what I'm watching

What’s on the Telly (Part Two)

7th April 2021 by naffy

Female protagonists Continuing from last weeks, what’s on the telly, I wanted to share a few more shows that are worth the binge.

The Wynx Saga

If you are a fantasy dystopian, fan this will tickle your interest. The Wynx Saga centres around a Californian girl called Bloom (played by Abigail Cowen) who recently discovered she was a fairy and attends her first term at the Alfea boarding school for fairies in the UK. Thrust into a new world of magic and realms the Wynx Saga sees Bloom, trying to make sense of the recent discoveries and her new life. This includes finding out about her past. Throughout the series you see Bloom and her friends fight a demonic threat, fall in love, discover the importance of trust and friendship. The cast includes Danny Griffin who plays love interest Sky and Robert James Collier from Downton Abbey plays Silva. It is the young cast who steal the show, in particular Hannah Van Der huysen who plays Bloom’s suitemate Stella in impeccably. She teethers on the line of being understated and heartfelt to being highly strung in places and can switch through believably. Sadie Soverall who plays Bloom’s nemesis Beatrix portrays a stray teenager who has been manipulated and led into a world of evil with such conviction the audience is often left on their toes as to what she has in store next. With that in mind, some of the characters did leave something to be inspired. For example, Riven (played by Freddie Thorp) is a troubled student who clearly has unresolved issues which have led him to become the person he is today, yet this isn’t explored, leaving us asking more questions.

While watching the show, I was impressed with the way it captures topics such as mental health, empathy (Musa played by Elisha Applebaum is an empath fairy). It also shows the stark differences between healthy and non-healthy relationships without glamorising the latter which is refreshing in a TV show essentially made for a young audience. You are also shown what it means to be self-aware, owning your mistakes and forgiving each other at a young age was refreshing to see. Stella’s particular growth and gaining autonomy in her own life is a powerful message hidden in the show.

The Wynx Saga is a limited series which I feel is a downfall because there is a lot more left to explore. More episodes would have allowed more depth to the storylines. While it may appear to be aimed at teenagers, it is the bit of escapism we have all been searching for this year.

The Mandalorian

Everyone and their mother has heard about The Mandolorian by now but in case you haven’t, the show follows The Mandalorian (played by Pedro Pascal) (Mandorlians are a group of hired assassins) who is hired to do a job which involves The Child (affectionately, known across social media as Baby Yoda) Pascal took on the demanding role as The Mandalorian. The character has to remain in the same tone of voice and has very specific mannerisms which are upheld throughout both series effortlessly.

My favourite character has to be Cara Dune played by Gina Carano. Cara is a sharp-witted, fighter who is assertive, goes after what she wants, and is unapologetic but also has layers and depth to her which I personally find invigorating within female characters as often women are depicted as either hard as nails or very feminine.

The show immerses you into the Star Wars world effortlessly without even really connecting to the films and other aspects of the franchise. It filters between different planets and worlds encompassing the essence of Stars Wars. The one thing I wasn’t quite sure was always necessary was the inclusion of stormtroopers. I felt there were moments they were plucked into the story to remind us of the franchise and the films which they didn’t really need to. Jon Favreau who directed the film was able to capture the big-screen cinematography which is a big part of the films and fit them effortlessly for Disney+. The seasons are short and what is different compared to others is the episode lengths differ which means it packs everything it needs to in the story which really makes a difference to storytelling and means each moment of The Mandalorian had a purpose which it did. It does mean you have to watch attentively as it is quite action-packed so you could look away and miss a scene.

East Is East

Ginny & Georgia

Hailed as the Gilmore Girls for 2021, the show focuses on the mother and daughter duo Ginny and Georgia and Ginny’s brother, Austin. After the death of Georgia’s boyfriend, the family move to a town in New England and after a lifetime of moving around are determined to put down their roots. The main element of this show for me is the characters and the fresh air some of them bring to the screen. At first glance, we know Georgia Miller (played by Brianne Howey) is not a regular mum. She has more layers and hidden depth to her which leads people to take a dislike to her and underestimate her. We get a glimpse of a mysterious past and as the show unravels so do her secrets. Her life has been one running game and we see the implications this has had on those closest to her. There is a certain aesthetic to her which Howey embodies everything about Georgia from the look, accent, and demeanor of the character effortlessly.

Ginny (played by Antonia Gentry) who although smart and witty who loves learning wants desperately to be a regular teenager and just when she can see herself doing this, her mum seems to have other plans. The introduction to her character in school is one of the best openings for a character I have seen. Through the season you see the connection she has with her father who is black and how she comes to terms with her mixed-race heritage and the differences she feels to her friends. The show is very good a handling topics such as divorced parents and tackling them differently. The parents didn’t argue and you see the reasons they ended up divorced and it had nothing to do with the fact they fell out of love. The show also shows what it means to have a supportive first boyfriend in Hunter Chen played by (Mason Temple) and understand how you treat your partner. It is also is a big lesson in communication and treating children like adults and understanding your actions and choices has implications. It serves as a reminder that even if they feel like adults, young people are not adults and need adult support to help work out the best way to deal with situations life throw at them.

Mrs America

Mrs America highlights the women often forgotten about when discussing the fight for the Equal Rights Amendment which took part in the US during the ’70s-’80s. What I enjoyed about the program is that it looked at how the movement impacted all women from conservative women such as Conservative activist Phylis Shafley (played by Cate Blanchett) Liberal-leaning left women such as activist Gloria Steinem (played by Rose Byrne) and women of colour such as politician Shirley Chisholm (played by Uzo Aduba) showcasing different points of view and how all women regardless of their background were impacted by this amendment in one way or another. The mini-drama series is nine episodes long, each one dedicated to an individual woman while weaving through the story of the collective fight to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. This has everything from a great cast and good writing but the style and the way in which the film is shot is what stole the show for me. It is beautifully made from the music for the opening title to the costumes and the sets all of which add to the story and the way the show makes you feel. The show is a learning experience while also providing you with drama and entertainment. many of us may have been aware of the Equal Rights Amendments, bar Gloria Steinem, I didn’t know about some of the other individuals involved. I found myself fascinated by them and wanted to know their real-life stories and researched them.

The Resident

The Resident is a gritty medical drama that follows Resident, Conrad Hawkins (played by Matt Czuchry ) New recruit, Devon Pravesh (played by Manish Danyal), Nurse practitioner Nicolette Niven (played by Emily VanCamp), and the rest of the staff. The show highlights the corrupt elements of the American medical system and features topics such as addiction, insurance, greed, and power. My favourite character is Pravesh. I enjoy the way in which they delve into his character including his Indian heritage season two features Bollywood dancing.

The writing on this show is phenomenal, each character has depth and is all multifaceted including the female character. For example, you see Nicolette Niven as this wonderful nurse who goes above and beyond for her patients, family, and friends but you also see her do some questionable things. We also end up realising she suffers from panic attacks and had a rough past. Mina Okafur (played by Shaunette Renee Wilson) is seen as this hard arse, serious doctor but the more we get to know her we find she is loyal and truly cares about her friends and patients. You see her bond with Nic and how she goes above and beyond for her patients. Both women are flawed but are two people you want in your corner. Many medical dramas can have rose-tinted glasses on them and can feel slightly detached from reality but this is not the case with The Resident. It is gritty, dirty, and flawed but wonderfully so.

Whew! and there you have it. The creme de la creme of what has been on the box recently. Let me know if you have watched any of them and what is on your telly.

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