‘I like the way you speak words’ – Final Space, 2018

Good Monday everyone! How are we all this fine day? This week I start back at uni, to begin my teacher training – but don’t worry, I won’t forget about you. I will keep posting here! I’m in the process of setting myself up a youtube channel over here where I’ll be talking about my love for all things ‘comic’, (like I do here), as well as how to juggle teaching and life! I want to tell you guys all about my training and how I cope!
This weeks review is from a show that came to Netflix a few weeks ago, but I’ve only just got around to reviewing it. It seemed like everything came out at the same time, and I had to prioritise what to watch and review whilst writing my dissertation. Well, now that’s all out of the way, I bring you a review of a great cartoon – Final Space. 

 

Gary Godspeed is an astronaut, who was imprisoned upon the Galaxy One, a prison

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The Gang saving the day – Final Space, Netflix, 2018

ship in which he is basically held in solitary confinement. One day he encounters Mooncake, a small green alien that says “chookitty” a lot. For some reason (obviously explained in the show) Mooncake is wanted by the evil alien, the Lord Commander – so he can get to ‘Final Space.’ Gary and Mooncake, along with other friends Gary meets – Avocato and Quinn to name two – to discover what on Earth (haha, unintended space joke) ‘Final Space’ actually is.

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Quinn and Tribore investigating something for The Infinity Guard – Final Space, Netflix, 2018

Let’s just jump right into it. I really liked Final Space. So much that I binged it as quickly as possible. What I am enjoying about adult cartoons at the moment is the fact that, like with Disenchantment, they’re easy to watch as well as touching on real life issues. Gary is completely head over heels in love with Quinn, even though he met her for five minutes, five years ago. The series explores Gary’s feelings on a grand scale. He’s the unlikely protagonist – a man who is honestly emotionally unhinged. He’s gone stir-crazy on the ship with nothing but KVN (an annoying robot who eats all his cookies), the worker bots (who all try to just kill him) and HUE (an AI who is basically his jail-guard). His emotions are plain to see and are raw, you know exactly what’s going on even though he’s a 2D cartoon. God, have I missed good 2D cartoons. Now-a-days we rely too much on 3D rendering, when most good shows can get across their message without the CGI graphics.
The ending was a bit meh, though. Like… it was definitely trying to tell people it was a cliffhanger. It was just a really… disappointing one.

You should watch Final Space. It wouldn’t take you very long to do at all, and you’ll love the characters as much as I do. It’s an easy watch, that doesn’t fail to interest the audience in what ‘Final Space’ actually is.

[Header Image: Final Space, Netflix, 2018]

‘Singing While Working isn’t Happiness… It’s Mental Illness’ – Disenchantment, 2018

Hey everyone! How are we all on this lovely, and probably rainy, bank holiday? I’m currently at the ‘St. Albans Vegan Fair’, enjoying some dairy free chocolate. I like vegan chocolate. Don’t at me.
This weeks review is about a new show on Netflix, from a well known creator – none other than The Simpsons’ Matt Groening. We’ve had the modern day (with said Simpsons), the future (with Futurama) and now the past – with Disenchantment. Without further ado – here we go! (It’s a short but sweet one this week!)

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Riding out of town – Disenchantment, Netflix, 2018

Set in the medieval fantasy kingdom of Dreamland, the series follows the story of Bean (Tiabeanie, who knows what made her parents choose that), a rebellious and alcoholic princess, her, frankly stupid, elf companion Elfo (so named as he is an elf, and the male tradition with names is adding an -o to the end, seems to be a -y with females) and her “personal demon” Luci. Antics etc ensue.

 

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Princess Tiabeanie on her throne – Disenchantment, Netflix, 2018

I like The Simpsons. Even new episodes. I like Futurama. There’s nothing that’s going to make me hate this show. Matt Groening is an icon of mine, and I have loved his work since I was a child.
There’s been a lot of complaints about this not being as good or as funny as either of the predecessors. With that argument, I point people back to when Futurama first aired. People slated it. Then they loved it. That will happen with this. Bean is one of the most relatable characters Groening has created in my opinion – everyone’s been a teen that hates their parents at some point.
Unlike its sister-shows, it’s story goes from one episode to the next. You can’t dip in and out. I actually think this is a blessing, and not a curse. For one, it means everyone watches it all. But two, it means it gives the show a nice continuity that it wouldn’t have had before. I love a series that entangles it’s narrative over more than one episode.

