Spoiler-Free Review of “Monsterland” on Hulu: The Darkest Parts of Humanity

**This is a spoiler-free review so feel free to read on!**

Monsterland is a new horror anthology television series on Hulu. It stars Kaitlyn Dever, Taylor Schilling, Nicole Beharie, and Mike Colter. The series premiered on October 2nd 2020 with eight episodes (approximately 55 minutes in length).

Based upon the short story collection, North American Lake Monsters, Monsterland reveals some deep and dark truths lurking beneath the surface. While supernatural and horror elements do play a part, the real horror lies within humanity.

Here is the trailer:

Horror anthology series are surfacing left and right and with Halloween right around the corner, you are probably in search of some good solid scares. However, Monsterland may be more of an unsettling emotional roller coaster ride rather than your typical horror series. Is Monsterland worthy of a watch? Let’s find out…

The Pros:

Images courtesy of Hulu

Incredible performances.

Kaitlyn Dever, Taylor Schilling, and Nicole Beharie really stood out for me, but there were a lot of familiar faces in each episode and I thought that each character did a great job. Since this is anthology style, each episode focuses on a new character in a different town, but every performance held up and was probably the best part of the series for me.

A different take on horror.

One thing I did appreciate in this series was the attention to the darkness embedded within humanity. Sometimes our decisions can eat away at us and while there are some cringe-worthy moments sprinkled in to each episode, the real fear is that we are the actual monsters and have to come to terms with our past and accept the consequences of our actions.

The Cons:

Images courtesy of Hulu

The episodes are way too long.

The episodes are about 53 minutes in length each and they really drag at times. I think that this concept could have worked much better with 35 minute episodes. I understand the need to build up character development through a slow burn approach, but I found myself tuning out quite a bit.

Dark and depressing.

I went into this series hoping for some welcomed horror and I found myself really upset watching each episode. The episodes are emotionally unsettling, which isn’t necessarily a con, but it didn’t help with the slower pace. Other than episodes 1, 5, and 8 (the best episodes of the series for me), the rest of the episodes were dragged out and forgettable, but they did have some worthy performances that should be noted.

So am I in or out?

Images courtesy of Hulu

I’m about 50/50 on this one.

I appreciated the different take on horror here and I was drawn in for a few of the episodes, but I was disappointed overall and thought that the episodes were way too long. If you are looking for an anthology horror-esque show other than American Horror Story, I recommend The Haunting of Hill House (season 2 drops next week) or Hulu’s Into the Dark, which had a unique seasonal theme.

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on Monsterland in the comments section below. Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

If you have time, I would love it if you would check out my book, Dash and Seek in the link below. Thank you and I hope you enjoy!

PLAY BY THE RULES…STAY ALIVE…

 

A harmless night of fun turns deadly for six college friends but the game has only just begun. Take a mystery thrill ride right from your own living room. Dash and Seek is out now! I hope you enjoy!

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Spoiler-Free Review of “Utopia” on Amazon Prime Video: Where is Jessica Hyde?

**This is a spoiler-free review so feel free to read on!**

“What have you done today to earn your place in this crowded world?”

Utopia is a new television series based on the 2013 UK series of the same name. Utopia stars John Cusack, Ashleigh LaThrop, Dan Byrd, Desmin Borges, Sasha Lane, Rainn Wilson and Jessica Rothe. The Amazon Prime Video series premiered on September 25th 2020 with eight episodes (approximately 50 minutes in length).

After a mysterious cult comic book is discovered, a group of devoted fans begin to bid on it. The comic book has predicted diseases in the past and it may be the key to stopping a new virus that is quickly spreading across the country. After many of the bidders wind up dead, the group realizes that the comic book may be based on truth, leading them deeper down the rabbit hole.

Here is the trailer:

Utopia may hit a little too close to home with everything going on in the world right now, but the mysterious puzzle pieces, conspiracy thrills, and dark trippy madness give it a lot of potential. Is Utopia worthy of your next binge-watch? Let’s find out…

The Pros:

Utopia Series 1

Images courtesy of Amazon Prime Video

A plot you can quickly lose yourself in.

There are a lot of Wonderland-esque underlines sprinkled throughout this show which worked to its advantage. The puzzle pieces and clues reel you in each episode and there is enough going on to keep you invested without being overly predictable.

Utopia Series 2

Images courtesy of Amazon Prime Video

Familiar faces and characters to root for.

John Cusack is the star of the show, but I was pleasantly surprised to see Happy Death Day’s Jessica Rothe as well. As each character is revealed, we learn more and more and I thought that there was a great dynamic between them all.

Some characters are more jaded than others and this show is not afraid to kill off characters, but it does a good job of balancing the shock value with consistent characters you want to see survive.

