Spoiler-Free Review of “Ju-On: Origins” on Netflix: Stomach-Turning Terror

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

If you thoroughly enjoy the horror film franchise, Ju-On or The Grudgeyou may have been counting the days until the release of the streaming television series, Ju-On: Origins.

Ju-On: Origins is a Japanese horror series that premiered on Netflix on July 3rd 2020. It features 6 episodes (28-30 minutes in length). The series is available with subtitles or dubbed in English.

It’s difficult to present fans with something truly unique and different when coming from such an extensive franchise, but the series manages to bring us back to the beginning. We witness several timelines involving a house with unexplainable connections to horrific acts of violence and murder, as a paranormal investigator tries to obtain as much information as he can to get to the truth.

This show has the potential to truly terrify you with a satisfying binge-watch, but does Ju-On: Origins do enough to step out from the shadows of the films? Let’s find out…

The Pros:

Ju On Origins Netflix 1
Images courtesy of Netflix

The anthology style works.

Since there are only six episodes and each one is actually pretty short, the anthology style works well. We learn about several different characters who have all entered the house in question throughout the late eighties and into the nineties, presenting us with connections and a real mystery.

The series is supposed to represent the true events that actually inspired the franchise and this particular style allows Ju-On: Origins to branch out and form its own identity.

Moves away from jump scares/tropes.

I don’t know about you, but there are several moments from The Grudge movies that still don’t sit well with me. I’m constantly checking under the covers and that sound still haunts me to this day.

The series takes a different approach and moves away from the jump scares that we are all accustomed to. Rather, it leans more on some disturbing scenes of gore and a slow burn approach, revealing that sometimes cruel and unthinkable acts of humanity may actually be more terrifying in the end, which gives the audience something to truly think about.

While the show didn’t really scare me, there were some moments that really made my stomach turn. Seriously, I skipped breakfast today just because of it.

The Cons:

Ju Origins Netflix 2
Images courtesy of Netflix

Slow moving at first.

There are only six episodes, but things really didn’t pick up for me until episode 4. Once the mystery started unraveling more and more, I became more invested and I was actually really interested in some of the character connections and the reveals.

It would have been great if the show had this same feel from the very start, but there are moments in each episode that have that shock value to grab your attention.

Not for the faint of heart.

As I mentioned earlier, there are some real disturbing moments of gore featured in the series. However, there are also some scenes that are extremely difficult to watch and I hope that Netflix considers adding a few advisories to these particular episodes that show a violent sexual assault and an extremely disturbing scene involving a pregnant woman.

As of right now, Netflix codes the show as being for mature audiences, featuring violence. However, I think that extra advisories should be added for episodes 1 and 4. Please be aware of these scenes during your watch.

So am I in or out?

Ju On Origins Netflix 3
Images courtesy of Netflix

I’m about 50/50 on this one. I think that true fans of this franchise will thoroughly enjoy the series. If you are a horror fan looking for something quick to binge-watch, it only takes about three hours to get through all of the episodes.

The show does have some interesting qualities and I really did become more invested during episode 4, but I think we could have captured this feel from the very beginning and some of that was missed with the slower pace.

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

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

PLAY BY THE RULES…STAY ALIVE…

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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!

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Spoiler-Free Review of “The Order” Season 2 on Netflix: Surprisingly Addicting with Amazing Guest Stars

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

“It can’t be a secret society if outsiders know your secrets…”

The Order season two premiered on Netflix on June 18th 2020. It features 10 episodes (47-50 minutes in length) and it stars Jake Manley, Sarah Grey, Adam DiMarco, Katharine Isabelle, and Louriza Tronco.

Secret societies, dark magic rituals, and werewolves are back for season two, as we pick up right where we left off.

Season two is jam-packed with quite a lot, but are we ready to sign up for the Hermetic Order of the Blue Rose? Let’s find out…

The Pros:

The Order Season 2 Netflix 4
Images courtesy of Netflix

Deliciously dark magic rituals.

I thought that season two did an even better job than season one with bringing us into some serious dark magic rituals. Whether our favorite characters were performing a spell or summoning a demon, there were some cringe-worthy scenes that really allowed this series to embrace its supernatural horror qualities. 

The Order Season 2 Netflix 5
Images courtesy of Netflix

More please!

Villaness worthy Vera Stone!

The Order Season 2 Netflix 1
Images courtesy of Netflix

I don’t know about you, but I would love to see a spin-off series featuring Vera and maybe we could throw in Mary Wardwell (Lilith) from Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. I think they would make a bewitching tag team.

Vera is the Villaness you love to hate, but we actually get to see several sides of her in season two, which added to the growth of her character. She’s strong, sexy, and a bad-ass magic practitioner you do not want to cross.

