What’s Up 2020: Week 13

Moving right along now into Week 13 of 2020! This week’s recap was the first official week of self-isolation. While life didn’t change much except for moving work to my home office and its been a whole more of deliberately staying at home, the good thing is that writing is definitely more on track and I’ve found more time to do other things in these different categories. On the positive side of things, we’re progressing!

READING

Blackthorn

Currently reading: Blackthorn

Blackthorn is moving forward FINALLY! I’m finding time to read again, although not quite as much as before. However, I’m definitely hitting the meat of the story as I hit almost halfway. I do plan on finishing it soon as I have another book to start reading very soon in preparation for the next blog tour.

PLAYING

where the water tastes like wine

Currently playing: Demon’s Tilt, I Love Hue, I Love Hue 2, Happy Color, Where the Water Tastes Like Wine

Definitely moving forward with a lot more games this week. Still mostly focused on mobile for relaxation and then checking out other games on Xbox Game Pass for PC. I’m debating to keep it a little longer than the three months since I have a few other games to check out that might take some time to finish like Ori and the Will of the Wisps and Guacamelee 2! As for this week, I started up Where the Water Tastes Like Wine, an indie game that is really narrative and part choice-based to direct the story in a different way. I just realized that the game is fairly long (like 10 hours) and I’m only like an hour into it so I still have some gaming to give more thoughts on it. On another note, I’m trying to use this time to get more gaming posts up. First line of business is the revival of Mobile Games Roundup!

WATCHING

aliens

  • A Wrinkle in Time (2018)
  • The Guardian Brothers (2016)
  • Aliens (1986, rewatch)
  • Alien 3 (1992, rewatch)

A ton of rewatches this week and really only one new watch. I had postponed The Guardian Brothers so long that I felt like I wanted to rewatch it to get a review out. We’re really ahead for Movies and Tea recordings so you can kind of guess who we chose for Season 5 seeing as I went ahead to revisit some Alien movies. The husband actually did watch all the first 4 but I actually fell asleep (because of fatigue and not the movie’s problem) for Alien and then I’m not a fan of Alien Resurrection so, no surprise, I actually dozed off also. Either way, it helped to catch the little details. I’m actually surprised that I haven’t reviewed the Alien franchise yet. I had thought that I did so I might be doing a Sunday Lists posts to rank the movies thus far!

BINGING

The Circle Brazil

  • The Circle Brazil (Season 1, 2020)

Currently binging: Skate Into Love, Me To Us, Youth is You 2, The Singer 2020, J-Style Trip

Lots of TV back on the radar now. Three Week Event of The Circle Brazil wrapped up and its still such a great concept as a show. With different countries and different players, the game changes and its a refreshing way to see the outcome. Its great since The Circle France is around the corner and what’s even better is that now I can watch it with more ease as I understand French!

As for currently watching, J-Style Trip released its next episode with guest star JJ Lin exploring Singapore in a 2 part trip. The first part is whats available and pretty fun since I’ve liked JJ Lin as a musician as well and fits so well since he had just did a live online concert with friends for his birthday. I finally got started with Me to Us and I love it SO MUCH! Not hard to since I can’t help but fangirl over Nicholas Tse who in his late 30s is still AWESOME! So much style on stage! As for Skate Into Love, this series is one of my most anticipated this year since I like Janice Wu as an actress in TV series and she was pretty quiet in 2019 and so far, its been really fun! Its supposed to be the part 2 of a trilogy following Ashes of Love (review). Plus, its only 40 episodes, which is fairly modest for Chinese dramas.

That’s it for Week 13’s recap! 
What have you been reading/watching/playing/binging?

