Jessica Jones season 2: classic case of season 2 fatigue, but what happened to the feminism?

Jessica Jones season 2 is finally here – so what does my feminist ass think about it?

It’s an undeniable fact that I loved season 1 of Jessica Jones – in fact, it was the first blog I wrote.


Jessica Jones season 2

So it was with a lot of jumping up and down, squealing, and Jim Beam pouring that I sat down to watch season 2 on Friday. I love film noir. I love superheroes. I love feminism. I love ladies kicking ass. I love Jessica Jones.

I was a bit nervous though – Kilgrave was a hard act to follow, and I was worried the show would suffer from the same season 2 fatigue that Daredevil did. In some ways I was right, and in some ways, I was wrong.

It was still much better than season 2 of Daredevil, but the narrative was a little bit all over the place. It kept changing pace and you felt a little bit exhausted by all the changes in direction. All the characters were heading off in different directions, and they never seemed to come back together again – and in fact they never did. Ending a season on a cliffhanger is by no means a bad thing (see: Westworld, Dirk Gently, every season of B99, you get the picture). But when I season ends with a feeling of dissatisfaction and a question of what did we even achieve here, it becomes very… meh.

It was still really interesting, but it wasn’t anything to write home about – or on my blog about.

What I found really interesting was this season’s approach to feminism. Or its many approaches. Or its lack of approaches.

The basis of season 1 feminism was easy:

  • Badass female kicking butt
  • An anti-rape narrative supporting victim experiences
  • Intersectional
  • Showing off the many ways women can be cool
  • Fuck you rapists

Pretty basic stuff, but all very good.

Season 2 didn’t seem to see things that way, and in fact already in the first episode things became difficult – it started with Jeri.

She’s just won her award and her co-workers continue to berate her because she’s only just won a case against her ex-assistant for sexual assault. Jeri argues back that her assistant was a consenting adult and it shouldn’t matter anyway because “you’ve seen the way she dressed.”Jessica Jones season 2

Um. Jeri. Sweetie, no.

Of course, victim blaming happens, and it can happen from women. I don’t mind that this interaction happened – I just wish it had been acknowledged and Jeri had been corrected.

The show acknowledged gross undertones when men said them, such as Pryce’s “I never take no for an answer” being shot down as “rapey”, so why not Jeri’s?

The show further fails to fully acknowledge or call out other sexist behaviours and tropes, by continuing to have Jeri use vulnerable women to her advantage. Yes, Jeri is a bad person, we all know this. But why doesn’t Jessica call her out on it? Or anyone else? The longstanding idea that showing bad behaviour is enough to help audiences understand that it is morally wrong – but any conversation with a dudebro whose favourite film is Fight Club could tell you it rarely works out that way.

One of the more disturbing parts of the shows sexist narratives that didn’t come to a satisfying end was that of Maximilian’s sexual abuse of Trish when she was 15. Yes, he does get thoroughly shaken up by Jessica, but nothing felt resolved. They got what they wanted out of him and that was it. Has Trish dealt with her pain? Will Maximilian be publicly shamed and removed from Hollywood despite them promising they would keep quiet if he helped them? Where’s the #MeToo movement solidarity here? Jessica didn’t even rip one of his limbs off so what the hell?!

Do these issues make the show overtly sexist? Absolutely not, in fact it’s still an inherently feminist show, but it sure does take something away from the message.

I come to Jessica Jones for retribution. For a violent, unforgiving takedown of the patriarchy – where was that? This season was muddy, unfocussed, and lacking direction at many points, and because of this, so many narrative points seem lost and unresolved.

It wasn’t horrible, but for season 3 I hope to God it involves the group coming back together again, fighting a single bad guy (who is a Sexist Dickbag (also no more bad guy switcheroos, I’m tired Netflix, I’m tired)), and for Maximilian to have his nuts chopped off and hung where the whole world can see.

I want blood.

Jessica Jones season 2

Stranger Things have happened

So, did it shape up to last season? Am I going to go all feminist on this shit? Do I want to BE Winona Ryder? Stay tuned.

In all truthfulness, up until now all my blog posts have been filler posts.

