What We Are Watching

Want to start the new year fresh with something new to watch? The Writer’s Block Board has compiled a list of the shows they’re currently watching! Whether these are new to you or already some of your favorites, read on to get some recommendations!


Vivian

During the last month of 2021 I started binge-watching on Netflix again — for some reason I hadn’t been doing that as much as I used to, but then I started Bridgerton and Superstore and Outlander, of which the latter I DNF’ed (Did Not Finish). That’s besides the point, which was leading towards what I started watching and definitely will be watching in 2022: the Formula 1 Netflix series Drive to Survive and the races which will start again in March. 

I used to watch Formula 1 a lot when I still lived with my parents; every other Sunday we’d go out and watch the race and of course support Max Verstappen (how could you not, if you’re Dutch, right?) but when I started living on my own I consecutively stopped watching. And then my best friend started getting into it and well… It seems that I have gone back to old habits. Unfortunately that happened right after the last race of the ‘21 season. Anyway, if you like adrenaline and cars, watch Drive to Survive. It’s really good for getting a starting knowledge of the sport and getting your blood pumping.


Olivia

I must be honest and confess that in the last weeks of 2021 I did not have the time to binge watch anything, which is pretty rare for myself. However when you come back home after being away for a whole semester, things seem to appear out of every corner you can imagine. 
From going to doctors and meeting with family members and friends I haven’t spoken to in a long time, to going to big parties (cause those are legally happening in Brazil at the moment), I was not really able to sit down and watch TV series. 

Yet, (maybe after asking too much for positive things in 2022) the first “positive” that the universe sent me was the result of my COVID test. Before anyone thinks anything bad, I am doing perfectly fine thanks to the both doses of Pfizer, (I am planning on getting the booster after returning to Amsterdam) so get vaccinated! 
Therefore, while needing to quarantine together with my mom (cause she also got the virus and has no symptoms as well, thanks to the vaccine) we decided to watch Normal People
I read the book by Sally Rooney in March of 2021 and quickly became addicted to it. After forcing my mom and all my close friends to read it as well, it seemed like a reasonable choice of series to binge. 

For those who are not familiar, Normal People tells the story of the relationship between Marianne Sheridan and Connell Waldron , as they navigate adulthood from their final days in secondary school to their undergraduate years. I have not finished all episodes yet, but so far the adaptation is really true to the book and the actors are so similar to how I pictured the characters to the point where it becomes scary. 

If you are looking for some young adult romance drama and something light enough to watch in one day and still be able to reflect on your personal matters, Normal People is a great option. This series will most definitely make you cry, laugh, get mad at the characters, and fall in love with them all at the same time
Maybe in the future I can give a complete feedback to the BBC production, however since I loved the book so much I can blindly recommend  things related to it. 


Laiana

I must admit: I am absolutely terrible when it comes to deciding what to watch. As a matter of fact, whenever I finish watching a series and cannot find anything on a streaming website that piques my interest, I actually go a few days or even a few weeks without watching anything. If I really want to watch something in between, I just rewatch FRIENDS for the millionth time. Sadly, I hit this watching slump again recently, as I’ve just finished watching Emily in Paris and have been scrolling through Netflix and Disney+ trying to find something to watch – I am open for suggestions! 

I love shows with short, 20-minute episodes. As mentioned before, I struggle to watch long episodes or movies in one sitting, so these short episodes are perfect for me. Before hitting my watching slump, I had just finished watching How I Met Your Mother. I actually began watching it a few years ago, but I never managed to finish – I remember not finding it funny and thinking it was slightly boring. I have completely changed my mind, though. I absolutely love the series now, and although I literally finished it about two weeks ago, I’m considering watching it over again now. As a matter of fact, I considered rewatching it the second I finished the last episode (which is something I tend to do when I love a series, as I did the same thing when I finished FRIENDS). And yes, I was kind of disappointed with the ending of the show, but I’ve come to accept it.  

On the other hand, since I am still in the holiday mindset, I do want to start watching something new. What has caught my eye now is Locke & Key, which released their season 2 not too long ago and I haven’t yet seen it. I remember close to nothing about season 1, but I remember enjoying it, so I’m trying to build up the courage to restart the series from the beginning so I can make sense of everything. Unfortunately, my lack of remembering the plot of Locke & Key puts me in a position of being unable to give a decent and brief overview of the show. However, I can assure you that if a family moving into a house after their father’s death to find that it hides several magical keys that opens a bunch of doors to unexpected and surreal things with a plot twist at the very end (spoiler alert?) sounds like your cup of tea, then you will definitely enjoy this show!


