Tag Archives: netflix

Bridgerton, Romancelandia, and the Masses

Can we talk abut Bridgerton on Netflix for a moment?

Some of the criticism coming about season 2 is that there isn’t enough sex. Not enough graphic, raunchy sex scenes to satisfy all the new people who have discovered Romancelandia (a term coined by those people who religiously read romance novels). Or that those not affiliated or tuned into the romance domain don’t understand why there are new people in season 2. These clearly come from people who don’t read a lot of romance, especially not the Julia Quinn novels these are based on. Let’s take these criticisms one at a time. We’ll start with the second since this is pretty easy to address.

The reason that there are new people, is because that’s the way Romance novels/series are set up. Each book has it’s own HEA (happily ever after) and their story is done. Oh sure, you might see them pop up in a future book in the series as a check in to remind people of their favorite characters, but for the most part their story is done. The series moves on to a different person in the family, a friend, etc. These new characters are always laid out in previous books, dangling them before you like a carrot. That’s how you get sucked in to the next book. I, personally, always wait for the broken ones. I’m a sucker for some hero/heroine that doesn’t think their good enough and those are always my favorites. Hence the reason i’m waiting patiently for Eloise and Penny’s seasons on Netflix.

Yes, I already know they’re going to get their guy but the journey is part of the fun.

You don’t normally see a series of books with the same main character in Romance. That happens in Urban Fantasy, Romantic Suspense, or those types of books where the Romance is NOT the main element in the book. These can follow the same couple over many books and may end with a HFN (happy for now) situation but the character, plot, and romantic arcs are much bigger than your typical romance. In these books the plot and character arcs are the main focus but these can be some of the most rewarding. Ilona Andrews does this in her Kate Daniels and Hidden Legacy books, as well as Kim Harrison in the Hollows books. My own books are tailored after this model. The Blushing Death Series and the Blood and Bone Legacy are definitely a HFN series.

However, Kresley Cole (whose books are legitimately like crack) is a master of the paranormal romance where each book is a different couple and has an HEA for each but the larger arc is also in play. In the IAD-Immortals After Dark-books, the HEA is the most important and the larger arc is just cake.

Let’s take the first criticism now, the lack of sex. I think we need to talk about a few things first.

In Romance books, there are quite a few classic tropes that can be the basis for the plot and everyone has their favorite. There are more but these are the most common:

  1. Friends to lovers – this is where people have been friends for a very long time and somthing changes and they discover they want to bone. Penny/Colin.
  2. Second Chances – think divorced couples or reuniting lost loves
  3. Pretend Relationships – First half of Season 1 of Bridgerton
  4. Forced Proximity – Second half of Season 1 of Bridgerton
  5. Destined to be together – this takes place in paranormal alot with fated mates. This is manifested with a lot of Alpha males yelling MINE
  6. Forbidden love – you all know what this means although don’t get gross with it. More like outside your social strata, your race, your religion, etc.
  7. Love Triangles – 3’s a crowd. Think Twilight
  8. Enemies to lovers – This is what we have in Season 2 of Bridgerton.

So, the enemies to lovers thing is all about the steam, the anticipation, the rising passion as they get over their initial dislike of each other and get down to the animal attraction and passion underneath. You’re not going to spend the entire show banging somone you hate. That’s revenge sex and that’s completely different. So, instead, we have a lot of fighting, misunderstandings, heat, and sexual tension.

Now, it’s my understanding that the book makes a shift from Friends to Lovers to Forced Proximity with the bee incident about half way through (I can not verify this since I haven’t read this particular series. I don’t like to mix book and tv/movie if I like one. I’m always disapointed in something). However, I could see where the show runners sat back and said, that’s too close to season 1, let’s draw this out a bit.

I don’t mind the anticipation and the build up, but the payoff better be worth it. I think where they went wrong was in season 1 and laying the ground work for the Viscount’s story. They set up the vicount as in love with the opera singer and ready to run away with her, thereby shirking his duty as the heir. So, the dramatic turn around of him ready to fulfill his duty and get married, produce an heir, etc seemed a bit forced. We needed a bit more ground work to make that believable. A conversation could have done that for us or maybe the opera singer’s death, marraige, etc. Something to take this other woman out of the picture permanently and his realization that that dream was now over and he had to move on. There was some resignation evident but, I was left wanting. That’s my own personal preference.

A Shit Show & A Happy New Year

Well, I was on vacation since the week of Christmas and I was supposed to get so much done. Um, I did not. I barely left the house and ate my way through just about everything we had. I can feel the weight gain as I type. But, here’s a recap of what did happen. I’m warning you now, this is going to be a long one.

