Stream: What to Watch this Weekend

Hello, friends! I hope your week is off to a great start. It's freezing here in Boston (again) so I am in major streaming mode.

Last weekend, the long weekend, it was quite literally too cold to go outside, so I watched an embarrassing amount of TV. I'm excited to share all my thoughts with you.

Before we do that, let's chat about a few things coming up:

  • Friday, January 28 - Jonathan Van Ness of Queer Eye fame will have his own show on Netflix, Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness (same name as his podcast) 
  • Tuesday, February 1 The Real Housewives of New Jersey return to Bravo. I am so ready for this! 
  • Friday, February 4 Sweet Magnolias, the show about three adult best friends living in a small town, returns to Netflix for a second season. This one comes out on a Friday, so you can look forward to it at the end of the work week. 
  • Friday, February 11 - Ahead of Valentine's Day, Netflix is dropping more episodes of the insane dating show Love is Blind.
  • Friday, February 18 - The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel will be back on Amazon Prime. I'm so excited for this. 
  • Friday, March 25 - The countdown is on to season two of Bridgerton

Ok, this week I have six recommendations - three shows and three movies. 

1 Cheer (Netflix) - I was counting down to the return of Cheer, the show that follows Coach Monica Aldama and her squad at Navarro College in Corsicana, TX. I watched season one in January 2020 on my flight to Tel Aviv. That is such a happy memory and I couldn't wait to be reunited with all my favorite tumblers and flyers. 


When season two opens, we get a chance to see how fame has impacted the squad. They travel all over the country to do TV interviews, journalists come to the gym to film them in their natural habitat, and many of them are making serious bank creating short videos on the Cameo app. While they're excited by their celebrity status, things take a turn when Monica leaves in the middle of the season to film Dancing with the Stars

That decision causes a rift between her and La'Darius, one of the stars of season one. I don't want to say too much, but the way their relationship evolves over the season had me in tears, particularly during the final two episodes. 

While some of the favorites from season one have graduated (like Morgan), we do get to meet some new faces. Maddy is from Dracut, MA and has come to Navarro to escape a difficult childhood. Her father was in prison most of her life, and she was desperate to start over in a place where she could be someone other than "the girl whose dad is locked up." 

We also get to meet Casadee and Gillian, two girls on the squad who met at Navarro and became fast friends. Their sisterhood is a joy to watch, and Casadee's family really takes Gillian in. She too had a very rough childhood (a recurring theme). 

One element that was added this season is following the rival school, Trinity Valley. In season one, it was all Navarro, all the time. In these episodes, I would say it's 60% Navarro, 40% Trinity Valley. We get to meet the head coach, assistant coach and several members of the squad and learn their back stories. Getting to know more competitors made the stakes for the eventual trip to Daytona, FL feel even higher. 

The final two episodes of the season focus on the two days of competition in Daytona and I basically cried through both episodes. These kids work so hard and it all comes down to just two chances to perform, two minutes and 15 seconds each time. When the winner was revealed, I cry tears of joy for the victors and tears of defeat for the losers. 

I also have to mention that there is an entire episode (episode five) devoted to Jerry Harris. Jerry became famous instantly after season debuted for his positive, confidence-boosting mat talk. He is the reason America even knows what mat talk is! Since the show premiered, he has been accused of sexual harassment and is currently in jail awaiting trial. During the fifth episode you hear from two of his victims (twin brothers), their mother, and their attorney. Their attorney was a victim of abuse at the hands of Dr. Larry Nassar. This episode is very hard to watch. 

If you're a Cheer fan too, I want to know what you thought of this second season! 

2. Harlem (Amazon) - A friend texted me that I should check out a new show on Amazon called Harlem. I hadn't hear of it, so popped open the app to watch the trailer. I was intrigued and pressed play on the first episode. 

Fast forward to 24 hours later and I had watched the entire first season. I would describe this show as the love child of Sex and the City and Insecure. It follows four single, Black women who live in, you guessed it, Harlem. The show was created by Tracy Oliver, who wrote the movie Girls Trip


Meagan Good plays Camille, an anthropology professor trying to get over her most recent ex, who is suddenly back in town to open a new restaurant. Jerrie Johnson plays Tye, the founder of a dating app for Black, queer singles, who is struggling to make a relationship work with a white woman. Grace Byers plays Quinn, a woman trying to separate herself from her overbearing parents and find "the one" in a sea of bad first dates (you may recognize Byers as Anika from Empire). Shoniqua Shandai plays Angie, who has lost her record contract, is sleeping on Quinn's couch, and calls Ubers just to see if the drivers are cute. The Angie character reminded me so much of Kelly in Insecure.

The parallels to Sex and the City are pretty obvious. Each episode opens with Camille talking about an anthropology study related to relationships, much like Carrie's columns and signature opener of, "I couldn't help but wonder . . . ". On top of that, the women in Harlem always meet at the same restaurant, the same way the women of Sex and the City always met at the same brunch spot. 

For me, the thing that kept me watching was the love triangle between Camille, Ian (her ex) and Jameson (her new boyfriend). Both of the men are gorgeous and they bring real value to Camille's life. 

I also loved the supporting cast. Andrea Martin (Aunt Voula from My Big Fat Greek Wedding) plays Camille's thesis advisor and Whoopi Goldberg is incredible as Camille's hard-to-please department chair. Quinn also gets a handsome and charming love interest in Shawn, played by Robert Ri'chard. 

The final episode ends on a huge cliffhanger, so I pray they get a second season! 

