Show Review: Santa Clarita Diet (2017)

I’m so bummed that this show didn’t get a fourth season. It really deserves one. Few pairings have made me laugh as much as Timothy Olyphant and Drew Barrymore. Liv Hewson and Skyler Gisondo are such a good complement duo, too. For a show about a zombie, this show is so darn cheerful and sunny.

For anyone who hasn’t encountered this glorious horror-comedy, it’s a half-hour show that follows a California family after the mother becomes a zombie. \o/

Zombies in this universe are different than in The Walking Dead, 28 Days Later or Shaun of the Dead. Zombies in this still have their awareness and personality, they’re just alive and rotting away if they don’t eat. (It gets really, really gross, fair warning.) I’d say the zombies in this are most like the zombies in iZombie. But the comedy is probably more Shaun of the Dead, if we’re comparing zombie works.

Joel, the dad, is probably my favourite character. He’s desperate to be a good husband to his undead wife and his comedy is so perfectly timed by Timothy Olyphant. He had me laughing at pretty much every scene. Sheila, the wife, is wonderful. Drew Barrymore is an absolute gem and I love her so much. She’s been one of my favourite actresses since Ever After (BEST CINDERLLA, DON’T @ ME.) Abby and Eric, the younger characters, who are trying to figure out zombies and high school at the same time, are fantastic characters.

Honestly, for a show about zombies, this one is wholesome and lovely. The family aspect is so wonderful and they’re all easy to root for. The humour and jokes are top notch, and I especially love it for not being mean comedy. I like comedy that underscores being kind and supporting each other. Like Bob’s Burgers! Another excellent show, I might add.

Anyways, watch this one. Despite the fact that it was cancelled, it’s well worth a go and the three seasons we got are great!

Show Review: ¿Quién mató a Sara? (2021)

¿Quién mató a Sara? takes chaotic family mysteries to a whole new level. The show follows Álex after he’s wrongfully imprisoned for the murder of his sister, Sara. Eighteen years later, Álex is let out and determined to get revenge for Sara’s death, his imprisonment and what his mother endured all the while.

The story flashes back and forth between before Sara’s death, when the characters are all teenagers, and the present, where Álex is going after Rodolfo and Chema, his former friends. Rodolfo was dating Sara when she died and Álex is convinced that he and his father are responsible. Elisa, Rodolfo and Chema’s little sister who was too young to remember Sara, befriends Álex out of curiosity and suspicion – she’s not fooled by all the half-answers her brothers and father are giving her.

SPOILER WARNING

Álex and Elisa were definitely what made me fall in love with this show. I wasn’t sure at first, but as soon as this pair met up, it tied everything together perfectly. And you know what’s so refreshing?? Everyone gets to the point in this storyline! Everyone’s straight forward about where they stand by episode two (except the dad, who’s the WORST, and the mother, for that matter). So, really, the core four are pretty honest, which I appreciated. Álex keeps Elisa apprised of his plans, or at least tells her when he can’t tell her things. They’re a solid couple and they work together so well and it was just refreshing that their storyline didn’t have the drama it otherwise could have.

Chema and his boyfriend Lorenzo had a good overall storyline, although I’m a bit worried about them for season two. I want everything to work out! Lorenzo is such a supportive partner, I love him.

The dad was the absolute worst, I’m sure we can all agree on that. Argh! THE WORST.

This is definitely a binge-worthy show filled with drama, mystery, romance, angst and more. I totally suggest checking it out!

Show Review: Barbaren (2020)

For all the fans of Centurion (2010), King Arthur (2004), The Last Kingdom (2015) and Vikings (2013), Barbaren (‘Barbarians’) is the show for you. Set in 9th century Roman-occupied Germania, the tribes and villages are struggling to stay alive under the repressive, brutal rule of the Romans. To keep the peace, one chief trades his sons to the Romans – years later, ‘Ari’, now Arminius, is a respected Roman soldier who has little in common with his childhood best friends, Folkwin and Thusnelda.

