Two Brilliant TV Shows

I’ve been so good at regularly posting here so I thought I’d keep up momentum and talk about a couple of things I’ve been watching lately. One sexy thriller with two feisty leads, one horribly unsettling interpretation of what could happen to the country if we’re not careful – and both currently available on the BBC iPlayer.

*Minor spoilers*

Killing Eve (2018-2019)

After a series of events, the lives of a security operative and an assassin become inextricably linked.

KE is everywhere at the moment because Season 2 has just been released – and I’ve just rinsed all of it in about three days. It’s just highly watchable – and its leads are life itself.

In fact, both women have always been high on the list. Sandra Oh has been a dream always – while Jodie Comer has been impressive in both My Mad Fat Diary and Doctor Foster. As Villanelle the Assassin, she’s just so much FUN. I don’t want to give anything away but I just enjoyed myself so much.

As Villanelle and Eve’s lives become more and more entwined, the attraction between them grows. The easily bored V likes attention, high-drama and even higher-end fashion, while Eve has an unhealthy obsession with female assassins. While hot on the heels of Villanelle, who has done a lot to gain Eve’s full attention – and killed a lot of people – our operative risks everything; her marriage, her sanity – her job – just to see this through to the end.

It all comes to a head in Season 1 – and then kicks off again right away in Season 2. Is Eve all that different from Villanelle really? And what is this toxic infatuation that keeps them not quite together? The fact they’re now sort of working together doesn’t help abate the obsession TBH. Supporting characters Carolyn, Kenny and sexy Konstantin are all great too.

While Season 1 was written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the second is not – and I think if you really examine it, you can tell the difference. It’s still excellent television though and V still has the gumption to shock us (and Eve) when she feels like it. I have no idea where we go from here but the BBC has just announced a third series – so BRING. IT. THE. FUCK. ON!

Years and Years (2019)

The show follows a busy family from Manchester with their lives converging on one crucial night in 2019.

Russell Tovey, Emma Thompson and Jessica Hynes lead this compelling BBC drama which follows the lives of a family as they navigate the world following a dramatic – and truly terrifying night in 2019.

While I’m only three episodes in, I am fully invested in the Lyons’ and their everyday existence. Edith (Hynes) is a political activist living with the fallout of that aforementioned night while Daniel is fighting for asylum for his boyfriend Viktor, a Ukrainian refugee. Meanwhile, Celeste and husband Steven are being forced to downsize to save money. Their daughter Bethany has just come out as trans-human and is searching for a way to download her consciousness to ‘the cloud’, and ditch her body. Things are about to get a whole lot more challenging for Stephen and co too, as the banks start to topple like dominos and they lose almost everything.

In contrast, controversial politician Vivienne Rook (Thompson) is doing pretty well. Vowing to actually DO SOMETHING about the country, she’s attracting followers in their droves – including, surprisingly, sisters Rosie and Edith Lyons.

And that’s just about where I had to pause it this morning. All I know from here is that my friend Helen messaged me about episode 4 saying she hasn’t been able to get over it- and I’ll be on that one soon. I’ll be smashing the rest of it over the end of this week – and trying not to freak out as it shows us things that surely can’t be that fair outside the realms of horrifying possibility.

EEK.

What are you watching?

Weekly Digest – TV Special

Yes, I watch a lot of television, what of it? There’s so much good stuff at the moment, how can I not be regularly getting my fix, it would be rude. Plus, I hate to miss out.

Here’s what I’ve been watching…

The Handmaid’s Tale – Season 1

I know, I know – I am criminally behind on this fantastic show but better late then never, right? My friend Helen has been vocal about her love for the show ever since I met her and thankfully, I have finally been able to set aside some time to rinse the first series. (And then text her at every available opportunity to report my thoughts).

Hello June Osborne! For the uninitiated, the IMDB synopsis:

Set in a dystopian future, a woman is forced to live as a concubine under a fundamentalist theocratic dictatorship.

