Thursday, August 17, 2017


To quote Jon Lovett, "What a week." Oh, man. Listen, I am sure we are all feeling the same things right now -- rage, more rage, despair, and a huge sprinkling of WTF, but we'll get through this. The nation will overcome. Trump won't be prezzy forever. He may not even be president for the duration of the year. Any solace in that? Probably not.

Fight the good fight.

But sometimes we need a break from: protesting, calling our senators, tweeting, yelling at our Facebook friends. What better way to escape than with some quality television options. (I thought about blogging about heavy topics, but I don't have it in me right now.) Plus, television informs my art. No other medium inspires my storytelling quite like it.

Here are my recs.

In no particular order...

Animal Kingdom (Tuesday 9pm ET, TNT): Basic cable used to blow, but TNT has been showcasing excellent series and this show is exceptional. Produced by John Wells of ER and Shameless(!), and set in Southern California, Animal Kingdom is about the Codys, a crime family run by Smurf, the matriarch. She is ruthless, cunning, and she's taught her sons all she knows. It's gritty, clever, and compelling.
 Shetland (Netflix): Produced by BBC and based on books by Ann Cleeves, Shetland is a mystery series set in the Shetland Islands. The first season is one mystery split over two episodes. You could binge this satisfying show in a weekend, and then book a trip to the islands. It's atmospheric, chilling, and cleverly done. Make sure to watch with subtitles since the Scottish brogue is hard to decipher for American ears.

Master of None (Netflix): Aziz Ansari writes and produces this comedic gem where he plays Dev, an actor trying to find love and work in New York City. I feel like I overuse the word 'clever,' but this show is worthy of the adjective. It's funny, smart, and insightful. Season 1 is solid, Season 2 is gold.

You're the Worst (FX, Hulu, Season 4 premiers in Sept): There's something magical about two terribly selfish people finding love with each other. Jimmy is a struggling British writer whose one published novel has gotten little attention. He loves to drink, and loves to heckle. Gretchen is a self-absorbed publicist who can't maintain a relationship to save her life. And yet, you root for these two kids. Like Judd Apatow's Love, but way, way better. My favorite line from Jimmy: "Scrambled Eggs -- a dish so pedestrian, its name is the recipe."
 Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (Netflix, CW): Do you like neurotic Jewish girls? And musicals? What about smart takes on feminism? And stereotypes being turned on their heads? What about all that stuff in one show? Why are you not watching CEG? Seriously, you're missing out! Rachel Bloom is my hero. She'll be yours too. If you're not sure, watch her videos on YouTube. My faves: JAP Battle Rap, I Give Good Parent, Sexy Getting Ready Song. You're welcome.

Dear White People (Netflix): This satirical series, based on the movie of the same name and written by Justin Simien, portrays students of color who go to a predominantly white college and deal with social injustices. It's highly stylized with a sharp narrative structure. Each episode is told through the point of view of a different character. Barry Jenkins directed one of the best and most heart-wrenching episodes of the season featuring Reggie and a campus party that goes wrong. The mood skips from joyous to harrowing in a blink. Race, sexuality, class -- it's all covered with humor and complexity. Everyone should be watching this. The show has been renewed for a second season.

Okay, that's it from me.

Recommend your favorites.

1 comment:

Brenda St John Brown said...

I'm not a big TV watcher and have never seen any of these, but now I have a go-to list for after the kid goes to bed. Thank you!

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