The Weekend Watchlist
This weekend I'm still swamped with final papers, but the summer is just so close it is hard to find any real motivation. And what characterizes summer for me is almost always hanging out and watching movies and TV.
I've ashamedly been binge watching the Netflix show 13 Reasons Why for the past few days. I heard it was dumb, and yep, it is. But it is that kind of mind numbing show that you get addicted to. I can't recommend it, but if you're looking for something to binge on, it’s there. I plan to finish it and move on to better things.
Hulu finally released the first three episodes of The Handmaid's Tale this past Wednesday. When I first heard about it, I was only semi-interested. But when the barrage of think-pieces on how eerily timely it is were released after its film festival premieres, I knew I had to give it a watch. Check out the trailer:
This weekend I look forward to watching the new Hulu series, The Handmaid's Tale, based on the acclaimed dystopian novel from Margaret Atwood. As Atwood is one of my all-time favorite authors, and The Handmaid's Tale is one of my favorite novels, I'm so looking forward to this adaptation.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Netflix or Hulu to pick up the MaddAddam trilogy (another of Atwood's dystopian narratives) that HBO and Darren Aronofsky were collaborating on which was, sadly, scrapped early in the production process. For now, though, I'm just happy to see any of Atwood's dystopian worlds on screen.
We are living in a time of “peak TV,” as they say; there are simply too many good shows. (Atlanta [2016- ] and new episodes of The Americans [2013- ] and Better Call Saul [2015- ] are all on my docket, for instance.)
This weekend, however, the TV I make time for likely won’t be of the “quality” ilk. This is because I have finally succumbed to The Magicians (2015- ; Syfy), a not-very-good supernatural drama about an elite school for young people with magical powers. My significant other has been trying to rope me into watching this for months and, despite the show’s many critique-worthy qualities (a few episodes in, I’m so far taking issue with, for instance, its homophobic stereotypes and rampant elitism), I kind of can’t turn away. I imagine that The Magicians’ writers’ room has seen many frank discussions around blatantly ripping off elements from such properties as Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Matrix, and am particularly compelled by the way the series mixes and mutates these obvious influences.
If you want to see what happens when Harry Potter meets the ethos and storytelling structure of SyFy original programming, The Magicians may be the perfect post-semester binge watch.
Like Emma and Shelby I have been *waiting* for Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale as I’m a huge Margaret Atwood fan. The Handmaid’s Tale is one of my favorite novels as are the MaddAddam trilogy (which I would highly recommend to anyone looking for some summer reading), The Blind Assassin, and Alias Grace. Beyond being interested in the adaptation for adaptation’s sake, I’m especially interested in looking at the ways in which this adaptation, at this particular time, and in this particular medium (television) speaks to/back to our current cultural moment.
However, the main event for me this weekend is 150% the premiere of American Gods (Starz, Sunday, April 30th @ 9/8 Central). For me, this is like Game of Thrones, requires a premiere party big. I call Neil Gaiman my literary rock god, which he absolutely is, and I loooooved his novel American Gods. The basic premise according to Abraham Reisman (also a great interview with Gaiman to be found in this article):
“[American Gods] follows the tribulations of Shadow Moon, an ex-convict who wanders the U.S. — Gaiman’s adopted country for more than two decades — alongside a mysterious con man named Mr. Wednesday. Along the way, Wednesday and Shadow link up with ancient gods from an array of Old World pantheons, all of whom are living in obscurity in the hidden corners of a decaying America. Wednesday, who may or may not be a god himself, recruits them all to fight a war against the New Gods: media, technology, and the like.”
This series has been much anticipated and is already receiving some early accolades, like The Handmaid’s Tale, I’m interested in the ways in which American Gods speaks to/back to our culture at this moment. With numerous gods and fairy tale motifs thrown into the mix, I suspect there will be a lot of intellectual fodder to grind…and I’m stoked! Check out the trailer: