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  • Writer's pictureZoe Schuldrenfrei

TV and Movie Recommendations

Late 2020 and early 2021 has brought us new television shows! More T.V. shows than you could count have been produced. However, because so many shows have been made, how are we to know what is worth watching -- how do we even know what is new? Lucky for you, I am a first class procrastinator and have watched a variety of shows in different genres to report back to you. I have rated them each on a five point scale based on plot, the characters (are they interesting characters? Do they have character development? Are they complex?), the acting, and miscellaneous (this category includes aspects such as the costumes and set). I’ll be reviewing The Queen's Gambit, Bridgerton, Lupin, and Ted Lasso.

The Queen's Gambit is a Netflix original historical drama mini series. This show follows the life of orphan chess prodigy Beth Harmon through her struggle for greatness while battling addiction and gender-norm stereotypes. For starters, the plot of this show is probably one of the most intriguing I have ever watched. Beth is an orphan at nine years old, when she is taken to an orphanage and is taught how to play chess. This was the one of the only positive outcomes from staying at the orphanage. During the 1950s, the orphanage would hand out daily tranquilizer pills to the girls,which turns into an addiction for Beth who struggles with it throughout the run of the show. Beth is later adopted a few years later by Alma Wheatley. Beth enters a chess tournament while adjusting to her new life and wins despite having no prior experience in competitive chess. This leads to Beth’s rise as a chess star and she soon starts her climb to the top. Throughout Beth’s climb, her earned financial benefits enable her dependency on drugs and alcohol, worsening her addiction. Throughout her journey, Beth comes into her own, makes life long friends, and breaks barriers on the views of women. The acting in this show is impeccable, it is tear-jerking and heartwarming and Anya Taylor-Joy truly brings Beth to life. Beth is a character that proves to girls everywhere that no matter what hardships they face they can become something great and there is no greater message. This show is 5/5 and definitely deserves to be on your watch list.

Bridgerton is another Netflix original series, produced by the notorious Shona Rhimes and based on the book The Duke and I. The first season alone has smashed Netflix viewership records and has become one of the most streamed series. It has already been renewed for another season, for the next book of the series. The romantic drama takes place in 19th-century Britain and centers on the aristocratic Bridgerton family. Each episode includes narration by actress Julie Andrews, who voices the anonymous and ever-scandalous newsletter columnist known as Lady Whistledown. As eldest daughter Daphne Bridgerton enters her first “coming out into society “ season, she meets Simon Bassett, Duke of Hastings. The Duke is determined not to marry and plots with Daphne to secure his bachelordom and her a suitable bachelor. If you are a fan of Gossip Girl, this show is definitely for you. When Daphne and Simon find themselves trapped in their elaborate ruse, they have to decide if their relationship is really just a fake one. Bridgerton should keep you on the edge of your seat with its numerous different storylines and nail-biting plot twists. Some characters include the Bridgerton's neighbors the flamboyant and ostentatious Featheringtons, wise Lady Danbury and the Duke’s mentor, and feminist icon Eloise Bridgerton. The set and costumes of this show are truly stunning and if the characters don’t catch your eye, their costumes definitely will. This series is 5/5.

The next series surprise is a (French) Netflix original. Lupin is a mystery thriller mini series. In this riveting story, we follow professional thief Assane Diop, the only son of an immigrant from Senegal who had come to France to seek a better life for his child. Assane's father is accused of the theft of an expensive diamond necklace by his employer Huber Pellegrini. Twenty-five years later, inspired by a book about gentleman thief Arsène Lupin that his father had given him on his birthday, Assane sets out to get revenge on the Pellegrini family, using his charisma and mastery of thievery to expose Hubert's crimes. Fair warning, the original audio of this show is in French, so the English audio does not fit perfectly. The English audio is also not the real actors' voices, so the acting in English is not as skilled as the original French one (I watched the show in both versions). This show is timed perfectly between flashbacks and present day, it has its fair share of plot twists, and we are lucky for a second season after the cliffhanger we let off on. This series is a 4.5/5 (docked a half point because of the audio).

The last series I watched was an Apple T.V. original sitcom. Ted Lasso is a 10 episode comedy series that is going to be renewed for another series! Our show starts with Ted Lasso, an American college football coach who is recruited to coach an English Premier League team (a soccer team), even though he has no experience in association football. However, this is just part of a scheme that Rebecca, the owner of this team, created as she is trying to sabotage the team to get back at her ex-husband. However, Ted has no idea, and he tries his best to lead the team with his moral values. He guides the team, no matter their differences, and becomes someone that they love and look up to. While this show is hilarious, underneath the comedy, it has a deeper message. Ted could have easily given up coaching English football: he knows nothing about the sport, he isn’t treated with respect (at least in the start of the series), but he chooses to believe in the players. He chooses to be a bridge-builder, so he works to create relationships instead of severing them. Ted Lasso also follows other character storylines, who come into their own. This show is a must watch, and is rated a 5/5.

I hope you enjoy these shows, and maybe take the time to watch one… or all? Please check the age ratings before watching these shows as they are not suitable for all audiences.


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