TV Binge: On My Block (Season 3, 2020)

Check out TV binge for previous 2 seasons below:

Season 1
Season 2

On My Block (Season 3, 2020)

on my block s3

Creators: Eddie Gonzalez, Jeremy Haft, Lauren Iungerich

Cast: Sierra Capri, Jason Genao, Brett Gray, Diego Tinoco, Jessica Marie Garcia, Peggy Blow, Julio Macias, Paula Garces, Reggie Austin, Ada Luz Pla

A coming-of-age story about four bright, street-savvy friends navigating their way through high school in the gritty inner city of South Central Los Angeles. Dealing with the danger of getting their friend out of a gang and friends turning into romance, danger is constant. – IMDB

Picking up right after the shocking ending of the four friends getting kidnapped off the streets, On My Block Season 3 starts off with them kidnapped to see Cuchillos, the head of the Santos, who end up thanking them for getting rid of The Prophets and then of course, just like expected, sending them on a much more dangerous task: finding Ricky who is probably not dead (contrary to what is believed). This mission is one that they not only have a time limit with some serious consequences if they don’t achieve it but at the same time, one that they must tackle without anyone else knowing but having to find somewhere to start despite their own arguments among themselves and get back together to face it together with the help of Spooky and Jasmine.

on my block

The writers of this show actually did a really great choice at this point as while the four friends, Cesar (Diego Tinoco), Monse (Sierra Capri), Ruby (Jason Genao) and Jamal (Brett Gray), are all still our main set of characters, they decided to write in much more depth continuing on from Season 2 for Spooky (Julio Macias) and more importantly, Jasmine (Jessica Marie Garcia) who turns out to be so much more than where she started in Season 1. Its knowing when their problems can’t be the only things in the picture that it gives the show a lot more boost with those two as it turns into a team of five tackling this with a little outside/family help from Spooky. There are still a lot of the familiar problems carrying forward between the four. Monse and Cesar are tackling their relationship and whether they should be together because of bad decisions and other factors as well as family issues; Ruby still has a lot of inner troubles from the trauma he experienced but in this one, he’s also realizing his problems has caused real financial problems for his parents while Jamal tackles girl problems and figuring out his priorities. While Monse used to be the glue for the group, surprisingly, everyone has some healing and Jasmine ends up really getting them straight on what’s more important and how to set their problems aside and work together, even if by the end, things don’t quite work out as intended, which will make Season 4 an interesting change in events for these characters, if it happens. The new group dynamic did give a good boost.

on my block season 3

Another great writing is really giving a lot of balance to the characters. Its a quick 8 episodes every season but getting to see equal doses of these characters for their own quirks and problems is the first step to lead to a realization that this group is not as solid as it used to be in Season 1 especially as they grow up and face more problems. In this one, this mission takes them on some crazy locations and meets some funny and at times, over the top, people that truly give this season a lot of charm. Its the process of this mission that makes more of a bang than how it ends, very in tune with how this show does manage to give it a humorous mostly because of not understanding the seriousness of the situation right from the first season. In that sense, the tone here is darker but still has that balance of light-hearted and awkward humor to make it a fun watch especially in the case of Jamal and Ruby who come together in this one a lot and really come up with some crazy ideas. Together they can make all kinds of bad logic work out in their minds that its okay and that is rather incredible despite things usually not going the way they expected.

On My Block S3

With that said, while the whole series does move fairly quickly and is overall, a fun trip with roles like Jamal, Jasmine, Ruby really having some shining moments as well as giving a lot more for Spooky to do that makes him such a deeper character that would be nice see further how it all plays out in the next season. While its not exactly a downfall, the more lackluster characters do go to Cesar and Monse mostly because they seem to always revolve in the same problems since end of Season 1 to this season and they  have the same struggles, which gives them less character development than before. With 8 episodes though, its definitely a bingeworthy show for fans of the show.

