TV Time: Bridgerton – season 2

All hail the arrival of the glorious 2nd season of Bridgerton! It feels like we’ve waited a long, long time for this… and not necessarily patiently.

The season dropped on Friday, and by Monday, I was done — which is actually taking it slowly for such a bingeable show.

First, the trailer, for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet:

Season two of Bridgerton more or less follows the plot of the 2nd book in Julia Quinn’s romance novel series, The Viscount Who Loved Me. My review of the book is here.

Each of the Bridgerton books follows the romantic escapades of one of the Bridgerton family’s eight siblings. Will the Netflix version follow this formula? Who knows! But here’s hoping…

Book #2 and season #2 both shift the story’s focus to Anthony Bridgerton, the eldest son and current Viscount, who bears an unhealthy weight of responsiblity on his shoulders. Inheriting the viscount title at a young age after the sudden death of their father, Anthony views himself as responsible for the well-being of his mother, his brothers and sisters, their future prospects, the family fortune, and the family reputation. It’s a lot.

As season 2 opens, Anthony has decided it’s time to put aside his more decadent existence (after a torrid affair with an opera singer in season 1, among other examples of rakish behavior) and find himself a wife. He does not want a love match, though. Instead, he wants a wife who’ll be a perfect partner in society, preserving the family honor, and bearing the next generation of little Bridgerton babies.

Who better to be Anthony’s wife than the season’s diamond — the debutante named by the queen as the most exquisite and incomparable?

This season’s diamond is Miss Edwina Sharma, a perfectly poised young woman with great beauty and all the manners and skills deemed most desirable in a society girl. There’s just one hiccup — Edwina’s older sister Kate is determined to see Edwina married well, and she’s taken an instant disliking to our dear Anthony.

But what is dislike but insanely hot chemistry in disguise?

Season 2 of Bridgerton has far fewer sex scenes that season 1, but instead, features much more of a slow burn. That Anthony and Kate are end game is obvious… but it’s delicious to see the build-up of their sexual tension and their enemies-to-lovers dynamic.

There’s a lot to love about season 2… but also a few things I could have done without. In no particular order, my highs and lows:

SPOILERS AHOY! I’m going to get into more specific plot points, so look away if you haven’t watched yet!!

REALLY, SPOILERS AHEAD!

LAST WARNING!

Okay, here we go:

  • The key downer for me this season is turning Kate-Anthony-Edwina into a love triangle. In the book, Anthony is courting Edwina, who recognizes that Anthony would make a fine catch… but she doesn’t actually have feelings for him. So when their match comes to an end, Edwina isn’t hurt, isn’t betrayed, and finds a guy who’s actually a much better fit for her interests and personality.
  • Here in the show, Edwina does fall for Anthony, and things progress all the way to their wedding before she realizes that Anthony and Kate have feelings for each other.
  • WHY? Why did we need a love triangle? Why turn this into betrayal between sisters? Kate should have been honest with Edwina sooner, and yes, there are reasons for how things played out… but no. This wasn’t necessary. Two very nice young women who love each other ended up making each other miserable and nearly ruin their beautiful connection. Of course, there’s a happy ending, but it sucks having to get there.
  • Back to the book, Anthony and Kate are caught in a compromising position and are therefore forced to marry in order to save everyone’s reputation, and I guess it makes sense that they changed this (for fear of it being too similar to the Simon/Daphne plot from season 1), but I thought it would have been fun to see it play out.
  • But oh, the scene where I thought that would happen! There’s a bee involved, and if you never thought a bee sting scene could be sexy, well, you clearly haven’t watched Bridgerton! The sparks are jumping off the screen!
  • I just didn’t love Eloise this season, as much as I wanted to. Her storyline is all over the place, she doesn’t seem to know what she wants, and she’s not a very good friend. Her awkward shtick is getting old, and she’s all talk, no action when it comes to being a rebel.
  • GILES ALERT! If you’re a Buffy fan, there’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-him moment that will make you happy.
  • I love, love, love how matter of fact this show is about the fact that Bridgerton takes place in a world where diversity is just normal and how things are. It’s glorious.
  • And I love that the Sharma family is from India, and their heritage gets woven into the story in little ways, like words and scents and beauty routines and the pre-wedding haldi ceremony.

(Regarding the haldi, see this article. And this one too on Indian representation.)

