TV Review: Ginny & Georgia

Recently dropping on Netflix, Ginny & Georgia has quickly become very popular amongst teens around the world. Packed with witty comments and hysterical jokes, it climbed to Netflix’s top ten list within 24-hours of dropping.

This TV series follows a teenage girl, Virginia “Ginny” Miller, and her mother, Georgia Miller. When Georgia’s very wealthy husband suddenly dies in a car accident, Georgia moves her two children, Ginny and Austin, to Wellsbury, Massachusetts. Finding some stability in the town, Ginny and Georgia use this town to leave their past behind and to truly get a fresh start.

Starting with Ginny, this television series emphasizes her character in ways many other shows have not. Ginny is one of a couple biracial characters in the show as her father is Black and her mother, Georgia, is white. Since she grows up primarily with her mother, she can’t fully grasp which culture she is supposed to fit into. Although she seems a little lost with her own self-identity, her beliefs and morals are steadfast and unwavering. Within the first twenty minutes of the show, Ginny shows her unwillingness to be a bystander to racism and underrepresentation in her education. Overall, Ginny is a strong 15-year-old lead who depicts not only the problems in society but also a relatable teenage life.

Next, is the famous Georgia Miller, or maybe infamous. Georgia is the definition of a strong woman who does not rely on anyone. She flaunts her beauty and Southern accent not only to attract men but to get what she wants. Georgia will stop at nothing to give Ginny and Austin the childhood she never had, even if her children don’t recognize it. Throughout the ten episodes that have dropped, her character has been developed through scenes from the past and present. The constant flashbacks make every aspect of her present life clear, and this is what makes Ginny & Georgia such a phenomenal show.

Lastly, I just wanted to add that this show is one of the closest representations of a high school teen’s life. I recommend it to anyone at least sixteen years and older because it does have topics and scenes on the more sensitive side. So, please make sure that you are a part of the appropriate audience/age to watch. I only touched on two of the characters, but there are so many personalities and underrepresented aspects of life within this show that it would be a mistake not to give it a try.

-Katherine L.

Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events Review

I remembered reading this series in the fifth grade, so naturally, when I stumbled upon this series again on Netflix I had to watch it. Although it has been over years since I’ve read it, I was still able to make connections. This series is all about the orphans, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire as they try to get to the bottom of their parents’ sudden death. On top of this, they have to escape the clever Count Olaf who is willing to do just about anything to get his hands on the kids’ fortunes. Every episode gets them one step closer to uncovering the big mysterious deaths, which I must admit is like nothing I’ve seen before, but also includes Count Olaf and his clever disguises. Unfortunately for the three orphans, Mr. Poe (the man who is in charge of getting them to a safe home) doesn’t always see eye to eye. 

At first, I did think the series was a bit repetitive, but a couple episodes later everything started to get interesting again. There are points where you feel as if the plot is similar in every episode and personally, I’d rather watch a show that continues the same plot. After continuing the series, I realized that the more I watched the more the plot would continue, rather than seeming like every episode was a new story. Regarding the ending, it’s like nothing I’ve heard of before, but I would have preferred more closure. Although the ending wasn’t what I hoped for, it’s still worth watching because the story behind their parents is super interesting! I would rate this show a 8/10!

-Kaitlyn Y.

TV Review: Unsolved Mysteries

The show Unsolved Mysteries is one of the most mind-bending and perplexing crime-solving shows on Netflix. Each episode of the show reviews a different case, none of which have been solved. 

As someone who deeply enjoys mysteries, this show is one of the most mind-boggling mystery shows I have watched and definitely keeps you on your toes throughout each episode.  Each case is uniquely different from the rest and is very descriptive.  

Some episode plots include UFOs, disappearances, kidnaps, and false identities. None of these have been solved by professionals so they come to the internet to try to bring light to certain cases that have been around for centuries, trying to get people’s points of views and hoping to close the case. 

The show became such a big hit and everyone had opinions on the cases that Netflix ended up opening an Instagram for viewers to discuss their theories. Many of these people are Webslueths or random online people who the police look to for help when a case is open for too long. 

