Hello, friends. I hope everyone is still feeling energized and inspired after the Inauguration on Wednesday. I know I am.
Before I dive into this week's top picks, here are a few exciting things coming up:
- Today - Season two of Blown Away is now available on Netflix! Watch supremely talented glass blowers make creations in a record amount of time. Just trust me on this one.
- Friday, February 5 - The New York Times has produced a documentary called Framing Britney Spears, which explores her current life under the conservatorship of her father and the #FreeBritney movement. This will air on FX and FX on Hulu.
- Friday, February 12 - The third and final installment of the To All the Boys I've Loved Before movie franchise hits Netflix. This is the perfect primer ahead of Valentine's Day.
- Wednesday, February 17 - This is a big day. The Real Housewives of New Jersey return to Bravo and Good Trouble comes back to Freeform. I have missed both of these shows terribly!
Now onto this week's must-see TV shows and movies.
1. Bling Empire (Netflix) - This show is like the Real Housewives, meets the Shahs of Sunset, meets Crazy Rich Asians. The reality show follows a group of ultra rich friends in Los Angeles. They live in huge estates, they fly private, designers bring clothes directly to their homes and they're given access to "high jewelry," an exclusive collection most people have never even heard of.
The breakout star of the series is Anna Shay, a woman who lives in a sprawling mansion in Beverly Hills and takes her friends on surprise trips to Paris for their birthdays. My favorite thing about her is that she whispers when she talks, so you have to lean in very closely to hear her. In so many ways she reminded me of Mama Elsa on the Real Housewives of Miami.
I also loved Kevin. Unlike the other main characters, Kevin did not grow up wealthy. He moved to Los Angeles to model (his abs are insane) and he's navigating this new world the best he can. After Anna gifts him a pair of Dior sneakers, he goes back to her house the next day and sheepishly asks, "But did you pay for these?"
There is, of course, a villain and her name is Christine. She's obsessed with being the most powerful, influential and sought after party guest in LA. Everything she does will make you cringe.
I watched the entire show in two sittings. There are eight episodes, each about 30-45 minutes long.
2. LA's Finest (Netflix) - Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba co-star as Sidney and Nancy, Los Angeles cops who work as partners. While they're responding to calls all over the city, they are also dealing with some major drama in their personal lives.
Sidney was part of an uncover assignment that went bad, leaving her brutally beaten and committed to finding her attacker.
Nancy has a checkered past, and finds herself covering for her brother and ex-boyfriend, to ensure the crimes of her childhood don't destroy her career.
My favorite character was Nancy's step daughter, Izzie, who is fiercely independent and always ready with a wise retort.
There is one season of the show available on Netflix. It has 13 episodes, which are 45 minutes each. I found myself continually hitting "next episode."
3. Harlots (Hulu) - After watching Bridgerton (twice), and then Vanity Fair, I still needed more British TV! A friend recommended I try Harlots on Hulu. It's set in the year 1763 in London, England and centers are two women who own competing "establishments" where beautiful women are available to any man who can pay.
This show is definitely much gritter than the other two. There's an incredible amount of nudity and violence. Despite that, the stories are very compelling and I found they got more and more interesting with each episode.
There are three seasons available on Hulu, each with eight, hour-long episodes. If you're looking for something to keep you busy for a while, this will do it!
4. One Night in Miami (Amazon Prime) - I watched this movie at my mother's suggestion. It's based on the play by Kemp Powers, and the movie is produced and directed by Regina King (who I love!).
The story imagines conversations that could have been had between Malcolm X, Cassius Clay, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown, during a night they were all in Miami, FL.
They talk about race, religion, fame and what role public figures should play in the fight against racism.
I particularly enjoyed Kingsley Ben-Adir (who you may recognize as Mac from Hulu's High Fidelity) as Malcolm X and Leslie Odom Jr. as Sam Cooke. While Leslie will always be Aaron Burr to me, I will happily listen to him sing any time.
As I was watching, I could tell that the monologues each character was delivering would have been incredible to witness on stage in a theater. For me, sitting home alone on my couch, I found the film version to be pretty slow. And it's two hours long.
There you have it! This week's top recommendations. I'll be back next week with a fresh round.