TV – Currently Watching

This dreary weather means we haven’t gone out much in the evenings on weekends. I mean, there’s also the four year old that requires baby sitting so that we can have a night out, but mostly it’s this freezing cold weather and rain that’s keeping us indoors. Luckily there’s been a bunch of good stuff on TV and Netflix to keep me entertained. Here’s what I’ve been watching lately!

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
I started out really liking this show. A musical comedy about a woman who up-ends her life to move to a small Californian town just because that’s where her summer camp ex-boyfriend lives? Sounds crazy but also kind of entertaining. Yale educated lawyer Rebecca moves to West Covina from New York out of the blue, hell bent on getting her old boyfriend Josh to fall for her again, but wouldn’t you know it, he’s already in a committed relationship! As she secretly tries to worm her way into Josh’s life again, she becomes good friends with co-worker Paula, who helps her on her quest to date Josh again, and falls in and out of favour with Greg, a snarky bartender who, despite his best efforts, can’t seem to help being drawn to Rebecca, even if she’s not quite what she seems. Interspersed with very clever musical numbers about everything from big boobed ladies to getting ready for a date night, the episodes are snappy and funny with a good cast of supporting characters. However, things started to fall apart a little bit for me around episode ten. I felt from there onwards the plots were reaching a little too hard to get Rebecca’s over-arching goal achieved no matter the cost. I felt like there were inconsistencies with her character (a Yale-educated lawyer who cannot manage her money and does not understand a car lease? Please) and Paula’s utter obsession with Rebecca getting Josh was never fully addressed as the crazy town it evolved into by the season wrap-up. It’s a fun show to watch, if you can really suspend your disbelief in the latter part of the season, and the musical numbers alone are incredibly astute from a female point of view.

Bloodline, season 2
You guys. NEVER MURDER A FAMILY MEMBER, OKAY? We are nearly done with season two of Bloodline and it is hard work. It’s hard work because the Rayburn family are so screwed up and they just keep digging themselves deeper into the hole. SO SCREWED UP. I outlined the major plot arc in this blog post last year, and season 2 continues on from where season 1 left off – Danny’s murder remains unsolved, and John Rayburn is now running for Sheriff, with Meg working as his campaign manager after a failed attempt to move to New York to work in a law firm. John, Kevin and Meg are still under immense stress keeping the details of Danny’s murder quiet, with Kevin dabbling more and more with addictive substances to cope. This season Danny’s son Nolan turns up, along with his wayward mother Eve, both with their own agendas and both intent of worming their way into the Rayburn family. This season’s plot has been a bit of a slog – the pacing has been a tad too drawn out, and I’m already quite sick of Nolan and Eve’s insertion into the story. Everything feels a lot like it’s being dragged out a tad too much, and while the cinematography and performances are great (I know this because I feel super stressed out every time we watch these people), I want them to hurry up and move things along.

Catastrophe, season 2
As perfect as season 1, Catastrophe continues to hit the nail on the head with parenting small children and trying to devote attention to your spouse and your job all at once with impeccable acerbic comedic flair. The season is only six episodes long, and each short episode expertly illustrates the often exhaustively funny moments of day-to-day life as a parent – trying to connect with another mother in a baby and me music class, having a house full of people visiting when you’ve just had a new baby (and wanting them all to leave), feeling unable to overcome the disagreements and spats all married couples have when they’re sleep deprived. It’s an excellently written show, very funny, and often touches a raw nerve, albeit briefly, before bouncing on to a well-timed joke. If you haven’t seen season 1, you HAVE to watch it now, especially if you have small children. Trust me, okay?

Orange is the New Black, season 4
A lot of people didn’t enjoy season 3, and while I definitely got sick of the Piper/Alex/Stella story line, I really enjoyed the focus on Taystee and her group’s dynamics. This season has continued to focus on Taystee and her friends, but it’s also focuses heavily on Caputo’s tenuous grasp on the implications of running a prison as a business, which has been something I’ve really enjoyed. I think the writers brought a little more humanity to Caputo’s role, and I’ve appreciated his stance as the inmates’ ally against the corporation running the prison. The influx of new prison inmates brought racial tensions to a high, something I’m not one hundred percent sure they wrapped up properly (Piper’s influence in this, no matter how unintentional, needed to be better addressed I think). Another interesting, albeit slightly sickening story arc has been the introduction of the new prison guards, some of whom are utterly devoid of empathy, which culminates in a horrifying few episodes that finish off the season. I’m disappointed at a character exit, someone who was one of my favourites, and I really wonder what they’re going to do next season to these women and their insular lives as they inhabit a correctional facility that becomes more about the bottom line than rehabilitating criminals.

Bosch, season 2
I loved season one of Bosch, which is the TV adaptation of Michael Connelly’s fantastic crime-noir books about homicide detective Harry Bosch. However, where season one was very much about setting the scene, as well as investigating a string of homicides, season 2 came out of the gate lightning fast and very much focused on crime and corruption within the LAPD. I felt like the pacing this season was faster and the action was a lot more enthralling, and the story as a whole incorporated a number of different groups of cops and criminals quite seamlessly. If you like crime with an LA-noir feel to it, Bosch is a good one to watch. I highly recommend checking out the books too – easy to ready, gripping stories where Bosch tries his hardest to keep things as black and white as he can in a world where crime and LAPD politics are often indistinguishable.

Next up on my to-watch list are Mr. Robot (season 2), Stranger Things, and The Night Manager. Are you watching anything good at the moment? Let me know!

Until next time,

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