Finally Watched It: Handmaid’s Tale Season One

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In a dystopian future, any fertile woman is trained to be a handmaid and bear children for the upper classes of America.

Before anyone asks, yes I have read the book. And like the book, this pissed me off more than I thought it would.

The show is good. I like the way the story is told by showing you the present and then how our characters came to be where they are. The acting is top notch; basically all the stuff the critics have been saying is spot on so it’s hard to find new things to talk about.

For me, I had a special connection to the music. I think the songs chosen are a great mix of genres and fit with the show. I can see myself buying the soundtrack.

I do have to say though, this is not something I think I can re-watch. What you’re seeing is so rage inducing or heart breaking; I don’t want to watch it more than once despite binging the season like an addict and immediately running to the internet after to find information about the next season. I love it but I hate it.

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Found in the mailbox: “American Gods”

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So, I come home the other day and have a random box. Not that I would ever turn down a free book (as the full Kindle, full Nook, AND pile of books by my bed) but being a good fangirl of Neil Gaiman, I have read this book already. It’s obvious I got this as promotional material for the upcoming American Gods TV show.

I am contemplating a book vs movie set of posts for this since I have already read the book and the show is forthcoming. Of course, every one will be doing that but, I think it would be fun!

Because, I am obviously lacking things to read…

Personally, I am SUPER psyched for this show. I am wondering how gory or violent or sexual it will be (check out my post on that for further thoughts) since it was awesome to watch Stardust and Coraline with my kid. But if it is, I have no problem watching it alone. It appears pretty epic so I say bring it on!

Finally Watched It: “Black Mirror” Season One

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In case you don’t already know what this show is, it’s basically a modern Twilight Zone with each episode telling a completely different story. You can absolutely make the comparison because the issues brought up in the older show (racism, nuclear war, fascism) have been updated to our more modern fears (reality TV, technology overtaking our humanity, cyber-terrorism).

I’m not going to go episode by episode but overall, I’m hooked on this and I think this is a very well written and acted modern counterpart to something like Twilight Zone. It’s topical without being too preachy and taps into some real unease most of the public has these days. All I hear from my friends is “D00d, just WAIT for season two!” so, that will be up next. I’m looking forward to it! I’ma big fan of smartly written entertainment.

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Random Video/TV Thought: Has Our SciFi and Fantasy Become Too Sexualized?

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This week’s Finally Watched It post is going to be Black Mirror and in watching this, I had a strange thought: SciFi these days has a lot of sex in it.

I find myself more often than not being super excited about a new fantasy, science fiction, or horror series only to start it and with in 5 minutes think “Whelp, I can’t watch this with my kid.”

I have very fond memories of watching Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, Star Trek, Quantum Leap, A-Team, and Knight Rider with my mom. We would talk about what happened, joke about stuff; it was a bonding experience for us. So, when a new series is announced, part of me gets all nostalgic for those days and I want to recreate them with my kid. Like a good parent, I watch it alone first to make sure it’s alright for a 9 year old to see (at least in my opinion) only to end up with a sex scene, massive amounts of cursing, or a pair of breasts right there on the screen. This happened with Defiance, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and now, Black Mirror. And to have a kid who LOVES SciFi, comics and horror who is too young to really be grabbed by something as old as Twilight Zone and has already seen Star Trek, it’s a little disappointing when something I think is cool comes out but I can’t share it.

With the exception of Stranger Things; which had a tolerable amount of cursing in it considering at 9, my kid has heard all this already and it’s not excessive in the show. It also has characters closer to her age group; much like Goonies was for my generation.

I’m not saying that every show in this genre needs to be accessible to children. I’ll sit and watch Gravity Falls or Star vs the Forces of Evil all damn day because they’re entertaining, well written, and fucking hilarious. But so much of the new stuff relies on all this sex to sell itself and it’s a trend I noticed. Has anyone else noticed this? I know it’s not a NEW thing but with TV not being as strict as it was 20 years ago and the advent of services like Netflix having none of the restrictions traditional cable has, there’s a lot more boobs and sex now. And it doesn’t always seem necessary for the plot half the time.

