I dropped the ball last month but for a few good reasons! 1.) I went to go see my family in Arizona during the days I would normally spend summing up my experiences and posting them and 2.) I honestly didn’t do a whole lot in September except binge-watch a few things and read a few bits of several books but ultimately finished nothing. Without further ado, lets take a look at the Monthly Media for September AND October 2018! Spoilers ahead so be warned!
The Good Place: Seasons 1-2~ I started watching the first season on Hulu when it was first released but only got a couple episodes in before something else took my attention away. I had a free weekend towards the end of September so I decided to sit down once and for all and give it a shot and WOW I was super impressed. There’s a lot to love about this show and the character development is one of the best things about it. We see that it’s possible for people to change after they’ve died and not just become better people but more in depth characters as well. It also gave me a lot to think about in terms of how the world worked in general, especially the afterlife where intent seems more important than actual deeds, especially when we think about Mindy St. Claire and her own piece of the afterlife.
Parks & Rec: Seasons 1-4 ~ I was so late to watching this show but I finally pushed myself through season 1 and after that I couldn’t stop. When Adam Scott and Rob Lowe showed up it felt like the how had a lot more character than before, it also helped that we started to get some actual development within not only all the different relationships but also within characters themselves. I honestly couldn’t stand most of the characters until season 3 (but their stories were still really great in the overall arc of the show). In all my favorite character is Ben Wyatt because I really identified with the way he would deadpan stare at the camera at certain points in the show, like, not to be too dramatic, but those moments gave me life.
Brooklyn 99: Seasons 4 -5 (spoilers ahead) ~ I love this show, I watch it almost exclusively with my dad so when I was visiting in Arizona we blitzed our way through the season we left off at about a year ago. I continue to enjoy the relationship between the members of the department and also Jake’s relationships with both Holt and Amy Santiago. He’s so supportive of her in her entirety that it makes their relationship feel more real and desirable. There were some serious plot twists that I didn’t see coming for a sitcom, Jake and Rosa being framed for multiple robberies was especially distressing for me since the writers do an excellent job of bolstering your confidence that the truth will win out. Holt bending his morals in order to assist them was also really enlightening to his character and while he was able to rectify the situation later on it was really eye-opening in terms of exactly how far Holt might go or be able to go in the future when a member of his squad is in danger.
Mary & The Witches Flower ~ I watched this movie towards the beginning of September so I had to rewatch it. It’s cute and the animation style is what one expects to come out of Japan at this point as far as animated movies are concerned. The plot was solid too, though I still have a lot of questions regarding Mary’s family, since the magic she used wasn’t inherited. I’d like to see a sequel but it seems unlikely given the events of the first movie. When I think about the potential of the story-telling I do find myself disappointed because while the plot moved in a direction that was reasonable, there were a lot of extra things that they introduced but didn’t explain or disregarded. There could have been a number of plot variations and I feel like for awhile you’re almost misdirected and while it’s commendable it also feels hollow, like you lost out on a more interesting or just as interesting story.
Parks & Rec: Seasons 5-7 (spoilers ahead) ~ I will admit to being upset when I finished the series but I was so happy that it wrapped up so completely. One of the things I struggled with a lot with the last few seasons was that for as ambitious and driven as Leslie is portrayed she also disregards a lot of that for Pawnee. Yes, there’s a message in the show about loving a town that doesn’t love you back but for awhile I honestly thought she was going sabotage a ridiculously good career move to stay in Pawnee. Of course she found a a way around that which I was totally grateful for because I don’t know if I would have continued with the last season right away if she had decided to give up the job. Gary getting the great ending he deserved would have been worth it though…Gary is always worth it.
The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell, Season 1; Episodes 1-6~ This show was at once, exactly what I thought it was going to be and also completely unexpected. I thought it was going to merely be a step-by-step DIY type show with commentary from her “housemates”, like a Gothic Martha Stewart scenario (but with a peanut gallery!) but there’s a lot of story going on as well. Personally I don’t think this show is appropriate for young children but 13 year-old-me would have been in LOVE with this show, heck 30-something-year-old me loves this show. I do wish there was more information available or at least, when she’s making a large creation that more time is spent on it, they time skip a lot of stuff for her larger projects, but when you consider that her show is also…a show it makes a little more sense as to why they would skip a lot of the prep work to reveal the final product. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t feel a bit rushed and quasi-overwhelmed when watching it. In the future I’d love to see more home DIY as opposed to her cooking and maybe a few more simple projects.
