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.
We’re living in the golden age of television and the 2010s have been a great decade for TV series and TV storytellers alike. Not to mention the rise and domination of streaming services that have taken over the television landscape. ‘Binge-watching’ became part of global vernacular this decade and without Netflix, the way we view TV series would be incredibly different. Premium cable channels also dominated the television landscape this decade and we have HBO to thank for that. Shows that I picked for this list began 2010 onward, I don’t include any (except one) shows on here that began pre-2010 (Sorry Breaking Bad fans). Here are my picks for the best TV series of this decade, counting down from worst to best.
(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.
When Hustlers was first announced as part of the line up for TIFF, many raised an eyebrow. All we had really to base our expectations for the film was a trailer that, after watching the film, doesn’t do justice to the film itself. Based on an article published in New York magazine in 2015 from Jessica Pressler titled The Hustlers at Scores, Hustlers tells the story of Dorothy (Crazy Rich Asians’ Constance Wu), a stripper in New York City who with her mentor and friend Ramona (Jennifer Lopez) find themselves going from stripping to stealing from Wall Street guys during the aftermath of the 2008 financial crash. Smart and empowering, Hustlers takes an out-there story that seems implausible and creates a film full of fully-formed women that take no prisoners.
Just try to imagine the pitch meeting for Jojo Rabbit; a satire about a young boy living in Nazi Germany whose imaginary best friend happens to be Adolph Hitler. Jojo Rabbit is wild, funny and at times warm. You will feel bad for about 20 minutes for laughing at something Adolph Hitler said but then you relax and everything is okay. All of this would not have been possible had the film not been in the brilliant hand of Taika Waititi. I can’t imagine this film being made had Waititi not directed Thor: Ragnarok and the film had not been a commercial success. It’s hard to imagine any executive saying yes to this had he not been so successful with his films beforehand. But I am so glad someone said yes to this because it’s something special. While it will be interesting to see how Disney, yes Disney, market this film since it is now part of their slate since the acquisition of Fox, I will continue to hope that they do it right and this becomes a hit because it deserves it.
Walking out of The Lighthouse a big sense of uneasiness inhabited me. A feeling I couldn’t shake away even hours after seeing the film. It left its mark, an impression that wouldn’t leave me even after leaving the comfort of my chair. But even in front of all this uneasiness, my eyes never looked away from the action that unfolded in front of me. I was mesmerized by what I was witnessing. The Lighthouse is powerful when you think about it: a spectacle that is shot on 35mm in black and white with only two characters and that never loses your attention. As the film progresses, you can feel the madness slowly invade your being. You feel trap, you are transported on the island with them. As they go deeper into their madness, you follow them along. Even when it’s all over, when everything is wrapped up and you sit in the darkness of the theatre as the credit play, your body is frozen in space. The Lighthouse is an experience, an experience that will leave you wanting more but also dreading more.
Oscar bait films are something we know, something that we have seen grow in number years after years. But that doesn’t always mean that they are bad, sometimes they actually are good. They just don’t try and change the norm. For me, Just Mercy falls into a category. A film packaged for the Oscar that hits hard but also doesn’t try and change anything in the way it tells its story. But the truth is that I was a mess after Just Mercy while I can see how it fails to innovate, it did hit me so hard that I was hiding in my shirt to try and to be loud. You know how it will end, just like any other courtroom movies of the sort, but you can’t help to get sucked into the story.
Movies make you feel things. Those feelings can vary from films to films but they are supposed to be there. Walking away from a film feeling nothing is never something that should happen. And then there are the movies that make you feel everything, overwhelms your sensations and make you question everything you think you know For me, Portrait of a Lady on Fire did just that. It’s not that it’s emotional per se, it’s more of a feeling that the movie gives you. While there is some moment that will bring you to tears, the atmosphere and story itself make you feel. Films that are able to set feelings without really trying are unique, they are in a category of their own, at least for me. I hate to compare films, I think it doesn’t do justice to them really. But if I had to compare Portrait of a Lady on Fire to another one, in terms of the way emotions, or at least what it made me feel, I would compare it to Call Me By Your Name. Let me tell you why.
Parasite cons you just like it’s protagonists con the family they infiltrate the life of. Bong Joon-oh makes you believe one thing and then lets the curtain fall, it’s then that you realize that you are faced with a totally different film. What Bong Joon-oh does so well is to create a feeling of comfort in you, you think you know where it’s all going and then… Goodbye comfort and hello madness. It’s wild, unpredictable but oh so delightful. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what type of film Parasite is. Not because it’s nothing but because it’s everything. At times comedy, followed by thriller to end with drama, Parasite blends genre like nothing else before.