Marijne

Right before the holidays, the second season of Netflix’s The Witcher (2019-) dropped, which I’d been patiently waiting for for over two years. Needless to say, I was excited to finally have some questions answered. The Witcher series is an adaptation of Andrzej Sapkowski The Witcher (1993-2013). It is a fantasy story with several different elements and a huge new magical world at the centre of its story. The premise is that Geralt of Rivia, who is a monster-slaying witcher, helps Ciri of Cintra find her life’s purpose. Though the adaptation has received some backlash in terms of costume design, casting, and story adaptation, it’s still a fun fantasy series for people who are looking for a bit of magic. 

Another Netflix Original production I binged in a single night was My Name (2021). To everyone that is a fan of ‘K-drama’s’, this is one that you really shouldn’t miss. The success of Squid Game (2021) during the autumn of 2021 overshadowed a lot of other great K-drama’s that came out around the same time in my opinion. My Name is a miniseries of only eight episodes, that’s about a girl who tries to avenge her father while growing up in a world dominated by male violence. Usually, I’m not a fan of ‘badass female characters’ but Han SoHee’s performance as Yoo JiWoo was great in my opinion. Yes, she is the female character that can knock out ten bad guys in a row, but she’s not invincible. The storyline puts a lot of focus on her drive and willpower to get to her goal. The series has some great acting, an enticing storyline with plot twists that kept surprising me, a very brooding and fitting soundtrack and effects, and a great cast. I never watched Squid Game, but My Name deserves at least half as much attention as Squid Game got if you ask me, because it had me up and eager to press the ‘next episode’ button until six o’clock in the morning. 

Trigger warning: sexual assault, violence, swearing and other profanities, semi-nudity.


Anne

I haven’t been watching much lately. Mostly holiday movies have been filling my last few weeks but apart from those I only watch YouTube videos.

My family and I love watching holiday movies around Christmas and NYE, we even play a game! We play bingo and try to predict what happens in the movie and who ends up with whom. Most Netflix movies end the same and are about some kind of royalty, so these are quite easy to predict. However, there are a few movies that give us a plot twist we actually did not see coming, unlike the other cliché ones.

As I said, I mostly watch YouTube videos these last few days. One of the channels I watch is Boos, a very entertaining Dutch TV programme that fights for the rights of people who have been wronged. This can be about someone who was scammed, someone who had paid a lot but never received what they ordered or about someone pretending to do something or pretending to be someone completely different. So if you’re into some interesting stories and some kind of crime entertainment, I really recommend it! Some videos are subtitled in English I believe!


Julia

During the winter break I decided to go back to some series I started a while ago, but simply did not have the time to finish. So, I opened my browser, typed HBO, pressed play button and dived into a marathon of a comedy drama Generation (2021). The series’ cast mostly consist of rising, new stars, but some familiar faces also appear.
Before I start saying how much I loved this series, I have bad news. As I was watching the second or third episode, I decided to open the browser on my phone and Google a bit about the series. Unfortunately, I found out that the series had been cancelled after one season, which was an absolute shock to me, since I loved all of the episodes. And I must admit, I hate when the media and marketing takes over and shuts down something unique, something with a new, honest perspective. But going back to the topic – Generation, is a comedy drama about a group of high school students in California, who face multiple problems and ask many questions about their sexuality and existence in modern world. It is a story about love, friendships, commitments and troubles that the group of teenagers encounters. This series opens a conversation about taboo topics that are still not heard or discussed enough. It gives a wider perspective of what young people feel and what they might face every day – defining themselves, their sexuality, dealing with anger or trust issues, family disputes and many more. One may call it a “mix of  Gen-Z stuff” TV series; however, I do highly recommend it to anyone who is ready to face some truths about today’s world. Each character is polished in detail and might be a relatable example to what we might feel, fear or value. Moreover, let me mention that it is also great binge-watching material for any fashion enthusiast (such as myself); the colours, glitter and stylish combinations are not only nice to look at, they are also to die for. 


Reinier

Having played League of Legends for quite a few years, in a love-hate relationship that is bound to pull me back in sooner or later, I was both excited by the prospect of Arcane, yet hesitant considering the, ahm, less than stellar track record of video game adaptations. But having watched it now, I can safely join the rest of the internet in the opinion that it is actually fantastic. French animation studio Fortiche have turned goofy archetypes into compelling characters, and managed to write an engaging plot interweaving personal drama, class struggle, and big dumb fights. But what really kept me hooked was that it oozes style. The combination of a hand painted look with 3D animation is stunning in a way few animated series are. A chef’s kiss mixture of class and irreverence.

