Advent Day 14: Dark

I do love the unexpected, and some unexpected goodness has been coming to use courtesy of German TV in recent years. I’m anxiously awaiting a follow-up season to 1983, but meanwhile Netflix offered the opportunity to indulge in Dark, and this show satisfied my appreciation for batcrap crazy storylines that take you where you least expect.

There’s mystery. There’s horror. And there’s time travel. Children are going missing. Suspicion and distrust linger over everyone. And nothing is quite as it seems. Wonderfully atmospheric and very creative. I do appreciate a show that swings for the fences, and this one went for broke.

 

 

Advent Day 15: Anthony Bourdain, Parts Unknown

Advent Day 16: Terror is Our Business: Dana Roberts’ Casebook of Horror

Advent Day 17: Freeze-Frame Revolution

Advent Day 18: Haunting of Hill House

Advent Day 19: Wind River

Advent Day 20: Letterkenny

Advent Day 21: Black Mirror

Advent Day 22: The Oddling Prince

Advent Day 23: The Americans

Advent Day 24: Fight Fascism

Advent Day 25: Bodyguard

Advent Day 26: Baskets

Advent Day 27: Literature

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Advent Day 15: Parts Unknown

It’s been a tough year, and one of the really shocking moments was the death of Anthony Bourdain. At a time when some countries openly persecute those who are different and try to shut out the world around them, Bourdain broke down barriers and embraced cultural exploration.

He traveled. He tasted the delicacies of nations. He talked to people and tried to understand them and their thinking.

He was, in the truest sense of the word, a diplomat. Had he been able to apply those talents to international relations he truly could have ushered in meaningful change, because he was able to do what so many politicians (and people) can’t. He found the wonder in every culture, the common ground, the riches that couldn’t be measured. He visited places few travel to, like Myanmar, and he ventured to places where Americans aren’t always welcome. And everywhere he found people who showed him tremendous hospitality. He didn’t gloss things over or pretend everything was wonderful, but he showed the good things too and he sent messages of hope to the world. He built bridges. When we watch the episodes and see that people in the Middle East or Africa or Asia aren’t so different from us, perhaps we can find a way to dial down the rhetoric, stop meddling in other nations and learn from them. That’s what Bourdain did. And that’s why he was accepted everywhere.

 

He went to the places others fear to travel to, and he found hope for freedom in Libya, the widest smiles in the Philippines, all the things to love about Beirut and so much more.

He is missed.

Advent Day 16: Terror is Our Business: Dana Roberts’ Casebook of Horror

Advent Day 17: Freeze-Frame Revolution

Advent Day 18: Haunting of Hill House

Advent Day 19: Wind River

Advent Day 20: Letterkenny

Advent Day 21: Black Mirror

Advent Day 22: The Oddling Prince

Advent Day 23: The Americans

Advent Day 24: Fight Fascism

Advent Day 25: Bodyguard

Advent Day 26: Baskets

Advent Day 27: Literature

Advent Day 18: Haunting of Hill House

Does anyone still need a reason to watch Haunting of Hill House? I absolutely loved how this series looked at children who’d lived in a haunted house and explored the PTSD that messed with their lives as adults.

And anyone who appreciated that aspect of the story will be thrilled to hear that the director is bringing his touch to an exploration of The Shining.

I found Haunting of Hill House fascinating. It was interesting to consider how those childhood experiences would affect each person.

 

This goes beyond ghosts. The psychological horror is real. The trauma is real. And the way people put up walls, live in denial and shut others because they can’t cope is all too real. Will it take another tragedy to bring the Crain family back together again? Or will new conflicts tear open old wounds and destroy what little is left of this family?

 

Advent Day 19: Wind River

Advent Day 20: Letterkenny

Advent Day 21: Black Mirror

Advent Day 22: The Oddling Prince

Advent Day 23: The Americans

Advent Day 24: Fight Fascism

Advent Day 25: Bodyguard

Advent Day 26: Baskets

Advent Day 27: Literature

Advent Day 20: Letterkenny

There are 5000 people in Letterkenny.

