Series discoveries: Midseason follies, part deux

Hey, gang!

This is going to be a short post to catch up on the few midseason series I watched after my last post of this nature in April.

Beware. Spoilers ahead.

Game of Thrones

After last season’s heap of misogyny, I was hoping for better in this season. I was (thankfully) not disappointed.

Yeah. Jon Snow died, but Melisandre brought him back and now claims that he is the one who was prophesied. Having died, however, Jon was free of his oath to the Nightswatch and moved south to retake Winterfell.

Sansa and Theon survived their leap from the walls. Sansa met up with Jon and together they retook Winterfell (not without great cost or the help of the young puppet of the Vale) and the bastard of Bolton got his just desserts.

Theon has reunited with his sister and they’ve taken (actually stolen) the ironborn fleet and offered it to Dani. Uncle Euron may still kill them, but I’m kind of liking the alliance.

Arya is finally a faceless one (yay!), but her story suffered the most from implausibility of any in the series this season. I have great hopes for her, and a theory that I won’t share in case I’m wrong. It would be so cool if I’m right, though 🙂

Bran has become the new three eyed raven, and we now know Hodor’s heart-wrenching backstory. I have no idea what’s going to happen now as most of the children of the forest appear to be dead. Even with his new powers, what can Bran do on his own?

Dani’s finally in control of her dragons and should be retaking the seven kingdoms with her fearsome brood, Dothraki hoard, Unsullied, and I’m kind of excited to see what happens with her. Also interesting, another red priestess has appeared and is saying that Dani is the one who was prophesied.

Does this mean Dani and Jon are destined to kill each other or share the throne after they’ve driven back the White Walkers?

Cersei is certifiably insane. I think her number will be up shortly.

So aside from some glaring plot holes, I was pleased. Even though the body count continued to rise, sometimes sensationally rather than for legitimate plot reasons, I could deal. With the new, compressed schedule, I’m thinking they had to eliminate a lot of secondary plot lines and subplots post-hasty.

Two short and delayed seasons until the end of all.

Stranger Things

OMG. Loved this series so much, I don’t know if I can properly express it without babbling.

80’s nostalgia. A truly kick-ass young female protagonist. Great, geeky supporting roles. Tonnes of Easter eggs and homage. Heaven!

The story was fast-paced and compelling. The end of the season was satisfying and I’m so happy they’re working on season two.

No spoilers here. I want you all to watch it. Go on. Binge!

The only movie/show I’m looking forward to more is the adaptation of Ready Player One.

Outcast

This was a recommendation from a work friend. Phil and I were looking for something to watch and decided to give it a try.

Though the story is about a man who has been surrounded by possessed people all his life (mother, wife) and discovers that he has the ability to drive out the possessing spirits, there was something off about the season, more than what you’d expect from a story about possession.

I wasn’t watching so much because I enjoyed it, but because I wanted to see if the writers would answer any of the story questions in a satisfying way. There were answers, and they were surprising, but not satisfying.

Lucky Man

This series is interesting. It’s billed as Stan Lee’s Lucky Man, but it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with any Marvel property.

In fact, it had the feel of a gritty police procedural with paranormal influences like River, which Phil and I also watched and enjoyed.

A London Police detective and addicted gambler inherits a mystical bracelet that endows him with incredible luck.

I’m not sure if I would have watched it if there was anything else on, but I have and don’t regret it.

Outlander season two was fabulous. Loved it. Too much of a fangirl to offer critique.

Orphan Black was awesomesauce and I’m so pleased Tatiana Maslany got her Emmy. So well-deserved.

My main guilty pleasure and only reality television I watch, So You Think You Can Dance, did a next generation version, and it was amazing and adorable.

I’ll probably do a Fall 2016 series discoveries toward the end of October when I’ve had the chance to see most of the new offerings. I can tell you, I’m not terribly optimistic with all of the retreads, but we’ll see.

Series Discoveries

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Mel’s movie madness September 2016 edition

I actually watched most of these earlier in the year. I caught cold twice, once in February and again in March. Aside from watching Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel, which I’ve since convinced Phil to watch so I could enjoy it again, I watched a few movies.

I’m just going to go over four here, but I’ve also caught The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay, Part 2, The Scorch Trials, and The F Word. I enjoyed them, but they weren’t provocative.

These were:

Snowpiercer

Holy dystopia, Batman.

When an attempt to reverse global warming backfires, the world is left a frozen wasteland. The only sanctuary is a train that continually circles the earth and contains the last survivors of mankind.

The movie started dark and only got worse. The protagonist is an antihero who starts in the caboose, the poorest section of the train. Abuse, murder, and the theft of children set him on a desperate mission to reach the fabled engineer and mutiny.

Progress through the train is measured in death and several scenes are almost Gilliam*-esque in their quality. Absurdity and grotesquery only serve to reinforce the nightmarish existence of the people on the train.

When our “hero” reaches the engineer, Wilford, the rebellion is revealed to be another planned part of life aboard the train. Population needs to be controlled and small children are required to act as replacements for worn out parts.

The train is a self-contained ecosystem. Everything must be controlled.

Oooh. This one was dark. But it made me think.

*Not incidentally, the hero’s mentor is named Gilliam.

Jupiter Ascending

This movie has been trashed by the best, and I don’t disagree with the criticism levelled at it. But it was fun.

I enjoyed it despite all the ridiculousness.

Check out Emily Asher-Perrin’s review for Tor.com for a much more thoughtful take 🙂

Kill Your Darlings

I wanted to watch this one because it was about the beat poets.

I know the facts were fictionalized for the screen, but it was a well-written, well-acted, and compelling story.

And, of course, it made me think, not about the beat poets, but about the characters and their various journeys on screen. That, for me, is what makes a movie, when I forget what it’s supposed to be about.

The Danish Girl

Eddie freakin’ Redmayne.

The Danish Girl is a lush period piece about Dutch painter Einar Wegener, as he uncovers his identity as female, becomes Lili Elbe, and seeks a doctor compassionate enough to help her become fully female.

This movie tore my wee heart.

As tragic as the ending was, the movie was about love that transcends gender as Einar’s wife, Gerda, and their friend Hans, support Lili to the end, and negotiate their various relationships through the journey that is transition. None of them are perfect, but the movie is all the more heart rending for it.

So beautiful.

Thanks for stopping by to read my thoughts on these movies.

I’ll catch you up on the rest of the midseason follies in a bit.

Mel's Movie Madness