What You Should Be Watching / Girl Power

This is a result of one overriding thing: I am Queen of Procrastination. You may try and contest that fact, but trust me; I even procrastinated in writing this. When I first drafted this post I was sat in bed listening to the radio, pretending not to think about the fact I had an essay due in three days. Said essay had been set around two months prior. Basically, I’m a total idiot. However, when I’m stressed and have deadlines, for some reason all I end up doing is turning off the lights, snuggling up under my duvet and binging TV series. In particular, a lot of these shows I’ve come to discover and ultimately, fall in love with, are fronted by totally bad-ass females who deserve a serious amount of recognition – so here we are.

After reading this, I expect you all to hop onto Netflix/any alternative sites you can find to fully understand my love for these shows, and hopefully discover a new favourite to binge watch when things get just that bit too stressful (or you just want to attempt to forget your dissertation is due next week).

Orphan Black (BBC America)

What’s it all about?
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Tatiana Maslany is crazy-talented

I’m going to be totally upfront about the premise of this show: it is clone-crazy. A British con artist, Sarah Manning, witnesses a woman kill herself at a train station. The thing that’s totally crazy? The woman, Beth Childs, appears to be her doppelgänger. This spirals quickly into Sarah finding out she is one of many clones and in turn, treats us to several scenes featuring Tatiana Maslany playing off, well, herself. Maslany isn’t given half as much credit as she should be – it takes a lot to play one character in an accent that isn’t your own (Maslany is Canadian, rather than British), but to play several different women who are of different nationalities and very different looks… that takes someone, and something, special. It has taken three seasons for her to nominated for an Emmy, so fingers crossed now she’s finally garnered a nom, she can win. Also, Maria Doyle Kennedy totally kicks ass and shows that the maternal figure on a show doesn’t have to be stereotypically matriarchal. The relationship between her character, Siobhan, and her foster kids, Sarah, and the absolutely fabulous Felix, is really something of tension each week. The show deals with issues regarding the ethics of human cloning, personal identity, sexuality and, at its core, the concept of being female and the implications that can come with. If you’ve not watched it, binge watch the first three seasons on Netflix in time to revel in the fourth, starting 14th April on BBC America.

Who’s in it?

Tatiana Maslany, Jordan Gavaris, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Kevin Hanchard, Dylan Bruce, Èvelyne Brochu, Ari Millen and Kristian Bruun

Which bits stand out from the rest?

Helena and her obsession with Jell-O; that scarf and garbage disposal moment (if you’re squeamish, I’d advise looking away); when we realise that Sarah and her ‘sestras’ aren’t necessarily the only clones around; essentially anything regarding the relationship between Alison (one of the best clones, I would argue) and Felix – I want to be their best friend.

Jessica Jones (Netflix)

What’s it all about?
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Krysten Ritter is a total bad-ass

All hell broke loose the day this series was launched on Netflix. Jessica Jones stars the wonderful Krysten Ritter as the anti-superhero, a woman with superpowers who is suffering from PTSD after being mind-controlled into incredulously dark acts (and essentially being constantly sexually assaulted) by Kilgrave, played by the delightfully talented David Tennant. With several allusions to fellow MCU series, Daredevil (also worth a watch if you’ve not already as I discovered just this week), you’ll get hooked in an instant. The series is dark, tentative, gripping and will certainly keep you wanting to know more by the end of each episode. I’ve found it so interesting, particularly regarding its exploration of female agency, that I’m writing an essay on it for one of my English modules this year! However, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend watching it until the early hours like I did – if you’re into gore and suspense, you may not sleep very well after this (especially not after episode 10). With a second season already green-lit, and proof that women can really kick-ass and get the job done without a man’s help, I’d suggest you get binging immediately.

Who’s in it?

Krysten Ritter, Mike Colter, Rachael Taylor, Will Traval, Erin Moriarty, Eka Darville, Carrie-Anne Moss and David Tennant

Stand out moments?

Kilgrave’s origin story; the police station stand-off/confrontation; Rosario Dawson’s crossover (how amazing is she, right?); Jessica’s confrontation and admission to Kilgrave over his powers in AKA WWJD? (episode 8); LUKE CAGE, that is all needs be said in that regard

 

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (The CW)

What’s it all about?
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Life goal: be as funny as Rachel Bloom

The clue is in the title: Rebecca Bunch, played by the wonderful Rachel Bloom, is crazy. Having been abandoned by her father when she was young and living with her overbearing mother, Rebecca’s first love at summer camp, Josh, breaks up with her at the end of summer, and she hasn’t been as happy since. After a chance encounter with Josh ten years later, she quits her boring (yet great) job at a New York law firm and moves to West Covina, California (two hours from the beach, four in traffic). The show is rife with wacky plotlines, notoriously truthful and risqué musical numbers and essentially is a rollercoaster each and every episode. Within its runaway success of a first series, the show has tackled mental illness constantly, along with the issues of bisexuality, sex, unrequited love, pop culture among others. Personal favourite musical numbers include ‘Settle For Me‘, a duet between Bloom and the fantastic Santino Fontana (Hans in Disney’s Frozen), ‘The Sexy Getting Ready Song‘, and the anthems ‘Heavy Boobs‘ and ‘You Stupid Bitch‘. The latter two really resonate with me, just sayin’. My only other requests are that I eventually get to dance with Santino and bake pies/plan a lot of espionage with Paula AKA Donna Lynne Champlin, who is just absolutely wonderful. WONDERFUL.

