Hello all! Surprise… I’ve been missing for a while. I miss writing about film and television and other fun things and I miss chatting with you all, but life has been nuts, and that’s the truth. Across buying a house and moving in, decorating/repairing said house, the usual craziness plus work, there has been no time. I don’t expect that I’ll have much time from here on out to dedicate to Film Grimoire much either, but what I would like to do is dip in and out and share some thoughts and feelings on things I love as time goes by, and I hope that’s OK with you.
With that being said, across the past couple of months I haven’t really been watching many films. I’ve been more bingeing television shows incessantly. It helps that we have both Netflix and Stan, both of which are excellent streaming services here in Australia, so I’ve been catching up on TV shows that I’ve missed out on, and trying some new ones as well.
Below is a compilation of all I’ve watched and loved, or not loved.
A troubled youth becomes embroiled in the lives of a close-knit group of people in the wealthy, upper-class neighborhood of Newport Beach, Orange County, California.
This show aired when I was in high school and I was rebelliously opposed to watching it because everyone was talking about it. It was so fun to return to the dumb high school drama as an adult, and to realise that Seth Cohen was actually a really controlling, whiny dork, because everyone had a huge crush on him back in 2005. Ryan Atwood is the true heartthrob of the show, for sure. Anyway, I loved it all. And it has a surprisingly emotional ending with a very satisfying payoff.
The Gilmore Girls
A dramedy centering around the relationship between a thirtysomething single mother and her teen daughter living in Stars Hollow, Connecticut.
I remember watching this on an ad hoc basis in the afternoons after coming home from school, and kind of liking it but finding the whole thing kind of naff. I tend to really hate cutesy, cheesy family shows. But watching this as an adult was kind of lovely? Although I hated some of the characters and there was a steep decline in quality towards the end, it is undoubtedly a classic. I’ll probably rewatch it at some point. It’s just a comfortable, comforting show.
The Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life
Set nearly a decade after the finale of the original series, this revival follows Lorelai, Rory and Emily Gilmore through four seasons of change.
Now this was just trash. I don’t think I expected to be as disappointed as I was. Poor acting, clunky script, straight-up reprehensible jokes which just tried too hard to be funny, and a very frustrating final scene. They’ll probably do more; and I will probably watch it.
A subversive take on Archie and his friends, exploring small town life, the darkness and weirdness bubbling beneath Riverdale’s wholesome facade.
Confession… I watched all of season one and loved it. But once the big mystery was solved, I just couldn’t get on board with season two. I got a couple of episodes in and my commitment waned, and I haven’t picked it up again. Not even the beautiful sight of Jughead Jones was enough to keep me going. Although once I learned that he’s played by the kid from Adam Sandler’s Big Daddy, my attraction for him was almost immediately extinguished.
A mockumentary on a group of typical office workers, where the workday consists of ego clashes, inappropriate behavior, and tedium.
OK… I love this show. It was an instant, burning love. I never really watched it before, more dipped in and out of some of the earlier episodes, and never really got the appeal of it when watching it that way. But when you watch the episodes one after the other, the camaraderie of the cast and character development unfolds in such a sincere and heartwarming manner, it’s almost infectious. Some people say that the quality of the show takes a dive after a certain cast member exits the show. However, I enjoyed it just as much. Overall, it’s love. 10/10.
Set in the late 1970s, two FBI agents are tasked with interviewing serial killers to solve open cases.
Really enjoyed this one. I hope they make a season two because the minds of serial killers are endlessly fascinating. Whilst some aspects of this show were difficult to tolerate, because hearing murderers talk about how amazing it feels to murder someone is actually quite disturbing, this was tempered with gorgeous creative aspects such as the music and cinematography. I also enjoyed it more when I realised that the main character also plays King George V in the original cast of the Hamilton musical. Good times.
Queer Eye for the Straight Guy
A new Fab Five set out to Atlanta to help the city’s straight men refine their wardrobes, grooming, diet, cultural pursuits, and home décor.