  1. Ugh, it’s been rough to live in Columbus this past week. First, OSU lost to Clemson which probably most of you know. I didn’t watch it because I just…can’t. I am an anxious and angry fan. Then OSU basketball lost to WVU the next day. Then CBJ lost and the goalie got hurt because of stupidity. So there’s that.
  2. I binge watched The Witcher on Netflix. It took me three or four episodes to decide if I actually liked it and finally decided on yes. I did have to watch it with the closed caption on so I could understand what they were saying and they were speaking English. Whoever was responsible for the sound mixing on this show sucks. However, it did make for some great reading. There were some “Hmm’s” from Henry Cavill, quite a few “sigh”s every time someone took a breath. I kept yelling at the screen, “that was a snort you idiots!”. Then there was the “whooshing”. I shit you not. Every time the wind blew, the cc marked it as “whooshing”. It was amazing. On top of all of that, I keep humming that stupid song in my head.

You’re welcome! #sorrynotsorry

Now, the timeline is screwy but once you figure it out, it makes total sense. The sword work was quality and Henry Cavill did all his own stunts. I read an article about how big a fantasy nerd he is and quite frankly, it makes me adore him all the more. There are a couple of points that need to be addressed. Gerald of Rivia and the Bard Jaskier are the Bromance I didn’t know I needed in my life and Yennefer is a BADASS. I love her. If you haven’t seen the trailer, here you go.

3. I followed my binge watching with something a bit more low key and WAAAAAAY more soapy. Welcome to Virgin River.

OMG, this had every cliche plot twist you could imagine.

  • Dead husband and child…got it.
  • Woman running from her past to a small town to forget…got it.
  • PTSD Irag Vet leading man…got it.
  • Battered woman hiding her and her kid from an abusive husband…got it.
  • The woman the hero didn’t actually love is now pregnant right when he’s finally discovering love…got it.
  • Oh, and did I mention the heroine can’t have kids…got it.

The only thing we’re missing here is amnesia. I expect season two will not disappoint on that front. And yes, I will be watching it.

The best part of all of this was that Ross was around while a few of the early episodes were on and he was CRINGING and talking about how bad it was. I got a couple of “really?”s out of him which just made it more fun for me to watch it. Bahahahaha! I love torturing him. It brings me joy.

4. Ross and I went to see StarWars: Rise of Skywalker. It was – meh. There was a point, and I realize this is stupid but I’ve been watching Luke try to lift that fucking X-wing out of the Dagoba swamp for like my entire damned life so when he finally lifted it out of the sea for Rey, I was so fucking proud. That was the highlight of the movie for me. There were parts that were very heavy handed but then I remembered that when I was a kid, we get the “certain point of view” lecture and I remember thinking (when I was six or seven back in the now distant 1980’s) how profound that was.

5. I got pod cast equipment for Christmas which is exciting. This means that I can record my own work for audiobooks because I’m too poor to hire a professional. To all my friends that said they couldn’t read my books because they heard my voice in their heads…this won’t help you.

6. Last by certainly not least the shit show that is RWA. No, i’m not joking. #RWAshitshow was actually trending along side #Istandwithcourtney

This shit has now been covered by the NYTimes, Washington Post, The Guardian, as well as several other national media outlets. Feel free to review any or all of these articles. There’s a pretty good recap on twitter by Cate Eland (or see below).

The worst thing is, this keeps getting worse. With each new release that RWA puts out, they just keep digging themselves a deeper hole. The reality is that I wasn’t going to renew my membership in August with RWA or my local chapters this month for my own reasons. I’ve often felt marginalized because of the genre I write and I never really fit in. I’ve discussed that here before so I won’t rehash. I’m not surprised that those people, particularly women and men of color, were also marginalized. RWA focuses too much on a mold of romance and if you don’t fit in that mold, they don’t want you.

I’ve been reading my digests pretty much everyday and following this shit show on twitter. Honestly, I’m disappointed in some people and incredibly proud of others but that’s to be expected.

So there you have it. Happy New Year everyone!

Mommy’s Day Off

Yesterday, my husband took my daughter and went away. They went to Dayton for the night so that I could have some desperately needed time alone.

I left work, drove up to Polaris and went shopping. I was looking for something specific which means I didn’t find it. Also, even though I lost a whole shit-ton of weight, I still didn’t like the way I looked in any of it. That was my issue and not the items.

After a very disappointing evening of shopping, I took myself out to dinner. I had a glass of wine and enjoyed just sitting there by myself with nothing to do, think about, or even worry about.

