Hello, friends. I hope you are having a lovely weekend. There is so much good TV (and movies!) coming out right now. I am giddy with excitement.
Here's what's on my radar:
- Wednesday, September 21 - Season two of Abbott Elementary premieres on ABC, just about a week after their two Emmy Award wins.
- Thursday, September 22 - The second season of The Kardashians lands on Hulu. It will cover Kim's relationship with Pete Davidson, and Kourtney and Travis Barker's wedding prep.
- Wednesday, September 28 - The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City return to Bravo. This season looks like it's going to be absolutely nuts! Who punched Heather?
- Wednesday, October 5 - Season three of Bling Empire drops on Netflix. I can't get enough of this group of uber wealthy friends living in Los Angeles.
- Tuesday, October 18 - Season six of Somebody Feed Phil debuts on Netflix. This coincides with his book launch. Destinations for the new season include: Croatia, Santiago, Philadelphia, Nashville, and Austin.
- Friday, October 21 - Zoe Saldana stars in a new Netflix rom-com (based on a book) called From Scratch. This trailer is adorable and I already swooned.
I did an embarrassing about of streaming over the past two weeks, so I have lots to share with you. Let's get right to it.
1. Love is Blind: After the Altar (Netflix) - As an extension to the wildly popular second season, on Friday Netflix released three bonus episodes of Love is Blind. We're reunited with Danielle and Nick, Iyanna and Jarett, and Deepti and Kyle, as well as appearances from Shaina, Shayne, Natalie, Mallory and Sal.
I would have really enjoyed seeing Danielle and Nick so happy, accept it was already announced that they've divorced! And we all knew Iyanna and Jarrett wouldn't make it. That said, watching their relationship crumble was difficult.
I'm happy that Shaina found happiness (with a very cute, Greek restaurateur), and I wish the best for the single ladies, Natalie and Mallory.
Now give us a season three!!
2. Chef's Table: Pizza (Netflix) - I have always been enamored with Chef's Table. There is a prestige to the way everything is captured that feels like you are being given a secret and highly coveted experience. In addition to the core show, there have been spinoffs with particular focuses - desserts, BBQ pit masters - and this time around, pizza.
Since pizza is one of my primary food groups, I couldn't wait to start watching.
There are six episodes and far and away my favorite was about Ann Kim, a pizza chef in Minneapolis, MN. She is the daughter of Korean immigrants. She always felt out of place in Minneapolis, but started to find her groove when she started acting in the theater. After years of pursuing an acting career, she was frustrated. Her husband suggested that she try giving cooking a real shot, since she is always so happy cooking in their home.
Fast forward a few years, and Ann Kim has three restaurants and has won the James Beard Award for "Best Chef Midwest." Did I already look up flights to Minneapolis and Google how far Pizzeria Lola is from the airport? I sure did. 12 minutes.
There's a beautiful episode about Chris Bianco, a New York-born pizza chef who found is home and true happiness in Phoenix, AZ. There's a scene in his episode where he's making mozzarella cheese that will absolutely make you drool.
I was fascinated by the episode about Gabriele Bonci, known to Italians simply as "Bonci." His marketing team created this larger than life persona for him, that wound up taking over his life. His episode is more about his physical and mental health journey.
If you love to cook, to dine out, or just to eat, definitely make time to watch this maestros.
3. Mo (Netflix) - Two close friends recommended that I watch Mo. I had never heard of Mo Amer before watching this, and wasn't familiar with his stand up. He is the co-creator, alongside Ramy Youssef (of the TV Show Ramy).
The show is scripted, but is based on Mo's real life experience. His family is Palestinian. They moved to Kuwait, and then fled to the United States, landing in Houston, TX. Mo speaks Arabic, English and Spanish fluently.
The primary source of tension in the show is that Mo and his family have been waiting over 15 years to be granted official asylum status and to become American citizens. Being undocumented impacts all aspects of their lives - access to work, access to health care, constant fear of being deported - the list goes on.
There's a secondary storyline about Mo and his girlfriend Maria. Despite how much they love each other, Mo's family is disappointed that Maria is not Muslim (she's Mexican). Ultimately Maria and Mo's mom reach a truce, in a very touching scene in the final episode.
There are eight episodes, each about 25 minutes. If you grew up in a Middle Eastern culture, there is so much you will relate to in this show. Never did I think a mainstream show would talk so much about olive oil and hummus!
After I finished this, I watched both of Mo's stand up specials. The first, The Vagabond, was my favorite. It was taped in Austin, TX and he tells the story of his family's migration. It turns out, his mother was in the audience, and when the camera panned to her, I smiled so wide. I felt like I already knew her.
The second special, Mohammed in Texas, was more recent (2021) and filmed in Mo's hometown of Houston. There were a lot of jokes about COVID and airplane travel, but the best bits were the ones where he talked about his family, his culture, and the melting pot that is Houston.
I really hope Mo gets a second season. The final episode definitely left things open for that, and I know Mo Amer has much more storytelling to do.
4. Tell Me Lies (Hulu) - Holy crap. I am majorly addicted to this show, which is both a college fun fest and a psychological thriller. The show is based on the book by Carola Lovering. The story centers around Lucy, a young woman who arrives to campus for her freshman year. She quickly makes friends with her roommate and the two girls across the hall, and they explore the party scene together.
In the first week, her roommate dies in a car crash leaving a party. Lucy is shaken and seeks comfort in another student, Stephen. Stephen is direct and rude, but also fiercely intelligent and insanely handsome. He has a magnetism.
The show follows Lucy as she tries to pursue a committed relationship with Stephen, meanwhile, he's sleeping with multiple other people.
Lucy is played by Grace Van Patten, who looks shockingly similar to Shailene Woodley, and Stephen is played by Jackson White, who is Katey Sagal's son. You know her from Married with Children and Sons of Anarchy.
There have been four episodes so far, each 50 minutes. There will be 10 total. They drop on Wednesdays. If you haven't been watching, you have plenty of time to catch up.
5. Do Revenge (Netflix) - This is the second Netflix movie from the mind of Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, who also gave us Something Great (starring Gina Rodriguez). Do Revenge co-stars Camila Mendes (Riverdale) and Maya Hawke (Stranger Things) as two high school girls, Drea and Eleanor, seeking - you guessed it - revenge.
Drea and Eleanor craft an elaborate plot to take down Drea's ex-boyfriend, Max (played by Austin Abrams), and his entire social circle.
What makes this movie so fun isn't the plot itself, but the fact that it's an homage to some of the best movies of all time from the 1990s. I spotted the Clueless references every single time. Most notably, the school uniforms are inspired by Cher's yellow plaid ensemble, the scene where Drea gives an overview of every social group sitting on the school's lawn, and of course, when Drea gives Eleanor a makeover.
There's also many nods to Cruel Intentions, including Sarah Michelle Gellar being cast as the high school principal!
Teen Vogue wrote an incredible article listing all the 90s Easter eggs. Read it in full!
There you have it. This week's list.
I'm currently watching Heartbreak High on Netflix. Excited to talk more about it once I finish!
*Images courtesy of Unsplash, TV Insider, Star Tribune, Netflix, The Wrap and Seventeen.