Chernobyl (2019)

In this miniseries, we return to 1986 to when the worst man-made disaster struck Eastern Europe, when the no. 4 reactor exploded from Chernobyl’s nuclear power plant. As a close representation of true history, this show tries to reminisce in the truth of what actually happened back in 1986. Although, as a dramatized version, not everything reflects the truth such as a character representing numerous scientists within one. However, I believe the facts within this dramatized history programme to be pretty damn close to the realities of this tragedy which just makes the episodes that much more distressing and horrifying.

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‘Chernobyl’ is a masterpiece of a programme. The whole execution of this dramatized tragedy has been phenomenal to watch. The cinematography alone was outstanding. The actual look of the programme just brought this disaster to screen in the most horrific honest light. The show really did well to create these iconic shots, such as the horrifying scene that involved the Bridge of Death, or the eerie thrilling scene in which men sacrifice themselves to enter the nuclear plant, or finally the shots of people trying to rescue the land with masks sheltering their faces. Every aspect within lighting, sound and picture came together to add so much effect in one television programme.

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The emotion on screen was also outstanding. As an audience, you watch the first episode as the knowledge of the nuclear reactor explosion becomes to be known by officials. You watch as experts are called in and people higher up try to cover up what has happened. The understatement of this tragedy is astounding. Then you move through the episodes understanding this extreme risk of radiation with scientific excellence mostly executed from two characters on screen: Valery Legasov (Jared Harris) and Ulana Khomyuk (Emily Watson). The episodes are unfolded where these two and Boris Shcherbina (Stellan Skarsgard) try and cope with the effects and minimise more damage to the continent. The audience visualises the true heroes of the disaster and the sacrifices made by hundreds of thousands of people dedicated to saving the world from nuclear destruction. There is a lot of emotion portrayed on screen executed for every audience to experience the deadly cause of this nuclear explosion.

Chernobyl
Episode 2: Stellan Skarsgård, Jared Harris.
photo: Liam Daniel/HBO

If you haven’t watched ‘Chernobyl’, I would definitely recommend it. All of the actors on screen seem to be so excellently chosen to portray as close as a representation of this true event; the smallest aspects have been taken into consideration to add to the phenomenal effect of this miniseries. Some parts are so hard to watch, particularly as they reflect the truth of the matter – the fatality, the realism, the tragedy. ‘Chernobyl’ is a phenomenal, moving, heart-breaking piece of dramatized history on screen.

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Modern Family (2009 – )

A comedy television show, classic American sitcom. ‘Modern Family’ is unique in it’s camera work, it’s originality in interviews and classic in its comedy.

‘Modern Family’ follows three families, otherwise one large family. To begin with, we have Jay Pritchett (Ed O’Neill) at the top of the family, with his new younger wife, Gloria (Sofía Vergara) and her son Manny (Rico Rodriguez). Jay’s older two children have families of their own. There’s the Dunphy’s: Claire (Julie Bowen) and Phil (Ty Burrell) and their three children, Haley (Sarah Hyland), Alex (Ariel Winter) and Luke (Nolan Gould). Lastly, but most definitely not least, Mitch (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and his partner Cam (Eric Stonestreet), with their newly adopted baby girl Lily (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons).

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We follow this large modern family around as a camera catches every moment and interviews them to grasp the insights of all the personalities on screen. The cast do constantly look at the camera and talk directly to the audience. The comedy is perfect in this show, it does make me laugh out loud. In either the comments that are clearly undermined by what you are seeing or just by the simple hilarity in this amazing family personalities.

To explore more into the characters, a quick summary of each. Jay the father, stepfather, grandfather, husband. Jay is one of my favourite characters along with his wife. Tough love Jay and his proud Columbian wife Gloria, who is constantly telling the stories of her lifestyle back home. Gloria is loved by the audience and should be as she is hilarious and brilliant in every aspect. Gloria is an overprotective mother of Manny. Extremely sensitive Manny, who writes poems and seems to have skipped childhood and jumped straight to an old-fashioned, old-schooled man.

Modern Family - Gloria and Jay

Within the Dunphy’s, we have the “cool dad” Phil. To be honest, Phil is the one who makes me laugh the most with his stupid actions and comments, whether it’s dancing to High School Musical to his children’s despair or trying to teach his son a lesson by stealing the wrong bike… The mother Claire is recognised by her family as the bossy control freak, she’s extremely competitive but proactive in the ‘bad cop, good cop’ parenting. Their children: popular Haley who could stand as the stereotypical teenager addicted to phones and social skills; book smart and witty Alex as the middle child; finally, hyper and easily distracted Luke who has the cutest relationship with his father.

SARAH HYLAND, TY BURRELL, JULIE BOWEN, ARIEL WINTER, NOLAN GOULD

Then we’ve got Mitchell Pritchett and Cameron Tucker. Cam is 100% the best character, I may say all are one of my favourites, but Cam is the favourite. Cam holds a lot of the comedy in the show along with Phil. Whether it’s his love of dressing up as a clown or just his overdramatic take on everything. Cam is so much fun on screen. Then we have Mitch, uptight and a little more private in his emotions. Cam and Mitch are complete opposites; however, I love them as a couple on his show. Finally, we have the newcomer Lily, who brings the whole family together as she grows up during the programme and we get to understand her personality a little more.

Modern Family - Mitch and Cam

All the episodes are episodic, meaning they can be watched in any order, alike to ‘Friends’ and other sitcoms. I’ve been watching them in order as there is usually a story which arcs over the series, such as Haley’s boyfriends or Luke’s older friends, so you recognise who is who. Although, it doesn’t make much of a difference in how they are watched, each episode can be watched alone. What is truly lovely in this show is that every episode ends in a perfect moral message. Just like in ‘The Middle’, ‘Modern Family’ has a lovely summarising message, heart-warming and thought-provoking. This makes this family addictive to watch in comedy and love.

Good Girls (2018 – )

Anyone that reads my reviews will probably know that I watch a lot of television shows… After catching up with ‘Big Little Lies’, ‘The Blacklist’ and ‘iZombie’, I felt a new binge watch needed to be found – so I chose ‘Good Girls’ on Netflix. Starring Christina Hendricks, Retta and Mae Whitman (from ‘The Duff’), it seemed like a strong female lead for a comical crime show and well it is!

‘Good Girls’ follows three suburban mothers, Beth, Annie and Ruby, all in desperate need for money but suffering with everyday family expenses. Beth discovers her husband has lost all the money, Annie gets told her ex wants to challenge her in a custody battle for their child and finally, Ruby’s daughter needs medical help that costs $10,000 per month. In their desperate situations, they turn to the only thing they can think of doing, robbing a grocery store. Although, this doesn’t turn out the way they think, stealing $30,000 and end of, nope instead they steal half a million dollars from a street gang – and this boss is not happy. Instead, an alliance forms, the ‘good girls’ do jobs and get their cut of the money. Simple right?

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Let’s start with Beth (Christina Hendricks). Beth’s character seems to portray the perfect suburban mother, does everything for her children, a housewife etc etc etc. However as the episodes progress, Beth is the one who starts to thrill the most in these crime adventures. She seems to have a much darker side seeking for an excitement in her life. We soon discover her life isn’t as perfect as it seems when her husband is discovered cheating on her. Her husband, Dean, who by the way is played by Shaggy from ‘Scooby-Doo the Movie’ (Matthew Lillard), is a character to dislike. Watching Beth’s character change is exciting in the show as she keeps returning to her loyal friends with a “I did something…”

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Secondly, Beth’s little sister, Annie (Mae Whitman). I think Annie is probably by favourite character. She’s hilarious in her blunt ways, but she has reason for her hate throughout the series. Annie seems to be the character who jumps to the crime solutions to their problems in her feisty ways. Her character is quickly loved by the audience as she is the one caught in the act and she becomes manipulated and used in the most horrible way. Her strength is phenomenal in this programme, you become attached to her character very quickly along with the hate of another. Moreover, her relationship with her daughter, Sadie, is brilliant, both are great characters.

Finally, Ruby (Retta). Ruby’s expressions are the comical genius that make this programme hilarious. If Beth starts a sentence with “I did something”, just watch for Ruby’s expressions, they are phenomenal. Ruby, I think, is probably the character most down to earth, with her heart-warming family of the most-loving father and her great children, one who needs medical help asap. Her story is definitely the one to feel most sympathetic for as Ruby would do anything to save her little girl’s life.

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‘Good Girls’ is a great show and I really hope it goes on to more seasons. It’s got everything in these episodes; comedy, crime. Some moments you are shocked by what has happened, others you are laughing at the response or escalation this one grocery store robbery has come to. It’s extremely cleverly done with the boss of the gang weirdly loved by the audience. The three women’s relationship is adored. How far would you think these mothers could go for their families?

Dark/Web (2019 – )

Coming to Amazon Prime this Friday – a sci/fi horror television series. This show will take you on a mysterious journey into a cyber crisis that the world has turned into. ‘Dark/Web’ is revolved around this one genius programmer, Molly Solis, who has disappeared. A journalist, a social media star, a teacher and a hacker become in contact once again as they all receive unusual messages from this missing cyber analyst. These messages contain stories, stories which the audience experience as we are torn from real life to these fiction novellas. Soon, they realise all stories are clues, hints in how to help Molly. Meanwhile, in a self-destructing world where cyber-attacks are far too common and technological advances have become extreme.

The first thing I have to say is that I was hooked from Chapter One. You become drawn into this weirdly realistic life, where technology is not fully understood and holds no limits. The horror of the cyber advances become very suddenly recognised by the audience as you are warped into an untrusting relationship with all phones and computers. ‘Dark/Web’ as a programme is brilliant in absorbing the audience where there’s a need to watch more to try and solve this mystery of where is Molly and why does she want her old school friends to help her?

The stories that engulf the majority of the episodes are very twisted and dark with horror ridden throughout all. But they are so clever in capturing an audience. They have so much meaning to all of the stories, horrible as some of them are, they seem to have this realistic satirical element riddling the whole series. They make you think about every element of technology and it’s controlling matters. Very clever in its form as a programme. Very different from other shows I have seen also – you have the mystery side, but also the horror, sci-fi element, but with that there’s the fictitious twisted stories with dark meanings and consequences.

‘Dark/Web’ is a show you need to pay attention to. It’s not an easy watch, in fact some scenes were a bit too creepy for me to fully watch. But you need to pay attention and concentrate as there is so much to the show. You’ll find that you’d want to anyway, as you become invested in discovering what has happened to Molly. Furthermore, there is lots of interweaving in and out of stories, so recognising the story and the ‘real world’ of the show is important to acknowledge. Finally, I loved the camera angles of the show, something as small as this really added to the difference of the show. They were cleverly used to execute the horror in the stories or to express particular emotions or limit the audience of a full view. The use of technology, where we could visualise what is happening on screens through our screen added a creepy voyeuristic horror to the programme.

‘Dark/Web’ is a clever, different show that I haven’t seen anything like which just makes it that more intriguing. I would recommend this show, I watched it in a matter of days, addicted to wanting to uncover more of this twisted dystopian world. Even if unsettling in some ways.

Big Little Lies (2017 – )

What an excellent explosive series! From episode one so much was going on, but I couldn’t really understand anything. Although, as episodes progress you slowly learn more and more about the characters of the show. How all the characters have a different plotline, mostly haunting and dark. The upper-class parents that seem perfect are far from the front that they all put up. Drama kicks off in the first episode with accusations and the new single mother and son of Monterey being the centre of hate and protection.

First of all, the actresses of this show are phenomenal. Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Zoë Kravitz, Laura Dern. Second season also brings Meryl Streep – which has to be mentioned, she’s outstanding. The women of the show are truly great, they all execute the drama of the show brilliantly as you’re drawn into their lives so quickly. The season jumps from future to present day as your intrigued from the get-go. There’s been a murder and we have no idea who has died or who killed them…

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The show has a clever narration to the film, opinions from teachers and other parents, as the police interview in the future which reflects as we watch the present day. I also have to mention the brilliance of the music throughout the programme, which just adds to the enjoyment of the episodes. Furthermore, the camera and cinematography are fabulous. These are just a few unique elements of the show that just add to the excellence of the show and the understanding of its Emmy Award winning status.

I would definitely recommend this programme, if you’re looking for a new scandal, lies and drama-filled show. All the female stars are fantastic and so empowering to watch on show as you feel all the emotions of every single moment from them. Madeline (Reese Witherspoon) is a superb character, flawed but also funny. Nicole Kidman’s performance as Celeste is also outstanding, heart-breaking to the point where it feels so realistic. Then there’s Jane (Shailene Woodley), who is a character haunted, there is so much to this character, that when you uncover more you still feel there is so much left unsaid. Finally, I don’t really understand the hate that Laura Dern’s character seemed to get, Renata is a mother in agony, desperate for the safety of her child. The children are also brilliant in the show, particularly the role of Chloe (Darby Camp) who brings her own comedy to a drama show. ‘Big Little Lies’ does tackle some real issues to the point where it is hard to watch. It probably is inappropriate for younger ages with sex, nudity and swearing.

