Towards the end, I got really emotional and I’m looking forward to more! 

Free Guy

This movie is just so much fun! I thought of it like a lighthearted mix of Tron and the Truman Show for some reason, but maybe that’s just me.

Where the movie could have easily drifted off into some existential crisis, Free Guy just remains entertaining with a heart. The cast was chosen so well and whereas a lot of the plot was predictable in the end, I don’t hold it against them. This movie was exactly the booster of goodness I needed. I can only recommend it!

No Time to Die

I am so very proud of all the people who managed to not spoil the whole world, despite having seen the movie. I, too, won’t go into detail, but just say that Phoebe Waller-Bridge did not disappoint and gave us a magnificent send off for Daniel Craig. It had callbacks to my favorites, such as Casino Royale, Skyfall and Spectre, while still remaining its own story.

This might have been one of the most emotionally gripping Bond movies so far, however, I do feel like the balance between action and deeper storyline was a bit off. Either it needed more action for the length it was, or they should have tightened it by about 30 minutes in terms of dialogue and exhibition. This is a minor complaint, because we still flew through the hours. Without saying too much, one of my favorite parts about the whole thing, next to the emotional main plot, was Ana de Armas. She was such a bright light and really fun addition.

Shows I Watch Weekly

This is the part where I talk about the shows that I watch each week and that are still ongoing. It’s my way of not forgetting them, because I can’t binge them in one go and mostly talk about finished seasons in the above section.

The Big Leap – I’m obsessed with this show! I just love Gabby’s storyline, which is the one I am most invested in, but I really want to see where it can go. I have a strong feeling that they’ll cancel it, but it’s FOX. I lost faith in them a long time ago.

Stargirl (Season 2) – I love the horror vibes this season brings. It’s really gloomy and doomy right now, but I’m back to wanting to give it my full attention. It sure has me hooked.

Star Trek: Lower Decks (Season 2) – It’s such a silly show, but I love it. I don’t really get the weekly release for a show like this one, but I’m sticking with it.

Roswell, New Mexico (Season 3) – Does not have enough Maria in it, even if I did get a steamy make out with her and the love interest of my choice.

Nancy Drew (Season 3) – I have Drew’s Crew back, but most of all Ace. Let me tell you, people, he is my number 1 comfort character.

9-1-1 (Season 5) – I can see them struggling with trying to one up themselves with the tragedies and disasters each season, but it’s been a good couple of episodes so far. Even though the scenarios aren’t what I want to see necessarily, they do have emotional impact.

Station 19 (Season 5) – We all know I have a thing for firehouse shows, right?


What have you been watching? Let’s talk!

What If … The Watcher Broke His Oath? Episode/Season Finale Review

We’re back on this fine Wednesday (I say like it’s not raining where I live, then again, I do like rain) with another Marvel review – What If … The Watcher Broke His Oath? Spoilers for the episode ahead!

credit: Marvel Studios

What was it about?

The Watcher assembles a team from across the mulitverse to fight Ultron.

My thoughts?

This was … a good episode? Still a little packed, because of the minimal run time, but overall one of the better ones. It definitely felt like a season finale more than anything else, but then again, it seems like Marvel still has something up their sleeve for the upcoming season. Either way, this was an action-packed episode. Let’s break it down!

