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Thoughts of A Millennial Black Blogger

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Binge with Me

Aside from revisiting classics like Ally McBeal, Felicity, The Bernie Mac Show, and Dawson's Creek, many of the streaming services have been pushing out new content like sextuplets—back to back. Honestly, I have not been this excited about television in awhile. It's time I share a few of my favorite series from the beginning of quarantine to what's currently got my attention. With Halloween days just a few days away, my tv stays on Freeform or AMC depending on who is playing scary movie classics, but I have a variety of shows worthy of a weekend (or three) binge. I try to tweet my stream of thoughts while I watch shows, but a few are too good to break my attention. Eventually, I will go through movies that are also pretty damn good, but I'll settle for tv series right now since theaters aren't ideal.

I May Destroy You (HBO) This series is new to HBO and follows a young writer in the UK that experiences a traumatic encounter during a night out with friends. The protagonist, Arabella, is desperately trying to recount the events of that night after realizing she was drugged and assaulted. If you are familiar with Michaela Coel from the Netflix series, Chewing Gum, this character is a drastic departure from that role. The many layers of Arabella's character compounded with how her friends and family cope with her admission make for heavy but necessary television. The secondary story arcs of her closest loved ones are also relatable in a way that makes you as the viewer question how you navigate your traumas. It's worth the time to watch and experience if for nothing else but the GENIUS ending that rationalizes Arabella's closure.

The Umbrella Academy (Netflix) This series released Season 2 in July, and I was so hooked after the first season that I finished the second season in two days. It is not your typical superhero family show because these kids are adults dealing with trauma from their childhood and the desire to be loved and accepted by their adoptive billionaire father. Like all kids, you want to make your parents proud. These seven adults spend their lives fighting crime (and each other) and must set their differences aside to save the world from ending. I believe this story comes from a comic book series, but the adapted storyline is entertaining from beginning to end. Season 2 is a blast from the past as the seven siblings are thrust into the 1960's Dallas, Texas, to yet again save the world without completely rewriting history in the process. It's quirky and colorful and will have you screaming at the tv until the end because—Vanya.

Teenage Bounty Hunters (Netflix) While I watched Teenage Bounty Hunters with ZERO expectations to be entertained, this fraternal twin duo packed a powerful punch. The cheeky storyline of two sex-fiend southern belles is HEE-larious. It is important to note that the show's creator, Kathleen Jordan, mirrored much of the girls' backstory from her own life growing up in Buckhead. For those not familiar, Buckhead is an affluent neighborhood in Atlanta, Georgia, where much of the show is also filmed. I also enjoyed seeing Method Man on screen again (mostly shirtless). To my dismay, Netflix axed the series, and I will not get the necessary closure with how the season ended. If nothing else, enjoy it for a good laugh.

Hunters (Prime Video) Ok, guys, this show is filled with heavy hitters such as Al Pacino as it follows Nazi Hunters in the 1970s. I will assume that it is only loosely based on actual events because the amount of killing and gore cannot be legal. However, the adventures of these real-life heroes led by Holocaust survivor, Meyer Offerman, are riveting till the very end. I cannot say much without spoiling the show's premise, but if you enjoy Al Pacino in anything, this series will not disappoint.

Never Have I Ever (Netflix) Netflix once again has a hit comedy with this show that follows an Indian-American teenager, Devi, as she explores boys, BFFs, and life after her father's death. I should have known when I could not stop watching that Mindy Kaling had a hand in creating this show because it does not miss! I thoroughly enjoy learning about the experiences of other cultures, and this show so eloquently does that. You will laugh, then cry, then want to scream at Devi before realizing we have all experienced that crazy teenage angst (and don't ever want to go back).

Homecoming (Prime Video) Want to be confused about what you are watching until the end of the season... Then watch Homecoming! I honestly still think about this show regularly because it had more depth than I expected. My girl, Julia Roberts, plays a psychologist new to a job where she works with military men "transitioning" back into civilian life as they learn to manage PTSD. The kicker is that Julia's character nor the soldiers realize there's a more plan at play. As one of her patients grows more aware of inconsistencies around him, the plot thickens, and viewers are taken on a mental ride. The show released season two with Janelle Monae as the lead character, and baby girl went through it, ok?! It starts slow, but once you grasp what is going on, you fly through the episodes with ease.

