In my fifth post as part of a Blogtober challenge that Louna from Bursts of Autumn set, I share with you films and TV shows that I particularly like to watch in the autumn. Some of these movies and programmes are Halloween-themed (even though I don’t celebrate Halloween, I enjoyed these films and Halloween episodes of one of my favourite TV shows) while some of these programmes are usually broadcast in the autumn.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)
In the first film of the series that is based on the first book of the series, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) starts his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He makes friends with other first year students Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson). Harry also discovers his dark past as well as the fact that he is a wizard.
While the only Harry Potter book I read was the one this film was based on, I have seen this film several times and it’s a fantastic way to introduce Harry, Ron, Hermione, headmaster Professor Dumbledore (Richard Harris), Head of Slitherin Professor Snape (Alan Rickman), Head of Gryffindor Professor MacGonagall (Maggie Smith) and gamekeeper Rubeus Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) plus many other Hogwarts students and staff. The Quidditch scene is great fun as is the scene with the giant chess game.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
In the second film in the series, Dobby the House Elf (voiced by Toby Jones) warns Harry not to return to Hogwarts because it is too dangerous (the reason for this is because the heir of Salazar Slitherin has opened the titular Chamber of Secrets that has unleashed a monster that petrifies Hogwarts attendants). Despite his warning and initially preventing Harry and Ron from catching the Hogwarts Express, they return to Hogwarts in a flying Ford Anglia that Ron stole from his father. Upon their return at Hogwarts, Harry, Ron and other students meet Gilderoy Lockhart (Kenneth Branagh), the new Defence Against the Dark Arts Teacher who turns out not to be who he seems to be.
I enjoyed this film more than the first one because not only is its Quidditch game more dramatic, but I also liked the car-flying scene, Harry and Ron disguising themselves as Crabbe (Jamie Waylett) and Goyle (Joshua Herdman) with Polyjuice Potion, the ghost Moaning Myrtle (Shirley Henderson) and the new students Ginny Weasley (Bonnie Wright), Ron’s sister, and Colin Creevey (Hugh Mitchell), a photography-obsessed fan of Harry’s.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011)
In this second part of The Deathly Hallows, Harry, Ron and Hermione hurry to destroy the remaining Horcruxes while the students and teachers team up to defend Hogwarts from Voldemort and the Death Eaters.
I enjoyed Part 2 more than Part 1 (although hardly any of Part 1 took place at Hogwarts, it had a superb animated story abut three brothers and a heartbreaking climax) because it was darker than the first part, it had a thrilling ride to the Gringotts Bank vault and it had stunning 3D effects when I saw it at the cinema, particularly in the climax.
Coraline is a stop-motion animated film that is based on the Neil Gaiman novella of the same name. Henry Selick wrote and directed it. In Coraline, when the titular character and her busy and inattentive parents move to a new apartment, she discovers a parallel universe that seems better than the real world at first; however, a dark secret within the universe awaits.
I first saw this film at the cinema in 2009 in 2D. When I purchased the DVD, I went for a special edition that included both 2D and 3D versions of the film as well as 3D glasses. While the 3D effects of the trailer in the cinema were very good, they were pretty decent on the DVD.
The things I like best about Coraline are the stunning stop-motion animation, the story, the music (especially the haunting opening piece) and the voice cast that includes Dakota Fanning as Coraline; Teri Hatcher as Coraline’s mother Mel and Other Mother; John Hodgman as Coraline’s father Charlie and Other Father; Jennifer Saunders as April Spink; Dawn French as Miriam Forcible; Ian McShane as Bobinsky; Robert Bailey Jr. as Wybie; and Carolyn Crawford as Wybie’s grandmother. My only complaint about Coraline is that I think younger children would find it too scary.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
The Nightmare Before Christmas is another stop-motion animated film that Henry Selick directed and Tim Burton co-produced it. The film stars Jack Skellington (speaking voice by Chris Sarandon, singing voice by Danny Elfman) who resides in Halloweentown. Bored of his job with organising the town’s Halloween celebrations, Jack wanders through the woods the morning after Halloween and discovers a portal to Christmastown.
My favourite things about this film are the animation, the song What’s This? and the fact that Jack learns Christmas is better than Halloween.
Supermarket Sweep (revival with Rylan Clark-Neal)
The revived version of Supermarket Sweep first aired in September 2019 on ITV2, but it moved to ITV for its second series this year. Although I can only vaguely remember the original 1990s – 2000s series with the late Dale Winton, I still found the revival an entertaining show if some of it was cringeworthy, especially the episode with Love Island cast members as the contestants. The supermarket in the revival is more colourful than that in the original series and I like the different rounds such as Mini Sweep, Express Sweep, Big Sweep (the main round), Super Sweep, Alphabet Soup, Scanagram (a new round for 2020 where one team member has to solve an anagram of an item that is available in the supermarket and the other team member finds the item and scans it) and Stars and Their Buys. Rylan is a charismatic and witty presenter of the show while Gary the security guard and Jennie McAlpine the voiceover lady are wonderful additions.
