My TV Watch List

I have a bad habit when it comes to watching TV. I can’t make up my mind on what I want to watch and I watch multiple TV shows at once. I start shows before I finish watching them. I’m currently watching six different shows on four different streaming platforms. My goal would be to finish what I have started before watching another show. I wanted to share what I’m juggling through watching and my goals for what I want to watch next.

Youtube

Critical Role

I have talked about Critical Role multiple times. I’m surprised at how invested I am in this campaign. I’m still on campaign #1 Vox Machina. I’m on episode #26 during the Briarwood Arc. Many fans of Critical Role started watching campaign #2 Mighty Nein, however, I’m a completionist. I wanted to start from the beginning to see how Critical Role has developed into the popular series it is today. I have become a big fan of this series and how each character serves a purpose in the group. I would love to finish campaign #1 by the end of 2021, although with each episode being 3-4 hours long, I’m not sure if I will accomplish this.

Disney+

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

I have tried to watch Star Wars: The Clone Wars multiple times but never got past the first season. This time, my fiance agreed to watch with me. I’m happy I tried to re-watch this series again because now that I’m in the middle of season #2, I’m enjoying this show. I found season #1 to be slow to watch. Me and my fiance are in the Mand’alor story arc which plays nicely into The Mandalorian. This is another series I hope to complete by the end of 2021.

X-Men Animated Series

Earlier in the year, I started watching the X-Men animated series from the ’90s. I’m loving this series! It’s rejuvenated my love for the X-Men. I’m still in season #1 when Cable has been introduced. My favorite characters have to be Jean, Storm, or Gambit. I’m excited to keep watching especially because the Dark Phoenix story arc appears later on in the show. I’m inspired to reach more X-Men comics since I have started watching this show. I’m excited to finish this series.

Hulu

Scandal

I started watching Scandal back while I was still in college. I ended up getting to season #5 before moving on to another show. With Scandal off the air, I was determined to finish the show. Similar to my first time watching the show, I watched seasons 1-4 quickly and I’m stuck on season #5. If I don’t get through season #5 by the end of 2021, I will call it a loss and say that I lost interest in this show and be done with it.

Netflix

Hollywood

Hollywood is a series created by Ryan Murphy detailing the drama of Hollywood in the 1950s. I was looking for something steamy to watch and Netflix recommended this series. This didn’t disappoint and it was exactly what I was looking for.

Schitt$ Creek

This show doesn’t need an introduction. Almost everyone I know has watched this series and raved about it! When I was visiting a friend, she put on the first season. I don’t have anything to add. This series is phenomenal. The humor is witty especially when it comes to Moira and David. I’m struggling to watch this because I’m not in the mood for a sitcom of sorts. Eventually, my friend is going to give me shit for not finishing this show, so I do need to finish this.

Those are all the shows I’m watching! My goal would be to cut down on all the shows I’m watching by not starting anything new and finishing the shows I’m on. Once I cut down on the shows I’m watching, I can finally use my Funimation subscription and add anime to my watchlist.

Bond is Back! Restarting James Bond Blog Series

Towards the end of December, I started my James Bond: Movie and Science Series. I planned on re-watching all the Bond movies and making three associated blog posts. The first was a movie review, the second was a science themed post regarding a specific scene in movie and the final post was centered around the Bond women in that particular film. As I started this series, I found myself falling behind. I found the Connery era of the Bond franchise was a lot more excruciating to re-watch. With this being said, I’m going to be re-starting this series!

I’m making one change with the posts I write. Instead of writing three posts per movie, I’m going to lower this down to two. I still plan on doing a movie review, but instead I will either write a science themed post or a post centered around the Bond women. Three posts became a bit too much especially because I was watching other TV series or movies that I wanted to write about. I think this is much more doable than my original plan.

I’m excited to rejuvenate this blog series. The James Bond franchise means a lot to me and while I struggled to get the motivation to continue on, I feel more refreshed and ready to tackle this again. I needed a little bit of a break, and now I’m back. It’s time to watch the most quoted Bond film of all time: Goldfinger.

May the 4th 2021 – Revisited

Last month, I wrote a post about my Star Wars plan for May the 4th. Every May, I spend almost the entire month devoting myself to all things Star Wars. I do it every year and I find I look forward to it. I wanted to reflect on my month and what I accomplished.