TV Binge: Ashes of Love (香蜜沉沉烬如霜, 2018)

Ashes of Love (香蜜沉沉烬如霜, 2018)

ashes of love

Director: Yui Bun Chu

Cast: Andy Yang, Allen Deng, Leo Luo, Adonis Liao, Zhi Yuan Xia, Faye Wang, Ting Wei Zhou, Yukee Chen, Kathy Chow, Bella Du, Yang Peng, Run Jun Wang, Zhong Hua He

In ancient times, the Flower Goddess dies after giving birth to a daughter. Before she passed, she fed her daughter the Unfeeling Pill, ordered her subordinates to keep the girl’s birth story a secret and to imprison her within Shui Jing for 10,000 years. The girl’s name is Jin Mi. 4,000 years later, the Heavenly Emperor’s second son, Xu Feng, was entrapped by someone and mistakenly entered Shui Jing. He was saved by the ignorant Jin Mi. After living together for 100 years, Xu Feng gradually developed feelings for Jin Mi. Someone close to them wants to use those feelings for their own benefit. – MyDramaList

Where to watch with English subtitles (as at March 25, 2020): Netflix Canada & Youtube

QUOTE/SCENE

Jing Mi: That one’s so ugly. Why did you bring it here also?
Phoenix: I feel that one is the most beautiful of all the Phoenix lanterns, because it contains our memory.
Jing Mi: This is the memory of Saint Girl and King Yi. [pause] What a beautiful view!  It’ll be great if we can drink some self-made osmanthus wine. In fact, before I descended to the mortal world, I buried some osmanthus wine I made here.
Phoenix: I dug it out several days ago. Let’s try  your wine today. [next scene] The wine you made is indeed savory and mellow.
Jing Mi: I must have some skills amongst the six realms. Why are you staring at me like that?
Phoenix: Its great that I don’t have to look at you through the veil.
Jing Mi: Isn’t it beautiful?

STORY

ashes of love phoenix jingmi

Ashes of Love is essentially a love story and its where it thrives at its best. Much like the structure of 2017’s Eternal Love (review) and background, this one is set a little different  in the actual fairy world where this one has six realms however, the Sky realm is still the highest one (as it usually is) and the story resides in these different deity/fairy ranging from flowers to nocturnal creatures to celestial creatures and all kinds of animals and even inanimate objects. In terms of creativity, the story is full of them and that is one of the many highlights of this one and can bring so much fun to this as it makes for some leaps of beliefs but in a fantasy world like this one, its more about learning about it first. And that is a lot of the charm especially as it starts off fairly light-hearted and fun.

The realms here are really where the many past dilemmas have ignited from the past generation between the Floral Goddess, Heavenly Emperor, Water Immortal and all the other people linked to them. Its created essentially what happens to Jing Mi to have been given the Unfeeling Pill when she was born to prevent her from meeting her curse of love with the first 10,000 years of her life, which ends up being the catalyst of all the events that end up happening as misunderstandings happen as the truth unfolds. But that said, each of these realms of the three focused on among the six is different in its own way and has its own traits reflective of the place but yet still has their own good and evil characters.

ashes of love war

At the end of all this, between war and feuds and misunderstandings and realm battles for power, it all dials down to the romance and the love triangle between Jing Mi, Phoenix and Runyu instigated by jealousy and unfairness on one end and then creating revenge and hatred, making things worsen. Its all a story of the basic philosophy and belief in Chinese that what is meant to happen will happen regardless of how you plan on changing its course, that act alone is also destined to happen. Also goes along with you reap what you sow at the end of the day especially as what is given off from one generation can affect its next. Its all very common plot points and themes in ancient Chinese fantasy TV series as Eternal Love has about the same kind of plot point (as an example since its the other one in the same genre). What does work here is that once you get past those similar plot points and embrace what they do different in building this new world and its characters, Ashes of Love has a stronger bond with its love story and leads (for myself) whereas in comparison, Eternal Love is entertaining well-rounded but perhaps didn’t quite connect as much in terms of the main leads and their love story. I don’t mean to compare but I did watch them almost back to back.

ashesashes2

Before we jump to pacing, I need to mention that the costume designs here are really nice. There’s a lot of thought of each one from the Birds Realm to the colorful Flower Realm to the dark Demon realms outfits as as well as the gold and white and more royalty colors in the Heavenly Realm. Its one of the elements that make me love watching Chinese Fantasy TV series. The costumes and the hair ornaments and hair styles are just so beautiful! While I’m talking about this, I do have to mention that when they do close-ups of the props, fake flowers and such, it is pretty apparent, maybe one of the lesser elements of this series. But then, I guarantee you that there is one “sex” scene in this (its public TV so nothing explicit) and its filmed so poetically and beautiful that I was really impressed by the whole thing especially when you remember the true forms of the leads on hand.

