Hello, friends! Today marks 40 weeks of writing these "What to Watch" round ups. What started as a response to quarantine in early March, has become an ongoing, weekly ritual.
I remember so clearly when my office closed on March 10, thinking that I would be working from home for two weeks, three at the most. It's been over eight months now, which is just wild.
If you missed any of the previous recommendation lists, you can find every single one on my TV recaps page.
Before we jump into this week's picks, here are few things to look forward to:
- Friday, December 11 - Ryan Murphy directs the movie Prom for Netflix, an over-the-top spectacle about creating a dream prom for a young teen in a small town in Indiana. It stars Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Kerry Washington, James Corden and Keegan-Michael Key. You can watch the trailer here.
- Tuesday, December 15 - More episodes of Song Exploder hit Netflix. If you missed the first four, I recommend starting with Lin-Manuel Miranda's journey of writing "Wait for It" for Hamilton.
- Friday, December 18 - Home for Christmas returns to Netflix for a second season. This Norwegian show is an absolute delight. Perpetually single Johanne is tired of the constant questioning from her family about her dating life, so she sets out on a quest to find a new boyfriend before Christmas. If you haven't seen season one, watch it before the 18th!
Ok, now onto this week's must-watch shows and movies.
1. Virgin River, Season 2 (Netflix) - What can I say? I really love Virgin River. I watched the entire second season is two days.
If you aren't familiar with the show, it's about Mel, an OBGYN nurse who has left Los Angeles for this sleepy, small town. She works alongside a grumpy doctor (actor Tim Matheson, who played Dr. Breeland on Hart of Dixie) and has fallen in love with the local bar owner, Jack.
When we return for season two, there are new residents in the town, a new source of tension for Jack and Mel's relationship, and some illegal activities happening just beyond the town line.
Every single episode of season two ends on a cliff hanger. I doubt you'll be able to stop watching!
2. The Holiday Movies That Made Us (Netflix) - Back in June, I talked about this cool series Netflix released called The Movies That Made Us. It featured Dirty Dancing, Ghostbusters, Die Hard and Home Alone. Each episode talked about the idea for the movie, how it was made, the on-set experience and the audience reactions.
Now the show is back with two holiday-themed episodes featuring Elf (one of my faves!) and The Nightmare Before Christmas. I learned a ton about the script, casting and production of each movie and it made me cherish them even more.
This show is edited brilliantly. I have no idea how they found so many perfect clips and soundbites, but it's a masterclass in clever storytelling.
3. Happiest Season (Hulu) - Last weekend my Instagram feed was exploding with people watching the movie Happiest Season. Kristen Stewart plays Abby, a woman going home with her girlfriend Harper (played by Mackenzie Davis) for Christmas. The catch? Harper's family doesn't know she is gay.
This movie is pretty hard to watch because Harper is a terrible partner. In addition, Harper's older sister is played by Alison Brie, in the most annoying role I've seen her in to date. I wanted to reach into the TV and punch her.
Despite the grating relationships, the movie does has a stellar cast, including Dan Levy (miss you, David Rose!), Aubrey Plaza, Mary Steenburgen, Victor Garber and Ana Gasteyer.
Watch for the chance to be reunited with Dan Levy, but don't expect to love the rest.
4. Voices of Fire (Netflix) - One of my besties recommended this six-part Netflix documentary series about the casting of a gospel choir. It takes place in Hampton Roads, VA and the pastor is Pharrell Williams' uncle!
Not only will you get to hear some incredible voices, but the life stories of the choir members will move you. The show shines a light on strength, resilience and faith.
At the very end, you get to see where the choir is now and I was thrilled by all the recognition they've received.
If you need more singing than you're getting on Mondays and Tuesdays with The Voice, this will scratch that itch.
That's it for this week! I'll be back next Friday with more suggestions.