  • The Watcher finally decides to intervene and plucks the candidates for a team of his own from across the multiverse. Eventually he assembles the “Guardians of the Multiverse“, which consist of characters from previous episodes such as Captain Carter, Star Lord T’Challa, Killmonger, Party Thor and evil Doctor Strange. However, he also recruits a version of Gamora, who managed to kill her Thanos and save her universe with an infinity crusher (a device, designed to destroy infinity stones). I wonder why we haven’t gotten to see her story.
credit: Marvel Studios
  • This odd mix of characters was quite fun to watch, but they don’t get a lot of bonding time before getting thrown into a fight with Ultron. It’s here that the zombies make a cameo again, but easily get defeated by the AI.
  • As T’Challa manages to steal the Soul Stone, the gang flees to another world, where they meet Natasha, the only survivor on her planet and the version we met the previous week. Ultron quickly catches up, but they manage to hold him down long enough to use the infinity crusher. Unfortunately, this course of action fails, as each infinity stone is unique to its world and the crusher was designed for only those of Gamora’s universe. I guess this is their way of talking themselves out of the power of the stones cancelling each other out once there are multiple versions in one world? 
credit: Marvel Studios
  • Ultimately, it all comes down to the Zola virus Nat managed to save because of Clint’s sacrifice last week. With Peggy’s help, she manages to drive the arrow home and Ultron is destroyed, but nothing is ever that easy.
  • Killmonger betrays the group and takes the stones for himself. He suggests to make everyone’s world the way they want it, to give everyone what they need/desire, but the other’s are having none of it. Before anyone can intervene, Zola wants to reclaim the stones though, starting a power struggle with Killmonger.
  • It’s at that moment, that Stephen realizes what he has to do. Now that the stones aren’t attached to a body, he freezes the fighting Zola, Killmonger and the infinity stones in a pocket dimension, becoming their watcher in the process. Let’s face it, he didn’t have anything else going on.
credit: Marvel Studios
  • Everyone returns to the moment they were taken from their universe, their sacrifice unknown to everyone. Except for Nat, who gets taken to a world that had lost their widow. For a moment, I carried the slight hope that it would be our universe and that the Black Widow movie wouldn’t have been for nothing and way too late, but it wasn’t “ours”.

In the end, this was a decent episode. Very action-packed and not so much character focused, but it really tied what we had seen so far together. I appreciate that it wasn’t all for nothing.

This isn’t something really big about the episode, but I feel like, if you shipped Steve with Nat in the live-action movies, then you should 100% be able to ship Nat with Peggy because of what we’ve seen. Their chemistry was off the charts and I don’t care if they call each other BFFs or not. Usually, I’m not someone who needs to find characters to ship and advocate for loving platonic relationships, but some comments on the internet pissed me off. Consider this my rant, because I can’t tolerate intolerant people.

For some reason, I thought this was the penultimate episode, but alas, I was wrong. This felt like it tied up things neatly for the season, so it makes sense to end the story here for now. Maybe we will get to find out about Gamora after all some other time? I don’t really think so, but I also don’t know what’s about to happen. I would, however, love it if the episodes would have tied together with the finale of Loki and would explain what happened there. But again, this did not happen.


PREVIOUSLY: WHAT IF …


What did you think of this final episode of Season 1? Did you enjoy it? Let’s talk!

September 2021 Wrap-Up

September was the month that I chose to take a break from my reading experiments, not so much because I don’t like them, but mostly because I wanted to pick the books I was reading myself. This all started very well, but I fell in love with the first book so hard, it almost put me in a reading slump. I still managed to get to four stories though!

The Atlas Six (The Atlas, #1)  Ace of Spades  Beasts of Prey  Franny and Zooey

As per usual, click on the covers to get re-directed to Goodreads, where you are always welcome to add me as a reading buddy! My own reviews (where there is one) you’re able to find by clicking on the titles in the list above if there are posts for them.

I have also recently created a Storygraph profile and try to link to the books on that platform as well when I do my reviews. However, I haven’t had the time to fully delve into it. Feel free to add me as well here, but know that I’ve mostly just looked at the way they portray stats (very cool) but have struggled a bit with the navigation on site otherwise (my phone has no storage for further apps, so I’m using the desktop version). I’d like to support it though!

September was a really good month for me! I switched department at my job and am really enjoying it. I found a flat that I will move in during October, which is lovely and nice and without roommates for once. In addition to that, I’ve felt far more comfortable in my own skin, lighter in general, and that has made me really happy. I even found a new goal to work towards. As silly as it sounds, I feel like I’m adulting quite alright over here, I even contemplated to go on dating apps, but a brief Twitter poll crushed that idea fast.

If anyone has some ideas on how to meet people (to potentially date, to be clear) offline, I’d be all ears!