Books and Comics

The main book I wanted to read was Alphabet Squadron by Alexander Freed. I didn’t finish the book. To be honest, I thought the book felt a bit bloated with too many characters introduced. It was hard to keep track of which characters were driving the story and which characters were supposed to be in the background. I’m disappointed because I have felt this way about quite a few of the new Star Wars novelizations. I put this one down and I don’t think I will try re-reading it.

Skipping Alphabet Squadron, I did finish Queen’s Shadow by E.K. Johnston. I gave this book four stars on Goodreads. This lived up to my expectations for Padme and her story before Attack of the Clones. The end of Queen’s Shadow seems to set up further stories for Padme’s handmaidens, so I’m excited to see if more books will be written. I would highly recommend this if you’re a fan of the prequels.

Besides the books, I read every graphic novel I had set about reading except Lando Double or Nothing. It didn’t grip my attention and I ended up putting it down. I will highlight my rating for the other graphic novels down below:

Rise of Kylo Ren – four stars

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – three stars

Star Wars Adventures Vol. #1 – three stars.

Movies & TV

My goal was to continue in The Clone Wars. I ended up finishing season #1 and I’m halfway through season #2. I do think the seasons get better as I continue. I found watching Clone Wars helped when I was reading Queen’s Shadow because of references to the show popping into the book.

Gaming

I started with Star Wars The Old Republic. My laptop surprisingly ran the game without any forced restarts or glitches. However, I found the game to be repetitive and quite boring. I only finished one mission before uninstalling this from my computer. I can see why everyone raves about the game, but it wasn’t for me.

I switched over to Lego Star Wars and had a blast. I ended up getting through all the prequel levels and I’m now onto the A New Hope levels. I do need to take a break from this as I spent all of May playing through it. I do intend to return to it and finish it sometime this year.

I would say that this was a successful Star Wars month. Aside from not liking Alphabet Squadron, I set out to do exactly what I intended. I hope you all had a lovely May the 4th Be With You!

Favorite Female Animated Heroines

As I was coming up with my list for my Favorite Female Heroines Growing Up post, I realized a couple of characters I had come up with were animated. This caused me to create a separate list of cartoon, female characters from my childhood that I looked up to.

Powerpuff Girls

I loved the Powerpuff girls growing up. Me and my friend would play pretend in her backyard and run around saving the world. I would always be Blossom while my friend was always Bubbles. Poor Buttercup would be left unchosen. I think neither of us wanted to be Buttercup because we thought she was mean when really Buttercup stood up for herself.

Kim Possible

I don’t think there is a need to explain Kim Possible and why she’s on this list.

Sandy Cheeks

I had asked my fiance if I was missing anyone while creating this list. He suggested Sandy Cheeks. His reasoning was Sandy’s intelligent, inventive, and helps Spongebob on various occasions. I thought it was an interesting choice and one I probably would have picked myself.

Charlotte Pickles – Rugrats

I had a Rugrats VHS with some of the episodes from one of the seasons. My dad would have to constantly re-wind it because me and my brother would watch it all the time. I remember being disgusted at the episode where Tommy’s grandpa falls asleep and bugs crawl into his mouth. Anyway, Charlotte Pickles is Angelica’s mom and is a boss. This clip should give you extra context as to why she is on this list.

Fiona

Shrek came out twenty years ago which makes me feel my age. Fiona is a great pick for this list. She’s spunky, brave, and she wants better for herself.

Cartoons and animation were a big part of my childhood. I was surprised when brainstorming this list how many female animated characters existed. Let me know who your favorite animated heroes are down in the comments.

I,Tonya (2017)

I started figure skating when I was six. My aunt was a competitive skater who became an instructor. Figure skating became a big part of my childhood and while competition appealed to me, I wasn’t devoted enough to make it my whole life. The biggest scandal to hit figure skating was the attack against Nancy Kerrigan and how much Tonya Harding knew about the attack beforehand. I had I, Tonya on my watchlist for a while and last weekend I decided to finally watch it. I, Tonya is an intriguing biopic about Tonya Harding’s life while also bringing up various themes such as classism in skating.

Tonya Harding (played by Margot Robbie) was thrown into lessons at a young age by her mother, LaVona Golden (played by Allison Janney). LaVona is shown early on to be both physically and mentally abusive on multiple occasions while LaVona only admits to hitting Tonya once. Tonya’s father moves out, and Tonya is struggling to live under her mother’s roof. She meets Jeff Gillooly (played by Sebastian Stan) who provides enough charm and wit to bloom Tonya’s self-confidence. As Tonya moves out with Jeff, she soon finds that he is also abusive. Tonya, still trying to skate, is suffering from poor scores due to the judges thinking of her as “white trash” and not the best representative for competitive figure skating. As Tonya’s relationship with Jeff is explored, it’s shown how a simple death threat idea somehow escalated into the infamous knee blow with Nancy screaming “why why why”.

The acting in this was phenomenal. Allison Janney won a well-deserved Oscar for her performance in this. Each actor was invested in the role they were portraying. I became enthralled in the story as there was a lot I didn’t know about Tonya’s life before watching this film.

While this film does offer a lens of sympathy for Tonya, it exposes Tonya’s flaws as well. Tonya states several times, “it’s not my fault”. While Tonya grew up poor in an abusive environment, it also seems she blames everyone for her problems. It’s the judge’s fault she scores the way she does and it’s Jeff’s fault for planning the death threat, however, Tonya seemed on-board with the death threat if it meant succeeding in skating. This film easily could have been on Tonya’s side for everything, but I like the way this film provided a sense of balance. It lets the viewer know how rough Tonya’s upbringing was, but also reflects on how this upbringing made Tonya a flawed human being.

Another interesting aspect of the film was the idea of classism. Tonya was poor and her mother had to sew her costumes for her competitions. Figure skating and hockey are two of the most expensive sports to play. There’s the figure skates, costumes, ice shows, the lessons, the accessories for skating, etc. I did research Nancy Kerrigan before writing this, and while Nancy’s father struggled to pay for lessons, she also had private lessons at a young age. Additionally, once a figure skater becomes competitive, it’s all about the marketing deals. I remember Michelle Kwan was advertised on everything! She became this sweet, young, woman who was someone to look up to. Tonya was looked at as an outsider with a rough family background. I wonder if Tonya grew up rich, would her story be different?

I, Tonya was everything I wanted from a biopic. It discusses Tonya’s life, makes an interesting commentary on various societal themes, and had incredible acting from start to finish.

Favorite Heroines Growing Up

For my brother’s birthday, I went over to my mom’s house. We had steak, had family dinner debates, and played a board game. During our dinner discussion, we were talking about movies we would always watch growing up. This led to a discussion about strong female characters in the early ’00s. I wanted to create a list of my favorite heroines / kickass women in various forms of media.

Elektra

Elektra is a widely critcized movie and was considered a box office bomb. It’s not comic book accurate by any means, however, I loved this movie. I always requested watching Elektra. It features a female protagonist who kicks ass in a memorable red outfit. I liked her katana’s and I would play pretend in our backyard pretending to be Elektra. This is a movie I will always be fond of despite its flaws.

Hermione

While I have been trying to distance myself from Harry Potter, I can’t make a list like this and leave out Hermione.

Padme

This was when I learned female characters could be written so poorly. She was such a strong powerhouse in Star Wars politics. She helped Anakin see reason when he was acting out. I cannot believe George Lucas wrote in a script that she “lost the will to live” Give me a fucking break. I still believe the fan theory where Palpatine drew upon her life force to save Anakin. I know it’s not canon, but it gives her death way more clarity.

Evelyn (Evy) Carnahan

I cannot believe I didn’t list Evy higher on this list. Evy is first featured in The Mummy as a librarian who’s a bit clumsy. She is intelligent, capable and helps Rick (played by Brendan Fraiser) escape from the tomb. In The Mummy Returns, Evy is still the same except it’s clear Rick has taught her how to defend herself. She’s featured in more action sequences in the second film which I was a huge fan of. Both The Mummy and The Mummy Returns are movies I would credit as a reason why action movies are often my favorite genre of movies to watch.

Martha Jones

I’m cheating with this pick since I started watching Doctor Who as an adult. Although, I think I would have liked Martha still even if I saw Doctor Who when I was a kid. Martha Jones is the most underrated companion. I find a lot of people don’t like Martha because of her obvious crush on the Doctor. This isn’t the fault of Martha, but the writers on Doctor Who during her era. Martha calls out racism in one particular episode where she lists off the bones of the hand when a woman doesn’t believe she’s capable of being a medical doctor. In the GIF above, she calls out a Harry Potter spell because why not? Martha is easily the best companion of Tennant’s Who era.

Let me know which female heroines you loved growing up in the comments below!

May the 4th Be With You – 2021 Plan

It’s almost May which means May the 4th is rapidly approaching. Every May, I devote my entire month to all things Star Wars. Last year, I re-watched all the movies and read a few Star Wars books throughout the month. This year, I wanted to share my May the 4th plan and hold myself accountable throughout the month. I genuinely look forward to May to dive into all things Star Wars.

