#FIRSTLOOK: WHAT TO WATCH JANUARY 2021: “BRIDGERTON”, “BEST LEFTOVERS EVER!”, “DEATH TO 2020”, “ARIANA GRANDE: EXCUSE ME, I LOVE YOU”, “MIDNIGHT SKY”, “SAVED BY THE BELL”, “RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE”, “I MAY DESTROY YOU”, “PIECES OF A WOMAN”
Happy new year! We hope your Holidays were amazing! Although we’re all for new year, new me, we don’t want you to change if the old you involved being on your best behaviour spending time at home streaming and enjoying TV as we beat this Pandemic together.
We share some of our recommendations what to watch January 2021!
This latest from Shondaland is departure from their usual, but don’t be fooled by the period costumes and dialogue, there’s juicy scandal to be found, true to brand. Adapted from Julia Quinn‘s popular novels, this racy Romance centers on one of London’s most eligible bachelors,Duke Simon Basset (Regé-Jean Page) who hooks-up with Duchess Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) for convenience at first but what ensues is some raging chemistry between the two as we weave between their love story and stories of those close around them and there are plenty of secrets, deception and betrayal to be had. Simon had a cold, distant relationship with his father who rejected him and wishes also not to be a father, which goes against everything Daphne wants and this is a driving force as the Plot thickens in a way which isn’t unlike Fifty Shades of Grey, but with greater character development and writing in its adaptation for the screen. BRIDGERTON is eight episodes and available now on Netflix. It’s fair to assume we’ll be hearing more from these characters in the future. Definitely not for the kids and if they do watch with you, you’ll have a bit of explaining to do.
DEATH TO 2020 (NETFLIX)
2020 was full of characters and this Mockumentary pokes fun at American and how it navigated the Pandemic and election through fictional characters in interviews played to deadpan perfection by the likes of Samuel L. Jackson, Joe Keery, Cristin Milioti, Hugh Grant, Leslie Jones, Lisa Kudrow, Kumail Nanjiani, Diane Morgan and Tracey Ullman. Charlie Brooker produces and directs this brilliant Satire which recounts from January to December 2020 and how the year began perfectly unsuspecting but gradually unfolding – pardon the language – into a shitshow. Jackson is savage as a Reporter; Milioti as an ignorant “Karen” and Kudrow as a devout Republican, providing pure jokes. English Actress Morgan is a delight explaining how odd America and its voting system are, one of the best parts of all this. At 70 minutes, this definitely is worth a watch for giggles. DEATH TO 2020 streams now on Netflix.
BEST LEFTOVERS EVER! (NETFLIX)
Need some inspiration with your drab leftovers? This eight episode Series has got some creative ideas! Hosted by energetic Funnywoman Jackie Tohn (Glow) and judged by Food Influencer David So and Chef Rosemary Shrager, we witness a set of three contestants given a bag of leftovers with a task to transform them completely into new dishes – two challenges per episode. Some of the creations look amazing, taking things from the Holidays, a Children’s Party, Game Day appetizers and more and working their magic. We even see Apple Pie get transformed into a Sandwich in one episode. While its clear the the show is still finding its tone and energy, its heart is in the right place and it’s nice hearing some pro tips from Shrager as she guides and critiques some of these contestants along the way. BEST LEFTOVERS EVER! streams now on Netflix.
MIDNIGHT SKY (NETFLIX)
George Clooney not only directs, but stars in this Adaptation of Lily Brooks-Dalton’s Novel Good Morning, Midnight. The Film centers on Augustine (Clooney), a Scientist who seeks to find planets outside of earth which are habitable. He forms a relationship with Jean (Sophie Rundle) who leaves him after realizing he is obsessed with his work. Several years later, he is severely ill and one of the few survivors after most life forms are eliminated. Augustine tries to contact a space mission to warn them of the dire situation on earth. He is led to Iris (Felicity Jones) who also is one of the few left on the mission and together they form an unlikely bond as Augustine is forced to face his mortality and a pregnant Iris is left with the great task of rebuilding humanity with Commander Adewole (David Oyelowo). This $100-million budget spectacle admittedly is a bit of a slow-burner but if you are willing to invest your time in it, at its heart is something meaningful befitting of a Holiday release. MIDNIGHT SKY streams now on Netflix.