Elisabeth Moss plays our titular handmaid, currently living with Fred and Serena Joy Waterford, otherwise known as The Commander and wife (Joseph Fiennes and Yvonne Strahovski). There’s a revolution going on behind closed doors but on the surface, women no longer have any power, whatever their social standing – and it’s an incredibly difficult and though-provoking watch.

I’m not going into it too much because I’m only on episode 6 as we speak, and so much has happened. So many shocking and tragic things, and I need to sit with my thoughts for a while. But it is excellent, truly powerful and wonderfully crafted. The cinematography is mind blowing, with such subtle symbolism in even the smallest detail.

And the performances, well they’re all top notch but with stand-outs from Moss, Strahovski, Hereditary’s Ann Dowd, Alexis Bledel and beautiful Samira Wiley. No one character is truly good, nor truly bad – just human and trying to survive. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

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Sharp Objects

A reporter confronts the psychological demons from her past when she returns to her hometown to cover a violent murder.

The HBO adaptation of Gillian Flynn‘s INCREDIBLE novel. I’ve been waiting for this for so long and it is fantastic of course, with really quite brilliant casting, in the form of Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson – and it’s made me revisit the book again, which I’m reading in tandem.

Exploring the topics of grief, motherly love, self-harm and mental illness, it’s a brutal but compelling tale of small-town mystery and I am loving every minute, frankly.

Sharp Objects’ central voice, Camille Preaker is a flawed heroine with many mental (and yes, physical) scars and even when she’s not pleasant (which is a lot), you’re on her side. Something Flynn does is write great flawed female characters and she does it damn well (maybe better than anyone).

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Castle Rock

Based on the stories of Stephen King, the series will intertwine characters and themes from the fictional town of Castle Rock.

This is another show I’ve been looking forward to ever since it was announced but I have to say, although the first two episodes opened well (if a little slow), I’m starting to struggle.

I will try to see it through though because there are elements I’m enjoying, not least all the references to some of my favourite Stephen King novels (SK also holds writer credits on the show).

PLUS, it boasts not one but two of my favourite actresses, I Don’t Feel At Home in This World Anymore alumni, Melanie Lynskey and Jane Levy. Also It’s Bill Skarsgård and Moonlight’s André Holland. With a cast like that it can’t be rubbish, can it?

I guess only time with tell…

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And a special mention to this next one, which I’ve been going through the motions with for the last few seasons (the last one of which I can barely recall that much about) – but JUST GOT GOOD AGAIN!

*Spoilers for past seasons*

Orange is the New Black – Season 6

I genuinely feel sometimes that I will never forgive the OITNB makers for the way they played Poussey (who I’m currently watching as Moira in The Handmaid’s Tale, above). And although the last, mostly forgettable series used her death as the catalyst for the prison riot and a larger conversation about the treatment of prisoners within the system, it wasn’t quite as impactful as I’d have liked. I’m not even sure why because looking back there was a lot of action.

Certain characters are always great – looking at you Taystee (Danielle Brooks), Nicky Nichols (Natasha Lyonne) and Red (Kate Mulgrew) but then there are others that are criminally underused. Looking at you Dyanara (Dascha Polanco) and Sophia (Laverne Cox) (IMHO) and I guess it must be hard to give all characters the airtime they deserve but my god can we move away from boring Piper Chapman (admittedly always going to be central since the series is based on her memoirs). But still.

This season, however introduces two great new characters, sisters from Hell Carol and Barb who each run their own wing. While their story is dark as shit, there is joy to be had in two such deliciously bad and bitter rivals as they dominate their environments and promote bloody, petty violence.

*Spoilers*

Stand out strands for me are Taystee’s trial (with devastating results) and the kick ball head to head – while I’ve still got nothing but love for Gloria, Blanca and Suzanne (Uzo Aduba). Can we also give Laura Prepon‘s Vause more to do – because she could be GREAT.

Oh, and Daddy (Vicci Martinez) is very cute indeed.

Orange Is the New Black

What are you watching?

