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:

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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?

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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

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Ranking my top 5 Horror TV Shows: “Well good news I found a piece of pie with no blood on it. Anybody want a bite?”

Greetings TV Fans!  With all of the excitement centered on the release of the trailer for the upcoming Halloween film, I started to really think about some of my favorite horror films of all time and then I realized that there are quite a few TV shows that fit the bill as well.  Whether you enjoy campy horror, slasher suspense, or zombies galore, horror TV shows have been around for quite a while and still stand the test of time.  For today, I am going to be ranking my absolute favorite horror TV shows.  Please note that for this list I have decided not to include TV shows that overlap in fantasy, supernatural, and sci-fi.  For example, shows like Supernatural, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed, and True Blood will not be included because I think they have so many other layers with elements of horror.  That being said, if you have read my blog before, you know that I am a huge fan of these shows, but I wanted the chance to let some other horror TV shows take the spotlight.   Please note spoilers are ahead if you have not gotten a chance to watch any of the series below yet. My top 5 horror TV shows are:

5

Slasher

I recently got the chance to binge-watch the first two seasons of Slasher on Netflix and I have to say that the show pulled me in right away.  If you are a fan of slasher films like Scream, this is the show for you.  The first season centers around the character, Sarah who finds herself caught in the middle of a series of murders that are very similar to the murder of her own parents.  The opening episode is beyond terrifying featuring the killer, The Executioner, who will give you nightmares for sure.  The second season follows a completely different story-line and has more of an Agatha Christie type feel, as we learn about a group of friends who were responsible for killing a girl many years ago and try to put together the missing pieces when they later return.  Each season brings different elements to the table, but has a healthy dose of gore, mystery, and twists that are not that easy to guess, which is refreshing.

4

Scream Queens

I am a huge fan of campy horror and I thoroughly enjoy films like Shaun of the Dead, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, The Evil Dead franchise, and The Cabin in the Woods.  I think there is something to be said about the perfect blend of horror and comedy that is just pure genius.  Even though Scream Queens only lasted two seasons, this show had me laughing out loud and screaming whenever the Red Devil made an appearance.  The show follows a sorority who is targeted by the killer, but I have to say that Niecy Nash playing the security guard, Denise is the absolute best part of the show.  While you may think you have seen a million movies like this before, Scream Queens really delivers and I was beyond disappointed when the show was cancelled.

3

Bates Motel

Have you ever wondered what turned Norman Bates into the infamous killer in Psycho?  Bates Motel gave us the chance to really dive into the dark and creepy world of Norman Bates.  The show is a prequel and we get a glimpse into Norman’s life as a teenager.  The acting on this show is outstanding and the characters really draw you in, as you almost feel sympathy for Norman as you see the events that lead to his breakdown.  The show has an eerie and mysterious feel, drawing the viewer in seamlessly.  While we don’t see as much blood and gore in this particular show, Norman’s actions are bone-chilling and beyond creepy, which scare us in an entirely different way.  When Norman dresses up as his mother, it’s scary how he is able to emulate her mannerisms and words to perfection.  While the show answers many questions from Psycho, it also does a great job of paving its own identity, causing you to be on the edge of your seat at all times, never knowing what to truly expect from the Bates family.

2

Ash vs Evil Dead

Ash vs Evil Dead is another show that is the epitome of campy horror.  Bruce Campbell is a genius and I have been a fan of the Evil Dead franchise for a long time.  The show gave fans the chance to fall in love with Ash Williams, or “Ashy Slashy,” all over again, accepting that the only person who can stand in the way of evil is not afraid to deliver a well thought out pun just before destroying a deadite in grotesque and creative ways.  The show also allows fans to get to know the Ghost Beaters, Kelly and Pablo, who team up with Ash against the she-devil, Ruby, played by the absolutely fabulous Lucy Lawless.  The show recently aired its series finale, but provided fans with three seasons of fun, gore, comedy, and great music.  You are seriously missing out if you do not check this show out.  “Groovy.”   

Some honorable mentions before revealing my number one pick are:

  • Scream
  • It
  • Are You Afraid of the Dark?
  • Twin Peaks
  • The Twilight Zone
  • Goosebumps
  • The Strain
  • Hannibal
  • The Walking Dead franchise

1

American Horror Story

It should be no surprise that my favorite horror TV show is FX’s American Horror Story.  The show is created by Ryan Murphy and does an amazing job of covering every element of horror.  Each season features a different premise with a new type of evil never lurking too far away.  While each season is unique in its own way, my absolute favorites are Coven, Hotel, and Murder House.  The show is not afraid to test boundaries and will have you on the edge of your seat the entire time.  There have been some moments on the show that have been so frightening that I was not able to sleep without seeing Twisty the Clown appear in my nightmares.  The show does a great job of bringing one’s fears to the surface, but it also really looks into the darkness that exists within society as well, which really elevates the show.  The most recent season focused on a cult, proving that humanity can be just as capable of performing evil as spirits and vampires.  I was also very intrigued by the comparison of each season to a circle of hell from Dante’s Inferno Dante’s journey through each circle exposes him to different types of sin and evil that exist in the world and within society, which adds even more complexity to American Horror Story.  I am beyond excited to see what the next season brings and what sins it will explore next.