Books and Comics

The first book I plan on reading is Alphabet Squadron by Alexander Freed. I received this book for free at Del Rey’s booth at C2E2 I was planning on reading this book last year, but the book was a lot longer than I had anticipated. I’m going to start reading Alphabet Squadron this week leading into May to give myself a greater chance of finishing the book in May.

To prepare for May the 4th, I bought books from my local bookstore, Cream and Amber. I purchased Queen’s Shadow by E.K. Johnston. This is the first book in a Padme book series. This has been on my TBR for a while, so I’m excited to finally read it. Padme is one of the most fearless characters in the Star Wars franchise. I hope this book lives up to my expectations.

As far as comics, I bought The Rise of Kylo Ren, Lando Double or Nothing, Star Wars Adventures Vol #1 Heroes of the Galaxy, and Star Wars: Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Captain Phasma. My goal is to read all of these along with Alphabet Squadron and Queen’s Shadow.

Movies & TV

Instead of re-watching the films, I’m going to watch The Clone Wars. I’m halfway through season #1 and I started to lose interest. Everyone I talk to who has watched The Clone Wars cannot stop raving about it and I don’t want to be missing out. I don’t think I will finish all the seasons in a month, but I hope to at least get through most of the show and get the motivation to finish the whole show.

Gaming

Last year, I put so many hours into Star Wars Battlefront II and it was a blast. I decided to try out Star Wars The Old Republic. I’m not sure if my laptop will be able to run the game, so as a backup, I found LEGO Star Wars The Complete Saga on Steam as well. Another option I have is to finish playing Jedi Fallen Order which I still have not completed the main campaign.

I am going to have a jam packed Star Wars themed month and I’m thrilled! I would love any Star Wars themed reading suggestions or podcasts, feel free to add those in the comments below.

Invested in Critical Role

The first time I heard Critical Role mentioned was at Gen Con in 2019. The cast of Critical Role was appearing and my friend was thrilled. He had tickets to go and he said it was the highlight of his convention. Earlier this year, I figured I’d watch the first episode on Youtube because why not? I was still at home and wasn’t sure when I was going to be vaccinated. I can’t believe how easily I have become invested in their campaign. For the past month, all I have been watching is Critical Role.

For those completely new to Critical Role like I was, it’s a D&D campaign show hosted by voice actor, Matthew Mercer, and his other voice actor friends. Every show is streamed live on Thursday nights Pacific Standard Time and uploaded to their Youtube channel. Originally, Critical Role was a private campaign Mercer had, but they decided to partner with Geek & Sundry and start airing their episodes on their channel in 2015. All of the episodes of Critical Role can be watched on Youtube.

When I started watching Critical Role, I went back to the beginning with episode #1 of their first campaign, Vox Machina. There were some recommendations to start with campaign #2 Mighty Nein since it was more refined with better video quality, however, I wanted to start from the beginning. From my watching experience, I would recommend watching Critical Role from the start. It’s fun to witness the chemistry the players have with each other. It’s tough to pick a favorite character because all the characters serve a role in the story.

Another reason I’m enjoying Critical Role is that it’s easy to follow along. I have listened to other D&D podcasts where I couldn’t quite keep up with the game. It helps that Critical Role has a recap told by Mercer and story introductions narrated by each cast member. I usually skip over their backstories, but every ten episodes or so, I will listen to them in full just to keep their stories fresh in my mind. I also prefer watching Critical Role on their Youtube channel versus listening to the podcast.

Additionally, I love how Critical Role gives back to their community. In the beginning, Critical Role was taking donations for 826LA which focused on creating opportunities for younger kids. Now, they have their non-profit that’s launched. I think it’s admirable since they have gotten so popular to start giving back to the community.

I wish I started watching Critical Role sooner than I am now. It’s such a fun group to watch and they all seem to get along with and care for each other. Critical Role has gotten me through some hectic workweeks along with making me look forward to the end of the workday. It’s been a true escape to leave the stresses of work in my office and come aboard Vox Machina and their adventures through Tal’Dorei.

Justice League Snyder Cut

My fiance took off work on the release date of the Justice League: Snyder Cut. My fiance is a big DC fan. While I didn’t hate the original Justice League, the movie felt like a mess. There were rumors of a “Snyder Cut” however, with DC’s movie track record, I didn’t get my hopes up. After my fiance finished watching the movie, he came into the office where I was working and couldn’t stop talking about how good this film was. I was still skeptical, but I agreed to watch it with him the following weekend. I was pleasantly surprised because Justice League: Snyder Cut was amazing. It was way better than WW84.

