8 months ago
Welcome to What to Watch, a series where we tell you the best shows, movies and series out right now, both on networks and streaming services.
My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman: JAY-Z (Netflix)
It’s hard to think of the type of person who wouldn’t be interested in watching David Letterman’s weekly Netflix show, where the former Late Show host uses his prodigious interview techniques on some of the most important and influential names today. If you haven’t already watched the episode with President Barack Obama...well, what are you waiting for? By stripping down the hour-long, late-night talk show format to just the good stuff (you know, the interviews), My Next Guest is like 60 Minutes if Lesley Stahl had impeccable comic timing.
Not that the show sacrifices pathos: check out this installment with JAY-Z, who opens up about everything from personal family battles to his musical legacy and (what else?) politics.
The Zen Diaries of Gary Shandling (HBOGo.com)
Judd Apatow’s four-and-a-half-hour tribute to friend and mentor Garry Shandling premiered over two nights on HBO during the week, so you’d be forgiven for missing it. (HBO premieres content during the week now? Crazy!) But for fans of comedy, the docuseries will seem almost too short for the span of the legend’s four-decade career. Interviews include household comedy names like James L. Brooks, Jim Carrey, Sacha Baron Cohen, David Coulier, Jon Favreau, Jay Leno, Kevin Nealon, Conan O’Brien, Bob Saget, Jerry Seinfeld and Sarah Silverman, along with the man himself; Apatow has no shortage of material to work with on the subject of his comedy hero.
National Treasure: Kiri (Hulu)
Oof, get out the tissues for this one; the National Treasure miniseries are to Hulu what American Crime was to ABC. They’re both anthological miniseries that pull no punches when it comes to dissecting race, class and gender politics where it relates to criminal activity. Writer Jack Thorne (Skins, Shameless and the stage adaptation of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) turned the first season into an uncomfortably prescient look at an aging, beloved comedian accused of rape charges. In season 2–which debuts new episodes every Wednesday–the focus is on the disappearance of a young black girl, Kiri ,and her white foster parents. Expect nothing less than a scathing indictment of the media’s 24-hour feeding frenzy…but these days, what isn’t?
Forgive my indulgence on creepy foreign series on Netflix, but at least Requiem (unlike Tabula Rosa and Dark) won’t require subtitles. The British series follows cellist Matilda Gray (Lydia Wilson), who returns home after her mother’s suicide and discovers a strange connection between her family and the case of a missing girl in Wales. Based on that description, the show may seem like a bit of a dark, procedural slog, but the deeper you go, the more supernatural elements get uncovered. There’s the typical “recovered traumatic memories” angle, sure, but how to explain the strange, ethereal voices caught on ancient recordings and plaguing our protagonist, or the presence of hidden yellow wallpaper that might house an OA-style angelic presence…or perhaps something much darker. Eerie more than scary, Requiem certainly retains its atmosphere with its grudging townsfolk and their incomprehensible Welsh accents. (So you may just need those subtitles after all.)
To say too much about Legion is to ruin one of the best parts of the miniseries by Fargo’s Noah Hawley: trying to figure just what the hell is going on. Very loosely tied to the Marvel Universe, Legion’s stunning visuals, pitch-perfect cameos and groovy soundtrack obfuscate as much as they reveal…which makes sense for a show about a schizophrenic mutant who maybe just had a bad case of “parasitic demon brain” this whole time.