As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been watching a whole-lotta-stuff these days. Thought I’d take a moment to be helpful and share my experience. Below is a list of shows that I’ve watched recently on Netflix (and one on HBO) and reasons why you should watch them too (unless you’re a writer–in that case, STAY AWAY FROM THE TELLY and go write!).
YOU (Netflix, One Season, Ten Episodes)
Think Dexter meets Millennials. I loved this creepy story so much. My favorite thing about YOU was the main character, Joe, played by Penn Badgley. A perfect anti-villian, he’s the absolute worst. But he’s brilliant, handsome, and even though you want him to get caught, you still think that maybe he could be fun to hang with when he’s not being psycho (kind of like Dexter, right?). I love how he manipulates social media to serve his sociopathic purposes, and of course, I love that he’s a book store guy. I also had major hair envy with Beck (Elizabeth Lail), Joe’s obsession. In fact, I tried to middle part my hair and make waves like hers when I finished watching YOU but it didn’t work so well. Bonus: JOHN STAMOS plays a therapist. Try YOU if you enjoy charmingly creepy villans and a show that will make you say, “oh no he didn’t!” out loud almost every episode.
DEAD TO ME (Netflix, One Season, Ten Episodes)
Possibly my favorite recent binge, I’ll start with this: Christina Applegate is Everything. Bold statement, I know, but it’s so true. Her character, Jen, is a widowed mom. She’s losing her shit so she goes to a widow support group and meets Judy (Linda Cardellini) and they become friends. I don’t want to give the show away, but their relationship is interesting, to say the least. My favorite Jen/Christina Applegate moment is in Episode 6 (called “Oh My God”) when Jen’s son is in the school play. Jen’s stressed and her life is messy, but she’s out in the audience with Judy watching her son, her shining star, belting out “Greatest Love of All” with his chorus group. Then, in the middle of the song, her son stops singing and starts freaking out at people, and runs off the stage. Everyone’s in shock and Jen just lowers her head to her hand and mutters, “Oh fuck me.” Three words– perfectly executed. It was such an anti-Facebook Mom Moment and still makes me snort-laugh thinking about it. Trust me, it’s hilarious even if I can’t do it justice here. Christina’s so good in DEAD TO ME, that she has an Emmy nod to prove it (Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series). The show is awesome. Watch this, please.
TRINKETS (Netflix, One Season, Ten Episodes)
TRINKETS was a thoughtful, fun, young adult watch. Elodie (Brianna Hildebrand) is a high school student–reserved, quiet, shy, a bit awkward–forced to relocate to Portland after her mom dies to live with her dad and his new family. Elodie takes comfort in shoplifting (thus, collecting “trinkets”) and is forced into a support group to stop. Turns out, two other girls from her high school are there, too: the hot, popular girl, Tabitha (Quintessa Swindell), and the cool, casual chick, Moe (Kiana Madiera). These three seem quite different, but they each have problems that they are dealing with as they form an unlikely bond. I loved so many things about this show. First, that these three became close during meetings, but still acted like they didn’t know each other at school. Just seemed real to me. Also, it’s kind of brave in that none of the characters is perfect, and the writers let them make dumb kid mistakes. As a mom myself, I wanted to yell at these kids more than once. Probably the coolest thing about TRINKETS, though, is that it takes place in, and was filmed in, Portland. The setting seems to take on the life of a character, too. If you’re interested in a YA, high school drama, give TRINKETS a try!
RUSSIAN DOLL (Netflix, One Season, Eight Episodes)
I’ll admit, this show took a minute to win me over. First off, the marketing is weird and I hate the title. But Amy Poehler was involved and once I started watching, the show is actually awesome. It’s like a younger, single, hipper, city-version of the movie Groundhog Day, but instead of the day repeating every morning, the day starts over whenever Nadia (Natasha Lyonne) is about to die. Nadia’s attitude each day during the restart (the restart being at her birthday party) made me lol. Natasha Lyonne plays Nadia perfectly. Her character is gruff, has that throaty, Broadway voice, and is brutally honest, intelligent, and quick-witted. She’s probably one of my favorite female characters ever. When she finds Alan (Charlie Barnett), who’s pretty much her polar opposite but who is going through the same repeat of time, the depth and heart of this dark comedy triples. Wasn’t thrilled with the ending, but there’s going to be a Season 2, and I’m completely on board for that!
CHERNOBYL (HBO mini-series, Five Episodes)
Switching gears with a shoutout to HBO and a non-fiction, smarty pants watch. CHERNOBYL is a docu-fictionary, I guess (?) about the nuclear disaster that took place in the 80’s. Don’t worry that you are too dumb to watch this. I thought for sure that I’d never be able to follow, but it’s so well done and perfectly executed that I watched it twice. The writers managed to balance out the science and politics of the situation with the personal side, so that it never became too technical. Mostly, my interest in the show was revisiting the international climate of that era. I couldn’t believe the nonsense that went on in the Soviet Union when all this was happening. Lord almighty, this will aggravate you as much as it educates you. WHY ARE THEY DOING THAT is a question you will yell at your screen. I appreciated CHERNOBYL because it reminded me why I am lucky to be American.
OUTLANDER (Netflix, Two Seasons available, 29 Episodes)
Confession: I’m on round two with OUTLANDER. But I have to admit that the second time watching is a charm, mostly because I know the characters and have a grip on the historical background and what’s going on. Above, I declared that Christina Applegate is Everything. I’m going to add that Best Male Version of Everything goes to Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan). A Scottish Highlander in a kilt… a love story… a beautiful setting… war stuff… a touch of time-traveling magic… a pretty lady with dresses… Come on, why wouldn’t you watch this? Get on it, people.
GILMORE GIRLS (Netflix, Seven Seasons, Gazillion Episodes)
I know I’m late to the game here, like NINETEEN YEARS late (the first episode aired in 2000), but I haven’t wanted to be a character as much as I wanted to be Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham) since I fell in love with Nancy Botwin in Weeds. I’ve only watched the first season so far, but to me, Lorelai is like the clean, sane, small-town and law-abiding version of Nancy. She’s raising her daughter, Rory (Alexis Bledel), in Stars Hollow, a perfect little Connecticut town full of quirky characters. Lorelai has issues with her wealthy parents, who still can’t get over the fact that Lorelai had a baby at sixteen, and was able to support herself by working her way up from a cleaning lady to the manager of the Inn. Rory, who herself is sixteen in Season One, has issues at her new fancy private high school (that Lorelai’s parents are paying for). In addition to her parent issues, Lorelai has a flirty thing happening with her coffee dealer, a handsome diner owner named Luke, and a fun friendship with the Inn’s chef, Sookie (Melissa McCarthy). She also has great work outfits and is gorgeous. What’s not to love about a small-town, network drama, with quick dialogue and lots of heart? I’d comp this to Friday Night Lights, I think.
And there you have it! Now go pick something to watch and let me know what you think! Also, I’d be happy to take your suggestions of what to watch next. As always, thanks for reading and for hanging out with me here on WOAW!