My Top 10 (ongoing) TV Shows of 2021

Yesterday was about movies (click here, if you’ve missed the post), but today is all about my favorite shows of the year 2021 (or at least part 1). I thought that I’d have more trouble picking the shows or limiting it to only ten, but apparently I wasn’t as passionate about the things I’ve watched as I’ve been in previous years.

I feel like I need to clarify that I know the word “ongoing” is misleading. By that, I’ll be referring to shows that were released before 2021 and had a new or in some cases a final season airing/streaming last year. So, ongoing, in this particular case, doesn’t mean they’re still airing. I never quite know how to phrase it, but this is what I’ve established a while ago to call the ranking, so I’ll stick to it now. If you are interested in my favorite brand new 2021 shows, stick around for more posts in the upcoming days!

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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. 

Movies and TV Shows for Book Lovers!

I know, I know! Not all of us, but a fair share of us, do have more time to read these days. But does that really mean we are always in the mood for it? I have compiled a list of movies and TV shows that, in my humble opinion, are perfect for book lovers and writers out there. Some are more obvious, others only have a small bookish aspect to it, but I still think they are all worth checking out!

Movies

THE WORDS

The Words is a story within a story within a story. It explores one man’s guilt as he uses another man’s very personal work, a tale that spans decades and is plastered with broken hearts and an amazing cast. Slowly told, but incredibly moving, if you want to dive into the lives of tortured writers, this is the movie for you!

NOT ANOTHER HAPPY ENDING

Everyone knows I am a huge Karen Gillan advocate, so it should come as little surprise that I featured a movie where she portrays a writer, especially a funny one who can only write good books when she is miserable. Is the movie corny and silly? Yes, absolutely! But who doesn’t need something a little lighter and ridiculous every now and then?

YOU’VE GOT MAIL

Two rival bookstore owners (one independently owned, one chain store) falling in love over the internet? It just doesn’t get old! Just think about it … that movie was released in the late 90s and is still pretty relevant today, barring the outdated technology used. And I simply cannot resist a Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks pairing. I just cannot!

SET IT UP

Glen Powell and Zoey Deutch were rumoured to be the new Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks pairing for romantic comedies in our day and age (and no, it is absolutely no conincidence that I mentioned this particular movie right after You’ve Got Mail). Now you may wonder, what is the bookish component to all of this? Well, Zoey Deutch’s character is a writer, but she just plain doesn’t have any time for it. She struggles but ultimately manages to produce some garbage, which is still better than never writing at all. Her journey (however small in this movie) is just so relatable.

TV Shows

YOUNGER

Younger is one of my absolute favourite TV shows ever and one that is sure to suck you in as well. Having worked in publishing but given up her career for her family, Liza now struggles to get back into the workforce. So, she pretends to be in her 20s even though she is in her 40s. Whether you consider that scenario realistic or not is none of my business, I just really love it. It’s fun, has a great female cast, amazing love interests and is ideal if you aren’t looking for anything too long-formatted (episodes are roughly 25 minutes, so sitcom-length).

BEING ERICA

Now, it’s pretty obvious I am Canadian at heart and Being Erica is pretty Canadian, so, I felt compelled to share it. This show, too, takes partially place in publishing. Saying that is really a stretch, because this show is about time travelling therapy. Yep, you heard right! I don’t want you to expect any sort of realistic depiction of the publishing world here, I just thought it would be nice to add something totally different to the list. And this sure is different. The first season is available for free on YouTube, so if you want to check it out, you can do so here.

FRIENDS FROM COLLEGE

Another big stretch for the topic, but one of the characters is a writer and they are poking some real fun at the Young Adult publishing game. Please don’t take it too seriously, it’s not their actual opinion, but rather their take on being funny. In general, it’s a fun show about how adults really don’t have it all together and how you can grow apart from your closest friends over time.

YOU

Again, I added this to give the list some flavor! It’s a reminder that even seemingly charming (although I never quite got the infatuation with Joe … he’s a creep) bookseller can be dangerous. The amount of books mentioned are worth a reading challenge of their own though, so that could be something fun to devise during this time of isolation. Maybe?


Of course, since I added You, I might as well could have added Gilmore Girls too, but this post was getting rather long already. Are you in the need for some new watching material? Have you seen any of the shows or movies mentioned? Let’s chat and stay safe and healthy!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #24

This will likely be one of the last “normal” posts of the year! Tomorrow there’s the usual trailer post and then come Monday I am going to go WILD with multiple ranking posts almost every day of the week. It’s going to be interesting to see if I can really follow through on it, but I did tweet about it already and am saying it here as well, just to hold myself accountable. Anyway, I watched a lot of stuff and it was as follows:

Marvel’s Runaways (Season 3)

I am really sad this was the last season of the Runaways, but they really did try to give it their all. In some ways that worked better than in others, but I am glad they tried to fit the content of about three seasons into those final ten episodes. Maybe some more time would have helped with certain storylines, but I particularly lived for the cameo of Cloak & Dagger! I love Tandy and Tyrone and they fit in with the other kiddos so well, I basically just wanted them to stay.

