Caitlin's Pop of Culture: November TV Shows

If you’ve been following my column, then you know I like to keep it real. Whether that be sharing how much I loved a film or actor's performance or completing roasting a project, I always try to give you my honest opinion so that you know what you’re getting. So here’s the truth: I really didn’t watch any good movies in November. They were all older films that were mediocre at best. But the shows I watched…. *chef’s kiss*. So here’s all the shows I watched that were miles better than any of the films I watched. 

 

  1. 1. Cursed

    Okay, so not everything I watched was spectacular. “Cursed” is a retelling of an Arthurian tale starring “13 Reasons Why’s” Katherine Langford as a young sorceress determined to save her people. This show was exhausting to watch and is probably the worst show I’ve seen in a long time. While it is surrounded by massive sets and explosive CGI, the show itself fails to its surrounding. The plot is extremely high fantasy, and it's hard to follow for the average viewer. Even though there are many characters, the writing fails to make any of us actually care about what happens to them, much less what happens to them. The acting was alright, which I hate because I think Langford has some real potential. Overall, this “Game of Thrones” wannabe is straight trash and a real waste of someone’s time. 

     

    Rating: F

     

  2. 2. One Day At A Time

    So, I clearly needed a palate cleanser after the trash that was Netflix’s “Cursed,” and that was “One Day At A Time.” A reimagined reboot of the 1975 classic sitcom, this version follows Penelope, a newly single Army veteran, and the other members of her Cuban-American family as they navigate life. This Netflix original/Pop show is genuinely funny because it draws on real-life social issues and family dynamics. Justina Machado is the show’s anchor and is so vulnerable when sharing Penelope’s struggle with mental health and parenting. The acting legend Rita Moreno plays her mother with perfect comedic timing and is the definite scene-stealer. It’s unfortunate that this show keeps getting canceled and moved between networks because it has a lot of heart, something we need during these times. 

    Rating: B+

     

  3. 3. Mrs. America

    “Mrs. America” is a semi-fictionalized account of the movement to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment in the American 1970s. Featuring prominent feminists of the 1970s, like Rose Bryne as Gloria Steinem, Uzo Aduba as Shirley Chisholm and Margo Martindale as Bella Abzug, the show instead centers its show around a famous objector of the ERA, Phyllis Schlafly, played brilliantly by Cate Blanchett. While many may find this controversial, I found the unlikely perspective interesting. Very rarely do we focus on or try to deconstruct the conservative voice in the media, and while some may say shows like “Mrs. America” give these ideas a platform, I say why not. In order to reach these people and have constructive arguments, maybe we need to understand where these people are coming from. While “Mrs. America” does some of that, it still sets out to put down much of Shafly’s narrative, thus proving that amendments like the ERA make life better for women of all political ideologies. 

    Rating: A-

     

  4. 4. The Crown: Season 4

    Ah! The time I look forward to the most, a new season of “The Crown.” After the beginnings of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign and one cast change, “The Crown” has reached the Diana years, and it is glorious! While “The Crown” has always been a superior show with a knack for the dramatic, this is the season that sets the bar the highest. Emma Corrin as Princess Diana is superb casting. Corrin not only nails Diana’s mannerisms but has viewers falling in love with her, just like the world did with the real Diana. Her dynamic with Josh O’Connor as Charles is out of this world, and these two should be shoe-ins for award nominations. Of course, “The Crown” is facing controversy with its portrayal of Charles’ and Diana’s marriage. To that I say, where have you all been? As a longtime royal watcher, I’ve always known about the messy love triangle between Charles, Camilla, and Diana. I am well aware that much of this is probably dramatized, but this kind of stuff makes good television! In fact, the whole show is a dramatization of the life of the royals. I’m sorry, but if you believe everything you watch on TV, should you even watch TV? Of course, all of this could be blowing up because of how close “The Crown” is reaching our current time and the fact that everyone is locked in their houses. Still, the fact is “The Crown” is as entertaining as ever and season four is truly the show’s best season yet. 

    Rating: A+

  5. 5. Little Fires Everywhere

    If you’re looking for more drama, here it is. Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington go head to head as two very different moms in a suburban Ohio town during the late 90s. Witherspoon plays Elena, the stereotypical suburban mom who seems to have everything together, and Washington plays Mia, the free-spirited artist who moves to town with her daughter. Both actresses and the young actors who play their children are exquisite, and each adds to a heated and dramatic tale. The show is captivating from the first episode and manages to tie many themes of economic class and race together beautifully. Still, I felt like Witherspoon and Washington were repeating their past roles, and sometimes the show was a little over the top. But, it’s a must-watch show of 2020. 

    Rating: A-

  6. 6. Dash and Lily

    Going into this holiday season, I was a little bit of a grinch, but “Dash and Lily” changed all that. This Netflix original follows two teens that meet via the exchange of a journal full of dares. To say this show is a delight is an understatement. It’s perfectly casted, perfectly written, and perfectly executed! It’s a bright light in a dark time that reminds everyone of the magic of the holidays, the excitement of first love and the wonders of reaching outside of your comfort zone and being vulnerable. If you watch anything on this list, let it be “Dash and Lily.” 

    Rating: A+