The Cons:

Utopia Series 3

Images courtesy of Amazon Prime Video

Weird timing.

I can’t ignore the timing of the release of this show and while I am fine separating it from the real events of the world, it does bring up a lot of conspiracy theories and ulterior agendas that may seem unwelcomed during this time. I think that as long as you can separate yourself from that and treat this as a work of fiction (which it is), you can still thoroughly enjoy the watch.

Extreme violence and torture shown.

This is not necessarily a con, but I think that sensitive viewers should consider passing on this one. Amazon Prime Video does a good job of putting up advisories prior to the episodes with extremely disturbing content and you should pay attention to those for sure. Beware the spoon…

So am I in or out?

Utopia Series 4

Images courtesy of Amazon Prime Video

I’m in!

Sure, there were some cringe-worthy scenes and some outrageous plot twists, but this show answered my call and then some with a fast-paced binge-watch. The show drew me in from the very first episode and held my attention the entire time.

If you enjoy conspiracy thrillers, Alice in Wonderland, and mysterious puzzles, you are in the right place!

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on Utopia in the comments section below. Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

If you have time, I would love it if you would check out my book, Dash and Seek in the link below. Thank you and I hope you enjoy!

PLAY BY THE RULES…STAY ALIVE…

Main promo smaller

A harmless night of fun turns deadly for six college friends but the game has only just begun. Take a mystery thrill ride right from your own living room. Dash and Seek is out now! I hope you enjoy!

READ IF YOU DARE…

Dash and Seek is available here!

**If you enjoyed this blog, I would love it if you would click the follow button on your way out to subscribe.Thanks for your support!

Spoiler-Free Review of “Ratched” on Netflix: Don’t Take her Peach

**This is a spoiler-free review so feel free to read on!**

“I believe there are worse things to feel than simply feeling nothing…”

Ratched is a new television series from Ryan Murphy based on the character of Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The series acts as a sort of prequel, peeling back the layers behind one of the most notorious female villains in cinema history. Ratched stars Sarah Paulson, Finn Wittrock, Cynthia Nixon, Judy Davis, and Sharon Stone. The Netflix series premiered on September 18th 2020 with eight episodes (approximately 50 minutes in length).

Set in 1947, Nurse Mildred Ratched arrives at Lucia State Hospital seeking employment, but it’s clear from the start that a lot is about to unravel beneath the surface of her image of perfection.

Here is the trailer:

Ratched has everything it needs to be a disturbingly compelling watch, but does every villain truly need a backstory? Let’s find out…

The Pros:

Ratched Sarah Paulson Netflix 1

Images courtesy of Netflix

Sarah Paulson is perfection.

It should come as no surprise that AHS alum Sarah Paulson would be brilliant as Nurse Ratched. She embraces this role without holding back, revealing a darker, methodical side, which really lit up the screen.

The entire cast is phenomenal and the acting was truly outstanding.

Ratched Sarah Paulson fashion Netflix 1

Images courtesy of Netflix

Incredible fashion and visually stunning.

I have not been this blown away by a character’s wardrobe since Villanelle’s in Killing Eve and Sarah Paulson pulls off every single look effortlessly. The colors used are vivid and bright, transporting us seamlessly back into the 1940’s.

Every setting used was truly magnificent as well.

Ratched Sarah Paulson Netflix 2

Images courtesy of Netflix

Disturbing and chilling gore.

Fans of American Horror Story will appreciate the familiar tone of violence and gore sprinkled in. In a lot of ways, this almost felt like another season of the show or perhaps an alternate version of AHS: Aslyum.

The opening minutes of the pilot episode are extremely violent and gory and some of the medical procedures shown are even more disturbing to witness. This isn’t for everyone, but if you are a fan of Ryan Murphy shows, you will feel right at home.

The Cons:

Ratchced Sarah Paulson Netflix 3

Images courtesy of Netflix

Very slow moving at times and…boring.

The first episode ran for 56 minutes, but it felt like I was watching it for almost three hours. The pacing in this series is extremely slow, which didn’t work to its advantage in my opinion.

I was also really bored a lot of the time. I wanted so much more from this show and I feel like Sarah Paulson’s incredible performance was wasted in a lot of ways.

That being said, there are glimmers throughout the show of brilliance and there is enough happening at the end of each episode to draw you in for more. However, I just wish that we didn’t have to wait so long during an episode for something to actually happen…

So am I in or out?

Ratched Sarah Paulson Netflix 4

Images courtesy of Netflix

I’m about 50/50 on this one.

I am a huge fan of Ryan Murphy shows and it was fun to see a few familiar faces from AHS on this show. Sarah Paulson was perfection and I really thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself into the scenery and fashion.

