I’m not much of a television watcher. With a withering attention span and a lack of liking things at the moment, I find it very hard to concentrate on something that is 40 minutes long. But sometimes there are shows that just pull you in and sink their teeth in, and this year, despite being awful, is no exception:
THE GET DOWN (Netflix, 2016-)
So this one was a no brainer. Baz Luhrmann is my favourite director, so anything written/produced/directed by him, I’m gunna watch. I was a little apprehensive to watch The Get Down, just because I wasn’t sure how Luhrmann, a director who lives for the epic, would be able to boil that down into episodes. But boy, he done good.
The Get Down follows Ezekiel, a teenager from the Bronx during the 1970’s, where DJ’s were kings of their quarters and insurance companies were burning down buildings for profit. Ezekiel, along with his friends, join the rise of Hip Hop and try to find their place in a society that devalues their communities and would rather leave it to the flames.
First of all, The Get Down has fantastic rep. I think maybe there are one or two white people? And they’re side characters anyway. It is about the people and their music and their part of NYC that was known for it’s crime and it’s fires. Pretty much all of the cast aren’t well-known, and they do an amazing job of making themselves known.
And the music and the way it’s fucking filmed. In true Luhrmann fashion, The Get Down is musical, colourful, hilarious, sometimes outlandish, and beautifully filmed. It is a true gem that not enough people are watching.
BLACK MIRROR (Netflix, 2016)
I wrote a whole review on this season of Black Mirror, but I’ll talk about it here too.
I’ve always been a fan of Black Mirror ever since it began. I rarely watch British television nowadays, and despite this season not being on Channel 4 anymore, I still consider it British. Black Mirror is similar to The Twilight Zone and Tales of the Unexpected, whereby each episode is a different setting, cast, and plot. It is speculative, and is usually a modern setting painted with the technologies of tomorrow, usually a lot more sinister than we may think.
I’m a wimp, and so everything scares me. I hate being scared, but Black Mirror is the type that stays with you so long as you question the morality of humanity. I cannot stress enough to not watch it on your own, especially since it makes for great discussion afterwards. I go into detail on each episode in the review, and you don’t have to watch them in any order. That includes the previous seasons as well.
YURI ON ICE (Crunchyroll, 2016-)
To be honest, I didn’t think I’d be talking about anime. I rarely watch it, and only stumbled upon Yuri on Ice because of Twitter. I watched one episode and was HOOKED.
This groundbreaking sports anime is about Yuri Katsuki, a failed figure skater and his progression back to being the best skater in the world, with thanks to his newly appointed coach, skating superstar Victor Nikiforov.
Not only is this anime so unlike others I’ve watched, it’s taken the idea of rampant queerbaiting that anime seems to enjoy, and blown it out of the water. There is a canon same sex relationship in this show, and while there are censors that forbid it to be outright, the writers and creators of this show have all stated they’ve tried to get as much passed the censors as possible to portray this happy gay couple.
It’s hilarious, beautiful, and the skating is very accurate. The plot is fantastic and detailed, and you will laugh at other anime that has to resort to queerbaiting to get views.
SKAM (NRK3, 2015 – )
And now, saving the best til’ last, is SKAM (Shame), a Norwegian drama that follows a bunch of high school students in Oslo. Each season follows a different teen as they tackle topics such as misogyny, bullying, homophobia, mental health, rape culture, and everything else that gets shat on teenagers.
This show is one of the most realistic shows I’ve ever come across. And, while I’m not a teenager or Norwegian, I find the characters and the content very relatable. Julie Andem, the show’s creator, spent a year travelling around Norway and interviewed thousands of teenagers to help form the realistic portrayal of her characters. All the actors (at the time of filming) are teenagers, and continually help the writers if they think something their character would say is unrealistic or unlike teenagers.
Not only that, but the show is heavily interactive, and has a blog that continually updates in real time when something happens in the show. Whether it be a clip, an instagram, or a text conversation, you never know when it’s going to update. It means you get to follow the main characters life like reality television. It’s beautiful and horrific at the same time.
SKAM has recently gotten popular internationally due to Tumblr, and the show has become the most watched show in Norway. Season three is just coming to an end, following the life of second year Isak Valtersen, who is coming to terms with his sexuality and falling in love with third year, Even Bech Næshiem. I think a lot of people have watched and will only watch season three, and I made a post a while ago as to possible problematic reasons as to why it’s Isak’s season specifically that has gotten so popular. I think the majority, however, are just celebrating realistic and beautiful LGBT representation. But honestly, watching seasons one and two are an experience in themselves, and focus on Eva (S1) and Noora (S2), two girls a part of a group that you don’t really see in season three, so it’s worth the watch.
This show, from the actors to the soundtrack to the editing to the interactivity is just phenomenal. Please, go watch it. (We’re hoping Netflix will buy it and slap on English subtitles).
What shows have you been loving this year? I know at least one of you will mention Gilmore Girls.