Season two of Adventure Time is even better than season one. There's lots of new, quirky characters and our favourites get more character development, depth and become more interconnected. This might be a show for kids? But it makes me laugh at loud and touches me in the feels on the regular. There's also some great songs. Long live Finn and Jake!
A show equally fun for older kids and adults. The Land of Ooo has a seemingly endless supply of imaginative characters (with some fantastic and hilarious voice talents) and wacky adventures. My favourite bit is Finn's autotuned random songs. (Baby!) Finn and Jake are the heroes we didn't know we needed.
I loved this. I wouldn't consider myself a modern country music fan, but as this documentary teaches you, traditional music is where most American music began and every modern genre: rock and roll, rhythm and blues, jazz, blues, bluegrass, Americana, and country all have the same initial roots - immigrants and slaves. From those roots grow the branches to the music we know today. Ken Burns is a master and Country Music is one of his best ever. It's brimming with interviews with living music industry professionals and archival footage that absolutely makes a story over 100 years old come to life. He emphasises the cyclical nature of the music - what's old always becomes new again. And it goes deeper than the music to the story of our country - even in the middle of 2020 election/pandemic anxiety insanity I found myself tapping my toe, singing along, or with a 100 year old classic stuck in your head. The early episodes were my favourites, but there were so many fascinating stories up through the 1970s I really felt it could have been longer. 1980-1990's+ there's not as much in-depth coverage beyond a core group and don't expect anything on anyone post Garth Brooks (which is fine by me).
Harlots finishes strong and, like a good lover, leaves you wanting more. It's the often difficult to stomach subject matter that sticks with you. The show is so obviously and powerfully driven by women writers/directors/producers/actors and continues to push the envelope this season. Although I missed Samantha Morton most of the season, it was righteous to see Lesley Manville's Lydia Quigley finally redeem herself.
This show continues to be incredible. It's nonstop, raucous, vibrant, glam energy showcases stories about the most objectified, vulnerable women refusing to relinquish their inner power to a system hellbent on squashing them beneath it's boot heel. These women aren't perfect but they inspire. Samantha Morton is amazing.
Harlots was so much more than I was expecting. Yes, there are plenty of Harlots - and the related sex, tits, and ass, but these women are not here to be objectified. You can just *tell* this show is created/written/produced/directed by women. Despite this being a period drama, there are moments that cut through the centuries and could be about women and men today. The acting is all great too. Every character is well-rounded with flaws, strengths, passions, humour, and motives and the action is rapid.
So I'd never seen the original High School Musical all the way through until recently (quarantine makes you do weird things in search of comfort), so I'm not an OG diehard fan, but I actually really enjoyed this. I don't even think it's the lockdown talking. The kids all have great chemistry with each other and the script is funny, meta, and fully self effacing. Some of the new songs were so good I even listened to them on Spotify. The adults are all a bit weird (except the robotics teacher, I liked him), the parents are way to self involved and oblivious to be realistic and Ms Jenn... is a lot. She's too over the top and she's definitely not 31... sorry hun. You don't need to be but then the script shouldn't say you are... There's also no way in hell a teacher is allowed to teach after they find out they don't actually have any formal education. But if you can suspend your disbelief, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series is fresh and fun even if you're outside the Disney+ demographic.
I lapped up Mad Men when it originally aired because it's smart, sexy, beautiful, poignant, educational, and everything from the cast to the costumes to the sets and soundtrack are completely impeccable. If you didn't live through the 1960s, you will learn and gain new appreciations and insights into your grandparents/parents. I'm rewatching currently and in the #metoo era it's even more fascinating and you can see why all those old white men don't understand and long for the "good ol' days." Joan and Peggy's arcs have grown even stronger and more interesting with time. One of my top 5 favourite shows of all time.
It's too bad Great News got cancelled, because it was finally hitting its stride in season two - better character arcs, hilarious satires on current political issues, and less awkwardness in the "family" dynamic. I even laughed out loud quite a few times. I was all for the Katie/Greg 'ship and although the commentary on motherhood was sometimes a bit heavy handed I ended up finding it endearing. Sort of the idea that "no one gets to make fun of my Mom, but me," which I wholeheartedly agree with.
The first season of Great News is sometimes very awkward, clunky, and cringe worthy and it does have a style and formula that seems a bit done, but it's easy to watch and it does have its funny moments, quirky characters, and clever lines that kept me coming back for more.
Another gonzo bonkers season of Reign: Season 4 suffers a bit from splitting the drama to 3 fronts - France, Scotland, and England and I found Rachel Skarsten's Queen Elizabeth disappointing - a bit too unbalanced and lovesick to command as the great regent - but, that being said, she's also just a girl, standing in front of the world, asking for some f@&$ing respect for being the Queen and I can certainly support that. (Megan Follows is the real Queen of this show though.)
However, considering the show has had the looming black cloud of doom throughout - that despite Mary's best intentions, beautiful gowns, feminine charms, small victories, and staunch allies - it's all futile. She loses Scotland. She loses her husband(s). She loses her son. She loses her life. That's a tough road to hoe for soapy screenwriters, so the show often lead to some bonkers plot twists, plot bridges to nowhere, main characters that walked off the face of the earth, and a roulette wheel of supporting characters that sometimes was a bit much, but despite a few missteps, it was a story curious about what power does to you, and what it changes about the legacy you're able to leave behind.
I was grateful for the, albeit whirlwind and brief, conclusion in the finale, so viewers could have some kind of closure - even if you might be up at night wondering what happens to the devil witch who drugs Narcisse and Catherine into a non-consensual threesome.... what? Exactly.