3. Euphoria (HBO) - I know I am late to this wildly popular show, but I didn't decide to pay for HBO until December, so I am still playing catch up! If you aren't unfamiliar, Euphoria, created by Sam Levinson, follows a group of high school students as they navigate an unstable world. 

Zendaya plays Rue, a junior in high school fresh out of rehab. She started using after her dad was diagnosed with cancer, and despite the rehab stay, has no intention of getting clean. 

She becomes best friends with Jules (Hunter Schafer), who is coming into her own as a trans woman. Jules lives with her dad (after her mom left) and goes out at night to meet men she connects with through a Grindr-like app. 


One of those men, Cal (Eric Dane a.k.a. McSteamy), turns out to be the dad of one of her classmates, Nate. Nate is played by Jacob Elordi, who I knew as Noah in the Kissing Booth movies. Unlike his rom-com character, in this role Elordi is violent, rash and shows no remorse for his actions. He basically behaves like a serial killer. 

There's also the Howard sisters, Cassie (Sydney Sweeney) and Lexi (Maude Apatow). Cassie has been over-sexualized from a young age due to her big breasts, and her sister Lexi is always in her shadow. Their best friends are Maddy (Alexa Demie) and Kat (Barbie Ferriera). Maddy is an on-again / off-again relationship with Nate, and Kat tries to overcome low self esteem by doing webcam sessions with men online. 

Are you getting the sense that these characters are very complicated? 

What makes this show unique are two things: (1) the writing and (2) the way it engages all of your senses. The writing in this show feels like poetry. I watch with the subtitles on and sometimes I can't believe how beautiful and moving the monologues are.  And the way it's shot visually is like sensory overload - the lights, the sounds, the textures, the movement. I've never seen anything like it. 

I binged the entire first season in two days and I would not recommend that. This show is intense (violence, nudity, drug use) and you should definitely watch it slowly. Maybe two episodes at a time, maximum. 

Season two just premiered two weeks ago, so if you want to catch up, you'll have fresh episodes to look forward to once you do. 

4. After We Fell (Netflix) - Switching gears to movies, this week the third movie in the After series finally hit Netflix. If this hasn't been on your radar, the movies are based on Harry Styles fan fiction. Do not judge! 

Josephine Langford plays Tessa and Hero Fiennes Tiffin plays her love interest, Hardin. 

After We Fell

At the end of the second film, Tessa was preparing to transfer to Seattle to work for Vance's publishing company. When we rejoin her and Hardin, they are struggling with the idea of living apart. Tessa wants Hardin to come to Seattle, and Hardin wants Tessa to move back to London with him after graduation. 

I have to say, I really loved the first two movies, but this one just fell totally flat. I usually find the chemistry between these two to be off the charts, but something was missing this time. 

I also found it incredibly distracting that they subbed in new actors for Tessa's mom, Tessa's boss Vance, Vance's fiancé, Hardin's step mother and Hardin's step brother. Do you people think we don't notice these things? 

This movie ended with a "To be continued." I thought this was the final installment, but apparently not! If you like romance books and movies, watch the first two (you can skip this one). 

5. The Incredible Jessica James (Netflix) - After watching actress Jessica Williams in Love Life earlier this month, this movie was recommended to me, where she stars as a woman named Jessica James. She teaches a theater class for kids and goes on a litany of bad dates. 

Eventually she gets fixed up with a newly divorced guy, Boone, played by the lovable Chris O'Dowd. They don't have an immediate attraction, but there's a flirty antagonism that keeps them enjoying each other's company. 

Jessica James

The story is really about Jessica coming to terms with the life she's built for herself, even though her family imagined something completely different for her. The final scene of the movie was the best moment of the entire thing, when it finally clicks for her that she's making all the right moves. 

This is very easy viewing. If you need something light, this will do the trick. 

6. Annie Hall (Amazon) - One of my 2022 resolutions is to watch 10 movies that came out before I was born. When I wrote down an initial list of ideas, Annie Hall was at the top. I'd heard about this classic Woody Allen movie many times, but had never actually seen it.

You can rent the movie through Amazon Prime for $3.99. I checked every streaming app and it is nowhere for free. 

The movie came out in 1977 and follows comedian Alvy (Woody Allen) as he reflects on his romantic relationship with Annie (Diane Keaton). In my lifetime, Diana Keaton has always played the mother or grandmother role, so it was astonishing to see her as a young beauty! Her skin was radiant and her long hair flowing. 

Annie Hall

There were many other actors who made cameos in this film: Christopher Walken, Carol Kane, Paul Simon. I would gasp each time one of them came on screen. 

While I found the story line meandering and the breaking of the fourth wall incredibly irritating, I did love the way the movie spotlights the beauty of New York City. It has a very deep sense of time and place. 

My parents love this movie and were excited I was going to watch it. They were 25 years old when it came out. It feels like a time capsule of the late 70s, which is why I think they're so fond of it. For me, it felt like a whiny guy moving through a series of disjointed memories. What can I say, I didn't get the appeal! 

There you have it, this week's reviews. Happy streaming! 

*Images courtesy of Unsplash, Vox, TV Insider, The Hollywood Reporter, Entertainment Weekly, Vox and Mental Floss


Molly Galler

Welcome to Pop.Bop.Shop. My name is Molly. I’m a foodie, fashionista, pop culture addict and serious travel junkie. I’m a lifelong Bostonian obsessed with frozen confections, outdoor patios, Mindy Kaling, reality television, awards shows, tropical vacations, snail mail and my birthday.

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