Daredevil: Season 2 (2016)

daredevil_season_2_trio_poster

*CONTAINS SPOILERS*

What I liked:

  • Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle/The Punisher was beyond freaking epic. He was amazing, but also the portrayal of his backstory was so good. I am a fan, obviously.

daredevil-season-2-the-punisher

  • The dark, gritty, brooding, dripping intro and that damn theme that builds with it. I watch it every single episode (provided I can keep the remote safely away from my husband).
  • The brutality of this season. It really just went all out and upped the game. No punches were pulled, and it makes for some heavy, yet very rewarding, watching.
  • The friendship between Matt and Foggy, even though it definitely did see some harsh and difficult times this season.

daredevil-season-2-foggy-healthy-life-choices

  • The cinematography is, as always, wonderful. It sticks to the brooding, gloomy, washed-out settings the show became famous for, and it just serves to make this show super gritty.
  • How much Foggy grows in this season, really gets ballsy and takes a stand.
  • How Frank and Karen sort of come together as a team.
  • The score for the show is so good.

What I didn’t like:

  • Elektra. The one word that sums up all that is wrong with this season, and that crushes me. She grated on my absolute last nerve – every time she came on screen, she just pulled the whole season back.
  • Sometimes it felt that too much was happening at once, but in the end it comes together nicely.
  • Matt and Karen come together and then splinter apart. It just sort of felt like an unnecessary development, it happened and ended so fast – but it was nice to watch while it lasted!

daredevil-season-2-matt-and-karen

Rating:

GRADE 8.5Ah guys, here we are, yet another season, and man oh man, I thoroughly enjoyed this one! Who knew that Daredevil was going to become the series to keep your eyes peeled for? This season starts with a bang and pretty much doesn’t let up. It comes back with all that was amazing in season one, and just adds to it. I think my favourite addition to the whole show was The Punisher, hands down. Speaking of, let’s get into that.

Right from the off, we have a new big bad in town, mysterious and all, and he is soon revealed to be The Punisher. I have mad love for this character, so naturally I was beside myself with anticipation. The big thing was just to see how the character was going to be handled. For the record, Jon Berthal absolutely nails this character. I mean wow. He is, without a doubt, my favourite rendition of The Punisher ever. He was so bloody brilliant he actually overshadowed Matt/Daredevil, and all his shenanigans for me! He was brutal, unforgiving, driven, broken. I can go on for ages about this, so I should probably stop. I am beyond excited about the standalone series. I NEED MORE!
#obsession

A major theme throughout this season was the vigilantes, and how they go about getting things done, as well as what their values and mores are. Technically they aren’t being policed, and they can do things however they want. This was constantly evident when Frank and Daredevil were with one another, and their drawn out ideological conversations. Frank is so blunt about things, the realist, that Matt’s arguments of “hope” seem to just fall right out the window. These conversations were such a highlight of the season for me, and I was totally enthralled. There was also Elektra (more on this in a few), who was also trying to (again) convince Matt that her way, to kill, was the right way, and he was (again) warring that nobody needs to die, the justice system will handle it.

punisher-season-2-one-bad-day-away

Okay, so to elaborate on Elektra, she was the biggest drawback of the season for me. Every time I saw her on screen, I was like this:

hate-someone

Okay, so the mere fact that this woman breathed pissed me off. I thought the actress was annoying, I thought her character was annoying, she did not grow (personally), and I did not warm to her one little bit, though I really tried. Every time I thought this season was set to surpass its predecessor, this bitch came on screen, and it detracted from being better, for me. I swear, she peeved me on a Carrie Mathison level, and that is saying something.

The choreography was really good, once again, though there were a few times were things looked a little off and a little dodgy, but nothing overkill. The show sticks to the darkness, gloominess, and washed-out settings from the first season, and it works. It definitely ups the ante this time around when it comes to the bloody brutality of it all, but this was a definite winner in my books.

daredevil-stairwell-fight

I particularly enjoyed how the interpersonal relationships shifted and changed in this one, for better or worse. Karen grows even more as a character, and then there is Foggy, who is totally changing, and I still adore him. Karen shifts away from the legal offices and more into journalism, and Foggy learns to stand his ground. Matt gets seriously annoying at times in this, because he can be really preachy. The addition of Frank Castle is beyond awesome, because his character alone starts to make the other characters question themselves, and that is always interesting.

It was also cool to see that old characters were brought forward again, as though just to remind us they are there, and some new ones were introduced, although sometimes this made things feel a little messy and cluttered. Not a big deal though, because aside from that and Elektra, there was very little to complain about in this season.