While I understand Marvel’s need to start fresh and cancel everything that they didn’t start themselves as canon-part of the greater MCU, I am disappointed they weren’t willing to work with anything pre-existing at all. I understand that there are complex character-specific contracts and that they couldn’t just continue with the Netflix shows (as there are clauses about waiting periods until they can use characters again), but Runaways was produced by hulu which is owned by Disney as well, so I don’t see the issue here …

Lastly, something happened at the end of ep. 9 of the season and I would have never in a million years forgiven them, if they had ended it on that note. They remedied it though, so for that alone, I am already so very grateful. At least I got that!

For fans of: evil parents, teen superheroes, messy relationships, found family, cool cameos

Soundtrack (Season 1)

This show was a bit of a surprise hit for me. Usually, I am not too fond of musical content, but none of the people actually sing on the show, they just use music and lip-syncing to dramatise scenes. Well, that’s not entirely true, since some of the characters are in the music industry, but overall it isn’t really a musical, but rather the OG song of Imagine Dragons starts playing and someone just mouths to it.

While the show looks more on the light side, it had surprising depth to it. As much as I could see this as a standalone season, over the course of the episodes, you really connect with the characters and want to know more about them. Without giving anything away, I love that it has a “This Is Us”-kind of approach to the timeline and really neatly works with those different layers.

For fans of: music, fresh faces, family-centered struggles

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

I feel like, in order to properly review this movie, I would have to go in depth and therefore spoil some of the things that happen in the movie, but I don’t want to do that. So, I am going to try and be very vague. IF you still haven’t watched this and want to go in completely blind, then by all means, feel free to skip everything about this movie and just continue reading about the next show. Overall, I can tell you that I was disappointed with the movie. While I did chuckle and felt entertained during the run time of the film, the movie just didn’t make sense within the universe and was a huge disservice to so many characters. Here it goes:

  • Redemption through death is one of the laziest tropes ever. It’s rarely ever satisfying, it’s an easy cop-out to not do the work and let the character actually show that they are better and I am still mad it was used in this movie.
  • Rose, as a character, was completely sidelined, which made it feel like the writers gave in to the hate and cowardice of the fanboys who harassed Kelly Marie Tran, to the point where she had to leave social media. She had 73 seconds of screentime. Let that sink in.
  • They initially made it seem like this trilogy was about how ANYONE could use the force, not necessarily people of a specific heritage. Also, they negated the statement that everyone has a certain light and darkness in them, by basically saying that a specific character only had “dark” thoughts due to their heritage. Another easy out if you ask me to blame her doubts on her DNA.
  • Finn and Poe had great chemistry, we all saw that! But, to say it in the kind words that Oscar Isaac used, the Disney overlords were too cowardly to do anything with it. Instead they insert a new female character, who’s face you literally never see, just to make sure no one is getting ideas about Poe being anything but straight.
  • Speaking of Finn, his character was also done dirty. I am glad he is force sensitive, but the boy didn’t even get to say whatever he wanted to tell Rey in a precarious situation. Guess we’ll never find out now.
  • They did things with the force that were never done or mentioned before. They weren’t just inconsistent with it in terms of other movies, but within the movie itself it didn’t always work the same way. It’s almost as if it just does whatever they want it to for the convenience of their writing.

Seriously, my highlight of the movie was a little droid who had some unknown past trauma and respectfully rolled away saying “no, thank you” whenever someone tried to touch him. Even more so enjoyed how the good guys all respected that and didn’t force themselves on it. That was my favourite part.

The Witcher (Season 1)

I have neither read the books nor played the games that this show is based on, but I really enjoyed it nonetheless. I want to warn anyone who isn’t sure about watching it that it heavily features nudity (especially of women) and violence, to the point where I sometimes skipped scenes, but it doesn’t deter me from still recommending it as a watch.

It’s definitely a show where you have to pay attention and I would recommend watching it within a short period of time, just because the timelines and story is more complex than it might seem and it took most people (me included) until at least episode 4 for all pieces to really fall into place. I like the world-building a lot though and am glad it already got renewed for another season which will air in 2021. It has a couple minor flaws (some *romantic* relationships were too intense too fast for me, like dude, no way could you fall in love with someone that quickly), but the performances all around were magnificent. The fight choreographies were beautiful, the characters layered and three dimensional and even the animals (shout out to Roach) were cool. I especially liked the dynamic between Geralt and Jaskier, because I love a good we-are-friends-but-I-will-never-admit-that-out-loud-relationship. Also, Henry Cavill gave so much depth to a single “fuck”, I am in awe!

