Hello, friends. To all those celebrating Christmas, I hope you're having a wonderful, warm and cozy weekend. I spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my cousin and his family. It's so fun to see the holiday through the eyes of little kids.
Many people are on vacation this upcoming week, making it the ideal time to stream! Before I share my picks for this week, here's a look at a few things coming up:
- Friday, December 31 - The sixth season of Queer Eye will hit Netflix on New Year's Eve! This time the Fab Five are headed to Austin, TX. I'm having a viewing party with my bestie and we're making Tex-Mex food in honor of the Austin location.
- Tuesday, February 1, 2022 - The Real Housewives of New Jersey return to Bravo. The network just released the trailer for the new season and I can't wait.
- Friday, February 18, 2022 - This one is far out, but I've been waiting so long I had to mention it. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel will be back on Amazon Prime!
- Friday, March 25, 2022 - On Christmas, Netflix announced the release date of season two of Bridgerton. Though I'm sad the Duke won't return, I know this new set of episodes will be fabulous.
I mentioned last week that I finally decided to pay for HBO Max, so this past week I continued catching up on all the shows I missed. I also made sure to carve out time for some of the newly released holiday shows and movies. Let's jump right in.
1. With Love (Amazon Prime) - I stumbled upon this show very late at night while seeking something new to watch. It's the story of the Diaz family, living in Portland, Oregon and preparing to celebrate Christmas together. While all three generations of the family get screen time, the main story lines focus on siblings Lily and Jorge.
Lily is fresh off of a break up and trying to find joy during Christmas, and Jorge is introducing his family to his boyfriend for the first time.
There are five episodes, and each is linked to a different holiday throughout the year. We start at Christmas, move on to Valentine's Day, then July 4th, Halloween and ultimately, Christmas again. The show very accurately portrays just how much can happen over the course of 12 months.
Lily was my favorite character, played by Emeraude Toubia. I found myself really rooting for her. At one point she starts dating a guy named Santiago, played by the devastatingly handsome Rome Flynn.
There's also a story line about a pre-teen (13 years old) who is non-binary. When they came onto the screen, I recognized them right away as Birdie Silverstein, Busy Phillip's daughter. Of course I rushed over to Busy's Instagram account and found tons of gushing posts about the experience of being a stage mom!
This show is funny, heart warming and a perfect watch during the holiday break. It's also one of the most diverse and inclusive shows I've seen on television.
2. A Castle for Christmas (Netflix) - I didn't plan on watching this movie, until a friend recommended it. It stars Brooke Shields as a romance author seeking an escape after a disastrous TV appearance. She travels to Scotland to visit a castle where her grandfather worked when he was young.
The current owner and caretaker, Myles, is gruff and unamused by her presence. He is played by Cary Elwes, the actor who played Wesley in The Princess Bride. Let me tell you, age has not been kind to him.
As you can imagine, they fall for each other, culminating in a wonderful, joint, holiday celebration.
I watched this while wrapping presents. It's definitely not a movie that needs your undivided attention.
3. The Flight Attendant (HBO Max) - Kaley Cuoco stars in and executive produces this story of Cassie, a flight attendant, who wakes up after a one night stand to find her paramour, Alex, has been murdered. She cannot remember how that happened (or if she was the murderer).
This show has a great pace and energy. As Cassie flies around the world for work, she's trying to piece together what happened. The show brilliantly leaps from present day to the past through vivid flashbacks, both to Cassie's night with Alex and to her childhood.
Alex is played by Michiel Huisman who you may recognize from Game of Thrones, Treme, Nashville, Orphan Black or The Haunting of Hill House.
The show has a fantastic supporting cast, including Rosie Perez as a fellow flight attendant, T.R. Knight as Cassie's brother, and Zosia Mamet at Ani, her best friend.
Season one has 8 episodes and I flew through them (pun intended). The show is currently shooting season two. I'm excited to watch that when it premieres!
4. The White Lotus (HBO Max) - I remember that when this show was airing in real time, people were obsessed with it. All I knew was that it was set in a resort in Hawaii.
Murray Bartlett plays Armond, the resort manager, who is trying to keep all of his wealthy guests happy. I knew I recognized him, but I couldn't place from where. A quick IMDB search revealed that he played Oliver Spencer on Sex and the City in the episode called All that Glitters. Now that I told you that, you won't be able to unsee it.
Connie Britton returns to the screen as Nicole Mossbacher, the CEO of a tech company. She's a hero to women in business, including another guest at the resort, Rachel, who is on her honeymoon. Rachel is played by Alexandra Daddario. You may recognize her from her role as Rachel on Parenthood, the sexy assistant at The Luncheonette recording studio.
Rachel is married to Shane, played by Jake Lacy. Shane is convinced he and Rachel are not in the suite that they booked and he makes everyone miserable trying to get them upgraded to a new room. I found him insufferable.
Jennifer Coolidge is in her element as a wealthy single women looking to spread her mother's ashes in a beautiful place. She befriends the hotel spa's manager, Belinda (played by Natasha Rothwell), and eventually finds love with another guest.
Steve Zahn is amazing as a dad who has found renewed joy in life after a health scare. Though he's in the clear, on this trip he learns the truth about father's death, which sends him reeling.
What kept this show interesting was how complicated every single character was. There was tension in every scene. I actually found myself feeling very anxious at times, witnessing the unraveling of these people.
That said, being transported to Hawaii was a lovely escape from the freezing temperatures here in Boston. If you haven't seen this show yet, I do recommend watching it.
There you have it! This week's picks. I just finished Emily in Paris, Dopesick and Don't Look Up. Excited to share thoughts on those in next week's round up.
*Images courtesy of Unsplash, Deadline, Variety, USA Today and Rotten Tomatoes.