What this all boils down to is that this is another fantastic season, a worthy follow up to season one, even though it was held back by Elektra. That being said, it is propelled with a ferocity by Frank Castle. This show is dark, gritty, and brutal, and absolutely worth the watch, I highly recommend it.

daredevil-outfit-fight

Advertisements

11.22.63: Mini Series (2016)

11-22-63-dvd-cover-73

*CONTAINS SPOILERS*

What I liked:

  • The opening credits. Heck yeah, it summed the book up perfectly, all the smaller things that the show might have missed. It was engaging and looked good.
  • Daniel Webber as Lee Harvey Oswald. This guy was good. Seriously. There were times where you actually felt pity for this man, dirt poor and a wee bit cuckoo, and other times where you were just like “you ass”.

11-22-63-infamous-photo-oswald1

  • Al Templeton flashing in between the episodes, explaining more about the past, talking about his research and what he discovered, as well as sharing some of the history. It keeps things relevant, so it wasn’t all blandly said in the beginning, and then things referenced throughout the film and then just not making sense later.
  • The tension that the show builds. While it lacks at times, it really kicks other times.
  • The show is engaging. It has a doomed air, and gives you all you need to appreciate the setting, the concept, and how it will come together.

11-22-63-dunning-past

  • The performances all round were actually really good.
  • Obviously I was a fan of the romance between Sadie and Jake. Man. Lovely. It was captured rather well here, albeit so much more different than what it should have been like.

11-22-63-jake-and-sadie-kiss

  • How Jake also did things that were against his character, just to try and bend the past to his will, no matter that the past is obdurate, and does not want to be changed. I think a particularly crazy scene to highlight this was the entire debacle with Bill and the psych ward.
  • Bringing in the Harry Dunning story so effectively. This was a big thing for me, and I think Leon Rippy was a great Harry. Gosh, that story was so painful, and I am glad we got to see some of it.

What I didn’t like: 

  • How much it deviates from the book.
  • Johnny Clayton in the show was just not as terrifying as the book. His role was totally different, and he didn’t tear into town and wreck Sadie’s life under disguise or shockingly. They knew he was there. Also, I wish 11.22.63 had captured how loopy the guy was. WTF?! They touched on it but didn’t own it.

11-22-63-no-profanity-please

  • The Yellow Card Man was also not as mysterious as he should have been, or as scary. The use of him was rather heavy handed, and the lack of explanation was also rather grating. It was an incredibly bizarre change for me, and not a particularly good character here, and he should have been.
  • The time jumped around a lot, and that left you feeling like things had been missed, and progression of certain other things had been overlooked.
  • Some things just didn’t have enough background, and so did not carry a lot of weight and came across as forced, which is unfortunate.

Rating:
GRADE 7
So y’all know I finished the book recently. I am still hanging. I have not stopped thinking about it since then, and I really had a hard time committing to another book. I tried man, I really tried. Other books just don’t look as great by comparison. Naturally I got my hands on 11.22.63 and decided to give it a go with my husband, who will never take the time to read the book, but with whom I really wanted to share the story.

Right off the bat, my husband loved it. He thought it was great, and was super flat when it was over, for so many reasons. I had an array of issues and niggles, of course, but that’s because I read the book. I continually reminded myself that it was obviously going to be different, and it was a huge book to bring to screen, and that the finer points would be missed. Unfortunately. That being said, and the fact that the show and the book are vastly different, it isn’t a bad show – it’s just not like the book. At all.

11-22-63-slap

The show felt a little bit confused about it wanted to be (for me). Like, did it want to focus on the romance? Did it want to be all about the JFK conspiracy? Did it want to be about time travel? These were not themes that had difficulty interacting in the book, but on screen it comes across as clunky, as though the writers didn’t know what was the most important thing to concentrate on. I was also really let down by how many characters got skipped over – the novel was so story-centric, and there were so many amazing characters that I was really excited to see. Mike and Bobby Jill essentially got a cameo. Ellie didn’t even make it into the story, as well as the array of gangsters that were skipped entirely. All those characters being forgotten and overlooked did not change the fact that Bill Turcotte became a big player in this one. Shockingly. Luckily he was a character that grew on me, otherwise we could have had issues.

11-22-63-psych-ward

For the most part the show looked really good. The sets were great and looked legitimately old school. The directing made the show suffer a bit, and the pacing was off, and as much as my hubby was hanging on to every word to see what was cooking, so was I. This story was something different entirely, and they worked way more in depth with the whole concept of Oswald being used by the CIA for a hit.

I was so excited to see the relationship between Sadie and Jake. I mean wow, if ever there was an amazing romance, that would be it. I absolutely adored it. I think Sarah Gadon is gorgeous, and she and James Franco made for a good looking couple. She was rather different from what I imagined, and their romance was more fleeting that I would have liked – it was a super elaborate story in the books. However, Sadie and Jake fit together, and while the dance from the show was a little more stiff than I would have appreciated, I was thrilled to see it happen. The show managed to show how their relationship was not a simple, easy thing.