  • Classical versions of pop music are back! This season’s music included string arrangements of You Oughta Know and Wrecking Ball (listen on Spotify), plus more fabulous choices.
  • The youngest Bridgertons, Hyacinth and Gregory, get a little more airtime and are quite adorable, although once again sister Francesca is mostly MIA. (Apparently, the actress had a scheduling conflict while filming another Netflix series.) And while it’s nice to see Daphne again, she just pops in from time to time to give Anthony advice about love and marriage and show off her new baby. That’s fine… although it does reinforce the tired old idea that a romance plot ends with a wedding, and everything after that is mere epilogue.
  • Polly Walker is spectacular as the awful Mrs. Featherington, who behaves as badly as you’d expect but then earns a mite of redemption by the end.
  • Penelope is fabulous, and I’m mad at anyone who hurts her feelings. Looking at you, Colin and Eloise!
  • The plotline with the Queen… well, it’s not in the books at all, but mostly works in the show, although her obsession with the Bridgerton wedding doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I’m willing to just chalk it up to plot necessities and move on.
  • Loved the backstory and flashbacks related to the death of Daddy Bridgerton and how it affected both Anthony and Violet. Really heartwrenching scenes and terrific acting on both their parts.
  • And did I mention the chemistry between Anthony and Kate? Yes??? Well, I’ll mention it again. They are VERY good together.

There’s more, but I’ll stop before I start raving about pall-mall and Anthony falling in the lake and the cute corgi.

You know you wanted to see a lake picture!

All in all, this was a really fun, enjoyable season… and I’m sure I’ll be back for a second look! And while we know there are more seasons to come, it’s not clear yet whether the show will follow the book progression… but if it does, Benedict and Colin will be getting a lot more screen time!

Lead love interests for season 3 (L) and 4 (R), perhaps?

Also, three cheers for the queen, who’ll be getting a spin-off/prequel series of her own!

Of course, there are a ton of lingering questions at the end of Bridgerton’s 2nd season. Will Eloise break from societal expectations altogether and pursue a life of political thought and independence? Will the show broaden its romantic horizons and embrace a love story that at least considers the possibility of a more fluid sexuality?

And very importantly — where can I get a darling little top hat like Kate’s? (And where might one wear such an amazing hat in the 21st century?)

Have you watched season 2 yet? Did it live up to your expectations?

TV Time: Yellowstone

I know I’m late to the party, but my newest TV obsession is Yellowstone. The show is currently airing its 4th season, and over the last couple of weeks, I’ve binged it all from the beginning. Now I’m completely caught up, and ready for new episodes — four left this season!

(Note: Some spoilers ahead, but I’ll try to keep them to a minimum and not reveal any of the big shockers.)

In brief, Yellowstone is the story of the Dutton family and their ranch. Founded over a hundred years earlier, the Yellowstone Dutton ranch is the largest ranch in Montana, and patriarch John Dutton (Kevin Costner) is the largest private land owner in the state. As such, there’s a constant state of low- to high-level war going on, as greedy corporate interlopers as well as the neighboring Native American reservation are constantly seeking ways to take land from the Duttons.

The Dutton family includes John’s adult children, all of whom have been groomed to take on key roles in protecting and preserving the land. John’s father’s dying instructions to his son consisted of one specific order: Never give up the land. Not one inch.

John Dutton is a hard man who wields tremendous power in the state, although that power may be waning as outside interests work against him. John has a hand in state and local government, intimidates anyone who opposed him, hand-picks his choice for roles like state Attorney General, and dictates his wishes to the local sheriff’s office.

In season 1, John’s opponents were chiefly two: Dan Jenkins, a California transplant with dreams of creating a vacation paradise adjacent to the ranch, and Chief Rainwater, the new chief of the reservation, whose mission is to take back the land stolen from his people a century earlier.

As the series progresses, the battles and the opponents shift constantly, as uneasy alliances are formed when new threats pop up.

The really and truly engrossing thing about this show is the family itself. The adult Dutton children are all, to one extent or another, a mess. Their mother died about 20 years earlier, leaving a huge hole in their lives as well as a whole host of psychological damage. John, for one, never got over losing the love of his life, and has been emotionally unavailable to his children for most of their lives, while maintaining huge expectations for them in terms of family loyalty and expectations.

Son Jamie is the family lawyer, dressed in suits while the rest of the family wears jeans, cowboy hats, and boots. Rather than working the ranch, he represents the family business and political interests, and will destroy anyone in the courtroom who opposed the Duttons. Jamie is also an emotional mess, desperately needing his father’s love and approval but never quite getting it.

