What To Watch: 02/25/2022

It’s a good day for incompetent cops–or semi-competent cops in the case of Tiffany Haddish’s Officer Danners. She gets the spotlight on the penultimate episodes of one of the most engrossing and refreshing new shows of 2022 (watch for Jason’s deep dive sometime next week). However, our top spot goes to a new Netflix import based on a popular Brazilian novel.

FIONA’S PICK:
Back at 15 [Netflix]
Based on a popular Brazilian book, this series follows an unhappy 30 year old named Anita who discovers a way to travel back to her 15 year old self. Yes, it sounds like the plot of 13 Going on 30 and yes, I can’t wait to binge watch the whole thing. 

BRAD’S PICK:
Reno 911 [The Roku Channel]
Everyone’s favorite incompetent cops are back for a new season… on Roku, where all Quibi’s shows wound up! You have admire the tenacity of this little show. Some of us are old enough to remember when it was on Comedy Central–or even the cult-famous MTV sketch show it descended from. A great cast featuring a lot of The State alums makes this show bingeable.

JASON’S PICK:
The Afterparty [Apple TV]
The word of the day is “binge” apparently and this one fits as I’ve already binged the first six episodes twice and plan to a few more times. This superbly-cast show starts with an Agatha Christie-worthy mystery, transports them into modern mid-life drama, while sprinkling in the Rashomon/multiple unreliable narrators formula. It functions as a riotously funny comedy, a deeply etched character study, and a classic whodunit, and succeeds at all three. It is especially effective at creating a puzzle where as one of its central characters Zoe puts it, “if you look at it from a different perspective, any one of [our suspects] might have done it.” Tonight, we get to learn more about our quirky, easily distracted detective played to perfection by future Oscar winner Tiffany Haddish. Is she truly a scatterbrained mess who fully admits to not being able to decipher our hero Aniq’s escape rooms, or is she a Colombo-type, allowing people to underestimate her as she unravels who the criminal is in her own way. Seriously, if you have yet to watch this gem of a show, binge the first seven episodes this weekend so you can be ready for next week’s finale. 

BUT, WAIT, THERE’S MORE:

  • Amber Ruffin has come a long way after quickly catching our attention as perhaps the best part of Late Night with Seth Meyers (Meyers’ “A Closer Look” semi-deep dive section is also worth YouTube-ing). The second part of her second season of her own show on Peacock, The Amber Ruffin Show begins today. Ruffin is up there with Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee for shows that are both wildly funny and essential watching if you are an American who believes in making it live up to the ideal we’ve been set to believe in, to make America great for once (MAGFO?). More than anything, Ruffin is one of the funniest humans on Earth.
  • Oh, it’s you… but HOW?! How many times are we going to say here that we can’t believe that James Spader show is still going–and just two days ago it got picked up for a 10th season. In any case, Red Reddington continues to run down his list even with most of the original cast gone as The Blacklist moves to a new night on NBC.
  • Speaking of the un-killable, Tyler Perry dons the dress once more in his tidy little Netflix home as the new movie Tyler Perry’s A Madea Homecoming starring Tyler Perry, famous for his supporting role in Don’t Look Up and nothing else. Oh, wait, he’s in much more? If only he had some way of reminding that of it over and over and over and over… as Fiona Apple (and no one else in history) might say, oh well. It’s funny how she has written album titles that are over 80 words long and somehow never feels the need to put her name within the title. We can’t even recall if her name is on the album cover. All that said, Perry’s anchorman in the polarizing 2022 Academy Award nominee was not bad. Not bad at all. Where were we?
  • If you’re a fan of TV shows set in the 11th Century, the History Channel’s Vikings: Valhalla is probably your only option. The spinoff of the popular(?) series Vikings debuts tonight. We put the question mark in there not to be particularly mean, but because we honestly don’t know. However, that show debuted in 2013, can’t be too cheap to make, and these murderous pillagers are still around in 2022, murdering and pillaging.
  • In addition to Fiona’s recommendation, there’s a bevy of new Netflix imports. A Malaysian judge hands out rough sentences to youthful criminals(?) in the series Juvenile Justice. Merli Sapere Aude is a spinoff of the Spanish high school drama Merli with some of the main characters of that show now at university. That one may have either once been or also is on HBO Max based on the YouTube trailer. In the action flick Restless, a corrupt cop’s life spirals out of control and he’s our hero(?). Of course it’s French and I’m running out of parenthetical question marks here.
  • We’ll end in the Lifetime-Hallmark Vortex, where Lifetime movie titles seem to be playing a game of “who can top that s&*(” as tonight we have Framed By My Sister, whose tagline is “Two may be company…” but we didn’t stick around to hear the rest of it because we were hoping it was a gritty remake of the ’90s series starring Tia and Tamara Mowry, but now we know it’s not and that makes us so sad we have to end this round-up right here, exactly where we planned to end it in the first place. Bye for now, Screen Scholars!

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