Me and everyone else, right? But this is just gorgeous television. I remember the original series when it aired on television, and feeling like the guys were kind of mocking the straight men whose lives they were seeking to improve, and kind of feeling like the whole thing was counterproductive. How can you improve the life of someone you seem to have very little respect for? Surprise, the new Queer Eye is so wholesome, heartwarming and genuine. You get the feeling that these hosts actually really care for and about the people they meet, are knowledgeable in their areas of specialty, and have a genuine interest in making things better. It’s nice, and entertaining, and funny, and Jonathan Van Ness is a treasure.
Parks and Recreation
The absurd antics of an Indiana town’s public officials as they pursue sundry projects to make their city a better place.
Am I the only person who can’t get on board with this? Parts of it were really funny, but overall, I loved The Office so much more. I just couldn’t enjoy how much they bullied Jerry/Larry/Garry/Terry, and it made me feel so sad for him. I also really disliked most of the characters, but I bloody loved Lil Sebastian. Was it just me, or was the ending totally strange in not a good way? Although, watching this show did help me build a flat pack television cupboard by myself for about three hours, so that’s a good thing.
Evil Genius: The True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist
The extraordinary story of the “pizza bomber heist” and the FBI’s investigation into a bizarre collection of suspects.
This one was fascinating, morbidly watchable viewing. My physiotherapist actually recommended this to me, because we talk about true crime dramas whilst she’s fixing my knees. This one is good because it’s so surprising in the way that it unfolds. What seems like possibly a somewhat-straightforward collar-bombing bank heist case becomes a story with so many twists and turns. It was very disturbing, and I loved it.
Wild Wild Country
When the world’s most controversial guru builds a utopian city deep in the Oregon desert, conflict with the locals escalates into a national scandal. A true story.
This was fascinating, but I feel like it could have been a more compelling four episodes; rather than six, if it were more tightly edited. Some segments seemed to drag on a bit, although I realise the intent was to build the world around the spiritual community which some may label a cult. I love seeing how groups like this can grow and become something crazier than expected, and this one did get crazy, with all the poisonings and voter fraud and whatnot. It made brilliant use of archival footage, and you can’t go past Ma Anand Sheela for a truly hilarious and controversial narrator.
So, what’s next for me, binge-viewing-wise? I’m actually re-watching The Office at the moment… no shame. I also want to re-watch LOST, because it’s been a while,but I need to convince my husband to get on board with that one. What do you think I’m missing out on? Have you watched anything fun recently? Feel free to share below!
A nice mix between classic and current. What did you think of the end of Evil Genius? Did you like the name? I did see a lot of The American Office and did like it. I do recommend the British one too. You can see the cultural differences just from a few episodes.
Hello Anna!! So glad to see you back.
I feel the exact same way about Riverdale – but you don’t like Parks and Rec? Bullying Jerry really annoys me about that show, but I do love everything else about it so so much.
My fave binges of the year have been The Good Place and Jane the Virgin I think – have you seen either of these?
[…] Television shows I’ve binged across 2018 […]
I LOVE The Office (and yes, it is so much better than Parks & Rec). My husband just watches The Office on repeat from beginning to end… over and over again. I had exactly the same feeling about Riverdale as you did and I am desperate for a second season of Mindhunter.
As for me… I have been bingeing:
Brooklyn 99 (great until season 4 where it took a huge nosedive)
The Good Place (only one season in but loving it)
The Innocents (not very good)
Sense8 from beginning to end again (my favourite show of all time)
Glow (really fun)
Queer Eye (so uplifting)
All the reality trash.
I watch a lot of TV, clearly.,,
Great to see you, Anna! I’ve dipped in and out of quite a few of these – some over the shoulder of my daughter who seems to share your taste! There are some great BBC boxsets which I’ve enjoyed recently – although some have disappointed me with their final episodes (I won’t say any more because I might give too much away). ‘Bodyguard’ and ‘Killing Eve’ are two I’ve kind of liked. Best wishes to you in the meantime! – Josephine
Can’t wait for the 2nd series of Mindhunter! Loved the first series and felt like it got better as it went.
Miss you, lady. Hope things are well.