When I went home, I had a Netflix and chill evening. What did I watch, you might ask. Well, if you know anything about me, you know it had something to do about serial killers because I’m demented. I watch Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile – the Ted Bundy biopic.

I will say this, I’m so proud of Zac Efron. Look at him…going from High School Musical to playing Ted Bundy. He was very impressive. The other issue I have, however, is that the girlfriend had the potential to be a very interesting character but got lost in the Ted Bundy aspect of the movie. I get it, it’s Ted Bundy and that’s what he did but you had the opportunity to really dive down into how damaging Ted Bundy was to her psychologically and her motives for doing what she did and you missed the opportunity.

After the movie, Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes started, cause Netflix knows me.

Also, my jam. I got through an episode and a half before I started drifting off. I’m definitely going back to this one.

There you have it folks. When left to my own devices, I drink wine and watch shows about serial killers. They’ll probably never leave me alone again.

Sappy HOliday Movies

It is the Christmas season and you know what that means…

Sappy, overly nostalgic, and corny Hallmark movies. That’s right. Not only did I watch The Christmas Prince A Royal Wedding over the weekend, but I went back and watched the original because I had refresh my memory about what happened last year.  Just as a reminder, here are the trailers.

The Original
Round 2

The lead character is played by Rose McIver who was born in 1988. Meanwhile, she looks my age, close to 40. Maybe it was the makeup or the lighting but I’m thinking this woman looks better as a zombie.

zombie face

What I also noticed this weekend that hadn’t occurred to me last year was that, these two people had zero chemistry. At some points, it seemed like they didn’t even like each other. It was awkward and uncomfortable to watch. 

So what’s next, you ask? What could possibly follow such a clusterfuck of ridiculousness? 

Yes, please!

She-Ra Reboot

It’s the holiday season which means Ross is working more closing shifts. What this means is that I am left to my own devices in deciding what to watch. I don’t make good choices. My iPad has basically become a tiny television for me to watch Netflix in bed. I am, in fact, able to access Netflix on the television in my bedroom but don’t. Mainly out of laziness. Don’t. Judge.

So, instead of watching any of the high quality shows in my list, I’ve chosen to watch the new She-Ra. That’s right, it’s back.


It’s actually pretty good. I don’t remember the original too well so, I really can’t compare. I do remember watching it about 10 years ago -you know, when Netflix was actually mailing DVD’s out – and I remember thinking that it was ridiculously cheesy. The reboot was not cheesy. It was fun and surprisingly emotionally complicated.

In the new version, there is some snark which makes my heart happy, and just some ridiculousness that make it amazing. Mermista, the sea princess, is so droll and sarcastic. I think she might be my favorite.

The one thing that I can’t get over, however, is that she keeps saying “by the power of Grayskull” to transform into She-Ra but no one has explained what Grayskull is!

Catra is such a petty, jealous, vindictive bitch! I love her.

So, now that I’ve binged the entire season (all 13 episodes) this week, I’m going to have to move onto something else. Here are my options

  • an infinite list of sappy holiday movies – which I adore! A Christmas Prince The Royal Wedding here I come!
  • any of the Marvel movies still in the list
  • Maniac
  • Jessica Jones (yeah, cause I still haven’t watched that)
  • Jack Whitehall: Travels with my Father
  • one of the billion serial killer docuseries/true crime shows I have in my list – my Netflix home page is swathed in blacks and reds. There are no happy colors queued up for me. 
  • Or I could go back and watch the original She-Ra, cause its in the list now too!

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

I was really excited to see this on Netflix. I put it in my list and last night Ross and I watched the first episode.

See. Such promise.

It was…disappointing and for a lot of reasons.

Ross’s big hang up was that Sally Draper was the star. He couldn’t get passed the kid from Mad Men. That didn’t bother me as much as her acting. She took one too many pointers from January Jones. She was just bad. There was a flat, deadness to her eyes that expressed zero emotion. You’re upset about having to leave your friends, but I don’t really believe you. Have you ever seen a teenage rebel? It’s never the quiet “well, i’m just going to go over here and create a club” kind of rage against the machine type of action. Usually, they are loud and destructive. Or quiet and also destructive. There was also this strange interaction about one of her friends being attacked but instead of seeking retribution for the attack, as any good/bad witch would do; she casts a spell on the principal so she can…start a support group? I mean, seriously. You have magical powers at your fingertips and you sick some spiders on the principal instead of, say, trapping all the jocks who actually did the attacking in a giant hamster wheel,forever stuck running and jumping over the corpses of their friends until they die. See, way funnier and a little fucked up. Maybe I should be writing this show.