Her wardrobe is absolutely incredible as well!

Incredible Guest Stars!

The Order Season 2 Netflix 3
Images courtesy of Netflix

Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Beverly Hills, 90210 fans will be beyond ecstatic when they see who appears on screen. I thought this was so much fun and I was cheering for these cameos/characters more than some of the main characters. The guest stars actually helped lighten up some of the heavy teen drama going on, which I appreciated. You won’t be disappointed!

The Cons:

The Order Season 2 Netflix 2
Images courtesy of Netflix

Too reliant on ships.

Don’t get me wrong. I love a good ship and I didn’t even really mind the will-they-won’t-they vibe between Jack and Alyssa, but the show relied a little too much on some of these teen drama moments and it didn’t really need them. This made it seem like more of a watered down version of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Charmed (reboot) and The Vampire Diaries at times.

The Order is actually really dark and different on its own and when it centers around these ships for too long, you start to make comparisons…

A lot going on.

I wouldn’t say this is necessarily a con, but you need to pay attention. There are a lot of characters and a lot of plot twists. I strongly recommend watching season two right after season one or at least watching the recap.

So am I in or out?

The Order Season 2 Netflix 6
Images courtesy of Netflix

I’m in! This show is really entertaining and the twists and character dynamics will keep you invested. I actually may have enjoyed it even more than season one.

The Order is binge-watch worthy and I highly recommend it, especially since there is a gap in new shows and episodes right now.

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

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

PLAY BY THE RULES…STAY ALIVE…

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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!

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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 Harlan Coben’s “The Woods” on Netflix

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

If you thoroughly enjoyed your watches of The Stranger and Safe, Harlan Coben’s latest crime thriller series is out for you to binge-watch now. 

The Woods is a Polish series that premiered on Netflix on June 12th 2020. It features 6 episodes (45-50 minutes in length) and it stars Grzegorz Damiecki, Agnieszka Grochowska, Hubert Milkowski, and Wiktoria Filus. The series is available with subtitles or dubbed in English.

Like the addicting and binge-watch worthy The Stranger and Safe, The Woods is also brought to us from author and creator, Harlan Coben. It is a mystery thriller that centers around Pawel Kopinski. Twenty-five years ago, Pawel’s sister went missing, along with three other teens from their summer camp, but new evidence comes to light, suggesting that the case may not be shut just yet.

This show has the potential to fulfill your craving for a new mystery thriller, but does The Woods measure up to The Stranger and Safe? Let’s find out…

The Pros:

The Woods Netflix 1
Images courtesy of Netflix

A mystery that immediately pulls you in.

Much like with The Stranger and Safe, Harlan Coben is a genius at bringing us into a crime filled world with secrets and reveals at every corner. The mystery surrounding Pawel’s missing sister is a compelling one. It hooks you onto the show and keeps you guessing until the very end, which is what I expect these shows to do.

The Woods Netflix 2
Images courtesy of Netflix

Ship-worthy chemistry.

Don’t get me wrong, the series is a crime thriller mystery, but I absolutely loved the chemistry between Pawel and Laura. They fell in love twenty-five years ago and when they meet up in the present, you could just feel the passion between them once again. Sure, they don’t really have too much time to dwell on this, but it helped me connect with the characters more and I thought their performances were believable and well done.

The Woods Netflix 3
Images courtesy of Netflix

Seamless flashbacks.

It’s not easy pulling off flashbacks that advance the plot, but I thought that they worked extremely well in this particular series. I was actually more interested in the flashbacks than present day events and I thought that they freed us up from the slower pace at times. The character dynamics were great and you really felt the terror and anxiety rushing through each character as secrets were revealed.

The Cons:

The Woods Netflix 4
Images courtesy of Netflix

Slow pace.

The series is only six episodes and each episode isn’t terribly long, but the series had a tendency to drag in many places. The monotonous music and dull lighting didn’t help at times as I had to keep forcing myself to pay attention. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of moments where you will focus on what is going on completely, but I was just hoping for a faster pace like with The Stranger and Safe and I didn’t really get that here.

Too many sub-plots.

If you have read my reviews on The Stranger and Safe, then you know that I often comment on the multiple sub-plots throughout these series. However, they seemed to stick out even more in The Woods because of the slower pace.

We get this present day case that Pawel is working on and I’m not even sure what actually happened with it because it steered off course too much. While many of the sub-plots make sense later on and add to the mystery, they could be extremely overwhelming and unnecessary at times.

So am I in or out?

The Woods Netflix 6
Images courtesy of Netflix

I’m about 50/50 on this one. The series is only six episodes long so it does make a good weekend binge-watch, but I wouldn’t necessarily move it up to the top of your list just yet. 

