This month, I have a shorter list than usual, mostly because I’m in the middle of watching a bunch of shows, some of which I’m actually following week-to-week. Blargh! Who has the patience for that anymore? Just dump it all online! Do you know how painful it is waiting for each episode of Mr. Robot?!
I started watching last fall’s hit comedy, The Good Place, which has got me quite hooked. Here’s a cute beauty-related snippet from the third episode:
Finally, I saw the original Blade Runner back in university (it’s a little before my time) and I don’t remember thinking all that much of it, apart from digging Sean Young’s outfit. Now that the new Blade Runner is out, I thought I should give it a rewatch. (All of this goes for Mr. Fivezero, as well, except the Sean Young part.) Mr. Fivezero finished it, said it was better than he initially thought, but it’s not love. I fell asleep. So I need to rewatch it…again.
But whatever. Hooray! Brooklyn Nine-Nine is back!
What I Saw
- What We Do In the Shadows 
- The IT Crowd (Series 1–2) 
- Mindhunter (Season 1) 
- Stranger Things (Season 2) 
What I Started Watching
- Blade Runner 
- Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Season 5) 
- Mr. Robot (Season 3) 
- The Blacklist (Season 1) 
- Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father (Series 1) 
- The Good Place (Season 1) 
Here are mini reviews of the shows I saw:
What We Do in the Shadows
2014 | Directed by Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi. With Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Johnny Brugh, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer.
The first time I saw anything from Taika Waititi was Hunt for the Wilderpeople, which I loved. (OK, he actually had a small role in Green Lantern, which was a pretty bad movie, but that was hardly his fault. He also wrote the initial screenplay for Moana.)
Now, after seeing What We Do In the Shadows, co-directed and co-written by this New Zealand duo, I’m starting to think they can do no wrong. (And I’m dying to see Thor: Ragnarok, directed by Waititi!)
On paper, this movie sounds like a comedy sketch taken to an extreme, and to its inevitable death by flogging. It’s a mockumentary which follows a quartet of vampires who are roomies in Wellington, New Zealand. Really, this should only work for about ten minutes, max, right?
Let me tell you, I fell off the couch laughing. It should not work as well as it does. It’s a little late now, but it would have been the perfect comedy to watch on Halloween.
The IT Crowd
2006–2013 | Created by Graham Linehan. With Chris O’Dowd, Richard Ayoade, Katherine Parkinson.
My husband and I went through a phase in the 2000s during which we watched a lot of British television, but for some reason we never touched The IT Crowd. I really don’t know why, but there it is.
Last month, we binged the entire run of four seasons (or series, as the Brits call them)—but of course, since it’s a British show, four seasons comprised just 24 episodes and a special that aired a couple of years after the show ended its regular run.
We were familiar with the main actors and the creator via other shows. Creator Graham Linehan was responsible for Black Books, one of my favorite sitcoms of all time; we’d seen Chris O’Dowd in Moone Boy and Bridesmaids; Katherine Parkinson was in the excellent Whites; Richard Ayoade (and recurring star Noel Fielding) are often on the British panel shows we’ve seen (QI, Would I Lie To You, etc.). This makes it all the odder that it took us a decade later to watch the show.
The IT Crowd is about the random hijinks of two IT geeks (O’Dowd and Ayoade) and their “relationship manager” (Parkinson). It’s definitely not going to unseat Black Books in my book, but the first two series are hilarious. The physical comedy from the stars, in particular, is fantastic. The last two series went downhill and the special wasn’t much better, so I really only recommend the first two series. It’s a shame, but I guess they simply ran out of ideas quite quickly.
Mindhunter [Season 1]
2017 | Created by Joe Penhall. With Jonathan Groff, Holt McCallany, Anna Torv, Hannah Gross.
Get past the pilot, and you’ll be hooked.
But seriously, that pilot. What possessed them to include that interminable and cringeworthy bar scene in the very first episode? And not include the single most charismatic character until the end of the second episode? We nearly turned off the first episode, but I’d heard that you needed to just suffer through it, and so we did.
Mindhunter is loosely based on the true story of two FBI agents (Groff and McCallany) and a psychology professor (Torv) who pioneered criminal profiling in the 1970s. It’s really fascinating stuff, and—apart from bits of the first episode—the show is very well written, directed, and acted, and it’s beautifully shot.
Curiously, lead actor Groff (whom I knew I recognized, and it turned out he was in Glee, of all things!) is the weak link, but even so, his character improves throughout the season. McCallany brings charisma and interest to the usually trite character of the tough cop, and it’s always great to see Torv show up (speaking as a huge Fringe fan). However, the real star turns out to be Cameron Britton playing serial killer Ed Kemper—you will literally not be able to take your eyes off this guy.
(Those who are squeamish, fear not—there’s a lot of talk about gore, but visually there is really nothing in this worse than what you’d see on your usual police procedural on network television.)
David Fincher and Charlize Theron are two of the producers; Fincher directs the first two and last two episodes of the 10-episode season.
Stranger Things [Season 2]
2017 | Created by The Duffer Brothers. With Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Materazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Joe Keery.
Like bucketloads of other people, we loved ’80s-inspired horror/sci-fi television masterpiece Stranger Things, so when the second season was released last Friday, we basically binge watched it in 24 hours (off and on Friday night through Saturday evening).
Season 2 started off a little slow, but we figured it would pay off—and goodness knows it did. I’m still a little undecided about the Eleven-heavy episode that reminded me an awful lot of Chappie, but on the other hand, I loved that movie, too.
I’m just gonna say that all the kids in this show are goddamn amazing, and the teens and adults aren’t to be sniffed at, either. Giddy with the addition of Sean Astin. Still really dig Steve (Keery)—my husband and I can’t be the only ones who enjoyed his character in the first season, right? And I love that they actually remembered Barb.
(Off topic, but I think David Harbour is going to be an awesome Hellboy. Those are big shoes to fill, but I have faith.)
Finally, to promote the show, these pretty rad alternate Stranger Things 2 posters were designed as homages to 1970s and 1980s movies that inspired it:
Thanks for reading!
If you have any movie or television recommendations for me, please let me know in the comments. I’m always on the lookout for something great to watch!