Previously: Best of Media, 2019
Time to catch up with things I’ve been watching/enjoying! I am shamelessly copying Kottke’s format, with some minor changes.
For the Love of Men by Liz Plank: Hey, I read a book! Someone give me an award. *ahem* Anyway! I’ve written about it a bit in this post and I have a lot more to share soon. This is the book I evangelize right now to everyone I meet, especially men.
Adam (2019): Adam was very controversial before it came out (it has an IMDB rating of 2.8), and yet people would benefit a lot from watching something before forming an opinion about it because it’s a great movie about a complicated subject, that does not give you easy answers but also manages to surprise you more than once. I loved it. (A)
Fargo (1996): This is the movie I watch when I crave some snow porn; I’ve seen it three times now I think. I was just in the mood to see a lot of snow. That and the amazing Frances McDormand. And everything else. I love all of it, it’s a masterpiece. (A+)
Jay and Silent Bob Reboot (2019): Yeah, no. Turned it off after 20 minutes or so. I think Kevin Smith did great movies (mostly) in the 90s — Clerks, Clerks 2, Mallrats, Dogma — but this is literally just overt fanservice with no story. I’m too old for this.
JoJo Rabbit (2019): This was great! It takes real skill to make a satire about nazis in 2019 but Taika Waititi pulls it off. It’s funny and it’s heartfelt and it’s smart. You should watch it. (A)
Knives Out (2019): This was fine? Daniel Craig is great and a sequel is in the works with his character which I’m happy about. I sort of get the hype around it but I don’t think it’s as great as it was hyped. Still, I was somewhat entertained. (B-)
Little Women (2019): This is the best thing I’ve seen in this year so far (well, this and Sex Education, see below). I’ve never read the book, though I was somewhat familiar with bits of the story. I loved almost every minute of it; it has a ton of heart, great actors, amazing visuals and clothes and directing and everything, really. It’s also clever how it subverts some of the stuff in the book; I’ve read the plot summary of it after watching the movie. Give it all the Oscars, especially the ones it was not nominated for (I’m looking at you, Best Director). (A+)
Doctor Who (season 12, episodes 1-5): This must be the worst quality drop from one season to the next in the history of Doctor Who. The previous one with the new Doctor was pretty great, or so I remember; this is a clusterfuck with the notable exception of the fifth episode, which was pretty good, and gives me some hope that the quality may recover. (C)
Don’t Fuck with Cats: Hunting and Internet Killer (miniseries): I watched the first episode and a bit of the second but these true crime shows are not for me.
Little America (season 1): I loved this so much; this show was almost engineered to make me cry in its final minutes. Yes, the stories are a bit too sweet and a bit too idealized sometimes but I don’t care. I’m glad that season 2 was already ordered. (A)
Messiah (season 1): This was not nearly as bad as the critics (mostly) panned it and overall I mostly enjoyed it. It’s a decent exploration of faith. If it gets a second season, I’ll watch that. (B+)
Sex Education (season 2): This will definitely go on my “Best of Media, 2020” list, and ranked much higher than its previous season. I wrote more about it in detail here with spoilers. Without spoilers: this season is better than the already good first one and it’s filled with wonderful characters I love and care for and manages to give justice to the existing ones while introducing a few more into the mix. Season 3 is almost a sure thing, thankfully. (A)
Star Trek: Short Treks (episode “Children of Mars”): This was fine. (B)
Star Trek: Picard (season 1, episodes 1-2): I was really looking forward to this but so far this is a letdown. Clumsy exposition, worse than usual pseudoscience, questionably decisions in the pilot and so on. I’ll keep watching it and hope it improves, but I might lower my expectations a bit. (C)
The Good Place (season 4, episodes 10-13): Let’s face it, this final season was probably the weakest. And yet it gave us one of the strongest episodes ever (episode 9, the one about Chidi) and ended on an almost perfect note; I was close to crying more than once. Overall I’m satisfied. (A-)
The Magicians (season 5, episodes 1-3): Look this show is a mess, it was always a mess and I know I keep using this phrase but it’s a loveable mess. I love these characters so much and I will be watching it until it gets canceled. In these first three episodes, they took a complex topic and explored it well and I can’t wait for the rest. (A-)
The Witcher (season 1): I mean, this is also a loveable mess in a way I just wish the first few episodes weren’t so information-dense with next to no exposition; I had to read recaps to make sense of the whole thing. Someone described it as “Xena/Hercules meets Game of Thrones cover band” and honestly that’s pretty accurate. It has a lot of potential, though, so we’ll see what the next season brings. (B)
UnREAL (season 1; season 2 episodes 2-8): You think you’ve seen TV shows about despicable people? Go watch the first season of UnREAL because it takes this genre to a whole new level. A trashy show about a producing a trashy reality show; deeply broken and traumatized people doing everything they can and then some to exploit and manipulate other, even more broken and traumatized people. The second season is starting to get a bit tired, though and I don’t know if I’ll stay for its final two ones. (A-; B)
You (season 1 and 2): I really enjoyed the first season but the second one is more of the same and eventually I could not handle being in the protagonist’s head anymore, it was just too much toxic masculinity for me, even if that’s the whole point of the show. I read the recaps for the rest of the season and, I mean, wow. Not gonna say anything else. And I’m definitely not watching the third season if that happens. (A-; B-)