Welcome to the latest chapter of StreamChat, where we chat about what we’ve been streaming at home this month. If you have anything you’d recommend we watch, based on any of the shows or movies in this post, then feel free to get in touch and let us know via our socials.
Spy x Family: Season 1, Part 1
Erika: In the Cold War era, Spy x Family follows Twilight on an undercover mission that requires a family. He adopts a child, Anya, and marries a city worker, Yor. Unbeknownst to him, Anya is a telepath, and Yor is an assassin. While they keep their respective identities a secret from each other, they bond together to maintain the facade of a real family through the hijinks their identities cause.
Spy x Family is one of my favourite ongoing manga series. While I liked this series, I began to have an issue when it started skewing too far into a slice-of-life anime, centring on Anya. Sure, Anya is an entertaining character in small doses. However, she is a dummy; I can only take so much of it before I get irritated. Whenever Anya heavy chapters are in the manga, I tend to skim them. But with the anime, those were the chapters they featured. I read the manga for the adults, Twilight and Yor, and that’s what I wanted to see.
This anime can definitely be enjoyed by a casual watcher without knowledge of the manga. While I liked this and will continue watching, the overall focus was on family and not spy, making it less enjoyable. Luckily, a small subset of fans also feel this way, so it’s not just me. We’ll see how the next part of the series shakes out. I doubt they’ll change anything and will keep the focus on Anya. 4 stars
Lee: This is one of those little gems where I feel like it just kind of quietly slipped onto Prime Video until I stumbled across it while randomly browsing new releases one evening. Night Sky stars J.K. Simmons and Sissy Spacek as Franklin and Irene, an elderly couple with a big secret – there’s a trapdoor out in their garden shed which leads down into a small tunnel, and at the end of that tunnel is a sliding door which leads into a room. Once in that room, the door closes and it acts like some kind of cosmic elevator, transporting the couple to a viewing area that looks out onto the surface of a planet complete with stunning views of space in the distance. It’s a trip that’s so intense that it causes Franklin to throw up, but they’ve obviously been coming up here many times over the years. A couple of chairs and a coffee table are positioned in a prime viewing position and everything looks nice and homely. There’s a door that leads out onto the planet’s surface, but we learn that tests carried out by Franklin using mice have previously been carried and these showed that it’s not a good idea to venture outside.
Once that little reveal is out of the way, it’s largely ignored for the rest of episode 1, and we’re left to just enjoy two wonderful actors portraying a perfectly ordinary couple in their twilight years. Their granddaughter comes to visit, Franklin forgets that he dropped his wife off at the doctor’s earlier while out running chores, and there’s a nosy neighbour who’s curious to know why the pair keep heading down to their shed for long periods of time. It’s only at the end of the episode when an injured man is discovered inside the viewing area that their secret is brought back into focus. From there the story continues to slowly but confidently build.
Word of Honor
Erika: Word of Honor is a 2021 Mandarin-language Wuxia series based upon the web novel Faraway Wanderers. After leaving his position as chief of an assassin organization, Zhou Zi Shu (Zhang Zhehan) decides to wander the world before he dies of a self-inflicted terminal illness. Along the way, he gets pulled into some drama in the martial art world and meets the Chief of the Ghost Valley, Wen Ke Xing (Gong Jun). They become friends and join the quest for a mysterious artefact.
I found Word of Honor while endlessly scrolling through the numerous streaming services I subscribe to. When I read the description, I thought it sounded interesting enough to try. After the first episode, I re-read the description and realized what bosom friends meant in context. I’m into the genre, so I continued watching.
I loved everything about this series. The martial arts choreography was beautiful, and the costumes were extravagant. The numerous plot lines and characters were relatively easy to follow. There was some hinky CGI at some points, but not enough to affect my viewing experience.
The web novel this series is based on is considered danmei. Because of censorship, it dances the line between bromance and romance. These series are super popular, despite the fact they can’t portray straight-up romance between the male leads.
So, there are 36 episodes on Netflix for this series. The show just kind of ended, and I sighed in frustration. As I was writing this review, I saw something about an epilogue. Forgetting that YouTube exists, I tracked down Word of Honor on a different streaming service, Viki. Sure enough, a 37th episode/epilogue. It was 11 minutes long, and only about 3 minutes of that was the epilogue. Was it worth signing up for a free trial? Absolutely, and the subtitles were infinitely better than Netflix.
This series won’t be for everyone. I recommend it to fans of The Untamed or the Heaven Official’s Blessing donghua (anime). Though, if you are already a fan of the genre, chances are Netflix already recommended Word of Honor. I unapologetically loved this series and may have already watched it again… And may watch it with the different subtitles on Viki. 5 stars