Who’s in it?

Rachel Bloom, Vincent Rodriguez III, Santino Fontana, Donna Lynne Champlin, Pete Gardner, Tovah Feldshuh, Gabrielle Ruiz and way more (the ensemble cast is pretty incredible)

Stand out moments?

For one, the theme is fab; that Dr Phil cameo; Rebecca’s turn at online dating; her sleeping-pill induced dream on a flight to New York; the bi-storyline involving Darrell and White Josh; entire songs revolving around UTIs and ‘group hangs’ in the style of Shakira (yep). Basically, the whole first season is a dream… I know you’re told not to have favourites… but yeah, I think you can tell this is mine right now. Just go watch it, promise? (Also, the cast recordings from this series are all on Spotify, give them a listen!)

Jane the Virgin (The CW)

What’s it all about?
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Gina Rodriguez has won several awards for playing Jane Villanueva

One show that I will always return to when I need a pick-me-up is Ugly Betty, and voila! Jane the Virgin combines all the best of that show, namely the telenovela inspired elements and slightly wacky plotlines, to make one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long while. Jane Gloria Villanueva is a virgin, deciding to wait until marriage, however becomes artificially inseminated with a supposedly random guy’s sperm – as it turns out, this guy is a teenage crush of hers. Throw into the mix a fabulous family consisting of mother, Xiomara and abuela, Alba, a drug lord by the name of Sin Rostro and all sorts of crazy goings-on, this show takes you on a rollercoaster ride you don’t want to get off of for a long time. Not only does the show tackle head on the issue of female agency and a woman’s choice on what to do with her body, it later on tackles single parenthood, post-natal depression, alcoholism as well as a running theme of writing and wanting to be a writer (something that totally speaks to me). Plus, Gina Rodrigeuz is a total babe and someone everyone should aspire to – just check out her Twitter, you’ll see what I mean.

Who’s in it?

Gina Rodriguez, Andrea Navedo, Justin Baldoni, Yael Grobglas, Ivonne Coll, Brett Dier and Jaime Camil (who also has some of the best one-liners and onscreen hashtags throughout)

Stand out moments?

Jane initially finding out she’s pregnant; Jane and Rafael’s romantic encounter in Chapter Six that BLEW MY MIND (lol, sorry); the bromance between Rogelio and Michael; every single voiceover by the Latin Lover Narrator (I love you, Anthony Mendez)

How To Get Away With Murder (ABC)

What’s it all about?
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Viola Davis is basically flawless

The main premise of this show? Don’t piss off Viola Davis. Also, don’t believe that this is how courtroom law works either. It’s incredulous and completely exaggerative but this show centring around a lawyer and professor who takes on five interns, who then in turn murder her husband and receive help from her to cover it up (I told you it was a bit much), is a wonderful one. Its cast elevates the otherwise slightly emphasised premise into another realm, making it totally engaging and well worth binging the entire series in a day – guilty as charged. You’ll love Viola Davis’ change of wigs, you’ll fall head over heels in love with Frank even though you shouldn’t (props to you, Charlie Weber), you’ll crave the drama a show like this portrays, all from the comfort of your own bed. Ah, the beauty of American crime dramas. Plus, being the Spanish student I am, getting to hear Karla Souza speak in her first language even for a brief scene is actually fantastic.

Who’s in it?

Viola Davis, Billy Brown, Alfred Enoch, Jack Falahee, Aja Naomi King, Matt McGorry, Karla Souza, Charlie Weber, Liza Weil and Katie Findlay

Stand out moments?

The whole Lila Stangard murder case is totally captivating; Annalise’s super hot affair with Nate; Annalise’s fiery speech in defence of a Death Row client; Pax’s demise (episode 4, for y’all who don’t know what I’m on about); Connor and Oliver being everyone’s favourite couple; who the hell shot Annalise???

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)

What’s it all about?
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Ellie Kemper is truly hilarious

Essentially, the show is about Kimmy Schmidt, played by the seemingly always happy Ellie Kemper, adjusting to life in New York City after being freed from a doomsday cult where she was kept in an underground bunker for 15 years. The show is not only co-created and written by Tina Fey, it is witty, focuses on feminine issues and treats Kimmy’s acclimatisation to her new life, to public life since being a child, with both sincerity and incredible humour. A female character having a GBF (Gay Best Friend) seems cliché, but the pairing of Kimmy and Titus is hilarious and injects freshness into each episode. With one critic calling this show “the first great sitcom of the streaming era” and a third series already greenlit by Netflix, you need to get up to date with Kimmy Schmidt’s life ASAP. Season two starts on 15th April – be sure not to miss it!

Who’s in it?

Ellie Kemper, Tituss Burgess, Carol Kane, Jane Krakowski, Dylan Gelula, Ki Hong Lee, Sara Chase and John Hamm

Stand out moments?

Titus’ ‘Pinot Noir’ video; Kimmy’s attempts at using new technology, especially her new iPhone; the constant ‘bunker’ stories; Titus dressed as a werewolf; Kimmy’s birthday party; her hilarious retorts to the bitchy Xanthippe; the ‘straight man’ instructor; ‘hashbrown no filter’

 

 

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