When I’m at the beginning of writing a new book, I find that I need a high level of “input” to keep my creative mind churning. Often that’s a mix of novels, non-fiction books, and television. So lately I’ve been indulging in a number of shows, some old, some new. Today, I’m sharing the ones I’m enjoying the most in case you’re on the hunt for something new to watch.
Shrill on Hulu
This show is only 6 short episodes, so it’s an easy one to binge, and it’s just such a well done show. SNL’s Aidy Bryant stars as Annie Easton, a woman who works at an online magazine with a terrible boss and who is just trying to live her life. She’s struggling with her love life, her work life, her self-esteem, and the world for judging her for how she looks instead of who she is. The body positivity in the show is fantastic, and Annie is just plain delightful as a character. She’s smart and funny and human, but also, Aidy portrays her with such an effervescence that it just makes me smile to watch. The supporting cast is great, and there was a scene in one episode with her dog and her sort of boyfriend that I laughed so hard, I snorted my water. (If the title sounds familiar, this show is based on Lindy West’s book by the same name. Warning: This is not one to watch with kids nearby. Frank language and adult situations.)
The Case Against Adnan Syed on HBO
I am very late to the Serial train. I listened to season one of Serial last year for the first time, but I was instantly hooked on the story. HBO and director Amy Berg have now taken the case and turned it into a four-part documentary.
If you’re not familiar with the story, this a true crime story about the murder of high school student Hae Min Lee back in 1999. Adnan Syed, her former boyfriend, was accused and convicted of the murder. Many believe he was wrongfully convicted (I am with them on that opinion) and there are lot of intricacies to this story that I won’t get into here. But so far, the documentary has been very well done. It’s almost surreal to see the faces of so many people I’ve only heard via the Serial podcast. If you haven’t listened to the Serial Season 1 podcast, I think it’s better to listen to that first and then watch the documentary. It’s not necessary per se but it will give you the full context.
As a side note, after you watch the episodes, the True Crime Obsessed podcast does a breakdown of the episodes that are worth listening to. True Crime Obsessed is a podcast that mixes true crime docs with commentary and comedy, which I know sounds weird, but I promise it’s done in an appropriate/respectful way (the people being made fun of are the bad guys.) It’s one of my favorite podcasts.
A Few 90s/00s Throwbacks
Felicity on Hulu
For some reason, I thought I had watched Felicity back when it was on TV. However, starting recently at Season 1 Episode 1, I realized I definitely hadn’t. This show came out in 1998 when I was starting my second year of college, and I think it may have been one that was just on sometimes and I caught an episode here and there. (Because, you know, no DVRs or streaming back then so you watched whatever was on.) I think it came on after Dawson’s Creek (a show I was obsessed with) and so I probably watched the beginning of some episodes or had them on in the background while I was doing homework. So I am coming at this series mostly new.
First of all, it’s so very 90s that I just have to smile. The nineties were my high school/college decade, so I’m very fond of that time period. This show has all that nineties goodness. The pay phones, the moody intro, the muted colors of the show, and people always checking their mailboxes because they sent actual letters to people back home. I’m only a handful of episodes in, so I can’t judge the series as a whole. So far, I am a little eye-rolly about Felicity’s choices, but I’m still enjoying watching. If nothing else, it’s the perfect before bed show when you want something light and easy.
Boy Meets World on Hulu
This was one I watched as a kid and remember fondly. I haven’t watched it since it originally aired, and I decided it could be the perfect show for me and kidlet to watch together. We usually pick one show we’re going to binge together, and we needed something after finishing all the episodes of The Middle. Even though this show is from the 90s, kidlet (who’s 11) is totally on board with it. The episodes in season one are particularly silly and heavy handed with the “learn an important message, children” themes, but kidlet giggled a lot. The second season gets a little more into boy-girl relationships since the kids move on to seventh grade, so if you haven’t had the birds and bees talk with your kid yet, hold off on this one. They handle the topics in a comedic/kid-friendly way but making out/sex/etc. is a recurring topic. Also, I still love Topanga.
Rockstar: INXS on YouTube
This is an obscure one that probably only my rock music/guitar-playing family would be into, but I thought I’d mention it just in case. Hubs and I watched this show back in 2005 when it first aired and we loved it. It’s basically like the rock version of American Idol (mixed with a little Big Brother reality show.) INXS was in need of a new lead singer, and they created a reality show competition where a group of hopefuls competed to win the gig. A contestant was voted off by the public weekly.
We went on an internet dig trying to find this one because my kiddo is very into rock music, plays guitar and drums, and wanted to know why they didn’t have something like American Idol for rock singers. This isn’t streaming on any of the normal services or DVD, but we did find a YouTube channel that has all the episodes. We’ve been working our way through the episodes, which is interesting doing that almost 15 years after it aired because a) we know who they pick and what happens so we see it with different eyes and b) it makes us look up all the people who didn’t win to see how their careers fared (because they had some really talented people!) Kidlet, of course, is watching it for the first time so doesn’t know what’s going to happen. BUT if you love rock music and want to see some fantastic performances of covers (and INXS songs), it’s fun to watch. Here are two of my favorite performances of the episodes we’ve re-watched so far:
All right, that’s all I have for you today. I hope you have a great weekend!
Tell me, what are you watching and loving right now? I’m always looking for new recommendations!