The first time I heard about Hat Trick Productions’s television series Derry Girls was through a comment I found on a video about Bridgerton. In that video, the online user mentioned that Nicola Coughlan–the actress who played Penelope Featherington in the Bridgerton series–was amazing in her role as Clare Devlin in the Irish-based sitcom. Curious about it, I searched for Derry Girls and found that all two seasons of the show had been placed on Netflix.
So, after around three or four days of watching, I finally finished the show–and here’s what I think about it:
Although set in the 90s, Derry Girls is a coming-of-age comedy you can relate to
Derry Girls is set in the early 1990s when Ireland was experiencing ‘The Troubles.’ Although the show’s timeline was set during a political conflict, the series takes a light-hearted tone and features the lives of four 16-year-old Irish girls and one English boy as they navigate the trials and tribulations of a typical high schooler. This includes going on exciting adventures with your friends, understanding young love and its trivialities, and even, discovering one’s sexuality.
It’s a coming-of-age sitcom that will let you remember all the fun (and oftentimes, embarrassing) moments you and your friends have probably gone through at that age. And if you’re like me, who went to an all-girls Catholic high school, you might even be able to relate to how these girls interact given their surroundings.
The characters all have quirky personalities–which make for a hilarious show
When I started watching the show, I was taken aback by how strange a lot of the characters were, particularly Orla, who’s out of the blue comments and absentmindedness seemed weird at times. But as I continued watching, I came to realize that all of them had unique, over-exaggerated personalities, which all come together to make for a hilarious show.
Admittedly, it took me the first few episodes to really understand and enjoy the dynamic between the characters. However, after seeing their quirks and eccentricities complement one another in each 22-minute episode, it made me appreciate and enjoy the jokes on the show all the more.
So, if you’re considering watching Derry Girls, I suggest giving it time. You will definitely grow to love the characters on this series!
Overall, I give the series a rating of 9/10–and I’m hoping season 3 can continue its upward momentum
As a comedy series, I give the show a rating of 9/10. And with season three confirmed, I am hoping the show continues its upward momentum of producing quality entertainment.
Moreover, I hope it would hint at a potential romance between the characters, particularly between James and Erin. Like many of the show’s fans, including actress Nicola Coughlan, I agree that the two would make a sweet and unconventional pair. And if you’re still unconvinced, take a look at the prom scene from the show!
Until then, I really hope you all consider watching the show and who knows, you might later find yourself screaming #IAmADerryGirl (just like James did on the show).
The months following May 2020 was a difficult time for me. Because not only was the country under community quarantine, but I was also unemployed and grieving the death of my beloved dog Kia. But one thing that helped me get through it all was spending time at home, binge-watching Netflix with my mom. And one of the TV shows that helped me get through this trying time was the 2008 BBC show Merlin.
Thanks to the streaming platform, I was able to watch all five seasons of this awesome series.
Now, there’s so much I can say to describe how obsessed I am with this fantasy show–but I’ll have to save all that for another blog post. This time around, I wanted to fangirl by creating a stylized portrait of the series’s titular character, Merlin (which was played by actor Colin Morgan).
Here’s how I came about doing it:
First and foremost, I am by no means a professional artist; I just paint as a personal hobby. So given this, there are a few imperfections that I still have to improve on as a painter–many of which I hope to apply in future projects.
In this particular piece, I started off with a rough sketch of the character’s facial features on a sheet of A5 canvas paper. Then, I went on to mix different shades of acrylic paint to begin painting.
I started with the character’s face as it would require the most attention to detail. Then, I proceeded to do the hair and apply highlights to both areas.
I also decided not to follow my initial sketch and create a bigger set of eyes for a more “caricature”–like appearance.
On mixing colors
This was probably one of the hardest parts of painting because I had to try and get the closest possible colors to the one shown in the reference photo.
I admit, this required a lot of trial and error, but I do believe that I was able to mix the right light and dark shades for the skin, hair, and the clothing.
Finding the right tones to use on the shadows of the character’s face was a bit difficult to do, as well. I had to experiment with varying degrees of black and gray shades to get the desired color. Then, I had to blend those in with some light dabbing strokes using my paintbrush.
The end result may not be totally perfect but I am definitely happy with the outcome of my painting. And hopefully, in the near future, I’ll get to paint other characters too like Arthur, Morgana, Guinevere, and Gaius.
Until then, I hope you give Merlin a try–and who knows, you may even end up enjoying it as much as I did.
If you are anything like me and you are obsessed with regency era films and television series, then you’ve probably already binge-watched Netflix’s Bridgerton.