11-22-63-dance

Deke becoming a more central character was awesome, even if he still hung in the fringe a bit more than most. He was entertaining, and I wish we had seen more of him and Miz Mimi. As for Lee Harvey Oswald? Daniel Webber nailed him. Seriously. The show constantly had you suspicious of him, and did not beat around about painting him this dark, deranged cuckoo. I liked it. It was rather sinister. There were times I felt absurdly sorry for him, too.

Jake is from a totally different time, and the show addressed it quite well that Jake comes from a future where injustice is not taken so calmly, and the way he championed for Miz Mimi to be treated as an equal? Loved it. He gave that horrible petrol attendant the chirping of his life, and his decency at offering her even just a cup of coffee in a time where that was not acceptable was fantastic. The show didn’t spend too much time on it, but it did not overlook the fact that the sixties had some major issues.

11-22-63-gas

11.22.63 nailed the doomed, melancholic, bittersweet story it should be by the end. It might have been a mixed bag, but really got it rolling right by the end. Looking at how the ability to change the past will mess with you is great. Seriously, how do you know where you fit in anymore? Everything in the world is so precarious. The butterfly effect was explored quite well here.

11-22-63-kiss

I particularly appreciated the smaller things that the show did, such as the grassy knoll umbrella dude and Oswald’s infamous backyard selfie. There were also plenty non-historic Easter eggs like “REDRUM” scrawled on the Texas Book Depository stairwell, and Franco’s “so good” over the pie, reference to The Green Mile’s “Old Sparky”, to name but a few.

11-22-63-knoll

While this will never become one of my all time favourite shows, I appreciate what they went for, super large deviation and all. I think the biggest issue is that King’s work is really hard to bring to screen. Some have been done excellently, with the right people, and I was really holding out hope that this would come together like The Green Mile, but I was let down by that. However, I am convinced that if you watch this and haven’t read the book, you will love it. I am basing this on my husband’s reaction, who thoroughly enjoyed this and it stuck with him long after, and he is not one to really linger or get overly involved. If you have read the book, this will be a little jarring, but if you put that out of your mind, you will have a decent show to fill your time with.

SPOILER: The end was beautiful and crushing, all at once. It left you with that broken feeling, that feeling you were lied to, allowed to hope, even though you know it will be a tragedy, no matter how things go down. It was stunning and sad in equal measure, the perfect close.

Downton Abbey: Season 4 (2013)

downton abbey series 4

*CONTAINS SPOILERS*

What I liked:

  • Mrs Hughes can be really hardcore when she wants to be (looking at how she helped Branson and handled Edna – very cool, very brutal).
  • How much Mary has grown into a more business-centric woman, it’s very good.
  • Obviously Cousin Violet is right up here again, the woman still makes me laugh, and was probably the best thing aside from Tom in this season.
  • Green getting paid back for his heinous crime. I really didn’t think the show would go through with that story arc, but then they did, and holy crapsticks, that was intense.
  • Carson and Mrs Hughes have always been quite close – but it seems that they are (pretty please) getting closer, sort of romantically? Oh, pretty please! Can you tell that this is something that would make me very happy?
  • How Cousin Violet and Mrs Crawley are actually quite fond of one another, yet neither will ever, ever admit it.
  • How much the times have changed from when the show started to where it is now – the way of life for everyone is changing.
  • How Tom is still grieving for Sybil, but doing his best to find a way to cope. Also, after everything, he has still not written off his humble roots, and never treats the servants like crap.

downton abbey tom mrs hughes you must bear it

What I didn’t like:

  • This Edna story still being in circulation. Could she just back off of Tom Branson and leave it at that?! Ugh, she is a vile creature.
  • How this season never really found its legs. It seemed lost and confused, and like it had no idea which direction to take after Matthew’s death.
  • Speaking of – he was dead six months and Mary was already coming out of her shell slowly with other men. Not being funny, and yes, she must be happy, but really, this was just a bit much for me.
  • The histrionics of this season – they never, ever stopped. I mean every season is dramatic, for sure, but this season felt like such a drag, and that I wasn’t a very big fan of. Oh well.
  • Thomas. I swear, he will never stop irritating me. The sly snake. I know that the show tries to give us a human side to him every now and again, but it falls flat cause I just know better than that, and we have always seen his worst side.
  • Mrs O’Brien just running off in the dead of night. Yes, that suits her character and all, but just abandoning Cora does not – she was very fond of her.
  • The way William handled the Ivy/Daisy situation, and then goes back to Daisy in the end, as though that is okay. Please. Not cool. You don’t get turned down by one then run for the other.
  • Mrs Crawley still annoys the heck out of me. For reals. Add Sprat (Cousin Violet’s butler) to that list – the man has no manners, and even Cousin Violet thinks he can be rude to those that are not on society’s good list, and that is saying something.
  • Cousin Rose is quite the annoyance, if we are being honest. I did not like her inclusion in the story, and her character is spoiled and bratty and entitled, and I cannot stand it. Ugh. And she tries to get under her mother’s skin, and being so spoiled she doesn’t even care if Jack Ross gets hurt in the process, as long as she has gotten back at her mother.
  • Edith and Mary are back to being super nasty to each other, though both are lost in their own grief, that’s what makes this what it is, though no less acceptable.

downton abbey season 4

Rating:
GRADE 6.5Well. I didn’t expect to get such a bland season, but there we have it. Not bland in the sense of no drama, because goodness knows that there was overkill of that, but this season was just not nearly as good as the others, and it was certainly not my favourite. It was quite a drag to get through.