LENGTH/PACING

ashes of love jingmi

Episodes: 63
Episode length: 40-45 mins approx.

Its incredible how long Chinese TV series are sometimes especially these big production Chinese fantasy ones. Ashes of Love is surprisingly long at 63 episodes and yet, the script is done so well that the story progresses in phases that gives time for each stage of these characters to grow and develop individually and together in their different relationships, friendships, family, brothers, etc. It doesn’t take a break from this other than maybe the secondary couple from the demon realm which ends up being a rather touching story as well by the end.

Looking at the phase, the first part (as I mentioned) before is about the meeting between Phoenix and Jing Mi and her introduction from the Flower Realm to the Heaven Realm and gradually the reveal of her true identity as well as her growing relationship in their few hundred years as the helper and disciple of Phoenix. As her true identity gets revealed, it jumps into the next phase of the story where it shares about the past and the characters involved and what actually happened, throwing the hatred of the Heavenly Empress and her desire to split up Jing Mi and Phoenix while Phoenix’s brother, Runyu gets pulled into the mix and he learns about his mother and it builds on his revenge and his plot slowly conspire. Things gets more messy here as this also get intermitted with Jing Mi’s mission to become an immortal by going to the Mortal Realm to experience the suffering of mortal life to gain knowledge where she ends up connecting with her feelings more as a turn of events takes Phoenix to have a rather intense romance. Finally, the third phase appears after all the plots of phase 2 unravels and Jing Mi unexpectedly breaks the Unfeeling Pill’s effects and realizes her real feelings and makes up for her mistakes to Phoenix. That turns into the most painful, emotional and heartbreaking moments of search and hopelessness and this last part is just such a ode of how the beginning builds up its characters and relationships so well that this part ends up working a lot. (I mean, I bawled my eyes out a ton in the last 8-10 episodes or something)

CHARACTERS/CHEMISTRY

Leads: Jing Mi & Phoenix

ashes of love phoenix jingmi 1

Ashes of Love takes a lot of time and attention on building these two characters. Its great because the focus never quite leaves them even when they are apart and doing their own thing. There’s a lot of factors that work here. The first is that its not dubbed voices and the actual actors are voicing these characters because both Andy Yang and Allen Deng are really talented actors and in their respective roles as Jing Mi and Xu Feng (aka Phoenix, as I keep referring to him), they are incredibly convincing and hard to not ship them, to be honest. These two characters are strong individually as they both have their own family, relationship and realm issues to deal with and consider in all their choices and their own secrets to uncover. Its what makes their love story so heartbreaking and bittersweet altogether because each of their own issues and it all comes down to Jing Mi and the Unfeeling Pill that stops her from realizing her own feelings until its too late which makes their relationship take a very heartbreaking turn of events. The chemistry between these two characters are fantastic especially in some scenes of how the director uses close-ups to the dialogue around them where they both are able to act with their eyes and interpret some genuine feelings without saying anything.

Brothers & Family Feud: Phoenix & Run Yu

ashes brothers

All royalty has their own conflicts and Phoenix’s family is the Heaven realm’s family which creates all kinds of crazy as the Heaven Emperor reveals to be a rather unloyal man where his past creates the Empress’s hate and jealousy making a lot of issues become unfair to the older son, Runyu the Night Immortal. What starts off as a rather good brother relationship despite the parent issues ends up turning sour as Runyu’s character ends up having a subtle villain type of change full of plot and schemes, creating this character that flips from the nice guy at the beginning.

