1 year ago
Welcome to Watch This Weekend, where every Friday, Darian Lusk, comedian and writer living large in Brooklyn—will gently recommend a roundup of things to watch and stream. Follow him on Twitter @eatpraylusk to send suggestions for future installments.
The holidays are here, and everyone has their own way of celebrating. For some, it’s spending time with loved ones under the Christmas tree. For others, it’s acting surprised when your parents gift you with six Wyatt Ingraham Koch shirts for Hanukkah, even though it’s all you asked for. But here’s a thought: why not focus less on material indulgences this weekend, like “gifts” and “family,” and more on the greatest gift of all: peak TV?
This extended weekend is a great one to catch up on trending shows and you’ll have your work cut out for you. From a German Netflix series that everyone is talking about to an Australian reality show about budget weddings that would make any engaged couple feel good about themselves — here’s what to watch.
Netflix: Dark (Added Dec. 1)
Dark, Netflix’s first German-language show, will be inevitably deemed the German Stranger Things. There’s a small town with missing children, an 80s backdrop, a government-restricted nuclear power plant and even a cave. But Dark is completely different and completely wonderful. The dialog is sinister and articulate, the plot is intricately woven, the mood is for lack of a better word, darker and the ideas at its center are much grander. I’ll say no more, except for that you should definitely watch, and definitely use subtitles because the dubbed English is…nein.
HBO: Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 9 (Added Oct. 1)
A rare bright spot amidst the enveloping darkness of 2017 was the return of Larry David. He brought terms like “Foisted,” and “accidental text on purpose” into the vernacular and his coterie of upper-class Hollywood friends who he tortures all the time back into our lives. David could literally afford to not bring Curb back, so we appreciate that he did, and I thought it’d be worth mentioning as the year comes to a close. That said, in our current climate, his sometimes anti-PC stubbornness and hassling of people in, say, the service industry, can come off more grating than before. However, reuniting with an old friend is always nice, even when, a few drinks in, you realize they’ll never change.
Netflix: Cheapest Weddings (Added Dec. 1)
Sometimes a TV show’s title is misleading. With Cheapest Weddings, that is not the case. This Australian Netflix reality show follows three stressed-out couples per episode and it turns out that getting married on the cheap is rich in entertainment.
Here are some things you’ll quickly learn: you can buy your wedding dress on eBay (this is common), still incorporate a theme on a budget (like Battlestar Galactica) and that Australia is full of Bowling Clubs, essentially casual golf clubs where the main sport is lawn bowling. Unfortunately, something you may not learn is how to succeed at a budget wedding.
But it doesn’t matter because when the weddings fail, the show is a huge success. The first episode especially, which involves a poorly attended reception at the wonderfully named Jindalee Bowls club, a groom in a beige-on-white suit and an absolutely furious bride. Sadly, things later plateaued into banality when the weddings either were not that cheap or enlisted friends to cut costs. I then found myself thinking, “I’m just watching weddings.” But honestly, I didn’t hate that either.
Netflix: Ultimate Beastmaster Season 2 (Added Dec. 15)
If you thought the Presidential Fitness Test was intense then brace yourself. This Netflix competition show, which takes a page from NBC’s American Ninja Warrior, features 12 competitors from six countries per episode vying to complete a gigantic obstacle course described as “if a Transformer and Godzilla had a baby.”
Ultimate Beastmaster is pure adrenaline, with world-class athletes careening from rotating gears to rock walls where the rocks fall off after two seconds — all for the $50,000 prize. It’s a spectacle. Each country brings their own charismatic announcers (we have Tiki Barber, #blessed) which adds an interactive element.
Spotify: Charli XCX’s Pop 2 (Added Dec. 14)
Charli XCX, who sings on Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” and Icona Pop’s “I Love It,” was primed go pop superstar but instead decided not to potentially compromise her creative vision. Her release this week — her second mixtape of 2017 — is the best argument yet for why she made the right choice. Pop 2 is a futuristic, glitchy dream in 10 tracks, featuring guest spots from Tove Lo and Chairlift’s Caroline Polachek. Songs like “Out of My Head” and “Unlock It” are comprehensive pop songs but they push things a little further, with weird, uncomfortable production and cold, brutal instrumentals.