Here’s what I’m digging so far this month.

The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020)

After an au pair’s tragic death, Henry hires a young American nanny to care for his orphaned niece and nephew who reside at Bly Manor with the chef Owen, groundskeeper Jamie and housekeeper, Mrs. Grose.

Obviously October would be nothing without Mike Flanagan‘s spiritual sequel to The Haunting of Hill House, which was probably the best thing I saw in 2018, if not in the last few years, bar the return to Twin Peaks. I’m a handful of episodes down as I type this and it can be best described at the moment as a ‘slow burn’. I like it though and I love the story on which it’s based – The Turn of the Screw.

I really love the cast and the setting – it’s very atmospheric and creepy. Victoria Pedretti (Hill House’s Nell Crain) is lovely as American nanny Dani Clayton, a girl haunted by her own secrets and now governess to two creepy kids in the country side. As mentioned, I’m not that far in and am watching this time around with Glynn, which means I can’t just mainline this series in a weekend like I did with HH. This is both good and bad.

I’m not super sold on the kids yet because precocious children onscreen bug me, but as the mystery of Bly Manor reveals itself maybe my feelings will thaw. One thing’s for sure, I’ll probably watch anything Flanagan does, he’s the king of nailing a certain something in his period pieces. His work always has a retro feel to it, even when it exists in a contemporary setting. I’m really hoping Bly leaves a lasting impression, it’s predecessor had some huge moments that I still think about today.

PEN15 (2019-)

The comedic story of middle school seen through the eyes of two 7th grade girls dealing with the awkwardness of being a teenager.

I’m obsessed with these two and this stupid program which really captures the trauma of secondary school despite being set in 2000, a good few years after my own experience. Comedians Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle play versions of themselves as they navigate high school, puberty, sex, boys and all the agony that comes from being not a girl, not yet a woman. It’s also really touching in places as Maya gets her period but fails to tell BFF Anna so as not to make her feel bad – and Anna’s parents go through a divorce, devastating their daughter.

Definitely worth a watch if you’re into female-eccentric comedy which explores the theme of finding your place in the world. A place I sometimes am not convinced I’ve located myself yet (at least socially).

Sweetheart (2019)

Jenn has washed ashore a small tropical island and it doesn’t take her long to realize she’s completely alone. She must spend her days not only surviving the elements, but must also fend off the malevolent force that comes out each night.

This short but sweet little number is surprisingly effective for having such a compact cast and also boasts pretty great monster work, if you’re into that sort of thing. Which I totally am.

Jenn (Kiersey Clemons) finds herself isolated on an island following a boat accident which claims a couple of her friendship group. Washing ashore with one of the boys, who soon perspires, Jenn does what she can to survive – quickly working out come nightfall that the island isn’t the safest place to be – ‘cos of the monster, yo. Our gorgeous antagonist rises from the sea and hunts by night, destroying anything in its sights.

When Jenn’s boyfriend Lucas and their friend Mia are washed up on the same island several days later, they all disagree on the next course of action – Jenn thinks they should go (in the raft they rocked up in), while the others want to stay, not believing her story about the monster. Well that’s surely going to prove a big mistake, wouldn’t you say? Also, men not believing women in horror movies? GROUNDBREAKING.

Emily in Paris (2020-)

A young American woman from the Midwest is hired by a marketing firm in Paris to provide them with an American perspective on things.

This is a sickly sweet entry but it has weight, trust me. From Sex and The City creator Darren Star, EIP fills the void left behind by its legendary predecessor as well as shows like Gossip Girl, etc. While Lily Collins might not be everyone’s cup of tea, she is pretty adorable as Emily and who doesn’t love a fish out of water story?

Frankly, I’m mostly about the secondary characters, particularly Emily’s formidable boss Sylvie (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu), new BF Mindy (Ashley Park) and bitchy colleague Julien (Samuel Arnold). But I don’t hate Emily. As she finds her feet in Paris, navigates a luxury industry she has no experience of and strives to win her peers around – she’s also juggling a complicated love life and a growing attraction to her neighbour Gabrielle.

The outfits are sublime and I guess that’s mainly the reason it draws the SATC comparisons though this isn’t as clever or as iconic. It is fun though and sometimes you need fun in your life.

What are you watching?