My expectations into watching the Snyder Cut was Joss Whedon’s movie with more scenes. To be blunt, this was a completely different movie. Cyborg (aka Victor Stone) in this full version had much more of a character arc than in the theatrical release. In this film, Cyborg’s origin story is told on screen. The relationship Victor has with his parents, how Victor’s father ends up helping the League, and Victor listening to a recording from his father saying how proud he is and how he is fortunate to be given a second chance. Ray Fisher (who plays Cyborg) has been the most vocal about Joss Whedon and his abuse of power behind the scenes. I can understand Fisher being upset after the theatrical release because his character’s backstory was erased. Cyborg is easily the MVP and his role in splitting the mother boxes was crucial to prevent Darkseid from coming to Earth.

The return of Superman is so much more satisfying in the Snyder Cut. As Cyborg is pulling apart the mother boxes, Steppenwolf comes up behind him about to deliver a devastating blow when Superman appears blocking the attack in his black suit. Superman pummels Steppenwolf buying more time to assist Cyborg. I could feel myself getting amped at seeing Henry Cavill back in action at just the right moment.

Another surprising moment for me was the role of the Flash (aka Barry Allen). In the theatrical release, Barry seems a bit incompetent and immature. In the Snyder Cut, Barry is much more aware of his powers and the speed force. In the final battle, Cyborg isn’t able to pull the mother boxes apart in time leading to the Justice League losing. However, Barry notices this and can run back in time to produce the energy needed to split the mother boxes. This moment was special to watch because, without Barry’s help, Darkseid and Steppenwolf would have won. In this version of the Justice League movie, each member of the League has a role. Without one of them, they would have failed at various steps of their plan. In the theatrical version, this wasn’t laid out.

If I would have been told months ago that I would have liked the Snyder Cut better than WW84, I would have laughed. The Snyder Cut was everything I would have hoped for from a film adaptation of the Justice League. Unfortunately, Warner Bros. was trying to control Zach Snyder’s vision leading to the theatrical version. Justice League Synder Cut was amazing and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was my favorite movie of 2021.

Harley Quinn – Animated Series

With the discontinuation of DC Universe, HBO Max has collected all the DC content and is now available to stream. As a DC fan, I prefer the DC animated series to the live-action movies. As someone who was disappointed by Wonder Woman 1984, I wanted to watch a DC title with promise. One series that has been highly rated was the Harley Quinn animated series. This series centers on Harley Quinn getting away from the Joker and building a strong friendship with Poison Ivy. I loved every minute of this show! It’s raunchy, hilarious, gory, and showcases Harley as being the complex villain that she is.

In the first season, Harley (voiced by Kaley Cuoco) finally dumps Joker and tries to establish her credit as a villain. Always living in Joker’s shadow, Harley creates her supervillain team consisting of Poison Ivy (voiced by Lake Bell), Clayface, Doctor Psycho, King Shark, and Sy Borgman. As Harley performs more villainous acts, she’s invited to join the Legion of Doom which infuriates Joker. Throughout the season, Harley has to reckon with how Joker treated her and how her life can’t solely be about getting back at him. She needs to move on and her team helps her do this.

At the heart of this show is Harley Quinn’s friendship with Poison Ivy. In the comics, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy end up in a romantic relationship. The show develops this as a slow burn with the season #2 finale leading into Harley and Poison Ivy confessing their feelings for each other. Harley needs Poison Ivy as she tells Harley the truth. The Joker doesn’t love her and she deserves better. Poison Ivy needs Harley in season #2 to help her realize she’s getting married to the wrong person. Their friendship is fun to watch.

This show is hilarious! The witty one-liners and subtle references to pop culture are well written. Any show that can make me laugh until I cry is much needed during this time. Watching Harley Quinn provided an outlet to get away from the fact that I’m living through a pandemic. Adding to the comical relief was the way the villains were given personalities. King Shark is a big shark teddy bear. Clayface loves theater and improv, and Doctor Psycho called Wonder Woman a slur which led to him getting kicked out of the Legion of Doom. It’s the hypocrisy of using a slur that gets Doctor Psycho banned even though the Legion kill people regularly.

While DC’s film universe has been mediocre, their animated series is a huge hit. Harley Quinn is no exception. With only two seasons, it won’t take long to finish the series. The Harley Quinn animated series can be streamed on HBO Max.