Telly Talk (#1) – 30th July 2017

I am dipping my toe into new waters and I’m going to try something different. Hopefully, I can keep up with it, but I plan to regularly group together shows that I have been watching once a month and give them a short review/recommendation. This month includes; Broad City, Star Wars Rebels, Modern Family and Friends from College.

Broad City:

I had heard about this show previously and planned to watch it, but it wasn’t readily available and I couldn’t be bothered to search for it. But low and behold, one day it appeared in the box sets section of my Sky box and I took it as a sign to give the show a try. And I was not disappointed. The show boasts moments of extreme wackiness, endearment and cringeworthiness. Ingredients of a fantastic comedy. I love the contrast between Ilana’s free-spiritedness and Abbi’s bashfulness.  I managed to speed through the shows three seasons in a matter of days and I’m currently suffering from withdrawal symptoms. However, my suffering won’t be long as the show is coming back soon!

Star Wars Rebels:

A year ago, if you told me I would become a Star Wars fan, I would have laughed. But after watching all of the movies (in order to get some pop cultural awareness) I found myself hungry for more Star Wars related content. Now I’m an avid player of the Battlefront game on Xbox one, and I discovered the Rebels series. Yes, for you die hard fans I know it’s sacrilegious to watch Rebels before Clone Wars, so sue me (I’ve started it now). I have thoroughly enjoyed the series, although it took me a while to get through the first season. I love how the show explores the wider Star Wars universe by bringing back characters from past movies and shows, as well as exploring the contrasting morality between the Jedi and the Sith. I’m sad the show is ending next season, but I appreciate the show and I’m sure there will be a new Star Wars series released soon, or so my prowling around the internet has informed me.

Modern Family:

When I would see this show advertised when it first came out I thought it would be another corny sitcom that I wouldn’t find funny in the slightest. Fast forward four seasons and here I am still finding myself laughing. The show is just the kind of humour that I like; dry. I love the contrast of the sarcastic Pritchetts versus their partners and I think the show is one of the more realistic portrayals of family life that I have seen on television since as long as I can remember, even if it does become hyperbolic occasionally. I have grown to love the dynamic of the cast and I can’t wait to see where the show will go in the remaining series that I have to catch up with.

Friends from College:

I stumbled across this show on the home page of Netflix and I thought I would give it a try. It was interesting at first; we had an affair going on between a two married people who were part of a recently revived group of now grown up college friends. I got through five of the eight episodes before I felt like the show was losing its steam. I wanted to enjoy what I was watching but I don’t think the show blended the humour with the drama effectively. When it chose to be only dramatic, it was great and vice-versa with the comedy. But both elements did seem to clash at times, especially in the last episode I watched when they all got drunk at the vineyard. I think a lot of the characters in the friendship group were too similar and so they didn’t contrast each other well. Maybe I will give the show a chance and watch the remaining episodes just to give it the benefit of the doubt, but I’m not in a hurry to.

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What I’ve Been Watching (#1)

Good morning/afternoon/evening, and welcome to this brand new feature that I’m trying out on the site. Since, evidently, I am not the best at putting out regular content, I have found it easier to combine several topics into a single post. So rather than making a single post for every show/movie I’ve been watching lately, I will just make periodical posts about groups of things I’ve been watching.

Currently, TV-wise, I have been watching an eclectic selection of shows; Orange is the New Black, Arrested Development, Atlanta and Suits.

OITNB:

I am extremely late to this show and I’m not completely caught up yet, but I’m midway through the third season. I have to say I see why the show has been hyped up so much. It definitely lives up to it. I love how diverse the show is and how we get to see the backstory of a lot of the characters. I also love how convincingly portrayed the characters are; they don’t seen unrealistic or forced. The character dynamics and camaraderie is great which makes for, what seems seems to be, an authentic representation of a woman’s prison. My only criticism is, and I know so many people have raised this issue already, but Piper’s character is a bit underwhelming to be considered as the main protagonist. I feel like the writers of the show are aware of this as meta commentary often slips into the remarks of some of the secondary characters in regards to her portrayal as the white, privileged, middle-class female who is obsessed with wanting everyone to think she is a good person. I think they did start to improve this by developing the characters surrounding her and making sure we got to know all of their backstories equally, so they did make up for it. On another note, I just wanted to say that the ‘Vee’ character was an abysmal character, and I’m glad she is no longer in the show. Her presence was putting a dampener on the whole dynamic of the show, in my opinion. But the good thing about this show is the fact that it has a rotating cast, which is reflective of the environment it is set in. Prisoners will all have different sentence lengths so it allows for characters to enter and exit the show regularly.

 

Arrested Development:

There are two things I like about this show. I like the mockumentary style of the show; the narration, the following each different character’s daily activities and the camerawork. As a side note; I’m not sure whether it’s intentional but I’ve noticed that the microphone is visible in shot in several scenes in the show. Either way, it adds to the style.

The second thing I like about the show is the ironic brand of humour; a style we would later see in shows like Parks and Recreation and Archer. I love the absurd situations the character always seem to find themselves in. The type of situations you wouldn’t even bother explaining because you know the other person wouldn’t believe you. Another thing that I like about the show is that since I began watching Archer before Arrested Development, I couldn’t get over the fact that Jessica Walter didn’t change her voice at all for her character, Malory Archer, in the series.

 

Atlanta:

Although it’s a brand new show, Atlanta already has that atmospheric feel of a show you’ve lived with for a while; the feeling that you get when you are truly transported into the environment of the show because it is effortlessly characterised. I find this a lot in shows and movies where, objectively, not a lot happens plot-wise, but yet you leave feeling like you know and can relate to the characters a little better. This show is one of them. Donald Glover is great as Earn, a hard done by father of a young daughter, who lives with his child’s mother, although they are separated. The show follows Earn as he tries to manage his rapper cousin Paperboi, after he scores an unexpected underground hit. I love how the show balances comedic elements with a serious undertone. It’s raised questions about society’s attitude towards mental health, as well as the struggles that come with working in a low paid job while having to provide for those around you. Glover has really come a long way from his Community days.

 

Suits:

An instant favourite of mine, Suits is a witty legal dramedy which follows Mike, a formal professional exam scammer (he would use his natural talent for retaining knowledge to take exams for people for money), who finds himself in the wrong place at the right time, and manages to score a job at a top law firm. But the condition is that he must keep it under wraps that he doesn’t actually have a law degree. Under the wing of the pseudo-self absorbed, Harvey Spector, Mike must navigate his way around the law, but on the other side of the table.  All in all the show is a great watch; it’s biggest asset for me is that it is fast moving and doesn’t get stagnant. It keeps you on your toes, and therefore keeps you entertained. I’m still on the first season, but as of yet, I have no complaints about the show.

 

I haven’t really been watching many films lately, although I did watch one earlier today;

Fargo:

I’m going to say from the jump that I’m a huge fan of the way the film juxtaposes the violence of the criminals, with the genuine niceness of people of the suburb. Had this movie been written any other way, it would definitely be mentally scarring. The acting is impeccable, the accents are endearing and the movie is a gem. a definite new favourite for me.

That just about wraps up the first edition of ‘What I’ve Been Watching’, you’ll have to keep watching to see whether I continue this series, though.