The show is based on the real life figures of Arminius and Thusnelda. Arminius was a German-born, Roman-raised, eventual Germanic Cherusci chief after the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. It’s not an area of military history I’m very familiar with, but apparently it’s one of the most decisive military victories in history and considered a huge failure for the Roman Empire.

The show begins with a Roman delegation arriving in a Cherusci village and demanding more tribute than the village could possibly produce or survive without. In retaliation, one of the Roman soldiers beats Thusnelda’s brother, permanently injuring him and leaving him brain damaged. Folkwin and Thusnelda swear revenge immediately and decide they’re going to steal the Romans’ eagle standard. You know, the gold-tipped eagle spear that Roman troops brought everywhere. Thusnelda and Folkwin are successful, but their victory is short lived when the Romans return to their village to enact their revenge. Very quickly, lines are drawn between the sides and Folkwin and Thusnelda’s friendship with Ari is put to the ultimate test.

This show is every bit as bloody, violent, painful, sad and tense as Vikings and The Last Kingdom. That said, this show really does bring something new to the table. It’s entirely in German and Latin. Thusnelda is front and centre, and I’m really loving her characterisation so far. She’s a wonderful lady/fighter/sister/advocate and so far my favourite of the main three. Her love for her brother and Folkwin and Ari is just amazing to watch. Ari is very sympathetic, and it’s clear he struggles with his allegiances, just like Uhtred in The Last Kingdom. He gets a bit frustrating at points, but you can see where he’s coming from. Folkwin is fantastic and full of fire, and sometimes I’m just like no, Folkwin, don’t do the thing! And then he does the thing. Oh, Folkwin.

I haven’t finished season one yet, but the show’s already been renewed for season two and I can’t wait to see how it will end.

Show Review: New Worlds (2014)

Okay, why did no one tell me that The Devil’s Whore had a sequel miniseries? I remember loving that series so much when it first aired. Historical madness, lucious costumes, great storyline, and a cast that was so, so good: Andrea Riseborough, John Simm, Michael Fassbender, Dominic West – AMAZING. The cast of New Worlds is equally as awesome: Freya Mavor, Jamie Dornan, Jeremy Northam, Joe Dempsie – ahhhhh. So good! I’m so annoyed at myself for not finding this miniseries sooner!

For anyone who didn’t see The Devil’s Whore, it does not a happy storyline. It’s one of those painful storylines where everything that can go wrong for the characters will go wrong. The first series followed Angelica Fanshawe throughout the 1600s, under the reign of King Charles I. The other central characters are historical figures like Edward Sexby, Oliver Cromwell and Thomas Rainsborough.

New Worlds takes place years later and follows Angelica’s daughter Beth under the reign of King Charles II and spans from Oxfordshire to the colonies in Massachusetts. Like its predecessor, it’s bleak and violent and sad and frustrating. But for those who like historical costume dramas that are well acted and beautifully shot, these shows are definitely worth your time! Freya Mavor steals every scene she’s in – she’s so wonderful and captivating! I’ve loved Mavor since Skins, and she was so good in Il était une seconde fois with Gaspard Ulliel. Jamie Dornan is great as always, as is Joe Dempsie!

Show Review: 그 남자의 기억법 (Find Me in Your Memory) [2020]

It seems that I’m chronically incapable of watching one kdrama at a time. I must watch many at a time. Every time. My Netflix recommendations become entirely Korean television every time I start a new one. So of course when I started Lovestruck in the City, I also started Find Me in Your Memory (I’m also finishing up It’s Okay to Not Be Okay, because I still haven’t finished that one yet, oops). But FMIYM is just piling on the angst and romance and I’m here for it in every way possible. Totally distracted by this fabulous show now.

The series follows Lee Jung-hoon, a news anchor with hyperthymesia, who lost his girlfriend years ago. During an interview on his show, he meets Yeo Ha-jin, a famous actress with a bad memory and a huge online following. She throws him through a loop when she quotes his dead girlfriend’s favourite saying at him on live television, not realising how she remembers it. Freaking out, Jung-hoon instantly tries to distance himself from Ha-jin, but the news – and all her social media followers – clamp on to their encounter and rumours instantly spread that the pair are dating. Ha-jin is delighted by the rumour, but Jung-hoon is anything but pleased and tells her that they can’t see each other again.

