Sunday, May 21, 2017

What I've Been Loving Recently #2

I'm back with my second instalment of What I've Been Loving Recently. After writing the first one last month I was really excited to put together a second one and hopefully next month I'll have even more to write about.

It's been a month since my last post of TV, Film, Music and Podcast suggestions and I wasn't expecting to have as many to write about so soon because we were away in New York for a good chunk of the month but here we are with lots more things I've been loving and I've even had to cut my list down so as not to make this post too long which I'm sure it will be anyway. I've tried to not give away too much about anything, so you can read without getting any spoilers.  


Let's begin with the TV shows I've been loving. First up is The Last Man on Earth which has just finished its fourth season on FOX. It's a comedy created by and starring Will Forte (who I've adored since watching him on Saturday Night Live). **SPOILER ALERT** (she types after just saying she won't spoil anything) he's not exactly the last man on earth, but you learn that pretty quickly so it's not really a spoiler is it? I won't go too much into it just in case anyone reading wants to start watching it, which you should because it's hilarious. This will be a love or hate show, because it does have a specific type of humour and if you love what Will Forte has done in the past, you'll definitely love this. It's so friggin good!


You might be looking at the picture above wondering why a grown woman is watching a cartoon. Well I'll have you know I love cartoons (Adventure Time, Rick and Morty, Bob's Burgers are all amazing!) These are obviously "grown up" cartoons and Archer is one of the funniest shows on Tv at the moment, animated or not. Archer was created by Adam Reed who also created Sealab 2021 and Frisky Dingo (neither of which I've watched yet). It centres around the employees of an international spy agency in New York with Sterling Archer as the show's egotistical but highly skilled protagonist. 

I started watching it when it first began in 2009 and stopped watching somewhere during the fourth season, not because I disliked it but I think I had missed a few and then never caught up so I just waited to rewatch it from the beginning again which is what we did recently. We're now on season six and it's just as good as when it first started. Obviously you can do so much more with the story of an animated television show and the last season Archer Vice was probably my favourite yet because of how hilariously crazy it was. There's another two seasons and I'm looking forward to getting completely caught up. The writing and the voice actors make this show. It stars Jon Benjamin (Bob from Bob's Burgers among many other amazing roles), Chris Parnell (from 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live), Judy Greer and Jessica Walter (both from Arrested Development) and Aisha Tyler (from Criminal Minds and Friends). This is another show you'll either love or hate, it's currently on Netflix so you can binge watch 8 seasons, so why not give it a go if you're looking for something funny and light-hearted to watch that's a bit different from your normal comedy.


This is one of the shows I'm most excited to talk about. Ive been looking forward to the second season of the Netflix series Master of None for what feels like years now, in a way it has been because the first season aired in 2015. At the moment there's no news as to whether there will be a third season or not so if there is, I'll be waiting a long time again. This second season was so good that I almost wouldn't mind if there wasn't another season because I'd be worried that nothing could live up to how good this one was.

For anyone who hasn't heard anything about it, Master of None was created by Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang, both of whom are probably best known for working on Parks and Recreation. I adore Parks and Rec, but Master of None is a completely different show, even though they're both very funny. 

The show centres around Dev Shah, played by Aziz Ansari who is an actor living in New York. It deals with the struggles of being a minority working, dating and living in a big city. I love everything about this show. The soundtrack really stands out, the cinematography is so beautiful for a television show and in general really (bravo Mark Schwartzbard), I especially loved the many cinematic references in the second season. The supporting cast are all excellent including Aziz Ansari's own parents (his father is particularly hilarious). 

I loved the first season, but the second really blew me away. The first episode is set in the Italian town of Modena where Dev has spent some time learning to make pasta (he's a tiny bit obsessed with food) and is filmed in black and white in homage to the Vittorio de Sica film Ladri di Biciclette (Bicycle Thieves). It's in Modena, that Dev meets Francesca (I double dare you not to fall in love with her!) who's grandmother is teaching him how to make pasta. Their friendship is one of the main storylines of the season, as is the development of Dev's career and his continued efforts to date in modern society. One episode is solely Dev going on numerous first dates that he has arranged as a result of using a Tinder style app. 

There is a few central storylines throughout the season with the addition of stand alone episodes centering on some of the other characters, such as the Thanksgiving episode that tells the story of Dev's friend Denise coming out to her mother. It was based on the real life story of how Lena Waithe, who plays Denise, actually came out to her mother which makes it feel like such an authentic piece of storytelling. 

As you can see I have lots of thoughts but I don't want to go into it too much for anyone who is reading this and hasn't seen the show yet. All I can say is that it won't be to everyone's taste, if you're in your twenties/thirties I fell like so much of the show will be relatable. It's on Netflix and is only twenty episodes over two seasons so it's worth giving it a go. 

offred leaning over the handmaids tale premiere elizabeth moss

I had heard about Margaret Atwood's book The Handmaid's Tale for years and even though I have never actually read it (which I am definitely going to now), I vaguely knew the plot, so when I heard that it was being made into a television series starring Elisabeth Moss I was incredibly excited to see it. There were advertisements for it all over New York when we were there. There was even an installation in the High Line that had free copies of the book for passers by, but all the books were gone when we were there. 

When we returned from New York, the post holiday blues inevitably set in but then I remembered there were a few episodes of The Handmaid's Tale to watch. I didn't know the full plot, just a few details, which I think is the best way to watch this if you haven't already read the book. All I really knew was that it was set in a near future dystopian society where most women have become infertile. I don't want to tell you anything else just in case you don't know anything about it yet. I was completely hooked after the first episode which blew me away. Elisabeth Moss is one of my favourite actors and I was so excited to see her in this role because her performances are always phenomenal and this is no exception. 

I don't even know where to begin with it. I have so many thoughts about it, the performances, the cinematography, the art direction, the soundtrack which is so perfect (how good was Don't You Forget About Me in the second episode), the storylines, everything! I'm completely in awe of this incredible, disturbing story that feels almost too real. It's difficult to watch some scenes, especially because of the amazing performances. The flashbacks and the inner monologue of the main character Offred are the most upsetting because of how realistic they are. Theres a quote from one of the first episodes (and also from the book) that really stuck with me, "Nothing changes instantaneously: in a gradually heating bathtub, you'd be boiled to death before you knew it". The idea is that governments don't get overthrown overnight. Big changes take time and can happen slowly before our very eyes without us realising it and that's the scary part.

If you were to take any of my suggestions from this post, I'd urge it to be The Handmaid's Tale. If anyone else has seen it or read it let me know what you think, I'm dying to talk more about it. Don't let the bastards grind you down!


Something a little bit lighter now (although I did actually cry during this so not entirely light-hearted).  Anyone who saw and loved Guardians of the Galaxy knew a sequel was inevitable and although I'm not usually the biggest fan of sequels, in the Marvel universe, sequels are fine by me. I was quite excited to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 because I adored the first one. First of all, I'd watch anything with Chris Pratt because he is the cutest! I've loved him since I first saw him in Everwood (anyone else remember that show) and then my ultimate favourite Andy Dwyer in Parks and Recreation where he was incredibly funny and charming. The entire cast is excellent (you can't not love baby Groot) it's entertaining and hilarious and there's Kurt Russell and Kirk from Gilmore Girls and there's a heart there too, which I can't help but love even though in films like these it's not 100% necessary. The soundtrack is also amazingly curated. 


This month I have another podcast suggestion, My Favorite Murder, which was recommended to me on Instagram by Sinead who you should definitely follow if you enjoy lovely photos and food and skincare/makeup. I was looking for something to fill the S Town void and I can't think of anything better than a podcast by two hilarious women about their favourite true murder cases. As it stands there are 69 episodes (I've listened to the first 16 in the past week!) and I'm so excited that I have this huge backlog of episodes to catch up on. You probably don't know this about me but I'm big into true murder, especially film and documentaries. It kind of runs in my family because my granny and aunt are the exact same. They even used to buy all of those true crime magazines. Making a Murderer, The Jinx, The Staircase, you name it, I'll watch it. The Zodiac is probably one of my favourites and I actually have the book based on that case which I have yet to read.

The thing I love about My Favorite Murder is the two hosts Georgia and Karen and how they deal with the subject of horrific murders and yet somehow manage to keep it from getting too intense (most of the time). I also love how passionate they both are about this topic (yay, I don't feel like a total weirdo for being obsessed with true murder) and how excited they get when one of them mentions a case the other hasn't heard of yet. Be warned though, sometimes it can get gory and horrifying so if you're scared easily this probably isn't going to be for you but I absolutely love it and can't stop listening to episode after episode. They also recommend some great tv shows and movies too. I have a feeling this will keep me going for a while but if you have any podcast suggestions please let me know because it's such a vast world that I don't even know where to start.


Finally is this month's music suggestion which is the new album from Mac DeMarco called This Old Dog. I started listening to him when his last album Salad Days came out in 2014 and became obsessed. This is his third album and at just 27 years old, it feels like he is so much older than his years. He's admitted that some of the lyrics are about his father with whom he has a fairly estranged relationship but there's also a lot more in it. I'm going to be seeing him play live for the first time in November and I'm so excited, especially after recently watching his set at Coachella. He's such a unique person with an incredible voice and musical talent, but he's definitely got a love or hate style. You either get him and love him or you don't. That being said, I'd definitely give this new album a listen. It's a bit more relaxed than the last album but the lyrics are beautiful and so relatable at times. I listened to this a lot on the subway when we were in New York so I think it'll always have a special place in my heart.

So that's a selection of what I've been loving recently, apologies that it was such a long post, but it's sometimes difficult to know how much to write because I want to encourage people to check out my suggestions without giving too much away but I also have so much to say about each one that it's hard to just give a quick synopsis. I hope you enjoyed this post and please do leave a comment if you have suggestions of films and tv shows you think I'd like or books, podcasts or music. I mostly find new things I love through other peoples suggestions so hopefully some of you will find something new to love after reading this.

Hope you're all having a lovely weekend!

Emma x

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