Yesterday was the winter solstice, the longest night. Today, I hope my evening becomes shorter and my cursory stroll becomes longer. The race to sit indoors with my electronic devices is tempting. My phone, laptop, telly keep me sane or possibly in a trance.
In this twelfth month, I count bingewatching every TV series ever created as my biggest accomplishment. The chills of spooky stuff streaming on the screen is preferable to the bitter winter chill.
So what better time than now to list my Top Five TV Series of “What the heck happened in there?”
* Lovecraft Country on Disney+Hotstar rules the charts.
I had neither read HP Lovecraft books nor was I familiar with his world of fantasy creatures. The buzz was tremendous and curiousity got to me. I watched Episode One and was hooked.
Lovecraft Country was like 31 flavours of Baskin-Robbins, all served on a platter. There is a spellbook everyone is looking for and magic potions that transform you into another person ( pretty gross to watch by the way). Witchcraft aside, there are secret passages, deadly monstrous creatures and ghosts to fight or escape from. A grim ‘back to the future‘ moment too comes up and so do multiverse portals to travel to alternate realities. No, it is not another Harry Potter or a Spiderverse movie and definitely not child friendly.
The story is gripping, fascinatingly told in the social context of racial discrimination faced by the blacks in the 50s. It is hard hitting and more so since Black Lives Matter is a raging issue even now.
It thrilled me, perplexed me, educated me and I’m humming the song ‘Piel Canela’ from Episode 7. Check it out.
* Haunting Of Hill House and the less Haunted Bly Manor on Netflix.
Ok ! With much trepidation I tackled the Hill House; it had the word haunting attached to it. It was worth every minute and this is coming from a person who has steadfastly refused to watch horror films after her Nightmare on Elm Street phase.
The TV series got everything right. The eerie vibe is spot on and the scares startling enough to make you leap. As for the plot, a haunting story of family dynamics that moves seamlessly from past to present and vice versa. Needless to say the haunted house scars the family forever.
The Haunting of Bly Manor, another story in the anthology too worked on a similar formula. Unfortunately, the chills were few and the horror was too tame. Any Instagram memes or posts that say otherwise, please ignore.
To tell you the truth, the plot meandered like a lazy river. Every character walked with a shadow looming behind or in the mirror which wasn’t particularly scary. The only people who could really see the ghosts were two children in the main lead. I’d say, they are the only reason to watch the show. They were ‘perfectly splendid‘ in every way.
*Outsider on Disney +Hotstar.
Written by Stephen King. Self explanatory, right? It’s a drama that forces the audience to pit logic against supernatural to explain a horrific murder.
There are no twins involved nor any time travel. So who wins? The jury remains out till the very last episode. Of course there is an after credit scene to muddy the waters but it’s a complete story. Exactly how a Stephen King tale should be.
*Emily In Paris on Netflix .
“Whaat!” I can hear the loud gasps and eye rolls by the ones who have seen the show.
Yes, Emily is a pop of colours in her perfectly coordinated lustworthy overcoats. Also Paris is magnificent. No creepy shadows lurked anywhere. An article had described it as, ‘beautiful Paris that satisfies that travel bug biting hard, while you stay indoors’. This series came on my checklist based solely on that line.
So I sat through it. My Teen actually commented, “Why do you have a goofy smile plastered on your face while watching it?” Blame the plot- a clueless heroine saving the day each time and has every man falling in love with her. Mills and Boons couldn’t have done it better.
Season 1 ended in a quadrilateral- 1 Emily and 3 suitors.
Yet there was some supernatural stuff that niggled me each time Emily sauntered on screen in another eye watering outfit .
Seriously, how big was Emily’s cupboard? It had to be enormous to stack all her clothes, matching overcoats and an array of killer heels. The problem, she lived in a tiny chambermaid’s apartment. Perhaps there was an enchanted cupboard of requirements, like Harry Potter’s Room of requirements.
Then the story of Emily scaling the charts of popularity as an Instagram influencer. Her posts are mostly of pouting selfies- one shot taken effortlessly with zero edits. Just one click, really?
What about the time when an uber chic French Design House loans a dress on the condition that the internet remembers it? Had it been me, I would have self combust with anxiety. Emily on the other hand is cool as cucumber. In fact she remembers to take its picture at the very end of the evening, that moment when she was being shunted out of the extremely drunk celebrity’s room.
The post of her carelessly discarded dress on the floor goes viral!
There is no struggle to write the perfect caption, no spending hours checking or responding to comments, no pressure to create content. She does all that while juggling super mean co-workers and navigating her day without knowing French in Paris. (It’s supposed to be a huge faux pas as per the serial).
I suppose that’s what makes it a super intense addictive drama. Plus the hot chef is easy on the eye.
Well, those are my top 5.
Have you seen any of these shows? Agree or disagree? Let me know what you think of it.
Till then, stay at home, stay warm, stay safe. Better days are coming!