What To Watch: 01/08/2021

It’s been a long week, so we could surely all use distractions and the TV abides to the tune of over a dozen new/returning shows worth mentioning. Leading off, the Belle of Amherst gets her second season to ponder poems that are not trees and other delights in the quirky biopic treatment presented by Apple TV.

NAVANI’S PICK:
Dickinson [Apple TV]
Season 2 of the fresh take on a period piece returns with more colorful sets, more popular music infused into the soundtrack and more antics from Emily. Questions about why she was only published post-humorously continue to be addressed. In season one we learned the patriarchy was part of it (literally, her dad wouldn’t allow it). But this season will delve into her feelings about fame and fame culture. It will also bring us closer to the Civil War. Besides the regular cast returning there will also be some guests popping up like Nick Kroll as Edgar Allen Poe and Timothy Simons as Frederick Law Olmstead. After the events of this week 1850s Amherst seems like a welcome respite to escape to for the weekend.

BRAD’S PICK:
Marvel Studios: Legends [Disney+]
This new series gives you some background on characters that you may not be super familiar with. Up first is Scarlet Witch and the Vision–just in time for Wandavision! Learn what you need to know before the series debuts Jan 15

JASON’S PICK:
Pretend It’s A City [Netflix]
Fran Lebowitz contends “people hate [her] because she’s full of opinions”–and while that may or may not be true, she has enough of them for a second documentary by another loquacious NYC legend. Martin Scorsese presented her thoughts in 2010’s Public Speaking, and he returns a decade later with another peek that looks both intellectually stimulating and a whole lot of fun.

KATHERINE’S PICK:
Frontline [PBS, 9p]
Tonight’s doc, A Thousand Cuts, examines Philippine President Duterte’s crackdown on journalists, including Maria Ressa.

BUT, WAIT, THERE’S MORE:

  • In Herself, which had a limited appearance in theaters, Claire Dunn is Sandra, an Irish woman who, when the gov’t balks, builds her own house for herself and her children, aided by her entire community. Everything seems peachy keen, until her drunk and abusive ex shows up. It’s a Lifetime movie–only classier and in Ireland.
  • Comedian Omar Sy is a slick and savvy jewel thief in Netflix’s Lupin, a fast-paced French heist thriller series which could maybe tide over fans of the obsession-inducing Money Heist as they wait and wait for Season 5 to drop.
  • On a slightly lighter note, but also from the Netflix import files, the dark comedy Stuck Apart chronicles the spiraling life of a middle-aged Turkish man as he tries to determine what is and is not real (“Is Istanbul, Is Not Istanbul“?).
  • While it’s a Charming premise (see what we did there?), this Canadian twist on fairy tales where it is Prince Charming who is the cursed one in need of saving has bounced around without a U.S. release for almost five years and its early RT score is… not great. Anyway, it lands on Netflix today so you can make the decision.
  • Netflix marches on with the fifth season of Inside The World’s Toughest Prisons as an ex-con volunteers to go undercover in the jails of the Philippines, Greenland, and South Africa. The first is terrifying given Duterte’s stance on treating “criminals.” The third is likely a bit less brutal than it was 40 years ago. We didn’t even know they had people in Greenland, let alone prisons.
  • Those kings of improv strike again as Aisha Tyler continues on in the role Clive Anderson originated and Drew Carey brought stateside with more episodes of Whose Line Is It Anyway? on The CW, a network which also sees the return of the number one Libertarian skeptic magician team, Penn & Teller: Fool Us.
  • Let’s end on a real Lifetime movie as the network ostensibly for women debuts the exquisitely named The Wrong Fiance. Oh? What? It’s a series? With Vivica A. Fox? How many of these is she in? Five just in this series? We need a drink. We originally read two of these shows on a list together and thought for a second the title Whose Fiance Is It Anyway? Now that’s a movie we’d pay to see!

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