For one, we get more of Cousin Rose, and her spoiled nature and air of entitlement get under my skin right quickly. Plus she is just so annoying and squeaky and whiny. There was the whole story arc with the black singer, Jack Ross, and I would have supported that romance wholeheartedly if it was not just a device for her to make her mother mad. He did not deserve that, and loved her enough to let her go to not be a pariah in society, and that speaks volumes to me about his character. Then there is this whole thing of Mrs O’Brien fleeing in the dead of night. Sure, that is how her character would work, but I just cannot see her suddenly dropping Cora in the lurch – she was so loyal to that woman. Oh, well, I guess that is what it is.

Matthew being gone was horrible, and Mary certainly wasn’t doing well, but I was pleased to see Carson, Cousin Violet, and Tom banding together to draw  her out of her shell, and if definitely gives us a whole different Mary to work with – a girl who is smart, using her brains, and actually doing something with her life other than changing dresses, attending dinners, and being courted. Sadly, though, that brings us back to Edith and Mary swiping at each other all the time, being ugly to each other. I had really hoped we had moved on from this. Also, Edith really has no luck in the world, and her courtship with the married Michael was bad enough, but when he disappeared and left her pregnant? By golly. I think I am also starting to accept in this season that we will never, ever be rid of Thomas. For reals. It sucks. What a pest.

Goodness, I was stoked to still have Tom Branson around, you all know  how much I love him, but the drama here! That Edna snake irritated the crap out of me,  but I was pleased to see how Mrs Hughes stepped in to handle that situation. I mean whoa lady, well played! I will always appreciate that, while Tom has moved up in the world,  he does not treat anyone like less than him. What an admirable trait. Also, I really liked seeing how Cousin Violet and Mrs Crawley were together in this season. That is the sweetest, strangest little actual friendship brewing there, and it entertains me. I felt so bad for Mrs Crawley after Matthew passed, and I must say she is less grating here again as the mother in mourning than she has been the last few seasons.

Anyway, another jam packed season to be sure, but one that let me down on so many levels. This season struggled from the get go to find its feet, and made it a chore to get through. There was more drama than you could shake a stick at, and there were times I felt like it was all just too much. I don’t really have all that much to say about this, to be honest. Oh well. Hopefully next season looks up again.

downton abbey season 4 cards

Downton Abbey: Season 3 (2012)

downton abbey series 3

*CONTAINS SPOILERS*

What I liked:

  • Sybil and Tom are just the best together, they make me so happy.
  • Matthew and Mary finally being married, and that coming to fruition, to working.
  • The relationship that is building between Matthew and Tom – I know the family is not overly keen on him, but Matthew is taking him under his wing.
  • The slow thaw of the family towards Tom Branson. Matthew is the leader of this, for sure, but the rest are all getting there. Also, the servants are warming to him, and here I am looking specifically at Carson, who has never really been a fan.
  • Something I have always loved about this show are the relationship dynamics between all the characters, be they rich, poor, middle class, servant or part of the big family, they all interact. The family is very caught up in the struggle of Mr Bates, and the servants are all caught up in the problems with the family.
  • Cousin Violet is a hilarious gem – all my big laugh out loud moments come from her, and I will always appreciate it. Snarky, sarcastic, but very sharp, she just owns whenever she is on the screen.
  • Having Cora’s mom around to see the differences between the British and the Americans, and how they both think they are right and the other is wrong. It is hilarious.
  • Bates finally getting free of prison and returning home – it was a happy thing, and will put a pin in that melodrama.

downton abbey season 3 crawley sistsers

What I didn’t like:

  • Matthew complaining about the money he is to inherit (potentially) from Lavinia’s father. I totally understood his point, I did, but I rapidly got over him and Mary arguing about it the whole time. The story was just stale.
  • Matthew being told that he would be like a joint manager of Downton, and then Robert shoots him down the whole time. What was the point then?
  • Writing Sybil off. Are. You. Kidding. Me. What the hell, cruel world? That crushed my soul, and I damn near did’t want to keep watching!
  • Bates in prison is starting to get old and wearing, I won’t lie. I mean, I get the point of it, I do, but it was so slow and meh all the time.
  • Ethel coming back. This character annoys me. She was always “so much better” than everyone else, and was going to do so much with her life, and then she screwed it up royally. Well, whose fault is that?
  • Mrs Crawley really can be a bloody nuisance. I think the only time I didn’t dislike her was in the first season. After that? She never, ever lets up.
  • Downton being in trouble again. I swear, that estate is constantly in trouble, and it is rather annoying.
  • Seriously – Matthew, too? What the hell? There is such an extreme mortality rate attached the these Crawleys and having children, and it should be stopped! This season is enough to break me, to make me want to take a break and recover from all the losses! How cruel!

