We have decided to take a year off from our annual FilmDis Study. It’s important work and it will be picked up again, hopefully, in the future. Originally the decision was made around the Hollywood strikes. The study would have been much smaller because of the lack of shows that were being released and we wanted to stand with the writers and actors, so we stopped the study we were working on. There is a potential plan to bring it back eventually and we hope that it’s soon.
In the meantime, we’re still watching TV and movies, as that’s part of our job after all. So, one of the things we’ve decided to institute is a weekly “What We’re Watching” column, which is what you’re reading now!
Basically, we will list all of the TV and movies we’ve watched for the week with a small blurb about our thoughts on the show. We will also let you know where you can watch these shows, too!
Monarch: Legacy of Monsters: I’m only two episodes in and have never seen anything Godzilla related, but I’m enjoying it quite a bit. Anna Sawai heads up a diverse cast of talented actors. There is a compelling story or two (it goes back and forth from modern day to decades ago) and the monsters are all very impressive. I mean, there’s a spider I’m not fond of, but he’s definitely impressive enough to make me remind myself that he’s not real…and could never be real. Definitely plan to keep watching and can’t wait to see what happens next.
Echo: Together, Dom and I started watching Echo. If there has ever been a show that deserves a second season where the MCU is concerned, it’s Echo. This show offers a rich look at Indigenous history and culture. Not only that, Maya (played by the amazing Alaqua Cox) is Deaf and an amputee. So, there is amazing representation here, in part, because she is disabled. If I had to make one complaint it is that in the first three episodes, there are three “disabled” characters – Maya, Daredevil (played by Charlie Cox), and Hawkeye (played by Jeremy Renner). Only one of these actors actually has the disability of their character. Renner is not Deaf or HoH, at least not to my knowledge, and Charlie Cox is definitely not blind. The amount of good that recasting Cox now that Daredevil is moving to Disney from Netflix, and allowing these two anti-heroes to battle it out would have been mind blowing, and will likely go down as the biggest missed opportunity of the year. Where Echo is concerned, the show is fabulous though. Honestly, Daredevil was the least interesting part of the whole thing. I look forward to finishing it!
You can check out Echo on Disney+.
Edit: There is a fourth actor that is Deaf in Echo. Maya’s mother is also deaf, as is the actress playing her, Katarina Ziervogel. It was not clear to me initially that her mother was Deaf. I discovered it later in the series, which will be discussed next week in more detail!
Castlevania: This one is a bit older than the other two things previously listed, but if you’re an animation fan, Netflix’s Castlevania is worth a watch. The show follows the son of Dracula, Alucard, along with Trevor Belmont (monster hunter) and historian, Sypha. I’ve heard it said that this show offered poor Bisexual representation, but I don’t know if I agree. I have a bigger problem with the split between the characters and the back and forth of storylines that happen in the middle of the series. Still, despite some pacing flaws, this is worth the watch. If you’re an animation fan and like things like fantasy and/or vampires, this one’s right up your alley.
You can check out Castlevania on Netflix.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch: In anticipation of the third season coming out soon, I decided to start watching The Bad Batch. I’m already such an Omega fan. She’s a tough kid and I love that they put her with this group of clones that are supposedly the rejects, but together, they all become more of a family. I’m not too far into the show yet, but I will say that it’s an entertaining and easy watch. I’m looking forward to finishing the remaining episodes so that I’m ready for the new season when it airs on February 21.
You can check out Star Wars: The Bad Batch on Disney+.
Pet Sematary: Bloodlines: I know, as a horror fan, that nothing is ever better than the original series. Whenever a movie comes out like this, a prequel of a popular series, I want to think that the same mistakes won’t be made, but they usually are. Bloodlines tries to give more explanation to the origins of the Pet Sematary, but it ends up being a convoluted mess. It’s filled with underutilized actors (I’m looking at you Pam Grier, David Duchovny, Samantha Mathis, Henry Thomas, Natalie Alyn Lind, Forrest Goodluck, and Isabella LaBlanc). The nail in the coffin for me was Jackson White playing Judson Crandall. In the original film, Jud was played by Fred Gwynne and had a very distinctive sound to his voice. White, while competent enough, does not sound or attempt to sound at all like Gwynne, which reminded me constantly that he wasn’t the young counterpart to the older, iconic character. This just didn’t work for me at all.
You can check out Pet Sematary: Bloodlines on Paramount+.
Fool Me Once: I’m four episodes into this Netflix series based on the Harlan Coben novel. With a significant disability storyline that I was not expecting, I’ve decided to live blog the experience of watching the show. I have been recounting my experience two episodes at a time. You can check them out on Kofi later this week.
The show follows Maya (Michelle Keegan) a former military captain who is reeling from the murder of her husband, and the murder of her sister months before. She also lost her career recently when a whistleblower reveals she committed some kind of military actions that harmed innocent people. This is a psychological thriller, which features many different stories that would be too complex to explain. There is a lot of gaslighting and accusations around Maya being “crazy” – dealing with PTSD – and having hallucinations. That’s not the disability story that concerned me though. There is another possibly disabled character and how they are handling this is not good.
Castlevania: I also watched Castlevania, but I had also seen the first two seasons previously and loved them. Unfortunately, with the coming of the third season, the show format changed. I much preferred Alucard, Trevor and Sypha together. They all had great chemistry. I was a bit disappointed by how they handled the supposed bisexual representation, but I feel like those relationships did not make sense anyway. I don’t want to give too many spoilers, so I won’t say much beyond that. I just think if they were going to do what they did the original group of three would’ve been a better group to be together. They had way more chemistry. Trevor and Alucard definitely had something going on, so they could have told a similar story with the three of them instead. But, they much preferred to have Trevor and Sypha on their own. Missed opportunity!
The things I liked about the series after the initial storyline with Dracula was over (I thought the storyline of the first two seasons was the best part of the series) – I really like Jessica Brown Findlay. I enjoyed her as Lenore. She was one of the better vampires. I liked her relationship with Hector. I thought Hector was a bit whiny, especially during the first two seasons so I like him becoming stronger and more self-sufficient. I really love Isaac. One of my favorite characters of the entire series. His trajectory was probably my favorite.
I also really like Striga and Morana. I’m glad they got the ending they got. I have heard complaints that they were villains but I don’t feel like they were villains. I feel like they disagreed a lot with the plan and were glad they didn’t really have to go through with it. They are vampires. But I didn’t really feel that they were really into Camilla’s plan.
I loved Alucard throughout. He was just so beautiful. All Dracula wanted was to be with his wife. He didn’t care about anything beyond that. They should’ve just left him alone to be with her.
Echo: as Ashtyn pointed out we’ve been watching Echo. We are about halfway through the series. I’m excited to see more of Echo in the Marvel universe and hope the show gets a second season.
I honestly can’t talk about the Indigenous representation because I’m not Indigenous, but what I’ve seen appears to be beautiful. I love how many amazing Indigenous actors I recognize who are a part of the show. This show has raised the bar for Deaf inclusion in ways I don’t think any other show I’ve ever seen has. This is how sign language should be integrated into projects. As a CODA and hard of hearing person I appreciate the inclusion of families that are integrated into Deaf culture in various ways. I love how different people in Maya’s life have different proficiencies with sign language.
I was also very impressed at how well Devery Jacobs learned to sign. I had no idea she was not fluent or did not even know any ASL at all before this project. I also love how aggressive Echo fights. You know she is a stronger person in every single fight. She outshined Daredevil. Even if he had been played by a Blind actor, I don’t believe that anyone could have outperformed Alaqua Cox. While I am disappointed that Daredevil and Hawkeye were not portrayed by actual Blind and HOH/Deaf actors, I still think the show has made significant strides in representation.
I don’t want us to go back to anything less than what the show offers. There’s always room for improvement, but don’t make the community go back.
Predator II: This is an oldie but I love me some Danny Glover. Another friend who is concerned about the pandemic has been watching movies with me once a week. We are working our way through the Aliens and Predator series’. I have seen multiple of the Aliens movies, but I had never seen Predator. Last week we watched the original with Arnold Schwarzenegger. If you like Arnold in the 80s, this is classic Arnold. It’s got action. It’s got adventure. It’s got Carl Weathers! It’s a bit simple story wise. But if you want a good action flick it’s a great romp.
This week we watched Predator II. I knew nothing about this movie going in, and it is definitely dated and a relic of the early 90s. But Danny Glover gets to kick alien butt, and Bill Paxton (RIP!) gets to play a typical Bill Paxton character. We got so excited after seeing him a few weeks ago in Aliens. I knew he was in it and was excited but it was a real treat for my friend to see him show up here as well. Despite it being dated and definitely having some questionable racial things, this film is another fun action romp. It also has the amazing Maria Conchita Alonso. While I feel Aliens is the superior series, just based on what I’ve watched so far, if you want a fun action flick check out the first two Predator movies!
You can find Predator II on Amazon.
Make sure to let us know what you’re watching over on Facebook or right here in the comments! See you next week 🙂