Ash Recommends

12 Film & TV Series You Should Already Be Watching

#12 -TROLL – Comedy mini series on HULU

These are short little 4 min episodes that will truly delight you. It amazes me that with two actors just sitting in a room together for just 4 minutes at a time, this show was able to impress me SO MUCH. It’s so low budget, but the writing and the casting just NAILED IT and they got me to guffaw in every, single, episode. Just watch it, it’s SO SHORT, and see what you think. It’s about a troll that goes to therapy for the first time, and I don’t want to tell you much more than that. It’s really, really adorable, and ridiculous ,and poignant, and so much more than you expect it to be. I think you’ll really like it. It’s a hidden treasure.

#11 – I’m Thinking Of Ending Things – Drama Film dIrected by Charlie Kaufman- NETFLIX

This one really caught me by surprise. I am a die hard Jessie Buckley fan, ever since I saw her in Beast on Shudder (which if you haven’t seen, is f—ing incredible) so I will watch anything and everything she’s in, so when I saw she was in this and it was featured on Netflix I just immediately clicked play. It also has one of my favorite actors from Breaking Bad, Black Mirror and many other things, Jesse Plemons, and of course, my eternal acting crush, Toni Collette.

This movie starts out seemingly normal, but there’s this hint that maybe someone is reading someone’s thoughts? Then things start spiraling slowly even moreso from there. At a later point in the movie, without knowing who the director was, I called out, “This is some Charlie Kaufman shit!” come to find out, I was right.

This movie has great intellectually-stimulating banter that challenges you to examine you own relationships and sense of self. I really enjoyed feeling uneasy in the narrative, not knowing what might happen in any second, or knowing if I was even close to the mark at any point in what I thought was happening. I really, really enjoyed this film and hope you will too.

#10 Little Joe – Sci-fi Movie on Hulu

Have you ever felt a deficit in the Horror-Botany-Sci-Fi Genre? Well Little Joe is here to fill in that gap for you. Scientists have designed a plant that nurtures and promotes human happiness OR SO THEY THINK. Man interferes with nature to serve its own selfish needs. How could this possibly go wrong? Definitely on theme in 2020.

#9 Monsterland – Horror series on Hulu

I really enjoyed these scary, sort of dystopian short films, about the dark underbelly of humanity. They sort of remind me of the seven deadly sins or the worst parts of humanity that we all would like to hide about ourselves, and these writers were VERY UNAFRAID to write about themes you DO NOT SEE OFTEN onscreen – I think that’s what I enjoyed the most. The first episode goes into themes within motherhood that are very taboo to write about. It is quite taboo to portray poor mothering of a child, negligent mothering, or a mother that just straight up regrets having her child, or doesn’t want her child. You don’t often get to see a woman ADMITTING those feelings, or in a safe place to emote those feelings. Why? Oh who knows maybe… THE PATRIARCHY?!?! Men get to abandon their children all the time, but do women get to openly emote feelings of regret, being overwhelmed, wishing their life had gone a different way, or that they had more independence or freedom? Oh hellllll no! That would summon the onslaught of the shame police! And they are everywhere! Always at the ready to crticize any feelings other than loving every second of being a mother.

Anyway, I digress, clearly this topic is personal to me, but I very much enjoyed how fearless the writers were in this series to tackle taboo subject matter that really got to the heart of human fears, not unlike Rod Serling did back in The Twilight Zone days. They really crossed a lot of major lines that even made ME uncomfortable (and that’s hard to do) and had me questioning what feelings I’m repressing about my own discomforts with myself and the world at large. What sins are we repressing? What are we in denial about? Are we even being honest with ourselves? How would WE EVEN KNOW? This show made me think about those things and I really, really enjoyed that. Great watch! I loved it, and I loved how different each episode was.

#8 The Vow (Docuseries about that crazy sex cult!) – HBO

I believe that every attempt turned failure to build a human eutopia needs to be analyzed and examined, especially when it turns into an exploitive sex cult. That is why this documentary is so important to watch. Each one of these cults always starts out as a really well meaning, enriching experience that everyone involved claims was one of BEST THING IN THEIR LIVES. That’s how and they were able to be convinced to do these really, truly awful, or negligent things and why it’s so important to watch this, and learn from their experiences. It’s the only way to see when their judgement began to slowly erode, and be surrendered. They allowed themselves to become compromised willingly. Human behavior, especially in these specialized pockets of group dynamics, allow us all to become more aware of ourselves, our own similar behaviors, but also what we COULD become capable of, if our situation became more exaggerated. I learn a lot from these documentaries. We all have the capacity to become negligent or to betray ourselves and others, if there is something we want badly enough. If there is someone charismatic enough, influential enough, enticing us, urging us with enough persistence. This is a great watch, and there is a lot of insightful information here to watch. Highly recommended, but it will haunt and stay with you.