Also the plot is made with it’s one liners. Such as that of the title. Elfo is pure hilarity. I don’t want to spoil any of the plot, but each bit is juicy and gorgeous to watch. It’s just good tele. Good binge watching.

Go. Binge. It’ll take you less than a day. It’s the bank holiday! Go do it!

Have you seen Disenchantment? What did you think? Better, worse or equal to it’s sister-shows? Leave a comment down below. 

‘He touched her hoo-hoo!’ – Insatiable, 2018

Good Monday, everyone! Sorry I’ve been a bit awol recently, but I am back! Don’t you worry!
As I said before, I’ve been doing a lot of binging television whilst I’ve written my dissertation. That is now all done (scary times!) so I am here, enjoying a nice break! I can finally enjoy summer!
As I said last week, I’ve been watching a lot of series and Insatiable was the first one. I have a few bones to pick – not with it. With it’s hate. This will be a different review than I usually do. I won’t be going into the story of the show, but how the story has caused so much controversy.

Let’s start with the headlines. Here is a selection of three; From Buzzfeed and Popbuzz. They all hate on the show.

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The Netflix Poster – Insatiable, CW/Netflix, 2018

They are incredibly unhelpful. This is my issue with sensationalist media; if it’s not PC in any way, it’s the devil. As someone who was a bigger girl, and has lost a lot of weight, I resonated a lot with Patty. I too have wanted revenge for the bullying I have had. Patty has some obvious mental health issues mixed in with this all – she used food as a comfort, and that gets taken away from her.
One of the main issues people have with this show is that it apparently tries to tell the audience that being fat is bad for you. But honestly, I’m not sure we can argue that it’s good for us. The Western world is more obese than ever, even our children are obese, and that is not good. Obesity leads to all kinds of health risks, so when I see people who are massive, not just chubby or a little overweight, but massive, tell me that they refuse to help themselves, even after a doctor has said they need to – it really gets to me. I was only few stone over weight and I was struggling to get up the stairs, I can’t imagine how overweight children feel.

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Debby Ryan in a fat suit, being bullied as Patty – Insatiable, CW/Netflix, 2018

I think what people forget with this type of sensationalist show is that exact word – it is sensationalist. It’s out to start a controversy, a discussion. It’s also important to remember that this is a CW show – it is aimed at teenagers, like Riverdale. It has some of the same issues tackled as Riverdale (underage sex, having to grow up too quickly). I unfortunately think that this is a case of ‘if there’s something to hate – let’s hate it’. Perhaps it tried to tackle too many issues all at once, but I’m not angry at it. The show’s producer, Lauren Gussis, experienced this fat-shaming herself, whilst at school, but because she’s skinny now, people think she’s not allowed to tell this story. That’s completely unfair to her own narrative. We forget that this is how she was treated, and she’s getting that out there.
Debby Ryan, who plays Patty, said that “We knew that this conversation [about weight] needed to be had. We knew that this societal brokenness needed to be addressed, but we didn’t know how badly it needed to be addressed.”

I for one am glad they addressed it. I hope that more teen dramas highlight issues like this, and continue to give them in a controversial way.

Did you watch Insatiable? What did you think? Do you agree with me or disagree – love it or hate it? I would love to hear your thoughts! Leave a comment down below! 

 

‘Liv, you ate the girl’s temporal lobe. Going to the police with her potential murderer is the least you can do’ – iZombie, 2015-Present

Happy Monday everyone! It’s me, I’m back! How is everyone doing? Well, I hope. For anyone curious, I passed my maths test so no more revision needed for me! Which means a lot of binge watching has been going on! Without further ado, I want to talk to you about my new obsession – iZombie.

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The whole cast, from left to right; Peyton, Clive, Ravi, Blaine, Major and Liv – iZombie, The CW, 2015 – Present

iZombie is about a Seattle medical resident Olivia “Liv” Moore, who is turned into a zombie while attending a boat party. Liv isn’t like our stereotypical zombie, not stupid or wandering aimlessly. In fact she’s got more abilities as a zombie than when she was a human. Liv decides to take a job at the police morgue and eat the brains of the corpses she autopsies. Her boss, Ravi, finds out her secret when he caught her feasting on a brain of on of the victims. Soon he becomes Liv’s friend and confidant, and as a scientist, he is intrigued by her condition. She finds out that whenever she eats a dead person’s brain, she temporarily inherits some of their personality and experiences flashbacks of that person’s life. In the case of murder victims, the flashbacks offer clues about the killer. Liv decides to use this new ability to help Clive solve crimes. Though she initially passes herself off as a psychic, Clive eventually learns the truth about her and zombies. Meanwhile, Ravi works to develop a cure for Liv’s affliction, in the hope that one day she will be able to resume her human life.