Or, I just got old. I dunno…

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Finally Watched It: “Over The Garden Wall”

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Since the episodes are so short and I had some time, I decided to just binge the rest of this show.

My favorite types of shows are the type where you can tell the creators had real love for what they’re making and the freedom to explore their creation. It’s also another show where even though I wish it was longer, I wonder if it’s better off being short and sweet the way it is. You gotta give props to any story that can hook you quickly and leave you wanting more. But anyone who follows a story in any medium –  be it movie franchises, tv shows or book series – know how a series can go sour as it goes on.

Also, this is another show that can be enjoyed by adults and children. I think those types of cartoons are the best these days; especially speaking as a parent who it frequently trapped by horrid media that has me fleeing the room (I’m looking at you, Teen Titans Go). I would rank this show right up there in quality and storytelling with Avatar, Steven Universe, and Gravity Falls. Even Star vs The Forces of Evil. At first you think you’re watching something bright, colorful, and silly but then all of a sudden you’re dealing with some really mature, scary, and intricate situations. And seeing all these different styles of art is very inspiring and I will freely admit the songs have me tapping my toes.

Allow me to take a short mental minute to rant at why most mainstream movies these days can’t make me care about a character in an over 2-hour movie and yet a 20-minute cartoon can make me tear up aaaannnd, I’m done.

To sum up, I think if you like darker fairy tale stories like Secret of NIHM, or if you’re into the above-mentioned cartoons, I think you would enjoy this show. In fact, I think I’m gonna give it another watch just to make sure.

For research purposes, of course.

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Finally Watched It: “Stranger Things”

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The subject of a series of unethical experiments, Eleven escapes her tormentors and is found by three young boys; Lucas, Dustin, and Mike. But Eleven isn’t the only escapee and with townspeople vanishing, the organization is hunting Eleven down.

That’s a pretty thin synopsis but I don’t wanna even attempt to give anything away. I don’t know what is going on with these little original series these days but WOW, are they impressive. The characters are written so well you relate to them immediately and the flow of this is on point. I won’t give away too much but I will say that the sheriff character in these types of shows can take entire seasons to deduce things but Jim Hopper is on the damn ball. And Winona Ryder as Joyce? She’s just amazing.  Even the kids make these fabulous performances.

The only bad thing about this is just a common writing thing where if the characters provided simple explanations, some misunderstandings would be avoided but that’s just a very, VERY minor gripe.

I get some serious Outer Limits, Twin Peaks vibes from this show and it trips my nostalgia switch being set in the early 80’s. This is yet another series where I am so glad I listened to people when they insisted I watch it. Completely worth my time and I look forward to season 2.

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Finally Watched It: “Luke Cage” Season 1

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I finished off Jessica Jones and went right into Luke Cage. Totally worth it.

If you don’t know already, this series follows former convict, Luke Cage, trying to make a life for himself in Harlem. When gang violence takes the live of someone he loves, he puts his super-human strength and impenetrable skin to use in order to bring order to the streets.

First off? AWESOME to see so many of my fellow African Americans on screen playing major roles (as good or bad guys or the creators themselves) in a hit series. Second, I have to say how awesome to see so many powerful, competent women on screen; again, as good and bad guys! And everyone is written so well, you connect with these characters from the very start.

I was hooked from start up until the final battle when I see this:

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Sorry, I burst out laughing. And it’s NOT the character’s fault! Despite having a major case of monologuing (is this gonna be a thing now? Between Diamondback and Negan, I am SO done with talking…), there was such buildup to the final face off between Luke and Diamondback that when he shows up in that outfit my first reaction was “What the fuck is this bootleg Judge Dredd bullshit and why is there a Roomba on his back?!” Any intimidation factor was instantly lost on me and I kept giggling whenever I looked at him. Hate on me if you want, but that get up is funny as hell.

Other than that and me wanting to just glomp on to Cage all the time (who wouldn’t wanna hug that gorgeous man…), this is a fantastic show. The writing, the acting, the music; all of it well thought out, contemporary, and ingenious. Sign me up for a Luke Cage hoodie because I am pumped for season two.

