Jane the Virgin (2014-2019)

A telenovela style soap opera-ish comedy series, this was a stress buster with many memorable moments.

The satire like approach makes for light viewing, plenty of cliffhangers, unpredictable plot twists which is enjoyable because of the eccentric and well defined characters and their unique traits.

A constant need to know ‘what’s next’ keeps the viewer glued to the drama which finally comes to an appropriate conclusion at the end of its fifth and final season.

Worth the ride if this style of story telling appeals to you. There is something here for everyone.

The Queen’s Gambit (2020)

Based on the novel of the same name by Walter Tevis, this miniseries is brilliant at challenging and breaking stereotypes.

Director Scott Frank has painted a challenging world where we don’t feel sorry for anyone, we just root for them because of the way they handle and conduct their lives

The result? A prodigy who goes on to become a Chess phenomenon, taking on the greats in the realm. A riveting watch with a wonderful performance by the lead, Anya Taylor-Joy and every other cast member.

A must watch, with a pertinent message that is driven home plenty of times!

Freaky (2020)

A tongue in cheek type of silly horror film, with gore that makes you cringe but not laugh, though the plot twist does!

Lots of obstacles where two customary characters embellish the proceedings, we are eventually faced with a closing window of time to tie up the plot.

The end finally comes much after we think the story has played itself out, to leave us with a pertinent message.

Not bad, but not freaky either!

2/5

A Suitable Boy – TV series (2020)

Only Mira Nair could have done justice to the poetic saga written by Vikram Seth, and she does so wonderfully.

Striking a balance between story telling and setting the mood for culture, family dynamics, heartbreak and new love, she captivates the audience while weaving a tale, drawing us in to the lives and choices of the many characters.

Though the 6 episodes cannot capture the entire content, they have however bottled the essence of the story, touching on all the key elements and relationships which form the drama, romance and strife in the plot.

Excellent performances by the entire stellar cast, the most noteworthy are Ishaan Khatter, Tabu and Ram Kapoor. But each and every one puts their finest theatrical foot forward.

Watch it for the detail, the feelings, the authenticity and the fine character portrayals and even finer direction.

The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020)

The best part of this show is not the lack of horror, but the abundance of story telling. Stories that span centuries, back stories for everything and no caricatures or predictable plot twists.

An eerie mood is created by Mike Flanagan from the beginning, where words, cues or incidents stand out in your memory. There is a reason for it all, as the story unfolds.

What you are not prepared for are the surprises the story has in store for you, which explains everything you have seen and a plausible reason for it.

The haunting in this sense stems from grief, heartbreak, torture, abuse and betrayal which leaves a far bigger impact and resonance then traditional scares which are over in the next second.

The show scores for brilliant writing, screen adaptation of the work of Henry James, stellar acting by the cast, especially the younger siblings. Everyone has a story to tell and experiences that have shaped them to be the way they are. Nothing is black and white and no one is bad or good.

The haunting continues to haunt long after it is over.

Holding the man (2015)

Adapted by a memoir of the same name published in 1995, the film speaks of a tender love story that faces many odds from family and society.

The lead play their younger and older selves well, supported by a cast who challenges them in every way.

What ensues is a heartbreaking yet hopeful drama about the lives of those we may or may not understand.

An emotional watch!

3.5/5