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Liv Moore, a pun on the words “Live More”, our protagonist – iZombie, The CW, 2015 – Present

What I love about iZombie is how interesting each of the characters are. I haven’t watched a single episode where I haven’t thought “I can’t wait to find out what happens next!” I will be sad when my binge watching gets to the end, when I run out of episodes and have to wait for season 5 to air sometime next year.
There are probably a couple characters that do annoy me. For example, Major’s moods change like the wind. His love for Liv is there one minute and the next he thinks she’s insane. I kind of felt like he wasn’t realistic – but that may be the idea.
My favourite characters are by far Ravi and Peyton, who have come into their own in the storyline. I think they’re better main characters than our actual main couple!
Along the way Liv meets other zombies, including Blaine DeBeers. I think he’s a great antagonist, who actually has his own story ark. He’s not just a bad guy for bad guys sake. He has reasons for being bad, which are really compelling to watch.

I think The CW do some really good shows. I’ve loved pretty much all of them I’ve seen; Riverdale, Reign, Gossip Girl. They’re right up my street.

Have you seen iZombie? What did you think? Love it or hate it? Who’s your favourite character? If you haven’t seen it, would you? Leave a comment down below.

 

 

‘Will you help me into my Birthday Suit?’ – Steven Universe, 2013 – Present

Hello everyone! Happy Monday! It’s another swelter of a week, and we 100% need some rain or I think we’ll all melt into small puddles soon! If only British houses had air-con!
As I’ve been writing a really long dissertation, I’ve been watching stuff in the background. Today’s show is one that I’ve had on the radar for a very long time, but Season 1 has only just been put onto Netflix (I know it’s on other stuff, such as Sky, so will be catching up the rest there)! So this won’t be a review of a recent season, but just the show and characters as a whole! And only from what I’ve seen so far! Don’t worry – I am catching up!
Without further ado – here comes Steven Universe!

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The Crystal Gems – Steven Universe, Cartoon Network, 2013 – Present

Steven Universe is a young boy who lives with the Crystal Gems – magical ladies (with magical powers) from a magical different planet named Pearl, Garnet and Amethyst. This all takes place in the fictional town of Beach City. Steven, a gem fusion of his mother (Rose Quartz) and his human father (Greg Universe) adventures with his friends and helps the Gems protect the world from their own kind.
Whilst this show may seem like it is for children, as with any other Cartoon Network show, it tackles hard hitting subjects (acceptance, LBGT+ rights, race alienation). Seeing the world through Steven’s eyes shows us, as the audience, that we are just as naive as he is on these kind of things. He’s walking through a world he feels he has no place being in.

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Our main foursome – Steven Universe, Cartoon Network, 2013 – Present

Steven Universe is a really easy watch. Each episode is only 10-ish minutes long, which means that you can literally binge watch a load in an hour. I have gotten through quite a lot in the past couple days, because I’ve just had them on in the background.
What I like about this show is the different personalities the Gems have. Although we have seen doubles of Gems (Rubies being the most prevalent), the Crystal Gems have their own personalities away from them.
The Gem’s abilities are also really cool. For instance, Lapis being able to control the oceans, Amethyst has her whip (also her story is very sad, just saying). And that, although there are lots of pearls etc. they all have their gems in different places, giving them their own personalities.
It is also interesting to see the Gem hierarchy on HomeWorld compared to how the Crystal Gems don’t have one.
Honestly, I’m loving every minute.

I can’t tell you to watch this enough. Though it’s mind numbing, I love the cute art style and I love the story it’s trying to tell.

Have you seen Steven Universe? What did you think of it? Do you like it or not? Leave a comment down below! 

What I’ve been watching on TV, Summer 2018

Good Monday everyone! Just a quick one this week, as I’m super busy! Currently writing an MA dissertation and working alongside! It’s made my life a little crazy at the moment! I’m going to do a quick post about what I’ve been watching at the moment! As I’m writing, I like to have something in the background, which means a lot of tele (great view of it from my bed!) All of these shows are on Sky, as it’s what’s connected to my television! So either a terrestrial or Sky Atlantic subscription required for these! Without further ado, here we go!

SPOILERS AHEAD! 

 

Westworld, Season 2

 

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Westworld, HBO, 2017 – Present

Let’s start with a familiar one, shall we? Westworld is a crazy tv show about robots, which flashes back between the present, the future and the past (super over simplified, I know.) It’s based off of the original movie, but it goes into much more detail about the uprising of robot to human. We find out about the code Ford implemented in them, this season, and that he expected things to go this way. It’s a little confusing at times, and occasionally I watch this thinking “This is such a lovely story, but it can’t be told like this.” But honestly, it’s such a pretty show… I love it. People need to see it.

Humans, Season 3

 

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Humans, Channel 4, 2015 – Present

 

Still on the robot human relationship, Humans is about synths that live amongst humans. In this season, the orange eyed humans have taken over the jobs of the green ones, (a virus/code has given the green eyed robots humanity, and so the real humans have no one do to their chores anymore!
This is a show shows a big debate between humans and robots, if robots should be given the same rights as ‘real’ humanity. It’s very interesting to watch this unravel in a world set in the exact same year as ours. It’s very interesting to watch, and the parallels it draws to our lives. Again – give it a watch!

Patrick Melrose, Mini Series 1

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Patrick Melrose, Sky Atlantic/Showtime, 2018 

Patrick Melrose is the oddest tv show I have watched. An adaptation of Edward St Aubyn’s books (which are based on his growing up) and stars some big British stars (Benedict Cumberbatch, Jessica Raine etc.), it is basically an hour a week of a drug addled frenzy. I paused halfway through as I was so unsure how I felt about it, but have carried on to watch the rest. It’s actually quite good now it’s in the last episode. Perhaps I wasn’t mixing well with it because I wasn’t alive in the 80s, so didn’t understand how his life was working back then? It’s quite a hard watch, with the amount of drugs and abuse that happens in his life, but has made me want to read the books! So that’s a plus, right?

The Handmaid’s Tale, Season 2

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Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu/Channel 4, 2017 – Present

This was big hype last year, and for good reason. I’m glad they’ve brought it back for another year – it’s a world that’s super interesting. I was worried in the first series that there would be some kind of agenda in the show, but there isn’t, which makes me super happy. It means that it’s approachable for everyone to watch! The dystopian world that Gilead is terrifies me. As a woman, the idea of being forced to have someone else’s child because I may or may not have commited a sin (these include June, the main character, who married a man who had been in a previous relationship, or another handmaid who was a lesbian). The religious elements to this show indicate how bad things can become if we just listen to one doctrine above the rest, putting books and laws before humanity, can be detrimental to everyone. It’s not just women that are oppressed either, men are too! Whilst women who were ‘bad’ are made into handmaids, men are forced to go off to war, a war which probably makes little sense to them! As with everything else – worth a watch!

Poldark, Season 4 

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Poldark, BBC, 2015 – Present

As with every other British woman, we are super happy when Poldark is back! Set in the late 18th Century, it tells the story of a man named Ross Poldark, who comes back from the American Revolutionary war to chaos at home! This season tells of the story of Demelza cheating on Ross (after he did the same to her last season). Both still love each other, but have struggled to be around each other, with temptation coming for them from every angle. I have loved this show since the beginning, and keep promising myself that I will watch it all the way through again! I can still recall the night that Ross and Demelza got together! I really hope that they do every book in the series (it’s an adaptation of the Winston Graham novels), just so I can get more of it. If you love a good bit of historical adaptation, then go watch!

There we go! There’s what I’ve been watching! I really recommend every show on this list, even if you just give them a go! You never know, you might love every episode!

Have you seen anything on this list? What do you think of them? Love or hate them? Leave a comment down below! 

‘Danger, Will Robinson’- Lost in Space, 2018

Happy Monday everyone! How was our weeks this week? Assignments are nearly all done, and I am getting all ready to enjoy some time off before starting my dissertation. Going to enjoy the sun whilst I can! I binge watched Lost in Space this week, whilst I was writing and dying in the heatwave we’ve been having this week (Hope you’ve all been drinking to stay hydrated!)
Without further ado, here is my thoughts on Lost in Space!