Love Interests, Villains & Other Characters of Interest

Love Interests for Jing Mi is mostly Runyu as well as some other characters that don’t really have too much to mention however the main villains of the series is one, the Heaven Empress, aka Phoenix’s mother (as mentioned before because of jealousy) and the second is Phoenix’s “cousin”/crush who likes him a lot and believes she is the one destined for him and does increasingly evil acts. The two villains in the end are the main cause of Phoenix’s “demise”. Everything comes in full circle in Chinese philosophy and nothing proves it quite like how TV series stories work. You can’t say these two villains don’t do a great job. Empress is portrayed by 90s Hong Kong TV actress Kathy Chow who does a fantastic job that its hard to not dislike the character much like Faye Wang as the love interest who plays on the more annoying side of things.

Of course, the more fun additions do go to the Green Snake and the other colorful character of the Flower Realm just like the Moon Immortal (Phoenix’s uncle) who are comedic but in desperate times, knowledgeable and contribute to the dilemma in their own ways. There’s a lot of characters in Ashes of Love so its hard to talk about all of it.

OVERALL

ashes phoenix

Ashes of Love is a really great series. Its one that takes its sweet time to move through its different story levels to gradually connect with each of these characters as they develop and learn about the different secrete in their life, especially with the main female character, Jing Mi. The magical elements and this new world and the possibilities gives it the space to believe in all the twists and turns and thats because its already given it such a creativity to begin with which also sparks some deeper thoughts on how certain plot points would work but never quite doubt its possibility, leaving space for the audience to draw their own conclusions. The different worlds have beautiful CG effects that make them unique as well as their own kingdom and rules as well as different worlds and their feuds with each other.

Aside from all that is crafting these characters that work so well on their own in complexity. Having 63 episodes to do it definitely feels like it would be a drag but it isn’t most of the time because these characters need it and its because of that, it makes especially Jing Mi and Phoenix’s story so much more emotional to watch whether its happy moments to the extremely heartbreaking moments. Fantastic series that makes me want to watch and rewatch and notice those little story plot details more.

MAIN THEME

What’s Up 2020: Week 12

Week 12 everyone! I’m guessing everyone is starting to settle into having more time at home. Last week, aka this week that we’re covering right now, was my last week having to commute to work and under a lot of stress of how to make as many preventative measure as possible so that actually affected a lot of writing. However, I did try to stay on track with doing as much as I can. Next week will definitely bring some difference hopefully as work shifts home.

READING

Blackthorn

Currently reading: Blackthorn

As I’ve mentioned before, most of my reading is done via commute. Due to the preventative measures during commute, I actually stopped touching my devices on the bus so hence, no reading was done. Blackthorn is still on my mind and as this goes up, I’m back to reading. However, absolutely no reading progress last week. I’ll talk more about it in next week’s update!

PLAYING

Demon's Tilt

Currently playing: Demon’s Tilt, I Love Hue

Not too much of change in the gaming department either! I actually have been pretty obsessed with these two games. Pinball games just bring out the challenger in me apparently and I keep wanting to beat the game and beat my own high score. I’m actually improving in it which is pretty nice. Hopefully that I don’t peak at a certain point, but that tends to happen. We will see as I do also need to move on and play something else.

At the same time, I Love Hue is perfect for downtime. While I’m still loving this one, I realized that they recently released a sequel called I Love Hue Too and I can’t wait to try it out! I’ll report back next week to talk about it once I give it a go.

WATCHING

blair witch project

  • The Blair Witch Project (1999)
  • Blair Witch (2016)
  • Hell House LLC II: The Abaddon Hotel (2018)

Unknowingly, we ended up watching all horror movies this weekend. The one thing that was unexpected was finally catching up (for both myself and my husband) to the very talked about The Blair Witch Project when it was first released and probably put found footage films on the map back then. I still remember hearing all kinds of talk about it back then about the shaky camcorder style and such. Sometimes it feels like I’m the only person who hasn’t caught up with this one. While I can’t say that I’m completely enthralled by it, there are quite a few things that I did like about this one.

Of course, this was all lead by my husband’s random choice to start 2016’s Blair Witch thinking it was 1999’s Blair Witch Project so we just decided to rent the first and check both of it out. Of course, we also decided to continue on with the Hell House LLC franchise onto the second movie, which isn’t as good as the first one.