Perhaps I set my expectations a little bit too high here. I adored both The Stranger and Safe and I was counting the days up until the release of this series. While The Woods does deliver as a compelling mystery that will keep you guessing, it lacks in a lot of other areas and is just kind of OK overall.

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on The Woods in the comments section below. You can check out my review of The Stranger here!  Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

PLAY BY THE RULES…STAY ALIVE…

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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!

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 “13 Reasons Why” Season 4 on Netflix: High School is Over

**Major spoilers have been left out for your convenience so feel free to read on!**

“Life is a pretty spectacular thing.”

The final season of 13 Reasons Why premiered on Netflix on June 5th 2020 with 10 new episodes (Approximately 58 minutes in length) in season 4. It stars Dylan Minnette, Christian Navarro, Alisha Boe, Brandon Flynn, and Miles Heizer.

The show is based on the novel written by Jay Asher. It follows a young high school student who suffers from depression after dealing with bullying and betrayal. The series allowed us to see things from Hannah Baker’s perspective in the first season, but the other seasons focused more on the lives of her friends and family members as they coped with grief and other significant changes.

If you are a fan of this show, then you know that it is like nothing else you have ever seen. It tackles a lot of important and sensitive issues without holding anything back. When the show first premiered, there was a lot of controversy surrounding it and there are several warnings that come up before each episode that should not be ignored.

Coming to the end of a brilliant series is not easily done, but does 13 Reasons Why give our beloved characters the proper farewell they deserve? Let’s find out…

The Pros:

13 Reasons Why s 4 Netflix 1
Images courtesy of Netflix

Moving performances by Dylan Minnette, Alisha Boe, and Brandon Flynn.

The entire cast is great, but this trio really gives us some heart-wrenching moments that will have you in tears. They are real, believable, and thought-provoking. You can truly empathize with them. You can easily imagine them as your own best friend or brother or sister. In a way, we have really watched them grow up on screen. 

When I first started the series, I had mixed thoughts on all of the characters and while Clay Jensen stole our hearts and compassion from the very start, Justin and Jessica really went through important character transformations throughout the series.

13 Reasons Why S 4 Netflix 2
Images courtesy of Netflix

Proper goodbyes.

A lot of series don’t really get the chance to give each and every one of their characters a proper send off. Some series are canceled too early and others drag things out too much. However, I thought that 13 Reasons Why did a really great job of allowing us to truly say farewell to each character.

High School can often feel like the end and unfortunately, it is the absolute end for some of our beloved characters. But for others, it is just the beginning of their journey and we can all relate to that.

While some characters discovered new relationships and passions, others went down dark roads of despair. But each one got enough screen time so that we could appreciate and understand their growth. Not just in high school, but in life.

13 Reasons Why S 4 Netflix 3
Images courtesy of Netflix

Episode 6

Each episode gave us some tropes about the end of high school. We got to witness a senior camping trip, college interviews, the prom, and graduation. However, I thought that episode 6 almost could have been a standalone for the series.

It was so intense and it really brought me back to that same feel I had while watching season 1, which I appreciated. Again, the warnings should not be ignored on this series and I strongly recommend watching it with someone else, but I thought the writing and direction for this particular episode was brilliant.

The Cons:

13 Reasons Why S 4 Netflix 4

Unsure of its plot.

A lot of season 4 focuses on Clay’s anxiety, especially after coping with what happened to Bryce and Monty. It is not easy to personify mental illness, but I could have done without the cheesy horror effects sprinkled in. They were kind of distracting and it took away from Clay’s actual issues. I thought it would have been better to stick with Clay’s revealing conversations with his therapist, which were extremely well done.

I’m still also not sure what the main plot was. Season 4 was kind of all over the place in certain aspects. In season 1, we focused on Hannah. In season 2, we looked at things from other eyes. In season 3, we watched things from a newcomer and also focused on a murder. However, season 4 didn’t really have much of a plot.

There were moments of pure brilliance and some really heartbreaking ones that still have me in tears, but I guess I was hoping for something to really captivate my attention like with the other seasons.

13 Reasons Why S 5 Netflix
Images courtesy of Netflix

Jessica Davis deserved more.

Jessica’s character transformation across the seasons has really been something spectacular. In season 3, she really embraced her strength and identity as a woman and became a leader. However, in season 4, she still talks a lot about these issues, but we spend too much time tangling her up in a love triangle that was unnecessary.

Jessica has been in toxic relationships, but she has also discovered her individuality. I just didn’t want that completely tainted and I thought that we could have moved away from the love triangle plot all together.

So am I in or out?