The Politician (Netflix) In true Ryan Murphy fashion, this show is delightfully color and full of drama. Now on its second season, The Politician follows a wealthy teen, Payton, as he checks the boxes on his path of one day being President of the United States. For now, he must achieve the goal of class President where the story takes many twists and turns. The star-studded cast includes Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Lange, and Bette Midler, to name a few. The wardrobe alone is enough to keep your eyes glued to the television, but watching Payton deal with the back-stabbing treachery of high school into college with one sensational scandal after the next is *chef's kiss*.

Unsolved Mysteries (Netflix) It is no secret I'm a baby compared to my older siblings, so when Netflix rebooted this series, I could not understand why my sister was so afraid to watch. I'm a fan of all crime-drama-mysteries, but this show now has me suspicious of EVERYONE. How are there so many unsolved murders when it's clear who did it?! Maybe it is how they frame the stories, but as a self-proclaim private detective, I KNOW WHO IS GUILTY! Each episode of this new season made me pull out my detective hat and get to cracking these cold cases. Of course, they throw in a doozy when multiple town residents are abducted by aliens (yes, you read that right). I cannot even lie and say I don't believe them because how would so many strangers have the same crazy-ass lie... but it is 2020, so let me not open Pandora's Box.

Ok kids... I'm almost done. I promise you these next two will not let you down!

Euphoria (HBO) This show right here is (pardon my language) A FUCKED UP LOOK into the lives of teenagers today. Now I know much of it is dramatized for shock value, but dammit, Zendaya acted her ASS OFF as recovering-then-relapsing addict, Rue. GenZ is already a mystery as the generation we cannot pin down, and Euphoria is a harsh look at cause and effect. The writers delve into so many issues that I all I could say is WTF every single episode. If you have small kids now, prepare yourself. I'm here to warn you that the world is fucked up, and the next generations are screwed if we don't start trying to understand their experiences. At times, I felt like I should be looking away, but you cannot stop watching! We are rooting for Rue, and HBO has quite the void to fill because I am patiently waiting for season two.

Lovecraft Country (HBO) It is no surprise I saved THE BEST for last. Lovecraft Country is based on Matt Ruff's novel of the same name. New to HBO's line-up, this show is a mind-fuck. Like another HBO series, Watchmen, Lovecraft's storyline builds on the Tulsa Massacre ramifications of 1921. We begin with Atticus "Tic" Freeman, played by Jonathan Majors, on a quest to find his father, Montrose. What starts as a road trip with an old friend and his uncle evolves into an emotional rollercoaster that spans the last ten weeks. Experiencing this show as a black woman in the 2020's America is unsettling.

I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have a visceral reaction to scenes without understanding or explaining why. The depth drudges up generational trauma, overt and covert racism, xomplexo of sexuality, and simply acknowledging the difficulty of sex love because you are hated for merely existing. I genuinely believe the most challenging part of watching this show is the inability to experience it with others. To fellowship and process what you see with your friends. THAT is why I think it is hitting so hard for so many young, black millennials like myself. We never truly made peace with the death of Sandra Bland and Trayvon Martin because, for many my age, we were either still in college. Only to be forced to sit with ourselves at home with no reprieve as we witnessed the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd on video. Every emotion bubbled to the surface as you experience the funeral of Emmett Till in episode 8. When will we be given room to cope? On top of a global pandemic that is disproportionately killing black and brown people? This show is not holding back.

For a show that is set in the 50s, society is on the brink of repeating history. I only hope others can experience this show with an open mind and truly see it for the bigger picture that it paints. I can go on about the nuanced references, but you just have to watch for yourself. By the time I publish this entry, the season finale will be airing, and I will be inconsolable for a few hours, so please respect my privacy at this time. All I say is put some respect on Jurnee Smollett's name. She's been a real one since Eve's Bayou! GIVE HER ALL HER THINGS, OK?! LETITIA FUCKING LEWIS OUT!

I’m always looking for new recommendations so comment with a show you have enjoyed watching during this extended time at home. If you need help navigating any of the shows mentioned above or just want to get opinions off your chest, share it with me.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Watchmen

  • The Good Place

  • Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness

  • Schitt's Creek

  • Mrs. America

  • Stranger Things

  • Kim's Convenience

  • Sex Education

  • Queen of the South

  • Big Mouth

  • Insecure

  • You

  • Dead to Me

  • Russian Doll

Until the next post, thanks for reading!

xo Mia Shantel


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