These are their problems.

Letterkenny is simply the best comedy perhaps ever. It doesn’t even matter that it has the extra bonus of being Canadian, although that definitely adds to some of the humor because they love taking the piss out of Americans.

The dialogue is superb. It’s so quick and precise and brutal. We’ve watched all the episodes on Hulu twice and still find ourselves catching things we missed first time around.

Funny thing is that I’m not the big comedy fan in the house. In fact, I’ve long had an aversion to comedies. It’s the rare comedy that hooks me as a die-hard fan.

Yet since 2016, I’ve needed comedies in my life.

And thank God there’s some top shelf stuff out there to enjoy. Hulu better get seasons 3-6 soon. Figure it out.

 

Advent Day 21: Black Mirror

Advent Day 22: The Oddling Prince

Advent Day 23: The Americans

Advent Day 24: Fight Fascism

Advent Day 25: Bodyguard

Advent Day 26: Baskets

Advent Day 27: Literature

Advent Day 21: Black Mirror

Pssst. Have you heard the rumor? Apparently, we’ll enjoy more Black Mirror creepy goodness before the end of 2018. Nothing could be better (when it comes to TV entertainment, let’s not mess this up with politics).

With Black Mirror set to drop new episodes December 28, this means all my fears about future and technology will be raised just before the new year. Yay. Black Mirror has excelled at weaving together technology and human failings to produce episodes that terrify you and make you think. Last year’s U.S.S. Callister was easily a stand-out, with a group of people who’d essentially become prisoners in a video game plotting a mutiny. Then there was Arkangel. How can a technology meant to help you keep your child safe be so destructive? Dang, last season was a great season. The high water mark for me is still season 4’s San Junipero, but every season of this show has delivered. I can’t wait for more.

 

Advent Day 22: The Oddling Prince

Advent Day 23: The Americans

Advent Day 24: Fight Fascism

Advent Day 25: Bodyguard

Advent Day 26: Baskets

Advent Day 27: Literature

Advent Day 23: The Americans

 

For six years, The Americans followed Philip and Elizabeth Jennings as they lived their covert life, acting on behalf of their country to further the Soviet agenda during the Cold War.

Not an easy show at times. Not easy to root for the bad guys. Yet these characters are anything but one dimensional. Elizabeth is a rape victim. She is a survivor. They are parents. They genuinely love their children.

They also genuinely love their country.

And yet, Philip wrestles with what they’re required to do. He doesn’t follow blindly. Neither does Elizabeth, although people may see her as more of a patriot than her husband.

We went into the last season wondering how on earth they would wrap it up and as the season progressed they seemed to be adding loose threads rather than resolving things. We spent hours guessing who would live and who would die …

No spoilers, but I will say this: the ending wrecked me. Simply one of the best series endings ever. I don’t say that lightly. It wasn’t at all what I expected and yet it was remarkably satisfying.

And that one scene – if you watched the finale then you know the one – God, I need tissues again. I’m still gutted. With or Without You.

And Gad. Damn. Gad.

Bonus: If you love your 80s music, the soundtrack is stellar.

I’ve long maintained that the most amazing endings have you wondering what X or X character is doing after the final page or shot, because they live on in your mind as though they are a part of your reality, and for the characters that made it through to the end, I have often wondered if they were apart of certain significant world events or whether they reconnected with so-and-so, etc. etc.

This amazing crew made these characters do real for me. And I still miss them.

 

Advent Day 24: Fight Fascism

Advent Day 25: Bodyguard

Advent Day 26: Baskets

Advent Day 27: Literature

Advent Day 25 – Bodyguard

This British thriller series is on Netflix. Honestly, had it not been for a friend recommending it, I’m not sure it would have been on my radar, and that’s a shame. It has one of the most intense beginnings of any show or series that I’ve ever seen. They also tackle some pretty tough things, like PTSD and how men deal (or don’t deal) with their problems in a realistic way.

And I loved how the show played with prejudices and assumptions and used them in the story.