For fans of: Fantasy settings, magical creatures, complex timelines and world-building, Henry Cavill in a weave

Lost in Space (Season 2)

I really liked the last season of Lost in Space (you can read more about it here) and I was really happy to have enjoyed this one as well. First of all, JJ Feild was a great addition to the cast. It’s really never a mistake to have that man on board, please, cast him in more stuff. Second, Don is still one of my most favourite characters. I think the writers picked up on the fact that people didn’t love the underlying romantic tones they gave him with Judy (since she is what? 19?), so there was a lot less of that happening. However, I loved his scenes with Penny. Legit some of the favourite of the season for me. And third, the Robinsons remain a beautiful complex mess of a family and I am here for it.

The season felt different than the last one and I would have preferred some more intimate conversations between a couple characters, but I really liked where we went overall again. Just like last season, it ended on a huge cliffhanger though, so I am just praying we get more episodes. 

For fans of: space adventures, hero-villain-friendships, family dynamics

YOU (Season 2)

I know this show is crazy. I honestly don’t understand how people are swooning over Joe as a character, because it’s a big NO from me. If we are talking about Penn’s performance as Joe though, that’s a whole other story. He very openly advocates for people to look at Joe critically and to not see the show as a “how far are we willing to go for love?”-thing, but rather as a “how far are we willing to go to forgive an evil white man?”, which I applaud him for. And those are legit his words, I did not phrase it like that myself in case some people feel attacked in their white male privileged ego.

I wasn’t sure if a second season with more or less a similar premise would work, but I was positively surprised by how smoothly they made that transition without getting repetitive at all. I would LOVE to talk about so many things but so many of them are spoilers. Let’s just say that I liked how they managed for the viewers to root for Joe to take down another bad guy (like, if someone has to do the dirty work, might as well let it be the “villain”), but I was a bit disappointed with the pay-off from some scenarios. It felt like really good writing that didn’t end up where you sometimes wanted it to. Definitely could see another season in the future and would 100% watch it.

Finally, I did love how ambiguous the whole “did he finally find his match?” tagline for the season was and how I guessed it right though.

For fans of: creepy white man inner monologues, “is that still love?”-questions


Did you watch some of the things as well? Are we on the same wavelength concerning opinions? Let’s chat!

What I’ve Been Binge-Watching! #2

I like this little feature, because it briefly lets me tell you what I’ve been obsessing over. And since I don’t think anyone really minded me doing this the last time, here we go again! (If you’ve missed the previous installment of this rather new feature, click here to check it out!)

You

You is based on a book, that is ready to be read on my Kindle, but I made the executive decision to watch the show before diving into the written format. Not gonna lie, I am glad I watched it while I was at my parent’s place in Vienna and not all alone by myself in Berlin. As someone who has had bad experiences with strangers following me or calling me and knowing my address, that show creeped the hell out of me.

Joe is like the perfect guy on paper. What he shows the world is seriously what I would consider a dream partner – interested in books, kind, supportive, etc. but … this show is literally his inner monologue and it’s just terrifying. I definitely would not wish a stalker like that on anyone. Yet, at the same time, it was really fascinating to watch.

There was definitely a lot that I would say was predictable, but the story also took some really nice turns and the ending was brilliant and, at least to me, unexpected!

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch

Technically, Bandersnatch is an event movie, but it belongs to the Black Mirror series, so I am counting it in! Do you remember those “choose your own adventure”-books? I always used to love them as a kid and, well, Bandersnatch is a choose-your-own-adventure-film. It takes you down so many different roads, you almost feel like you are in inception. It gets super weird, which is very typical Black Mirror manner, and you don’t always get presented with options you even want to take, but the concept is still brilliant and makes something rather passive as watching a show super engaging.

I am far from having taken every possible option and I am not sure I ever will, but I seriously hope that Netflix will venture out to do more content like this. Not only does it protect them from piracy, but it’s also really, really fun.

Alexa & Katie (Season 2)

Alexa & Katie is one of those super light, yet with a touch of emotional seriousness shows that is perfect for binge-watching. You don’t need to pay super close attention, it’s fun but not the best thing ever. I have to say that I enjoyed Season 1 a little more than Season 2 and I was a little disappointed that the whole Katie-Lucas-thing was barely even addressed at all, but it was still nice.

Sometimes you just want a little bit of pure friendship on your screen and if you don’t mind the Disney/Nickelodeon type of storytelling, then this is probably for you!

Marvel’s Runaways (Season 2)

I am so, so, so happy they released the entire season at once and didn’t do it on a weekly basis again. Runaways is one of my absolute favourite Marvel shows and Season 2 has only strengthened that opinion. As I will be mostly talking about S2 today, you can check out my more detailed post on the show in general here.

As many of you know, Gert was my favourite character on the show so far and, again, I remain by that statement. I especially appreciated her mental health rep with a focus on anxiety this season. Her character is definitely not flawless and makes many a mistake, but somehow I just always connect with her the most and it was a pure joy watching her grow in these new episodes. Obviously, she wasn’t the only one going through some changes and I am just so elated that the show managed to give everyone new struggles, new challenges to face and just so much growth in general.

I think Runaways has the potential to really keep going for a lot of seasons and I hope people watch the show and make it happen! (as we all ignore how terrible Old Lace looks)

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