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‘Big Little Lies’ becomes a show to quickly draw you in as you become desperate to uncover everything that has happened, past, present and future. I raced through the first season of only seven episodes in an evening and a morning. It becomes very addictive to watch, where there are shocks and surprises the whole way. There are a lot of lies and secrets in this show: no one is what they seem to the public eye.

 

If you’re a fan of this show, you will also like ‘Dead to Me’ review here.

New Amsterdam (2018 – )

‘New Amsterdam’ is a drama set in a hospital of the same name as the title. At New Amsterdam, there’s a new change from day one – there’s a new medical director in town. And he’s not one to make the small changes, but rather firing a whole department in the first meeting. This new medical director of New Amsterdam is ready to make the changes needed to break the system to put the patients first; money means nothing, the patients are always at the centre. But quickly you find out this medical director is also a patient of New Amsterdam.

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You quickly discover the key protagonists of the show. The new medical director, Dr Max Goodwin (Ryan Eggold). The man behind all of the changes, the disruptions of the hospital, reinventing the term understood as public health care. Head of oncology, Dr Helen Sharpe (Freema Agyeman). Who returns to the hospital after a long break away from treating cancer to advertising the hospital; she returns to her doctorate taking hold of the head of oncology once again. Head a neurology, Dr Vijay Kapoor (Anupam Kher). This man is the strong believer in understanding his patients through talk. Head of cardiology, Dr Floyd Reynolds (Jocko Sims). Reynolds is given the large task of no cardiology department and building his own after the others are fired. Head of psychiatry, Dr Iggy Frome (Tyler Labine). Iggy has to be my favourite character, his dedication to his patients shows no bounds. Head of the Emergency Department, Dr Lauren Bloom (Janet Montgomery). Bloom’s character takes a large journey through season one as she starts to lose the grips of her job taken over by addiction of a different sort. All of the protagonists are flawed and feel so realistic, believable. It really is what makes this show brilliant. They are all so different, all characters are quick to be loved by their audience.

New Amsterdam - Season 1

The show is constantly busy with new patients and emergencies left, right and centre. There are many plot lines to each episode, but they come easy to follow. I was hooked from the first episode. Not going to lie, I have probably cried in the majority of the episodes. The story lines feel very realistic, therefore they become very emotional. You feel for every character that crosses the screen. ‘New Amsterdam’ became a show I wanted to pay all my attention to and not be on my phone while watching, it took all my attention and I was hooked into the show. A brilliant drama that I can’t wait for season two of. There are twists and turns, drama to not be able to predict – anything can happen in a hospital.

Killing Eve (Season Two)

Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer are back for a second season of ‘Killing Eve’. One of the best shows I’ve seen of 2018, of course it had to come back in 2019! In just one day, season two had been watched – every ending just begs you to continue, so why resist? There will be some spoilers from season one as they carry one from each other, therefore read at your own risk – watch season one first: review here.

Villanelle (Jodie Comer), heartbroken yet impressed by Eve’s (Sandra Oh) recent stabbing, is trying to cope with the injury. However, what Eve doesn’t recognise is Villanelle’s even more deepened interest in the MI6 agent. Meanwhile, Carolyn (Fiona Shaw) recruits Eve back on another psychopath hunt. Eve is looking for Villanelle, Villanelle is hunting Eve. The obsessed chemistry only gets worse between these two, as the first contact between at the end of season one has only brought a need for more.

Killing Eve S2 - Eve

Both actresses are phenomenal in this season just alike to the first. Jodie Comer as Villanelle is amazing in her acting talents, more of her accents are experienced in this series. Talents from Russian, to British, to French and American. Again, we travel across Europe visiting the beautiful shots and scenes, while Villanelle patrols doing what she does best: killing. However, we see so much more of this character, we learn more. The complexities are explored in this season. Although, keeping the sassiness and hilarity of her bluntness – the things that make her character so great.

Whereas, Eve in her new psychopath-centred life, forgets her husband and delves even deeper into a life of MI6 hunting of murderers. Eve’s character changes progressively throughout the season. She begins to think differently, influenced by Villanelle more than she’d want to admit. Finding Villanelle is her whole life.

Killing Eve S2 - Villanelle

The parallels between the two series is phenomenal, beautiful in its irony and reflection. I do think this is a great second season, I don’t think anything will ever live up to the brilliance of season one, however it doesn’t need to. This season brings everything that is needed from season one and draws even more out of the characters. ‘Killing Eve’ continues to be a fantastic show, so different from other shows. Something is always happening, there are shocks and laughter. Characters unpredictable yet addictive. If you loved the first season, don’t worry this one isn’t a let-down.