Lindsey's August 2020 Media Diary

Lovecraft Country on HBO

As Taylor Swift once (recently) said, "August slipped away into a moment in time." In other words, time for another monthly roundup of pop culture consumption! To the best of my knowledge (and according to my Letterboxd) I didn't watch any movies this month. Weird!

TV Shows

The Umbrella Academy (season 2)

I'm a sucker for stories about dysfunctional families who have to come together in a crisis, so throw in some comic book superpowers and a fun soundtrack and I'm in. I liked the first season of The Umbrella Academy, but I really liked the way they revamped it for the second season and took our main characters into 1960s Dallas was really fun, and a great way to continue each Hargreeves' sibling's own personal journey while continuing on with the larger plot of the show.

Sugar Rush

I've entered the baking show binge portion of quarantine, apparently. This Netflix baking competition series is fun and requires little brainwork, as each episode features new challengers. The host is rather annoying, but I do like watching the inventiveness of the bakers as they create cupcakes, confections, and cakes.

The Great British Bake Off (various seasons)

What's better than a baking competition? A British baking competition! I know I'm way late to the game on this one, but the love for The Great British Bake Off is well deserved, as it is so charming and pleasant to watch. Basically all this month my roommate and I watched whatever seasons are available on Netflix, in no particular order. It's soothing and quite low stakes (the winner gets a fancy cake stand and some flowers, that's it) but you still get invested in the contestants and their creations.

Lovecraft Country (began season 1)

Just like I loved Watchmen last year for its use of the superhero genre to tackle issues of race, HBO's latest genre series Lovecraft Country is using the horror genre and the creations of H.P. Lovecraft to examine horrors both real and supernatural for Black characters living in 1950s Chicago. The cast is great, the scares are truly frightful, and I for one am especially enamored with the costume and production design that combines both historical elements with supernatural flare.

One thing I wish I knew about the series going into it is that it is structured as a connected anthology, if that makes sense. Similar to the way The Crown is structured, we follow a central cast of characters, led by Jonathan Majors and Jurnee Smollett, through different supernatural adventures. Each episode is very much a separate chapter to an overall story, with each week taking on different tropes of the horror genre. The pilot episode, for example, is a road trip and cabin in the woods story, while the second episode is all about a secret society. The third is a good old fashioned haunted house story.

The Legend of Korra (seasons 1-2)

I had watched the first season right when it came out, but never had the chance to finish the series, so I'm catching up on it now! Avatar: The Last Airbender was one of my favorite series growing up, and I love how Korra builds on the mythology of the world while also growing up with its audience.

Lucifer (seasons 1-3)

A procedural detective show but with a handsome devil on the case? No literally, the devil is the star of the show, only he's more misunderstood than evil. It's a really fun show, and I'm glad to put all the Book of Revelations knowledge I had to learn for art history to good use!


Catherine The Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie (halfway through)

Nothing screams fluffy summer read like the biography of a Russian empress, right? After watching The Great on Hulu and trying to decipher fact from fiction (turns out most of The Great is embellishing history, but that's what makes it fun!) I wanted to learn more about Catherine, so I ordered this biography that paints a wonderful picture of Catherine's life, from her family history and upbringing to her arrival at the Russian court and eventual reign. It's a dense text, particularly the beginning where Massie is doing a lot of background setting and explaining of royal family lineages, but once the action gets going it really does read like a good novel.

I read up to the point of the (spoiler alert for Russian history, I guess) coup that brought Catherine to power and decided to take a pause there, as that is also where The Great's first season leaves off. I'll probably pick up the biography later this year to learn more about Catherine's actual reign.