13 Reasons Why S 4 6 Netflix
Images courtesy of Netflix

I’m in because I have a lot of respect for this show. There are a lot of teen dramas around that skim over important issues and I really thought that this particular one dove right in without censors. There are some moments throughout the show that are extremely difficult to watch, but sometimes we need to watch them in order to process all of these important issues in our lives.

The world can be scary and overwhelming and 13 Reasons Why reminded us that through all of the grief and difficult moments, there are also really beautiful ones as well and that life is worth living. While I had some personal preferences and issues with the final season, I will forever be a fan of this show.

It’s one of a kind and something that will stand the test of time for me.

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on 13 Reasons Why in the comments section below.  Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

PLAY BY THE RULES…STAY ALIVE…

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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!

PLAY 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!

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! 

 

 

5 Guilty Pleasure Thrillers to Enjoy while Staying at Home

Happy Throwback Thursday! Staying at home has really allowed me to enjoy a lot of new television series and movies. However, there are some old favorites that I wanted to return to. Netflix has recently been releasing some guilty pleasure Lifetime-like thrillers such as Secret Obsession and Dangerous Lies, which really got me thinking about some of my own personal favorite guilty pleasure thrillers.

While nothing compares to watching these films for the very first time, there is this rush I get whenever I watch them. Sure, some of them are somewhat predictable and have outrageous plots, but that’s why I love them. They are the perfect films to binge-watch staying at home while enjoying a nice glass of wine and a snack…or two.

Either way, these films will certainly provide you with some edge of your seat tension to shake things up while staying at home. Please note spoilers have been left out for your convenience. Enjoy!

My top 5 Guilty Pleasure Thriller films of all time are:

5

Red Eye

Red Eye
Image courtesy of HBO

Released in 2005, Red Eye stars Rachel McAdams and Cillian Murphy and is directed by Wes Craven. A lot of people forget about this movie, but I actually saw it in theaters and loved it!

Synopsis: Hotel manager, Lisa boards a plane and sits next to a charming stranger. Things seem to be going well until the stranger reveals that he has an ulterior motive for sitting with her. The plane ride is filled with unexpected twists and turns.

I have probably seen this movie over twenty times and while I know the plot very well now, I just can’t stop watching it. It’s over the top sometimes and predictable in certain moments, but the film pulls you in and brings you back to those edge of your seat moments without skipping a beat.

Where to watch: HBO demand

4

Sleeping with the Enemy

Sleeping with the enemy
Image courtesy of STARZ

Released in 1991, this film stars Julia Roberts and Patrick Bergin. Before I had cable TV, this movie was always on as the Saturday night movie on The WB. I used to watch it all the time because I didn’t really have many other options, but I quickly became obsessed. It’s actually one of my mom’s favorite movies and I still think twice about keeping my towels in order. Watch out for that music…

Synopsis: An abused wife fakes her own death and tries to start her life over, but her husband attempts to track her down to make her life a living hell.

Where to watch: STARZ demand

3

A Perfect Getaway

Perfect Getaway
Image courtesy of STARZ

Released in 2009, A Perfect Getaway stars Milla Jovovich and Steve Zahn. This thriller has one of the best twists I have ever witnessed. Sure, I know the twist now, but I still love watching this movie. It has some really great stars in it, including Timothy Olyphant and Chris Hemsworth! Plus, the movie takes place in Hawaii! You can’t get much better than a vacation trip gone wrong when you’re stuck staying at home.

Synopsis: A newly married couple travel on their honeymoon in Hawaii, but quickly realize that they may be hiking with a dangerous threat. Secrets are revealed and their survival is put to the test.

Where to watch: STARZ demand

2

The Call

The Call Halle Berry
Image courtesy of Amazon Prime

Released in 2003, The Call stars Halle Berry and Abigail Breslin. I absolutely adore this movie! I have probably seen it more than all the others on this list and Halle Berry is beyond amazing as 911 operator, Jordan. This movie screams guilty pleasure thriller. It is fast paced and has a shocking ending that will leave you completely satisfied.

Synopsis: After a young woman meets her demise while on the phone with 911, Jordan is traumatized. She sticks to training new 911 operators, but when a similar call comes through from a young woman, she is forced to push her demons aside in order to try and save her before history repeats itself.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime with add on, VUDU, FANDANGONOW

1

Double Jeopardy

Double Jeopardy Movie
Image courtesy of STARZ

Released in 1999, Double Jeopardy stars Ashley Judd and Tommy Lee Jones. This is my go-to movie and probably the one that first got me interested in this guilty pleasure thriller genre. While there are certainly a lot of movies that fall into this category, there’s really nothing like Double Jeopardy. It stands in a class of its own and always will for me.

