While I love the holidays and family time, I also find the festivities exhausting and crave some alone time once the family gatherings have commenced, the mounds of boxes and wrapping paper are hauled to the street to cause havoc for recyclers, and the thousands of calories in sweet treats begins settling across various body parts. Once we’ve reached that magic time, binge watching is the only gift that patiently awaits its opening. If you too have reached this final gift and you are looking for some post-holiday binge watching recommendations, here’s a few worth considering.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
If you were a Gilmore Girls fan (or not), this Amazon Prime series won’t disappoint, as its creator is the same fabulous Amy Sherman-Palladino. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is set in the late 50s in New York. Midge Maisel, who is married to Joel, has two lovely kids, an Upper West Side apartment, and instant babysitters with her parents residing in the same building. She’s on the perfect track – figure, cooking, life – until her husband who she accompanies at night as he aspires to be a stand-up comedian, decides it’s not the life he wants, and leaves. Suddenly she needs to decide how that degree in Russian Literature from Bryn Mawr can help her figure out her life. Turns out she’s the comedian. I loved the cast, the laughs, and the journey this series dishes up.
The Big Sick
I’m late to the party to watch this one, and if you’re like me and didn’t catch The Big Sick in the theatre, it’s available on Amazon Prime. This comedy will make you laugh and maybe cry. I shed a few tears a couple of times because these days I can barely make it through a poignant commercial without the tear ducts kicking in. The story centers around Pakistan-born comedian Kumail Nanjiani, who plays himself, and a white woman, Emily Gardner, who heckled him at one of his shows and ultimately becomes his girlfriend. Culture clashes drive them apart until Emily contracts a mysterious illness. Kumail is forced to face Emily’s parents, who are initially less than accepting of his presence, his true feelings, and his family’s expectations to follow their example and enter into an arranged marriage. Don’t wait another day. Watch it!
I’ve never been that interested in learning about a monarchy and the role of the Royal Family. Honestly, I have always found it slightly bizarre and antiquated for today’s world. The Crown, on Netflix is a biographical story that follows Queen Elizabeth II’s reign and the events that shaped the second half of the 20th century. It delivers a major history lesson that’s enlightening, fascinating and has me totally sucked in. I’m almost through season one and season two awaits. At this point in the series I’m left with a couple of thoughts. First, Prince Phillip seems like a real jerk. And secondly, go you, Meghan Markle. I support you in giving them a dose of American life and culture that helps advance the Royal Family a century or two. And, I’m hoping Harry truly is the love of your life.
Head over to Amazon Prime for the first season of Sneaky Pete, whose executive producers include Bryan Cranston. It has a kind of Cranston feel. Giovanni Ribisi plays the role of Marius, a con man who assumes the identity of his cellmate, Pete, when he leaves prison. He moves in with Pete’s family who have no real reason to suspect it’s not their long-lost, estranged loved one. Pete soon gets pulled into the family’s bail bond business which has this criminal taking down criminals. This series is full of secrets and lies at every turn. Once you start watching it you will find it hard to stop. And, if you like season one, season two is expected in early 2018.
When I first read that the premise of this show was about women learning to wrestle, I was not compelled to devote any screen time to it. But, my beloved NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast covered it in one of their weekly chats and I was convinced to give it a go. Glow is a fictionalized story set in the 80s that begins with an out-of-work actress living in L.A. She finds a chance at stardom through the world of women’s wrestling. You’ll be treated to glitter, spandex, and rich stories across the 14 female characters, mostly misfits, who learn to wrestle and seek their way to fame. Fact: Only one of the 14 women had previous wrestling experience, so we are truly watching them learn to wrestle as the series progresses. For my lovers of the 80s friends, you’ll thank me for this one. And, if you’re not an 80s lover, this series might change your mind.
The Night Of
I’m heading over to HBO for my final recommendation. The Night Of has been out since 2016, but in case you missed it, I encourage you to add this to your list. It’s phenomenal, and one of those that I truly binge-watched through all eight episodes because I could NOT stop watching. It’s a crime drama that starts in 2014 when Nasir “Naz” Khan, who is portrayed as a respectable, naïve Pakistani-American college student living in Queens, New York with his parents, steals his father’s cab to drive himself to a popular party. A woman, who thinks he is a working cab driver seeks a ride. Naz ends up letting her get in the cab, which ultimately leads to him cancelling his plans to hang out with her. After a night of sex and drugs, Naz wakes and finds the woman stabbed to death in her bedroom with no recollection of what happened. Buckle up, because you’ll have seven episodes to go after this shocking beginning.
If you get through all six of the recommendations above, there are plenty of great options out there, including the Netflix series Ozark, starring Jason Bateman; the horror thriller Get Out that will spark conversations long after you’ve watched it; another Netflix series The Fall, that gives you three seasons about a serial killer and Gillian Anderson who is the detective trying to get into his head. It’s so good, I become slightly obsessed by double-checking our locked doors at night.
Tell me what you’ve been binging on? After all, January is a one gloomy, dark month where the couch is often calling.