However, there was just something missing for me. The show really had everything it needed to be something beyond brilliant and it fell flat because of the slower pace. 

That being said, fans of Sarah Paulson and AHS will find a lot to appreciate and I think it’s worth a watch. However, if you are looking for something fast paced and binge-watch worthy, I’m not sure that this is the pick you are hoping for.

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on Ratched in the comments section below. Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

If you have time, I would love it if you would check out my book, Dash and Seek in the link below. Thank you and I hope you enjoy!

PLAY BY THE RULES…STAY ALIVE…

Main promo smaller

A harmless night of fun turns deadly for six college friends but the game has only just begun. Take a mystery thrill ride right from your own living room. Dash and Seek is out now! I hope you enjoy!

READ IF YOU DARE…

Dash and Seek is available here!

**If you enjoyed this blog, I would love it if you would click the follow button on your way out to subscribe.  Thanks for your support!

 

Spoiler-Free Review of “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” Part 3 on Netflix: Spellbinding Perfection

**This is a spoiler-free review so feel free to read on!**

“Here’s to Sabrina Spellman!  Cheerleader by day, Queen of Hell by Night!”

Hell looks good on our girl Sabrina Spellman, played brilliantly again by Kiernan Shipka. 

In the midst of all of the dark and twisted spell-casting, there is still room for some fun bubble gum pop moments featuring cheerleading, Riverdale Easter Eggs, and romance.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Netflix 8
Images courtesy of Netflix

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Part 3 premiered on Netflix on January 24th 2020 with 8 new episodes (55-60 minutes in length).  It stars Kiernan Shipka, Miranda Otto, Lucy Davis, Chance Perdomo, Ross Lynch, and Michelle Gomez.

Part 3 starts off with a bang, as Sabrina is desperate to find a way into Hell to free her boyfriend, Nick.  With the help of her mortal friends, Sabrina crosses paths with some new foes along the way.  Sabrina is destined for the crown, but is quickly challenged again and again.

Her loyalties are tested, but where does her heart truly lie?

Parts 1 and 2 were absolutely fantastic, but can Part 3 measure up?  Let’s find out…

The Pros:

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Netflix 3
Images courtesy of Netflix

We dive deeper into a magical world filled with history, wickedness, and mystery.

The show seamlessly submerges us into a world with dark magic wedged into every nook and cranny of history.  We learn about Dante’s Inferno, vampires, banshees, voodoo, Pagan gods, and more.  While it may initially seem like this is quite a lot to cram into 8 episodes, each adventure worked so well with the plot, luring us in that much more.

New and interesting characters.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Netflix 6
Images courtesy of Netflix

The show already has a large cast with amazing characters, but some of the new additions really added to the charm of the show.  But let’s not forget about Lilith aka Mary Wardwell, who continues to be a phenomenal scene stealer.

I also really appreciated the time spent toward developing some of the other characters, specifically Theo and Prudence.

Some of the new villains prove to be quite formidable, constantly putting our girl Sabrina Spellman to the test, which provides us with a lot of edge-of-your-seat moments and exciting twists.  More please!

Lots of fun.

Even though Sabrina is now the Queen of Hell, she still decides to try out for the cheerleading squad with Ros.  We get some fantastic musical numbers that gave me a 90’s nostalgia along with some crafty Riverdale Easter Eggs, which is known as the murder capital of the world.  Where’s vigilante Archie when you need him?

I thought that this poppy fun feel really balanced out the darker elements of the show, giving me a Buffy the Vampire Slayer vibe while still casting its way toward its own magical identity.

The Cons:

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Netflix 4
Images courtesy of Netflix

None.  Well, I guess if I need to pick something, it would be that I wanted more episodes. 

Parts 1 and 2 featured 16 episodes split up into 8 at a time.  Parts 3 and 4 will follow the same format.  We will get the next 8 episodes on July 3rd 2020, which is a long time to wait to catch up with our favorite witches!

So am I in or out?

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Netflix 5
Images courtesy of Netflix

Of course I’m in…100 percent and more!  This show gets better and better.  Countdown until the next witching hour!

If you aren’t watching this show yet, I absolutely recommend it.  It is so much fun and the characters are bewitching…even without the magic.  Enjoy witches!

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Part 3 in the comments section below.  Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

**Do you love television shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Once Upon a Time, Lost, Charmed, The Vampire Diaries, and Supernatural?  Do you enjoy dark fantasy, fairy-tale retellings, paranormal romance, horror, and mystery?  Then you may like my book series, Dreaming of Wonderland…available on Amazon!  Thank you for taking the time to check it out and I appreciate any feedback as well.  I really hope you enjoy!

The Dreaming of Wonderland Book Series is available here!

Free Instant Preview of The Search for Alice is available here!