Synopsis: You can’t be convicted for the same crime twice. Ashley Judd’s character, Libby, eventually learns this when she is wrongfully convicted for the murder of her husband. After being released, she tries to track down her son and starts to learn that she may have been intentionally framed for her crime. Libby decides to get revenge while her parole officer tries to stop her.

Where to watch: STARZ demand

Which guilty pleasure thriller films do YOU enjoy most? 

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to post your own thoughts on these movies and your favorites in the comments section below. Thank you so much for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

PLAY BY THE RULES…STAY ALIVE…

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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!

PLAY 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!

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! 

 

 

 

 

My performance of the week ending 4/4/20 on TV goes to…

Tom Pelphrey as Ben Davis on Netflix’s Ozark season 3.

Ozark season 3 may be my favorite season yet and part of that is because of the beyond brilliant performance by Tom Pelphrey, who gave his heart and soul to his portrayal of Wendy’s brother, Ben Davis.

**Please note major spoilers have been left out for your convenience.**

It’s not easy being the new character on a show, especially when the characters are already so fantastic. However, Ben Davis certainly makes his presence known when he shows up to stay with the Byrde family.

What I really enjoyed about Ben was the way he was able to elevate other characters on the show. His connections with Ruth and his sister, Wendy, really developed their own character transformations, which I thought was so clever and thought-provoking.

Ben from Ozark Netflix 2
Images courtesy of Netflix

We learn that Ben suffers from bipolar disorder and begins to make some drastic decisions when he starts developing romantic feelings for our girl, Ruth, which worries Wendy. Wendy has seen Ben at his worst before and doesn’t want to go down this dark path again, especially since the entire family is walking on eggshells while working for the drug cartel.

I’ve never really liked Wendy that much before, but her interactions with Ben made me change my mind. We finally got to witness some truly believable and emotional moments with Wendy and I’m not sure that we would have seen them without Ben on the show.

Ben from Ozark Netflix 1
Images courtesy of Netflix

Ben has some fantastic and chilling moments on his own as well and isn’t afraid to shatter the lies and secrets being told in town. While his measures and actions may be beyond extreme at times, you can tell that he really has a big heart and cares about both Ruth and his family. He wears his heart on his sleeve, but he also believes in loyalty and integrity. He is honestly one of the most interesting characters I have seen on a show in a long time.

It’s not always easy to portray someone with a mental illness, but Tom Pelphrey really does a great job. He doesn’t overdo things or overact. He just simple embraces the role to the point where you really think that he is Ben Davis, which deserves a lot of recognition. I honestly think that he deserves an Emmy nomination for this role. He’s that good.

Season 3, episode 9 will tug at all of your emotions. I mentioned how powerful this episode was during my spoiler-free review of season 3, but Pelphrey’s performance is so real and heart-wrenching. I was crying my eyes out during this episode and I am still thinking about it even now. That’s how epic it was.

Family can sometimes be more complicated than anything else in the world and yet we still want to do everything we can to help the ones we love.

Bravo, Tom Pelphrey! Thank you for elevating an already fantastic show into something even greater.

Stay tuned for a recognized performance on TV each week!

Have a performance on TV that you think is simply outstanding? Feel free to contact me with your nomination for the week by Friday at midnight! 

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

The Dreaming of Wonderland Book Series is available here!

Dreaming of Wonderland Series Final Chapter Blog

**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!

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Spoiler-Free Review of “Ozark” season 3 on Netflix: Edge of Your Seat Perfection

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

Netflix certainly has us covered with plenty of new shows, seasons, and movies to help us during social distancing, but they really hit it out of the park with the latest season of Ozark.

Ozark season 3 premiered on Netflix on March 27th 2020 with 10 new episodes (Approximately 60 minutes in length). It stars Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, Julia Garner, Janet McTeer, and Tom Pelphrey.

If you have never seen the show before, it channels a real Breaking Bad feel. Marty Byrde is forced to move his family from Chicago to the Missouri Ozarks in order to launder money for the drug cartel.

Each season focuses on different business ventures that Marty must obtain in order to successfully launder the money to appease his boss and protect his family, leading to scandal, murder, and secrets along the way.

I am a fan of the series and was eager to see where the Byrde family would invest their time and money next. A casino seemed like the perfect place, but we quickly learn that this may not be so easy when competitors and the FBI begin to stir up some trouble for the Byrde family.

The show is fantastic, but the episodes are super long and sometimes can drag here and there. However, season 3 absolutely picks up the pace while introducing us to some new characters. But does it do enough to stand out from its prior seasons? Let’s find out…

The Pros:

Ozark Netflix 1
Images courtesy of Netflix

New character dynamics light up the screen.