Rating:
GRADE 8.5
Another jam packed season, no doubt! This show is consistent and it is good, and it is well worth a watch every time. It is put together masterfully, and will appeal to pretty much all audiences and ages, which is a rare thing. Even my mother in law enjoys this, though we don’t see eye to eye about much of it. This season was busy, and had a lot going on. There was plenty drama, of course, but not so much that it was annoying. Well, except maybe Matthew squealing the whole time about Reggie Swire’s inheritance that he was being left, and Ethel being around to get on everyone’s nerves, and Thomas (we will never be free of that snake). But these are not things that make you hate the show, they just make it more complicated. I was so happy to see some more of Sybil and Tom, but I was not at all happy when that ended in heartbreak. Was that really necessary? It broke me down to my core, and to see Tom and Cora’s devastation over Sybil while she was dying and as she had passed was horrible. Crushing. Cruel. Why?! We did not need that! Even Thomas cried and was crushed about it, and that man has no bloody heart. However, her death opens for a whole different set of things with Tom and the Crawley family. Obviously there are still issues between them, Tom is very different from them, but they are trying with him, and he is trying with them, but he will stand his ground for other things. I also think it was really good to bring him into the family business – it gives him a purpose and draws them all together some more. Ever Carson starts to warm up towards Tom, which is not something you would expect. As always, the dynamics between the characters are fascinating. When Mrs Hughes found the lump on her breast and was worried, Mrs Padmore was there every step of the way, and even Carson eventually got the story out (in a sly manner, no less, I was so proud of him), and he was so concerned. When she was found to be okay? The way he didn’t ask her (but she knew he spoke to Mrs Padmore, she was right there) and when he found out she was fine he went about his work, singing. It was so sweet! After waiting for a lifetime, Mary and Matthew are finally married and living a life together, and it was sad to see them having difficulty conceiving a child, and both of them seeking treatment in secret to see which of them was to blame. Then there is Edith, who I swear is destined to suffer forever more. Being jilted at the altar was just… so horrendous. Nobody should have that happen to them. Like, I get whey Anthony Strallan did it, but it does not make it better. He should have called an end to it before it got so far. That girl just can’t get anything, and she is nowhere near as cruel as before, so give her a break! You know, then we have to deal with Matthew dying. What the heck, the Crawley clan needs to stop having children – the mortality rate is just too damn high here! Two major deaths in the space of a few episodes?! What on Earth did we do to deserve such punishment?! Did we really need to see that?! Anyway, the heartbreak in this season is too damn high, and you get so invested in the characters. Just as you think you can move on from Sybil, there is Matthew, then you just don’t want to watch anything anymore after that. Because it hurts. Well written, well acted, well paced, Downton Abbey is always a show worth watching, and I highly recommend it.

downton abbey season 3 carson

Downton Abbey: Season 2 (2011)

????????????????????????????????????????????

*CONTAINS SPOILERS*

What I liked:

  • The stark differences shown between wartime battlefronts and then the jarring peace that is experienced in other places (such as at Downton).
  • The relationship between Lady Mary and Carson.
  • Sybil and Branson – I have always liked this pairing, because it does not fit in with the times, so it gives it a dangerous edge. Plus they just look gorgeous together. Granted, the show takes forever while dancing around this thing, but Findlay and Leech have fantastic chemistry, and I was rooting for them from the off.
  • How much Edith has improved. Goodness, what a piece of work she was in the beginning! She has definitely gotten better, though I am still no fan of hers.
  • Cousin Violet does have a heart, though she never, ever wants that part of her to be seen. A big scene this was evident was when Daisy and William were getting married, and she was crying, but passed that off as a bad cold. Silly woman.
  • Lavinia Swire. I know we were (technically) supposed to hate the girl, but she was so pure, so good, so sweet, that you could not help but like her, and feel for her when Matthew was so obviously still in love with Mary.
  • That Christmas episode was absolutely fantastic.
  • Daisy and Mr Mason – so sweet.

downton abbey season 2 dance far

What I didn’t like: 

  • Cousin Isobel just peeved me this season. Last season she was some annoying comic relief – this season she was a control freak, nasty, pushy, and just plain down rude. No love for that.
  • How Lady Mary can really just be a spoiled brat (this is specifically looking at how she handled the whole Carson not joining her and Sir Richard at their new home).
  • This whole Robert Crawley scenario with the housemaid, Jane. I was not a fan of that at all, and felt it was most uncalled for.
  • Thomas being back. The man is so evil, cowardly and underhanded and annoys me endlessly!
  • Ethel and her whole pregnant, baby, can’t work thing. I know it sounds cold, but she made a stupid decision, and is holding everyone else accountable for it. She’s also pushy to boot.