The youngest of the family is Kayce, a former Navy SEAL who fled the ranch to make his own way, but is brought back (reluctantly) into the family after events in the pilot episode. Kayce is a trained killer with a strong moral compass. When we first meet him, he’s living in a trailer on the reservation with his Native American wife Monica and their son Tate, happily scraping by training horses, but he and his family are soon drawn back into the Dutton world, where he starts to take up the mantle of Dutton heir.

My favorite is Beth, the only daughter of the family. Age-wise, she’s between Jamie and Kayce. When first introduced, I had a major attack of eye-rolling. Look, here’s another caricature of a tough business woman, hard-edged and hard-drinking with a foul mouth, someone who chews up and spits out business men for breakfast. In early episodes, we see Beth bathe naked in a horse trough on the ranch and run at a pack of wolves, howling. Ummm, why?

Well, my skepticism about Beth has turned to absolute love. As the show progresses, we learn more about the events from her youth that made her who she is, and finally (in season 3) get an explanation for her seemingly out-of-proportion hatred for her brother Jamie. Beth also is key to the most moving and touching love story of the show, and my love for this couple knows no bounds.

Meanwhile, Kevin Costner as John Dutton is absolutely magnetic. He’s taciturn and hard, but loves his family and still mourns his late wife. He’s also a tough, unyielding rancher, loves being out on his horses, can get down and dirty whenever needed, and is a man who is mostly universally feared. I especially love his relationships with Beth and with his grandson, where we see a more vulnerable and kinder side, but truly, any time he’s on screen is special.

Now, there are some elements to this show that confuse me by being contradictory or not well explained. We hear all along that John’s wife’s death changed him and practically destroyed the family — but we never actually see much to back that up. There are a few flashbacks, but none really demonstrate that the family was warm and loving beforehand — in fact, a key moment with Beth shows Evelyn as cruel and demanding in her interaction with her daughter.

The first episode thrusts viewers straight into the action, with the interloping developer and the reservation both battling the Duttons on different fronts. I could have used a bit more context and backstory — there are elements I didn’t piece together until several more episodes went by. The biggest head-scratcher early on is that (major spoiler) eldest son Lee (whom I didn’t mention earlier, and here’s why) is killed by the end of the episode. Lee was the presumptive heir to the ranch, and his death leaves the ranch succession in turmoil… except kind of not? After his death and funeral, almost no one even mentions Lee again. We barely got to know him, and for most episodes, it’s easy to forget that he even existed.

The show can’t seem to decide if John is a criminal mastermind (like a western Godfather) or an anti-hero, or just a straight up hero trying to preserve a purer way of life in the face of corporate greed and ruthlessness. We know John is ruthless and dangerous, but he’s often just so damned lovable in so many scenes, and as I said, Kevin Costner turns this character into someone iconic, even when his actions are morally questionable.

Beyond the Duttons, we also spend time in the bunkhouse with the wranglers, the rowdy cowboys who work the ranch. They’ve a mixed bunch — some veterans, some new to the ranch, and one who’s so green that he’s never even been on a horse before. The group is entertaining, but also provide yet another road to understanding ranch life in general, and more specifically, what it takes to be a true member of the Dutton world. (Hint: it’s not pretty.)

I’ve described this show to a friend as a western Sons of Anarchy, which is a little off-the-mark, but not by much. It’s less murdery than Sons, and the business of the Dutton ranch isn’t a criminal enterprise — but there’s still plenty of murder, and lots of crime as a side-effect of what it takes to keep the ranch and the family in power. The show, via the Duttons, embraces old-school Western justice, which isn’t kosher from a law enforcement perpsective, but as the show continually points out, Montana isn’t like any place else.

Side note: In terms of a Sons of Anarchy connection (besides substituting horses for motorcycles), creator and writer Taylor Sheridan was an actor on SOA, playing Sheriff David Hale for several seasons. Here in Yellowstone, he occasionally shows up as superstar horse trainer Travis, always entertaining.

Where the show sits now, past the halfway point of season 4, the Duttons face continuing threats from outside forces, as well as the continuation of their internal battles and struggles. I continue to adore certain characters and despise others, and no matter how crazy the events of any given episode, I can’t bring myself to look away.

And the absolutely gorgeous scenery doesn’t hurt in the slightest!

So, anyone else watching Yellowstone? If so, who’s your favorite character, and what are your predictions for the rest of season 4?