I also didn’t understand why one aunt had an English accent and the other one didn’t. Continuity is important.

Sabrina also makes a big deal about getting her familiar and how she wants it to be a “partnership”. So, here’s the thing. Salem chooses the form of a black cat. No one is surprised. There are some things that are sacrosanct. But then she tells him “good boy”. No. Just no. If you’re in a partnership, don’t condescend the cat. Say thank you or I appreciate the help. Do not tell a spiritual being who just saved your life that you have entered a “partnership” in, good boy.

Ross actually laughed out loud at one point because of the witch teacher at the school. If Kiernan Shipka was flat and delivered her lines, than Michelle Gomez delivered her lines with the subtly of a sledgehammer. It was so over the top all I could think of was the claymation witch from Hansel and Gretel. If you haven’t seen this, you should. Its amazing and I’m still traumatized from my childhood. Although, I would totally watch it right now. That’s how messed up it is. Love and terror wrapped up into one.

There was also a moment where Sabrina is supposed to be 15 years old. There’s a shot of her in the bathtub and then getting out of the bathtub. You can see the outline of her breasts and her ass. I understand that the actress is actually 18 but even then, this is skeezy. I’m not sure why more people aren’t upset about this. They’re objectifying what is supposed to be a 15 year old girl. Ross looked over at me and said, “I’m not alone in thinking this isn’t okay, right?”

No, he was not alone.


I’m at home today, taking the day off after a few stress-filled days at work. Am I lounging in my house binge watching Netflix or catching up on Outlander (cause the season premier is coming up)? Speaking of which, I should catch up. NO! Focus. So, instead of going into work today, I have refocused the stress ball sitting in the pit of my stomach constantly to writing. I’m going to get some writing done today Even if it kills me. It might too.

Anyway, I’ve been up for two hours now. I’ve dropped my daughter at daycare (cause there was no way in hell I was getting anything done with her in the house), put in a load of laundry, and now writing a blog. So all in all, today is going about how I thought. Two hours down and no writing completed.

I am the worst!

The Rock

Okay, so we all know that Tom Hanks is a fine actor and that Denzel is . . . well . . . Denzel. But, I’m going to make a bold statement here – and stick with me on this one – I think that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson may be the greatest actor of our time.

I know. I know. You’re probably screaming at the screen right now. But Suzanne, how can you be serious? We’re talking about “THE ROCK”! I get it. I really do. And it would be a justified question. However, I’d like to make a case for my assertion.

His body of work doesn’t necessarily preclude one to think “wow, that guy’s a great actor”. He’s not doing period dramas or World War II epics. He’s doing comedies and as anyone who has tried to do comedy and failed . . . comedy is hard.

This clip from Jumanji is a great example. He’s supposed to be playing a skinny white kid embodied in the “superman” form.

Actually, Jack Black was also amazing in this movie, playing a teenage girl.

Dwayne Johnson also has musical talent. Does anyone really need reminded of Moana? Oh wait, clearly you do. Good luck getting this one out of your head.

Honestly, I think Moana might be my favorite Disney movie. The message is great for little girls, the music is incredible (thanks Lin-Manuel Miranda), and it’s completely underrated.

So, comedy and muscial talent isn’t your thing. If it’s a swing toward the dramatic that may sway you, let’s look at Ballers on HBO first.

I’m going to be honest. I’ve never actually seen this show. I wanted to and that should count for something. Shouldn’t it? I just don’t have time to watch. . . ANYTHING. I have to put Outlander and Game of Thrones on my Calendar for Christ’s sakes. You should see my Netflix list. Jessica Jones has been on it for a hot minute. Shit, I’ve had things in the DVR for years. I’ve gone off the rails. My point is that I’ve wanted to watch it from the start but haven’t found the time. Mostly, because of The Rock.

I think my favorite, by far, is Be Cool. This was a crap movie and should not have been made in the first place but there were a couple of standouts. 1. Andre 3000 (aka Andre Benjamin) as Dabu and 2. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. These two are the only reason I ever watch this movie. And I’m sorry to say that I’ve seen it more than once. Actually, I’m pretty ashamed to admit that, especially in writing because John Travolta is HORRIBLE!

I’ve managed to convince Ross of my argument about Dwayne Johnson. Just think about it for a minute. Are you convinced?


Here’s the thing, I love all the new content. I really really do. Loved Mindhunters.


Loved Altered Carbon.