The most perplexing thing about this series is that all the stories are true and have evidence proving it behind them. I would recommend this series to anyone who enjoys crime, mystery, and a good challenge. 

-Sanjana S.

Film Review: Moxie

Netflix’s new teen movie Moxie largely fails in its potential and is decent overall, but still has something important to offer. Directed by Amy Poehler and based on a book of the same name by Jennifer Mathieu, Moxie is a high school movie whose aim is to discuss feminist topics.

The movie follows shy 16 year-old Vivian (Hadley Robinson) who begins anonymously making zines calling out the sexism in her school after meeting the valiant new girl Lucy Hernandez (Alycia Pascual) who won’t back down to sexism so easily. Later on, the two girls along with some friends made along the way form a group called Moxie, which actively challenges the problems the group faces.  

Throughout the movie, Vivian encounters many challenges. From dress codes to more serious offenses, the movie aims to discuss a wide-range of topics in feminism but fails to do so in an effective way. Because it’s so ambitious and eager to take on all of these topics within a 2-hour time frame, the movie can’t explore them in ground-breaking depth, creating a touch-and-go effect. 

The overwhelming amount of content here also detracts from the development of the characters as well, leading most of them to appear underbaked. Several times during the movie, there seems to be an attempt to explore these characters in more depth, but there’s never any further discussion later on. The marginalized identities of some of these characters seem to suffer from the same problem as they get caught up in the fray of inclusivity and are hardly ever discussed despite being involved in the Moxie group. 

But even though Moxie is rough around the edges, when I first watched Moxie, I was pleasantly surprised. I was expecting yet another poorly written Netflix high school movie with the same overdone cliches, and even though Moxie is a lot of those things, I was happy to see a teen movie eager to spread a powerful and important message rather than a televised Wattpad fanfic.

While the movie’s received a lot of criticism online, most of which I’d agree with, I still think it’s important to acknowledge that its existence is a good thing. Not many movies are willing to even attempt discussing these topics or providing the amount of representation this movie did. So to that I give it props as a good next step for future movies that want to delve in these topics too. 

The one good thing about the movie is that it’s different. It tries to discuss something important which is always something worth thinking about. So for those of you at least interested in the movie, I’d still encourage watching it and forming your own opinion of the movie and how it handles these topics. 

-Elia T.

Movie Review: To All the Boys: Always and Forever

To All the Boys: Always and Forever is the third movie in the To All the Boys… series. It’s a movie also based on the books written by Jenny Han. Throughout the series, Lara Jean struggles between wanting Peter and then having mixed emotions about him. This theme seen in the other two movies carries on into this movie as well. The entire series focuses on Lara Jean growing up and taking responsibility as she matures.

The movie starts off with Lara Jean visiting Korea and continues to spiral into the topic of college. She has to make the decision whether to go to college with Peter or wIthout peter. This movie captures the chaos of making college plans. She slowly discovers who she is and after dealing with rejection from the school she wanted to go to, she takes what she learned about herself and Peter into account when making this decision. 

Overall, I would highly recommend this movie, especially those in high school. It’s such a realistic representation of the struggles of choosing your college. Although that can be intense, this movie does have a lot of light-hearted scenes that create a perfect balance. Rewatching this series is definitely something I plan on doing soon.

-Kaitlyn Y.

Voltron: Legendary Defender; Season One Review

Voltron” is a name that may be familiar with people of many different generations. It was most noticeable for its original debut in the 1980s under the show titled Voltron: Defender of the Universe, however it has had many revivals over the years with…generally subpar success to their names.  But its most recent incarnation, Voltron: Legendary Defender, quickly shot up in popularity when Netflix announced it in 2016.  So what was all the hype about?

Voltron: Defender of the Universe brought up dark subjects with children that other, similar cartoons would often avoid. It was still incredibly corny, of course, but it left a lasting impact on its young audience because it didn’t shy away from these topics.  Needless to say, Voltron: Legendary Defender had a lot to live up to.  If it couldn’t impact old fans and new fans in a similar way to the original, it would fade into obscurity like the reboots before it.  So was it impactful?  Did it live up to the legacy of the original show?