I am a huge fan of Ruth Langmore and will continue to root for her against all odds. Seriously, she’s the best. However, I was beyond thrilled when we got some new characters on the show to really spice things up and to develop some of our other characters even more.

I am going to highlight Wendy’s brother, Ben, who comes to visit the Byrde family. Tom Pelphrey is beyond brilliant playing this role and he also helps us see even more layers from both Ruth and Wendy. Season 3, episode 9 was probably the best episode I have witnessed on the show and I think that both Pelphrey and Linney deserve an Emmy for their performances.

 I still have chills from it…

It was also nice to see other characters develop more. Charlotte and Jonah actual earn their own story-lines, which I appreciated, as they interact with Helen’s rebellious daughter, Erin.

The casino background is a nice change of scenery.

We’ve seen Marty invest in a restaurant and a strip club, but I thought the casino was really a bold choice.

Ozark Netflix 2
Images courtesy of Netflix

I have to say that Ruth did an amazing job running the floor and was not afraid to ruffle any feathers if anyone tried to mess with her.

Of course the casino captures the attention of the FBI, which makes things more complicated for the Byrde family, but I was thoroughly invested in all of the schemes and secrets behind the scenes here, which was a welcomed change of business for the Byrde family.

Fast paced edge of your seat moments and cliffhangers.

Every episode had something new and exciting. I was never bored throughout season 3 and the final moments of the last episode will leave you in complete shock. It’s that good. I really appreciated how much this show adapted to keep the pace going steady, as it had the tendency to slow down quite a bit in seasons 1 and 2.

Bravo!

The Cons:

Ozark Netflix 3
Images courtesy of Netflix

The Darlene and Wyatt scenes…

So, while I thought a lot of the new character relationships and dynamics were necessary and intriguing, we don’t need to pair everyone up and we don’t need unnecessary sex scenes with certain characters that really leave a bad taste in your mouth.

Sometimes I think certain characters should really just be abandoned if they don’t further the plot and we don’t need to have them in every scene for them to make a difference.

So am I in or out?

Ozark Netflix 5
Images courtesy of Netflix

I’m in! Since a lot of my favorite shows are delaying production and release, I was beyond pleased to be able to binge-watch Ozark season 3 all in one weekend. This series blends family drama and crime thrills seamlessly. Each episode leaves you wanting more and the finale gave us one of the most shocking cliffhangers I have seen in a while.

Season 3 was my favorite season yet! More please!

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on Ozark season 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!

 

 

Ranking the top 5 Songs Performed on “Lucifer”

Happy Wednesday TV Fans! After recently completing my first full watch of Lucifer, I have to admit that I am beyond obsessed. I can’t wait for Netflix to release the season 5 premiere date and I am already ranking Lucifer as one of my favorite series of all time.

Seriously, it’s so good! I highly recommend it!

One of the reasons why I love Lucifer so much is because of the wonderful musical numbers. Tom Ellis is absolutely brilliant and fantastic and somehow turns some already epic songs into unique and timeless renditions. At first I was slightly skeptical about the musical numbers, but I quickly adapted and welcomed them on the show.

The showstopping numbers are entertaining on their own, but I love how some of the performances truly highlight some key moments on the show and even elevate them to something even greater.

Tom Ellis is born to perform, but I also was surprised and impressed by some of the supporting cast members as well, who should think about performing more often.

The performances somehow mirror our own moods, which is not always easy to do. Shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Charmed did a fantastic job with this previously, but it’s difficult to seamlessly throw in musical numbers and Lucifer just makes it look effortless.

I’m hoping that we eventually get a full musical episode and perhaps we can see something like that in season 5 if we’re lucky, but for today, I am going to be ranking my top 5 songs performed on the series so far.

**Please note some spoilers are ahead if you are not up to date on the series.**

Without any further delay, let’s get to my list!

My Top 5 Songs Performed on Lucifer are:

5

Luck Be A Lady 

Song featured in Season 3, episode 6. Performed by Lucifer, featuring Ella!

In this episode, Lucifer and Ella head to Vegas to track down Candy. The team-up between Lucifer and Ella is hilarious on its own and they really make quite the duo! Ella looks absolutely stunning in her dress, but she also shares the stage with Lucifer during this performance.

Tom Ellis channels his Frank Sinatra with flair, but adding in Ella as one of the “Morningstar” backup dancers makes this number truly stand out. Hit him with your feather boa again, girl!

4

I Will Survive

Song featured in Season 3, episode 17. Performed by Axara and Lucifer.

After a pop singer’s life is in danger, she is supposed to remain on lockdown while the police figure this out, but Axara loves the spotlight and decides to perform to keep herself occupied. Only, Lucifer decides to stop the performance, but Axara refuses, forcing Lucifer to grab the microphone and…join in on the song.

The words actually match up with Lucifer trying to get Axara to leave, which is beyond hilarious and Axara may have just been outperformed by the original diva, Lucifer!

3

Eternal Flame

Song featured in Season 2, episode 14. Performed by Lucifer. Sings to Chloe.

After making fun of Chloe’s playlist, Lucifer takes things one step further. Chloe is trying to make her way through a club during an investigation and Lucifer decides to get on stage and dedicate one of her favorite songs to her. 

This moment is beyond sweet and adorable and Chloe’s reaction is everything in the crowd.

Later on in the series, we get to witness Chloe and Lucifer slow dancing to “Only You,” which is another one of my favorite moments, but Lucifer’s performance absolutely deserves a spot on our list today.

2

Wonderwall

Song featured in Season 4, episode 9. Performed by Maze. Sings to Eve.

“Wonderwall” is already one of my favorite songs and happens to be performed on my absolute favorite series of all time, Lost. So, it’s safe to say that I have very high expectations here.

However, when Maze (my favorite character) decides to take a leap of faith and show a “grand gesture” to reveal her feelings to Eve, this song took on new meaning for me.

Maze’s performance is soulful and beautiful. Part of the reason why I love this performance so much is because we know that Maze rarely shows her vulnerability and she lets it all out in the open here, exposing her heart and reminding us that perhaps this demon really does have a soul after all…

Some honorable mentions before revealing my number one pick are:

All Along the Watchtower (Season 2, episode 1)

Sinnerman (Season 1, episode 6)

Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door (Season 1, episode 9)

Drum roll please…

1

Creep

Song featured in Season 4, episode 1. Performed by Lucifer.

Tom Ellis is beyond brilliant during this performance. I think I have listened to this rendition a thousand times and may even prefer it to the original song…it’s that good. Part of what makes it so epic is it mirrors Lucifer’s own inner battle. Lucifer is at a breaking point and is trying to figure out who he really is and what his purpose is.

Every single breath he takes and every note makes you sympathize with his struggle, stirring so many emotions at once. This performance truly moves me and showcases just how incredibly talented Tom Ellis is. Perfection…

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to post your own thoughts and comments on your favorite songs performed on Lucifer. Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

Dreaming of Wonderland Series Final Chapter Blog

The Dreaming of Wonderland Book Series is available here!

**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!

 

Spoiler-Free Review of “Locke & Key” on Netflix: Unlocking the Door to your Next Binge-Watch

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

A dark, magical adventure filled with heart, leading us past our imagination with some worthy evil threats thrown into the mix.

Locke & Key premiered on Netflix on February 7th 2020 with 10 new episodes (40-45 minutes in length). It stars Connor Jessup, Emilia Jones, Jackson Robert Scott, Darby Stanchfield, and Laysla De Oliveira.

The show is based on the graphic novel series written by Joe Hill and illustrated by Gabriel Rodríguez. After the tragic death of their father, three siblings move into his old mansion with their mother, unlocking past secrets and discovering some magical keys that light the way to their new potential destiny. However, there is an evil lingering inside the well of Keyhouse that threatens them all.

This is not the first time we have seen a plot like this and there are a lot of similarities to The Chronicles of Narnia, The Haunting of Hill House, and Stranger Things. That being said, I absolutely love all three of those, so I welcomed this familiar plot with open arms.

However, does Locke & Key unlock its way to its own identity? Let’s find out…

The Pros:

Locke and Key Netflix 5
Images courtesy of Netflix

The Locke siblings are the heart of the show.

I loved the family aspect of The Haunting of Hill House and we get a young adult friendly version of that in Locke & Key. The relationship between the siblings is heartwarming and believable. All three of these characters are absolutely fantastic and you almost feel like you are a part of their family. The performances are well done and the family drama isn’t overly exaggerated.

Locke and Key Netflix 8
Images courtesy of Netflix

The mystery is intriguing and entertaining.

From the very first episode, we get a sneak peek of what’s to come for the Locke family, as they explore Keyhouse with brand new eyes. The house is breathtaking, but the Locke siblings quickly discover that there are more secrets hidden within the walls of their father’s old home.

Locke and Key Netflix 6
Images courtesy of Netflix

Evil looks good on our Villainess.

The villain in this series is beyond entertaining. She’s absolutely fantastic and will lure you over to the dark side for sure. She is cunning, powerful, and mysterious, as the Locke siblings are forced to really think outside the box to stop her, but do not underestimate her for one second. I love a good Villainess and Dodge  or “Well Lady” certainly exceeded my expectations.