BINGING

restaurants on the edge

  • Restaurants on the Edge (Season 1, 2020)

Currently binging: The Singer 2020, Youth is You 2, The Circle Brazil, Skate Into Love, J-Style Trip

TV binging is just all kinds of new things that updated daily or weekly with one to four episodes depending on the series. The Singer 2020, Youth is You 2 are both variety shows from Mango TV and iQiyi that I watch via their international apps. I’ve been watching those the past while so nothing new there. Still very fun. The Circle Brazil aired its 2nd week of its 3 week event (so it will all wrap up next time) and you can see the difference of the competitive vibe in this one compared to the US version. I’m going to talk about it once the whole thing ends. Its definitely a fun concept. J-Style Trip is also a new Taiwanese variety show with Jay Chou and his buddies exploring the world. Suitable for now as a lot of us are sitting at home. Its pretty fun especially since the first episode is was Jam Hsiao, a musician that I’ve really been loving the past few months, but its only updated one episode per week. Good things come in small doses, I guess, and makes us appreciate it more. Finally, a series I’ve been waiting for to start finally aired called Skate Into Love and its update daily and 5 episode in and I LOVE it!!

We switched things up a bit this time and talked about the currently binging before what I finished. Restaurants on the Edge is a Netflix series about making over restaurants. Its something of a Queer Eye concept but targeted at restaurants around the world as the three hosts help with making over the interior design, food as well as bringing in the culture for the owners and the vibe of the restaurant. Its really nice because it may be a makeover but its so much more than that, which is what I appreciate about the show and I’ll talk about it more in the TV binge. Working on that soon..but as usual, the TV binge is piling up right now.

That’s it for this What’s Up 2020 for Week 12!
What are you reading/playing/watching/binging?

 

What’s Up 2020: Week 11

Week 11, friends! Last week was a bit of a crazy phase that hit everywhere, I’d wager. We all know what’s going on around the world and I’d like to keep this space a little safe haven away from it. Whether you joined into the toilet paper shopping or grocery stocking up in preparation, it was all a crazy development of events when the week ended. More time at home over the weekend gave us a chance to catch up on TV, movies and gaming and well, surprisingly, a very slow blogging week. It has been a long time that I’ve taken so many days off.

READING

Blackthorn

Currently reading: Blackthorn

I’m going to say that reading hasn’t quite gotten the attention that I’d like mostly because I’m trying to not touch too much of my devices when out and about, especially on the bus. I’m in one of the few businesses that haven’t gotten to stay home from work. Either way, final thing is I need to find time to catch up on some reading and it didn’t go quite as quickly as I’d like. Blackthorn is intriguing so far.

PLAYING

i love hue

Currently playing: I Love Hue, Demon’s Tilt

Playing some really quick games lately. I still am on the I Love Hue mobile game that I like to play to calm down. There’s a lot to calm down about especially since our situation is possibly the minority currently so its all a bit nuts. Lots of things to chill out about as there’s also been a lot on my mind. I’ve also gone to check out Demon’s Tilt which is a pinball game on Xbox Game Pass. I like winning at these things so its addictive in that sense where one game never is one game, more like ten. Good thing is I’m somewhat getting better..yay! Both games are pretty fun in their own ways.

WATCHING

Carmen Sandiego: To Steal or Not To Steal

  • Carmen Sandiego: To Steal or Not To Steal (Interactive 2020, Review)
  • Child’s Play (1988)
  • Child’s Play 2 (1990)
  • Child’s Play 3 (1991)
  • Child’s Play (2019)
  • Paradise Hills (rewatch 2019, Review)

While everyone (in Netflix Canada, at least, seemed to be on a Contagion film watching phase, I guess to see whether we are living a movie, we spent this weekend watching Child’s Play. Sure its not the entire franchise but we watched what we could (except for Cult of Chucky which didn’t seem to correlate to any of the others anyways..but I might be wrong). Its all because I had rented the remake and wanted to finally catch up with Child’s Play, which had been in line for Halloween theme so we’ll be doing those earlier and I’ll fill in the missing movies from the franchise later.