My whole year has been a filler post as I anxiously awaited Stranger Things season 2 – it’s safe to say there have been points where I have neared the level of mania I had for shows back in 2010-2012. The Stranger Things obsession has been real my pals.

I’m not sure what it is I love about it so much. The 80’s nostalgia for a time I wasn’t even alive for? A little bit. The sci-fi soft-horror? Sure. The music? Yes, of course. The beautiful friendships of all kinds, but particularly of the younger characters? Fuck yes.

I have a massive soft spot for the portrayal of all kinds of relationships and bonds, and Stranger Things really excels with that. It also portrays a level of innocence and geekiness that has its own sort of nostalgia. The kind that isn’t tied to any generation – we can all sort of relate to that feeling of kinship, spare time, and feeling pretty out of place.

So anyway, season 2 – I was pumped. And if you’re reading this then you probably have at least some small level of interest in what I thought about it, so here it is.

I had a lot of expectations for this season. I knew that there would be new characters introduced to the narrative, and that there would be a widening of the universe which in season 1 was almost exclusively confined to Hawkins.

Season 1 was easy. There were good people, and there were bad people. Probably the only person that blurred the lines was Steve Harrington, but even when you hated him you still sort of rooted for him – and you didn’t hate him for long.

It had a small world and tight knit groups, and I knew that in season 2 this would need to be broadened. And yet I still expected it to be about the group having a close bond, and recognising that they’re stronger together.

After all – and the show acknowledges this – they each experienced a large amount of trauma which often brings people together.

I was so excited to see the team together, but we started where we pretty much started in season 1. Nancy and Mike fighting. Eleven on her own. The boys arguing over a girl. And a love triangle between Steve, Nancy, and Jonathan.

But… I kind of get it. It made sense to the narrative, and although it broke my heart to watch the boys keep secrets from each other and distrust each other, I got why it was happening.

Because it was still Stranger Things. The soundtrack was on point as always (although, and I know they did it in season 1, but I wished they would play Toto Africa again cus that is just such a Mood), as well as the cinematography and costume design.

All that aside, I felt that this season took us to a newer, darker place than the first season – and not in the way I expected.

I expected the monsters to get darker, the risks to get riskier, and the deaths to be gorier, but I didn’t expect what else we got.

Although it didn’t do so very overtly, this season did actually deal with themes of racism and sexism – and in fact, homophobia (very lightly). I’m not saying we should start lauding it as the most progressive show of our time, but something that was definitely lacking in the previous season was an acknowledgement that the 80’s weren’t just a fun, wacky dressed, nostalgic and pre-internet era for everyone. For some people it was tougher than that.

So yeah, this season gave it a shot. A really weak shot – and if we’re going to use the baseball metaphor Ted and Steve both use – Stranger Things is still pretty much sitting on the bench. But it gave it a shot.

Max’s brother (aka Evil Zac Efron™) had a level of prejudice against Lucas he didn’t have towards the other boys – this wasn’t overt racism, but I think we all got the drift.

We also see more of Ted being a shitty complacent husband to Mrs. Wheeler. As well as Max and Billy’s father showing an almost overt form of toxic masculinity, which not only affects his sons inward and outward emotions, but also forces his wife into submission.

It was like Social Commentary Lite™ – like if social commentary were a full fat yoghurt, but Stranger Things were on a diet. And while that’s some Bullshit, I really do have faith that next season will be even better. The actor who plays Mike (potentially our main male protagonist), has shown himself to be a lot more progressive and socially aware than many of his older peers, and that sort of attitude doesn’t go unnoticed.

Netflix is in the unique position where, unlike its network cousins, it doesn’t have to worry about as many stakeholders. Stakeholders, such as advertisers, are one of the main things that prevent network television from being able to be socially progressive. Netflix is a unique forum which doesn’t rely on any ads – greatly reducing the number of stakeholders.

It should be doing better.

If young actors like Finn Wolfhard continue to fight back, there may just be a change, and I have faith that it will happen before season 3 – or maybe I just hope.

But I digress. This season certainly had its failings – the entirety of episode 7 being the biggest one. Like, wow that episode was some trash, try harder next time.

But the other big issue was its major attempts at love triangles. There were only 3 women in this show (bar every mother except Will’s, all of which played a very minor part) that were main characters, and each of them were entangled in a version of a love triangle. And Max was in more than one for Christ’s sake.

Eleven – Mike – Max.

Dustin – Max – Lucas.

Steve – Nancy – Jonathan.

Hopper – Joyce – Bob.

Like, I get it. The Duffer Brothers couldn’t write enough women for the show, which meant that there weren’t enough women to fulfil the hetero-normative needs for each male in the show.

Totally.

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But what the fuck. Was this really necessary? I’ve said it before – love triangles are one of the weakest methods of emotional writing you can employ, and I despise them.

Love triangles only work to simplify the emotional responses of every character involved, and usually they just work to exemplify the males need to “own” a woman.

Like, where ma polyamorous relationships at? I would’ve loved if Steve – Nancy – Jonathan had ended in a polyamorous relationship – instead it just ended in me crying over Steve being lonely.

And then there’s Max. Man, I was so excited for Max. Another female character? Amazing. A girl who skates and calls the boys out on their shit? Inspired. Like, a whole other female character? Colour me pumped.

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But she wasn’t written like a real person???? She was either a prize to be won by Dustin or Lucas, or she was an inconvenience to the predetermined group, and plot. She deserved a lot better than this, and I hope that in season 3 she gets some actual characterisation and storylines.

But that brings me to the wins.

Firstly, all of episode 8 and 9. My tears were flowing like the Cancer trash I am.

The unity and solidarity was heart-wrenching – in a good way – and it showed the complexities of friendships that the other episodes failed to do.

My heart was ripped entirely in half watching Mike try to reach El on the walkie-talkie. That is romance my friends holy wow.

My dreams came true when we got to see the Snow Ball, and although they very heavily shoehorned Will having a girl to dance with (don’t get me wrong, he deserves love, but ??? it didn’t make sense), and it was heartbreaking to see Dustin turned down by everyone except Nancy who pity-danced with him, my heart truly soared when Mike and Eleven were dancing.

I waited so long to see this damn child romance at the Snow Ball, and my tears were both happy and sad at what the two had been through.

At the end of it all, all I can really say is, this is still my favourite show (despite the mess in episode 7), and these child actors still blow me away with their talent.

I’m once more anxiously waiting for the next season, where I hope to GOD the Duffer Brothers don’t think that splitting the team up or shoehorning love triangles is a good idea.

Also final note, I hope we still have Steve in the #squad, even if he’ll be at college and isn’t dating Nancy and is probably alone, heartbroken, and eating his feelings…

#justiceforSteve

Girl Boss: Poor timing, straw feminism, but please stop being sexist when you’re reviewing it – you’re not fucking help­ing

Girl Boss – it didn’t blow my mind, but it occasionally boiled my blood

 

Alright.

 

I’m doing it.

 

I’m reviewing Girl Boss.

 

A show with so much hatred spewing at it, but half of the time it’s for the wrong reasons.

 

The next time I have to read an article where half the vitriol is based on the fact that Sophia acts like a girl, or wears things that are too short, or talks annoyingly, I’m going to fucking die.

 

Because there are plenty of things wrong with Girl Boss.

 

Shit tonnes in fact.

 

But as soon as you start using sexist, stereotyped terms to describe the main character, your review becomes as bad as the show itself.

 

Maybe worse but with a lot less exposure.girl boss netflix review sophia marlowe on her laptop

 

I get it. Sophia is such a millennial, but guess what?

 

That’s not her fucking issue.

 

Selfies, a love for money, and a hatred of the 40 hour working week are not Sophia’s issue.

 

Feistiness, low cut pants, and an obsession with The O.C. are not Sophia’s issue.

 

Hell, Sophia’s complete lack of social tact and empathy aren’t Sophia’s issue.

 

Sophia’s real issue is her apparent attempts to be an icon of feminism and girl power, while continuously pushing down real feminism and making a mockery of truly important power structures and harmful cultural thought.

 

And no, it’s not because she’s a bitch.

 

Her unlikeability is irksome, and makes her a questionable character who you almost never want to root for (at least for the first 10 episodes) – but that doesn’t make her anti-feminist.