We won’t even talk about Godless again. LOVED IT. But here’s the thing. Sometimes, I just want to watch old movies from the 90’s. Why are those only available through the DVD service. Who the hell still gets dvd’s. Let’s go Netflix, update your streaming library and include bullshit, sappy movies like Shining Through. Yep, that’s right. I said it. SHINING. THROUGH. Sometimes, I just want to watch a 1940’s WWII spy melodrama where Melanie Griffith looked good. What?


But nooooo! This is available in dvd only. Come on!?! Who exactly is requesting THAT dvd anyway. Just let me stream it in shame-filled peace.

Ready Player One

This is going to be a long one, so get ready…


So, you’ve probably seen a lot of posts about Ready Player One. I didn’t read a whole lot of them because I wanted to draw my own conclusions. I read the book (finished it on Friday) and then saw the movie on Saturday. Now that I’ve had a whole 24 hours to process, there are some . . . things.

The movie, on it’s own, was fun and nostalgic for those of you that grew up in the 80’s and remember all the random crap that you were bombarded with on any given day (hello acid washed jeans, I’m looking in your direction). However, I’m going to say this knowing that this is true 99.9% of the time, the book was better. I know. I know. That’s to be expected. But there are some fundamental issues we need to talk about.

  1. This book was made to be visualized. The pop culture references, music, video games, and movies included in this are all encompassing but you only get a portion. I’m a visual learner so the music references were lost on me, but if I’d heard them, I’d know instantly what was being talked about. Ross, remembers music so some of the film references were lost on him. You see where I’m going with this. Put the entire package together in a visual/auditory medium (aka film or television) and you have the perfect vehicle.

There’s a problem with that though. Two hours isn’t long enough to capture some of the larger themes in the book. Or, really the overall structure which is important but we’ll get to that later.


There’s a question, that they really only touched on at the end in the movie of “humanity”. Over the course of the book, you see the slow marginalization of the real world in Wade Watts as he descends into the Oasis for longer and longer periods of time until he’s basically living his whole life in there. He talks about using a solution to remove all his hair (EVERYWHERE) so that his haptic suit will better conform to his body and pick up his movements. These are things you don’t really get from the movie.

There’s also the issue of vulnerability. The Oasis allows people to present themselves in any fashion they wish, any gender, any race, and species. So, there’s always this question of who you’re really talking to and what they look like. There’s safety in the Avatar. The stakes are high for a real life reveal. You could be talking to someone online for years in the avatar of Christie Brinkley and really be an 80 year old Chinese guy from Beijing. There are high stakes in the reveal of acceptance and community. That is lost in the film since the reveal happens much too early and no real uncertainty on anyone’s part.


The movie included the competition which was key (pun intended). However, the book is told, very much, like a video game. There are level ups, there are weird diversionary levels that you don’t think mean anything but turn our saving your ass in the long run. There are also, failures. You remember Super Mario Bros. 3 (that’s where my references end, btw, cause that’s about the time I stopped playing video games – don’t judge) on World 8 where you could only see the space around the dot that encompassed you, that took me days to beat without skipping it. Not necessarily where Wade Watts is playing an actual video game but his processes, he does this thing again and again until he figures it out or finds the whistle to go around it. It’s nuanced, but important.

There were no mini-bosses, no real challenges to get the keys. Instead of the competition being the center of the story, defeating IOI became the focus. Which yes, you have the ultimate boss in Nolan Sorento but there are tasks and challenges to defeat before ever reaching the final castle and saving Princess Peach. #SuperMarioBros.3 #You’reWelcome #PrincessPeachForever

Ross’s Problem:

The bit with The Shining. OMG! I’m not sure why – actually I do – this got under his skin but IT DID. Some of the games in Ready Player One are actual movies that the avatar are inserted in and have to recite dialogue and function as the character in the scene. Spielberg didn’t quite do that. What he did was take elements of a movie and use them as one of the castle levels for a key.

Now, The Shining did come out in 1980 – that is true – versus the films actually used in the film (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off {1986} and Monty Python’s Holy Grail {1975}), however, there is something sooooo 70’s about it. #ShelleyDuvall. Also, it seems out of place. The pop culture, the movies, everything in it was funny and light. The Shining….that’s way to dark and really sticks out like a sore thumb in the middle of the movie. It’s…weird.

Again, I don’t want to harp on this too much. I think the movie, as a stand alone, was fun and if I went in there without fore knowledge of the book, I would think differently. But as Ross says, this book was written for me and they fucked it up. Actually, I’m throwing “fucked it up” in there. His words were much nicer but I know that’s what he meant. So, there’s that.

I think this would have made a really good Nexflix limit series. You just can’t do it justice in two hours. Shout out to Columbus Ohio though. #Cbus