Aside from a rewatch of Paradise Hills for Movies and Tea, the fun movie of the week went to Carmen Sandiego: To Steal or  Not to Steal, which is the latest interactive game/movie on Netflix, more geared towards children and people who like the new series, I suppose, which I’m in neither category but still liked it a lot.

BINGING

ugly delicious

  • Ugly Delicious (Season 2, 2020)
  • Unrequited Love (2019)
  • On My Block (Season 3, 2020)

Currently binging: The Circle Brazil, The Singer 2020, Youth is You 2, Me To Us

Netflix’s new TV series was really landing hard last week when it had Wednesday which released the 3 week event for The Circle Brazil with its first week and then Ugly Delicious Season 2 landed with a mere 4 episodes which was pretty quick to binge and then wrapped up the week with Season 3 of On My Block which was as usual, 8 episodes. On top of that, I finished up Unrequited Love which is a pretty decent series although it seems a lot of people didn’t think so which is why this year, they are releasing a  remake of it with new casting. Its only been a year so I find that kind of crazy and maybe a little ridiculous because Yitian Hu is heading right back into a role similar to his in A Love So Beautiful (review). We’ll see since there isn’t a release date yet.

While all three of the completed series could have been picked as a highlight, Ugly Delicious was half the length of its previous season and yet, I really enjoyed all 4 episodes and the depth and message each of them wanted to deliver and I learned quite a bit from all of the episodes.

On the currently binging side of things, a lot of new things there. Youth is You 2 started on iQiYi app (with english subtitles). I liked the first season when it was called Idol Producer and produced the now disbanded Nine Percent and never finished Youth is You which created UNINE. Its still preliminary ratings but there are some pretty talented girls if not memorable and unique as well. While I’m hoping to catch up with the new series as I only watched the prologue episode for Me To Us which has Nicholas Tse (fangirl here!), Jam Hsiao and Karry Wang (from TF Boys) grouping together to create a band with talented artists from all over China. It looks really fun but then, it all depends how they execute this show.

That’s it for Week 11 of What’s Up!
This recaps last week but this week, I’m sure everyone has been up to more if you are part of any quarantine process (I’m not so let me know what you are up to). What have you been reading/watching/playing/binging?

What’s Up 2020: Week 10

We’re past 10 weeks into 2020! Its been a wild beginning of the year! So many things happening and incredibly busy and all that crazy stuff. A lot of it hopefully will calm down in March although I’ve been having something else on my mind the past little while. This week, things went fairly smoothly packed with some binge gaming.

READING

celestial assignment

  • The Celestial Assignment by Theresa Braun

Currently reading: Blackthorn by Terry Tyler

Finished reading The Celestial Assignment which is a short story/novella of sorts. The review for that is in the works so I’m not going to talk too much about it here. Currently, the reading has moved on to a longer book Blackthorn by Terry Tyler who I did read a book from in the past few months that I liked quite a bit called Hope (review). I’m literally only at 5% so its hard to really determine how I feel so far.

PLAYING

thimbleweed park

  • Thimbleweed Park (2017)

Currently playing: I Love Hue, Demon’s Tilt

Gaming really got a big increase as I completed the entire Thimbleweek Park game as it looked it was going to leave Xbox Game Pass and I wasn’t sure when so I just found more time to get it finished. It was pretty fun. Written or podcast review is coming up. We haven’t quite decided on which yet. However, I’ve been back to playing I Love Hue on mobile which is a fantastic game about putting colors in order. I reviewed it before for a Mobile Games Roundup before HERE. I come back to this game every once in a while but I’ve been really into it as its very good for destressing. I also mass downloaded a bunch of little indie games on Game Pass as well and started up a pinball game called Demon’s Tilt. Pinball games are always quite entertaining although I’m still trying to get back into the speed of things.

