17 November 2017

It's a Small Screen World #1

Is it just me, or has the cinema really gone downhill in recent years? Every other showing is some kind of super-catgirl-flash-bat-joker and I just CAN'T DEAL WITH ANYMORE COMIC BOOK ADAPTATIONS. Batman should have ended with Christian Bale, there's only one Alfred and the one exception I may make is for little dancing twigs #IAmGroot. That being said, I still think Marvel and DC are the same things, so perhaps I do need more educating?

Or perhaps I just need to stick to the small screen, which seems to be the general consensus worldwide! I think shows like Game of Thrones, along with the rise of Netflix, have really transformed the way we view TV. You only have to look at the number of 'big stars' moving to the small screen - Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman in the amazing Big Little Lies, for example - to see that the balance has shifted. In ten years time, I can see the Emmys becoming more prestigious than the Oscars, especially following the Weinstein Scandal.

Another thing that has changed is the way we watch TV; aka, not on a TV! Regardless of whether I have a particular show I'm hooked on, I keep my Netflix Subscription each month and it's the gift that keeps on giving. Only last weekend we OFFLOADED OUR FRIENDS BOXSETS. It was a bit of a moment and mum kept saying "are you sure?!" But we simply don't need them. 2017 was also my year for discovering the really small screen: Youtube (yes, I was living under a rock).  Like Netflix, I can spend hours watching videos and often play them in the background as I write blog posts/ design prints for Etsy.

*Okay, so technically I'm listening and not watching... but you know what I mean.

That's not to say TV/Youtube is all golden. To be quite honest, I think you could do away with 99% of channels and Crap-Factor would still cling on for dear life (Like Marvel, Mr Cowell clearly missed the "quit milking-it" memo) But for every dozen TOWIEs there is MIC a Mother of Dragons, a Big Red Chair, an Attenborough... and so on that note, I fished around the small screen pond and have shared my current favourites below!

*A little disclaimer: this fishy analogy was, hand-on-heart, entirely coincidental.



       BLUE PLANET II      

Just in case you were living under my Youtube Rock, Sir David is back! I'll be honest, I did wonder whether anything could match Planet Earth II and its BAFTA-winning Iguana, but the first 3 episodes of Blue Planet II have been out-of-this-world; for real, I'm still in disbelief that the  filmed the underwater lake ON PLANET EARTH.

Then there are the moments that wouldn't have looked out of place on Game of Thrones! Mum genuinely hid behind a cushion when the Bobbit came on screen, while dad is convinced it's the new villain in Fantastic Beasts II... all I can say is, PROTECT THE NIFFLERS. I personally kept thinking of the Boggart, which  probably would have been a Bobbit for after watching this. It also reminded me of the 'Bop It' game I used to play as a child; did anyone else have this?

Along with the Hollywood-worthy score (good old Hans Zimmer), I swear BPII is turning into the new Game of Thrones; it's definitely the best thing I've watched since the end of S7 and has helped those withdrawal symptoms! I also love going on Twitter afterwards and seeing the reactions, along with the viewing figures - it was officially the most watched show of 2017. Take that Crap-Factor. In an age of Kardashians, Real Housewives and I'm Not a Celebrity, WTF am I Doing Here?, it has restored my faith in humanity... well, some humans!

In each episode, you're left marvelling at the Blue Planet's own humanity, where Dolphins and Wales form friendships and supposedly "brainless" fish help each other out! Conversely, you're left reeling at the barbarity of the HUMAN PLANET, where we "think we own whatever land qe land on". Yes, I just quoted Pocahontas, but I'm pretty certain the lyrics to "Colour of the Wind" were destined for this series. As much as I love Hans Zimmer, Disney may have been onto something...

What's your favourite moment from Blue Planet II So far?

   HARRY POTTER: A HISTORY OF MAGIC   

Speaking of withdrawal symptoms, The Great British Library's A History of Magic exhibition is the latest gift to the Harry Potter Fandom and the BBC celebrated with their own RIDDIKULUSLY magical documentary. Naturally, I watched it and I am now more excited than ever to go in TWO WEEKS TIME. I will be sure to take my camera with me and visit Gringotts beforehand; I'm trusting that they'll have a haul-worthy gift shop!

The programme was so well put together, showing the historical origins of the Wizarding World and where Jo drew her inspiration from. I also loved how many of the film actors came back to read  excerpts from the book, including my favourite Evanna Lynch. It was so comforting to hear those familiar Potter voices and, while I did enjoy Stephen Fry's audiobook, it would be wonderful to see an audiobook read by the cast/ JK Rowling herself!

I nearly cried when Lupin (David Thewlis) described Harry looking into the Mirror of Erised, just after Jo spoke about her mother's death.  It showed the extent to which she put herself in her books and how important her own potter experience was to her. I think this is a message any artist/blogger/creative/HUMAN can take comfort from! I know firsthand how easy it is to worry about pleasing others; putting their happiness and wishes before our own. Jo's words reminded me that doing something for me can be good enough . You don't need someone else to validate it.

"It's not that lots of people liked it, it's that it meant that much to a few people. That's more than enough" - JK Rowling

talked recently about my fear of being out-of-place in the blog community (the Luna in a world of Hermiones), so  this couldn't have come at a better time! The importance of meaning over likes is WHY I keep writing and why I refuse to fixate on stats and analytics. Jo's words made me think of a private message I received from a girl last month, for example, saying how much my blog helped her. It made me think of the text message from V, who printed out one of my posts to look back on. These moments are worth more than all the 'likes' on Instagram. ALWAYS.


