Tuesday, January 24, 2017

What I've Been Watching, i

It's been a long while since I've done a little roundup, and as I FINALLY have some free time in my life, I thought it'd be a good idea to catch up on some long overdue Netflix viewings. I'm the worst person I know at keeping up with television but I'm a sucker for a good miniseries or shows with traditionally British-length runtimes, and I've worked my way through a few in recent weeks.

Black Mirror
At this point I feel as though most people have watched or at least heard of Black Mirror, but for those who haven't yet taken the plunge I highly recommend it. Black Mirror, recently picked up from the BBC by Netflix, is a series highlighting various modes of technology and the ways in which something made for good can easily be turned into something negative. I'm not sure how I feel about Netflix taking over the series as the newer episodes have lost some of the original British charm, but it still makes for addictive viewing.

A Series of Unfortunate Events
Just like everyone else in the universe, I watched Netflix's adaptation of the popular book series. Admittedly, I was not a fan of the books, and having only read through them once I didn't remember much, if anything, from the storyline. The camera angles and stilted conversation reminds me of the styled world of Pushing Daisies, and Patrick Warburton as Lemony Snicket is tonal perfection. I don't have anything to add to the buzz surrounding the show other than its whimsical darkness is highly entertaining.

Death in Paradise
Since I've been living at home again I've fallen into watching TV with my family, and the latest show to capture their - and thus my - attention is Death in Paradise, a British-French comedy crime show about a British inspector who lives on a French island in the Caribbean and solves murders. It's a formulaic, fun whodoneit show, and while not very unique, makes for fun evening escapism.

The inclusion of Sherlock into this post isn't quite accurate as I've been watching the new series on PBS, but it still gets a mention as I'm once again hooked. Series 4 didn't have quite the same charm as the first two series and the pacing was overall a mess, but it still provided plenty of wit and heartfelt moments amongst the dramatic storylines. The first episode in particular had some excellently scripted moments that make fun of Sherlock's well known fast-talking explanations.

I'm not much of a documentary watcher, but after hearing such great things about 13th I gave it go. Selma's director Ava DuVernay directs this doc, titled after the 13th Amendment to the Constitution which outlawed slavery except for use as a punishment for crime. 13th explores the American incarceration system, the various laws that affect incarceration rates, and the impact these laws have had on black and Hispanic communities. DuVernay makes a compelling argument against the 13th amendment, showing that the wording allows prisons to enact what is essentially slavery onto the inmates.

Sing Street
I watched this on the recommendation of my lovely friend Shannon. I'm a sucker for Irish period pieces (see also my love for Moone Boy) and I adore the music of the era, so this movie is a winner. Set in Dublin in 1985, Sing Street follows a young Irish teen as he starts a band to win over a girl. The soundtrack is excellent, the plot is charming, and the setting is perfectly aesthetic.

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