The first season of the historical drama followed the whirlwind romance between Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) and Simon Basset (Regé-Jean Page). And through its eight episode run, viewers were able to see how the two turned from friends to eventual spouses.
Understandably, many people were drawn into the Duke of Hastings and the eldest Bridgerton daughter’s love story. And many of them–including myself–are eager to see more of the Bridgerton romances unfold. But until the streaming platform can confirm a possible next season, here are a few Jane Austen book-to-screen adaptations that Bridgerton fans can enjoy as they wait for more news on the show.
Through the years, there have been many screen adaptations of Jane Austen’s Emma. FromGwyneth Paltrow’s 1996 version to Anya Taylor-Joy’s 2020 adaptation, many Austen fans have seen different versions of the titular character portrayed on both TV and film. However, out of all of these adaptations–many of which I have seen–the BBC 2009 mini-series was the best one of them all.
Not only did it gradually showcase the friendship-turned-romance between the two best friends, but Romola Garai and Jonny Lee Miller seem to be the best embodiments of Emma and Mr. Knightley.
Garai’s tenacious and effervescent portrayal of Emma made the character very likeable and Miller’s stern yet endearing Mr. Knightley will leave fans rooting for him throughout the series’s four-episode run.
Why Bridgerton fans might like the show: Much like Lady Whistledown or Queen Charlotte, Emma enjoys meddling into the love lives of those around her. So, fans might take pleasure in watching her succeed–and oftentimes, fail–at her attempts in matchmaking, whilst realizing all along that she herself has found her perfect match and it was the man standing right in front of her.
Although this is one of Jane Austen’s less popular novels, I enjoyed Northanger Abbey for its unconventional hero, Mr. Tilney. Unlike the likes of Mr. Darcy or Mr. Knightley, Mr. Tilney is not always so formal and likes to tease Catherine quite a bit. And the movie version of the Austen hero is not far from how the author described her character to be in the book.
Played by JJ Field, Mr. Tilney presents a comical and amiable persona that complements Felicity Jones’s portrayal of the shy and naive Catherine. And it’s through their meetings in Bath and subsequent stay in Northanger Abbey that the two realize their true feelings for one another.
Why Bridgerton fans might like the movie: I think fans might enjoy the “rich vs. poor” kind of love story the 2007 film shows. Because like many of the socialites in Bridgerton, Mr. Tilney’s father wants to make an advantageous marriage for his son. But upon learning that Catherine has no money to her name, he forbids a possible union between her and Mr. Tilney and sends her away. But little did he know that Mr. Tilney will do a lot more for the woman he loves… even if that means disobeying his father’s wishes and giving up his inheritance.
Persuasion focuses on the romance between Frederick Wentworth and Anne Elliot.
Frederick and Anne were two young people in love. However, Anne’s parents refused the union, noting Frederick’s lack of fortune and title. So, the two parted ways.
Eight years later, Anne’s family is struggling with their finances and Frederick has now become a wealthy and recognized Royal Navy Captain. With their heart-wrenching parting still lingering in both of their minds and with the tables turned, it begs the question: is there still a possibility of romance between the two despite everything that has happened?
Starring Rupert Penry-Jones and Sally Hawkins, Persuasion reignites the viewers’ belief in the possibility of second chances, when it comes to love.
Why Bridgerton fans might like the film: Fans might be able to appreciate Captain Frederick Wentworth’s unwavering love and devotion to Anne, in spite of the hardships he faced while being with her during his younger years. And despite having more options for a partner when he returned, he still chose her above everyone else.
Moreover, if fans loved the Duke of Hastings’s “I burn for you” line in the show, wait ‘til they hear Captain Wentworth’s “I am half agony, half hope” spiel–as he pours out his immense love and affection for Anne even after all these years.
NOTE: This review is not sponsored by Netflix or any other production houses. This was written purely from the perspective of the writer as a fan of these TV shows and movies.
Warning: This article contains spoilers from season 4 of the Netflix series ‘The Crown.’ If you have not caught up with it yet, I suggest you to skip this review.
When The Crown first revealed its trailer for season four, fans of the show were rightfully excited to see the new additions of the ‘Iron Lady’ Margaret Thatcher and Princess Diana. And since its release last November 15, it has garnered rave reviews from viewers and critics alike–even earning it a 97% certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Rightfully so, this season featured a number of amazing sequences, storylines, and even dialogue that hooked a fan like me deeper into the show. And to further prove this point, I’ve listed down 10 scenes that I believe made this season the Netflix show’s best so far.