 

A-la Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, we are seeing more and more feminist narratives that are working to break down the stereotypes that women are inherently good, and the ideas that they can’t do horrible things such as murder – or in Sophia’s case, petty theft, emotional detachment, and self-absorption. While these are often difficult pieces to consume, and many, many people argue that they aren’t feminist, I believe that we are at the point in feminist discourse where we can insert conversations about female monsters into our mainstream literature.

 

Do I truly believe that’s what Sophia’s characterisation does, or intends to do?

 

Not entirely.

 

But I will argue until the end of the Earth that that isn’t what makes this show anti-feminist.

 

If you’ve heard of Straw Feminism you’ll know where I’m going with this.

 

The Wikipedia version is this:

 

Straw feminism is a straw man argument whereby exaggerated or fabricated elements of feminism are used in an attempt to refute and / or derail feminist arguments. A Straw Feminist then is a fabricated character used by those arguing against feminism to devalue and derail feminist arguments.

 

But if you want a real description, with some fantastic examples, I 100% recommend you watch the Feminist Frequency video on this.

 

In fact I recommend you watch all of their Tropes vs Women series.

 

The long and short is that Straw Feminism is often used as a tool to make the main character look like the real fighter for equality. It makes feminism look crazy, deranged, and completely illogical, and the main character look sensible, essentially ignoring what real feminism looks like.

 

This became most obvious to me as a trope in Girl Boss when they pulled out the character ‘Crusty’ – affectionately named by Sophia’s not-boyfriend.

 

Crusty – because I have no other name for her – embodies Straw Feminism. She yells pointless, unprovoked hatred at Shane, calling him the problem, for seemingly nothing and everything.girl boss netflix crusty straw feminism

 

And might I add, she only stops when Sophia shoves a burrito in her mouth.

 

Now, ignoring the fact that Crusty clearly sounds homeless (she talks about bankruptcy, abandonment, isolation in ways that describe an unfortunate financial situation), I’ve seen too many memes describing woman as only angry when they’re hungry.

 

Y’know. Your girlfriend doesn’t have any real, substantial issues with your behaviour. She just needs a fucking burrito.

 

It’s like, guys know they can’t say “are you on your period?” anymore, so they’ve just replaced it with “are you hungry?”

 

It’s not the biggest improvement.

 

This Straw Feminism continues throughout the show in much less insidious and obvious ways, but the theme remains.

 

Sophia is a logical, realistic, and non-crazy feminist form of consumable girl power.

 

She’s feisty, bitchy, and literally the worst – but hey, at least she’s not a feminist!

 

And usually, while this is harmful thinking, I often don’t write entire thinkpieces on it.

 

But this show is titled ‘Girl Boss’.

 

It’s essentially hijacking the feminist movement, while simultaneously belittling it.

 

It is, of course, also the whitest show I’ve seen in a while.

 

Sophia often partakes in petty theft, as well as obscene public behaviour, occasionally causing her to brush with the law.

 

But does this stop her? Of course not! Most of it is just fun, laughable hijinks to be enjoyed for years to come.

 

These scenes consistently ignore the realities of what the results would be if someone who wasn’t a pretty white girl did what Sophia does. While I feel this doesn’t do as direct harm as the Straw Feminism does in this show, it’s still an aspect which not only unsettles me, but also places Girl Boss in the seeming continuous rise in white feminism.

 

But don’t worry! Feminism is bad kids! Don’t be like Crusty!

 

From there, while the narrative wore thin, the humour fell short, and there wasn’t nearly as much thrifting and outfit montages as I’d hoped, the only real other issue with Girl Boss was its timing.

 

Everything else aside, it’s great to celebrate stories of womens business successes – particularly in fashion retail, an industry dominated by men but aimed at consumption for women.

 

Yes, Sophia is problematic as hell, but seeing the stories where a woman fights tooth and nail for business ownership can nonetheless pave the way for better stories to come.

 

But the timing of Girl Boss can’t be ignored.

 

Under a near swamp of legal fights around pregnant women being fired, poor working conditions and pay, and of course – Nasty Gal filing for bankruptcy – it’s difficult to watch Girl Boss for what it’s intended to be; the gritty, unglamorous-but-still-glamorous rise of a female boss who builds an impressive empire.

