To be honest, I haven't seen a lot of new film or TV these past few months. Not even Black Panther or Avengers: Infinity War (I know, I know...). Most of March was spent researching female filmmakers for Women's History Month and April, well, escaped me. But, there were a few gems from the past few months that I really enjoyed and wanted to highlight here in a monthly favorites blog. And upon review, I clearly hit another theme.
Without further ado, these are my top picks for March and April. What were some of your favorite films, television shows, web series, or podcasts from March or April? Let me know what you're looking forward to seeing in May!
Jessica Jones (2015-2018)
What happens when having superpowers is anything but super? You get Jessica Jones.
Of Marvel's Netflix series, Jessica Jones has been my favorite -- don't even talk to me about Iron Fist. Suffering from PTSD and alcoholism, Jessica is just trying to get by day by day while attempting to ignore the trauma of her past. But, is her past catching up with her and turning her into something else? The second season brings as much gritty intensity and suspense as the first season but also delves into Jessica's past and reveals Trisha's plans for Karl.
The performances are fantastic; Krysten Ritter as Jessica is exactly how I imagined the character, and David Tennant performance as Jessica's main protagonist is horrifying. I sometimes have a difficult time seeing David Tennant as any character other than the Thirteenth Doctor, but the doc is definitely not in with this performance. I would HIGHLY recommend binging the first season before launching into the second season. And, if you're like me waiting on pins and needles, Netflix will be bringing Jessica back for a third season.
Aggretsuko popped up on my Netflix list when it premiered at the end of April; if it had not, I probably would have never watched it. As a Sanrio sucker, the thought of watching the series of animated shorts appealed to my nostalgic side, but it didn't take long to realize that this series is definitely not intended for children.
Retsuko is a 25-year-old red panda working in accounting. Frustrated with her work and life, she copes by singing (shouting? shrieking?) death metal at the top of her lungs in a karaoke booth at the end of the day. While the premise initially seems pretty silly, Aggretsuko is a uniquely charming and original way to express workplace disenchantment; Retsuko deals with a misogynistic boss in an office that undervalues and overworks her just because her superiors in the accounting department can. Instead of the sugary, idyllic persona Sanrio characters usually have, Retsuko is a multifaceted character that appeals to all the little kids who grew up on a steady diet of Hello Kitty and now find themselves relating more to a tiny red panda with iron lungs and firey rage.
This is a dark comedy if there ever was, and if comedic actor Bill Hader did not lead this cast, I don't think the premise would be as successful.
Hader, starring as former Marine turned depressed hitman Barry Berkman, goes out to Los Angeles to carry out a hit against an aspiring actor, only to find a welcoming and encouraging community of struggling actors trying to make it in the industry. Somehow, their experiences resonate with Barry, and he decides to follow his new passion while juggling his work as a hired assassin. It's absurdly bizarre that Barry's "day job" is to kill people for money while pursuing an acting career at night, but somehow it all works. And TV legend Henry Wrinkler's performance as bloviating, self-important acting coach Gene Cousineau is a treat.
As the series has progressed, Barry has proven that the show is more than just cheap, however dark, laughs and shock value; Barry now has to deal with the actual fallout and consequence of killing people, as well as the dangers of allowing more people into his life.
Killing Eve (2018)
This show is a roller coaster. HOLY. CRAP.
Creator and executive producer Phoebe Waller-Bridge absolutely delivers one of the best and most original cat-and-mouse dramas on television. I know that's a bold statement, but this show is that good.
Starring Sandra Oh as MI5 agent Eve Polastri and Jodie Comer as psychopathic assassin Villanelle, Killing Eve is equal parts anxiety-inducing and entertaining. Eve, disillusioned by her desk job as an MI5 agent, becomes increasingly obsessed with the task of hunting down and capturing hired gun Villanelle, a woman so dangerous she will kill just about anyone in her way. In turn, Villanelle becomes increasingly obsessed with Eve and fantasizes about creating a pseudo-relationship with her.
Killing Eve pits two incredibly intelligent and fiercely competitive women against one another, and I'm honestly not sure which character is more sympathetic. I cannot wait to see how the rest of the season goes, and I'm excited that BBC America has announced a second season.