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Finally Watched It: “Jessica Jones” Season 1

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I know I said I wouldn’t do TV shows until I had more movies knocked off my very, VERY long list but since I have been threatened with various acts of violence, I made time for this show.

If you don’t know, this show is about the alcoholic super powered private investigator, Jessica Jones and her dealings with the twisted Killgrave. The first season follows her attempts to bring him down and reveals their sordid and twisted past.

I have to say with writing and story telling like this, it’s no wonder the movie industry is worried about losing money. Wickedly fun, beautifully flawed, and achingly sad all at the same time, this series impressed me nearly from start to finish. If I had any criticism, it would be that it started to be almost comical how often Killgrave would get away. Yes, I know this sort of show needs to have a villain that is there for at least one season but the plot points to keep him at large started to get a bit ridiculous. Also, the character motivations baffled me sometimes. Not to spoil too much but is it really worth freeing a murdering sociopath to solve your first-world problems? No. No, it is not.

I did LOVE how they handled how Jessica dealt with surviving abuse. I identified with a great deal of it except for the drinking. Girl, we need to get you some more fancy booze. Try Black Seal 151. More suited to killing zombies than human consumption (in my opinion) but you’re ‘gifted’ so you can take it.

Other than that, top notch! This series crosses over with Luke Cage so, I’ll be writing about that one next.

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Firefly Loot Crate

 

Ok, I gotta admit I didn’t know what to expect from this crate but I am loving what I have. There’s a teddy bear, some drink umbrellas, bookmarks, magazine, statue, mystery figure (that I still haven’t opened), collectible cards, and sketches of the ship.

Lately, I’ve been thinking of adding a shelf in my office for all this cool swag I’m getting. I am so glad this series hasn’t been forgotten about and I would love to have this stuff on display for when (of if I ever) I start doing vlogs or any sort of video. I do have a YouTube account floating around out there… But to stay on topic, I am really curious to see what other stuff Loot Crate has to send me for this show. I would have liked a full-size umbrella (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) but this subscription box is awesome so far and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

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My Thoughts on the Witch Craze

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Now that American Horror Story: Coven and Witches of East End have been out for awhile, this witch thinks it’s time to address what bothers me about these shows both as a fan and a practicing witch.

Both shows start on the premise that women suddenly come in to powers they didn’t know they had and have to be taught how to use them. They seem to start on that journey but then all of a sudden, they are just slinging spells all over the place and have no freaking clue what they’re doing or what the consequences will be. People die, come back to life, die again, come back as shades and don’t know what they are, portals to places get ripped open, and nobody seems to give a rat’s ass as they do these things. The “I found out I was a witch yesterday so now I’m gonna just do whatever” mentality bugs me because (ESPECIALLY in Coven because they are in what is supposed to be a school and made a big damn deal about what learning witchcraft would entail) there is so much drama going on in the background, it’s seemed to turn into a soap opera with magic.

This isn’t to say the shows aren’t enjoyable. I am hooked. I have to know what happens next. But if I think about how the shows started, I wonder where that plot line went and if they are ever going to bring it back. I enjoy wondering who The Supreme is (Coven) or who is in this other world full of witches (East End) but the character development the first few episodes promised never happened. So, how are these characters supposed to withstand the trials ahead when they’re just as woefully unprepared as they were in the first episode? Are they all of a sudden gonna level up to 9000 just to wrap up the plot? And it certainly doesn’t present a good view of real witches as flighty manipulators who reach for their spell books without thinking.

Now, I certainly didn’t expect anyone to hold hands and sing We Are The World or anything in these shows. There is nothing to watch if there isn’t any conflict. But part of this experience is to see the characters grow and change; and that includes some sort of actual teaching happening on camera. And none of that has happened yet. All the characters have some sort of deus ex machina-esque sudden knowledge of what they’re doing – and it’s rarely complete and frequently blows up in their faces.

As these shows go on, I would like to see some sort of training of the fledgling witches in these shows. It would showcase witchcraft as a CRAFT, a skill which must be honed and practiced, AND it would give the characters a chance to grow their powers through the plot instead of on the fly when its convenient. I don’t want Hogwarts, but I want these witches to learn SOMETHING.