Requiem

Over the weekend I watched all six episodes of Requiem, a supernatural thriller series on Netflix. I hesitate to call it horror because there’s nothing overt about whatever’s happening in the story. Even the supernatural elements are subtle for most of the episodes. Although your mileage may vary depending on how much you like or dislike horror, I suppose.

Requiem is a series in part by the BBC and it takes place in small town in Wales. The main character, Matilda (played by Lydia Wilson), is a cellist whose mother dies in the first episode. As Matilda goes to her mother’s house to clean up she discovers a collection of photos that somehow relate to a disappearance of a small girl from this Welsh town. Matilda and her friend/accompanist, Hal, go to this town to figure out if or how her mother was involved in the girl’s disappearance.

What proceeds is a series of episodes in this fictional Welsh town of Penllynith where Tilly & Hal look for clues while meanwhile being shunned by the members of the same community. No one wants to think about the disappearance from 23 years prior, let alone when the past is being dredged up by some strangers harassing the mother of the missing girl.

 

At the same time, Tilly & Hal have been invited by a Australian man in town after the death of his uncle, to stay at what locals call the “big house”, a large estate owned by the deceased. This man, Nick, is hoping to sell the house, the land, whatever he can, in order to make some cash and return to his home in Australia.

The big house is also somehow tied to the missing kid from two decades prior. Strange things are happening in the house, to people in town, and to Tilly as she remains in the house.

Requiem is a slow-moving plot not unlike a lot of British mystery/thriller series. Think Broadchurch or The Fall. It’s going to take more than six episodes to get to the bottom of what’s happening. If you’re not up for the slower pace, the mystery may not keep you interested. I can’t even say I enjoyed it so much as I was interested in the supernatural mystery of it, which were both tied to the mystery of the missing girl … and also separate in its own way. If it comes back for a second season, I’ll keep an eye out for it.

Nailed It: pure distilled schadenfreude in a 30 minute baking show

If you need something to watch for a few hours, do yourself a favor and watched Netflix new show, Nailed It. I’m not a huge fan of baking or cooking shows, but there really needs to be more than six episodes of Nailed It. Or at least there’s a promise for a second season.

Nailed It is a baking show for home bakers who… aren’t really very good, or experienced. There are three challengers in each show, and two challenges. The first challenge, Baker’s Choice, gives the baker’s a chance to pick from one of three similarly decorated treats to try and recreate. They’re given between 45-50 minutes to attempt the recreation and then judged on both sight and taste. The winner of Baker’s Choice gets a prize (a stand mixer in several episodes) and the chance to wear a bright gold chef’s hat for the second round signifying that they’re the one to beat.

In the second round, they start from scratch and all three are tasked with recreating an amazing cake – a shark, a volcano, a floral wedding cake – in 2 hours. A daunting task for even a professional. The baker’s get recipe’s of course, and during this second round are each given a panic button where they can call for help from one of the judges. In most episode the person who performed the worst in the first round is also given some kind of helper button to either distract or freeze their opponents for three minutes.

Inevitably, the bakers aren’t quite up for the challenge. They spin around their creations to the judges while saying, singing or jazz-handing their way through “Nailed it!” And usually their delivery is met with chuckles from the judges. Comedian Nicole Byer, the host of the show, is hilarious and her laugh is thoroughly contagious. At the end of round three the judges again make a decision on taste and presentation and this time the winner gets $10k. I’d probably let someone laugh at my failed baking decisions for ten thousand dollars too. 

 

Rewatching The Good Place — What we owe to each other

I had some friends in town overnight who had never seen The Good Place. However we started it pretty late in the night so they didn’t make it very many episodes into the first season before everyone crashed. But as someone that doesn’t rewatch very many shows, just getting a few episodes in to season one made me watch to continue. It’s also really entertaining to watch the show with people who haven’t seen it before, knowing exactly what they have to look forward to by the end of the first season. Even my expectations feel different despite knowing what’s coming.

There’s so much about that first season I’d forgotten, especially about those first few episodes the prevalence of Michael’s neurosis even before the reveal. (This won’t be long, and I’m doing my best not to spoil anything specific, or the specifics about the end of Season One.)

There’s something about a show like this one where the end of Season One changes the show fundamentally that makes going back to the beginning feel like a different show. I’ve seen the full impact of Season Two, so this like innocence of beginnings is so different.

That said, in fact despite the anxiety the main characters feel in the first season everything is just inherently cheerful in a way that has absolutely nothing to do with their location. And while the circumstances are different in the second season, the hope is still there. Though anxiety has given way to something deeper so the happiness is something they have to snatch in small moments for themselves.