 

One can only wonder what might feature in the next season should it be renewed.

 

I for one, hope that they approach these topics of the failings – the show needs a little realism and grounding injected into it.

 

So after 1000 words, you probably think I hate this show.

 

I highkey do. But lowkey, I’m a sucker for pop music, throwbacks, amazing outfits, and thrifting.

 

And, if you’re wondering, the final 3 episodes are actually pretty damn decent.

 

So no, it’s not my favourite show, but I’d still watch the second season.

 

Just please, give me some makeover montages, and some more amazing red flared pants.

 

Please.

 

Oh, and less fucking fake feminist agendas of the white variety please.

 

 

Xoxo, Bossy Girl

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Iron Fist? More like Iron Missed amirite? Come get the Iron Gist guys

Was that a brutal title? I’m not sorry and I’ll never try to pretend I am.

 

Obviously, as always, this is NOT SPOILER FREE.

 

Not that you should care – I don’t want you to watch this anyway.

 

In fact, YOU shouldn’t want you to watch this either. Please, save yourself.

 

Alright, alright Morgan, stop being coy – tell us why you hated it enough to warrant expending extra energy to name and shame this Pretender Defender!

 

Iron FistOk well firstly, I think it’s obvious enough to say that I wasn’t going to enjoy this straight off the bat, based on the fact that although this isn’t technically a whitewashing of a character, it’s certainly still a narrative that appropriates culture in the highest degree

 

Let me paint you a picture here:

 

High flying family gets killed over the Himalayas, the son survives and is raised by monks and trained in kung fu to become the protector of their sacred and spiritual town. This kid is a natural at Chinese martial arts, and harnesses his chi to capture the powers and title of the “Iron Fist”, a kung fu superhero.

Iron Fist

But of course! Duh! This kid is also white, blonde haired, blue eyed – oh, and did I forget to mention the heir of a multi-billion-dollar company in New York?

 

Yeah, not exactly the whitest storyline there until you get to that end bit.

 

But is my issue with Danny Gland himself? No. My issue actually is the fact that Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Luke Cage etc are not part of the Defenders in the comic books. They were largely given this position in the MNU (is Marvel Netflix Universe a thing? It’s a thing now) because they were UNDERDOGS. And not in the sense that they’ve had their multi-billion dollar business usurped from them while they were training with monks in a magical land (aw, so tuff for Danny L ), but because they were marginalised. Their start in society was tough, and it built them to understand the struggles of the every day New Yorker, to the point where they know who needs help and in what way. They’re our 21st century Defenders, here to understand socio-political issues.

 

So why the fuck did they choose Danny Bland as their next Defender?

 

Let me make this clear. I am not taking issue with the fact that they chose a white male superhero as their next in the line-up.

 

I understand Hollywood. They know who they want to pander to and that’s fine.

 

But why not pick a DIFFERENT white male superhero? One that isn’t appropriating Chinese culture, and being an ignorant, annoying billionaire with questionable shoe choices? It’s not like there’s any shortage.

 

OR alternatively – if you want Chinese culture, why not cast a Chinese superhero? Or even subvert the Iron B-list narrative and cast a Chinese Danny Flan? I mean if we can pull a million reasons out of our ass to cast white people in POC roles, then why can’t it work the other way?

 

I’m kidding. I know why.

 

OK so I hated Danny Ampersand/Iron Cyst from the get go – but Morgan? Why can’t you just look past that and into the eyes of a well-made, well-written, visual masterpiece?

 

WRONG!

 

Ham-handed cultural appropriation aside, this show actually, objectively, fucking sucked.

 

It was painfully slow paced, with things only actually happening in like, episode 7.

There was a shoehorned, forced love story which was, ultimately, completely unnecessary to the storyline.Iron Fist

It seemed to paint a picture of women as cardboard sex or affirmation-bots with little to no personal storylines. In fact, every character was pretty much a cardboard cut out.

Nothing seemed to really happen – ever.

The show couldn’t decide what it was actually about, clunkily moving from dull corporate squabbling, to forced fighting with nameless Chinese villains that was still, somehow, constantly interrupted by people demanding Danny return to the corporate squabbling.

 

But worst of all? This show had no idea who its own bad guy was.