There’s a ton of Yellowstone-related material over on YouTube, but here’s a final clip for this post — on turning the show’s actors into cowboys…

TV Time: Hit & Run (Netflix)

My new TV obsession this week is Hit & Run, the American-Israeli production now streaming on Netflix. (One season so far, dropped earlier in August – 9 episodes total)

Set in Tel Aviv and New York, Hit & Run‘s main character is Segev Azulai (played by the intense Lior Raz). Segev seems to be a straightforward family man. He lives on a moshav (collective farm) with his second wife Danielle and his pre-teen daughter Ella. Segev is devoted to them, and spends his days as a jovial tour guide for visiting Americans.

Danielle is a dancer with the renowned Batsheva Dance Company, but as the story opens, she’s about to fly to New York for an audition with another company. She and her driver stop for coffee on the way to the airport, and as she’s crossing the street, she’s the victim of a hit and run. She dies soon after, leaving Segev bereft and deeply in mourning.

Segev’s mourning takes a turn when his home is broken into and he’s assaulted by the intruder (whom he kills in the struggle), but by the time the police arrive at his home, the body of the intruder is gone. This kicks off Segev’s suspicion that there’s more to the story. Why is he suddenly a target? How can he keep his daughter safe?

Assisted by his cousin Tali, a detective who happens to be six-months pregnant, Segev starts to look for answers. Secrets of his own past emerge — he has a shady history from years back, when he worked as a mercenary in Mexico and was responsible for a former friend being sentenced to prison. Could Danielle’s death have been planned as revenge on Segev?

I will not give any spoilers, but let’s just say that this is only the beginning of the twists and turns and absolutely shocking revelations that come up in every episode of Hit & Run. Just when we think we know what’s going on, some bonkers new secret completely blows all previous theories out of the water.

The action moves between Tel Aviv and New York, and is focused on the grittier sides of both. As you can see from the trailer (below), there are plenty of scenes of violence — hand-to-hand, gun violence, car chases, etc — which is usually so not my thing, but the suspense here was just so fantastic that I couldn’t look away.

The acting is terrific. Lior Raz is all quiet menace and grief and aching emotional wounds. Moran Rosenblatt¬†as Tali is tough and lovely — you haven’t lived until you see a pregnant bad-ass woman chasing down bad guys. Sanaa Lathan is also great as Naomi Hicks, an American journalist whose past friendship with Segev leads her beyond mere investigation and into personal involvement and risk.

Each of the nine episodes is packed with great acting, hefty action sequences, and twisty plot developments that always contain surprises that pivot the story in yet further new directions.

For anyone who has spent time in Israel, and especially for anyone who speaks Hebrew, the series is very fun to watch. I was on the edge of my seat during one particular car chase early on, when suddenly the cars were speeding down the Tel Aviv road my family uses to get to the beach during every visit! As for the language, the dialogue throughout shifts between Hebrew and English depending on where the scene takes place and which characters are involved. The subtitles are fine, and it’s easy to keep up — but if you speak Hebrew, hearing the slang and the conversational interchanges is especially entertaining.

One interesting thing about the subtitles, as explained by a producer:

It was U.S. Netflix, but we shot half of it in New York and half of it in Israel. All of the scripts were written in English and then the parts that were in Hebrew were translated at a certain point. We got Netflix approval, or their promise, early on that when it came time for subtitles we would go back to the original English scripts, even if it was translated differently in Hebrew, so that we could keep the integrity of the story. It took them a little while to get used to the idea of showrunners. But eventually, they came to respect that.

The full article this came from is really interesting, but it’s full of spoilers, so proceed with caution.

As of now, season 2 has not been officially announced by Netflix, but given that season 1 ends with a cliffhanger, I think it’s safe to assume that the show producers are counting on getting a second season. And given how much buzz this show is generating, as well as its trending status on Netflix, I’m feeling really hopeful!

I mean, they can’t just leave me hanging like that forever, can they?

Hit & Run won’t be everyone’s cup of tea — it definitely doesn’t fall into my usual go-to categories of being upbeat or light or sweet. I’m glad I ventured outside of my comfort zone for this one. If you can tolerate blood and violence, the ups and downs and twists of the story, not to mention the fascinating characters, make this a show that’s well worth checking out.

TV Time: Love, Victor

Is it wrong for a grown-ass woman to be completely in love with a teen TV series? If so… well, guilty as charged. I binge-watched this adorable, addictive series over the past week, and become instantly obsessed.

