Hello, friends. We made it to the end of the first work week of 2021. I knew the reintegration would be brutal after nearly two weeks off for the holidays, but it was even more of a slog than I was expecting. And I can't even talk about what happened in Washington D.C. on Wednesday.
If you need some escapism, I am here to provide it.
Before jumping into this week's top picks, here are a few things coming up:
- Today - I am very excited to watch Pretend It's a City, a new limited series for Netflix starring writer and humorist Fran Lebowitz. I plan to watch tonight while enjoying some takeout!
- Friday, January 15 - Netflix is releasing a new reality show called Bling Empire about the ultra wealthy members of the Asian community in Los Angeles. From the looks of the trailer, it will be grand!
- Tuesday, January 19 - Seasons one - nine of How I Met Your Mother will become available on Amazon Prime. I used to love this show and it might be time for a re-watch. "Have you met Ted?"
- Thursday, January 21 - Call My Agent returns to Netflix with season four. This French show is about a group of talent agents in Paris and their very eccentric clients.
- Friday, January 22 - Back in July 2019 Netflix released a reality competition show called Blown Away featuring glass blowers. Stay with me! While I was skeptical at first, watching these artists create stunning works in a limited amount of time was nothing short of incredible. In a few weeks, the show will be back with season two.
Now onto this week's must-see TV shows and movies.
1. After (Netflix) - I was doing my nightly Netflix scroll when the app suggested I might like the romance movie, After. I knew nothing about it, but I watched the first two minutes to get a sense for it and decided to keep going.
It turns out, this movie (and its sequel) are based on Harry Styles fan faction! Yes, I am a 36-year-old woman who loved a movie based on a fantasy about a British pop singer.
The story is about Tessa (played by Josephine Langford), who arrives to her freshman year of college and quickly falls for a bad boy, Hardin (played by Hero Fiennes Tiffin). Their chemistry is palpable and I was completely sucked in.
The movie ends with a very 10 Things I Hate About You plot twist, which I didn't mind at all, sine that's also one of my favorite flicks.
2. After We Collided (Netflix) - Once you've watched After, you can move right along to its newly released sequel, After We Collided.
The movie picks up where the last one leaves off (same exact scene), but this time Tessa is a lot more empowered. She's noticeably bolder with Hardin and at her new internship at a publishing house.
Dylan Sprouse joins the cast this time as Tessa's co-worker Trevor, and Charlie Weber (Frank from How to Get Away with Murder) plays her new boss Christian.
I enjoyed both movies equally and think they would make a fantastic double feature on a chilly Saturday or Sunday.
I deeply related to this article by Kerensa Cadenas for The Cut called "I Love These Horny Harry Styles Fanfic Movies."
3. Best Leftovers Ever (Netflix) - The first new episode of Dax Shepard's podcast Armchair Expert in 2021 featured actress and singer Jackie Tohn. Apparently she is a very close friend of Dax and Kristen Bell, and is a member of their pod during the pandemic.
She came on the show to promote her new Netflix show, Best Leftovers Ever. It's sort of like Chopped meets Nailed It, but every single thing available to cook with is a leftover.
Each episode features three contestants who compete in two rounds. The ultimate winner takes home $10,000 dollars. The episodes are 30 minutes long and they go by very quickly.
Nearly 10 months into a life without dining out, I found it helpful to re-imagine how I could use my leftovers (instead of just plain reheating them).
I think this would be fun to watch with kids who are into cooking and baking.
4. This is Us (NBC) - This week, This is Us returned to NBC after a nearly two-month-long hiatus. When we rejoin the Pearson family, Kate wants to travel to San Diego to confront her high school boyfriend Mark, Kevin is grappling with how to juggle Madison and his new movie role, and Randall is still famous for for his accidental strip tease video.
The episode closes on a bit of a cliff hanger, and the preview for next week looks incredible. The writing on this show is just so damn good.
There you have it! This week's picks. I'll be back next Friday with a fresh round.