A-Z Drama and Movie Challenge – The Retrospective

I promise, that we are really close to the end of me blabbering about these challenges. The 52 titles, with forty-four published reviews are done. They can be found via searching “A-Z” on my blog if you’re curious. I’ve touched on my thoughts and feelings on finishing these self imposed challenges, but after spending about two years on and off on this challenge – I think it’s only right to do a bit to get a bit retrospective (hence the title).

So let’s go ahead and unpack a bit of the behind the scenes of the challenge.

My first thought, after I had checked “complete” on MDL with You Who Came from the Stars – I had a lot of relief. I was so proud that I had managed to finish with about six hours before 2023. Cutting it close, but not down to the wire. I had done it, finally, two years of effort finally in a weird sense of fruition.

My second thought, and the one that made my yearly re-cap was “I am not going to do a challenge like this for ANYTHING for a long-ass time.”.

I still stand by this.

I borrowed and repurposed the challenge from a few other bloggers and MDL users who did challenges similar to this. I started it with the pure intention of crossing a few titles off my seemingly endless Plan-To-Watch. With the added bonus that I’d have some consistent content on my blog along the way. It was fun making my lists, adding ‘missing’ titles, and then reworking them a little as circumstances and my personal tastes became more apparent. I’ll even admit my timing was on point considering that 2020 was the year of any to binge-watch content without guilt.

My whole point was that it was rooted in good intentions and fun. It started out as fun, but at some point it caused me dread – I can’t exactly point a finger at when or where. It might have been me wanting ‘balance’ with one drama, movie, drama etc and getting caught up in that. It might’ve been that there was so much new and shiny media that caught my attention, where I felt bad I hadn’t made any progress on the challenge by watching it. I’ll even tack on that my mental health got pretty low, and where dramas and movies usually filled that void – it wasn’t working and I refused to force it.

At other points the challenge was a lot of fun. I have to say even if the drama or movie wasn’t technically the best – large in part most of the titles I enjoyed. At times I’d even dare to say I got something out of them thematically, or was so glad I stopped ‘saving’ that title for the ‘right’ moment. There is a lot of satisfaction in marking a series ‘complete’ and watching it stack up over real time.

I won’t say that I for sure improved as a writer, some of my reviews I look back at with the utmost fondness. Others I wish I had drafted it a little longer, or really took a little more time to research some aspects. I did get a lot more experience by writing so many reviews though. I’m well aware I have a standard style that I tend to fall back on, but I am capable of a few variations. It’s all in good fun.

It’s been nice to say that I am someone who sees the benefits of a binge-watch series, and in staggered viewing now. In my personal opinion, I think staggered viewing has a lot more merit then binge-watching. The characters stay longer, you’re a bit more forgiving of being re-told certain things because the re-told elements serve a purpose, and honestly the series sticks with you longer. I can still recall characters and scenes from a series I watched back in the beginning of my challenge, more clearly over something I knowingly binge-watched. One of the things I realized though is that while staggered viewing allows for longevity, it’s not exactly helpful when doing a time-sensitive challenge.

I guess this challenge also in a sense made me a little more time sensitive. I started preparing for the challenge in late 2019, completely unaware of how much the world would change in just a few months. I finished it, technically two years later, and with so many more changes to my watch habits and personal life. It’s genuinely humbling to realize how many titles came and went, watched and unwatched by me. I remember being very pressed that my pride wouldn’t let me watch Squid Game when it came out because I was in the middle of my challenge and had been distracted long enough. That series was everywhere, and now it’s barely mentioned. As stupid as it sounds, that’s some mind-boggling stuff.

This challenge also, as trite as it sounds, taught me a lot of prioritization. One of the biggest reasons I ‘fell behind’ was because I was prioritizing my studies, job responsibilities, health, friends and family a lot more. There would always be time to watch something later – I had no idea if I’d be able to see certain people again, or take certain opportunities. I have never thought to myself ‘I should have done my challenge instead of XYQZ. And I consider myself lucky to be able to think this way.

The final oddity of it all was once the challenge was finished, I double checked that every title was scored, and that any final posts had published – there was an overwhelming sense of dread due the sudden freedom of choice.

That’s admittedly incredibly overdramatic for the sake of it, but it’s true. January 1st 2023 rolled around, one of the few periods of time where I had no committments and all the time in the world to just veg out for a few days. What would be better then starting my new year with something I’d put off watching due to the challenge?

I went to my favorited list on Hulu, and while the actual titles were a measly thirty-ish – it felt like two hundred. Should I start watching more anime to make up for the lack of it on my blog? Should I binge-watch that super weird 10 episode mini-drama everyone was swooning over last month? Maybe I should finally watch that variety program with my favorite musicians guest appearance in it? I could really feel my face become hot and mind swirl because there were now too many options and no structure for me to figure it out.

I ended up just picking from the titles that were about to be taken off streaming to start. It was both a ‘that’s so deep’ moment, and one were the most obvious solution was the best one. At least as of writing. I probably should have just not watched anything, but I was alone and bored so… watching shows it was.

This is one of the posts where I feel like there should be some grand takeaway, or advice or something but to be honest – I don’t have much to say further. Putting a time limit on the challenge was a good and bad point for me, but it’s all in good fun, as I’ve said 3+ times in this post now, so who cares? I learned a lot about myself a writer and blogger, watched a lot of good dramas and movies, some bad ones too. So yeah. That’s what I got. See you guys next post~



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