I’ve not been doing as much reading of late. I felt like a break at Christmas. (Well, a break from reviewing, not reading!) But that has pretty much extended and I took only a couple of books to Brisbane with me on my recentish foray (aka 3wks of cat-sitting).
I have however, rediscovered my television addiction over the last six months; although I’ve not watched much live TV cos here in Australia we’ve had mostly sport and reality TV shows foisted upon us, so I’ve delved into Netflix and online viewing (SBS-on-demand) instead.
Doctor Who (Netflix)
I hadn’t watched the show since the 1980s and (even then) I wasn’t a die-hard fan. I tuned in again recently as I like Jodie Whittaker and though I haven’t been enamoured with the writing or plots this season (plus, well Ryan just needs to get killed off!), I decided to go back and watch ‘Nu Who’ as the fans call it. And I managed to binge-watch all 11/12 seasons over a couple of months. I must admit David Tennant remains my fave, although I wasn’t a fan of him before, despite Broadchurch and Jessica Jones.
Derry Girls (Netflix)
I knew SFA about this other than that it was set in Ireland. I’d seen it advertised as a potential show for young people but – Oh. My. God…. it was perfect for someone of my vintage as it’s set in the early 1990s and the music is AMAZING.
The characters are fabulous and it’s so much fun. I watch TV with subtitles on (a weird thing that allows me to watch stuff on fast-forward and read what happens or just read and watch at the same time) but on occasions I needed the subtitles for translation purposes, so strong are the Irish accents in parts.
Russian Doll (Netflix)
Groundhog Day meets Sliding Doors. Kinda. I’ve never been a huge fan of Natasha Lyonne but this show is ridiculously clever. Basically the show is about a woman (Nadia) who dies. Again and again. And she keeps reliving that death. Like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, she has a bit of fun with those around her – knowing what’s coming – but she also tries to change things… hoping to avert (what seems to be) her destiny. Nadia’s not necessarily a likeable character or nice person so the question of ‘why’ comes into play. And (slight spoiler – though his pic is in the advertisements) she finds she’s not the only one reliving the same day again and again and the pair have to try to work out what they have in common and why it’s happening.
I binged on this in two days and would love to see more, but can’t imagine they’d have a second season, though I guess they could kill Nadia off again and have her search to find who else this might be happening to to see if they can change the outcome.
This show was bad. It’s the remake of a show based on a novella by George RR Martin (of Game of Thrones fame). The premise for the show is weak, though I gather the book was slightly different.
Essentially it’s about a scientist who heads into space to make contact with extra-terrestrials, who he thinks can save the earth. Naturally there’s a motley crew and they soon discover the captain, and the ship, as it happens, have secret agendas. The acting wasn’t great, the story didn’t entirely make sense and there was absolutely no closure. I read that there might be a second season and that kinda horrifies me.
After this black and white film (in Spanish) won several awards recently I decided I should give it a go – as it’s already available on Netflix. And… though I hung in there, I didn’t love it. It was achingly slow at times. I came to care for Cleo, the nanny / maid for a middle class family in Mexico City and I liked that they (mostly) treated her well and enjoyed the story arc surrounding Cleo, the family and the parents’ marriage, but… meh.
Bird Box (Netflix)
When I finished this…. all I could think was it was 2hrs of my life I wasn’t going to get back. Sure it was interesting while we were waiting to better understand what was happening (what people were seeing that caused them to suicide) but ultimately it felt kinda pointless.
The Five (SBS on Demand)
I hadn’t realised this was a few years old and written by Harlan Coben. It’s initially intriguing but drags on a little and becomes overly convoluted (it could have been condensed into a mini-series rather than try to perpetuate 10 episodes). It centres around a group of friends brought together 20 years after the younger sibling of one disappears. We learn a convicted child killer confessed to the abduction and murder of 5yr old Jesse at the time, but decades later Jesse’s DNA is found at recent crime scenes.
Mary Kills People (Netflix)
So much fun!!! Mary’s an emergency services doctor (am sure there’s a name for that) who – because of personal experience – believes people should be allowed a dignified death. So she and her partner (a de-registered plastic surgeon) help people end their lives in a way of their choosing. Things get interesting however when the police start to investigate her (ahem) side business, and her partner gets her involved with drug dealers. As a complete aside, lead actress Caroline Dhavernas (who I’ve only ever seen before in the short-lived Off The Map) has the most amazing eyes I’ve ever seen. Seasons 1 & 2 are both on Netflix.
Miss Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries (Channel 7 in Australia)
I’m not quite as enamoured as I was with Peregrine’s aunt, Phryne – who’s disappeared in Papua New Guinea and left everything to her niece. But actress Geraldine Hakewill (who’s in the popular, but not-watched-by-me Wanted) is perfect for the role and the costume and sets of 1960s Australia are great (I adore Phryne / Peregrine’s house!). I’m not entirely sure the telemovie length series works for me. I think I’d have preferred hour-long episodes and have the season eked out for more than just four weeks. But it’s fun and looks good.
Dirty John (Netflix)
I’m part-way through this and am enjoying it, though haven’t found it as binge-worthy as some. I guess I worry we kinda know where it’s heading so not entirely motivated to watch it with any urgency.
I’ve read the book (and loved it) but disliked the second book in the series. So, it’s a bit the same as Dirty John in that I’m ambivalent; I’ve started watching but not gone back to finish it. I’m sure I will. Eventually.
The Umbrella Academy (Netflix)
Meh. I stopped watching this after the first episode as I really didn’t engage with any of the characters and the plot itself didn’t draw me in. It has however, received positive feedback online so I might try to give it another shot.
As well as my antipathy towards The Umbrella Academy, I tried to watch Maniac, Romance is a Bonus Book and Rebel Wilson’s Isn’t It Romantic and gave up on them all. I’m unsure if I’ll revisit them as life’s just too short.
Next on the agenda
- Velvet Buzzsaw (Netflix)
- Berlin Station (SBS on Demand)
- Counterpart (SBS on Demand)
- Sex Education (Netflix)
Any other suggestions?
PS. I should also mention I’ve watched Suits, Ozark (s2), The Sinner (s2), The Innocent Man, Stranger Things (s2), Lucifer (s3), The Bodyguard, Secret City (s1) etc all fairly recently.
* Joining the Lovin’ Life Linkup today