I’m going to be honest, this wasn’t a great month of media consumption for me. I had movies and TV shows I wanted to watch that just never happened. I am also in a reading slump and only got through one book this month and it was only alright for my personal tastes. So this is a little bit of a lean recommendation post but feel free to leave the things you enjoyed in the comments and send me some secondhand joy along with things to add to my list that maybe I can actually get through in March.
Show Title: The Expanse
Where to Watch: Amazon
I recommended this show in a post just like this two years ago but with two more seasons completed and a final one announced, it feels like time to bring it back. Even if it’s only so I can tell you that the fifth season of this show featured some of the strongest performances on television and I am going to be eternally frustrated if/when (listen, I am under no illusion that Emmy voters even know this show exists) Dominique Tipper isn’t given every possible acting award. I will admit to struggling a little with this season because I missed having the Roci fam together and have had enough bad experiences with sci-fi and fantasy shows that separate their characters only to never really put them back together again. But I shouldn’t have worried, this show knows where its emotional core lies and the good these people have done for each other. Even with my slight disappointment at the separation, it led to two phenomenal stories for my two favorite characters. We got to see Naomi stand tall and take pride in the woman she has become and in the knowledge that she made the right choice for herself. She owned her past and her truth in the hopes of reuniting with her son and when that wasn’t possible, she did what she needed to do to save herself and was brilliant and brave and driven by the love she has for the family she’s made for herself. We saw Amos revisit his past and realize just how far he’s come and how badly he needs his family to be the person he wants to be. We saw his loyalty and drive and love alongside the brutality he’s capable of and it was everything I could have wanted from him. For a show that is telling a much wider story, it never loses sight of its intimate character moments. It is deeply concerned with making its characters feel like fully formed people and making you understand their perspective, even when you disagree. It’s a style of storytelling I will always appreciate and I’m grateful to them for doing it so well.
Song Title: Fix You (Coldplay cover)
From: MTV Unplugged
On the off chance that you don’t have any BTS fans in your life who have been excitedly talking about this song nonstop since Tuesday, the group performed on MTV Unplugged this week where they treated us to 4 songs off their most recent album BE along with this cover of Coldplay’s “Fix You”. It was a song they said brought them a lot of comfort over the past year and hoped it would do the same for those listening and given the response, I’m going to say it did. They captured the feel of the song in such a beautiful way and it is probably one of my favorite vocal performances by them to date. I wanted to single out a moment or two but that is proving impossible so I’m just going to settle for singling out the majority of the song by pointing out how much the rap line’s harmonizations added and how fantastic they sound together in any combination. (For those unfamiliar, there are 3 rappers and 4 vocalists in BTS and we don’t get a lot of pure vocals in songs that aren’t specific to the vocal line) It’s an incredible performance that I personally think everyone should hear if they enjoy amazing vocals and one that has been on frequent repeat for me and many others this week.
Song Title: Blue & Grey
From: MTV Unplugged
I had initially been planning to only talk about the cover above but felt like I was shortchanging them and the effort that went into creating BE. It was a pandemic album that allowed them the chance to express some of their own feelings as well as serve as a comfort to their fans at a time when concerts couldn’t happen. It is a product of their creative energy and love, from start to finish, and one they are incredibly proud of (as they should be, it’s great). This was the first time they had gotten to play two of the songs from the album live and while I loved both of them and still highly recommend checking out the performance of Telepathy because it’s fun and a bop, I’m going to single out Blue & Grey. It was a song that was originally written by Taehyung for his upcoming mixtape but he gifted it to the group after everyone else fell in love with it. It’s a song about burnout and the mental weight and loneliness it causes while also holding space for the knowledge that this will pass. It’s an emotional song and this performance amplifies that with the gorgeous staging. And of course, it sounds terrific. In particular, the harmony combination of Jin and Jungkook followed by Jimin and Taehyung is a standout, as are Tae’s closing lines. And if you watched these two videos and are now a mess of feelings, pick yourself up with the performance of Dynamite, a song that exists just to make people happy, and Life Goes On, which sounds phenomenal with a live band.