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to share some of your own thoughts and comments on your favorite horror TV shows. 

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

@TV_Fanatic_Girl

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Ranking the top 5 television series based on movies: “If the apocalypse comes, beep me.”

So I’ve noticed that more and more remakes and adaptations from film are making their way to the smaller screen, which got me thinking about some of my favorites and how they compare to the originals.  While some television series go in a completely different direction, others attempt to be closer to the original but sometimes fail to capture the same allure, leaving fans disappointed or searching for more.  To me, what makes a television series truly stand out is if it takes on its own life and branches out into a new world of characters and stories.  Whether it is considered a prequel or another chapter, the series has to capture the interest of the viewer who tuned in and keep it.  Sounds like a difficult task especially when you add in an original film that the series is based on.  Some of the shows below do an excellent job of staying true to the original and respecting where the series comes from in terms of history and context.  At the same time, they are able to continue on with the story or shift into a new one without skipping a beat, keeping the original fans happy and bringing in new ones at the same time.  My top 5 television series based on movies are:

5) Teen Wolf.  Based upon the 1985 film of the same name starring Michael J. Fox, the series was created in 2011 on MTV.  Already this was a risky move, as the audience MTV was targeting might not have necessarily seen the original movie, although I hope so.  While the movie has a cheesy humor-like quality, the series follows the same premise of a teenage-boy realizing that he is transforming into a werewolf, only it embraces more of a horror genre approach.  Both characters are named Scott, only with different last names and have to deal with the consequences of being bitten by a werewolf while dealing with everyday teenage drama.  While the series is based on the movie, it really becomes something completely new and different, advancing the plot into something darker with touches of romance and terror, delving much deeper into the story.

4) Hannibal.  Based upon the films, Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal and Red Dragon, the series is a psychological thriller that dives into the relationship between FBI agent, Will Graham and Dr. Hannibal Lecter who will later become his nemesis.  While the television series had a lot to live up to from the books and films it was based upon, it proves to be a contender with excellent performances and a detailed plot, which keeps the viewer active and involved.  As a result, the audience becomes hooked and drawn to every horrible reveal.  While the films attempt to stay true to the books and showcase a simpler approach, the series is not afraid to break into new developments and jump head first into the darkness and insanity that is at the core of these characters.

3) Ash vs Evil Dead.  Based upon the franchise films, The Evil Dead, Evil Dead II, and Army of Darkness, the series once again stars the very funny and brilliant Bruce Campbell as Ash or “Ashy Slashy” as fans know him by.  What is so great about this series is it is a true continuation of the films.  Bruce Campbell is once again the star bringing fans back to the originals.  Bruce Campbell has a true talent for bringing the campy horror-like genre a life of its own and I would have been disappointed if anyone had been casted in his place.  Once again, Bruce and his chainsaw arm need to fight the forces of evil and he recruits some new and fun characters to help along the way.  Lucy Lawless also joins the cast who did work with Bruce previously on Xena and fits in perfectly.  The series stays true to the campy-horror genre while keeping the comedy going strong.

2) Bates Motel.  Based upon the classic film, Psycho, the prequel follows the life of Norman Bates as a teenager and also introduces his mother, Norma Bates.  The acting in the series is so real and powerful, as each actor reveals to the audience vulnerability blended with insanity, hypnotizing us into wanting to watch more and more.  What’s truly impressive about the series is that the viewer becomes attached and fully invested into both Norman and Norma.  As Norman is losing control, you do feel bad for him and see that there are moments of goodness that do truly exist in him.  His unusual attachment to his mother seems harmless at first, but grows into something more and more dangerous, however.  The series does an excellent job of allowing viewers to see the man behind the monster and to understand that although darkness wins in the end, there is a grey area that exists, making it not so easy to merely write Norman off as a killer without a conscience.

1) Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Based upon the film of the same name, this television series is at the top of my list because it takes a superficial campy premise and turns it into something epic and memorable.  In the film, Buffy is very superficial and materialistic which creates some laughs and fun along the way, but there is nothing substantial about her character that makes her stand out.  When Joss Whedon decided to turn his movie into a television series, Buffy had now become a character that teenage girls could truly look up to.  She is a strong female who makes some bad decisions along the way, but this shows that she is human and she has to sacrifice a lot in order to save the world, growing up fast as a result.  The humor remains but is more subtle and witty in the series, embracing more of a romantic and darker idea about the world of vampires and truly recognizing that this is a lot of pressure to put on one teenage girl to fight them all and repeatedly save the world.  The series has the perfect blend of drama, action, comedy, and horror with terrific acting and entertaining villains along the way.  It has truly surpassed the film, but it’s fun to take a look back at the movie from time to time.

 

I hope you enjoyed the list.  Feel free to post your comments below on your favorite television series based on films.  Happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl