January 11, 2019

What I'm Watching | The Last Kingdom, Bodyguard + The Magicians

In case you needed convincing that I love BBC and/or shows about magic, look no further than this installment of What I'm Watching!

The Last Kingdom
It seemed like every time I opened up Netflix, The Last Kingdom would be featured so I decided to give it a shot. I ended up binging all three seasons in a matter of weeks! I was hooked from the start but it didn't hurt that Alexander Dreymon, who plays the lead role, is ridiculously good-looking (look up videos of him speaking French and he manages to look even hotter – not that I did that or anything). The show is based on Bernard Cornwell books, The Saxon Stories and started off on BBC first before finding its new home on Netflix for season 3. It's set during the period when the Danes were invading Anglo-Saxon lands and follows Uhtred of Bebbanburg (Dreymon) whose family is killed by the Danes while he's taken in as a slave by Earl Ragnar but later treated as a son. The big theme of the show is about how Uhtred is at war with himself over his place in the world. Is he a Dane or a Saxon or can he be both? It's this constant struggle that affects his decisions as his path crosses with friends and family, new and old, and a monarchy who'd use his battle prowess while scornfully calling him a heathen. Even though the stories often move at break-neck speed, I love that it's never boring and that it's constantly moving forward. Plus it's just such an interesting time period because the royalty I mentioned is King Alfred of Wessex, who strove for a united kingdom for all of England and a real person from history. I often found myself googling characters to find out who was real and fiction but regardless, they were all extremely well-cast (even if I didn't necessarily like who they were playing!). They just got renewed for season 4 so I started following them on Twitter and Instagram to hold me over while I wait!


Bodyguard
Keeping on track with my love of all things BBC, I started watching Bodyguard although my main motivation was Richard Madden (RIP Rob Stark) who plays the lead Sergeant David Budd. Budd is an Afghanistan war veteran, battling with PTSD, and working as a specialist protection officer for the Royalty and Special Protection Branch of London Police. Right off the bat, we see how heroic and skilled he is and he soon gets promoted to become a bodyguard for Home Secretary Julia Montague, whose politics he doesn't agree with at all. I literally can't say anymore than that because it would ruin it for anyone who decides to watch (and you really, really should). But I will say the pacing was sharp, the acting phenomenal and half the time I didn't know what to believe but in a good way. I thought having this part mystery, thrilled and drama span across 6 episodes, which may seem like too little on page, was actually perfect. They didn't waste a single moment keeping viewers on their toes and making jaws drop (mine certainly did!). Right now, it doesn't seem clear if they're going to do a second series but if they can match the quality of season one and bring back Richard Madden, I'll definitely watch.


The Magicians
I started watching The Magicians towards the end of summer but then had to wait until only a few weeks ago for season 3 to finally be available on Netflix. Now I'm all caught up and ready to tell you what I think plus start season 4 on January 23. Clearly, I'm a fan of the show! I'll admit it was a bit touch and go at times. In my own words I'd describe Harry Potter set in college but with sex, drugs and profanity. Officially, it's a fantasy series based on the books by Lev Grossman and follows Quentin Coldwater as he enrolls at Brakebills University to be trained as a magician. Not only does he find out that magic is real but he also discovers that the fantasy world described in his favorite childhood books are real too. Real should also be interpreted as dangerous in this case, which he and his eventual friends find out too. The other main character is is Quentin's best friend Julia who goes down a dangerous path when she's denied admittance to Brakebills. These two are the catalyst for the series but other characters quickly join the fold and all their stories evolved in ways I did not see coming! A couple things to be warned of: half the time you won't like some of the characters and in fact, you may intensely dislike Quentin for the first two seasons (like I did) but stick it out. The world is just so interesting and really enjoy their take on magic. By season 3, the show hits its stride and I was super impressed by the finale. Even though I have other favorite characters, I actually started to like Quentin by then too.


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What are you watching right now?

1 comment

  1. Even though I've not properly watched the last season of The Magicians, I'm still fairly in the know about it! I think it's such a well-done series in general, and I definitely want to make sure to catch up properly at some point.

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