Yeah, cos that’s going to last long. They make it, like, half an episode? (/◕ヮ◕)/

Everything gets even more tense when it’s revealed that Ha-jin has a stalker who wants Jung-hoon out of the picture. (And sends lots of creepy pictures to him. Like, whoa.) Despite wanting distance between them, Jung-hoon immediately becomes protective of Ha-jin (yus) and frets about her safety as the storyline unfolds and the drama ramps up. Protective boyfriends for the win!

I’m not too familiar with Kim Dong-wook, but he’s a great actor and I’m totally sold on Jung-hoon. Moon Ga-young is absolutely stunning and steals every scene she’s in. Seriously, she’s amazing. And the chemistry between Jung-hoon and Ha-jin is off the charts! I also love the relationship between Ha-jin and Yeo Ha-kyung, her little sister/manager. They’re adorable together! And Ha-kyung is so protective of her sister. Gotta love the sisterhood in this one!

Show Review: 도시남녀의 사랑법 (Lovestruck in the City) [2021]

Ji Chang-wook has been one of my favourite actors for a while now, so I was absolutely delighted when 도시남녀의 사랑법 (Lovestruck in the City) appeared on Netflix. The K2 is one of my tippy toppy I-love-it-so-much action/bodyguard shows (seriously WATCH ITTTTTTTTTTTT) and Ji Chang-wook is honestly phenomenal in everything I’ve seen him in thus far. (Suspicious Partner gave me ALL THE FEELS, M’KAY?!) I wasn’t wholly sold on the interview/documentary style format that LITC opened with, but it grew on me after a couple of episodes and the show really picks up with every episode. The interviews are mostly at the start of the episodes, so if that’s not your thing, don’t worry. Most of the show isn’t centred on the interviews. They’re more like prompts for the flashbacks or for setting the scenes. The show goes back and forth between the present and past, with the central characters being interviewed about love, relationships, sex, etc. Some of their answers are seriously hilarious.

The main character, Park Jae-won, is a surfer and architect, who fell in love with ‘Yoon Seon-a’ years ago, but after a whirlwind romance of two months by the seaside surfing and cooking and exchanging rings, she disappears, leaving Jae-won heartbroken and bewildered. You quickly learn that ‘Seon-a’ is actually Lee Eun-oh, who was lying about her name the entire time she was with Jae-won. You find out why slowly, while their friends’ relationships are interwoven into the storyline.

I really love Jae-won’s character. He’s just such a decent bloke. He loves Seon-a/Eun-oh so much and is so endearingly earnest about it. I adore characters who are sincere and genuine. It’s impossible not to root for him throughout the series. Eun-oh’s a great character, too, but I definitely felt a bit miffed by her lies. Poor, poor Jae-won.

I don’t know how it all ends yet, as the show has a couple more episodes to go, but for anyone who likes contemporary romance, this one is definitely worth watching! It’s on Netflix, with episodes being added weekly! The soundtrack is great, too!

Show Review: Alias (2001)

Oh man, I’ve forgotten how much I love this show. It’s been years since I’ve watched it and it totally holds up. Sydney Bristow working as a double agent to avenge her fiancé and uncover the secrets that her father’s been working on unearthing for decades. Aaaaaaaaaaaaah. It’s so good!

This is the show that first introduced me to Jennifer Garner and Gina Torres and Merrin Dungey and Mía Maestro and Bradley Cooper and Michael Vartan and David Anders and just OH MY GOSH THE WHOLE CAST IS GREAT. I knew Victor Garber from Legally Blonde, but his character in this is EONS better. It’s also the show that first introduced me to J. J. Abrams’ work.

What I love about this show is how every episode takes place in a different part of the world, with Sydney getting to embody all different kinds of disguises. Sydney is really the heart and soul of this show and is such an icon, honestly. Her relationship with Vaughn is literal OTP material, too, and they were one of my first ships.

