I’ve found my new favourite show: Shadow and Bone on Netflix. It’s based on a bestselling series by Leigh Bardugo, who I’d never heard of before the last couple weeks, and it reminds me of why I love that Netflix and other streaming services exist: they take a lot of these stories with pockets of fandom and give them a chance to be mainstream.
I saw it over the last weekend and loved it a ton. It's got some familiar YA (young adult if you aren’t into that) fantasy tropes: the chosen one with the prophecy, the inevitable love triangle and powered people in different categories (rather like the element benders if you’ve seen Avatar: The Last Airbender.
But what it does well, it does well enough to more than make up for that:
It’s well written and quick-paced. I understand they mixed a story from a spinoff book into the main book this season is based on. So you're following two plot lines through the season and you start to see how they intertwine a few episodes in. I finished it feeling like I didn’t get enough, not like it dragged on too long. Which is precisely how you want your audience to feel.
It does a good job showing the intermix of guns and powers, which isn't something very common in fantasy—there’s a reason a lot of fantasy is written for pre-industrial settings. And it even explores how guns even the odds against powers in an interesting commentary on how technology democratises skill. (And there are some pretty neat gun scenes.)
It’s got really great character development, and it achieves that by not wasting too much time on worldbuilding. It just builds as you go and trusts you to keep up (which I imagine might be hard for some but it worked for me). For a show with 6 important characters (up to 10 depending how you count) that’s a lot for just 8 hourlong episodes. But it left me being fully invested in every single one of the 6.
It’s got absolutely gorgeous cinematography and costuming. The plot aside, it’s just such a delight to look at. If you watch it, be sure to do so on the best screen you've got. You can tell Netflix put the money down for this one.
It’s not the best show out there, don’t get me wrong. But it was a delight and I can’t wait for the next season.
Dancing at work (essay)
This week’s essay is about dancing with patients. Metaphorically speaking. Take a look:
One of the favourite parts of my job is when I get to dance with patients and their loved ones.
Not literally, of course. Dancing is just my name for sitting down with patients or their loved ones—or often, both—to work through stuff. And there’s always a lot to work through in medicine, and especially in mental health. From sifting through symptoms and teasing out a diagnosis to talking through treatment options and explaining implications, there’s always a lot to talk about. And dancing is a metaphor I’ve found helpful in thinking about how to navigate these conversations.
I’ve found it a useful metaphor for important conversations in general.
You can read the rest of the essay here: Dancing at work
Going missing (proverb)
This week’s proverb is about the importance of relationships.
If there’s no one who will search for you, you’d better not go missing.
Having no one to search for you is really about not having people who will drop everything to make sure you’re okay. Which means being on your own, no matter how bad things get.
If you have people like that, don’t take them for granted. I promise you, there’s lots of people who don’t.