And the best part is, even if you haven’t a clue what League of Legends is, you can enjoy what is happening on the screen perfectly well. To be honest, you might be better off that way. 

The other show I have been keeping up with is The Expanse, which has entered its sixth and (very likely) final season. This sci-fi space opera with an emphasis on space (what a job it does at making space look like the cold terror that it is), has been a fun ride throughout. Plus, watching Shohreh Aghdashloo swear in increasingly creative ways should be enough to convince you that this is worth a watch. The first episode of this last season had me a little worried, as it started a bit all over the place, but the season has picked up pace episode by episode, so I am hopeful that they can stick the landing. Not always a guarantee with sci-fi.


Elisa

I have the awful habit of abandoning series halfway, so I rarely finish one. Because of this, I don’t usually watch tv shows. I’d much rather listen to a podcast or watch a video essay on YouTube. Still, because of this habit of mine, I’m currently in the middle of dozens of tv shows I’ll never finish. The most recent victim is the series The Good Place (2016). I have watched two out of four seasons and I’m really enjoying it so far.

The Good Place is a show about Eleanor Shellstrop who, after her death, arrives at the Good Place – which is essentially Heaven. Only the best people get to go to the Good Place, and Eleanor seems to be one of them. However, she quickly realises there’s been a mistake and that she is not supposed to be there. Determined to remain in the Good Place, she tries to become a better person, with the help of the other residents, Chidi, Tahani and Jianyu.

If you like sitcoms such as Brooklyn Nine-Nine or The Office, The Good Place will be right up your alley. It’s a funny feel-good show, however an underlying message is still present throughout. The characters are all lovable and, surprisingly, I’ve gotten pretty attached to them – especially Janet, who is by far the best thing in the whole series. Who knows, I might actually finish this one.


Emilia

As a good Emily Dickinson devotee, when I heard they were doing a show about her, I was stoked. I was also curious to see what they were going to do with her life because unluckily it is irregular to have movies or shows about writers. And then, I saw it for the first time, and I thought to myself “if this isn’t the weirdest thing I have ever watched…” Talking bees, modern slang, hip-hop playing out of nowhere, twerk scenes—all combined with Emily’s poetry. I am a big fan of Sofia Coppola’s use of The Strokes in Marie Antoinette, but even so, I believed the level of anachronism in Dickinson was excessive. Was I wrong? Yes, I was. In all fairness, the show gets significantly better after season one, but be that as it may, I think that I did not appreciate season one enough when I watched it for the first time. So, I am watching it again, and only now I am beginning to understand all the artistic choices the show made. 
Dickinson is not an accurate representation of Emily Dickinson’s life, but that does not mean it is not truthful. The version most people and history books have of Emily is not accurate either, but unlike Dickinson, they lack the truthful aspect. As it happens with any gay poet, very often their gayness is undiscussed and ignored, as if it is not an important aspect of their lives and work (take Shakespeare as the great example). If there is something that Dickinson gets one hundred percent right is the monumental importance Sue has on Emily’s life. Not only did Emily write several poems about her and send her innumerable letters, but Emily regarded Sue as her highest esteemed critic. She was the only person Emily completely confided in when it came to her poems. This is quintessential information to understand Emily’s work. As anyone who writes knows, trusting someone with your writings is a one in a million type of thing. Sue was her one in a million. A major theme in her life, and therefore, in her poetry. Poetry interpretation is infinite, you can get lost in all the muddy details, appreciate some verses more than others, even count the syllabic metre differently, etc., but— do not come at me poststructuralists— there are always major themes that are impossible to avoid when reading certain works. You can argue that poetry is subjective and it only depends on the reader all you want, but you cannot tell me that the themes of death, fame, and hope are not so evident to everyone when reading Emily Dickinson. Dickinson does precisely this—  despite its irrelevant inaccuracies, it captures all the major important themes in Emily’s life perfectly. We are living in a different century than Emily, it is inevitable to interpret Emily Dickinson differently. However, because great poetry is universal, her major themes remain. This is where Dickinson does an excellent job. If you are into poetry, lesbians, civil war, feminism, and period dramas, stream Dickinson on Apple TV.

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