Over the next few months, I’ll be taking a look at this reboot season by season to see if it’s worth all the hype it received.

Season one of Voltron: Legendary Defender is very simplistic, but sets up a very interesting world with its eleven episodes. From the first episode – which, to be fair, is an hour long without commercials, so it does have a lot of time to make a first impression – you can immediately tell the tone that this series wants to take.  The opening scene literally depicts the kidnapping and torture of three innocent human astronauts.  Immediately after, though, we cut to the antics of three in-training space cadets: Lance, Hunk, and Pidge.  This may sound contradictory but the show is very good at balancing the serious moments with the more lighthearted moments.

The Galra Empire is an empire that has spread its reach throughout the universe for thousands of years, and they have conquered almost every planet up until the Milky Way. Their leader, Zarkon, grows stronger with every planet they conquer, and the heroes are racing against time to defeat this big baddy.  This is the premise of the show, and the turmoil and politics of the Galra empire are a major plot point within the series.

The story of this season ends with quite a bang as well. The heroes take a rescue mission right into the heart of Galra territory, and face off with Zarkon himself.  Although they’re able to escape, they don’t escape without taking some heavy damage first, and the season ends on a dramatic cliff hanger.  It’s a cheesy way to rack up interest for the next season, but it works.  So does the series fulfill its enticing premise and current potential?  Tune in next time to find out!

-Leanne W.

TV Review: Stranger Things Season 2

My father and I have always wanted to watch Stranger Things but we never had the time for it. When we finally had the time we watched the first season. Lucky for us at the time, the second season was at least one week away.

The second season was really cool. You could really see the character development in everyone. The thing I liked about this season was that it answered my questions that I had.

I like how Stranger Things uses a lot of Dungeon and Dragons references in the episodes. I just hope that the next villain for season 3 is another Dungeon and Dragons villain.

This season also continues with the adults in the show being completely oblivious. If you thought it was funny that Mikes dad had no idea what was happening last season, then you are in for a treat. Season two also introduced a character named Maxine who is actually a main character in the season. I feel like she is going to have a bigger role in season three.

My favorite character in the whole season was probably Dustin. He was very funny when they were in danger and always made a big commotion about everything. I hope that Dustin remains this way and never changes. I also liked how sometimes Hopper would just dive into the situation and not think of it first. It made it look like he was very committed to what he was doing. He didn’t care what the odds where he just wanted to discover what was going on.

Another thing I liked about season two was that the 1980s in Hawkins, Indiana were so real. I can say that for myself because my father lived in Indiana in the 80s. Another fun element they did again was hire actors from the 1980s. I hope they keep doing that in more seasons.

Another thing was that since Will was back he had a lot more screen time. The season also showed how Mike and Will are really good friend. They would go to the end of the earth for each other.

I would recommend Stranger Things season two for anyone who saw the first season and liked it.

-Max U.

Comparison: Thirteen Reasons Why

Recently, a series for the novel Thirteen Reasons Why, was released on Netflix. Out of curiosity and the large amount of people raving about it, I decided to watch it. I read the book a couple years ago and hoped the series would do well to mimic it. Please note that this is a serious and powerful piece of work with triggering and sensitive topics. While it holds important lessons, it may not be a book/series for everyone.

A quick synopsis: Hannah Baker is the new girl at her small high school, ready for a fresh start. Almost immediately she captures the attention and interest of many and while it seems like her life is going well, it takes an unexpected downward spiral. Social media, rumors and loneliness saturate Hannah’s life and turn it upside down. She suffocates under pressure and undergoes numerous internal issues. Eventually she commits suicide and leaves behind thirteen cassette tapes holding thirteen reasons why she ended her life. The thirteen people responsible for her passing are hit with the overpowering realization that their actions and words are more than just actions and words.

The book, written by Jay Asher, is incredible and captures the essence of what it is like to be a teenager, overwhelmed by the struggles of today’s society. The book was personal and eerie but the series made everything come to life. Yes, the series over exaggerated some parts and added more details to parts in the book that were briefly discussed. However, that realism and graphic detail is what really speaks and captures the attention of many. Without using detail to demonstrate the severity of Hannah’s problems, people can be tempted to overlook them. The book and series share similarities such as the relationships between the characters, and the secrets and rumors that get spread around. Like any book and show, they hold differences as well. The biggest difference is how raw the series is. There are more in-depth character backgrounds, more dramatic confrontations between characters and heavier, darker scenes.

This book is a huge metaphor; while Hannah is one individual in this one particular book, she stands for every human in this world that may be going through exactly what Hannah went through. She stands for those who are too scared to speak out and she stands for what our society needs to fix. Thirteen Reasons Why not only acknowledges flaws in our world but also shines a light on the importance of being kind and realizing that everyone fights their own personal battles.

-Jessica T.

Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

TV Review: Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events

maxresdefaultA Series of Unfortunate Events, released on Netflix, is taken from the book series A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. I watched the show, and, personally, I really liked it. I had read the books a few years ago, so I don’t remember exactly how similar the series and the books are, but the way that the Netflix series is set up was intriguing. The narrator (Lemony Snicket), is played by Patrick Warburton, and repeatedly breaks the fourth wall as he explains what is going on with the Baudelaire orphans. The children lose their parents, as they did in the books, and have an incompetent adult looking after them, something viewers will quickly realize after watching the children’s first meeting with them. Also similar to the books, Count Olaf is constantly trying to get the children’s’ fortune. The end of the show (if I remember correctly, it’s only eight episodes) ends on a cliffhanger, since it doesn’t finish the whole book series, but ends somewhere in the middle of the series.

Throughout the series, there were moments where I was face-palming myself or getting mad at the characters (mostly the adults), but overall I really liked the acting and the plot. Again, I don’t exactly remember how things went in the original series, but I thought that a lot of the acting personified the book characters. I would definitely recommend this show to anyone interested, especially if they’ve already read the books.

-Aliya A.

TV Review: Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events

seriesofunfortunateevents_netflixThe first season of the new Netflix show, “Series of Unfortunate Events” was released! I will be reviewing the season as well as comparing it to the books, however I will let you know when I will delve into the spoiler sections.

Firstly, I would like to say that when I first heard that Neil Patrick Harris was going to play Count Olaf, I was a little nervous. Excitingly however, I think he did a great job portraying him, as he and the character are theatrical. Of the Baudelaire children I believe that Louis Hynes (the boy who plays Klaus) best portrays the character as it is in the book series, however I do like them all. The sets of Count Olaf’s house, Uncle Monty’s House, and Aunt Josephine’s house were all exactly how I had pictured them. Count Olaf’s troop characters including the Hook Handed Man and the Powder Face sisters were all there, as well as a few new characters that have added a more diverse dynamic. The format of doing two episodes to encompass each book worked out quite well. The base plot of the novels was consistent with the series, although there were minor changes and perspectives from other characters which was interesting to see. And as a fan of the books, I was delighted to see that Lemony Snicket’s narration of the series and character was included, as he has monologues directed towards the audience. I am happy to see that the creators did not shy away from the woeful darkness the story has, and embraced it instead.

This next section will be a SPOILER for the season, so if you haven’t watched it yet please go watch!

The biggest plot twist of the season, book fans didn’t expect this either, was the long running subplot of the Baudelaire parents trying to get home to their children. At first I was upset that the creators had the parents remain alive, but then came to terms with the notion that perhaps the creators would kill off the parents before the children ever knew they survived the fire. This concept was actually a theory of the book fans, in which the Baudelaire parents actually survived, but the children never knew, and they did not get reunited. However, as we know from the twist in the finale, the “parents” that were shown were not Baudelaires after all, but Quagmires. I loved that the creators made us believe they were the children’s parents, and in the end show us that they had never specified they were Baudelaires. This creates a smart introduction to the Quagmire twins/triplets, as we already know their backstory. It is a great use of the omniscient perspective that book readers didn’t get to see, creating exciting new details for book readers, without changing the plot. And lets not forget that ending musical scene! If someone had told me beforehand that they would be singing at the end, I would not be happy about it, but it really flowed in an odd and mystical sort of way.

So what did you guys think about the adaptation? Let me know!

-Ava K., 12th grade