Gangs of London
This trailer (you can watch it below) is exhilarating, and this show is everything you expect and hope it is –thrilling, horrifically violent, exhilarating drama, brilliantly diverse– and more! The drive of each character is palpable, before we even know exactly what it is! We just know it’s there and it’s strong and their conviction is powerful, has our full attention. This cast is incredibly diverse, in terms of both race and ethnicity. It feels like a more accurate and authentic representation of London than we’ve seen on screen before. The action scenes are WORLD CLASS. The absolute B E S T to ever, ever exist. I really cannot express enough how fucking groundbreaking and gorgeous and breathtaking and gory and fast-paced, hold-your-breath gripping and unendingly surprising, with straight-up genius choreography, dynamic action shots. It’s a masterclass. Beyond! There’s the business between gangs, the finance and power of the underground that rules the streets of London. There’s family drama, long-hidden secrets about deals and cover-ups, and secrets forced to be taken to the grave.
Content warnings: death in the family, grief, drug use, extreme violence, gore, murder, discussion of past infidelity.
Magical Girl Friendship Squad
I started this show without knowing anything. I just saw the title and knew I had to jump in and see what it was. And oh! my! goodness! It’s a total wonder! I’d describe it as Broad City meets Tuca & Bertie, but it’s ridiculously filled-to-the-brim (literally bursting!) with what I can only describe as Nowness! Like, it’s just so exactly… I don’t know! The main characters are a black woman named Alex, and her queer roommate, Daisy. It’s futuristic and surreal. The adventure is about this panda god who like… imprints on them and gives them superpowers in Daisy’s bong (named Bong Selleck) and Alex’s birth control case. In one episode, we discover the god created a world that’s like.. the 90s in a capsule, and Daisy gifts them with fanfiction! There’s a coffee shop that’s mostly a CBD cafe, and a scene that I can’t stop thinking about is when Alex just casually washes her glasses at the kitchen tap. (I can’t find a trailer online, but there’s a clip from the first episode below)
I think this Netflix version of the show is maybe meant as like, a prequel to the show we grew up with. Because I don’t remember Carmen Sandiego being a teenager. It’s really fun and still features the educational aspects in the introductions to each episode’s location for the necessary caper. The art style of the characters and backgrounds experimental but confident, clear and concise and colourful and awesome. Everything is so striking and appealing, it’s hard to look away for that alone. The character development and plot-twists in the relationships between them is super cool, with each reveal feeling unexpected and exciting. There’s some definite lowkey ‘be gay, do crimes’ energy throughout, and tumblr is further ahead into watching than me, and they’re deeply into it. This is also a show that features a range of characters of different races, ethnicities, in various positions that are integral to the story. People of colour take up important roles in society and in the plot, and it never feels tokenized or like a particularly intentional action to slot them in and check boxes. Carmen Sandiego, like Netflix’s The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia, makes me proud and delighted for the young kids of today. It’s so damn awesome that they’re living in a world with access to such cool content that’s diverse and inclusive and exciting. There’s also a spin-off of sorts that’s just released, called Carmen Sandiego: To Steal or Not to Steal and it’s INTERACTIVE, you guys!!!! It’s a choose-your-own adventure story INSIDE Netflix show How?! What? We are living IN THE FUTURE.
This is another show I watched purely because of the name. The set designers went all out with the over-the-top kind of 70s hair salon glamour. The main (or as they say, ‘mane’) host is super cute and fun, then there’s the woman from A Black Lady Sketch Show, and a professional dog groomer whose comments I find irritating and out of place and so I just ignore everything she says when she speaks. The script is filllled with dog-related puns and plays on words. The commentary is flirty, adorable and conversational, sometimes leading to sexual connotations in a way that feels very much like a VICE show. Haute Dog is extremely wholesome and heart-filled; with not much competitive spirit at all (which is so nice). We’ve been watching an episode together at night right before we all go to bed, and it’s always as heartwarming and delightful as the transformation in each dog. The cuddling and affection shown between the dogs and the groomers is just as sweet and cheerful as the delicate pastel colours the dogs are often decorated with. Each episode is themed; most recently, we watched episode three which is dedicated to rescue dogs and will make you tear up from the good vibes and sincerity of these dog-lovers and carers.