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Family round the table, discussing some plan or another – Lost in Space, Netflix, 2018

Lost in Space is a 2018 reimagining of the 1965 show of the same name, with all the characters having the same name too – but slightly different jobs. This is the 21st Century after all! An object, dubbed “The Christmas Star” crashes into Earth and threatens to wipe out humanity (we see Maureen and Penny wearing gas masks in one scene). Maureen begins to work on the team that works on the “Resolute”, a way off of planet Earth and to find a new colony on another planet – No this isn’t Star Trek, I promise. Though “No Man” has “boldly gone” this way. The Robinson family is selected for the 24th mission off of Earth, but before they reach their destination, an alien robot breaches the Resolute’s hull. Colonists crash land on a habitable nearby planet where they attempt to find a way back to their ship.

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Will and his Robot. Danger – Lost in Space, Netflix, 2018

I loved every moment of this show, like every moment… okay that’s a slight lie, but I’ll explain in a second. This will be easier if I just talk about character here, so off we go! (We’ll go in reverse age order!)
Will is probably the most traumatised kid in the whole of the universe. Everything just seems to go wrong for him, and he doesn’t cope with stress well (you’ll see what I mean when you watch it). I think he was a perfect addition to the family. Without him we won’t have the Robot, and he grows through his metal friend.
Penny has some of the best lines in the whole series, she’s just like her Mum in her free-spirited-ness. But obviously, Penny can be a bit more carefree than her mum. I don’t remember when it was, but at one point I had to pause the show because I was laughing so hard at something she said.

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Maureen and John on the planet they never name – Lost in Space, Netflix, 2018

Judy, the eldest of the Robinson kids, is a super smart 18 year old girl. Like her brother, she’s taken on the family trait of super intelligence. But they’re very different – Judy is much more like her Dad than anyone. Which is obviously a talking point for the show.
Maureen and John have a tumultuous relationship to say the least. They were barely talking when they left Earth, and being shoved together could either be a detriment to them or  could help them fix their issues. I was so committed to their relationship throughout. I will say their parenting skills need a little work though.
Dr Smith is the antagonist, like the original show. I kinda wished I didn’t hear so much about her back story though. That’s the one issue I had from earlier. But that’s it. So that’s really good.

To all you who saw the original show, you’ll still love this. It doesn’t feel like it’s trying to be a remake of either that or the movie. I loved every second.

Have you seen Lost in Space? What was your thoughts? Love or hate it? Think it’s just another remake? Leave a comment down below!

[Header Image: Lost in Space, Netflix, 2018]

 

‘ My name is Gene. I’m a MEH emoji.’ – The Emoji Movie, 2017

Good Monday everyone! How are we all? As you guys know, I’m bogged down with a lot of work and assignments, so I will be giving you a short review today. I am someone that works with noise in the background, which means I watch a lot of movies that come out of Sky, Netflix, Amazon or any other streaming site I have a subscription to. I tend to come across a lot of awful movies, and trust me this one is *awful*. Without further ado, here we have The Emoji Movie.

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This was a thing! – The Emoji Movie, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 2017

The Emoji Movie is a pile of gar- no wait… I should at least try give you guys a non bias review… at least give this thing a chance…
Let me start over… *clears throat*
The Emoji Movie is an animation, much like any other we see in this day and age, based on the trend of emojis. It is about Gene, a multi-expressional emoji, who decides he needs to set out to become a normal emoji. Gene is an emoji that lives in Textopolis (very hard thinking on this name guys…), a city inside the phone of his user Alex. He is the son of two ‘meh’ emojis (😒) named Mel and Mary, and is able to make multiple expressions despite his parents being singular face emojis. He goes on a mission to make himself a normal emoji, and makes some friends along the way.
Okay, there’s the brief synopsis – I can stop being unbiased now…

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This is so true for this movie… – The Emoji Movie, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 2017

I went into this movie with an open mind, I had seen it hadn’t done too well on any of the scoring systems for movies. I tried to get on with this movie. I really did. But…this movie is 2 hours of my life I will never get back. You may say that’s an exaggeration, but I do not. It was awful. It was just painful to watch. I can honestly say it just seemed like an advert for the mobile apps Candy Crush, the match three game, Dropbox, the safe file app and Spotify, the well known music app. It didn’t seem to have a story other than “here’s some huge apps we’re going to show you, because we were paid a lot of money to show them off to you.” I am struggling to find anything good to say. I feel like the actors in this movie were wasted on it. Such big names for something so awful… honestly, it’s a tad depressing. Maybe I only feel this way because I was watching it whilst half asleep, stressed out and missing nearly a pint of blood (I had given blood that morning, and just needed to chill out with a movie.