Only Connect is a game show that I have been watching for the past four years. Victoria Coren Mitchell is the presenter and the show consists of two teams with three contestants on each one. The show has four rounds. The first is where four written clues are shown (sometimes the clues are pieces of music or pictures) and the contestants have to guess the connection between them. The second round is where three clues are shown and the contestants have to give an example of the fourth clue as well as work out the connection in order to make a sequence. The third round is where each team is faced with a wall of 16 clues and they have to sort them into four categories (some of the clues are red herrings, which means that they may fit into more than one category) and figure out their connections. The fourth and final round is the Missing Vowels round where the clues under each category have their vowels missing and the contestants have to solve the clues.
One worthy change of the autumn 2020 series is that there are Perspex screens in between each contestant as a COVID-19 safety regulation. I still like Victoria’s dry if somewhat weird sense of humour on the show.
The Great British Bake Off
I have been watching The Great British Bake Off every year since 2016 (that year, it was still on the BBC and had Mel Giedroyc, Sue Perkins and Mary Berry on the show). Despite the series moving to Channel 4 and Mel, Sue and Mary leaving the show in favour of Noel Fielding, Prue Leith and Sandi Toksvig (who left after the Stand Up to Cancer 2020 series and was replaced by Matt Lucas for the main 2020 series), I still enjoy watching it nowadays.
In the current series, my favourite bakers so far are Sura, Lottie and Laura while my favourite challenges were the cake bust Showstoppers in Cake Week; the florentines Signature Challenge (especially if Lottie referred to her florentines as, “quarantine Florentines”) in Biscuit Week; the rainbow bagels Technical Challenge and the bread Showstoppers in Bread Week. I also like Matt as the new presenter in this series, especially with his hilarious Boris Johnson impression at the beginning of the first episode!
The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice
This is the spin-off series of The Great British Bake Off that Jo Brand presents. In each episode, she gives a round-up of the week’s episode, shows unseen footage, has celebrity guests (including a presenter or a judge from the main show) on the panel, shares photos of viewers’ baking triumphs and disasters and interviews the baker who was eliminated that same week. Tom Allen (one of the presenters of Bake Off: The Professionals) also appears on An Extra Slice and he judges baking creations from audience members who are sitting on tables. This series also includes some fun games such as guessing which biscuit makes a particular snapping sound and which celebrity is hidden in a different type of bread.
Changes I like in the current series of An Extra Slice are the social distancing measures put in place, especially for Jo, the eliminated baker, the celebrity panel and the audience members on the tables. Tom also keeps a very good distance from the audience members by using a long microphone with a whisk attached to it.
The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror V, VIII and XII
I have been a lifelong fan of The Simpsons and I’m glad I can now watch it on Disney+.
Not only do I enjoy watching main episodes of the series, but I also enjoy watching the Treehouse of Horror Halloween Specials, especially numbers V, VIII and XII.
Treehouse of Horror V has a parody of The Shining (1980) called The Shinning (see above), a segment called Time and Punishment, a pun on the phrase crime and punishment, and another segment called Nightmare Cafeteria. My favourite parts of this special are The Shinning segment and the musical number that the Simpson family perform at the end of the special.
Treehouse of Horror VIII is my favourite The Simpsons Halloween special because it is the most memorable, especially The Homega Man (see above) segment where Homer believes he is the last person alive in Springfield after the president of France sends a bomb directly to the town and Fly vs. Fly where the heads of Bart and a fly are switched when they enter a matter transporter that Homer bought from Professor Frink’s garage sale. The third segment Easy-Bake Coven that explains how the tradition of trick or treating started is also worth watching as is the opening skit with the Fox Censor.
Treehouse of Horror XII has parodies of Thinner (1996), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Demon Seed (1977) and the Harry Potter book series (when I first saw the Wiz Kids segment, I thought it was based on the Harry Potter films until I saw that Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was released shortly after Treehouse of Horror XII first aired). The parodies are called Hex and the City, House of Whacks and Wiz Kids (see above) respectively. My favourite segment is Wiz Kids because I like the Harry Potter films, especially the ones I mentioned earlier in this post, but the opening skit is very good as well, in particular the Simpson family’s Halloween costumes such as Homer and Marge dressing up as Fred and Wilma Flintstone.
The Good Doctor Season 1, Episode 1 – Burnt Food
The Good Doctor is a medical drama series that stars Freddie Highmore as Shaun Murphy, an autistic savant doctor who has a near-photographic memory and the remarkable “ability to note minute details and changes.”
I had heard quite a bit about this show, particularly in MsMojo’s video about the Top 10 Inspirational Characters on the Autism Spectrum. I was wondering how to watch this programme until my mum told me over Skype that I could watch it on Pick from Wednesday 7th September 2020 at 8pm. My parents have the first season of the show on DVD and the second season is due for release on 2nd November 2020.
Upon watching the first episode, I liked the portrayal of Shaun for the most part as well as the graphics and sketches of human anatomy and flashbacks of his teenage years if some of them were moving. The only thing about the show is that some footage of heart surgery on a patient made me feel so squeamish that I had to avert my eyes from the screen. In my previous Blogtober blog post, I said I was planning to watch the second episode on a Thursday evening, but I changed my mind. I would like to give this show another chance, but I will have to look away from the surgical detail.