Hello, friends. Happy Friday! I am typing this from my beach house in Hull, MA and the sun is finally shining! After weeks of rain, it feels amazing to have more than one warm day in a row.
Before I get into the two shows I was captivated by this week, here are a few things coming up:
- Today - The new season of The Movies That Made Us is out on Netflix today. This is the best edited show I've ever seen. It's so smart and clever, while also giving you incredible access to the minds behind some of the most famous films in history. This new season features episodes on Back to the Future, Jurassic Park and Forrest Gump.
- Friday, July 30 - Next week, Outer Banks (OBX for short) will be back on Netflix with a second season. This show stars the insanely gorgeous Chase Stokes. The first season ended on a cliff hanger, so I can't wait to see where they're taking things.
- Monday, August 16 - This one is for Bachelor Nation. Our beloved summer spin off, Bachelor in Paradise, is returning to ABC next month. Personally, I can't wait for this fresh group of cast offs turned castaways.
Now onto this week's picks.
1. Genius: Aretha (Hulu) - I grew up listening to Aretha Franklin. My mom loved her and had all her albums on repeat. My sister and I often blast "Respect" or "Chain of Fools" or "Spanish Harlem" when we're driving together. So naturally, we had to watch this scripted series about her life. It originally premiered on National Geographic, but you can now watch it on Hulu.
Cynthia Erivo stars as Aretha. She's a powerhouse singer, so it was awesome to listen her takes on some of Aretha's most famous tunes. In the very first episode, you get to witness the process of writing and producing "Save Me," one of her greatest tracks.
In addition to her studio and stage time, you learn about her childhood in the church. Courtney B. Vance plays her preacher father, Clarence. You also come along on the very bumpy ride that is her first marriage to Ted White.
There are eight episodes, each about one hour long. Watching this will make you want to a create a playlist of all your favorite Aretha tracks and belt it out along with her.
2. My Unorthodox Life (Netflix) - One of my besties recommended this show. I hadn't heard of it, but after quickly reading about the premise, I was intrigued. It's a reality show that follows Julia Haart, a woman who grew up in an Orthodox Jewish community in Monsey, NY and left in her mid-forties to start a new life in the outside world.
The show follows her very successful career (all achieved in the seven years since she left Monsey), as well as her life with her new husband, Silvio, and her four children: Batsheva, Shlomo, Miriam and Aron.
The show is fascinating for so many reasons. First, it's mind-boggling how much Julia has achieved work-wise in such a short amount of time. Second, she's at a level of wealth that rivals any other reality TV show family (looking at you, Kardashians). Third, untangling herself from over 40 years of a certain system of beliefs proves to be an ongoing process, especially for her children.
Netflix gave this show a crappy photo in the carousel when you browse (it's of a closet full of stilettos), which is turning people off from watching it. I'm really, really enjoying it.
There are nine episodes, each about 35 - 40 minutes long.
There you have it. This week's top recommendations!