I’m sorry this review has been so awful! Better thing next week… I promise!

Have you seen The Emoji Movie? What did you think? Hate it or love it? Leave a comment down below! 

 

 

 

 

[Header Image: The Emoji Movie, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 2017]

‘Relax… this pot is making you aggressive…’ – Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

Good morning/afternoon readers! How are we all today? Recovered from the loss of sleep from the clocks going forward? I know I haven’t!
Todays review will be slightly different – I’ve been watching a lot of movies recently, but none of them have been ‘comic book appropriate,’ so I thought screw it, let’s just talk about something I’ve been watching! I mean… at least it’s an adaptation… right? Without further ado, let’s talk about Eyes Wide Shut.

Warning – this review is not for minors, 18+ please! 

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The Movie Poster – Eyes Wide Shut, Warner Bros., 1999

Eyes Wide Shut is an erotic drama (quote wikipedia on that one, not me) based on Traumnovelle (Dream Story); written, produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick (fun Kubrick fact – he lived in a manor house incredibly close by to where I am). It was the last movie he ever worked on, making it a pivotal movie for me – I’ve watched a few Kubrick films now, and his style has changed throughout. Like other Kubrick adaptations, this film verges so far from the book it’s barely the same anymore, but significant plot points are not omitted. I find it very interesting that Kubrick hired Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise to be his main characters, these two were a married couple at the time of this film – and definitely adds to the sexual tension of the piece. Throughout, we have callbacks to it’s original setting, with the use of old Victorian buildings etc.
The narrative follows the sexually charged adventures of Bill, a medical doctor , who is shocked when Alice his wife, says she had contemplated having an affair a year earlier – which is shown in the first few moments of the movie. Bill is called away during a party, leaving his wife to the hands of another man who gets her slightly too drunk. Extremely upset Bill embarks on a crazy night, in which he infiltrates a massive masked orgy of an underground secret society.

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The weird mask things – Eyes Wide Shut, Warner Bros., 1999

One issue I always have with Kubrick’s work is how long his films are. When he was writing them it was shocking to have a movie over 2 hours long, and (according to my select button) this movie is 2 hours and 45 minutes long. There’s got to be a lot of this movie that’s pretty superfluous, it goes on a little bit too long. I’d have struggled to sit through it in a movie theatre/cinema that’s for sure.
I also have a real issue with Bill’s first port of call to be “cheat on wife with prostitute.” Learn to talk things out with your wife dude! You’re married with a kid! Whilst I admit that what she did was wrong, she didn’t kiss the naval officer, whereas he instigated an affair with a prostitute. At least it didn’t go further than a kiss. It makes me laugh that the way that Bill gets into one of these crazy parties is by wearing a tux with a hood and a mask, talk about weird!
The Master of Ceremonies bit is weird, the constant imagining of Alice having sex with another guy is weird – the whole movie is weird. And I think that’s it’s appeal. It’s weird, because it’s Kubrick, but at the same time it’s weirdness is alluring. I want to find out what happens in these underground sex cults, whether it’s true or not (I presume not), and it makes me want to keep watching.  I will watch any of Kubrick’s work any day, which I will finally get around to doing soon!

Eyes Wide Shut is classic Kubrick weirdness, but honestly I loved it for that. His distinct directoral stance can be seen throughout; the sex scenes reminded me a lot of A Clockwork Orange (which I also loved and thought was crazy).

Have you seen Eyes Wide Shut? Are you a fan of Kubrick? I’d love to chat about him with you all! Leave a comment down below! 

Seb’s Top 10 of 2017/2018

Hi guys, the Man on the Silver Mountain here once again, this time I’m throwing something your way that’s a little different from when I usually turn up to help out the Librarian. As I’m sure she’s told you she’s been busy and more than a little sick.
I offered to help and she suggested I do something a little different with you; a top ten. Apparently you guys like me showing up occasionally enough that she thought maybe you’d like to know what I’ve been watching and enjoying over the end of last year and beginning of this one.