I want these characters to succeed in a way that feels new, because I’m now seeing where they started all over again and the growth is pretty monumental.

Have you seen The Good Place? Rewatched it now that it’s on hiatus?
I’d be curious to know if the rewatch feels like this for everyone.

Drunk History — Nichelle Nichols Lives Boldly

Drunk History is almost always a good time, but this video of Nichelle Nichols (as played by Raven Simone) time on Star Trek and her work with NASA is short, but awesome.

It also includes the line from drunk narrator, Ashley Nicole Black, speaking as Martin Luther King Jr. (as played by Jaleel White), “No I’m Martin Luther King, I have no chill.” Seriously everything about this is wonderful and funny.

And because it’s Drunk History, this exchange also happens:



Ashley: So you know, they’re filming Star Wars and it’s great.
Derek: Is that true?
Ashley: Oh, my God. Also very good. 
Ashley: So they’re doing Star Trek. It’s great. People love it.

Supergirl — For the Girl Who Has Everything

I know I’m behind on this, but I just finished binging the first season of Supergirl. I’ve been a Superman fan since I was a little kid watching old black and white George Reeves’ Superman reruns with my dad. I grew up with reruns of Helen Slater’s Supergirl. I had a poster for Superman IX on my wall; I pretty much loved everything about Christopher Reeves’ Superman — still do. I loved Lois & Clark, but didn’t like Smallville. Really, I’ve seen all the Superman stuff because I love him as a character so much. Sure, in the comics he was often a dick but he was also kind and friendly and humorous.

Supergirl, specifically the way Melissa Benoist plays her, reminds me a great deal of the Christopher Reeves movies. Reminds me of why I like Superman so much. They’re not perfect people. They sure aren’t perfect humans. Not perfect heroes.

But they take joy in saving people and not as some god-complexed savior of mankind (although I’ll admit Superman has been written that way more than once), but because they WANT to use the abilities they have on Earth for good. They want to keep people safe, to be useful, and ultimately, to belong. Kara, more than Clark, is a great example of this because of her story. Because she was older when Krypton died, and she was sent with the purpose of watching Kal-El (who was only a baby), she not only remembers home but she remembers her purpose.

Kara left Krypton expecting to be a protector.

She came to Earth to find that Kal-El already was one.

Watching the first few episodes — which are not about her coming into her power as Superman’s stories so often begin, but fully embracing her powers and her purpose.

There’s a joy that comes from finding something you’re good at and leaning into it completely. And I love that about Supergirl.

It also really helps that she, like Clark, find a lot of joy in the ingenuity and earnestness of humans. It’s not condescension, it’s pride.

And I love that.

I’m starting season two, and I’ve seen a lot of what tumblr likes about the second season but I’m looking forward to watching it for myself.

Wynonna Earp — She ain’t anybody’s but her own.

Recently I picked up Wynonna Earp to watch on Netflix (Season 1 only at the moment). It’s been on my list of things to watch for a while now, I’ve seen enough WayHaught gifs on my tumblr dash, to know there were good things waiting for me when I got into it. What I didn’t know was how much I’ve craved an anti-hero like Wynonna. She’s bad, she’s crass and as Doc says, “She ain’t nobody’s but her own.”

If you haven’t watched Wynonna Earp, it’s about a woman named, Wynonna Earp who is the heir of the Earp curse. When the heir reaches 27 years of age all the people Wyatt Earp killed return to Earth, possessed by demons which can only be put down for good by the heir. Or something like that. Also, Doc Holliday (Wyatt’s best and closest friend) is still alive, having been granted a long life by a witch. He works at Wynonna’s side to put down the demons.

What makes this show so great is how much Wynonna isn’t the hero type. She comes back to her hometown of Purgatory after years of avoiding the place, hoping to stave off the curse. All the way back to high school, she’s been a loose cannon. People didn’t believe her about the demons (for obvious reasons) and she acted out. All the time. A whole lot. She left town with few friends (really just her younger sister, Waverly). The chosen one’s refusal to take on a task is a common enough trope. As is the rebellious champion, someone who doesn’t fit the mold we expect them to.

But you root for Wynonna because she tries.

She might hate the curse, but once it enacts in earnest while she’s in Purgatory for a funeral, she stays. She’s trying to do the thing she knows she needs to do. And she doesn’t lose herself, or her personality and wit, in the process. Picture if Buffy was older, had a gun, and gave in most often to her baser instincts. Then put it all in the southwest where there’s a lot of boots and guns and dirt. It’s a good time.

Now, all I need is for Season 2 to arrive on Netflix so I can get caught up.