Exciting Things!

exciting-things

I’ve not been feeling myself for a while now.

I mean, everything’s good. Better than good in fact. I have my health, I have an income, and I’m young (ish) and in love. What more does a girl need really, besides her family and loved ones around?

Things to look forward to, is what!

I’ve been wracking my brains about what my next creative ‘thing’ could be, that one activity I’m so passionate about that it will jog me out of this malaise and into some sort of action. Something worth buying and starting a new notebook for, basically.

(You might be like, what? So is your blog not enough for you? It is. I love my blog, I love reviewing films and talking about loving oneself. I guess what I really want is more of what I love, you get me?).

So there I was thinking, how do I get the spark reignited? Do I bite the bullet and run away to New York where I’ll most likely meet a rag-tag bunch of street artists who will adopt me as a sort of den mother, keeping me around because I make awesome tea and stroke their heads when they’re feeling lost and anxious? (Rent basically, with hopefully less smack).

I say it’s because of the tea but one day my true talent will, of course, be revealed to my new ‘family’ and then I’ll truly be one of them, the beating heart some might say. What that talent is going to be is so far undecided, I’m thinking singing or acting but it more probable being very good at making Plasticine models, organising drawers or listening.

Anyway, as I sat there considering packing a bag and burning a hole in my credit card, something cool virtually dropped into my lap!

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Radio Goo Goo

I’m currently in the pre-production stages of making a podcast with my friend James, who asked me to collaborate on a series with him. How cool is that? You might remember my brief foray into podcasting last year in which funnily enough I lamented not having a partner-in-crime and how much I wanted one and now, I’ve got a great one!

We’ve been peripheral friends for years, since we met at a company BBQ where he worked with my husband. James, it’s worth noting (and maybe why I like him so much) was the first of Glynn’s colleagues to remember my name (it seems unbelievably hard to most people) and I really appreciated that. We’ve a few mutual friends in common beyond that and usually bump into each other either in the street or at the newishly established Brighton Comic Con. So I’m also looking forward to getting to know my friend better, we have a lot of similar opinions and tastes which is always fun.

Our podcast hasn’t got a name yet but I think we both have complementary ideas of what we want. It will mostly be film, TV and popular culture based, basically we’ll talk to each other as we do naturally about the films we love which won’t really be blockbuster films, although I will cover the DC universe from a Wonder Woman/Justice League perspective (because WW is my JAM).

We’ll talk about shows like Stranger Things (2016) and films like The Invitation (2015), The Wolfpack (2015) (which I’m forever mentioning on here). Even (arguably) the worst film of all time The Room (2003) will get a shout out I’m sure (it was my recent homework assignment and needless to say, there’s a lot to love).

All in all our first episode is shaping up to be a good one and I promise it will not only sound better than my solo attempts (James has the technical kit and the know-how to record it properly), I will also be less dithery because I now have someone to bounce off. I’m really excited about this and honestly, you never know where it might lead. Radio show anyone?

I will share a lot here, so if you’re interested please do keep up with us. In the future when we’re more established and confident, I think we’ll be having guests on, could that be you?

I’m also secretly (not anymore) holding out for Ben Wheatley to stumble across us and want to be interviewed, as he lives in Brighton and we’ll probably cover his films. (ILY Ben!).

I’m still going to New York though. One day.

What are you most looking forward to in the last half of 2016?

And also, any podcast name suggestions will be gratefully received as I’m kind of stumped! Pop your thoughts on a postcard ❤

Please note: This project will compliment Jillian & Christa’s Great Blog Collab, never hinder it. If you were wondering.

Things & Inc #3

I’ve decided to break these posts up into categories, which helps my ailing mind when it comes to remembering all the little things I’ve been digging on.

A few things on my radar this week:

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Carrie O, Carrie O, baby!

Television: The Carrie Diaries

I recently figured out how to view the first season of this show which was very exciting for me (not so for my husband). I tried to go in with an open mind (and heart), fearing that it would be teeny bop rubbish and ruin the character of Carrie for me; a character I remain loyal to, to this day.