The Cons:

Locke and Key Netflix 7
Images courtesy of Netflix

The rest of the characters fade into the background.

Unlike Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which has an endless amount of extraordinary characters, the rest of the group in Locke & Key are just kind of okay and very forgettable. Even Mrs. Locke seemed all over the place and I almost felt like they didn’t really know what to do with her character.

I did enjoy Scot the most out of the friend characters, who had the most adorable nickname for our girl Kinsey, Rocky Road, but the supporting characters seemed underdeveloped and uninspiring. That being said, the Locke siblings and Dodge certainly made up for that and stole the show.

Some plot holes and unanswered questions.

I wouldn’t say that this was a major con, but I found myself asking more questions about the keys and where they came from. A lot of things are explained in the end and we are left with a major cliffhanger, so I’m hoping for some more background information if we get a second season.

So am I in or out?

Locke and Key Netflix 1
Images courtesy of Netflix

I’m in! This series was so much fun and I watched it all in one day. It has a lot of heart and so many twists and turns that will keep you thoroughly invested throughout the show.

While it may not be the next Stranger Things, it doesn’t have to be. Locke & Key creates its own separate identity and has the potential to become my new favorite show with possible future seasons. Now about my key…

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on Locke & Key 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! 

Love time travel? Me too! Check out my blog on The Octoberpod Guide to Time Travel and stay tuned for an all new episode of Octoberpod! Fun and spooky stuff for retro horror fans! Subscribe at Octoberpod Home Video

 

 

 

 

Spoiler-Free Review of “The Stranger” on Netflix: A Complex Thriller Worthy of your next Binge-Watch

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

“A secret revealed is a secret destroyed.”

The Stranger premiered on Netflix on January 31st 2020 with 8 episodes (40-45 minutes in length).  It stars Richard Armitage, Siobhan Finneran, Anthony Head, Dervla Kirwan, and Hannah John-Kamen.

The show is based on the book of the same name by Harlan Coben.  It is a mystery thriller that follows the lives of several families, as secrets are exposed by a stranger, creating a vortex of lies, murder, and a quest to uncover the truth.

This is not the first crime thriller that Netflix has released, but it’s difficult to deliver some worthy twists without over-complicating things.

If you enjoy movies like The Call, The Girl on the Train, and Gone Girl, this new show will make you feel right at home, but does it do enough to stand out as a worthy thrill ride?  Let’s find out…

The Pros:

The Stranger Netflix 4
Images courtesy of Netflix

The mystery will keep you invested and guessing the entire time.

Adam Price basically has his entire life turned upside down when a stranger approaches him with a shattering secret about his wife.  As we begin to uncover the truth with Adam, you will find yourself on the edge of your seat, which makes the watch entertaining and fast-paced.  Unnecessary set-up does not get in the way, as we dive right into the mystery from the opening minutes of the series.

An amazing cast.

Richard Armitage does a fantastic job with his role, but I was also really impressed by Siobhan Finneran’s portrayal of Johanna Griffin.  Let’s not forget that we also have Buffy the Vampire Slayer alum, Anthony Head playing a supporting role to perfection.  The list goes on and on and every single performance was spot on.

The Cons:

The Stranger Netflix Show 1
Images courtesy of Netflix

Way too many sub-plots.

Yes, this is one of those shows where everything connects.  However, we certainly get a lot thrown our way and some of it seems beyond outrageous.  If you pay attention, a lot of the connections and reveals make sense later on, but some of them are actually never explained, so I’m wondering why we didn’t just focus on the main mystery, which was compelling enough.

It’s easy to get lost in this show and perhaps it is too complex for its own good, but there are enough reasons why you should still watch the show in its entirety anyway.

So am I in or out?

The Stranger Netflix Show 2
Images courtesy of Netflix

I’m in 100 percent!  While the show may be unnecessarily complex at times, it is the epitome of the perfect weekend binge-watch.  You can watch all eight episodes in one sitting and you will probably want to because each episode leaves you wanting more, as you try to figure out the mystery going on.

I tend to thoroughly enjoy mystery thrillers with a touch of Lifetime drama thrown in and this show exceeded my expectations.  While this isn’t the best show or thriller I have ever seen, it delivers as a quick and entertaining show you can watch while throwing in some unexpected twists and moments that will keep you guessing.

Keep these coming, Netflix!

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on The Stranger 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!

Love time travel?  Me too!  Check out my blog on The Octoberpod Guide to Time Travel and stay tuned for an all new episode of Octoberpod!  Fun and spooky stuff for retro horror fans!  Subscribe at Octoberpod Home Video

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!