• M.L.

My Tv obsessions

A topic of conversation I have been bringing up lately is all of the great TV I have been watching recently, particularly those featuring strong female players whether it be acting or producing. There is so much to talk about in the world today and some series I've been into recently have really been digging into that. So, I'm going to give you a list of my recent watches, featuring A LOT of women because it's high time we all turn our gaze and appreciate these artists that haven’t because they are female. This post will mostly discuss the women that have been shining...If you have an issue, too bad! Read something else.

My first pick has to be The Good Place, a NBC comedy coming from the creators of Parks & Rec. Staring funny ladies Kristen Bell, Jameela Jamil & D'Arcy Carden as well as Ted Danson, Manny Jacinto and William Jackson Harper, the Good place tackles serious moral quandaries while making you laugh like crazy. Set in versions of “heaven” (the “good” place) and “hell” (the bad place), we follow a group of morally questionable individuals, all with their own vices and faults. It puts into perspective the moral actions of ourselves, well known historical figures, and those we see in the media today in a way that is approachable and relatable with the humor leaning towards the dark side with a dry, sarcastic delivery. With today's world feeling increasingly darker, it helps to force you into a perspective of situations and evaluate them from classic theories of ethics presented to us by Chidi (William Jackson Harper), the anxiety-ridden ethics professor guiding everyone through the show.

The leading ladies of the show really pack a punch embracing the full woman, flaws and all. Kristen Bell is a rough-around-the-edges chick who is always looking out for herself until she has people in her life worth her time. Jameela Jamil plays a fabulous socialite who thinks her moral worth is a lot higher than it is, ultimately realizing her life is not validated by the people she knows but who she is as a human. And D'Arcy Carden lights up the screen as Janet, a real-life Siri that knows all the information in the world and conforms to the rules of her overseers before she starts questioning her greater purpose and her part in a morally corrupt system.

Next is a highly controversial show that was just released on Netflix called Insatiable. Starring Debby Ryan along with new faces and old, Alyssa Milano being among those, the show was initially criticized for being fat-shaming and insensitive. However, I couldn't resist and took a watch for myself and was pleasantly surprised. In the style of 1999 classic, Drop Dead

Gorgeous, this dark satire tackles vanity, prejudice and the expectation for people to act in a certain way. Patty (Ryan), an “overweight” girl teased her whole life suddenly finds herself in a situation that causes her to lose weight and in turn, change her status in her town.

While physically she is slimmer, her mind is a mess and she struggles everyday with her new body and the way people treat her. Insatiable being the word, Patty becomes obsessed with revenge against all those who had talked badly about her before and it leads to a downward spiral where she is still unable to see her worth despite what others say. It addresses other issues like gender norms, sexual fluidity and and the all too familiar “judging a book by it’s cover”. Paired with ridiculous situations and brilliant satire, you will start to question what you believe to be normal, and what happens when we all let our inhibitions free.

A USA Network series that is available on Netflix, The Sinner, is a thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time. Executive produced by and starring Jessica Biel, you get to experience her as an artist you've never seen before. Following Cora (Biel) as she brutally and unexpectedly murders a man she at first impression doesn't know, and the subsequent investigation by a small-town detective, The Sinner delves into our darkest selves.

A combo of flashbacks and current events reveal the lives of some of the most insane, narcissistic characters that make you start to feel uneasy...Partly because you can't believe that people could possibly make such dark, horrendous decisions and partly because you know that there are people that do. It confronts religion, societal expectations, and the secrets we never disclose to others set to the backdrop of heavy music and repeating patterns that lend to the mystery. The end of the first season concludes Cora’s story, but the second season was just announced and will continue to follow the detective who reveals the final truth of the investigation.

Delving deeper into the darkness comes HBO original Sharp Objects starring Amy Adams. An incredible series based off a novel I have yet to read, Sharp Objects confronts all those moments, the people, the situations in life that make little cuts in you, tear at your soul, your heart, or in Camille's (Adams) case her physical being. Adam's character is a journalist moved to the city and sent back to her small hometown to investigate two murders of young girls that could potentially be connected.

While home, Camille is forced to look into her past and revisit the events that affected the rest of her life as she interviews the locals and puts the pieces together of a murder mystery that becomes more sinister by the moment. Tackling sexual assault, society standards and a toxic mother-daughter relationship, the series explores topics that are generally swept under the rug or discussed with hushed voices.

The final show I want to discuss is one of the most enthralling shows I have watched recently. Another HBO original, Big Little Lies is produced by Pacific Standard, Reese Witherspoon’s production company and is adapted from the novel by Liane Moriarty and features Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman as main characters and producers, performing alongside Shailene Woodley, Zöe Kravitz and Laura Dern. The five women in the show really demonstrate the talented actors they are, showing emotional range and adaptability that is award-worthy (and it won plenty). In a series of flashbacks from parents at an elementary school in Monterey, California, Big Little Lies follows the testimonies of party-goers where a murder occured.

Not knowing who was murdered, how it happened or who committed the murder until the final scenes of the season, each episode gives you more and more details about why the police are questioning the group of parents. A web is built as more connections between the five women are revealed and key players come out of the shadows. At first, the truth seems far off and vague but as the series progresses you realize that the five women have a lot more in common than originally believed. The conclusion of the show has you biting your nails and gasping out loud as female empowerment is realized in a dark, twisted way. While it may be disturbing, the way in which the women take on the antagonist gives a little relief to viewers who have been victims of abuse and sexual assault. Without giving too much away, this show is incredible and I wait in anticipation for the second season to see how the story progresses.

That wraps up my my list...from kinda dark to pretty brutal, these shows will get you thinking. Alright, this is my formal permission to go and get cozy on your couch with some snacks and a glass of wine and watch some TV. I may just go start rewatching one of these now...

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