Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, January 09, 2017

Enjoying some Catch-Up Theater with Netflix's Stranger Things & Gilmore Girls

I have to confess that due to my not being able to afford Netflix streaming services, I have had deep rooted pop culture envy for anyone able to happily binge watch all of these well received,talked about shows.

 Sure, I did check out season one of Orange is the New Black on DVD but it's hard to keep up with a show that is several seasons in by the time the new batch gets to the home video circuit. Well, this year, it's going to be different.

Thanks to some budgetary rearranging(and my sister getting a awesome Christmas gift that upgrades her TV), my Netflix streaming drought is over. Granted, I won't be able to get up to instant speed on every series and special that I'm interested in but now at least I can dip a toe into these entertainment waters.

 So, my first big dive into the Netflix stream was ,of course, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. I watched that over the course of a week(I come from the old school,folks,of viewing in installments) and it was truly a joy to behold.

Since just about everyone has had their say about the revival, my talking points will be brief(spoilers up ahead):

THINGS THAT I LIKED: Paris Geller(especially her bathroom meltdown), the Stars Hollow musical(which did run long but totally wacky fun), Kirk and his pig Petals, Babette having a barbecue at the Black & White & Read Theater, Lorelai's attempt at doing an authentic Wild experience(that whole "book vs. movie" debate was hilariously true to life) and her emotional phone call to Emily about Richard(more about Emily in a moment)

THINGS THAT I LOVED: Luke and Lorelai finally getting married, Rory trying to keep The Stars Hollow Gazette alive, Sookie's big scene(so wanted more of her!) and Emily having had enough of the DAR and calling them all out on their nonsense:

THINGS THAT I WANTED MORE OF: Lane and her life(seeing her dad finally wasn't that big of a deal), more time with Paris and Doyle,even if they are breaking up and more,more,more of Jess(I know that Milo Ventimiglia has a hit show right now but still...)

THINGS THAT I COULD DO WITHOUT: Logan, who I always considered the worst of Rory's boyfriends, the Life and Death Brigade(who wear out their welcome fast for me) and Rory having that childish phone fight with the head of Sandee Says(she could've prepped better for that interview, I do agree).

All in all, the revival was wonderful and in my opinion, Emily had the best character arch. Trying to adjust to life as a widow, particularly as structured a life that such a marriage as that demanded, is far from easy and seeing Emily come into her own was a journey worth taking.

 Ironic that part of that trip had Emily befriending a maid and just letting that whole extended family into her world, something that she insisted on drawing distinct social lines for back in the day. While her story wasn't wrapped up in a neat little bow at the end, Emily did seem to find a new happy ever after there and I wish her well.

As for the Rory backlash, yes, she did act immature at times but if you look back at past seasons, she was still being Rory. It takes a long time to grow up, folks and perhaps with those final four words, Rory will be able to do just that. No, I won't say what those words are(for those who don't know) but they do make sense in terms of this series coming full circle there. If we do get a follow-up to this, great but if not, I'm fine with that. A Year in the Life was a well lived one,indeed:

Once I was done with GG:AYITL, my next stop was Stranger Things, the 1980s set sci-fi thriller that became the cult hit of the summer.

For those who don't know, it involves mysterious disappearances, a secret experiment gone awry, adventurous kids and an amazing girl called Eleven.

The first two episodes, I watched alone but the next two, I waited until my sister could join me. We saw the first half of the eight episode run and will finish it up by next weekend, which made for quite the bonding experience there. There's a considerable gap in years between me and my sis(I'm the older one,btw) and yet, we both found plenty of pop culture references within the show to share.

Stephen King's influence does show here, along with music from John Carpenter's films(my sister was particularly reminded of Christine) and we both agree that the older sister of one of the boys did have a Nightmare on Elm Street vibe about her(she is named Nancy and the actress does have a bit of a Heather Langenkamp look to her).

 However, this is a very original story that allows for solid character development and creates genuine "I don't know what's going to happen next" suspense. I'll be able to talk more about Stranger Things once I complete the first season but I am happy to find that the hype for this series was well warranted:

Once Stranger Things is done with, I'm not sure which show to check out next.

On my viewing list are most of the Marvel series that Netflix has produced, including Jessica Jones and Luke Cage(too bad Agent Carter isn't among them) and The Crown, which just won big time at the Golden Globes last night.

The Crown tells the backstory of Elizabeth II, with Claire Foy(who I remember from her roles in the revival of Upstairs,Downstairs and Little Dorrit) playing the queen in her younger days. Sounds like my cup of tea and with PBS about to debut Victoria, this winter feels rather royal in storytelling times.

Whatever I watch, I'm just glad to be in the loop and able to join the conversation here. Granted, my seat is on the aisle in Catch-Up Theater but better late than never, as they say:

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