downton abbey season 2 defeatist

Rating:
GRADE 8.5Seriously addictive show! We start up with the war in full swing, and it seems that everything is changed. Downton is still functioning, but with minor changes. Bates is still gone, and Anna’s heart is still broken, and it sucks. Times were certainly different, as this season showcases how desperate all the men seemed to be to serve in the war to show their loyalty to the country, no matter what. Robert Crawley was especially offended on being a “mascot” and that he was not going to be sent to the front, while William was prepared to leave his father just to join the effort.

I was highly unimpressed to see Thomas back so soon, and evidently that slippery snake has not changed his ways. Maggie Smith, as always, entertained me endlessly with her aversion to technology, and the way she dealt with both the telephone and the gramophone was, naturally, hilarious. Only Carson is her equal when it comes to technology!

downton-abbey-season-2-carson-and-phone

Sybil made me so happy this season, as she was really in her element, having studied to be a nurse and caring for people. She was respected. Branson hanging around was awesome, and I was thrilled to finally see their relationship progress to something. I was not a fan, however, of the subplots that came in and ended without really giving much closure. For instance, Robert being a total twat and having that affair with the maid was something that horrified me, I always thought he was made of sterner stuff, and they dance around it and then the maid leaves. Done. Poof. Gone. No more. Really?! After the entire fuss that was kicked up about it, I would have assumed more. Also, for instance, Patrick returning. That was a thing and then bang, all gone. Oh well.

downton abbey season 2 tom branson chaffeur hot

Mary’s new beau was definitely a smarmy and nasty character, and I was not impressed. Matthew, of course, is still just pure perfection for me, and I was so sad when he was so terribly wounded at war, I could not bear to think of him wallowing in such a depression, thinking himself less a man because of his wounds. But holy joy for us, things changed! Yay! I am really starting to get worried about Carson’s health… his heart just doesn’t seem able to bear things anymore. Mrs O’Brien, still sly as a fox, has definitely changed her tune quite a bit at times. She is still cold and cruel, but she is no longer as bad as she previously was when she was with Thomas, and her loyalty to Cora is astounding.

I must say that Cousin Isobel really just worked on my nerves this season, it was not as amusing as last to watch her. The way that Downton was totally changed was interesting and frustrating in equal measure, because there was some extreme amusement to be found there, but there was also things that were irritating. Again, the divide between the rich and the poor was highlighted fully here, with the rich being more concerned about some of the space being used up as opposed to the assistance that was generated.

As much as Mary peeves me, I actually really just want her and Matthew to be together, because he does love her. Too much. It was sad to see the way the whole thing with Lavinia Swire went, but it did clear the path for them to be together. Edith has changed a lot, and with all her flaws and all she is no longer deadly nasty and cruel as she was before. I was terribly sad, then happy, then worried, then depressed watching the whole Bates/Anna story. Finally he gets shot of his wife, everything is smoothed over at Downton and he returns, but then his wife dies and Bates is in trouble, and he marries Anna and is then arrested… good gracious me, not happy times. Oh my goodness, again there is just far too much to talk about here and just not enough space! Go watch this, immediately, maybe then we will all be on the same page about it!

downton abbey season 2 dance

Downton Abbey: Season 1 (2010)

donwton abbey series 1

*CONTAINS SPOILERS*

What I liked:

  • The costume design. It was sumptuous, stunning, suiting and perfect. I was very impressed.
  • Maggie Smith. There is no way that you can watch this show and not absolutely love Cousin Violet and her antics. She is so strongly opinionated, but technically has a heart of gold under that prickly facade.