#7 Star Trel: Lower Decks – Animated Comedy Sci-Fi Series – CBS

Oh hey, are you like me? Do you want to slyly get your kids to like Star Trek but you haven’t been able to get them to watch/like STNG or the original Stark Trek episodes? Wah waaahhhh. Fear not! There is this super great new transitional drug available called “The Lower Deck” on CBS which is a Star Trek animated show and it is SO FUNNY and SO CLEVER and its like Rick and Morty and SeaLab and STNG had a BABY!!!! It’s my new favorite thing and Charlie also loves it and now he knows what Star Trek is and it will be that much easier for me to get him to watch STNG with me now so +10 nerd points to me and to Charlie too! Woo-hoo! <3

#6 Lovecraft Country – Scifi/Horror series on HBO Max

In the footsteps of racial horror masters such as Jordan Peele, comes Lovecraft Country, which is able to make the viewer feel the terror of being hunted in America. This show weaves the scifi and horror genres together in a very seamless way, capturing the utter terror of Jim Crow, ceaseless harassment, abuse and blatant murder of black people in America. Sci-fi is used as a mystical vehicle to amplify feelings of haunting, helplessness, constantly having to fight ever bigger unbelievable challenges and odds no one should ever be put up against. I was very impressed by this show’s ability to illustrate the feelings and narratives of racism and oppression using scifi and horror tropes as its vehicle and I believe everyone in America should be watching this show, and others like it, to stay connected and in touch with these stories of oppression. It is very, very well done, however difficult it may sometimes be to watch, it is also very suspenseful and very fun!

#5 Woke – Comedy series on HULU

This is the funniest fucking show. You need to watch it right goddamn now. I would say more, but, you really should just watch it, its so loaded with so many good, current, woke ass, hilarious bits, and its based in my old stomping grounds, San Francisco, so that makes it extra great! WATCH IT!

#4 The Invisible Man – Horror Film on HBO

I’m a huge fan of well executed pacing in action, horror, and sci-fi films, and The Invisible Man has impeccable pacing. This film embodies exactly what it feels like to be gaslit by a partner, family member, employer, coworker, or anyone who wishes to dismiss your experience or point of view. It does it so exceptionally, you almost don’t know what to believe yourself ,it makes you second guess yourself almost. It is a truly terrifying experience to be made to question your own reality. If you’re looking for a Hereditary-grade gut-wrenching scream thriller, this one will take your breath away. If you haven’t seen it, it is a must watch. Elisabeth Moss gives her best performance to date. Truly exceptional.

#3 Utopia (remake by Amazon Prime, the original was British)

You would really do yourself an injustice to watch the remake Of Utopia, and not watch the original British version which has the same lovable psychopath eating tiny boxes of raisins, oh how we adore him. I love the cover art with the striking Charlie Brown yellow and lifeless eyes staring out, looking for Jessica Hyde and the pages of Utopia comic. This show was, at one time, pretty hard to pin down and watch, I know because I TRIED! And so, when I saw the name pop up on Amazon Prime I lost my breath and was like “THERES NO WAY ITS RELATED, IT CAN’T BE” and I saw John Cusack’s name I was like “OH NONONONONO” because John Cusack makes me very, very horny, so these two things combined will mean a number of sheet changes for my bed in the near future – BUT IT WAS TRUE! They have remade one of my favorite scifi series and they have case John Cusack in a very pivotal role. My loins will never be the same AGAIN!

#2 Fargo – Season 4 (with Chris Rock) – HULU

Season 4 of Fargo couldn’t be more perfect if it tried. The casting is perfect, the theme is perfect, the screenplay is bordering on perfect, but really, the timing is perfect. While America’s president uses divisive tactics for his 2021 campaign, viewers are able to lose themselves watching the hard-working multicolored hands of the immigrants who actually built this nation, hands that could break his ass over a tabletop if they wanted to. Scrappy, passionate, strong, driven, strategic, with intention, and minds that have been sharpened to outwit anyone.

I love watching this show because these are the types of people that make me proud to live here. Even though it’s a crime show! It’s a show about making something out of nothing, when everything has been taken from you. It’s a show about perseverance. It’s a show about finding strength when you thought you had none left. And it’s a show about not letting anyone tell you you’re less than what you know you are. We are ALL IMMIGRANTS. Immigrants built America. And that is why I love this show. That, and its a reeallllly really good how, and Jessie Buckley is in it, and Jason Schwartzman, and Chris Rock, and soooo many other amazingly talented people who just give all star performances, you cant miss this, folks!

#1 Raised By Wolves, directed by Ridley Scott on HBO Max

The first episode in this series is so masterfully executed, it had me gripping the sheets on my bed in tight clumps and exclaiming “Noooo wayyyy!!!!.” It sets the scene for a deeply thoughtful commentary on humankind, belief systems, interpersonal trust, human reproduction, and so much more. I think everyone who watches it will get something different out of it, and that’s what I love about how open ended they leave the storyline, they don’t back you into a corner with TELLING you, rather they SHOW you a lot, and leave it to the viewer to garner what they will. That being said, there is A SUBSTANTIAL amount of world building, character building, and they have put a ton of thought into planning out how and when the story and characters will unfold, so I think any fan of Ridley Scott, powerful female leads, scifi, futuristic dystopian worlds – will absolutely have a lot to dig their teeth into here. I cannot recommend this show more!

Ash Strayer

Funny, in spite of ovaries.

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