Diana’s first encounter with Charles
From the first few minutes of this season, viewers were treated to a scene Diana fans have all been waiting for–the moment Charles first meets the ‘People’s Princess’.
In a mysterious yet very endearing fashion, Diana crosses paths with the Prince of Wales while in costume at her home. And it is in this scene, we saw the initial chemistry the two shared–setting up the stage for what would lead to a whirlwind romance between the two.
The death of Louis Mountbatten
The death of Louis Mountbatten, or “Uncle Dickie” as Charles and Philip would refer to him, was pivotal to the show as it not only pushed Charles to finally find a “suitable wife” but it also showed the growing tensions brewing between the monarchy and the The Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA).
This later set the precedent for the series to further show the growing tensions between the British royal establishment and its Commonwealth nations during this period.
Diana meets Camilla Parker-Bowles after her announced engagement to Charles
After the “Balmoral test” that Diana had to face in episode 2 of the series, she was welcomed and accepted by the royal family as a suitable bride for the future king. So, episode 3 showed her engagement to the Prince of Wales and how she went from an excited fiancé to a woman questioning her relationship with the monarch.
It further didn’t help that when the Prince had to leave for a royal engagement, she was left alone at the palace with no one to talk to or confide in about her worries. And when she takes up the offer to meet Charles’s ex Camilla Parker-Bowles, Diana realizes that she not only knows very little about her fiance, but she also discovers that another woman holds her husband’s heart and attention.
This scene was essential to the series because it cemented doubt in Diana’s mind about her upcoming nuptials.
Michael Fagan’s conversation with the Queen during his break-in of Kensington Palace
The Michael Fagan story was something I applaud the show creators for doing. Because although Thatcher did win the war for the Falkland islands, the whole ordeal did bring problems to the British economy. And the story of Michael Fagan is proof that there are casualties to endeavours like these.
The episode followed Michael Fagan as he struggled to find work and get custody of his children, amidst the rising poverty in Britain. Desperate and seemingly hopeless, Fagan addresses his frustrations over Thatcher’s actions by breaking into the palace and speaking to the Queen of England in her own room.
This particular scene was important because it was the first time the Queen questioned Margaret Thatcher’s decisions as the head of parliament–an event which would hint at the growing rift between the two female leaders.
Moreover, the whole dialogue between the Queen and Fagan was brilliant in highlighting the disparity between the two individuals and it made the monarch herself question the status of the country during this very trying time.
Diana and Charles talk about Camilla whilst on tour in Australia
This scene was vital as it was the first time we’ve ever heard Charles tell Diana that he loved her. The sequence of events that followed showed the Prince of Wales initially enamoured by his wife, but only later to get jealous of her growing popularity among the people.
At this point, viewers got the sense that it was just the beginning of the end for this royal couple.
Princess Margaret finds out the truth about her Bowes-Lyon cousins
Everyone has skeletons in their closet and members of the Royal Family are no different. And in the episode called ‘The Hereditary Principle’, we see that the palace went to great lengths to hide their cousins with special needs.
It showed how far the royal family will go to maintain their “untainted” and “perfect” image.
The Queen awards Margaret Thatcher with The Order of Merit
After the Fagan episode, it was clear that the Queen and Margaret Thatcher disagreed on a number of things during female Prime Minister’s 11-year run in office.
But despite their different stances on certain issues, the Queen still respected the Iron Lady’s work in government and even awarded her The Order of Merit in the final episode of the series.
Princess Diana hugs a child diagnosed with AIDS in New York
During her first tour alone in New York City, Diana made waves in the American community as the beautiful and charismatic princess. And her popularity grew even more when she was pictured hugging a child diagnosed with AIDS–an act that was so crucial at the time since AIDS was thought to be contagious.
This particular event cemented her title as the ‘People’s Princess’ in the eyes of world.
Charles blows up after Diana returns from her tour of New York
Following her successful trip to the United States, Camilla realizes that even when Charles separates from Diana, she will always be secondary to the Princess of Wales. Seeing his beloved hurt by this, Charles confronts Diana in an explosive scene, wherein he tells Diana that he thinks only of Camilla “morning, noon, and night.”
What made this moment so captivating was Josh O’ Connor andEmma Corrin’s acting in this confrontation. You could sense the tension between the characters and can even feel the emotions they are going through as the scene played out.
Truth be told, these two young actors made this season definitely worth the watch, especially O’ Connor, whose portrayal of Charles made me sympathize for a prince who will not only never live up to his mother and father’s expectations but who also felt locked in a marriage he can never get out of.
