There are no two ways to say it: I love reality TV. I’ve watched the American and British Love Island editions and all three versions of the Selling franchise (Selling Sunset, Selling Tampa, Selling the OC). I’ve seen love in every form: Blind, on an island, or at the end of an ultimatum.
As somewhat of a connoisseur, I went into Netflix’s Perfect Match not expecting to be wowed. The show invites former Netflix reality-show stars (ft. Francesca Farago, Nick Ulenhuth, Anne-Sophie Petit) to a tropical villa to battle through challenges and drama to hopefully find their “perfect match.”
It was a masterpiece.
Something about contestants battling not just for a partner, but for a PrettyLittleThing contract renewal made the shouting fights more intense. Somehow, the jaw-dropping, omg-why-did-he-pick-her moments hit harder, knowing that these are people with egos, followers, and a knack for mind games.
Suffice it to say, Perfect Match has earned a spot in my personal reality TV hall of fame.
Strong Woman Do Bong Soon
What better way to out myself as a K-drama enthusiast than to review arguably the best one? Its plot is heartwarming, the side characters are loveable—though slightly ridiculous—and the love triangle is typical, but cute. No matter how technically bad it may be, I will defend Strong Woman Do Bong Soon (SWDBS) to the end.
The plot centres around Do Bong Soon (Park Bo-young), an ordinary woman with extraordinary strength who uses her superpower to help stop a city-wide kidnapping spree. The main highlight is the relationship between Bong Soon and Ahn Min Hyuk (Park Hyung-sik), a CEO who helps Bong Soon out while trying to solve his own mystery. Alternate casting would have downgraded this show from life-changing to mid real fast, but Park and Park have the strongest chemistry of any on-screen couple ever. It’s basically a fact.
Stream SWDBS on Rakuten Viki to see how this 2017-adorableness captured my heart.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
In my unbiased opinion, television began when Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) showed up at Sunnydale High in 1997 with a wooden stake and some kickass one-liners. Think back to all the questionable decisions you made in high school: All the rotted relationships, sneaking out late, trying out Wicca…the good ol’ days! Now imagine all those things happening in a town on a Hellmouth.
With a monster-of-the-week format and a healthy mix of teen drama, Buffy is pure entertainment. Granted, at this point, we’ve seen almost every imaginable rendition of the high-schoolers-defeat-evil TV show trope. But Buffy did it first. If you look past (or even embrace) the 90s-quality special effects and some questionable story arcs (feel free to clock the “my teacher is secretly a sexy praying mantis” plotline), you have hours of campy demons, teens trying their best, and the girlboss of all girlbosses.
Foals—Mountain At My Gates
A certain model of the indie band came to dominate Britain in the late 2000s. Their name was nondescript, only faintly pretending to allude to some deeper meaning—‘Klaxons’ anyone? They modelled themselves on their more pioneering early-2000s peers, sporting skinny jeans, overgrown haircuts, and silly vintage jackets. Camden Town was their London headquarters, an epicentre of sweatily-performed guitar riffs, earning derision from bored critics who termed the phenomenon “landfill indie.”
Foals are all of this and more. Catching the landfill indie scene’s comedown, Foals soldiered into the present with an admirable, if also baffling, seriousness. They embody the sounds of sleepovers as a 13-year-old, gorging yourself on M&Ms and fizzy drinks in a friend’s basement while the indie exhilaration of Mountain at My Gates reverberates off the soundtrack of an engrossing FIFA 16 game. Melding jangly guitars with a charming lyrical metaphor of…well, mountain climbing, Foals show us there’s a great deal of fun in harking back to bygone times, however trite they may have been.