I don’t know how October will look like for me, as I’m sure I will be busy moving and still getting adjusted at work, I’m looking forward to it. Especially having a space that is all my own will be exciting! I get to decorate and do things just the way *I* want to. Even the mere idea of that makes me giddy!
Aside from that, I’m looking forward to working on the latest reading experiment. I already hinted at who it might be in the Sebastian Stan post, so you can check that one out for a clue. I don’t want to make promises that I’ll post it in the new month for sure, as I’m guessing I will be quite busy, but I’m sure going to try. I might, however, get sidetracked by having Nancy Drew (and therefore Ace, one of my all time favorite characters) back on my screen.

MY FAVORITE THINGS

As I said earlier, I really fell in love with one of the books I read – namely, The Atlas Six – and even got art prints of the characters from the person who also illustrated them for the book. They are now in my childhood bedroom and I’ll have to somehow get them off my wall safely and bring them to the new flat. Wish me luck!

Other than that, I’ve been enjoying getting back into more TV shows again. The new season of Lower Decks has me invested in the characters again, while offering light entertainment. I can’t wait for the new episode of Ted Lasso each week and I’ve surprisingly really taken to Midnight Mass. Apparently horror is no longer a no go for me, at least not when Mike Flanagan is involved. Something I haven’t really talked about on here though is The Big Leap, which has only aired two episodes so far, but which I’m really enjoying. I just adore shows that are set in the world of TV. Feels meta to me, but in a good way. I’m only worried, because it is on FOX and we all know their track record of keeping shows I like … (still bitter about Pitch!)

ELSEWHERE ON THE BLOGOSPHERE

This part of the wrap-up where I usually dedicate some space to the amazing work other bloggers do in the community. I hope you give them a visit and show some appreciation for their contributions! I unfortunately didn’t have that much time to blog hop and comment, but I always try!

MY OTHER POSTS

PREVIOUSLY ON WHAT IF …

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

THURSDAY MOVIE PICKS

TRAILER POSTS


I hope you will have a spooky and nice October! I like getting to wear more layers again, which is usually possible around this season where I live, but hope it won’t get too cold yet. I still am gunning to wear my Scoops Ahoy uniform from Stranger Things at least once on Halloween!

TMP – TV Edition: Non-English Shows

It’s Thursday and I’m back with a new Thursday Movie Picks feature post. This series is hosted by Wandering through the Shelves and offers you a weekly prompt to post some movie recommendations/talking points according to the theme. Usually, you are supposed to post about 3-5 examples, which I find a very manageable amount.

As it so happens, we change it up once per month and talk about TV shows instead of movies and this time around we are talking about non-English TV shows and series. In general, this is fairly easy for me, as I do not come from an English speaking country. I’ve always watched either German shows or dubbed content from all over the world. However, I think it’s best that I’ll try and present shows that are available on streaming platforms or elsewhere, because where’s the fun if no one can actually watch them? Let’s get started!

Dark (German)

I stand by the opinion that this show is one of the best German shows to ever be produced. The cinematography, the well thought-out story and the intriguing plot are just something that will forever stay with me. You can’t just watch this in the background, you have to pay attention, but it will have been worth it.

The Rain (Danish)

The final season wasn’t my favorite, but I loved this show so much. The moral implications of a lot of it were just great to see unfold.

Ragnarok (Norwegian)

I have a thing for Norse mythology … sue me.

Plan Coeur (French)

My relationship with French has always been a rocky one, but shows like this bring the joy back for me. I loved watching it and even cried at the pandemic special episode they created. So worth it!

Honorable Mentions

As per usual when it comes to TV shows, I just can’t contain myself. Here are some more shows I think are worth the watch, which aren’t all on Netflix (but still most of them):

  • Almost all the iterations of SKAM, but especially Druck
  • Control Z (Mexican)
  • 3% (Brazilian)
  • Elite (Spanish)
  • Blood & Water (South African)
  • Vampires (French)
  • The Mess You Leave Behind (Spanish)
  • Bad Banks (German)
  • Ku’damm 56 (German)
  • Trakehnerblut (Austrian)
  • Arme Millionäre (German-Austrian)

For everyone who’s missing Casa de Papel here, I’m still only in S1, so it didn’t feel right to mention it.