downton abbey cousin violet what is a weekend

  • The cast is wonderful. I think they all bring something of worth to the table. Jim Carter as Charles Carson is great, Brandan Coyle as John Bates is just perfect, I love him, and I think he and Joanne Froggart as Anna Smith work wonders together. Siobhan Finneran’s Mrs Sarah O’Brien and Rob James-Collier’s Thomas Barrow are such wily snakes. They really get under my skin.
  • Dan Stevens. Because holy wowzers, he is freaking adorable and such a gentleman and a heart-stealer. Argh! Besides the fact that he plays Matthew Crawley so well, Matthew’s character itself is just so… perfect. Definitely not cut from the same cloth as his infinitely richer counterparts, he is a hard worker, smart, loyal, good looking and so down to Earth.
  • Lady Mary Crawley’s character growth. It really took me from totally hating her to just being irritable with her at the best of times. I no longer wanted to shoot her though.
  • The courtship between Lady Mary Crawley and Matthew. I mean, I am a little phased by the whole cousin thing, but at the end of it, and despite the fact that she was introduced as a super bitch and remains quite so throughout, her character grows quite a bit, and I found myself rooting for them to finally get over their issues and get together.
  • Watching Cousin Violet and Cousin Isobel together is worth every second of screen time. They just have no time or patience for one another, but go about it in such different way. Plus, how competitive are these two?
  • Sybil Crawley. Jessica Brown-Findlay captured her wonderfully, and this character is simply a favourite of mine. The way she helped Rose Leslie’s Gwen to find work, and how she is so free spirited and happy and pro-feminism is just great, and I am quite a fan of it. She is so independent, and I love the banter between her and Allen Leech’s chauffeur Tom Branson. He compliments her because he is also so different and political and he encourages her, but he looks out for her.
  • How the divide between the rich and the poor and the working class is illustrated here. The servants work themselves to the bone, and the rich don’t necessarily realise all the work that gets done, the effects it has, and how much they differ from the help. For instance, Mary is quite dismissive about positions within the house, though she becomes rather embarrassed when she realises how important they are to other people (looking here specifically at what went down with William when he was looking after the horse).
  • The humour. It is very sharp and very dry, I love it!

downton abbey season 1 branson and sybil

What I didn’t like:

  • I am not necessarily a fan of the way that time jumps, and months/years have passed, but the n arrative continues as though there has been no time lapse.
  • The relationship between Edith and Mary. I know it is there for the dramatic side of things and all that, but sheesh, how bitchy can you get with your sibling?!
  • The whole legal predicament – it is explained, but not as nicely and as smoothly as I would have liked, meaning I get the gist of it, but not too much the technicalities of it.
  • How totally self-centred Mary is, and how she spends far too much time listening to outside influences.
  • Thomas and Mrs O’Brien – two snakes if ever I saw them!

downton abbey season 1 mary and carson

Rating:
GRADE 8.5I watched this once up until season three, then fell out with it, and decided a few months back to rewatch this and actually finish it this time around. I was particularly in the mood for something British. Naturally this ticked all the boxes, and I popped it in.

I was drawn in from the very first episode, no kidding. I love a good drama, and for a period setting and story, this was lovely. There were laughs, there were hard times, there were great relationships, there was some insane scheming, and there was character growth.

Typical of a show/book with such a massive array of characters, I was worried that I would forget them all, or not know how they all fit in. This is a normal fear when bombarded with so many people, especially seeing as how they were all introduced in the first episode basically. Getting to know Downton was a wonderful experience, and I am a big fan of the cast. Maggie Smith is a scene-stealer, of course, and her character of Cousin Violet is just immensely wonderful. She is so underhanded, so wealthy, so out of touch with how the rest of the world works, you cannot help but laugh at her. I particularly enjoyed her quip about weekends, and the competition/rivalry between her and Isobel is so worth watching. It is hilarious, and everyone is aware of it, some humour it, mostly because getting awkward doesn’t help. They are both immensely strong willed women. I also like how she is not as cold as you think, and sometimes she does particularly sweet things, but she does’t like to draw too much attention to it (such as when she relented and allowed Bill Molesley to win the flower fair).

downton-abbey-season-1-gwen-gets-her-job

Then there is Matthew Crawley. I cannot lie and say I did not fall deeply in love with his character. He was more in tune with reality, solidly middle class, not dismissive like the rest of the Crawley clan, smart as a whip and simply gorgeous. He was just… different, and I liked that. Not to mention that I think Dan Stevens is absolutely super hot, and he was adorable here (just look at his relationship with Molesley after he realises how the food chain works). Jessica Brown-Findlay was another actress I was very happy to see. I think she is beautiful, and her character of Sybil is wonderful – strong-willed, cheeky, a feminist to the core, and helpful. She is also more genuine than the rest of the family seems to be, such a free spirit. I must admit, I loved watching her be all rebellious, and thought that her and Tom Branson were so sweet together.

Bates was another character I deeply admired. He was loyal and genuine and such an honest man, and he would not shift blame. When he started he was treated so badly, and it actually hurt to watch, but eventually commanded the respect of just about everyone, and that was great. Also, I liked how he had served with Lord Robert Crawley in the war, and everyone treats him terribly and dismissively and he was actually friends with Robert, and it changes things when the rest of the servants realise this. He doesn’t use connections/relations with people to get ahead, however, and will never take anyone down with him maliciously, no matter what. Thomas and Mrs O’Brien irritated me, they were such forces of evil! T

he distinct portrayal of how times are different and cultural mores and norms that have differed is something I thoroughly enjoy watching, too. Wow, there is so much going on in this show actually that I am not sure how to address it all. I don’t want to leave anything out, but there is just too much that is right with this! Obviously this means that if you have not yet watched this, you should rectify that immediately. 

