Category Archives: Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: Hidden Potential (2017-2019)

The design of one’s home is a personal decision. It can be simple, out there, or somewhere in between.

The HGTV series, Hidden Potential, was on the air from 2017 to 2019. Meeting with a new homeowner every week, designer Jasmine Roth transforms each property according to the needs of the owner(s). Along the way, there may be a few bumps in the road. By the end of the episode, the building is as unique as the people who call it home.

The narrative of the program is standard for the genre. As much as I appreciate the show, it was merely ok. It comes down to the question of how many episodes you can watch before the repetitiveness becomes too much.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Throwback Thursday: Ellen’s Game of Games (2017-Present)

TV game shows are a dime a dozen. A part of the television landscape since the beginning of the medium, the variety of programming within this genre is nearly endless.

Ellen’s Game of Games has been part of the NBC schedule since 2017. Hosted by Ellen Degeneres, the games the contestants play are an outsized version of the games that are played on her daytime talk show. As per the standard structure of this type of program, the participants are put through their paces in hopes of walking away with a cash prize by the end of the episode.

Obviously, there is enough of an audience that has kept this show on for a few years. But I have yet to find it appealing. I can’t put my finger on it, but I just don’t enjoy it.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

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Throwback Thursday: Dangerous Beauty (1998)

For most of humanity, women have been limited to the roles of being wives and mothers. Their education, if they received any, was minimal, and their ability to have the same experiences as their male counterparts was virtually non-existent. There was only one exception to this rule, which can only be classified as the oldest profession in the world.

In the 1998 film, Dangerous Beauty, Veronica Franco (Catherine McCormack) is a young woman in 16th century Venice. Though she comes from an aristocratic family, she has no money. When her lover, Marco Venier (Rufus Sewell) is forced to marry another, Veronica has two choices: join the Church or become a courtesan. Her decision is to become a courtesan. Unlike other women in her culture, Veronica has freedoms and opportunities that wives do not have.

Problems erupt when the Inquisition comes calling. She has become too popular and respected among the male elite and of course, because of that, Veronica has a target on her back. Her only way to survive is to rely on Marco, but that does not mean that he will automatically stand by her.

I really liked this movie. It speaks to the double standard that women still have to deal with. It also points out the hypocrisy of male leaders, who both use us for their sexual needs, but are quick to condemn us when push comes to shove.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Throwback Thursday: In Search of the Brontës (2003)

A good biopic does more than lay out the basic facts about the life and work of the subject(s). It brings that story and the subject(s) to life, creating a connection between the audience and the characters.

In Search of the Brontës (2003) is a one-hour TV movie that told the story of the Bronte sisters, their work, and their family. Starring as the sisters are Victoria Hamilton (Charlotte Bronte), Elizabeth Hurran (Emily Bronte), and Alexandra Milman (Anne Bronte). Behind them is Patrick Malahide as their widower father Patrick and Jonathan McGuiness as their only brother, Branwell.

I thoroughly enjoyed this hour of television. It is a fascinating and deeply moving tale of three of the most beloved writers in literary history. The acting is fantastic and the actors are perfectly cast, giving the viewer the opportunity to get to know the characters outside of the dry historical facts that we know all too well.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Filed under Anne Bronte, Books, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte, Feminism, History, Jane Eyre, Movie Review, Movies, Throwback Thursday, Writing, Wuthering Heights

Throwback Thursday: Pride and Prejudice (1940)

The reputation of an on-screen adaptation of a beloved novel is based on the response from the fanbase. It can also be a generational thing. While the original audience may adore that version, future generations may have another opinion.

The first time Pride and Prejudice hit the big screen was in 1940. With a screenplay co-written by Aldous Huxley (Brave New World), Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier played the roles of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. As in the book, misunderstandings turn into appreciation, which then turns into love.

Anyone who follows this blog (or knows me), knows that I have nothing but adoration and admiration for Jane Austen. Her most famous novel, Pride and Prejudice, is literary perfection. That being said, I cannot stomach this movie. The problem is twofold. The first is that I am missing Austen’s famous sardonic wit and sarcastic observations that elevate her stories beyond the standard romantic comedy or drama. The second is that the costumes are closer to the Victorian era than the Regency era.