I’m only on season one of my rewatch, but I’m so excited to get to the drama that is season three and the fallout of the season two finale – if you watched it, you know what plotline I mean. I don’t think there’s been a show to fill this one’s shoes in all the years since. This one and Buffy are just enduringly fantastic.

Top Horror TV Shows

Hannibal (2013) – The show that prompted me to do this list. I wish it had a fourth season! Bryan Fuller’s television shows all need to be longer. (Justice for Pushing Daisies, anyone?!) The acting in this series is phenomenal. Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy have always been two of my favourite actors and getting them in the same show was just wonderful. I know there’s talk of a fourth season on going, so there’s still hope! This show is downright horrifying, but it’s so well done with the atmosphere and twists and music. All of it adds to the spooky factor.

Bates Motel (2013) – [longer review] – Hands down one of my all time favourites, even if it really does leave you feel disastrously blue by the end. These poor characters get put through the ringer again and again and again. Dylan is definitely my favourite of the characters, but the actors are all so fabulous even when the characters leave you reeling.

The Exorcist (2016) – [longer review] – TWO SEASONS IS NOT ENOUGH. There were so many things to like about this show. Again, the characters. I just loved the two priests who were the mains, but the side characters were all great, too.

Zone Blanche (2017) – [longer review] – The fact that this ends on more or less a cliffhanger drives me barmy. It’s just so good!! Still, even if the storylines aren’t wholly wrapped up, I still recommend giving it a whirl. A very ~misty small town noir~ type of horror.

The X-Files (1993) – A classic. An original. Perfection. I feel like X-Files straddles the line of sci-fi/horror well, but so many of the episodes are utterly disconcerting or scary that it just has to be on the list. Mulder and Scully are such heroes and, of course, totally meant for each other ♡♡♡

Supernatural (2005) – Very much the legacy of The X-Files and one of my favourite shows growing up. I have no doubt that Supernatural will become a classic, too. I think it’s also now the longest fantasy show? I could be wrong, but it’s up there! Now, I can’t speak for the later seasons, but I pretty much stopped watching after season five, which was the original planned ending, but the early seasons are so perfectly done. So spooky. Just fabulous.

Fear the Walking Dead (2015) – [longer review] – Yes, I liked it more than The Walking Dead. I never thought I would. But I like the multi-country focus of TWD. I liked the focus on family. There’s great diversity/rep. We see more of the world of TWD than we got to see in the original. While I think season one of TWD is phenomenal, it lost me somewhere along the way. Too many of my favourite characters died. I still like it, but I think FTWD is that little bit more my preference. I still have to catch up on this one, but so far it’s my favourite of the universe. I haven’t really tried World Beyond, but I’m sure I will eventually.

Slasher (2016) – [longer review] – Scared. The. Crap. Out. Of. Me. I originally gave it a go because of Katie McGrath, but it’s also very well written and keeps you on the edge of your seat. I haven’t watched the other seasons (it’s an anthology), but I’ve heard good things! It’s still on my list to be finished.

Review Roundup

Wanted (2016) is a gripping television show set in Australia. Lola is a single mother with a job she hates and a boss who treats her like crap; Chelsea is a wealthy accountant with a stealing problem. While the pair wait at a bus stop, a car rolls up and knocks into the side. Just as they start helping the unconscious driver, another car arrives and two men jump out wearing masks. A fight ensues that leaves one of the men dead, with the other man forcing Lola and Chelsea into the boot of the car.

While the women try and convince him to let them go, the police try and figure out what happened at the bus stop and whether the women are involved as accomplices or as victims. When Chelsea manages to break away from their kidnapper and call the police, the women expect help to arrive – but the cop who shows up kills their kidnapper and then tries to kill them. Terrified, the pair flee. On the radio, they learn that they’re being blamed for the murders and decide to keep running. Very quickly, a much larger story unfolds as the women try to outsmart the men chasing them and find out why they’re being framed.

This is such a good action/mystery/drama. Lola and Chelsea are fantastically well actualised characters and as their story unfolds, they become unlikely friends. Good cop Josh, trying to unravel the crime that his boss is in on is wonderful, too. If you like shows that centre on friendship, this is definitely the one for you. Lola and Chelsea have fantastic growth and the actresses are brilliant!