 

First it’s Ward. Then it’s Gao! No wait – it’s definitely Ward. Oops, sorry, it’s actually Harold! Kidding! It’s this sudden newcomer, who only lasts a couple of episodes, Bakuto! SIKE! It’s still Gao! KIDDING AGAIN! It’s actually Davos and Joy! Bitch you thought!!!

 

This show had no solid narrative, and was constantly fighting with itself to decide what it actually was about.

 

The narratives always seemed to last an episode and a half before Danny had moved on to a different one, to the point where there failed to be any over-arching plot other than how hard it was for Danny to be both a woefully underqualified billionaire, and an even less qualified superhero (who never seemed to really ever save anyone?)

 

I mean, in the final two episodes Danny is actually just fighting the fucking DEA???????

 

Listen, this show was a mess. It was a nightmare. And it was damn slow doing it.

 

I swear the only interesting character was Claire Temple – and she was well-established and written many Defenders ago, so I KNOW Rosario Dawson wasn’t about to
let anyone screw with that. Oh, and Jeri was great too, but again, she was already established in her awesomeness by far more proficient writers.Iron Fist

 

So yeah, I guess you could say I hated this show.

 

I know this blog post wasn’t quite an analysis so much as it was just a hateful rant, but again, I’m not gonna pretend I’m sorry.

 

Maybe I can be the consistent adversary Danny Disneyland so desperately needs.

 

Believe me, it’d be my pleasure.

From the left field: Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

From the left field: Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

 

By the way, amazingly, by sheer willpower, this blog post is SPOILER FREE! Yayyyyy.

As a result, however, this won’t really delve into themes or matters of representation etc, it’s more or less just a rundown on what makes this show great. So you can also probably expect this to be rather short.

 

Sorry if you were expecting more.

 

But also not sorry.

 

As a general, but not hard and fast, rule, I usually won’t watch a show (and often times a movie) if I haven’t heard of it before.

 

This isn’t to say I have to have read a positive review, or even heard a review at all. It simply means, if I didn’t know a show existed before I stumbled upon it, the likeliness of me watching it is significantly lower than if I’d, say, heard it in passing before finding it in passing.

 

Nevertheless, on one of the many Tuesday night’s (TV night) when I didn’t want to watch another Meta-of-the-Week on Flash, or it’s-all-my-fault moment of Oliver’s on Arrow, me and my partner were scrolling through Netflix in search of a show to watch, when we came across Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. I’d never heard this title before, and although I’ve read the first book in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series, and of course seen the movie, I also had no idea (even as I was halfway through the show) that Dirk Gently’s etcetc was written by Douglas Adams. If I had known, maybe my enjoyment of the show wouldn’t have come as such a surprise to myself!

 

So, why did I enjoy this show so much?

 

It’s hilarious.
There you go. End of blog post.

 

I’m kidding.

 

There are many things out there that are hilarious to me, but I’m not exactly about to write a blog post on each and every Vine I watch.

 

Or am I? Vine blog posts, coming soon.

 

So what makes Dirk Gently’s etcetc so worthy of me typing approximately 700 words?

 

Well, if you’ve watched and enjoyed The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, you likely already know.

 

This show is littered with incredibly quirky, weird, and left-field sentences, characters that don’t quite make sense, and overall a plot that is so convoluted that if I was to try to explain it to you, you’d probably think I was watching a 7 year olds attempt at science fiction.

 

But I’m nothing if not steadfast in my attempts to convince people to watch things I like.

 

So here goes.

 

Dirk Gently is a holistic detective, which is to say he lets the universe give him clues to the case, rather than actually seeking out and understanding clues himself. He meets up with Frodo – er, I mean Todd – by breaking into his house and declaring he lives there, after Todd has discovered a bizarre, and seemingly impossible murder scene in the penthouse of the hotel he worked at. Until his untimely firing only moments after his discovery.

 

Todd unwillingly goes along with Dirk’s holistic detecting, all the while, being chased by 4 rioting men calling themselves the ‘Rowdy 3’, trying to give back a corgi, and helping his sister pay for her meds.

 

Dirk is attempting the noble cause of solving the murder, finding the victims kidnapped daughter, and putting together clues and maps created by the murder victim, all the while being chased by a holistic assassin hell-bent on murdering him for no reason she can explain.

