BABs of TV Shows: Netflix Edition

I don’t know about you, but I spend an almost concerning amount of time streaming shows on Netflix. Maybe it’s because I’m still working remotely part of the week, maybe it’s just ease of access. I’ve found myself watching a lot of shows that I normally wouldn’t (in part because I was running out of things to watch, if we’re being honest). What’s a BAB, you might ask? BAB stands for a Bad Ass Bitch – a lady who doesn’t need anyone but herself (and maybe a group of good friends) to get through life.

Here’s my list of the Bad Ass Bitches of TV Shows: Netflix Edition. 


Insatiable (2019)

Mildly unhinged Patty takes the pageant world by storm after losing a tremendous amount of weight following a particularly bad night of bullying. Played by Debby Ryan, Patty switches from a sympathetic, sheltered character to a bloodthirsty maniac and I, for one, couldn’t love it more. I actually refused to watch this show for quite some time after being a little less than thrilled after the trailers, but once I started – it was hard to stop. 


GLOW (2019)

You can’t talk about BABs without mentioning the gloriousness that was Glow. Regrettably not renewed for a fourth season, this show is set in the 1980’s at the height of the wrestling phenomena and follows a group of women trying to break into the wrestling world. Alison Brie, a personal favorite actress of mine, is unstoppable in this emotional, quirky sitcom. You’ll be laughing and crying from the same episode. I was admittedly late to the party on this show as well. 


Sex Education (2021)

Following the life of Otis, the son of sex therapists, you’re introduced to the modern world of teenage love and hormones. While Otis and Maeve are the obvious front runners, secondary character Aimee, played by Aimee Lou Woods, is an absolute revelation. She starts out as the ditzy popular friend but becomes one of the most lovable and badass characters in the entire show. Not to mention her eloquent way of describing the sacrifices she’s made while baking will surely bring anyone to tears. 


Anything with Victoria Pedretti

Let’s face it, you’ve seen her by now either from The Haunting of Hill House, Bly Manor or You and Pedretti is an absolute force. She is hands down one of the best actors to come out of this decade; capable of such emotional control that she can be a happy housewife and in an instant become a sadistic killer or even a monster.

Let’s bow down to the queen of Netflix BABs.


What BAB of Netflix would you add to the list?


What I’ve Learned From Supernatural (So Far)

So I know I’m late to the party – 15 years late – but I’m here. Over the holidays, my partner and I decided to start binging Supernatural. Admittedly, I’ve avoided getting involved in this show mostly because I witnessed first hand how crazy intense the Supernatural fandom was online (hello tumblr days). But I’m no stick in the mud, so I finally caved and began watching the show ad nauseum.


This is What I’ve Learned (So Far)

**SPOILER WARNING**


  1. This is not a show built for marathons – In just over a month, we’ve managed to watch five full seasons of Supernatural – a whopping 120 episodes roughly – and boy was that hard. About season three, we were able to accurately guess the dialogue before it happened and could laugh about how lackluster it was. This show was designed to be watched episodically – week by week, year by year.
  1. Not all deaths are created equal – Like in Game of Thrones, it’s important for regular characters to have a good, satisfying death and I assume it’s the same in Supernatural. Bela, one of the regular secondary characters, had one of the most disappointing deaths so far. So much so that I actually had to google and make sure she was actually dead. Ruby, on the other hand, could have had a more drawn out death sequence because she was the WORST.

  2. Sam and Dean are kind of dumb – Hear me out. Sam was fooled numerous times by cute-but-demon-or-evil girls (Ruby, Bela, Lilith) and he’s the one who went to college! Dean, bless him, is a simple man who thrives on simple pleasures – beer, meat and ladies, but still knew right off the bat that Ruby was bad news. Both boys found themselves in stupid situations multiple times throughout the seasons – primarily because of their stupidity for each other.

  3. Bobby is the best hunter – Hands down, Bobby is the only hunter worth a shit and this is shown again and again throughout the show. While he does get a fair amount of screen time, it’s always as the plucky sidekick. In season five, Bobby singlehandedly expels a demon out of his own body while possessed and NO ONE cared for more than a few minutes. That is some badassery if I’ve ever seen it.

  4. Yellow Eyes is scarier than Lilith – Yes, Lilith was awesome and I wish we could have spent more time delving into her character, but Yellow Eyes – what a villain. Carried through six seasons on loose lore, occasional sightings and a burning hatred, Yellow Eyes was the villain that kept giving. As new villains and characters were introduced, I kept coming back to Yellow Eyes and wishing that he would join in on the fun again.

  5. An actors rite of passage – I am fully convinced that at some point if you were trying to become an actor in the 2000’s, you ended up having a cameo on Supernatural. Half the fun of watching the show is going, ‘Oh hey, that’s so-and-so from (insert show title)’ or whichever show. From Jared Keeso of Letterkenny to Dylan Minette of 13 Reasons Why to Ashley Benson of Pretty Little Liars – everyone has been on this show.

  6. When in doubt, salt and burn the bones – For the first few seasons, every ‘evil’ encountered was able to be remedied by you guessed it – salting and burning the bones. It’s kind of up there with how every person sick on ‘House’ always seemingly had lupus at first. Obviously as the villains and demons started to become stronger and crazier, the methods had to change, but when in doubt, salt and burn the bones. You’ll probably be okay. 

