The Haunting of Bly Manor – Every Show Ever – Every Show Ever
If you have Netflix, you probably saw the rolling ads a few weeks ago for a new Netflix Original called Warrior Nun. Or maybe you’re a normal person, whose Netflix algorithm isn’t totally fucked.
It’s design aesthetics pop off, the concept is incredible, and it’s lore system is astounding.
But like, What is it?
Warrior Nun is a YA series based on a popular Canadian Manga-style comic book. Or, best I can tell from skimming the wikipedia and comparing it to what I’ve just seen, very loosely based on the comic books.
As for the story, we’ve all heard it before, a young girl is suddenly thrown into a world that is not her own. She’s witty, she’s sarcastic, and now, she’s got superpowers. In Ava’s case, it’s an ancient artifact called the Halo, which is actually an angel’s halo that’s been shoved into her back just after she died. This is, it’s important to note, an accident. Why is it important that it’s an accident? So rather than another girl hating her for no good reason, they get to hate her for reason: she’s the accidental chosen one. This can be done well in media, and I think it’s done alright in Warrior Nun, could be worse, it just distracts from the overall plot.
Speaking of the plot, what is it? Well, we’ve got some demons to kill, that only Ava can see. They’ve got an evil corporation that has been seeking out religious relics for unknown yet nefarious purposes, and the potential murder of the last girl with the Halo. Oh, and also Ava maybe definitely got murdered by a nun. But all of this is sort of? Ancillary? To the actual plot? Which is like, Ava made a friend/love interest and she wants to run away with him? Or something? Unsure to his purpose. And why their relationship is so much more important than everything else. Ava running away from the plot in favor of her teenage love affair takes up five and a half episodes of a ten episode season. This wouldn’t be terrible, but I don’t really care about Ava, and I think that’s the main and only problem with the show. Even though she’s the main character, and on the surface she is integral to the plot, but she hardly interacts with it outside of explaining all of the exposition we can’t get any other way.
In episode 4, all of the warrior nuns other than Ava go out on a super secret mission to reclaim some artifacts, and that’s when it hit me. This is the show I would rather be watching. Bad ass warrior nuns with Chain Mail Masks that fuckin slap doing cool ninja moves to recover historic magical artifacts is easily one of the coolest plot lines you could have pitched me. But then you’re going to make me sit through all of Ava’s storyline, if it can be called that, and not even really try to put in the effort of connecting it to the main story for more than half of the show, instead just give us a half-baked chosen-one-by-accident plotline that we’ve seen a thousand times.
This brings me to easily the best character in the entire show. Shotgun Mary. I want to know everything about her! Who is she? What was her relationship with the last Halo warrior girl? Why does she get shotguns? Why is she the best?
The good news is, it’s not totally unsalvageable. The style is great, the side characters are wonderful, and the concept is phenomenal. All they gotta do is reign Ava’s story back into the plot before it’s too late. Which, it should be noted, they do. Halfway through episode six, Ava’s little boyfriend just ditches her because she’s got weird powers (Thus proving my theory that he was totally useless as a character and plot point.) and then this shit really gets going. Warrior Nun ramps it up, and now I’m finally interested in this goddamn show. I promise, if the concept and aesthetics interest you, it is worth slogging through the first half (ugh, such a high percentage.) and if you’re a sloppy gay like me, you might even notice some very obvious tension between two of the girls. I won’t say who, spoilers, but I really hope this isn’t going to turn out to be more queerbait and they’ll actually do something about it.
Episode I: Padme – Studies in Intergalactic Policy
In Peak TV, It’s Easy to Fall Through the Cracks
What It Is: If you live outside the UK you’ve likely never heard of this 20-episode sitcom, and you’re only slightly more likely to have heard of it’s creator, Miranda Hart (Spy, Emma). But you’d be doing yourself a disservice to keep it that way. Not only is Ms. Hart wildly funny and a true master of physical comedy, all 4 seasons of her self-insert sitcom, Miranda, are not only a marvelous depiction of Peter Pan syndrome, but also disturbingly relatable to any person who has ever felt socially awkward.
The series follows Miranda (who seems never to have been given a last name) as she struggles to adapt to the morays of adult life; whether those be attending her mother’s horrifically themed parties, managing her joke shop with her best friend Stevie Sutton, or using her wiles to attract the attentions of handsome chef, Gary Preston. And there’s really not much more to the plot than that. It’s a true sitcom in the purest sense, playing off of the classic multi-camera setup and fourth wall locales for that classic “filmed in front of a live studio audience” feel.
Why It’s Great: There are so many wonderful things I could say about Miranda that I find it difficult to narrow them down. But certainly the first is Miranda Hart herself. She is the exact opposite of what film & TV has trained you to expect from a leading lady. She’s tall, she’s wide, she’s wacky, gets called ‘Sir’ far more often than she would like, and is an absolute disaster of a human being.
Yet as the show progresses, even the more socially competent of Miranda’s friends and family are gradually revealed to have their own failings and less than ideal idiosyncrasies, playing into the shows ultimate message, that when it comes right down to it, we’re all a little bit terrible at being adults. Her mother, Penny, is a well-regarded upper-middle-class socialite (if such a thing exists), and is completely emotionally tone-deaf. Her best friend, Stevie, is a tiny business dynamo with a can-do attitude, and more nervous energy that she can productively channel all the time.
