Ready for another round of what I’ve watched lately? I’m still binging all the TV (it’s a bit of an obsession, honestly), and I’ve seen some good stuff – and some not so good stuff – lately.
Here’s what I’ve been watching.
Down To Earth with Zac Efron – Netflix
Back when quarantine began, I re-watched High School Musical for the first time in years. It was a sweet, nostalgic moment. I remembered then how good Zac Efron had been as Ted Bundy in Netflix’s Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile and of course I adored him in The Greatest Showman. So when I saw he had a TV show on Netflix, I had to watch.
Down To Earth has Zac and Darin Olien traveling around the world to learn about healthy, sustainable living. Each episode is set in a different location with an overall theme. Renewable energy in Iceland, clean water in France, longevity in Sardinia. I wasn’t sure what to expect – particularly after watching some of Zac’s YouTube videos – but honestly? I learned a lot. Sure, Zac has his ‘bro’ moments (which I found endearing) and Darin and I have some difference of opinions on health, but Zac did what he set out to do: he used his celebrity to shine a light on the importance of a sustainable lifestyle.
My other takeaway? I want to give Zac a hug. I got the impression that he’s a sweetheart in ‘real life’ and that perhaps life hasn’t been as friendly to him as his shiny career might make it seem.
Normal People – Hulu
If you only watch one show from this list, make it Hulu’s Normal People. I haven’t read the book it’s based on, but it was a phenomenal show. It is set in Ireland and follows Marianne and Connell from high school through college as they navigate their on-again, off-again relationship. It’s gritty and real and both characters are flawed, but you can’t help but root for them. I especially appreciated the more realistic tilt to the storyline – it felt very true-to-life. It is one of the best shows I’ve seen all year and a true coming of age story.
Umbrella Academy – Netflix, Season 2
I loved season one of Umbrella Academy and couldn’t wait for new episodes. Honestly? I was a little let down. To me, it took a while to get going, and then it was a little hard to follow with all the timeline jumping and such. Klaus had some great lines, per usual, but I felt some of the characters were underutilized while Five was perhaps over utilized. It did end on an intriguing note, however, so I’ll certainly watch another season, should it be renewed.
Medici – Netflix, Season 3
Medici is a favorite series of mine and I was chomping at the bit for the third and final season. Richard Madden stars in the first season while Season two picks up 20 years later with Daniel Sharman in the role of Lorenzo de’Medici. I love Florence and have an appreciation for art, which makes Medici right up my ally. Daniel is fantastic as Lorenzo and season three is full of drama, conflict, and a bit of romance. I won’t spoil it, but if you know a bit about Florence during the 1400s, you’ll know how it ends. It was a beautiful series and I wept as the last episode faded to black.
Cursed – Netflix
I put Cursed on my ‘to watch’ list as soon as I learned Daniel Sharman had a role in it. It’s a re-telling of King Arthur in which the sword chooses a queen. I love these sort of mythological shows, so I thought I would enjoy it. I wasn’t so sure about it at first. I liked a lot of what I was seeing, but the cinematography felt a little all over the place and at times, over the top. Midway through, I’ll admit it. I began to lose interest. There were storylines I really loved – Daniel’s Weeping Monk being one of them along with Merlin – but I wasn’t connecting with the female lead. Still, I kept watching.
And then it got really, really good.
The last couple of episodes in particular were great. The look and feel of the show felt less messy, Nimue transformed from a weeping reluctant queen to a badass, and the last couple of scenes of the finale… oh my goodness. Recognizing my bias towards Daniel – he’s the reason I watched in the first place – his Weeping Monk was a scene stealer. The character has very few lines, but relies on movement and when he does speak, it’s important. He commanded the screen and after that finale… Well, I’ll need more of the Weeping Monk in season two.
Sweet Magnolias – Netflix
I’m a sucker for a feel good ensemble drama and Sweet Magnolias delivered. It was reminiscent of Gilmore Girls and I got sucked right in. It’s about three life-long friends who have one another’s backs through thick and thin. It’s set in a small southern town and it’s just charming, feel good TV. If it were on cable, it would be on Lifetime or Hallmark. It ends on QUITE the cliffhanger – I let out a cry of outrage when I realized it was the last episode – and I had a real fear it wouldn’t be renewed for a second season. Thank goodness it was.
The Baby-Sitter’s Club – Netflix
I read nearly every The Baby-Sitters club book there is as a kid, so I was absolutely here for Netflix’s release of a TV series around them. While it was meant for an audience much younger than myself, I watched every episode. I think I made my way through it in a single day. It was adorable and feel good and something you can absolutely watch as a family. It was nice to watch something so wholesome for a change.
Outer Banks – Netflix
Growing up, I spent a week in the Outer Banks of North Carolina every summer. Some of my best childhood memories happened on OBX. Now, living in N.C., I try to head for the coast whenever I can. So when Netflix released a show set in the Outer Banks there was no question as to whether or not I’d watch. My only complaint? It’s filmed in Charleston. But with good reason – you can Google if you want to read about that.
The series follows John B’s quest to find a treasure his father died trying to find. There’s a lot of action, conflict between John B’s ‘pogue’ friends and the island’s upper class summer residents, and of course, romance between John B and Sarah, the daughter of one of those wealthy men. It’s a great cast and I loved how the quest for treasure was the show’s storyline as the OBX has a lot of treasure lore attached to its history. They just started filming season 2.
Unsolved Mysteries – Netflix
I was obsessed with Unsolved Mysteries as a kid. It fascinated me to hear stories about people who just disappeared into thin air, unsolved murders, and even UFO sightings. I was thrilled when Netflix released a reboot and again, blew threw it all six episodes in a day’s time. There was one story in particular about a French family murdered by their husband and father that was especially intriguing.
Okay, I’ll wrap up this edition of what I’ve watched lately. I’ve been trying a few shows on Hulu and Amazon Prime as of late and will be back soon enough with another round up.
What have you watched lately? What am I missing? Tell me in the comments!