We’ll start with the most recent and work backwards.
1. Legion on FX. Anyone else watching Legion? I started because British McHotSauce from Downton Abbey was the lead and I’ve always liked his weird risky acting choices and piercing blue eyes. Dan Stevens. I met him once. Stabbed him in one of his pretty eyes with my antler. Photographic proof at bottom of entry:
I want to like the show, I really do, but it’s a bit too trippy. I realize it’s about a man called David Haller who has been told his whole life he’s schizophrenic when it turns out he’s got superpowers like telekinesis so they show-people want to make it resemble the chaos that mental illness can wreak. HOWEVER, enough is enough. On top of David being crazy-wait-not-crazy-just-magical other people are trying to go through his memories and you know how the inside of your head looks like your grandma’s garage, with crap and thoughts and bits of dreams piled up all over the place? We the viewer are trekking through many minutes of that. It’s only up to episode 3 so I’m hoping in the next few episodes we stop with the demons chasing characters down hallways that lead to nowhere and the epilepsy-inducing strobe effects. On a positive note, the atypical relationship David has with his girlfriend is charming and interesting to see developing.
2. The Crown on Netflix. It’s the story of the early years of the Queen of England. While I am fully aware that like with every docu-style series everyone on the show is way more attractive with better teeth and above-par conversation skills it was still cool to see a relatively non-fiction retelling of the beginning of Elizabeth the Two’s reign. I think any time a little girl says, “When I grow up I want to be a princess!” we should show them this. “Yes, Bryleigh, being a princess may sound appealing but actually it ends up being not fun at all. There’s lots and lots of paperwork, like a big box a day with your name etched into the box so you can’t give it to someone else to do. And you can’t behead your enemies anymore, in fact you might even have to make small talk with them at parties and tamp down your hatred for the sake of international relations.”
Anyway, back to the show. I learned a series of things I previously had no idea about. First of all in the beginning we see surgery being performed on Elizabeth’s father, King George VI. I assumed kings of empires in the 20th century had their surgeries in hospitals but no, they have them in ballrooms.
Do you see those chandeliers? How awesome are those? I can’t tell if it’s perspective but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were all twenty feet tall because why the hell not. I want all my surgeries in ballrooms from now on. Stained glass windows optional.
There were three things that I learned that blew my mind. One, there was a smog crisis in London in the 1950s where TWELVE THOUSAND people died. Not all immediately, about four thousand people died in the five days that the air was unbreathable, but the effects continued on for years and about twelve thousand people’s demises can be traced back to the smog. How… how have I never known about this? Why was this not taught to me in school in Social Studies as opposed to the gross national product of Belgium which has been of no use whatsoever in my life? (I don’t remember what it was. I assume it’s beer.)
Second, I had no idea that the next-in-line to the throne was not educated. I mean, there are shots of Elizabeth being homeschooled and learning about the Constitution of England but that’s kinda the length and breadth of what she’s taught. Later in the series Elizabeth bemoans the fact that she’s expected to speak to world leaders and she doesn’t know anything. She secretly hires a private tutor. I don’t know why but I assumed that she would be well-read and knowledgeable but it seems like they kept her ignant so they could keep control over her.
Third, okay, Philip, the Queen’s husband, he knew who he was marrying, right? Like, he knew she was going to be queen and the stuff the royal family did for the last bazillion years that hadn’t changed ever? Then why is one of the tropes of the series Philip being butthurt about being the second in the family? He knew he would have to bow to her. He knew he would have to walk two paces behind. I don’t understand where Philip gets off being all “oh no mah fragile masculinity be ouchy” when he clearly could see the future. Very few of us can anticipate what’s coming. He could. I don’t know if that’s true or amped up for the show but if it is true then dude, seriously. Maaaaaaybe don’t marry the future Queen of England, maybe? Yeah.
The main thing I liked about the series was the transition from Elizabeth being a person with thoughts and feelings to a masthead for a nation with no personal identity. There’s supposed to be a second season, I’m psyched to see her further development
Addendum: Dammit, Legion. I saw the fourth episode and not only were there tons of flashbacks and general craziness, now there’s a guy in an oldey-timey diving suit walking through a field of glowing grass and living in a hollowed-out ice cube. You keep this up you gonna lose me.