I get that it was made during World War II and movie-goers at the time needed a pick me up. But I wish that the creative team had not taken as many liberties as they did.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

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Filed under Books, History, Jane Austen, Movie Review, Movies, Pride and Prejudice, Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: This Old House (1979-Present)

When we watch home renovation shows, it appears that the process is quick and easy with very little stress. The truth is that it is a process that is time consuming, expensive, and riddled with potential problems.

This Old House has been part of the PBS schedule since 1979. The OG of this genre of television, it was originally hosted by Bob Vila. The program follows the craftspeople as they rebuild a house that appears to be past its prime. Unlike other shows of this nature, it is informational and takes multiple episodes, if not an entire season to give the building new life.

While other reality shows that also focus on property restoration are flashy and Hollywood-ized, This Old House is down to earth. It may come off as boring, but I would wager that someone who is interested in this topic would the show fascinating.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Throwback Thursday: Black Swan (2010)

Reaching the mountain top of our careers requires hard work, drive, and sacrifice. But the question begs, how much sacrifice is needed to get to that peak?

In the 2010 film, Black Swan, Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) is a ballet dancer living and working in New York City. Dance is everything to her, she has no life outside of it. After her company’s former prima ballerina Beth Macintyre (Winona Ryder) is pushed out of the company, the door opens for Nina to play the title role in The Black Swan. Pushed by her former ballet dancer mother, Erica (Barbara Hershey), and her artistic director Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) to succeed, Nina pushes herself to breaking point. Adding to the pressure is competition from the newest member of the company, Lily (Mila Kunis). Will Nina get to play the part and if she does, what will it cost her?

This film is absolutely fantastic. The performances are compelling and powerful. The duress that Nina is under radiates from the screen. I felt the urge to pull Nina out of the film, hug her, and tell her that everything will be fine, regardless of the outcome. The screenplay has a delicious Alfred Hitchcock undertone, grabbing the audience by the throat and refusing to let go until the screen go black.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

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Throwback Thursday: The Millionaire Matchmaker (2008-2015)

When we can’t find love on our own, it is tempting to look to a matchmaker to find that special someone.

The Millionaire Matchmaker aired on Bravo from 2008-2015. Premiering shortly after Confessions of a Matchmaker, wealthy singles hired professional matchmaker Patti Stanger to help them find their other half. Once a client was accepted into the organization, Patti and her staff went through the process of introducing him or her to potential dates. Known as being dedicated and perhaps a bit abrasive, she has made it her life goal to spread love as far and wide as she can.

Anyone who has entered the dating pool knows that it can be hit or miss. Similarly, fans of reality television understand that what they are watching is not as authentic as it seems. I would categorize The Millionaire Matchmaker as a guilty pleasure. We want to root for the subjects of each episode, even when they are repulsive or need a reality check.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Throwback Thursday: Stargate SG-1 (1997-2007)

Every generation has its own beloved television science fiction series. While some last a good few years and remain beloved in the hearts of their fans long after it has left the air, others have faded into obscurity.

Stargate SG-1, the sequel to Stargate (1994) aired between 1997 and 2007. Colonel Jack O’Neill (Richard Dean Anderson) is part of a secret military team whose job it is to explore newly discovered planets. Their mode of transport is the stargate. Included in the team is Dr. Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks), Major Samantha Carter (Amanda Tapping), and Teal’c (Christopher Judge).

I’ve heard of the series but had not watched it until recently. It struck me as one of those science fiction programs that has a niche audience and is somehow able to survive in spite of a lack of larger cultural awareness. My problem is that I could not get into the series. The hook that is supposed to keep the audience engaged and coming back for me was lost on me.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

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Throwback Thursday: The Bletchley Circle (2012-2014)

World War II was if nothing else, a game-changer. While the men were at war, women had career opportunities that were previously denied to them.

The television series, The Bletchley Circle (2012-2014) followed five former employees of Bletchley Park. Millie (Rachael Stirling), Susan (Anna Maxwell Martin), Jean (Julie Graham), Lucy (Sophie Rundle), and Alice (Hattie Morahan) whose job was to help win the war. Now that the men have come home, the women have returned to the traditional roles of wives and mothers. But that does not mean that the skills they used during that time have completely faded into the background. When a serial killer leaves a trail of bodies behind, the women come together to find who this person is and stop them.

I wanted to like the series. It had all of the elements of a program I would love: the era, the performers, a female-driven detective narrative. But it was unfortunately bored rather quickly and turned it off. Whatever hook exists to keep viewers coming back was lost on me.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

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