While I am only a third of the way through the series, I’ll continue updating as new points come to light. If you’re looking for something lighthearted and fun to turn on in the background while doing laundry, this is not it. But this show can help pass the time regardless.

The Haunting: Hill House vs. Bly Manor

Netflix original The Haunting of Hill House (2018), directed by Mike Flanagan, took the streaming world by storm when it was released. Ten episodes of creepy dark and deeply detailed storylines created a haunting experience for the audience, even days after finishing the series. But how does its successor, The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020) hold up to the hype?

**DISCLAIMER: There will be spoilers for both series in this review, so if you haven’t watched them yet, hold off on reading further! Both series were adapted from works of literature: The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (1898) and The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (1959).


So where to begin? I have a standard rubric that I like to use for rating films (#throwback to podcast film review days). The following categories will be rated on a score of 1-5 with 5 being the highest: Strength of Theme, Continuity, Pace, Character Arc and Ending. I usually include Realism and Special Effects, but since both series are created by the same director, those categories would be like splitting hairs. Let’s get started!

Strength of Theme

Hill House 5/5 – Throughout Hill House, the storyline and theme stay strong: it’s about family. The Crains, purchase Hill House intending on renovating it, experience ghostly encounters almost constantly throughout the show. Bouncing between childhood and adulthood, the family remains mostly intact, recalling their memories of the last fateful night at Hill House.

Bly Manor 3/5 – Bly Manor’s theme was a little harder to understand as the ‘family’ is not blood related or altogether very close. Two children, orphaned, are looked after by an au pair, gardener and chef while their paternal uncle stays at arms length. Throughout the story, the children are close and bonded, while not always responding warmly to the others in the pseudo-family.

Continuity

Hill House 5/5 – The continuity in Hill House is *chefs kiss* perfection. One of the reasons I loved Hill House so immensely was the dedication to detail throughout the series. Not to mention, the reveal of the Bent-Neck Lady was one of the best things I’ve seen in years. Even while bouncing between the past and present, everything was cohesive and made sense.

Bly Manor 3/5 – I was left a little confused with the set up of the show until episode 5. This made it hard to determine the continuity throughout the show because it felt very muddled in the timeline. With characters being possessed by other characters, it was a little hard to keep continuity together: who were they really, themselves or the ghost?

Pace

Hill House 4/5 – Hill House keeps a steady pace throughout the episodes, obviously ramping up for the final two. There was never a moment where I was checking my phone or felt bored with the story. With so many family members experiencing their own traumas, there were plenty of interest points to focus on.

Bly Manor 3/5 – Maybe it’s because of the expectation to recreate Hill House, maybe it’s because of the source material, but Bly Manor was painful to get into. With Hill House, I was locked in almost immediately whereas Bly Manor didn’t catch my full attention until the third or fourth episode. This caused the pace to feel slow in the beginning, then full speed at the halfway point, only to slow down again towards the end.

Character Arc

Hill House 4/5 – The character arcs in Hill House weren’t necessarily good character arcs. It was more an ‘arc of understanding’. Each character came to terms with what happened at Hill House in their childhoods by the end of the series. While some characters, like Steve, had a mild tale of redemption, so much of Hill House was based on understanding and accepting their shared trauma. Luke is probably the only character that had a visible arc – from junkie to sober – but it was still slight and a secondary feature in the total story.

Bly Manor 4/5 – The most poignant character arcs were with the au pairs and the paternal uncle – Rebecca Jessel, Dani Clayton and Henry Wingrave. The au pairs journeys were similar in structure: losing a loved one, accepting the loss and ultimately sacrificing yourself for loved ones no matter the cost. Henry’s journey was a little more subdued. He went from being a standoffish, ostentatious jerk to a loving father-figure to Miles and Flora through the acceptance of his paternity and fighting his inner demons.

Ending

Hill House 5/5 – At the end of Hill House, the story felt complete and without leaving the audience wondering, ‘what if?’. Each of the Crain children were able to close the Hill House chapter on their lives and move forward. I am very judgmental of the way a show or movies end and this ended in the best way. You get to see the family two years after Nell’s death, seeing how they’ve all adjusted and grown.

Bly Manor 3/5 – The ending to Bly Manor felt rushed. The main negative spirit, Viola Willoughby a.k.a. the Lady in the Lake, wasn’t revealed until episode 8. First appearing at length in episode 5 with Peter, you were left wondering who she was and why she was there. The Bent-Neck Lady twist was fully revealed in episode 5, allowing for more time in the story to deal with the revelation in comparison to The Lady in the Lake. Additionally, the ending was prolonged by following the relationship between Jamie and Dani for over 15 years, (don’t get me wrong, I stan them fully), but it felt disconnected from a lot of what happened.

Final Scores: Hill House – 23/25 | Bly Manor – 16/25


At the end of the day, I mistakenly went into Bly Manor expecting the same level of creepy, scary and jumpy storylines as Hill House and was overall underwhelmed by the experience. Let’s break that down a little more.

Did I hate it? No; there were some amazingly emotional and deep moments, interesting styles of showcasing memories and great acting.

Will I watch it again? Absolutely. Hill House required two full watches before I was able to confidently say that I caught all of the small details and background ghosts. Would I watch it more than a second time? Probably not.

Would I recommend Bly Manor? Yes, but I would caution the viewer to not hope for the same level of satisfaction as experienced watching Hill House.