November 18, 2019

What I'm Watching | Violet Evergarden, The Boys, Burden of Truth

Violet Evergarden
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I hadn't binged an anime in forever and I have a tendency to watch the same kind –– magical girl and/or shōjo anime, preferably in a fantasy setting. But I kept seeing the Violet Evergarden pop up on Netflix and it just looked beautiful from the preview so I decided to give it a try. And wow. It totally blew me away with the story and multiple episodes brought me to tears (very unexpected!). It's set in a world where everyone is recovering from a recent major war and Violet Evergarden, a former child soldier, tries to adjust this new life. But it isn't easy. She had been trained to be an emotionless tool for the military until one of her superiors takes her in and shows her that there's more to life and more to her. In his final moments he tells her he loves her and throughout the series, her new "mission" is to discover what these words mean. She does this by taking up ghostwriting. She helps people write letters by putting into words what they feel but can't express. Which isn't without its mishaps given her robot-like personality at the beginning. And that's ultimately what makes the series so affecting. Because we see her get to open up episode by episode and begin to feel. Honestly, every time she told someone that she wanted to know what "I love you" meant, I felt a pang in my own heart. It's just such a poignant tale. Even if anime isn't your usual cup of tea, I would highly recommend giving this a try. // Season 1 on Netflix; as of right now, no plans for more seasons but I'm keeping my fingers crossed


The Boys
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This was absolutely not your average superhero series and I mean that as a compliment. (And a forewarning!) Right off the bat, the first episode shows you how bananas it's going to be and even I was still shocked by how dark, twisted and totally crazy it got by the end. But that's ultimately what made it stand out in comparison to other superhero shows I've watched, and I've seen a ton. The Boys was a subversive view on what we all know and usually love about superheroes while also providing some subtle and not-so-subtle commentary. It's based on a comic book, which I didn't actually know at the time. But in this world, "superpowered" people are recognized and treated as celebrities by the general public. They're all owned by Vought International, who markets and pays them and creates their personas to be loved by the world. But in reality, they're corrupt and care very little about helping people. The series follows two main groups: The Seven (Vought's superhero team) led by Homelander and "The Boys" led by Billy Butcher, who hates all aforementioned superpowered people. But the two people we truly get to follow are Hughie, who joins the Boys after his girlfriend is killed by one of the Seven and Annie / Starlight, the Seven's latest and genuinely good recruit. The two of them (plus my favorite Boy, Frenchie) really brought humanity to the show, especially in its darker and crazier moments. I have seen criticism though, mainly around the pacing being uneven or the plot and I'll admit, it's not a perfect series but what made it worth watching was the complexity of its characters (not to mention the jaw-dropping twists!). // Season 1 on Amazon Prime; Season 2 out mid-2020


Burden of Truth
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I've been a Kristin Kreuk fan since her Smallville days which is how I ended up watching Beauty & the Beast when it first aired (enjoyable at first, until it wasn't)  and why I decided to check out Burden of Truth this past week. I did not expect this show to be as good as it was! I binged both seasons in less than a week and was super impressed by the stories, the characters and the acting. Not only is Kristin Kreuk the lead on the show, she's also an executive producer. It made me realize how underrated she is as an actress and appreciate that she seeks out strong, multi-faceted female roles for herself. (It also made me want to visit Canada; yes, the show is Canadian!) Kreuk plays Joanna Hanley, a corporate attorney who returns to her hometown of Millwood to represent a large pharmaceutical company against a group of young girls who've become sick. While at first, it's all business for her, even as she runs into old friends and old grudges, something changes. She starts to see that she could be of help to these girls and if there's anything you'll learn about Joanna throughout the series, it's that she'll stop at nothing to get the truth. Each season focuses on a different case but the characters remain largely the same. And part of the appeal of the show for me are the connections she makes while in Millwood, such as an old best friend, an old classmate with whom she now has some underlying romantic tension (I was 100% shipping this) and the girls themselves. On top of that, the representation and just a lot of what the show said was so, so great. I can't believe it doesn't get more attention now that I've watched it! // Season 1 on Hulu; Season 2 partially available on CW app and coming soon to Hulu; renewed for a third season!

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What have you been watching?

1 comment

  1. Violet Evergarden is on my list of shows to binge watch! I'm truly thrilled to hear that you enjoyed it. That definitely makes me want to bump it up on the queue.

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