Years and Years – A Terrifying Look at a Not Too Distant Future

Years and Years is a six-part dystopian drama TV series created by Russell T. Davies, who resurrected Doctor Who and created Queer as Folk and A Very English Scandal.

I’ve only watched one episode but I was completely gripped and it left my head spinning. From what I’ve read though, the series has been well received so I’m willing to hail it early on as a Very Good Thing.

It centres around a Manchester family as they navigate rapid technological advances and the fallout of political instability, with each episode propelling them into the future.

Given the role technology plays in it, comparisons to Black Mirror are inevitable. Just watch this scene where ‘trans’ takes on a whole new meaning.

Years and Years stars Emma Thompson and is a joint HBO and BBC production.

Watch it now on SBS On Demand for free or on HBO and iTunes.

Watch the trailer.

The Hit Column and Podcast ‘Modern Love’ Has Come to Amazon Prime

First came the Modern Love column in The New York Times, then the podcast, so it was only a matter of time before it came to the screen.

Modern Love is now an Amazon Prime original with eight unique stories about the joys and tribulations of love, each inspired by a real-life personal essay.

The cast is a well-known one including Tina Fey, Anne Hathaway, Catherine Keener, Andy Garcia, Dev Patel, and John Slattery, to name a few.

Make sure you watch them in order or the last one won’t make as much sense. And don’t put the tissues away because there will be a season 2.

View the trailer and watch Modern Love on Amazon Prime now.

Read my previous post about the podcast, which reveals one of my favourite episodes, and if you still haven’t seen Fleabag, this is another reason to sign up for Amazon Prime’s 30-day free trial.

I thought six episodes were excellent, two not so much. Did you have a favourite? 

Unbelievable on Netflix is an Outstanding Crime Drama Series

After a young woman is accused of lying about a rape, two female detectives investigate a spate of eerily similar attacks in the new eight-part series on Netflix, Unbelievable.

This exceptional crime drama is inspired by true events and stars Toni Collette and Merritt Wever, and Kaitlyn Dever.

It’s a shocking and close up look at the difference it can make to a woman’s life when a reported sexual assault is treated with compassion and understanding rather than doubt.

Warning: there are some terrifying scenes that most women could identify as being the stuff of nightmares.

Watch the trailer.

Watch it on Netflix now.

Read a review.

Parents and Teens Will Find Common Viewing Interest with ‘The Hunting’

Looking for a way to connect with your moody teen? Sit down together for some rather confronting family time viewing with The Hunting, a compelling Australian drama that follows the lives of four teenagers and their teachers and families in the aftermath of a nude teen photo scandal.

Starring Asher Keddie and Richard Roxburgh, this four-part series expertly tackles themes of misogyny, online exploitation, sexuality, and sexualisation.

I hope there are more shows to help me navigate this kind of thing when my now (mostly) sweet and innocent young children hit their tween/teen years.

The Hunting is on SBS Thursdays at 8.30pm or you can watch on SBS On Demand.

The Bold Type Season 3 is Female, Frivolous and Fun

The upside of spending a few days indoors feeling like crap is that I got to watch back-to-back episodes of The Bold Type.

Dubbed as a Sex and the City for a new (woke) generation, it is light entertainment – there were many raised eyebrows from my husband who repeatedly asked ‘What on earth are you watching?’ – but it also has some substance.

The Bold Type follows the lives of three twentysomething best friends who work at a glossy women’s magazine, Scarlet. While the series has been acknowledged for tackling issues like racism, sexuality, fertility and #MeToo, the characters live in a shiny and unrealistic world, wear beautiful clothes, always look fresh, and don’t seem to do much work, but that’s what makes it fun and sometimes, that’s all we need in a show.

This article about the most unrealistic parts of the series made me laugh out loud.

Watch The Bold Type on Stan.

A Backlog of Books, Podcasts, TV, Movies, and Food

Well, the year is half over and I’ve set myself a new financial year resolution (though not related to finance) to keep on top of Very Good Things. Here are a few highlights since my last, long ago post in March:

BOOKS
Conversations with Friends
by Sally Rooney – her second book, Normal People, swept me away so I had to read her first book. I didn’t want it to end.
Becoming by Michelle Obama – this was a book club pick and wasn’t on my personal list to read but I loved it and became quite teary by the end to think who has taken their place in the White House.
Can’t wait to read Three Women by Lisa Taddeo, available in July in Australia.