Love, Victor is a Hulu original series that starts out as a spin-off of the 2018 movie Love, Simon (which is an adaptation of the 2015 young adult novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli). Got all that? Love, Victor has just aired its 2nd season, and if anything, it’s even better than the first.

Each of the two seasons includes ten 30-minute episodes — perfect for nonstop bingeing!

The storyline centers on lead character Victor Salazar, a 15-year-old whose family has moved from Texas to Atlanta after a messy situation (not immediately explained) involving his parents. Victor, along with his two siblings, has to start over, and for Victor, it’s a chance to redefine himself and figure out who he wants to be.

He’s heard great things about Creekwood High, especially when it comes to Simon Spier, a former student who was cheered on by the entire student body when he had the ultimate romantic moment kissing the boy of his dreams on a ferris wheel. (See Love, Simon or read the book if you want to know more!) For Victor, he’s inspired by the idea of Simon, but also annoyed that Simon’s situation seemed to be so easy while for Victor it’s complicated as hell.

For starters, Victor is the son of conservative Catholic Latinx parents who are fine with tolerating nontraditional approaches to life, so long as they’re not in their own family. Victor is also trying to understand his own sexuality, definitely attracted to boys but not quite ready to come out or declare himself gay.

When Mia Brooks, a totally sweet and cute popular girl, takes an interest in Victor, he allows himself to fall into a relationship with her. He likes her and thinks she’s great, and quickly learns that being Mia’s boyfriend gives him instant acceptance at Creekwood. (Being a top basketball player doesn’t hurt either). He even likes kissing her… although when she’s ready for more and he’s absolutely not, he has to face some hard facts — like he’s just not attracted to girls.

Meanwhile, Victor develops an immediate and intense crush on Benji, an out and proud gay boy who attends his high school (and who I think looks distractingly like Rob Pattinson/Edward Cullen). Victor works with Benji at the local coffee shop, where they become good friends, although Victor doesn’t dare admit to his growing more-than-friendly feelings.

Season 1 ends with Victor and Benji embarking on a new chapter and with Victor coming out to his parents. And it’s awesome! And even more awesome that I watched the season when the 2nd season had already dropped, so I could continue straight on through.

Season 2 picks up right where season 1 ends, with Victor coming out to his parents, who are not able to put aside their own biases in order to give him the support he needs. While dealing with his parents’ reactions (especially his mother’s), Victor and Benji are moving forward with their relationship, navigating being out as a couple at school and what that might mean for them.

Victor faces hostility and intolerance from some of his basketball teammates, which becomes one of the season’s overarching storylines. The show also shows Victor and his best friend Felix’s parallel journeys into first love, first relationships, and losing their virginity. I really appreciated the honesty and anxiety depicted about becoming sexually active, feeling really nervous about it, and figuring out whether they’re ready.

Victor and Benji are lovely together, although over the season, certain differences between them build up obstacles that neither had foreseen while in the rosy days of first love. And as the season winds to a close, a love triangle comes into play and the series has the inconsiderate audacity to end on a cliffhanger!

I’m totally Team Benji, by the way, and if you want to know why, you might want to check out this adorable clip:

And just another little taste of sweetness:

I don’t want to give the wrong impression, that this show is just sweetness and light and sweet kissy moments. The characters all face challenges and emotional ups and downs, both the teens and the adults. In season 2, there are many heavier moments, including Felix’s struggle to support his bipolar mother, a Muslim boy’s desire to live his truth but fearing his parents’ reactions, and issues of trust and secrets that affect several of the couples in the series. Additionally, Victor’s parents’ storyline in season 2 is especially strong, as they deal with both the strains in their marriage and their different reactions to Victor’s coming out.

The acting is strong all around in both seasons. Season 2 features some great cameos, and the main cast is terrific all the way through.

I can’t recommend Love, Victor highly enough! I’m thrilled that Hulu has confirmed renewal for a 3rd season already, although I’m frantic over that cliffhanger ending and the fact that it’ll probably be a year before season 3 airs. That’s a long time to be in suspense!

But seriously, check out this sensitive, sweet, funny show. It may be a teen TV series, but adults will love it too.

TV Time: Last Tango in Halifax

If you’re looking for feel-good viewing with quirky, (mostly) lovable characters, I don’t think you can go wrong with Last Tango in Halifax.