But the dynamic most heavily at the center of the show is inevitably Miranda’s relationship with the tall drink of vitamin water that is Gary Preston. So rarely can a sitcom say that it’s main couple are compelling, funny, realistic, and well-developed all at the same time. Gary, played by the incomparable Tom Ellis, (who you actually might have heard of now that he’s widely known as the titular character of Lucifer), is a gorgeous chef who’s always standing by with baked goods (even if he does insist on doing things like making cakes out of beetroot).
Everything about Gary and Miranda’s romance is refreshing, even besides the flipped trope of a socially awkward weirdo ending up with the beautiful girl. Their on-again off-again, will-they won’t-they romance isn’t simply a conceit of the genre either. It consistently works to maneuver them to a point where a relationship between the two would not only be plausible but healthy and balanced. There is no moment of realization that ‘love had been there the whole time,’ simply two friends who’ve always wondered if they could possibly be something more, growing together and loving each other.
But at the end of the day, I think the truly best thing about Miranda (both the character and the show) is the sense of childlike fun at their cores. Miranda (the character, not the show) isn’t interested in abiding by the adult rulebook, she’d rather do fun things that make her happy, asserting that if adults “had even the slightest, in-the-moment joy of a child” then the world would be a far better place.
Miranda speaks to the kid that never actually grew up inside of all of us. Watching it makes the word “bottom” suddenly hilarious, and makes the idea of playing Biscuit Blizzard (a game you can play with the common household items: a box of cookies and a blow dryer) almost impossible to turn down. As the world grows increasingly scarier and TV grows increasingly darker for the sake of putting buzz words like “innovative” and “edgy” in their blurbs, it’s nice to sit back for a half hour and relish in being weird.
Where You Can Find It: Currently, you can stream Miranda on Hulu, Amazon Prime (free with ads or an iMDB TV subscription) as well as on AcornTV. I’d really only recommend that final option if you’re just really into British and Australian television, in which case, you’ve probably already seen this show, haven’t you.
Welcome to Guessimation! A comedy show where two very unqualified people tell you the plots of tv shows that they’ve never seen.
Game of Thrones:
I could talk about the lackluster technicolour recolouring techniques or I could talk about how this story was even poorly paced for 1940, I could even write an entire page on the lackluster cinematography and practically stage-worthy performances.
Gone With The Wind is impressive for its absolutely ridiculous framing of the south. It’s a racist, misogynistic movie that glosses over what is essentially spousal rape and frames it as a twisted romance. Scarlett O’Hara is an awful ‘protagonist’ who gets everything she wants at the expense of everyone else and yet we’re supposed to sympathise with her and want her to win? Why is everyone harkening her as a ‘strong female character’ when all she does is shoot a dude and steal her sister’s husband for little to no reason.
As previously stated, it isn’t particularly well paced. It recycles its main plot three times over the course of three hours and fifty-eight minutes, which should be enough to make it unwatchable, it trivialises and romanticizes the evils of slavery explicitly (Scarlett attempts to free them after the civil war and they insist that they love living there and don’t want to leave her? What?). It paints the sufferers of the antebellum south as the lauded elites for losing their privileges after the war, and O’Hara’s exclusive method for dealing with her problems is marrying rich guys, which she does Four Times over the course of the film, one of whom is her aforementioned sister’s fiance, who she steals and marries to save the family farm. (Would they still have been able to save the family farm if he’d married the sister? Yes. Is this addressed? No.) Finally, the central romantic plotline is abusive from start to finish. Butler’s whole appeal (Other than being Clark Gable.) is that he’s callous and cruel to Scarlet. This is enticing enough to keep her entertained across three other husbands. Finally, they get married, but he remains curel. The first time they hook up, he hits her, forces her to kiss him, and carries her up a grandiose marble staircase, all the while she struggles against him. This is the romantic climax of the film.
She wakes up the next morning, grinning and stretching in satisfaction in an almost comical manner. The fact that he totally raped her is not commented on.
They end up having a kid, and Butler is nice to the kid, sure, until the kid dies. Then he’s back on his damage, and he leaves her in her sorrow. He explicitly tells her he doesn’t care about her in the most iconic line in the film, arguably one of the most iconic lines in film history, and he leaves. The female lead is now appropriately beaten and put in her place. And the audience laps it up, they have every generation that watches it.
That’s it. That’s the movie. Three hours. And Fifty Eight Minutes.
People say the slavery was just ‘a product of the times’ but it came out in 1940! That’s nowhere near an acceptable amount of time to be still considered ‘the times’ of slavery. Marrying a bunch of dudes doesn’t make you resourceful or strong, it gives you the easy way, even considering the period, especially considering the period.
I honestly don’t know why we study this movie, in film and history classes alike. It holds little to no relevance to the modern filmmaking scene, even if the special effects were seminal for the time, they haven’t aged overly well. It’s not particularly accurate to the times, save for a handful of fun facts here and there, and it’s not as creatively shot even as Citizen Kane, which won’t come out for another year but… still. It’s four hours long and almost nothing interesting happens, it misrepresents the south, and is horribly racist while also making Scarlett O’Hara the white knight in the situation, a theme in White Feminism that’s still prevalent today! Scarlett is irredeemable, it’s no wonder she falls for Butler, but the biggest tragedy of this film is that I had to rewind two separate VHS tapes after I finished, second only to the tragedy that the guy who plays Ashley’s name in real life is Leslie. Man, that guy cannot catch a break.