PODCASTS
Clementine Ford on Wilosophy – she’s warm, open and intelligent and he really struggles with this interview but credit to him, he openly admits it.
Fresh Air with Terry Gross – the queen of interviews talks with Phoebe Waller-Bridge (13 May) and Christina Applegate (5 June).

TV
Chernobyl
– HBO’s five-part series is chilling.
The Letdown season 2 – the Barossa episode is hilarious.
Fleabag season 2 – just when I thought nothing could top the first season, along comes a second and it’s perfect. Waller-Bridge is also a writer on the brilliant Killing Eve.
Easy season 3 – I particularly loved the episodes about the couple who are navigating an open marriage.
I’m currently watching the second season of Big Little Lies and could possibly be enjoying it more than the first.

MOVIES
Free Solo – a documentary that will have you picking your jaw up off the floor.
Always Be My Maybe – after Chernobyl, light comedy was in order and this was funny, sweet and easy viewing. Worth watching just for Keanu.

FOOD
Everything on Fad Free Kitchen – a shameless plug for a site I do with my dietitian friend that’s all about quick and healthy food using versatile, everyday ingredients, but honestly, I rarely cook from anywhere else.
Kindred restaurant in Darlington – order the cabbage with pine nuts, currant, pecorino and buttermilk dressing to go with your pick of their excellent pastas.

Ricky Gervais Will Divide Viewers in Bittersweet ‘After Life’

In desperate need of a palate cleanser after watching Leaving Neverland, Ricky Gervais’ new Netflix comedy series, After Life, delivered on the laughs and also, unexpectedly, on the tears.

Tony (Ricky Gervais) had a happy life and adored his wife, Lisa. But after she dies, Tony doesn’t want to go on living. He decides to say and do whatever he likes because being nice is simply a waste of time and energy, particularly when you don’t plan on living for much longer.

Suicide is a central theme in After Life and Gervais doesn’t hold back when it comes to cracking jokes about it, which will no doubt lead to criticism. But that’s his style so if you haven’t warmed to him through his other shows, you may not find this one amusing.

After Life is a six-part series created, written and directed by Ricky Gervais and you’ll recognise much of the cast from other shows he’s starred in. Each episode runs for around 25 minutes.

Watch the trailer for After Life.

It’s on Netflix now.

Post-Holiday Wrap-Up of Books, TV, Movies, Podcasts and Other Very Good Things

It’s February so there’s no denying the holidays are well and truly over. If you need a little distraction in your day, here are the best books, TV, movies, podcasts and other stuff I got stuck into over summer:

BOOKS
Normal People by Sally Rooney has been dubbed ‘a future classic’
Tin Man by Sarah Winman is about love, loss and loneliness
The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose asks beguiling questions about the nature of art, life and love
Putney by Sofka Zinovieff is confronting, timely and beautifully written
Yuval Noah Harari has a knack for making sense of complex issues in 21 Lessons for the 21st Century
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante is not new but swept me away. Now an HBO show

TV
The Cry on ABC iView has tension to the max
Sex Education on Netflix will have you in stitches
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime is sweet and easy watching
Abducted in Plain Sight on Netflix is wild an almost unbelievable

MOVIES
The Wife on iTunes really should get Glenn Close her first Oscar
Private Life on Netflix is a raw and honest look at infertility struggles
First Man is the best kind of blockbuster
What We Did on Our Holiday on Netflix is seriously funny and the kids steal the show

PODCASTS
Believed covers how Larry Nassar got away with so much for so long. Beyond shocking.
The Daily is a news podcast powered by New York Times journalism. Stand out episodes are 16, 19 November and 4, 5, 10, 11 December

OTHER STUFF
I can’t shut up about how spectacular Lord Howe Island is
Peanut Butter Oat bars are simple, healthy and make the best snack
I loved reading this recent travel article on my hometown of Newcastle – get there now

HBO’s Succession – The Most Unlikeable Family on TV Makes for the Year’s Best Viewing

HBO’s brilliant family comedic drama, Succession, tracks the lives of the Roy family, who control one of the biggest media and entertainment conglomerates in the world. When their ageing father’s health plummets, chaos ensues as the family grapple with what the future holds.

It’s brilliantly cast, with Australia’s Sarah Snook playing the only daughter, Shiv. She and her three brothers are insanely rich and ruthless, with a serious sense of entitlement. Roman Roy, the youngest brother (played by Kieran Culkin), is possibly the most cringe-worthy character on TV.

Watch the trailer for season 1.

Read The Guardian‘s review of Succession.

Season 1 has 10 episodes available to watch now on HBO.com

I’m already excited for season 2, which is set to return to screens in June, 2019.

 

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