“A Series of Unfortunate Events”
This show is a black-comedy drama based on the children’s book series by Lemony Snicket. It follows the unlucky story of the Baudelaire children: Violet, Klaus and Sunny, who lose their home and parents in a mysterious fire. Trapped in the custody of Mr. Poe, a clueless banker in charge of the siblings’ enormous fortune, the children suddenly find themselves fostered by the eccentric and terrible Count Olaf, a “famous” actor. Throughout the season, the children struggle to escape the Count’s clutches and his attempts to steal their fortune.
The show stars Neil Patrick Harris as the notorious Count Olaf, Patrick Warburton as Lemony Snicket: the mysterious narrator, Malina Weissman as Violet Baudelaire, Louis Hynes as Klaus Baudelaire, Presley Smith as baby Sunny and K. Todd Freeman as Mr. Poe.
So far the popular show only has one season, with eight episodes that adapt the first four books of the novel series: “The Bad Beginning,” “The Reptile Room,” “The Wide Window” and “The Miserable Mill.” It has, however, been renewed for a second season, set to arrive March 30, 2018. This season will adapt books five through nine of the novel series: “The Austere Academy,” “The Ersatz Elevator,” “The Vile Village,” “The Hostile Hospital” and “The Carnivorous Carnival.”
The show has been received extremely well, nominated for several awards since its January 2017 release. Recently, it has been nominated for a 2018 Satellite Award, for Neil Patrick Harris as Best Actor in a Series: Comedy or Musical.
A great thing about “A Series of Unfortunate Events” is the comedy and its bizarreness. Harris is spectacular as Count Olaf, fully embracing the evil and grandiose side of his character.
The children themselves are admirable, intelligent and brave in the face of the danger Olaf presents.
“The Crown” is a historical drama series about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II in the United Kingdom. “The Crown” is the brainchild of Peter Morgan, a British film writer and playwright. The show evolved from Morgan’s 2006 film, “The Queen” and the 2013 stage play, “The Audience.” The series is intended to last 60 episodes over six seasons, covering everything from Elizabeth’s early life to her reign, with new actors being cast every two seasons. Claire Foy portrays the Queen, alongside Matt Smith as Prince Philip and Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret.
To top off the show’s immense success, at 2017 Golden Globes, the series won the Best Television Series in Drama award. Claire Foy also won Best Actress in a Television Series Drama for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth. The show was nominated again for the 2018 awards.
One of the best things about “The Crown” is how it shows the Queen in such a personal, vulnerable way as she explores her new role in Buckingham Palace. The love stories and glamourous fashion are more reasons to binge watch this show immediately, who doesn’t love a good romance and a crown?
“Black Mirror” is a British science fiction anthology series developed by Charlie Brooker.
It examines modern society, particularly the unanticipated consequences of new technology. The show was inspired by older anthology shows like The Twilight Zone, which were able to deal with controversial, contemporary topics without fear of censorship. Brooker developed “Black Mirror” to highlight topics related to humanity’s dependence on technology, creating stories that feature “the way we live now – and the way we might be living in 10 minutes’ time if we’re clumsy.”
“Black Mirror,” has been received with acclaim, winning the 2017 IGN Award for best TV episode, (“San Junipero.”) That particular episode has won a lot itself, winning the 2017 TV Moment of the Year from Diversity in the Media. The show also has plenty of pending awards for 2018.
One big reason to watch this series is that it really shows the dark side of technology. Each episode explores a different facet of the rapidly changing face of the tech world: the future of warfare, our obsession with social media identities and who might be looking through our webcams. All of that has real applications, some of them scarily close to home.
“What Happened to Monday”
“What Happened to Monday” is a 2017 dystopian science fiction thriller film directed by Tommy Wirkola. The plot is set in the year 2043, where overpopulation has reached a staggering peak. To combat the amount of babies being born, the government implements a strict one-child-policy. In this world, a woman named Karen Settman dies after giving birth to identical septuplet sisters. Their grandfather, Terrence Settman (Willem Dafoe), names the girls after the days of the week and trains them to pose as a single individual named after their mother, leaving the house only on the day of their name. Years go by without incident, until Monday mysteriously disappears.
Probably the most admirable thing about this movie is Noomi Rapace, who plays all seven sisters. Her performances are excellent, playing each sister with a separate personality, which is a nod to her amazing acting ability. Not many actresses could play seven separate roles in one film. The plot, simple at its core, delivers incredible and shocking twists, while maintaining a bit of action and darkness. It almost feels like a mix of “The Hunger Games,” “Divergent” and “Orphan Black.”
“First They Killed My Father”
“First They Killed My Father” is a 2017 biographical historical thriller film directed by Angelina Jolie, based on the memoir of the same name by Loung Ung. The film is set in 1975, depicting 7 year old Ung, (Sreymoch Sareum), a girl who is forced to be trained as a child soldier while her siblings are sent to labor camps during the Communist Khmer Rouge regime. The film has been received with great response, winning the 2017 Freedom of Expression Award from the National Board of Review. One of the admirable things about this film is its sensitive account of a child’s real-life experience, and its broader implications are noteworthy too. Jolie handles this story with great assurance and incredible empathy, telling this tale with truth and respect. Ung is a unique main character, a tragedy told in the eyes of someone who doesn’t quite know what is happening.
“To the Bone”
“To the Bone” is a 2017 American drama film, written and directed by Marti Noxon. The film follows a young woman (Lily Collins) as she battles anorexia. The film also stars Keanu Reeves, Carrie Preston, Lili Taylor, Alex Sharp, Liana Liberato, Brooke Smith and Retta (Marietta Sirleaf.) There are so many reasons to watch this movie. The first being that it portrays eating disorders as they are, not just as glossed, dramatic roles. It makes sure that the bitterness of reality is included, which is what makes it so applicable to real life. Another reason is that it includes a guy suffering from an eating disorder, verses only women. A common misconception is that only girls suffer through eating disorders, when really guys do too. Also, the script gives each character, specifically Ellen, the main character, an ample opportunity to reveal the character’s more complicated, vulnerable edges. These are not simple, 2D roles to play. “To the
Bone” portrays them as people, which is exactly how they should be treated.
“Death Note” is 2017 fantasy horror film directed by Adam Wingard. The movie is about high schooler Light Turner (Nat Wolff) who stumbles across a notebook, called the Death Note, that gives him the power to choose when and why people die simply by writing the person’s name in the book. Light takes it upon himself to bring true justice to the world by murdering all criminals, no matter what the crime. Light works under a new superhero persona he names “Kira.” After Kira begins making headlines in the news, people begin worshipping him for taking action that the justice system would not. A famous detective named L (Lakeith Stanfield) sees Kira as a serial killer that needs to be locked away, and L will stop at nothing to bring him to justice. While the director tried to stay close to the original material, they ultimately took bolder steps that kept the movie similar to its source but also made it stand-alone. The movie took unique turns by adding in other characters such as Mia, who is another anti-hero like Light. The cast also features notable actors such as Willem Dafoe who played Ryuk, the demon that gifted Light the Death Note. With the combination of unique directing and interesting cast, this movie is a notable Netflix Original.