More People Need To Watch Maniac (217/365)

I remember when Netflix original ‘Maniac’ first aired, I was tempted to watch it but decided to add it to my list as I didn’t have the time or energy to watch it initially. The fact that Jonah Hill and Emma Stone feature in it was a big plus for me as they’re both amazing actors, and the picture Netflix used to display it kind of insinuated that it was a show that was deep and slightly trippy – hence I knew I’d need to wait a while to watch it.

I watched it a few weeks ago and I was completely in awe of it, it had been a while since I had watched something so deep and meaningful. I will admit I have watched a lot of lighter shows recently, so when I watched Maniac it hit me differently. It deals with difficult subjects like human connection, loss, depression, grief and mental illness in a really brilliant way and honestly as a viewing experience it will stay with me for a while.

What’s truly upsetting though is how underrated the show is, because we’re in an age where Black Mirror is popular, so surely a show like this should have done amazingly, but I don’t know anyone personally who has taken the time to watch it, and the reviews online are mixed, possibly because it is such a uniquely weird and wonderful show. I highly recommend it personally and I don’t want to give too much away, but give it a chance, take the time and honestly I think most people would enjoy it.

For anyone who wants a synopsis, here’s a synopsis:

“Annie Landsberg and Owen Milgrim are two strangers who are drawn to the late stages of a mysterious pharmaceutical trial. Each has a different reason for participating in the experiment — she is disaffected and aimless, fixated on broken relationships with her mother and sister, while he has struggled throughout his life with a disputed diagnosis of schizophrenia. The radical treatment, using pills that the inventor claims can repair anything about the mind, draws Annie, Owen and 10 other subjects into a three-day drug trial that they’re told will permanently solve all of their problems, with no complications or side effects. Unfortunately, things don’t go as planned.”

Why We’re Disappointed with Black Mirror Season 5 (166/365)

Black Mirror is one of those shows that has a massive cult following, and you either watch it and love it, or you don’t. For years it’s explored different aspects of society and technology without holding back on us, it’s even widely known for being seriously fucked up – there are episodes I can’t watch again purely because it messed me up good. So when season 5 was released I expected the hype train to be rolling, but there was a weird radio silence around it, and when people started talking, it wasn’t good.

You’d think after Bandersnatch happened that season 5 would blow our minds, but no, it felt like it was missing something. The wow factor was very little and in all honesty I feel like it’s hard for Charlie Brooker to top his previous seasons in general. Purely because it’s not just about the topics, the seasons did well in exploring human nature as a whole.

Spoilers ahead – You’ve been warned.

The first episode had loads of potential, it explored two best friends entry into VR gaming, which then led to VR sex – the best friends are both black males who consider themselves straight. One’s also married just to spice things up when it comes to their feelings about all of it. Now, the episode did a good job of showing how Karl and Kevin became completely addicted to the act, it was like porn to them and they couldn’t stop.

The one place where it fell short was them acknowledging their feelings. Black Mirror had the chance to explore gay identity in black men, but they chose to make it a ‘no homo’ moment. They kissed IRL, fought, and said that they felt nothing for one another, which just made the last 5 minutes feel underwhelming.

So much potential, but not enough execution – and this trend continues for the other two episodes.

The second episode centres around todays society, our obsession with social media, and how grief can lead someone in to doing crazy things like kidnapping a well dressed intern and being surrounded by armed police forces.

I can safely say the last 10 minutes had me on the edge of my seat, but then they left the ending ambiguous and honestly I felt robbed. It seemed like they were going for a similar atmosphere as our favourite episode about the prime minister and the pig, but that episode ended brilliantly, whereas this left us guessing in the worst way possible. I get that knowing the victim of that critical shot could have ruined everything, but do you know how impactful it would have been if they went with it and made the kidnapped intern a martyr.

The third episode has Miley Cyrus and weirdly enough it was my favourite episode, it kept everything fucked up and explored technology and society in a way that the show is known for. I honestly don’t know why people hate this episode so much, because out of the three it’s the strongest when it comes to exploring themes and following through. The only criticism I have for this is they probably could have gone darker with it all, that would have been great.

Season 5 also just needed to ditch the endings with the cut to other scenes and expecting that to make us all happy. I want actual endings, like when you think back to Shut up and Dance and how that ending just dropped the mic, it not only brought about a massive reveal but it’s also iconic!

The lack of iconic moments in this season is probably why everyones upset, every season has a ‘wow’ moment and an episode that chills you to your core. You usually have to mentally prepare yourself for Black Mirror when a new season comes out, but this one was just too light hearted for all of us.

Please Don’t Spoil Things… (108/365)

Thanks to the digital age, we stream shows like we’ve never done before. There was once a time where we had to wait until a certain time to watch out shows, but now everythings available at the click of a finger – when you add social media to the mix, then being left out of the loop can mean that you end up having a show/movie spoiled before you even get the chance to watch it.

Now I know some people don’t mind spoilers, but for the rest of us, it’s bloody annoying. Especially when loads of new shows, or long running shows have released their episodes: believe it or not, we don’t want to know what’s going to happen before watching it.

Game of Thrones season 8 has finally come out and the threat of spoilers are everywhere, whether you choose a legal means to watch it or not, everyones talking about it, and it’s truly annoying having things spoiled before you watch it. Especially when you really like the show. We want to experience the twists and turns in the plots naturally without warning, so discussing it everywhere online, or even in person loudly is just ruining everything for someone else.

Obviously GOT is a generic example, but now I’m in the world of work I realised that I’d have to worry about hearing spoilers before I got the chance to watch each episode. The same thing happened with one person I worked with who was looking forward to the most recent Star Wars film. He sadly had the whole plot spoiled for him and lost out on the natural experience.

My sister knew someone who would happily spoil everything for people, and looked forward to ruining their experience – I told her to put this person in a bin, but by the time she told me that story she’d already cut the person out of her life. You’d think spoilers aren’t that deep, but they honestly are. Shows and movies are a form of story telling, don’t ruin the story.

TLDR: So don’t be that person who willingly spoils a show or a movie – if you’re someone who takes joy in this you’re an actual dickhead. 🙂