ariana grande: excuse me, i love you (NETFLIX)
Ariana Grande is one of those Pop Artists whom we really don’t know a lot about still in her personal life, no doubt intentional, and her Music truly just speaks for itself. While Documentary ariana grande: excuse me, i love you views more as a concert film with some backstage anecdotes from her Sweetener World Tour than an actual Documentary which goes deep into her mind, exploring her thoughts and views. Directed by Paul Dugdale who has captured productions for Shawn Mendes, Taylor Swift, Coldplay and more in recent years, captures the Tour beautifully and the dynamic Grande has with her Team and Dancers, although it truly is a missed opportunity that we don’t get more insight into the alluring Grande, who admits on-stage her disdain for talking. If like me you’re a fan and love Grande‘s Music, this is a great re-experiencing of her Tour, but that is what this Film is and no more, no less. ariana grande: excuse me, i love you streams now on Netflix.
SAVED BY THE BELL (STACKTV/AMAZON PRIME VIDEO)
We were wondering if we ever were going to get a chance to see this in Canada! Thanks to STACKTV and Amazon Prime Video, this ten-episode reboot of beloved ’90s Saturday morning staple of the same name is available now to stream. And we must say how impressed we are with how smartly-written this revival has turned out to be, exactly in-tune with conversations we are having today about inclusion, race, privilege. It is important when bringing something back that there is something new to say and there is plenty of that here in this latest incarnation of SAVED BY THE BELL.
We love meeting our new characters, the story centering on Daisy (Haskiri Velazquez) whom along with her best friend Aisha (Alycia Pascual-Peña) are forced to transfer over to upscale Bayside High after their school is closed down as a result of plans by California Governor Zack Morris‘ (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) administration. In addition to having to adapt to their new surroundings, they must adjust to the school’s overprivileged culture and students. Returning from the original Cast are Jessie Spano (Elizabeth Berkley) who now is a counsellor at the school; Slater (Mario Lopez) who now is a football coach and Phys Ed teacher; and Kelly (Tiffani Thiessen) who is married still to Zack and the mother of Mac. Among the characters we meet are Zack‘s self-absorbed son Mac (Mitchel Hoog); transgender Queen Bee Lexi (Josie Totah); football jock and son of Jessie, Jamie (Belmont Cameli); and Devante (Dexter Darden) who aspires to be in Bayside High‘s musical. 19-year-old Totah who also serves as a Producer is a real scene stealer who gives the show a sharp edge and also a bit of heart. A mix of screen time shared between Cast old and new delivers longtime fans and those now just discovering SAVED BY THE BELL both something to savour. You will need an Amazon Prime Video membership and the STACKTV add-on for this.
RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE SEASON 13 (CRAVE)
New year, new Queens! We’ve waited forever it seems for Season 13 of RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE after Season 12 wrapped at the beginning of the Pandemic with the final three filming their performances from their living rooms. The competition is fierce this round and RuPaul throws a twist this season making these finalists “lip sync for their lives” right off the bat and those who lose out are given the “pork chop”. What this means exactly, remains to be seen in the episodes ahead. Lots of antics are to be had as the Queens battle it out every Friday night on Crave for a shot at the crown and the competition is stiff with some seasoned Queens (a few from the New York circuit) battling it out against some with as little experience as a year and a half. Tamisha Iman made the cut season 12 but found out soon after she had cancer and had to undergo treatment right away. Gottmik also is the Series’ first ever transgender male to compete. Will be fasctinating to see how the Series is and will be navigating safety protocols in the episodes ahead.
I MAY DESTROY YOU (HBO/CRAVE)
We’re totally late on this one, but we’re delighted finally to have gotten around to seeing this phenomenal introduction to the brilliant Michaela Coel, who produced, wrote, directed and stars in this 12-episode Dramedy series. The Series centers on Arabella (Coel), a highly-buzzed young Author on the verge of writing her first book. She is left shaken trying to pick-up the pieces of her life trying to piece together the events leading-up to her rape after she is drugged at a party. Joining her on a journey of re-discovery are her best friends Kwame (Paapa Essiedu) and Terry (Weruche Opia). We love the questions that Coel ponders on consent, race, the spectrum of sexuality and cancel culture in the age of Social Media. The conversation is timely and daring and her characters really feel lived-in. I MAY DESTROY YOU is a triumph and is available on Crave with the HBO add-on.
For reviews on new releases like NEWS OF THE WORLD, THE WITCHES, SOUL, ANOTHER ROUND, MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM, WONDER WOMAN 1984 and WILD MOUNTAIN THYME and more, click here.
The excellent PIECES OF A WOMAN also arrives this week on Netflix. Our Review here.