The final programme I have to mention is LOUIS THEROUX: TALKING TO ANOREXIA. I was of two minds about whether to watch, given the default 'trigger warning' and my issue with past documentaries/dramatisations  (Dear To the Bone, who the fork is 'Rexie'?!) Nevertheless, I trusted Louis to handle to subject with sensitivity and he exceeded expectations. By the end, I swear he had more empathy than many of the 'professionals' I've encountered!

"They're symptoms of your illness, to which no shame should be attached"

Moreover, he turned away from the stereotype that anorexia is about appeareence, focusing instead on the internal conflict within sufferers. Rosie's story particularly resonated with me, as she clearly want to push for recovery, but is  pulled  back by the illness and yo-yos between the two. I also related to what she said about the anger of the illness, which manifests in anger towards loved ones.

We see a bit of this in the scene between Louis and Ifzana, when he encourages her to sit down and she becomes very defensive; I've seen this kind of reaction in myself and others during IP treatment. Anorexia goes into 'self-preservation mode' and tries to push away the very people trying to help us. It's one of the reasons this illness can be so deadly, as anorexia wants to cut everyone off (this always reminds me of Luna's words to Harry; just another reason I love her so much!)

If have one criticism , it's that the programme  lacked a clear 'recovery story'. Rosie's story did offer some hope, but the outlook for other patients was far less certain. While I recognise that filming focused on IP Units, they could have profiled someone who received hospital treatment and is now in remission. I know it would have helped me to see this, as I do have the 'revolving door' fear in the back of their head and doubt if I can fully recover. Nevertheless, for what it's worth I am so grateful to Louis Theroux and BBC2 for producing this documentary and do believe it will raise awareness.

What are your thoughts on the recent rise in ED-related Films/TV programmes? 

     THE SECRET LIFE OF 4 YEAR OLDS     

This is my new teacher training! For once I'm actually not being sarcastic. The children are roughly the same age as the class I volunteer with, so I can see similarities in the way they respond to situations; I now know why some of the children find it more difficult to share! At that age, the rate at which they develop can vary so much and it's why holistic education is essential. You can't have a one-size-fits-all approach!

The friendship between Thomas and Ada was possibly the best thing I've seen all week and Victoria is completely enchanting. I can't think of a better word for her! Notwithstanding her bravery in fighting cancer - which is pretty much impossible to put aside - she has the most endearing, compassionate personality and I wanted to send her a fire truck after watching this!

There's a kid in my class who reminds me so much of Vinny, right down to when he tries to comfort another child. At the start, you could dismiss him as a little troublemaker and put him in a box, yet the programme proved how complex children are; far more than we give them credit for. I think this show should be essential-viewing for any Primary School Teacher, because education is about so much more than phonics and fractions. It's about developing A WHOLE PERSON.


I couldn't write this without a shoutout to my beloved BAKE OFF. Part of this is nostalgia, because my mum and I always say how much my Grandma and Auntie would have loved it. Yet I also wanted give my two cents on the whole BBC vs C4 controversy, and this post seemed the perfect opportunity. A year ago, along with the reset of the UK, I vowed to boycott C4GBBO. However, as my twitter feed will attest to, I ended up watching the entire series and and  *cue the dramatic Hollywood pause*.... I LIKED IT! 

Yes, Liam was ROBBED and Prue "f**ked up", but to be fair she said as much herself - I think she feels bad enough without the whole of twitter hating on her. That goes for Stacey too - was I the only one who didn't understand where the hate was coming from?! Ultimately, I loved it because I love Bake-Off. I love the show and credit to C4 for recognising that; they didn;t try to do an ITV and 'make it their own'. Don't get me wrong, I adore Mel, Sue and Mary, but the tent is bigger than one single berry or *Mel-Sue* sandwich.  

That being said, I have officially find my new style icon in Noel FieldFrolicking and was mostly thankful that they kept Jo Brand for AN EXTRA SLICE #priorities. Its  it's one of the best after-shows going, Jo's observational humour is priceless and I swear those 'leaving' cakes are worth 10 glitter ball trophies! I do still love you BBC, but surely less money for Bake-Off means more for Blue Planet? It's a win-win situation! 


Speaking of Jo Brand, she deserves a round of applause for her recent  appliance on HIGNFY. In case you missed it on BBC/Twitter, Daily Mail journalist Quentin Letts decided to give a masterclass in 'how-not-to-joke-about-sexual-harassment' and Jo responded with her own masterclass in 'how-to-have-more-balls-than-the-entire-male-panel-put-together" and slammed down the "poor Michael Fallon" remarks. Can we please nominate her for House of Commons Speaker?

Once the topic changed to the Trumpkin, regulars Ian and Paul came into their own, Quentin pretty much shut up and I actually enjoyed the episode. So from now on, can't the BBC just assume that all Daily Mail journalists are idiots and not invite them?! At the very least, it would save a few thousand twitter characters; the twittersphere is still recovering from whatever cabinet 'minister' the Tories threw on Question Time and could do with a rest. Where have all the NORMAL PEOPLE gone?! 

What TV have you been enjoying lately?

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