American Vandal (season 1) series, Netflix
This was definitely over-hyped for me. It was good, but not as good as everyone was telling me it was. I like crime docs sometimes, I like a good spoof with those kind of ‘insider jokes’ for people that watch a lot of them. But I just got bit tired of the premise after a while. Eh, it’s okay.
Bojack Horseman (seasons 1 & 2) series, Netflix
Once it got into the second half and got a bit darker, I enjoyed season 1, but then got really bored part-way through season 2 and stopped watching. I like the nihilistic sense of humour, but I’m not sure what wasn’t doing it for me in season 2. I’ve heard as whole Bojack just gets better and better as it goes on, so I might give it another go. Another ‘eh’.
Selma (2014) film, Netflix
This is an excellent film – beautifully shot with great performances. Apparently they couldn’t use any of King’s actual speeches as the license is held by another studio, but David Oyelowo’s performance is so good (as is DuVernay’s writing) that it didn’t jar at all. As always with films like this, it draws parallels with the present – when the marchers crossed the bridge, it made me think about how the Black Lives Matter protesters are treated now – how much was achieved then, the cost, and how far there still is to go.
The Good Place (season 1) series, Netflix
I loved this. It’s one of those series that you have to watch to the end – seriously, it plays the long game so all of the things that you think are incongruent with the premise are actually…not. Ted Danson is always good value (and when you get to season 2 which I started watching in November, his character has an excellent an answer for if you ever get frustrated with the trolley problem). Mostly I’m just sad now that American football has delayed the rest of season 2 until January.
Travelers (season 1) series, Netflix
This was exactly the sci-fi I was looking for. It’s light enough to be binge-y easy watching, but also engaging enough to actually watch. It’s basically time-travelling humans coming back from the future to try and save humanity, but they don’t come back in the usual sort of way, which is often what causes them problems. The first episode sets this up, and as a result drags a little as each character is introduced, but once it got going it was exactly perfect for tired-but-not-tired Netflix time.
Gaga: Five Foot Two (2017) documentary, Netflix
I’m not a big Gaga fan (I like some of her music, though her Bowie tribute was awful, but sometimes find her a bit annoying), but I wanted to watch this because it shows her difficulties with chronic pain. As a fellow spoonie, I was intrigued about how she manages life as a performer with chronic pain, and how well it would be represented (good spoonie rep is very hard to find). As a whole, the doc is just okay – it has some interesting moments but also is a bit lacking (it often feels like an ad, which it is really). I think if you’re not already a fan, this film probably isn’t going to convert you. From a spoonie perspective, it was interesting. She does acknowledge at one point that without her success she probably wouldn’t be able to afford the medical (and non-medical) help that enables her to keep performing. But there is also a tiny element of “if you’re determined, you too could fly through a stadium like it’s no bother when you have severe pain”, which isn’t helpful. Watch it if you’re a Gaga fan, don’t bother if you’re not.
Stranger Things (season 2) series, Netflix
I actually enjoyed this more than series 1, which was a tiny bit over-hyped by the time I got round to it. The final bit of the final episode was absolutely pants – they always have to hetero everyone and bring in random characters you’ve never seen before just to make it a special hetero moment for everyone (though I did enjoy Dustin & Nancy). A few of the episodes are saved by just how good Millie Bobby Brown is, but the episodes she has with Hopper are great. I also liked Lucas’ arguments about not being Winston (the Ghostbuster) – it’s a really good example of how to bring in wider conversations about representation, stereotyping, etc, in an easy to understand and still entertaining way. What the series needed was more tension at the end – it needed a bigger, longer Bad Thing after the happily-ever-after to balance out the saccharine and make you anticipate and need season 3 more.