Never judge a show based on its first episode, Feel Good reminded me of that. I have to be honest here, after watching the first episode of the series, I thought that this show wasn’t for me. I didn’t particularly enjoy the first episode and while I couldn’t find anything wrong with it per se, I also couldn’t say it hit it out of the park. But I decided to continue, to give it a shot and honestly, never judge a show by its first episode is now going to be my motto. Sometimes you have to remember, the first episode isn’t everything and I should always remember that. Because by the end of it, I found myself enjoying this show a lot more then I anticipated. I laughed out loud, cried and smiled more than I ever thought I would.
Sometimes after you sit with a show for a while, your opinion of it can change, for better or worse. After my first watch, I found myself loving I Am Not Okay With This, but with time and space, I realized that most of what I felt was just falling short of what I had hoped. That doesn’t mean this show isn’t enjoyable, it is but it also isn’t as good as it could be. It falls just a little short and takes to long to finally get to what it needs to be. By the end, you think you are satisfied but in reality, you are just okay with this. Coming from the producers of one of my favourite shows, It’s The End of the F***ing World and coming from a graphic novel written by the same author then the show, I Am Not Okay With This as a lot of expectations to live up to. Using a very similar way of telling the story, by having the main character narrate their side of the story, but what was very effective in It’s The End of the F***ing World just doesn’t work as well in this.
The first To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before was a nice little surprise when it came out last year. It wasn’t really what we expected when we all logged into our Netflix account to watch this romantic comedy. Instead of getting a movie that we would all forget and make fun of overtime, we got a film that actually was good. Yes, it did play into most of the young adult tropes that we are all very used to but the elevated cinematography for this type of film and a charming cast brought something refreshing and, quite frankly, unexpected. With all that and the success of the film, it wasn’t a surprise at all when a sequel was announced. Not only was one sequel was announced but the announcement came with the news that the third book of the series would also find it’s way to being adapted and on Netflix in the near future. But like any sequels, being able to recreate what had made it special could be hard, so the arrival of To All The Boys: PS I Still Love You was something that, while I was looking forward to it, I was also a bit scared. I had enjoyed the first film and really hope that I would find myself enjoying this one too.
Sometimes shows go through a sophomore slump, when they can’t quite find what made their first season stand out from the ground. So going into the second season of Sex Education, I was scared because not only did I really enjoy season one but with the ending, it was obvious that the show could go in a lot of directions. But after being able to watch all episodes of the second season before it’s released, I am happy to say that not only did it meet my expectations but it also exceeded them. Now, this review will be spoiler-free because I do believe that all the little twists and turns that happen on this show make it even better and I want everyone to be able to enjoy it and freak out just like I did when I was first watching it.
It’s the end of the decade, ten years have past and a whole lot of television with it. We hit peak television during the 2010s and not only that, but we saw the rise of the streaming services. It’s been a world of change, a world of amazing television and if you know me, you know that television is my favourite medium (I’m one of those who still have cable so imagine). It’s going to be interesting to see where the 2020’s lead us when it comes to television and storytelling, especially with the arrival of the “streaming war” and a large number of streaming services now available to us. But for now, let’s take a look back at my favourite shows of the 2010s.
(Please note that this review is not spoiler-free as I had to go into detail to explain why I felt the way I felt.)
Nostalgia is probably the biggest thing in cinema and television right now. With all the reboots and sequels, the idea of nostalgia drives a lot of the film that we get. Sometimes it works, others not so much. But more then none, it creates a product that feels like something we have seen before. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker feels like that, a product that was created simply to cater to the fans that felt betrayed by the previous instalment. Rise of Skywalker isn’t a bad movie per se, but when placed right after what I considered to be one of the best Star Wars movie ever, then it feels jarring and is not a satisfying end to a saga that spanned 40 years.
Comedy dies slow, never has a statement been truer than with Amy Sherman-Palladino’s comedy The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Comedy dies in the silence, in the absence of the fast pace that has become accustomed to Sherman-Palladino’s work over the years. Gilmore Girls established itself with its fast dialogue and the signature tone that we now recognized as Sherman-Palladino’s voice, something that had been so different at first with only two characters, Lorelai and Rory, using became the norm by the end where every character used the same pace as the two leading ladies did ever since the first moment of the pilot. It was something that could have been seen as a gimmick and never be seen again but once the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel premiered in 2017 on Amazon Prime, the fast-paced dialogue that had defined Gilmore Girls was back. But unlike what she did it’s predecessor, Sherman-Palladino found a way to integrate her signature dialogues into the story that would inhabit the world that would become The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Comedy dies slow, it’s that simple and that is why Mrs. Maisel never slows down.
Last year, Netflix won big with Alfonso Caron’s Roma. It was a turning point for them and it was just a matter of time before more high profile filmmakers made their way to a streaming service. This year saw just that, a wave of filmmakers walk toward streaming services instead of regular theatrical releases. And Netflix found a film that might just propel them to win big once again at this year’s Oscar ceremony. It might be surprising to see Martin Scorsese creates a film and have it bow on Netflix instead of having the theatrical release one would be accustomed to seeing with a name like his. But after viewing The Irishman it’s easy to see why Netflix was not only the best choice for the film but also the only choice.
Identity is something that defines you when you are part of the LGBTQ+ community. It’s a question that you wrestle with most of your life and sometimes it takes forever to answer it, sometimes you can never truly become yourself. Maybe that is why Man Made is so touching, so powerful. Because it’s about men finally being themselves, putting themselves out there and being true to themselves. It’s admirable, to say the least, and it’s a subject we don’t talk enough about and is not seen enough in film, fiction or not.
Fantasy films are some of my favourites but too often they focus on characters that I can’t connect to or even identify with. Too often the characters feel the same and never feel like I could be one of them. It’s not to say that I can’t enjoy fantasy or film of that genre but it’s not the same. That is why Alice Waddington’s Paradise Hills is such a breath of fresh air, a film that creates such a universe that you can forgive the flaws and story problem. In her directorial debut, Waddington creates a universe that feels complete, bringing a breath of fresh air in this genre that is too often dominated by men and their stories.