Finally finished ‘The Stranger’

I finally finished The Stranger with Richard Armitage and I thought it was the best thing Richard’s done in a long time.

I watched the first two episodes with Mr Esther just after it first came out but then we got stuck with either not the time nor the mood to continue watching together. There’s a lot of build-up with a lot of storylines which was interesting enough to draw us in but didn’t quite hook us completely. We faced the same dilemma that was voiced in this delightful interview with Richard Armitage and Jennifer Saunders: do we continue watching together or not?

In the end, a week and a half later, I proceeded on my own with Mr Esther’s blessingย  and I binged the rest of the 6 episodes. I like these mystery/murder shows well enough but they’re not necessarily my go-to genre. Having said that, I did enjoy watching this one. I’m not going into an in depth critique here (no spoilers either); I did have some gripes with long build-ups and some storylines/characters that just fizzled out, but other than that I thought it was properly good. Richard sure made a lovely family man.

My friend, who had come to watch the Oscars live with me on Sunday night, mentioned out of the blue that she had watched The Stranger and that she had loved seeing Richard as a dad. I think that is what prompted me to finally binge the rest of the episodes and she was right! I too loved seeing daddy Richard, which includes that silly dad joke he did in this scene.

Richard does a wonderful job portraying a man falling apart and seeing his whole world fall apart after being confronted by this stranger and the secret she tells him about his wife. The man does anguish so well, his anguish in the final episode was heartbreaking.

For me the real highlight (besides Richard) turned out to be Siobhan Finneran. Apparently she is known for Downton Abbey but as I never watched Downton for more than a few episodes (it was, surprisingly to me, never able to grip me) I didn’t know her. She plays DS Johanna Griffin and I have to say she got to me from the first moment she came on screen. I could watch a whole series centered around her and Heidi Doyle’s (played by Jennifer Saunders) friendship. Thelma and Louise indeed. For all the Jennifer Saunders hype, there was less of her in this than I thought; I would have loved to see much more of her.

I loved when Johanna and Adam Price (Richard) finally joined in their storylines.

I also really liked Hannah John-Kamen as the stranger. That woman is mesmerizing.

I felt that some characters’ stories weren’t really tied up properly and the connections between some people were a bit too coincidental. I also wasn’t sure about the ending for Johanna, I felt that the choice she made wasn’t quite in character for her.

Having said all that, I still thought The Stranger was good. It was suspenseful with lots of twists and turns and surprises, the cast were all truly great and I liked how this homicidal drama happened in such a ‘normal’, mundane world, right up to the conclusion at the end.

The Stranger is apparently doing very well in ratings…

I hope this will open doors to some better jobs for Richard and I hope to see more of Siobhan Finneran and Hannah John-Kamen. I also wouldn’t mind seeing more of Jennifer Saunders in dramatic roles. It’s not perfect but it certainly is a thumbs up from me.

The Anne billboards

Very busy here of late and in the evenings not in the mood for mystery show The Stranger, even if it has Richard Armitage in it! Mr Esther and I have seen the first two episodes this past weekend, but since then he and I have not had the energy or time yet to watch the rest together. Mr Esther isn’t quite convinced yet but curious enough to watch at least one more episode. Even though it does look good, this sort of thing isn’t normally my genre, so I really need to be in the mood and even Rich can’t quite entice me yet. He will, though, and I will watch in time! Until then I am avoiding most The Stranger blog posts in order to avoid spoilers.

As I’m not posting about Richard or The Stranger, I was looking at some of my draft posts and saw this one sitting there. I’d been collecting some Anne with an E billboard images over the last few weeks and have added on a few more this evening. So an Anne post it is!

Yes, I am still following what I can and tweeting here and there in my own effort to get the wonderful Anne with an E renewed. Other fans have been way more active, though, and some of them have been crowdfunding to get billboards up with the renew Anne with an E message! The first one went up in Toronto some weeks ago.

Showrunner Moria Walley-Beckett was in Toronto when that billboard was up, she went to visit it and actually hugged it!

Next up was the fan-funded billboard in Times Square in New York City that was up for a few days. Moira Walley-Beckett was pleased with that too…

… as was Cara Ricketts who plays Mary on the show and went to see it…

Melanie Nicholls-King, who plays Bash’s mum Hazel, also went to see the New York billboard, totally pleased and on board with the renew Anne with an E message.

In addition to New York, new billboards went up again in Toronto.

Lead actress Amybeth McNulty, who happens to be filming again in Toronto with none other than director Megan Follows who played Anne in the 1980s TV series…

AB McNulty Meg Follows

… went to see the Toronto billboard for herself together with two supporting cast mates.

They came across some fans in Toronto and posed with them too.

Yet another billboard went up in Toronto again a few days ago…

And the latest billboards went up today in Phoenix, Arizona, at a mall, apparently separately sponsored by a fan.

Besides the billboards, there’s also a petition to save Anne with an E which is up to over 168.000 signatures. On Twitter the hashtag #renewannewithane is up to almost 7 million (!!) tweets!

