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.

Show Review: Outer Banks (2020) & Somewhere Between (2017)

For anyone missing Friday Night Lights (2006) or The OC (2003), allow me to direct you to Outer Banks (2020). It has that older style of camera work, too. That very quiet style. I don’t even know how to describe it. The colours are muted, there’s no CGI, everything looks normal. I really like it. The style is super relaxed. Fitting, as the show starts out in a chill seaside town. IT’S. SO. PRETTY.

The storyline follows ‘the Pogues’, a group of boys and one girl after they learn about a sunken treasure ship and try to find both the gold and the missing father of the main guy, John B. The Pogues are at odds with the rich kids of the island and spend their time on the water or working. The hunt for gold and John B’s father brings everyone together – or pushes them even further apart.

The friendships really make the show for me. JJ was my favourite of the characters. He’s incredibly loyal to John B, Pope and Kie. Sarah, the rich girl who ends up befriending John B and getting closer to all of them, grew on me throughout the series as well. And Pope and Kie were both great. Overall, the friendships are what solidified my love for this show and the ending to season one was awesome! It’s been renewed for a second season and I’m excited to see where it goes.

The other show I want to recommend is Somewhere Between. OH. MY. GOSH. It’s based on a Korean drama I haven’t seen (but now I must!), 신의 선물 – 14일 (2014). And apparently it’s the first American show to adapt a Kdrama?! What?! The first?! This is one where it’s sooooo hard not to look up the ending and spoil yourself. I am so happy I gave this one a chance, though! Devon Sawa has been one of my favourite actors since I was a kid and watched Wild America (1997) twenty-five times a year. (Maybe an exaggeration. Maybe.) He was also in Nikita (2010), which was such an underrated gem!

[You can’t really talk about this show without spoiling some things, so SPOILER ALERT for the first episode, mostly. Minor spoilers for second episode. Trigger warning for mention of character death and character suicide attempt.]

This one is very intricate and intense. The plot centres around Laura, Nico and Tom. Tom is the District Attorney, Nico is a former cop with a brother on death row, and Laura is Tom’s loving wife and mother of their daughter Serena. In the first episode, Serena befriends Ruby, Nico’s niece, while Nico’s mum begs Laura to get her husband to re-examine Danny’s case (the brother on death row). The mum is convinced of his innocence, but it was Nico who testified against him as the victim he’s been accused of killing was Nico’s girlfriend). The talk doesn’t prove successful, but Serena and Ruby become good friends.

Nights later, as Nico’s family falls apart, Serena is kidnapped. Tom and Laura do everything they can to find her, but fail. Nico learns about Serena’s death on the news – the same moment he learns that her death is being used to re-open the death penalty in their area and that his brother is going to be executed shortly. [The first episode is really grim, but if you hang in there, there’s a twist coming.]

The day Danny’s to be executed, Laura attempts suicide at the exact same time, and Nico is jumped by a gang and thrown off a dock – also at the same time. He sees Laura in the water and manages to cut himself free and drag her to shore, but he’s heartbroken to realise that he missed his brother’s execution. Both go home distraught.

Yet when Laura returns home, she finds Serena and Tom waiting for her. WAIT, WHAT?! Yep. It’s three months in the past, Serena is alive, Danny is alive, and everything is playing out exactly the same way as before. The only two people who know what’s going to happen – or rather, who remember what happened the first time – are Laura and Nico. The pair decide to team up to save both Serena and Danny. AND THAT’S ONLY THE START OF EPISODE TWO.

I won’t say any more, but trust me, this one is definitely worth your time! It starts out really grim, but it becomes more action/mystery after episode one.

Show Review: A Discovery of Witches (season two, 2021), Deadwind (2018), Little Fires Everywhere (2020)

It’s been a week of new awesome shows and I thought I’d share my thoughts on some of them.

A Discovery of Witches season two is here at last! I absolutely adored season one and have been waiting impatiently for season two ever since finishing it. (My review of the show; my review of the book.) Season two sees Diana and Matthew time-travelling to 1590 where they find themselves involved with Christopher Marlow, Queen Elizabeth, Shakespeare, Walter Raleigh and more! I’m absolutely in love with the costumes – and of course Diana and Matthew have more chemistry than I could have possibly imagined. Watch it!

Deadwind aka Karppi is a Finnish crime drama. I love Nordic noir and this one is another brilliant addition. (Although few compare to Zone Blanche and Øyevitne). This one follows recently widowed detective Sofia Karppi and her new partner Sakari Nurmi after they find a body on a planned building site. The investigation isn’t as gripping for me as Øyevitne and Zone Blanche, but what I love about this one is the focus on the characters and their lives and development. Karppi and Nurmi have such a great progression from hating each other to tolerating each other to becoming friends, and I can’t wait to see how season one wraps up!

Little Fires Everywhere is another one I’ve just started. I haven’t read the book it’s based on, but I will watch pretty much anything with Reese Witherspoon and/or Joshua Jackson! My favs! Unfortunately, I’m really struggling to like the characters in this one. At least the main characters. Their kids are all great, but the adults are just so frustrating! I feel like that’s the point, but it’s definitely a struggle not screaming at my television when they get annoying. That said, the plot is enthralling, so I’m watching on.

What’s everyone else watching?

Review Round Up

New year, new reads, new shows.

I started off the new year by reading a few comic books and finishing Sylvester by Georgette Heyer, narrated by Richard Armitage. I’ve been having a hard time focusing on longer reads at the minute, simply because I have so much to do, so short reads and audibooks are very helpful right now.

I really enjoyed Oddly Normal, which has adorable illustrations and a fairly sad storyline; Die!Die!Die! was intriguing. It’s by the same author as The Walking Dead and has gruesome opener, but looks to be really interesting. I’m curious to see where it goes! Has anyone read any of these?

I also started two new TV series: Young Wallander and The Alienist. I adored them both and cannot recommend The Alienist enough. Dakota Fanning, Luke Evans and Daniel Brühl make a fantastic trio! The mystery is intense and fairly un-guessable, which is something I’ve been waiting for. The costumes are gorgeous as well. Everything about the show is well done, honestly. If you enjoy dark mysteries, this one is enthralling.

Young Wallander is based a Swedish book series and was brilliantly done. I love the whole cast and thought it ended well. It has a second series coming, I believe, so the few things that weren’t wrapped up I’m assuming will be addressed in the coming season.