What are some non-English shows you enjoy? Let’s chat!

What If … Ultron Won? Episode Review

I’m pretty sure most of you know it by now, but it’s Wednesday and that means it’s Marvel review day! Today we’re talking about What If … Ultron Won? – spoilers ahead from here on out!

What If ... Ultron Won?
credit: Marvel Studios

What was it about?

What if Ultron got himself a body, some infinity stones and the realization that there are several worlds he can bring his version of “peace” to? A heap of chaos, that’s what.

My thoughts?

It’s odd – this was the first episode that actively connected to previous ones we’ve watched, but simultaneously it didn’t make sense if you considered last week. What am I referring to? Well, we clearly saw the Watcher distressed at Ultron’s appearance during the end scenes of What If … Thor Were an Only Child?, but now the course of Ultron’s story seemed to surprise him all over again. Simultaneously, we know that the episodes are connected now due to the final moments. It doesn’t fully make sense. I’m getting ahead of myself though, let’s break it down!

  • From the beginning, the Watcher seemed more invested in this universe. He said that it breaks his heart and it’s the one where Ultron managed to get hold of the body that would become Vision in the “regular world” and made it his own instead.
What If ... Ultron Won?
credit: Marvel Studios
  • After deploying all the world’s nuclear weapons and extinguishing most of humanity in the process, Nat and Clint (who has a metal arm) seem to be the only ones left, the only hope alive.
  • All of a sudden, Thanos shows up, but Ultron doesn’t hesitate – he cuts him in half and takes the infinity stones for himself. This Thanos must have come for the mind stone, as that was seemingly the only one he was missing, giving Ultron a full set and therefore his own infinity armor (instead of the gauntlet).
What If ... Ultron Won?
credit: Marvel Studios
  • With all that power, Ultron continues to bring his version of “peace” aka complete and utter destruction to all planets and life in the galaxy. Even an encounter with Captain Marvel didn’t stop him and he ultimately extinguished everything and everyone (except for Nat and Clint, but he doesn’t know that).
  •  As he becomes a program without a purpose, he suddenly reaches a previously unattainable level of consciousness and becomes aware of the Watcher, who is terrified by his hunger. The realization that there are multiple universes gives him a new mission.
  • Through all of this, the Watcher could still not intervene, but only hope that Nat and Clint would find the answer in the Russian KGB archive they needed. Apparently Zola, the AI made from uploading a Hydra scientist’s brain, is the only one that could counteract Ultron’s code from within. In an attempt to upload Zola to the hive mind, Clint sacrifices his life – it perfectly mirrored Nat’s sacrifical scene from Endgame and I liked that in an odd way.
What If ... Ultron Won?
credit: Marvel Studios
  • Meanwhile the Watcher and Vision are carrying out an epic battle throughout the multiverse. They crash from one reality into the next and you could barely keep up with what was happening (Steve Rogers seemed to be president of the US in one though …). Ultron is not invincible, but the Watcher eventually has to retreat and seek help.
  • Ultimately, the Watcher finds himself out of options and seeks lonely Doctor Strange from a couple episodes ago. He had been all by himself, in his single bubble, since the destruction of his universe and is only willing to help. We shall see if this team up will be effective.

So, we get another open end, but, at the same time, we are entering a phase of the show where everything starts to connect. As much as I still think What If …? has plenty of storytelling weaknesses in general and banks way too much on the viewers previous knowledge and emotional attachment to the characters, I’m intrigued by this development. I enjoy that it seems like there is an overall purpose and possibly something that will be really relevant to the MCU as a whole.

I bet a lot of people who mocked Age of Ultron (which was honestly always one of my favorites) are surprised just how much the characters from that movie came back in the shows this year.


PREVIOUSLY: WHAT IF …


What did you think of the episode? Did you enjoy it? Let’s talk!