 

This might make absolutely no sense in terms of a recognisable plot, but all I can tell you is

Dirk Gently

 

Honestly, I’m glad no one had tried to tell me about this show before I stumbled upon in on Netflix. I would’ve flat out said no thanks, not my can of beans, and happily ignored it.

 

But thank God no one did, because I can honestly say this show has some incredibly witty dialogue, some powerful and aesthetically pleasing cinematography and wardrobe choices, and an easy-going, binge-able nature.

 

There are, of course, a few sad moments, some very cute moments, and even in a few cases, a couple of nail-biting moments.

 

So if you’ve given up on the fan-service, self-congratulatory BBC Sherlock, then you’re lucky there’s a new detective in town. He’s also pale, British, skinny and male, but he already has more dimension, respect for women and POC, and a better outfit than BBC Sherlock ever did.

 

(Brightly coloured leather jackets and skinny jeans FTW amirite guyz?)

 

Oh, also, for what it’s worth, the representation in this is actually not too shabby, or at least, definitely a move in the right direction.

 

I’ve never really written a blog post to try and encourage others to watch a show or movie, I’m used to analysing them. Dirk Gently’s etcetc doesn’t really require any analysis, but I felt it deserved a mention, as we managed to finish it in 2 chunks, and I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

 

The season also ended on a holy shit moment, so I’m hoping the more people I can convince to watch it, the more likely they’ll get season 2 picked up!

 

Let me know if you’ve watched it too, and if you haven’t I’ve so kindly linked the trailer below!

My top 5 TV picks from 2016 – Not everything sucked last year, but almost

Top 5 TV shows of 2016 might sound like a difficult list to make, from a year that really just, well, sucked, but these 5 shows made me think all hope was not lost!

In a year that sucked, there were at least 5 shows that didn’t suck – my top 5 TV picks from 2016

 

 

There’s no denying it – 2016 was the pits.

 

And when I say this I don’t mean:

 

a) Every single individual on this planet had a bad year

 

Nor do I mean

 

b) Absolutely nothing good happened in 2016

 

I’m just being realistic about the fact that both I, and many other people, seemed to have a less than great year in comparison to previous ones. And on top of that, many great and cherished celebrities, scientists, and influencers of note didn’t make it to 2017, something that definitely isn’t a highlight.

 

Regardless, in a year that seemed to really just suck, I found some light in these 5 TV shows I’m going to talk about in this post. The fact that there weren’t more though… Well I’ve had years where I’d have had more than 5 shows to talk about, let’s just say that!

 

For possibly the first time, I can say this blog post is SPOILER FREE!

 

5) Humans

top 5 TV shows of 2016

Ok we’re going to start with number 5, but even if it’s at the bottom (top) of the list, Humans is still a big mention! This scifi season 2 has a charming nature that sits good-naturedly on top of it’s absolutely unsettling content. Humans has this fantastic way of touching on the complexities of AI gaining consciousness, and their integration (or segregation) within human society, without overcomplicating themes or messages. Its messages are accessible, but important, and use the AI characters as allegories to discuss previous and current human societal issues, such as classism, as well as body autonomy for, in particular, women. The cast are all superb actors, and well-suited to their roles, as well as diverse and well-rounded – from well-known actors, to the bright eyed newbies. It’s a delightfully unnerving show and I’m excited to see where it will continue to go!

 

4) Luke Cage

top 5 TV shows of 2016

Honestly, did you think I was going to manage a list of favourite TV shows without mentioning a superhero one? While DC has been dominating the superhero realm of television, Marvel continues to creep in there, especially with its Netflix series. I watch Agents of SHIELD mind you, but I don’t think it’s going to be making any top 5’s of mine any time soon. Luke Cage however, brought me as much joy and exhilaration as Jessica Jones did last year, and I continue to be floored by the ways the creators of these Marvel/Netflix shows use colour, angles, and motifs to carry the individual shows beyond the simple techniques other superhero shows use, as well as tie the 3 Netflix series together. The use of yellow lighting, the 90’s hip-hop-esque music, and the 70’s-reminiscent fashion all brought together a sense of the community, atmosphere, and tensions this show touches on. A standout superhero show (that could even be argued as not a superhero show at all), that I hope doesn’t go the same downwards route that I found Daredevil going in its second season.

