I mostly watched things I didn’t like that much, with a couple of stand-out awesome things. (If you have any anime recommendations I’d love to hear them, especially something a little bit dark that doesn’t have a really whiny boy as its central character, because I feel like I’ve had my fill of that).
Mad Men (seasons 5-7) series, Netflix
Annoyingly, Netflix doesn’t have the second half of the final season, which I didn’t realise until I got to the end of what they do have. Mad Men has some truly great episodes, and some really blah ones. I don’t feel the kind of love for the series as I’ve seen hyped because it was too mixed, but I’m glad I watched it (I just need the very end!).
The Virgin Suicides (1999) film, Netflix
I wasn’t a big fan of the book, but I thought it had a kind of hazy summer quality that would work well as a film adaptation. I know this film is well-loved, and I did enjoy it more than the book, but it didn’t really do anything for me. It felt like most of Coppola’s films – a feeling without substance underneath it (the exception for me is Lost in Translation).
Dear White People (season 1) series, Netflix
I watched and loved the film on Netflix a couple of months ago so was excited to see what they did with this. The series is even better. The extra time gives more space to explore the characters and themes in greater depth, but it still retains its super sharp humour. I loved it.
Trollhunters (season 1) series, Netflix
This was perfect for when I was feeling under the weather (literally – I have temperature dysregulation as part of my health shenanigans so summer is not my favourite). It’s a children’s animated series by Guillermo del Toro (who is awesome), with the lead voiced by Anton Yelchin as one of the last things he did before he died. It’s a lot of fun, it’s got some monsters in it, it’s definitely a nice comfort-watch.
Death Note series, Netflix
This is the first anime series I’ve watched in full. The subtitles seem to have been translated literally, so it’s much better to watch with dubbing as that’s translated better and the voice actors are pretty good. I liked how the story moved relatively slowly, and didn’t judge any of the characters for what they thought was the ‘right’ way to do things – it gives you space to decide yourself. Light Yagami can get kind of annoying in a self-righteous teenage-boy way, but I enjoyed this.
Attack on Titan (series 1) series, Netflix
More anime! I had this on in the background while I was notebook-making, and I’m glad I watched it that way for the first bit. I wasn’t too keen on the first 10 episodes or so because Eren is just so very whiny, and it’s obvious that [spoiler] is controlling the [spoiler] titan. But, once they reveal that it’s [spoiler], it all gets much more enjoyable, mainly because there’s greater focus on other characters and less of Eren whining every two minutes. I hope they put the second series on Netflix soon.
Silence (2016) film
The cinematography is stunning – it’s a beautifully crafted film in that respect, and there are a few powerful moments. And that’s pretty much the only good thing I have to say about it. It’s too long, and both the writing and Andrew Garfield’s acting lacks any kind of real tension or conflict in his decision over whether to apostasize. It’s also a film that claims to be about Japanese Christians and their pastors, but it’s not, it’s about the pastors. All the Japanese characters are othered. They are all curiosities in the eyes of the camera. This is not a good film.
The Handmaid’s Tale (episode 1) All4
This is one of my favourite books and, one episode in, this is an excellent adaptation so far. Also extra points for the Margaret Atwood cameo where she slaps Offred.
Pitch Perfect 2 (2015) film, Netflix
I wanted something light and enjoyable but found this a bit disappointing. It’s not as good as the first one, and its minor characters are more poorly represented and even less well drawn than the first. Having a predatory lesbian, a kooky-weird Asian girl, a Mexican girl who had diarrhea for year, etc, and never developing any depth to their characters beyond the stereotype is just lazy, boring writing. It’s supposed to be a fluffy easy film, but it would be a good fluffy easy film if they actually developed the characters more.
Sense8 (season 1) series, Netflix
I’m still not sure what I think about this. It took a few episodes to get into because there are just so many characters it takes a while to get properly going. Unlike my previous rantings, this series has really excellent representation, particularly of LGBT characters. The fact they are LGBT is part of their lives and effects them sometimes, but it’s not their main storyline (just like real life omg), and they have an actual trans woman acting in the role of the Nomi, who is a trans female character, and a properly international cast without whitewashing. But something about it didn’t quite hook me in; I don’t know what. I’ve seen that they’ve just cancelled the show after two seasons and I feel sad for the representation side of things but not for the show itself.