I can’t wait to see how season two shapes up!

All five of these were arcs from Netgalley

Mouse Music by Suzan Overmeer is the first a few ARCs that I requested recently. This is a lovely kids book about keeping an open mind to others, told through the perspective of a mouse violinist. I adored the art style and the message was lovely. A great book for young kids!

Pitter, Patter, Goes the Rain by Ellen Delange. I absolutely loved this art style! It’s so cute! The story has a lovely rhyming structure and the pictures draw you right in! Great book for kids.

Tales of the Lost Horizon by Michael Eging is another ARC. The cover is just so lovely and I’m a big poetry fan.

I sit alone to contemplate
the workings of a muse.
Yet the pages still seem blank,
I wonder what’s the use.

This is a collection of poetry, short stories and artwork which was so well done. Seriously, the illustrations are fantastic. Definitely worth checking out for those who like fantasy collections and mixed poetry/prose/art.

Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley is going to be awesome, I just know it. I received a free excerpt and it looks to be a smashing début. This book opens with some great prose and a quickly engaging plot. Boulley’s writing is superb! I’m not going to rate it until I can read the whole thing, but I’m definitely excited to see how the whole book turns out! Native American folklore is something we need much more of in books and this one looks to be a fantastic read!

Big and Little by Yang Hang. Oh goodness, these raccoons are TOO PRECIOUS. What a lovely little book for kids about patience and friendship.

I have also been inhaling comic books recently! There are so many good ones online that I’ve discovered, so I’m going to share quite a few recommendations!

The Old Guard is by far one of my top superhero stories. I saw the film first (and have rewatched it OF COURSE), but I missed the characters and wanted to try out the comics. They have the same vibe and are just awesome. *waits impatiently for movie two*

Rock and Riot WAS SO FUCKING CUTE. EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS ONE RIGHT NOW.

Jackson’s Diary looks like it’s going to be super cute. It’s just beginning as a webcomic, so I’m curious to see where it goes!

I was really surprised by Priya’s Shakti. I downloaded it because the artwork was very eye-catching, but it ended up having a very important message. The comic is about women’s rights and the horrors of rape culture.

Jupiter’s Circle is an LGBT centric superhero tale set in the McCarthy/Lavender Scare era when persecution was well under way. Curious to see how this unfolds, but I’m nervous it’s gonna be super depressing 😥 

The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal IS AMAZING AND WONDERFUL AND EVERYONE SHOULD READ IT.

Novae is a historical fiction comic.

Show Review: The Mandalorian (2019)

The Mandalorian is probably my favourite Star Wars universe creation thus far. I grew up with the films and I’ve always loved them, but the Jedi sometimes drive me mad. Like, a lot of their methods are just useless or outdated, or they keep making bad decisions that apparently no one’s allowed to question. The Jedi are often downright frustrating. (But I will not hear a word against Luke Skywalker, star prince of the universe, m’kay?) What I’ve loved about the standalone films (Rogue One and Solo are awesome, honestly) and The Mandalorian is the focus on other parts of the solar system and on characters that aren’t Jedi. I’M SO HERE FOR IT.

Din Djarin, aka Mando, is one of my favourite characters in the whole SW universe, if not my favourite. I don’t know if I like the Mandalorians as a group, but Mando is so fantastic. He sticks to the Mandalorian code, but largely follows his own path, and his relationship with Grogu, aka ‘the child’, is just lovely. GROGU IS HIS SON END OF. They are just two precious pears and I love the father/son dynamic of the show. (Obviously very different from the previous father v son dynamic of Vader and Luke).

Getting to see the different planets in the galaxy, learning about the people on the ground who have been swept up in the Empire/Jedi battles, seeing all the new creatures – it’s fascinating. The show is like Star Wars, but make it Firefly + Lost in Space. It’s also wonderfully diverse and well fleshed out. The cinematography is amazing. Also the art at the end?!!? So gorgeous!

Has anyone else watched this one yet? Isn’t it fabulous? PEDRO PASCAL FOR ALL THE AWARDS.