Now streaming on Netflix, this BBC production originally aired starting in 2012, continuing over five seasons (on and off) through 2020. Altogether, there are 24 episodes (which Netflix presents as 4 seasons, but it’s all the same show.)

Here’s the trailer for season 1:

The basic plot: Alan and Celia, widowed and in their mid-70s, reconnect on Facebook after their respective grandchildren set them up with social media accounts. Meeting again after last seeing each other in their teens, they each confess that they were in love with the other way back when, but were separated by occurrences outside their control. Now reunited, they shock their families by announcing on the day the meet that they plan to get married!

Their backgrounds are starkly different: Alan lives on his daughter Gillian’s sheep farm with her and her teen-aged son, and Celia lives in the guest apartment of her daughter Caroline’s big, posh house.

Gillian is a crass, outspoken, hardworking farmer who likes casual sex without strings, even though her flings tend to catch up with her. She’s still haunted by her abusive husband’s death 10 years earlier, which is not made easier by her former brother-in-law’s constant suspicions.

Caroline is the head of a well-to-do private school. She is very refined and upscale, although her personal life is messy too — her husband John left her for another woman, then tries to come back once discovering the other woman is an alcoholic. I’m not sure why the expression “sad sack” entered my mind (it’s not a term I remember ever using!), but it suits John to a T — he’s such a loser that he’s utterly pathetic, and yet he just sticks around constantly.

Celia and Alan have their differences too, on very different sides of the political spectrum and with very different ideas when it comes to acceptance and judgment and their children’s lives. Still, there’s no denying their instant connection, and their giddy stages of early love are quite lovely to behold.

As the show moves forward, the circles expand and overlap. Gillian and Caroline, against all odds and despite major blow-ups, become close friends. Alan and Celia’s relationship experiences ups and downs. The grandkids grow up and have their own lives, Caroline finds new love, and the plot weaves in and out between all the characters, showing the glorious mess of having a large, unconventional family.

I went into Last Tango in Halifax expecting something light and silly — and while there are plenty of light, silly moments, there’s also real depth, sorrow, and drama here too. The cast is superb (I mean, really, Derek Jacobi!!!), and I got completely caught up in the characters’ lives. And even though my opinions of them changed over the course of the episodes (I started out thinking Caroline was snooty and awful, yet by the end, I think she was my favorite character — and Celia just made me bonkers so often with her intolerance, yet still charmed me whenever she’d giggle at Alan), I was invested in all of them and basically loved them all.

I’m so glad I made the time for this excellent show! Please check it out — you’ll be glad you did!

Note: The video below is a lovely look at the cast and character dynamics, but it does contain some plot spoilers, so proceed at your own risk!

TV Time: Binge-watching/hate-watching Ginny & Georgia

I just finished the 10-episode first season of Ginny & Georgia on Netflix… and I have thoughts. And even feelings.

First up, let’s be clear: The blurbs (and even the show itself) keep comparing this show to Gilmore Girls. But friends, I’m here to tell you: This ain’t no Gilmore Girls.

I mean, okay. Mother and daughter? Check. Mother who had daughter as a teen? Check. Sweetness, sassiness, cleverness? Uncheck. Don’t watch Ginny & Georgia expecting the mother/daughter as best friends trope, or the sweet quirky small-town vibe trope. Yes, it’s a small town. But no, there’s no particular sweetness. And this mother and daughter are far from best friends.

Here’s the trailer:

Georgia is first introduced as a free-spirit, whisking her children off on a new adventure and starting a new life in a small town in Massachusetts. Ginny, age 15, is the same age Georgia was when she had her. Georgia positions this move as a fresh start, a chance to finally settle down, stop forcing her kids to start over again and again, and have a real, normal life.

There are problems, of course. We quickly learn that Georgia can afford her nice new suburban house because she’s recently widowed. Her wealthy late husband’s ex is contesting the will, so Georgia’s new fortune is tenuous at best. Ginny and her younger brother Austin have never lived in one place long enough to make friends, but Georgia swears that this time, life will be different.

As they settle in, the family becomes close to the family across the street, a very decent couple and their 15-year-old twins. Ginny becomes best friends with the girl, Max, and has an on-again, off-again flirtation/hook-up/maybe more with the boy, Marcus.

Meanwhile, Georgia goes full Southern belle on the town, with a big Julia Roberts-esque smile and a huge Southern accent, and charms her way into a job in the (very hot and single) mayor’s office.

With me so far?

So why did I end up hate-watching this show?

SPOILERS AHEAD!

I admit, there are elements of this show I really got caught up in:

  • The teen drama is actually pretty good. Ginny’s friend circle is fun and interesting, and while some of the girls’ issues are only addressed on a surface level, there are enough distinct personalities to make them a great group to get to know. I just wish the show’s focus was more on them and less on the adults (more on this in a moment), so it could go deeper into their stories.
  • Ginny is biracial in a mostly white town, and I felt that this component of her story was well portrayed. From her issues of not quite fitting in anywhere, to dealing with a racist teacher who doesn’t even seem to know he’s racist (he voted for Obama! twice!), I couldn’t help but admire Ginny’s courage in taking a stand, yet also feel sorry for her struggles to understand herself in the context of her friends and her new town.
  • Max is a sweet, outrageous character, and the actress who portrays her did a great job showing Max’s vulnerable side even while she’s totally out there and hilarious.
  • Jennifer Robertson, so great as Jocelyn Schitt on Schitt’s Creek, appears in Ginny & Georgia as Max and Marcus’s mother Ellen, who becomes close to Georgia. She’s just as wonderful as you’d expect, and it made me so happy to see her in this show.
  • Overall, the young cast playing the teens is very good, and I’m especially impressed by Antonia Gentry, who plays Ginny so well and with such emotional range.

The things I couldn’t stand, found irritating, or that just plain sucked:

  • Georgia. She’s just an awful person. I think we’re meant to admire her spirit, but she’s a terrible mom who continually puts her children at risk. Plus, she has a very dark past that maybe is meant to show her tenaciousness and ability to survive, but really just shows that she’s amoral and dangerous.

Getting really spoiler-y here…

  • Scott Porter, so charming in Hart of Dixie, plays the mayor in Ginny & Georgia, and it’s like the show couldn’t decide what kind of character he was playing. For most of the episodes, he comes across as super sweet, somewhat innocent, very wowed by Georgia and kind and loving toward her children… until near the end, when he makes a speech to Georgia about how they’re both motivated by seeking power, and it just doesn’t jibe with anything we’ve seen of him so far. He hadn’t once been portrayed as power-hungry, and now that’s all he cares about?
  • Georgia’s criminal past isn’t charming or endearing. It’s impossible to root for her, so why does the show want us to?
  • At age 15, Georgia and Zion (Ginny’s father) are living with Zion’s parents, who propose becoming legal guardians to Ginny. And really, that makes total sense — but instead, Georgia takes off in the middle of the night with Ginny. And again, I couldn’t help but wonder whether the show wanted us to see this as a brave move. Because it was irresponsible and crazy and put both of them at risk, when it would have been the best thing for all concerned for the adults in this situation to take responsibility for Ginny and provide the security and stability needed for her upbringing.
  • I haven’t even touched on how awful Georgia is when it comes to the younger child Austin, whose father is in prison for embezzlement (and we have to wonder, did Georgia frame him?). She allows Austin to live in a fantasy world in which his father is a wizard imprisoned at Azkhaban, and then wonders why he gets bullied all the time — but then we he gets pushed too far and stabs a kid (!!!), doesn’t even get him therapy.
  • Ginny is approached by the seemingly only other Black girl at school, but basically brushes her off until she needs her. Why not allow her to explore finding a place with the small Black community? We’re supposed to empathize with Ginny’s struggles to figure out her identity and where she fits in, but her callousness and unfriendliness toward Bracia seem so unnecessary.
  • One more time, because I just can’t say it enough: Georgia is awful. It’s a bad sign when one-half of your title characters are simply impossible to feel positively toward. While we may want Ginny and Austin to finally get a “normal”, stable life, I couldn’t help feeling that they’d be much better off without Georgia at all. Go live with Zion! Have a responsible, non-criminal parent! Ugh.

Whew. Ranting over.

Despite how much I disliked certain characters and plotlines, I did binge my way through this show this past week, and couldn’t look away.

It hasn’t been announced yet whether there will be a season 2, but given how season 1 ends, it certainly would appear that Netflix is planning on it. Also, the show has done really well for Netflix, so I can’t imagine they won’t continue.

Will I be back for season 2?

Ummm… probably? I do want to see what happens to Ginny next. But, is that enough of a reason to tolerate sitting through more of Georgia’s awfulness? TBD.

Has anyone else watched Ginny & Georgia yet? Please let me know what you think!