 

3) Stranger Things

top 5 TV shows of 2016

By now you’ve probably realised, I’m no indie-viewer, no standout obscurest, so I was no more immune to the Stranger Things charm than anyone else. I love horrors, I love scifi, I love 80’s music, and I love obnoxious film and nostalgia references. Strangers Things hit all the right spots and there really isn’t anything I need to say about it that hasn’t already been said. It was paced well, it had the perfect amount of sweet childhood friendship to counteract the dark themes, and it pulled at all the right heartstrings. But I think, for me, what really put it here, at number 3 of all the too-many shows I watched this year, is the group of child-actors who not only brought the show to life, but also pulled off one of the best, most engaging press tours I have seen in many years. They were enchanting, exciting, hilarious, and unbeatably talented, and I’m watching Stranger Things as much to enjoy the show and see what happens next, as I am to see where these amazingly talented young actors will go.

 

2) Brooklyn 99

top 5 TV shows of 2016

Never once in my life have I ever said anything remotely close to “my favourite genre is comedy”, or “my favourite movie/tv show this year was a comedy”. Not because I hate fun, or I have no sense of humour (I hope), but because I have an unbelievably low tolerance for second-hand embarrassment, and an even lower tolerance for humour that relies on mocking another person for their race, culture, sexuality, gender, mental or physical health, or basically any humour relying on the incredibly lazy technique of mocking other people for things they can’t help about themselves. Oh, and I’m not fond of slapstick either. I’ve found it pretty damn hard over the years to find a show or movie in the comedy genre that doesn’t rely on one or more of these comedy techniques, but then, down from the heavens above, an angel came forth to me. One, with the makings of being your very-average, no-different, cop comedy, but was put together by the most diverse cast I think I’ve ever seen in a sitcom, and that uses humour that 100% matches mine. Jake Peralta, you have saved my soul, and I will die by your feminist, understanding if slightly misguided at times, very much hilarious side, should that day ever come. At only roughly 20 minutes an episode there’s really no reason not to give this show a try, so like, go do that.

 

1) Westworld

top 5 TV shows of 2016

For hours and days, I have scratched my head, not only over how to write a blog on this show, but also on this show in general. I’ve watched it twice, since I started in November, and I can honestly say I still… Don’t get it. Where Humans is easily digestible, light, and approachable (while still disturbing), Westworld is just, absolutely a maze in itself (perhaps the maze wasn’t meant for me and my small mind). The film major in me so badly wants to be able to discuss in depth the themes, plot twists, and characters, but when it comes down to talking about the show, I just simply can’t seem to wrap my head around it. And yet, in all my confusion, I can say without a doubt, that with only 1 season under its belt, Westworld is not only my favourite show of the year, but possibly of my adult life! (Shows like Friends don’t count because that’s a nostalgic thing. Sshhhh). This show has you sitting on edge, deeply unnerved, 100% unsure of how you stand on the consciousness of AI, while simultaneously delivering some of the best acting and writing I have ever seen from a TV show. It has you sitting there debating with yourself about your own sense of morality and ethics, as well as any prior knowledge you might have about previous AI fiction. Let me tell you, Isaac Asimov would’ve been able to provide you with a lengthy, meaty, and substantial blog post to flesh out this show, but I sure as shit cannot. All I can tell you is to give this show a try, because it’s damn bloody good. I’m just not smart enough to tell you why!

 

And with that confusing, useless, utterly insubstantial piece on the greatest visual masterpiece of 2016, I conclude my top 5 list of shows from last year!!

 

Honourable mentions go to:

 

  • Cisco Ramon/Carlos Valdes’s performance in Flash (as well as extended CW/DC universes)
  • Elektra and The Punisher in the otherwise dull second season of Daredevil
  • The Christmas/Holiday special of Sense8
  • Sansa Starks performance in the ever-deviating TV adaption of Game of Thrones

 

And with that, this pretty much wraps up all of what brought me joy in 2016! I’m excited for what media I’ll get to consume this year, although I truly have not held my breath over anything yet.