I used to watch a lot of drama series growing up. Now I am finding that I don’t have half as much time to watch the amount that I used to but I am cherishing it more. Both the time and content. Is this what getting older is about? 😅 (Today happens to be my birthday.)
I try to watch dramas that have more substance to them – be it in storytelling or character development. Both? Even better.
I suspect many internet users do this already but I have to research something before I begin watching (without the spoilers of course). There are a fair few where the trailer has peaked my interest, though I generally avoid longer trailers because they tend to spoil the whole story in 2 minutes.
Here’s a list of my Netflix picks since my last update:
Black Mirror (Season 5)
I am actually very new to the whole Black Mirror world but I have heard many passing comments about its very nature so in some ways, I knew what I would expect whilst all at the same time, didn’t know at all. For those who truly don’t know, Black Mirror consists of stand-alone episodes so you are free to watch any episode at any given time. Each episode has a different storyline/theme but is consistent with carving out a dark world where technology is concerned.*
*As I haven’t watched any other season apart from Season 5, I cannot back this statement fully. All episodes in season 5 are related to technology though.
My colleague and I watched the first episode of Season 5 in the office one afternoon whilst on break. I’m not sure whether the decision to watch it there and then was wise but I will say it’s not one to watch in an open environment because there are scenes of sexual nature in the first episode.
A lot of fans are saying Season 5 is weak in comparison to the previous seasons. Whilst I cannot agree or disagree, I will say this: Each episode left me thinking a lot, particularly episode 2 where the ending was very ambiguous but actually, to great effect to prove a point.
The Defected (Hong Kong series)
I finished this series about 2 weeks ago as it became available on Netflix. It is actually the first TVB drama (TVB being a licensed Hong Kong Television company) to be made available on the platform so it’s quite a big deal for a small city. In my opinion, TVB have been overall quite poor in what they have released in recent years. The storylines have been quite lacklustre but The Defected has changed my mind and has made me think maybe there is hope for Hong Kong drama series after all.
The Defected is a slick, cinematic-style series based on a true story. I would say Hong Kong producers are great in writing police-related dramas but some stories do eventually get recycled to death. This series puts a different spin on things as it shows a dark side to the Hong Kong police force – hierarchy and corruption: What happens when you go too far to gain power?
The first half fares better than the second half but overall, it was a very promising series that delivered its core message. Bingo in particular, was an amazing character in playing an undercover cop who inevitably was never going to have a happy ending. Both praise for character and actor who played him.
3.5/5. Would score higher if some parts towards the ending wasn’t so rushed.
OCTB (Hong Kong series)
I’m just over halfway through this series.
It is another police-related series that is non-TVB. Again, the series feels fresh and for a few good reasons. For one, it uses different actors (TVB tends to recycle the same few actors – for what reason, I do not know). For another, it tells the aftermath of having been an undercover cop and the troubles that still brew in the mafia. With a different identity now, the once-undercover-cop looks to complete another mission in the OCTB unit with the advantage (or perhaps disadvantage) of knowledge in mafia politics.
The series is set in the 90s when Hong Kong was still under British colony which I think makes for a great change because so many recent dramas depend on slick technology that tracks criminals and things just happen because…technology? It’s nice to be reminded of the old and just rewind back. 😅
Kakegurui (Season 2)
I am so excited that Season 2 is here! I have only watched 2 episodes so far but I really like the direction that it is going.
I am generally not one to watch anime on a regular basis but if there is a good storyline to follow, I won’t miss it! Kakegurui translates to Compulsive Gambler which is exactly what the anime is about. On the outset, it’s not a hobby (I fail to find another word) that I can relate to but this is where the Japanese are very clever. They are able to weave themes, characters and storylines together creatively. We know it’s not real but that’s what we want – creative storytelling.
Kakegurui shows a world where elite high school students go to school not to be educated but to show their skills in gambling. If you lose badly, not only are you in debt but you may risk becoming a house pet – being ridiculed by the other students whilst having to serve them until someone else becomes house pet. A new student comes along and this shakes the whole academy up as she shows off her skills and catches the eyes of the student council members.
The artwork animation is slick and the anime has its own quirks through interesting character expression. It may not seem like much but these are the areas that truly define the anime.
I have a small list of dramas/films that I would like to watch next on Netflix. Can I just say Netflix are doing amazingly well in providing international series that’s not just inclusive of Korean series for example because they’re popular but also Spanish, German, French etc.
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