Death In Paradise, Seasons 1-5; (spoilers ahead)~ Originally I began watching this show on the provided satellite channels on my TV in Japan. I thought it was cute and campy even if Richard Poole was socially inept to a painful degree. By the end of season two however his character seemed to finally be showing development and acceptance of his situation, especially when he chooses to return to the island rather than go back to London. HOWEVER, when I originally saw the beginning of season three I was FURIOUS that he was killed off. I literally turned the show off after his death was revealed and I’ve been harboring this grudge ever since. Recently Netflix has been recommending it to me because of my other viewing choices and given that it now has 7 seasons I thought I might give it another go.
In all I felt the same way about seasons 1-2 as I did originally, the real test came in Season 3 when our new Detective Inspector was introduced. Character wise it really seems like they took what they knew worked with Richard Poole (brilliant investigator even if he seemed strange, and his method of revealing the crime) and discarding what made him a difficult character to mesh with the others. All in all it’s not the height of television, it’s super campy in a lot of respects, and rarely takes itself too seriously which in my opinion makes it so enjoyable. It’s a great casual show to chill out with after a long day because despite it’s genre and content you don’t feel overwhelmed when you watch it. I do wish they’d remember past cases though, there have been a few times when they’ve solved the crime and I feel like they’d have solved it a lot faster or it would have felt more natural or organic if someone had said “Oh hey remember this case, what if we consider that?”
Jumanji 2: Welcome to the Jungle ~ What the hell was this movie even? It lacked a lot of the heart and feeling of the first and really just seemed to rely on Kevin Hart and The Rock to carry it with their shenanigans. I am totally unconvinced that the four teenagers would remain friends afterwards and overall I wouldn’t watch it again. I’m really disappointed in it actually because it just feels sloppy, like no one took the time to sit down and develop any ideas for it. I feel like their creative meeting went like “Hey let’s make a Jumanji sequal because we can’t think of anything new but this time it’s a video game and let’s get Kevin Hart to scream a lot in it.” and someone got paid a lot of money for that idea and I think about that bitterly every day. They mentioned Alan Parish but literally it’s a blurb that no one took the time to flesh out. If you’re banking on nostalgia to carry your movie through you should take the time to develop a bit more backstory, because otherwise it’s just needless pandering.
“Equal Rites” by Terry Prachett ~ This story was really interesting and like most of his works, incomplete in some ways to lead you into the next story. It was really gratifying to see Granny Weatherwax change her mind throughout the story and then essentially push that agenda through. I was surprised because I was assuming from the beginning that she would be excited that Esk would be a wizard and I think the disappointment that she wasn’t kept me reading? I will admit to being super confused as the the ending of the story and I’m hoping that future novellas will clarify some points for me, because at the end of the day I’m not entirely sure that Esk is even performing magic anymore, or at least that’s how the story seems to read to me.
“Good Omens” by Terry Prachett & Neil Gaiman ~ So I thought I was just in a mood where I didn’t want to read anything (it happens from time to time) but then I saw the trailer for the new Amazon Prime show based on this novel and I recalled a co-worker talking about this book specifically several months ago and how much he enjoyed it. Since I was now interested in the TV show I decided to download the book and give it a shot. As it would turn out I wasn’t NOT in the mood to read at all, I just wanted to read Terry Prachett with Neil Gaiman as a bonus. I really enjoyed this novel, the writing style reminded me a bit of Christopher Moore, one of my favorite authors and it gave me a lot to think about. I wouldn’t call it “laugh out loud funny” at all but I chuckled a lot. I read it in about two days which is pretty fast for me these days and I think I’d really like to read it again with some book club type questions and discussions.
COMING UP IN NOVEMBER
Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee will be releasing and I am super looking forward to this game and it’s content. I’ve been avoiding most of the press releases regarding the game in order to keep a lot of it a surprise. Also, Super Mario Party for the Nintendo Switch has also released and as I’ve always been a fan of this particular party game for consoles I can’t wait to get it and try it out.
“Mort” & “Sourcery” by Terry Prachett are next on my reading list with “Mort” well under way. I don’t find myself as engaged with this novel as the last one but I do find it interesting in a lot of ways and we finally get to learn a bit more about DEATH. I’m looking forward to seeing Rincewind about in Sourcery because I think he is my favorite character so far.
“The Moonstone” by Wilkie Collins ~ THIS BOOK OMG. It just keeps going, I had to put it down because the rambling has begun to take it’s toll. I’m having such a hard time picking it up these days because the pacing is just horrific. Pray for me.