(Yes, she’s annoying and self-absorbed at times. No, I don’t care.)

I was pleasantly surprised. Set in 1984, Carrie Bradshaw is 16 and still reeling from the death of her mother. She’s just returned to junior year of high school and has all the normal worries of a teenager: does that cute guy like me?, what’s up with my weird kid sister?, friendship, virginity.

But she is also an aspiring writer (yeah she is) and has recently taken up a once a week internship for a law firm in the city. New York City, of course.

As Carrie falls in love with NYC, makes a group of exciting new friends and starts to envisage a life less ordinary, she must also learn to juggle family life and all the people waiting for her back home, including super hot Sebastian Kydd.

It’s no Sex and the City but it’s not bad. It gives Carrie the back story she deserves, but you know it baffles me that I don’t remember a single mention of her history in the show. Did we even know she had a sister?

Also, AnnaSophia Robb, who plays Carrie is great and has an uncanny ability to mimic some of SJP/Carrie’s mannerisms, which is trippy.

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You should watch this

Film: White Bird in a Blizzard

Eva Green always plays her parts a little mental and I love her for it. She’s no different in this film, as the enigmatic and beautiful, Eve Connors; house proud uber goddess, wife of Brock, mother of Kat.

Kat (Shailene Woodley) is 17 when her mother disappears. As Kat grows up and deals with all the normal things a teenager does, she is never far away from the question: what happened to Eve?

I really enjoyed this. I’m a fan of a good mystery at the best of times, and this is an interesting one. Shailene Woodley carries the film remarkably as her character navigates friendships, relationships and life with her father, as he unravels. She’s definitely an actress to watch.

The film is beautifully acted, gorgeous to look at and grips you just enough to care about the ending. Recommend.

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You should read this

Book: A Fraction of the Whole

This book (by Steve Toltz) really deserves its own review but I can’t do it. It’s a mighty tome and I wouldn’t know where to start.

The Dean family is full of characters. Martin Dean and his brother, Terry have lived a vivid and crazy life. Now from the comfort of his prison cell, Jasper, son of scheming Martin tells their unlikely story.

This tale has everything: sex, violence, love, betrayal, heartache, a labyrinth, a girl called Anouk, a handbook for criminals, a money-making scheme, a vigilante mob, murder, explosions, intrigue and mystery.

The only thing I really need to say is: pick up a copy and read it for yourself.

My lovely boo, Becky gave me a copy for my birthday, citing it as her all time favourite. Although, apparently, I was well behind the curve on this book as, when my Mum spotted it on my shelf, she said “Haven’t you read that yet?”. Trust me, it’ll give you all the feels – and then some.

I’m reading Jackie Collins next though, while my mind knits back together (on account of it being BLOWN).

Book details:

  • A Fraction of the Whole
  • Publisher: Penguin; Reprint edition (14 May 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0141031824
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141031828
  • Gifted paperback

So there it is.

What are you watching/reading/digging?

Big Bother

big-brother-cameraI’ve done something I haven’t for a very long time this January and I’m not proud of it.

I mean we all know I’m a great advocate of the Proud Pleasure but I think this might fall into a whole category of its own. I’m talking Celebrity Big Brother.

Reality TV and I have been friends for some time. I was obsessed with the first few series of Big Brother (the regular one) when it first appeared on our screens. Back in 1997, when it was still looked upon as a social experiment and the biggest scandal involved Nasty Nick sliding a piece of paper across a table to try to influence his housemates’ votes.

(I forget the exact details but I recall vaguely that he either constructed his own writing tool out of household objects, like a prison shank or had sneaked a pencil in inside his luggage).

Whatever the story, the world went ballistic as he was ejected from the Big Brother house and I doubt he has been referred to as just ‘Nick’ since.

My First Lady of Realiteee

My First Lady of Realiteee

Those were the days. Reality TV, or its younger sister, Scripted Reality, has come on in leaps and bounds ever since (depending on how you look at it, I suppose).

I believe the first example of the latter came in with the American show Laguna Beach (which I never watched). This evolved into the infinitely more appealing The Hills (which I have devoured in its entirety more times than I care to remember, thankyouverymuch MTV). God bless you, LC.

This side of the Pond TOWIE trumpeted the next generation of orchestrated Reality Television, with the slightly posher (but only in upbringing and attire, if we’re honest) Made In Chelsea bringing up the rear. In between but since fallen by the wayside we’ve had everything from Desperate Scousewives to The Valleys. There was even talk of a Brighton based show of the same ilk.

It’s all pretty terrible. These people aren’t actors and they aren’t civilians either so all conversations conducted onscreen are awkward, no matter how heated. Since it’s all manipulated for our viewing pleasure.

The appeal of this type of entertainment for me has always been the fact that I can check in my brain at the cloakroom – and just enjoy the drama. Sometimes a girl just needs to look at pretty people arguing woodenly while looking out of shot. Them, not me.

Big B isn’t scripted though and I suppose that’s what brings me back to my point.

(I’m typing this draft to the sound of Perez Hilton simulating sexual intercourse, by himself, in the garden to wind up a bevy of ‘famous’ women including Patsy Kensit and some models).

It’s all just so grimy.

Attention seeking? Not this guy

Attention seeking? Not this guy

Perez, who you might know, is what we like to call here in England a bit of a penis. I say this purely because that’s all you can really say. His ‘personality’ is so large it dominates everything, only equaled in size by his gargantuan ego. Yet, there’s nothing going on indoors, I’m fairly sure. The people who shout the loudest always have the least to say.

I don’t know why I’m watching this time around. I’ve skipped out on the last handful of years, even the celebrity version because it all seems so tired. Scandalous celebrities keen to shed their ‘bad seed’ images, tabloid favourites keen to hold on to a little more fame time.

Sex in hot tubs, bed hopping; homophobic and racist slights. Borderline violence and a lot of shouting. OH THE SHOUTING.

Hand Mama two Neurofen, there’s a love.

This year has been turbo charged to say the least. In the week or so it’s been on air I’ve witnessed terrible misogyny and sexual assault.

I didn’t actually watch this episode when in aired, but on viewing the clip back (which is an audio clip, actually, no footage was shown of the actual act, in which a drunken housemate pulled open the front of another’s robe to reveal her bare breasts).

Michelle Visage: Diva

Michelle Visage: Diva

This was followed in quick succession by an older housemate being removed from the house for a series of disgustingly sexist comments toward the younger females in residence and a racist rant in which he used the ‘N’ word. No, not ‘Ninja’.

Last night Michelle Visage cried in the Diary Room about the behaviour of Perez, who in her eyes has set the LGBT community back 50 years. Rumour has it that he has quickly become the Most Hated Man in the country, although how do they qualify this? I’d love to know.

Personally I have an easier time hating people who are actually relevant, you know? As far as I can see he contributes nothing to the world, beyond gossip. Publicly, anyway.

As for the Wicked Witch of the show, the infamous Katie Hopkins, well she’s not really done much yet. I mean, of course she’s been blunt, that’s her whole spiel isn’t it? She has labelled Alicia stupid because she doesn’t read and there has been whispering around the breakfast table about bullying but I don’t know if she can be blamed solely for that.

Katie Vs. Katie?

Katie Vs. Katie?

And now they’ve sent in the Cavalry (to rescue the ratings?) in the shapely form of one Miss Katie Price. Which is perhaps the answer to the question of why I haven’t switched over yet.

Good old Jordan sent in to take on Katie Hopkins in a battle of the bolshy. The Beautiful and the damned. Or something.

I should be sorry. I should be changing the channel. Better still I should be switching off the gogglebox and reaching for a book.

But we all know I’m not going to do that. Maybe I’ll mute it though.

Reality TV: what’s your view?