A real transition season, but Reign keeps being deliciously Reign.
We all knew we couldn't have Francis forever, right? Three seasons is actually insanely long considering they were married in real life for less time and it makes all that time they spent on Conde even more ridiculous. But ridiculous is kind of the theme. Francis is saved from the mysterious illness through Pagan magic, but is brought down by assassins meant for Mary.
The show's smartest arc was turning Catherine from mustache-twirling, poison-dispensing antagonist into mustache-twirling, poison-dispensing ally; Adelaide Kane and Megan Follows played Mary and Catherine so well that putting them together almost automatically gave the story stakes.
The whole point of the show is truly the difficulties of being a woman with power - power that is so precarious. Every move is a possible path to ruin.
Season Two continues to deliver gorgeous costumes, slightly soapy drama, and the most beautiful, tanned, white-toothed 16th Century nobles you've ever seen - but I'm totally here for it. Adelaide Kane and Toby Regbo have wonderful chemistry and you find yourself really loving them - even though you know the show probably won't completely rewrite history and give them a truly happy ending. Now that the show has got past the will they?/or won't they? they do throw a mix of ridiculous spats and jealousies and real, touching drama the royals' way. The supporting stories are often just as good - I enjoy Greer and Kenna (but find Anna Popplewell annoying, cloying, and grasping). But the true Queen of this entire series is Megan Follows as Catherine de Medici - she is complicated, conspiring, and ruthless - such a rich character. Follows is perfect - especially in the snide delivery of her biting one-liners.
This falls in the slightly guilty pleasure column. You're not going to pass a history test after watching Reign, but it is a lot of soapy fun. The chemistry between Mary and Francis is great and the acting is solid (accents are a bit all over the place). What I love about this series is the many strong, interesting, and multidimensional female characters. It's almost worth watching purely for the stunning costumes - and jewellery, hair, and set. It's a beautiful show and I enjoy the tongue-in-cheek modern winks. I think the disparity between critic and audience scores funny and fascinating - look, it's not The Crown, but it's fun.
As usual, this is good, but a watered down version of the book. There's some changes that were made to the adaptation that dilute the power of the novel's impact. Amy Adams is great and gets a lot so right, but she was, at times, a bit too affectless to be manipulative enough to be a great Camille, but it might be because they changed the Richard character - to the benefit of the actor, but not to the story. The ending after the reveal was too sudden, it's sudden in the book, but you do get a bit more which may not be as stylised, but worked better. Patricia Clarkson is impeccable as Adora. The editing is well done and the ambiance stifling with sweat and sex and feed lot is on point. This story is like a ripe peach you don't know is rotten and full of worms until you bite into it. Enjoy.
Season two is a disappointment. I liked Aubrey Joseph's Tyrone's struggle for justice within his character's outlaw status and after losing all the comfort and security he had last season. For me the weak link was Tandy. It's hard to imagine a young woman who has reason to be so street smart can be that naïve to her privilege and the horrific things that happen outside of that. I wish we'd had more of some of the secondary characters we had in the first season - Evita and Mina Hess, especially.
I think Punisher is punished for his darker methods, and while his methods are more brutal than his cinematic counterparts his intentions are redeeming. It helps that Jon Bernthal was born to play Frank Castle and his chemistry with the scene-stealing Giorgia Whigham's Amy is so touching. His paternal love for her shows you the man he truly is underneath the brutal killer. "What was I supposed to do?" is the perfect Frank quote. The only weakness this season was too much spent on Billy's relationship with his therapist/girlfriend. Floriana Lima's Krista Dumont took way too much screen time and I didn't really see the how her past was relevant to the story. I'm sad that Netflix ending its Marvel shows means the end of Punisher - he was a guilty pleasure I grew to really enjoy.
I appreciate that season 6 of Agents of Shield is only 13 episodes: it made the story tighter, but I am disappointed that they're not tying the show back to the movies, especially during this critical time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There are so many wasted opportunities there. That being said I did enjoy more focus on FitzSimmons, who, apart from Coulson, are the best part of the show. I am frustrated with what they've done with May. She was such a strong, interesting leader and now she's constantly making bad, emotional decisions or accepting Daisy as her leader - completely ridiculous and inconsistent. This is a fun show, but am hoping for great things from the next, and final, season.
The fifth season of Agents of Shield starts off so well: the mystery is intriguing and different enough to feel like a new challenge for our heroes. About three quarters in though it really starts to drag and this season would have really benefited from being about 6 episodes shorter to tighten the storyline, but the last few episodes are great, but they do leave me a bit worried about the future of the show and I miss when the show interwove with the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so was disappointed there wasn't any mention of Infinity War.
Season three of Daredevil really took the energy back to the electric first season season. Our hero is back from the dead and questioning himself, our villain is arrogant and scheming one step ahead, our supporting cast, new and old, are mostly on point. Charlie Cox And Vincent D'Onofrio are so perfect in their roles and have grown and matured over three seasons to flesh them out even more fully. Their Matt Murdock and Wilson Fisk, respectively, are such amazing, complex characters that it makes this series ending even more tragic. This was the first season I finally really loved Elden Henson's Foggy Nelson, because he was no longer a sidekick and did his own thing. The only weak spot for me is that Deborah Ann Woll's Karen Page is so weak it's hard to believe she's a worthy partner to Matt Murdock, a legitimate hard hitting journalist (without any skills or experience???), or has a spine - she spent the whole show blubbering with her hand over her mouth. But the great part of Daredevil is that he doesn't need that dynamic - and receives that support from other sources.