Prince Philip speaks to Diana
What I liked about this scene was the fact that they showed the special relationship between Diana and Prince Philip. In real life, the Princess of Wales shared a special bond with her father-in-law even while her marriage to Prince Charles was slowly coming to an end.
Furthermore, this conversation hinted at the difficulties Diana will face in the later seasons as she starts to break ties with the royal family and ventures out on her own.
Overall, this season was exciting from start to finish and had me hooked throughout its run.
And with regards to the anti-Charles bias the show is accused of–I want to say that I do agree with streaming platform’s statement that although the story was based on real-life people, it is a historical fiction. And much like other shows of this genre–like Medici or Reign–a lot of the real-life events have been altered to make for an interesting storyline.
Given this, I do advise people who also love watching the show to not take everything there as fact.
Viewers can watch the fourth season of The Crown on Netflix.
*NOTE: This review is not sponsored by Netflix or any other streaming platform or program. This was written purely from the perspective of the writer as a fan of the show.
Warning: This article contains spoilers from the Netflix series.
When Netflix first released The Haunting of Hill Houseback in 2018, it garnered rave reviews from critics and viewers alike. So, it’s not surprising that a lot of people were eager to see what the creators can come up with for the television series’s succeeding season. And after two years of waiting, the streaming website finally answered the fans’ prayers and released The Haunting of Bly Manor on their platform.
As many fans already know, the much-awaited second season is not a direct sequel to Hill House, as it follows a different set of characters and features a new plot. And this time around, the cast face another set of menacing ghostly threats in Bly Manor.
Its nine-episode run will leave you in a flurry of emotions–from being startled by the spirits lurking in the shadows to being in tears by the time you reach the last scene. It’s definitely a must-watch series for anyone who appreciates a well-written and well-crafted horror story.
To further convince you of this, I’ve listed down three–as Flora (Amelie Bea Smith) would say– “perfectly splendid” reasons why you would want to watch The Haunting of Bly Manor.
The show doesn’t sacrifice good storytelling for obvious jump scares
Through the years, there have been countless horror movies and television shows that heavily relied on the “scary aspect” of the plot rather than its storytelling. Because of this, a lot of the films in this genre end up having unnecessary jump scares that distract the viewer from actually appreciating the tale behind it.
But Bly Manor differs from these movies and shows in the way that it doesn’t sacrifice its story just for the scare factor. In fact, it frightens its audience by using ghosts as background elements–making the story the focal point of the whole series.
And with regards to the show’s storytelling, it was seamless and intriguing enough to keep viewers, like me, glued to the screens of their devices. I particularly liked how the series contained a lot of foreshadowing elements that would elicit speculation and discussion from viewers as to what would happen next. This was evident in the fifth episode, wherein we come to understand why Hannah Grose (T’Nia Miller) continues to see cracks on random places in the house.
Moreover, every character was well-written and given a backstory that could very well explain their complexities. From Viola’s (Kate Siegel) violent past to Peter Quint’s (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) traumatic childhood, their histories have been thoroughly narrated so you would understand why the characters were driven by their actions.
The ghosts are more than just spiritual entities
In an interview with EW, show creator Mike Flanagan shared that he wanted to present the “ghosts as an expression of emotional wounds that we carry around.” This brings a deeper meaning to the ghosts shown in the series as they have evolved into manifestations of the characters’ emotional well-beings. And this can be seen through Dani (Victoria Pedretti) whose guilt resulted in the creation of her ex fiance Eddie’s (Roby Atal) ghost.
At the heart of the show is a story about love
While watching the whole series, you’ll be met with different love stories which includes Rebecca Jessel (Tahirah Sharif) and Peter Quint’s (Jackson-Cohen) tumultuous relationship, Hannah Grose (Miller) and Owen’s (Rahul Kohli) friendship-turned-romance, and Dani Clayton (Pedretti) and Jamie’s (Amelia Eve) endearing union. However, it is Dani and Jamie’s love story that will make your hearts melt by the end of the series.
Because it is through their love that Dani chooses to make the ultimate sacrifice–to become the lady of the lake so that Viola (Siegel) can never kill another human being again. This selfless act of love on Dani’s part leads to the series’s ultimate conclusion that shows the storyteller (Carla Gugino) being the older version of Jamie.
Although the show is primarily classified as horror, this tragic romance is the one thing that made the story worth telling and one that has left many viewers in a puddle of their own tears.
*NOTE: This review is not sponsored by Netflix or any other streaming platform or program. This was written purely from the perspective of the writer as a fan of the show.