To preface the list, I was originally thinking of kicking off with best five and worst five but whilst I had loads of things I’ve enjoyed the only negatives I could really produce were Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Star Trek: Discovery, two of my favourite franchises historically that have been let down by lack lustre recent additions in my opinion, as a result though this turned into a much more positive top ten, listed below in no particular order.

Black Mirror

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Black Mirror, Channel 4/Netflix, 2011 – Present

I’m sure a load of you have already been watching Black Mirror. It’s an anthology show in the same vein as the Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits from ages ago and that’s already a big plus in my book as I do love me some varied storytelling. More to the point though I like shows that have depth to them, either in terms of the subject matter they’re examining, subtext and secrets for fans to theorise on, or otherwise just a really solid plot to invest in; Black Mirror covers all three better than probably any other entry on this list purely thanks to its anthology format. Definitely worth a watch in my book if you haven’t already.

The Good Place

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The Good Place, NBC/Netflix, 2016 – Present

I love philosophy! I even considered heading to university as a mature student to study it. So when you’ve got a show like The Good Place, that pulls all of the philosophy I’ve enjoyed reading plus some more that I was only tangentially aware of, together as part of a hilarious and concrete plot it’s an instant win for me. Worth watching if you want to be entertained into learning something.

Librarian’s side note – Seb wouldn’t know about this one if I didn’t suggest one day we watch it. I’m so glad we did because we both love it to bits! Sometimes (!) I have good TV suggestions! 

Lucifer

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Lucifer, Fox/Amazon, 2016 – Present

I’m not at all religious but I find the various myths, legends and stories of religions fascinating, especially when re-worked intelligently into stories that use the resonant core of what made those religions so influential in their times, even up to the present in some cases, but can use that core to tell a different but no less engaging story. This is where Lucifer pops up on my radar, it’s smart, funny and balances the supernatural of the main character literally being the biblical Devil and the mundanity of the individuals he’s surrounded by. I especially enjoy this show for the thought that’s gone into considering angelic and demonic impressions of the universe; they know that there’s more beyond the mortal coil but they still have no real idea about what’s going on as God remains aloof and hidden even from them for the most part. Worth taking a look in my opinion if you want something light-hearted that may give you some stuff to think about afterwards.

My Hero Academia

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My Hero Academia, Funimation, 2016 – Present 

Now, I’m not really a huge anime fan. I can’t really say whether it’s the art style, the differences between the culture I’ve grown up in and the culture of the creators of most anime, or if it’s just something completely nebulous that will remain forever undefined, but I’ve just found that most anime just doesn’t hold my attention all that well even if more traditionally Western cartoons and animations aren’t a problem for me to sit and binge through. My Hero Academia though kept me hooked from beginning of season one through to the end of season two easily. The characters have depth, the plot examines some really interesting questions like “What does it mean to be a real hero?” or “How would society cope if 80% of the population were superhuman?”, and the pacing of the show seemed really good (unlike old school Dragon Balls Z one fight doesn’t take half a season to conclude). If you’re into anime and haven’t gotten around to watching this yet, or if like me you aren’t an anime fan, I’d suggest checking out My Hero Academia as I feel it has something for almost anyone whilst not forgetting what it is.

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

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Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, BBC America/Netflix, 2016 – Present

Ah, Douglas Adams, the man who famously wrote Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and who unfortunately passed away in May 2001, left us with more than just that one piece of well-known work. One particular piece was Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, a tale about individuals granted with particular gifts by the universe for reasons no one can really understand. Enter Dirk Gently, one of these special individuals whose gift is to stumble through life solving problems whether he likes it or not. With a great cast including Elijah Wood and a very well-written and consistent script in spite it being written about the innately chaotic nature of the universe, my biggest complaint about this show was that there wasn’t more of it straight away. If you like Douglas Adams or otherwise just want something fun and quirky to watch this is what you’ve been waiting for.

The Expanse

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The Expanse, Syfy/Netflix, 2015 – Present

Who likes their really hard sci-fi? I do, and The Expanse is a great way to indulge my want for it. Set in our solar system a bit of a way into the future after humanity has colonised out as far as the asteroid belt, we follow three individuals as they traverse the difficult landscape of a solar system on the brink of collapse and chaos. I particularly how season one sees the characters we follow slowly find one another and how then the second season has a lot of fun with these well developed and fleshed out characters that we’ve been watching in isolation up until then. It tackles issues around class, political control, corporate interests vs those of the people and many others but does it in a way that’s neither particularly heavy handed nor so easy as to treat the viewer like a moron. If you like your more realistic zero-G scenes and like your solar system-spanning conspiracies this one’s for you.