downton abbey put that in your pipe and smoke it

Stranger Things: Season 1 (2016)

stranger-things-poster-netflix1

*CONTAINS SPOILERS*

What I liked:

  • The score. Like really. It was awesome, and very reminiscent of Drive. It resonated every step of the way, and was so important.
  • The opening credits. They are dead simple, no frills, bells, and whistles, and yet it is awesome. That music, the neon, the letters? I really liked this.

stranger things intro

  • The child actors. These kids were good. Usually kids in movies annoy me, their acting is stiff and unbelievable. But here? These kids were compelling. I am particularly a fan of Dustin.
  • Hopper. Initially you meet this dude that wakes up, brushes his teeth, chains a cigarette, washes down pills with a beer, all at the crack of dawn. However, as lost as this man appears in the beginning, it does not detract from the fact that he has a cop’s mind, and it is amazing to watch it kick into gear.

stranger things hopper wake up

  • The references and vibes! Carpenter, King, Hawkins, Stand By Me, everything!
  • The humour. It is just fantastic. Really had me laughing at times.

stranger things hopper mornings are for

  • The character development. People were not left to stagnate – while the kids were learning about themselves and El, so were Johnathan, Steve, and Nancy learning about themselves and changing. Joyce and Hopper discovered things and had to adapt the way they saw things, and embrace it. Brilliant. Everyone was involved here.
  • Mr Clarke. Seriously, this teacher was the best for so many reasons, and a character I absolutely adored! Here are some.

What I didn’t like: 

  • There are leaps and bounds in the logic that aren’t always explained, and don’t always make sense.
  • Nancy annoyed me endlessly. She was selfish and grating and silly. What an annoyance. However, her character changes and grows so much that she actually becomes someone decent later on.

stranger things nancy slap

  • I love less is more when it comes to the monster, and while this show managed that for the most part, I still feel that we saw too much of it, and it sort of killed the creep factor for me.

stranger things kids meet bad guys

Rating:
I was so eager to check this out. I saw a trailer for it a few months back, and thought it looked like something that was totally up my alley. Then it released, and the reviews came back really positive, so I knew that I just had to get on it. Well, my husband and I watched it in three consecutive work nights, and then we were done. Done, and sad, because it is over now for a while. The minute this show started, I was pleased. It had a dark, creepy intro scene, some unseen monster, and then some ridiculously simple, cool opening credits. Everything was so eighties and old school and horror like, I was happy. The characters are introduced to us, and they are quite sweet, or interesting, or strange, depending who you meet. The boys and their Dungeons and Dragons tournament was endearing, and from there, the show kicks in.

stranger things dungeons and dragons

Stranger Things features a lot of heart, and that was cool. Yes, shows have relationships and you get invested, I am not disputing that, and great friendships. But Stranger Things shows you about the deep bonds that kids form as friends, their innocence at adding a latest, mysterious addition to their little ensemble, the love a struggling mother has for her child, and the ties between brothers. It was quite multilayered, and worked wonders.

stranger things johnathan nancy steve stranger things steve bat

Let’s talk about some characters I really liked. I was a big fan of Hopper – no matter the washout you think he is, the man has a cop’s brain, and is extremely good at what he does. He is also a tortured dude, but does his best to help people, even if he would prefer it happen after coffee and doughnuts. Then there is Mr Clarke, and he is just awesome, and brings a lot of humour to the screen, which I love. He is also a great teacher, and encourages passion for these kids, which is awesome. Winona Ryder is in fine form here as Joyce, and totally brings a lot to the table.

The kids need their own paragraph. Eleven is a great character, and Millie Bobby Brown played her so well. You pity her, but you also sort of fear her (because let’s face it, she is a bit of the unknown). She learns about all these totally foreign concepts (friendship, promises, etc.) and picks up on these things and embraces these concepts with open arms, without questioning, as only a child can, despite whatever has happened to her. Let’s not forget about Dustin, Michael, and Lucas here. These kids had their friendships with one another tried and tested, and are all at that age where things start to change in their lives. They learned more about trust, honesty, courage, and bravery in a short period of time than they would have even if years had passed. Of the original group of boys, Dustin was, without a doubt, my favourite. He is hilarious, has heart, tries to keep everyone happy and together, and has a real smart mouth. Definitely love!

stranger things better runstranger things she's crazy

Stranger Things is a tense watch, and draws you into this fictitious world effortlessly and completely, and while you know that so much that is going on is fantastical and bizarre, you totally just give in and take it on. You get invested. While they did not show too much of the monster, I still feel that they showed too much. I am all for the less is more when it comes to monsters. Give me flashes, give me more atmosphere, and while the show handled that successfully for the most part, I still feel that we saw too much of the monster, and it totally killed the freaky vibe with it. Anyway, all that said and done, Stranger Things is fantastic, and I enjoyed the heck out of it. All I  can say is watch it. Watch it now.

stranger things van flip