Hello, friends. Happy Friday! The forecast for Boston today is supposed to be warm and sunny (possible high of 70 degrees) but as I sit here this morning typing this, it's wet and misty.
There are so many new shows debuting this month and next. Here are the things I've got my eye on:
- Today- Life & Beth is live on Hulu. Amy Schumer is the show's creator, lead writer, director and star. Michael Cera plays her character's love interest. I can't wait to start this.
- Friday, March 25 - We are one week away from season two of Bridgerton on Netflix! This is also the day Lizzo's dance competition show premieres on Amazon Prime. It's called Watch Out for the Big Grrrls.
- Friday, April 1 - Season two of The Home Edit arrives on Netflix, just in time for spring cleaning. Professional organizers Clea and Joanna help transform chaotic spaces for celebrities and us real people too.
- Friday, April 8 - The fifth season of the Spanish high school drama Elite drops on Netflix. This is basically Gossip Girl, set in Spain.
This weekend I plan to watch Bad Vegan on Netflix, a documentary about famed vegan restaurant owner Sarma Melngailis and her fall from grace.
I have two recommendations for you this week, both addictive TV shows.
1. Pieces of Her (Netflix) - I wasn't aware of this show until I logged into Netflix last weekend and saw it was in the number one spot for "most watched." I clicked through to watch the trailer and as soon as I saw Toni Colette was the star, I decided to hit "play." The series is based on the book of the same title by Karin Slaughter.
Colette plays a woman named Laura Oliver. She's out to lunch with her daughter, Andy (played by Bella Heathcote), when another patron in the restaurant opens fire. Laura leaps into action, protecting Andy and eventually, taking down the shooter. It turns out that someone in the restaurant caught the entire incident on camera and the local news stations start running with the video.
Laura is panicked. You learn that she's terrified of the media exposure because she's in the witness protection program. What follows is a mix of flashbacks and moments in the present day where Laura tries to keep herself and her daughter safe.
The two lead women are exceptional in this, and they're surrounded by a strong supporting cast. Gil Birmingham plays Laura's FBI liaison, Charlie, and Jacob Scipio plays the US Marshall protecting Andy, Michael.
There are eight episodes, each about 45-50 minutes long. I guarantee you won't be able to watch just one.
2. Pam & Tommy (Hulu) - I wasn't sure if I was going to watch this, it seemed a little low brow, even for me. But when the weather last weekend turned out to be cold and windy, I gave in.
Lily James and Sebastian Stan star as Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee. Both actors completely transformed to inhabit these roles. James adopts Pam's body language, voice and clothing style. Stan is covered in all of Lee's tattoos, piercings and eyeliner. Each episode I would think to myself, "I wonder how long it took the makeup department to reapply those fake tattoos every day?"
The show begins when Pam and Tommy first meet and get married, and follows the saga of their private sex tape being released to the world.
What makes this show great is the way the writers put this scandal into context of what was going on in the world at the time. The internet was still new and the idea of posting and watching something like this online was unheard of. Until someone decided to use the popularity of the tape to give it a whirl.
The writers also spend a lot of time educating us as viewers on what was happening in both Pam and Tommy's careers and how the tape impacted how they were perceived, what opportunities they were given, and why the press was interested in their lives.
The supporting cast for this show is stellar. Seth Rogan plays Rand Gauthier, the disgruntled carpenter who steals the tape from Pam and Tommy's home. Nick Offerman plays the porn king who helps him distribute it (on VHS!), and Taylor Schilling plays Rand's ex-wife, a porn star herself.
Pam & Tommy is much less about the sex tape itself and more about what a cultural moment this was. It marked the shift from analog to digital, and blurred the line between what is private and public.
There are eight episodes. Each ranging from 30- 50 minutes. I moved through this very quickly and I bet you will too.
There you have it! This week's top picks.