Friday, 20 January 2017

January: What I'm Watching

Subscription tv services have well and truly made my 2017 (so far). I've had a lot of time to watch tv this month which, whilst slightly depressing, has also been great because I've not had a lot of time to watch a lot of tv for a lot of months. I am so guilty of switching on the tv and watching Homes Under the Hammer or Gogglebox, rather than searching through Netflix or Amazon Prime to find something I actually want to watch. I get option paralysis; I can't make my mind up; and it all just gets too much. I am proud to say that I've not seen This Morning or Judge Rinder once this year and, instead, I've been getting really into all the enriching tv shows that the world/internet/every subscription service has to offer. And this is what I've been watching...

I get so confused when people rave about all these excellent funny women, like Amy Poehler and Amy Schumer and Lena Dunham, because I don't know who they are. I don't know how or why I don't know who they are, but they are names that remain a total mystery me and it makes me feel really out of the loop. But now I know who Lena Dunham is: the creator, writer and star of Girls. I'm pretty sure creating your own tv programme, and then making yourself the star of it is the best thing that could possibly happen to you. It's created a sense of urgency, that I need to think of an idea for a tv show immediately so my lifetime dream job is sorted. Anyway. I'd heard mixed things about Girls; it seemed to be a love it or hate it kind of thing. 1 season in (which will probably be 3 seasons in by the time this post goes live), I think I'm on the love it side. I'm a sucker for an all-women comedy/drama/sitcom, but there's something about Girls that feels more real. As much as I wish I could identify with with the ladies of Sex and the City, I feel like my life is much more aligned with the girls of Girls. Girls feels kind of life a reflection of my own life, and those of the people around me: not quite sure of direction, poor choices, trying to follow your dream but being stamped all over by London (or New York) rents, weird men, mental health problems and over-reliance on our parents(' incomes). It's funny because it's real, and it's uplifting because OTHER PEOPLE HAVE THOSE PROBLEMS TOO and their's are probably worse than yours. It's early days, but it's a definite recommend from me. 

If an evening at home isn't spent watching a crime drama, then what are you doing with yourself? Blindspot was a totally new discovery (courtesy of NowTV), and I'd never heard anything about it before. It follows the story of a woman who wakes up, emerging from a bag in the middle of Times Square. She has no memory of who she is, or how she got there, but she is tattooed from head to toe. The series follow her journey with the FBI, discovering that her tattoos are clues to criminal plots and activity. It's quite an unusual concept, and the idea of a woman disappearing and returning having been entirely tattooed against her will, or at least unknown to her, is really subversive. The show definitely has its flaws: it's a bit contrived and, at times, a bit ridiculous. But, it's action packed, fast-paced and actually has a really good plot. With a show like this, there is a huge risk that the episodes become a bit samey, but they've done really well with this one. Whether it's intercepting the CIA, beating a hacker or hunting down a convicted murderer, there's great variety. I love that it has a couple of really strong, awesome female characters - an African American female boss; a kickass, physically UNREAL protagonist, and an analytical, super clever code breaker. I'm pretty intrigued as to where it's going to go, and praying that it doesn't develop into some sort of really predictable romantic encounter. It's got loads of potential, and I'm already excited for this evening so I can watch more. 

M O D E R N . F A M I L Y
If you haven't seen Modern Family then you haven't lived. It is the ULTIMATE ill tv or feelgood tv or I've had a crap day and I need to restore my faith in humanity tv. Modern Family used to be on actual tv before disappearing to the realms of Sky. It used to be on Netflix too and, as I discovered earlier in the year, is still on Danish Netflix (we binged a whole season whilst in Copenhagen). I missed it, and needed it back in my life so I purchased the boxset (and then realised it was on NowTV) and have spent a 25+ hours this month making my way through it. It's just so heartwarming and watchable...and rewatchable. It's unique in that you love all the characters, and you're rooting for all of them; and the character development is so great that you feel like you know them. It's kind of like F.R.I.E.N.D.S in that way. I've still got a couple of seasons left to go, and I hope that the storylines continue to be well thought out and funny, and that the characters grow with the show. It is my absolute go-to chill out tv and, at 20mins an episode, you've always got time to squeeze one in (or one more...). 

I saw an advert for Lucifer on the side of a bus, during a miserable lunchtime wander and thought 'hey, that looks alright'. Lucifer is an Amazon Prime special: a tale of the devil living on Earth, working the the LA PD. I'm not a big fan of sci-fi, but this feels a bit more ridiculous than your average science fiction. Tom Ellis is a great Lucifer: he's charming but sleezy, and just the right amount of flamboyant. But the rest just doesn't really make sense. The Lucifer story, the idea of the Devil living among us, is cool. But the Devil working with the police to solve crimes which seem to just been solved immediately without any real mystery or challenge isn't that cool. I understand that there has to be a continual back story to hold the whole thing together, but it doesn't really work or make sense. I really enjoyed the beginning of the series, and watched the first 4 or 5 episodes back-to-back, but the more I watch, and the more ridiculous and repetitive it gets, the more I can't really be bothered with it. Maybe it's an experiment, and season 2 will iron out these difficulties - but I'm not entirely convinced about it. 

It's not all about the visual though. When your eyes are streaming so much that it hurts to keep them open, a podcast is just what you need. And this is an excellent one...

H E R O I N E . A D D I C T S
I am proud to call one of my best friends a heroine addict: a strong, female character enthusiast, not a drug-riddled existence. Emma et al. have developed a new podcast series celebrating fabulous women, real and fictional, past and present. It's early days, so you've only got 2 episodes to catch up on so far, before you can become a regular listener. The first episode takes a look at Buffy as a heroine. I think Buffy was a little bit before my time, and I've never really seen it - but I think that meant I enjoyed the podcast even more. Not only was I able to listen in on a discussion about Buffy as a heroine, it was a learning experience about the character and Joss Whedon more generally. Similarly with episode 2, and WWE fighters, the Bella Twins. I never knew that women were anything other than accessories in WWE, so this was a bit of an eye opener. Go and check them out

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