WATCHING

pitch perfect3

  • Pitch Perfect 3 (2017)
  • Dog Soldiers (2002)
  • First Love (2019 rewatch, Review)
  • Hell House LLC (2015)
  • What A Girl Wants (2003)

I had a hard time picking a movie that stood out this week mostly because other than my rewatch of First Love, everything else was pretty average. I caught up with Dog Soldiers which was one that people had told me was good when I reviewed The Descent (review) which was okay. The husband chose Hell House LLC which was a found footage horror and was alright with some decent scares (which apparently has 2 more sequels) and I chose to watch a 2000s coming of age teen film with Amanda Bynes called What A Girl Wants which was entertaining in Amanda Bynes way but rather predictable. With that said, I guess I have to pick Pitch Perfect 3 out of the batch because I’m a fan of the franchise and it delivered pretty much what I expected and was a decent farewell.

BINGING

our song

  • Love is Blind (Season 1, Review)
  • Our Song (Season 1, 2019)

Currently binging: The Singer 2020, Ugly Delicious (Season 2), Unrequited Love

I know that I put Love is Blind last week but then I realized they came out with the reunion episode so I officially finished it. That’s not a huge deal because the other variety show I watched was much more fun which I watched on Youtube via the SMG Shanghai TV Channel called Our Song. The concept of our song is renowned singers pair up with younger singers to recreate certain songs as duets in a competition format against each other. Its a ton of fun to watch and they all have some nice songs come out. Plus, it had a lot of singers that I loved (mostly from the older singers group).

That’s it for Week 10!
What have you been reading/watching/playing/binging?

TV Binge: Love is Blind (Season 1, 2020)

Love is Blind (Season 1, 2020)

love is blind

Hosts: Nick Lachey, Vanessa Lachey

Singles who want to be loved for who they are, rather than what they look like, have signed up for a less conventional approach to modern dating. – IMDB

Hosted by Nick and Vanessa Lachey, Love is Blind is a dating series and social experiment that aims to prove whether love is blind. How it all works is that a group of men and women who live separately date through these pods separated by an opaque glass over 10 days. During the process, they get to know each other without any physical contact or seeing each other and if and when they fall in love, they can propose. If agreed, they can see each other the next day. After the course of 10 days, the successful engaged couples move onto the next phase to a Mexico resort trip to further their relationship before moving onto the next phase of meeting reality as they move in together into a complex and share the news of their upcoming marriage to family and friends as well as prepare for their marriage in a few weeks. On the day they get married, they get to decide at the altar whether to say I do or I don’t. All this happens over a course of 6 or 8 weeks or something like that. I can’t remember the exact time frame.

In some ways, Love is Blind is kind of taking the dating experience and doing it backwards while taking a blind date for its literal meaning. In that sense, the most intriguing part of this entire experiment is the interaction in the pods. After the couples meet each other, it turns back into a dating reality show where the love is blind element is put more in the background as it starts to depend on the physical attraction as well as the personality of each of these people whether they are ready for marriage. The love developed in the pods might not be enough to get them to the next phase. Watching couples and reality TV, if its your thing, is all about the drama and dilemma and such that the people go through and for this, the couple they have here have them in spades and its riveting TV to say the least, if not for some nice fluffy guilty pleasure TV.

Thing is, my biggest issue with Love is Blind is that in the back of my mind, its a show that somehow sits on the fence of being good and bad. Sure, its guilty pleasure TV and dating reality shows tend to have that. In some ways, its also more grounded because its not like a bunch of girls or a bunch of guys going after one person. Its concept works to a certain extend if not a backwards dating process where they commit to engagement before heading towards marriage. On the dating reality show element, it ticks a lot of the boxes but as the social experiment that it claims to be, I’m not sure it actually proves anything because love may be blind but whether it all works out depends on each individual and each couple.

As a final note, to myself, the last episode being the reunion episode may have turned me off the show and was slightly unnecessary. It felt to a certain extent a lesson on what each one of them learned and then resolving conflicts on the show and bringing up certain conflicts. Some made sense to resolve and some just felt petty to dissect even more. Overall, Love is Blind is fun as a dating reality series but there are some elements here in execution and tagging on the social experiment that felt like it missed the mark. Pushing all that aside, for what it is, its still decent enough entertainment if you are into these kind of shows. What I am curious to see is whether this manages to land itself a second season.