There is no reaction whatsoever from Netflix or CBC to all of this. Where at the beginning cast and crew and Netflix and CBC were big on announcing that Anne had ended, now they are completely schtum and the words ‘final season’ have not been used anymore. Cast and crew are liking renewal tweets and billboard tweets but they say nothing else. I hope this means that things are happening behind the scenes. Alas, Netflix hasn’t answered my question about renewal, so I don’t know…

… but I’m sure hoping the silence is a good sign!

Mrs Maisel, The Stranger & Uncle Vanya

It’s been pretty busy here with little time for blogging this past week. Besides work and family I’ve been binge-watching The Marvelous Mrs Maisel which I liked not quite as much as I had anticipated but I still did really enjoy it. I love that it’s all set in Jewish families at the end of the 1950s/beginning 60s and I really enjoy the every day humor (more than the stand up routines). My fave characters are Susie Myerson (played so brilliantly by Alex Borstein, in the left picture on the left) and Abe Weissman (played by Tony Shalhoub) who is Midge Maisel’s (Rachel Brosnahan’s) dad.

Butย Mrs Maisel is really just a side note here. I didn’t start this post to talk about that show, I came to gush about the one and only Richard Armitage and his new projects!

Yesterday a more extended trailer for his Netflix series The Stranger dropped:

I’ve gotta say, it really does look good! After the Berlin Station hype (a show I never really enjoyed despite the hype) I have been cautious to get excited about this project. However, after seeing the trailer I have got to say, my expectations have really risen! The Netflix page is already there, looks like this for me:

Netflix The Stranger RA

Guess I know what I’ll be doing with my evenings in two weeks time. It’ll be the first thing I watch on Netflix after watching and re-watching Anne with an E (which still needs to get renewed! Come on, get with the program, Netflix!).

Not only The Stranger is looking good! Richard’s play Uncle Vanya has opened in London this week and the first whisperings are also sounding very good. It’s looking beautiful too.

2020-0117 Uncle Vanya 012020-0117 Uncle Vanya 03

And some really nice and beautifully dramatic stage stills were released today; I just love the look of that decor and the costumes. Here are the images Richard is in (click on images to enlarge)…

I am also very curious to see Toby Jones and Ciaran Hinds. I don’t know Rosalind Eleazar but she does look lovely here.

Servetus has already been to 3 performances of Uncle Vanya, she wrote about them here, here and here. Guylty has written about stage door experiences here and here. There has been some sharing on Twitter, among others by the lovely Linda Sechzig (one of my partners in crime when we saw Richard in Newcastle two years ago)…

And now more than ever I am looking forward to next month, when I get to see all this for myself in London! I will only be going to one show (yeah, just can’t do more, I have a family budget to consider) but one is far better than none, right? This Richard Armitage year is starting out really well. ๐Ÿ™‚

Deadpool & Anne of Green Gables

Yeah, sounds weird but there’s a reason these two are mentioned together. A week ago actor Ryan Reynolds tweeted about Anne with an E needing to be renewed:

I’m not a fan but when I see Ryan Reynolds in something I like him, he’s a huge name and having his endorsement has made the Anne fandom giddy with excitement. What I loved best is all the Deadpool movie references that are being made in picture edits. I haven’t seen Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool yet, even though my son tells me I should, but I am planning to in time. Amybeth McNulty, who plays Anne, apparently enjoyed the endorsement as well…

And fans didn’t fail to respond. Some of my fave picture reactions:

There were also some final episode ones that I enjoyed, but I didn’t want to spoil those here.

Today singer Sam Smith tweeted about loving Anne with an E.

Will that result in Sam Smith / Anne fan videos? I’ll check out YouTube soon and see. ๐Ÿ™‚

Fangirling heart palpitation day!

So my family and I are having a lazy day at home today. The kids have been amusing themselves mostly in their own rooms with my son also napping because he really has caught the flu badly and Mr Esther has been busying himself with his hobbies and catching up on my blog posts. I have been enjoying Anne with an E again, as season 3 has become available on Netflix now and to help boost streaming numbers, I thought I’d screen it in the background on my laptop. Good news is that on my Netflix welcome page, it didn’t say “final season” as it did before, but just “Season 3”.

AWAE S3 on Netflix

Background streaming isn’t working, by the way, as I catch myself actually re-watching pretty much all of it and enjoying it yet again!

While streaming the episodes, I have also been scrolling though Twitter and Instagram to follow the fan enthusiasm for Anne and the cast has been posting stuff too. Geraldine James, who plays Marilla, showed a picture of awards won…

Showrummer Moira Walley-Beckett did not mention the words “final season” in her Instagram post.

Producer Miranda de Pencier (she played Josie Pye in the 1980s Anne of Green Gables, by the way!) shared more awards images (I’m ignoring her final season hashtag).

Cast members have shared fan art to promote the season (which has been better than the actual art Netflix has put out)…

And in the middle of all this enthusiasm, this Richard Armitage thing happened too!

RA jan 2020 UV rehearsal3

Yeah, still not over that!

Then this lovely image of some Anne cast members came which had me grinning widely.

And now, most recently, we even have Ryan Reynolds (with 15,4 million Twitter followers) supporting the renewal of Anne with an E!

This day of fangirling, which has had “World War III” trending on Twitter because of the actions of an inane US president, has had me very pleasantly distracted! I’m dubbing this my first fangirling heart palpitation day of 2020…