Altered Carbon

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Altered Carbon, Netflix, 2018

I love the cyberpunk end of sci-fi. Blade Runner is in my top five movies alongside movies like Cloud Atlas as well that has its cyberpunk moments in it too. I’m excited for more news on Cyberpunk 2077 and apparently so are a lot of others too. I haven’t seen the new Blade Runner sequel yet something I NEED to do but just haven’t had the time to get around to it just yet. So whilst I wait for an opportune moment to find my way back to Blade Runner how best to fill my time that with another sci-fi/cyberpunk show that gives us a grim but potentially possible vision of the future where human bodies are interchangeable, death is no longer an issue and rich corporations and their owners basically run the galaxy? There isn’t one; that question was purely rhetorical. With a great cast, a great looking world, an AI run, Edgar Allan Poe themed hotel, lots of nudity, violence and dystopian future vibes this is one that anyone can find something to enjoy in whilst the engaging murder-mystery-with-a-twist unravels before you at a good pace whilst establishing the universe and setting up for season two easily.

 

Rick and Morty

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Rick and Morty, Adult Swim/Netflix/Comedy Central, 2013 – Present

I have no doubt that most of you have watched this, I know the Librarian has talked to you guys about Rick and Morty before too, but I couldn’t escape adding this one on here. Considering this started out as a weird, satirical rip-off of Back to the Future, kicking off with a lot of cheap and shocking gags that were perfectly delivered, this show’s grown after season three into a much more cohesive story but without losing much of what it gained from season one and two. I know some people didn’t like the lack of certainty in the show from season one and season two where things seemed a little disjointed due to the universe-hopping nature of the show but especially after some of the big reveals and events in season three, I’d recommend going back and sticking with season one and two to get to season three as it all starts to fit together a bit more interestingly now. Otherwise, if you’re already into the show I’m preaching to the choir.

Sense8

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Sense8, Netflix, 2015 – 2018

The show from the Wachowskis that Netflix cancelled due to costs and lack of engagement on its second season despite it being so good and wrapping up so many things from the first season. Set in the modern day with a very limited sci-fi element in terms of the sensates themselves (individuals who are psychically linked as a cluster, able to communicate and share experiences over any distance) this is a show that contains a collection of stories from many perspectives all elegantly intertwined around a main, conspiracy plot. Considering that after the backlash from the fans over the shows cancellation we’re going to be getting a feature-length episode to tie off the remaining story arcs from season two, now’s a great time to go and watch the first two seasons.

Thor: Ragnarok

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Thor: Ragnarok, Marvel Cinematic Universe, 2017

The only movie on this list because I don’t usually find myself watching movies, I don’t tend to have time to dedicate up to three hours or so compared to an hour for an episode of a TV show. I had to include the most recent Thor on this list though because the Thor sub-franchise within the MCU has had a rough time. Thor was an origin story, it did its job but wasn’t anything particularly special. Thor: The Dark World was mostly connective tissue for both the Avengers movies and as something to play with on the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D TV show for an episode or so. So with that said Thor needed some care and attention and he got it in spades from director Taika Waititi. Humourous throughout but still allowing for a plot built more around the vulnerabilities and humanity of the characters involved rather than the purely godly, super powerful nature of the characters AND still including all the connective tissue required for Avengers: Infinity War and beyond this movie was very well crafted. If you’re a fan of the MCU and haven’t seen this yet, aren’t really a fan of the MCU but want a superhero themed laugh, or if you’re somewhere in between I would recommend Thor: Ragnarok as a movie to have a fun couple of hours watching.

And that’s my list, I could go into honourable mentions but I think this list is long enough already. What are your opinions on the things I’ve been watching? Part of the fun of watching stuff like this is having a chat afterwards and I know your Librarian would love to know your thoughts.

In the meantime though if you’ve enjoyed going through the list, and maybe even watching some of my suggestions, I’d love to hear and if you’d like more from me find me on YouTube. Thanks for reading, I hope to hear from the Librarian if you guys enjoyed any of my suggestions.

What have you loved watching recently? Hated any of Seb’s picks? Loved each and every one? Leave a comment down below!