**If you enjoyed this blog, I would love it if you would click the follow button on your way out to subscribe.  Thanks for your support!

Do you love horror series?  Of course you do!  Please also check out 12 Nights of Horror Series Coming Soon.  It’s your home for everything you need to know about new and returning horror television series including new trailers, premiere dates, reviews, recaps, and renewals! 

Spoiler-Free Review of “The Witcher” on Netflix: Monsters, Magic and Melody

**This is a spoiler-free review so feel free to read on!**

The world of a dark fantasy can be somewhat confusing, but with Henry Cavill’s portrayal of Geralt of Rivia, all bets are off.  We are quickly immersed into a world filled with terrifying nightmares, dark magic, and war, as we are reminded quite often about the importance of destiny while bursting into some welcomed song.

The Witcher began streaming episodes on Netflix as of December 20th 2019 and currently features eight episodes for season one.  Each episode is about an hour, so leave plenty of time to watch this.  It stars Henry Cavill, Freya Allan, and Anya Chalotra.  If you are worried about the cliffhanger ending at the end of season one, fear not!

The Witcher has already been confirmed and renewed for season two by Netflix.

Based on the popular video games and book series, The Witcher follows Geralt of Rivia on his monster hunting quest, as he tries to find his own purpose in the world while battling the forces of evil on a daily basis.  His destiny is linked to Princess Ciri, who ends up on the run during the war, and to Yennefer of Vengerberg, a powerful mage with her own inner demons.

Does The Witcher measure up to all the hype?  Let’s find out…

The Pros:

The Witcher Netflix 1
Images courtesy of Netflix

Wonderful characters and performances.

If you were worried about Henry Cavill, don’t be.  He’s absolutely fantastic!  Once you get over his tone of voice, you will thoroughly enjoy his performance.  Some of my favorite moments include the dynamic between him and the bard, giving us a lot of unexpected comedy and fun banter.

My favorite character is definitely Yennefer of Vengerberg, however.  Her story is so intriguing and interesting.  I got some Melisandre vibes from Game of Thrones, but that is not a bad thing at all.  I’m always more interested in the darker anti-hero rather than a character who is so obviously good.

Gore, action, and passion.

The Witcher is definitely not for the faint of heart.  The battle scenes are intense and there are some disturbing images and moments that I am still cringing over.  Of course these moments are also balanced out with a lot of sex scenes, but that’s to be expected.  I don’t think that anything was overdone or over-the-top, however.

The Cons:

The Witcher Netflix 2
Images courtesy of Netflix

A lot of characters and time jumps.

So, when you play a video game, you get a guide to reference and I often felt like I needed one of my very own to keep track of everyone.  There is a lot jam-packed into eight episodes and you really need to pay attention.

I also thought the time jumps were slightly confusing.  I didn’t get any text clues as to where we were in time and I had to figure it out on my own.  Again, I don’t really think this was a huge issue, but I did feel like I needed to take notes to figure out some things…

So am I in or out?

The Witcher Netflix 3
Images courtesy of Netflix

I’m in 100 percent!  Wow, this may be one of the best shows I have watched all year.  I’ll be honest, I went into this show expecting to be confused and overwhelmed.  I am familiar with the video games and books, but I wouldn’t say that I am that well versed in either.

From my understanding, the show fits in somewhere between these plots while giving us enough of a unique story, but you can watch this show without knowing anything about either one.  Trust me.

If you are a fan of shows or movies like Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, and Merlin, you will feel right at home, but I will say that you don’t need to be a fantasy fan to enjoy this series.  The story weaving is so intricate and well done and this show is beyond addicting.  Even though the episodes are long, I finished it in two days and as soon as I got to the end, I wanted more!

I highly recommend this show and I hope you enjoy it!

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on The Witcher in the comments section below.  Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

[twitter-follow screen_name=’TV_Fanatic_Girl’]

The Dreaming of Wonderland Book Series is available here!

Dreaming of Wonderland Holiday 1

**Do you love television shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Once Upon a Time, Lost, Charmed, The Vampire Diaries, and Supernatural?  Do you enjoy dark fantasy, fairy-tale retellings, paranormal romance, horror, and mystery?  Then you may like my book series, Dreaming of Wonderland…available on Amazon!  Thank you for taking the time to check it out and I appreciate any feedback as well.  I really hope you enjoy!

Free Instant Preview of The Search for Alice is available here!

**If you enjoyed this blog, I would love it if you would click the follow button on your way out to subscribe.  Thanks for your support!

Do you love horror series?  Of course you do!  Please also check out 12 Nights of Horror Series Coming Soon.  It’s your home for everything you need to know about new and returning horror television series including new trailers, premiere dates, reviews, recaps, and renewals!