The Weekender is a special collaboration between OZY Tribe members near and far to provide delicious recommendations for your valuable weekend time.
Saturday, December 12, 2020
The holidays are awesome — full of song, festive foods, family and friends (maybe not as many this year). But let’s be honest: They can also be exhausting, and 2020 has delivered higher than usual amounts of stress and anxiety. So what’s a reveler to do? Take several deep breaths, remember that 2021 is closer than it’s ever been, and escape by watching some of these 25 binge-worthy TV shows. In fact, if you were to queue them up and watch them all, that’d probably get you to the new year. We haven’t done the math, but sounds like a fun, pandemic-proof experiment. Go for it and then report back...
’Tis the season for love, and this limited series about NYC teens Dash (played by the Timothée Chalamet-esque Austin Abrams, last seen in Euphoria) and Lily (newcomer Midori Francis) delivers big Christmas love on the small screen. Based on Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares, the story follows the duo — one a cynical loner, the other a hopeful romantic — as they form a bond built on notes they leave each other in a red notebook at the legendary Strand Bookstore.
2. Was It Love
Just when you think you’ve seen every romantic storyline under the sun, along comes this South Korean series about Noh Ae-jung, a longtime single mom scraping by on dead-end jobs while clinging to her dream of becoming a movie producer. Suddenly four men from her past come back into her life — whom will she choose, and does she really need any of them?
Gemma and Kieran are a cash-strapped couple barely making ends meet when Ray, a world-class synchronized swimmer, moves in with them. Hilarity, and lots of sex, ensues in a drama that asks: What if the person you’re made for is actually two people?
4. Love Is Blind
A romantic social experiment that gave reality television a breath of fresh air in 2020,this Netflix original takes a page from Married at First Sight by inviting contestants to pick a partner over 10 days of speed dates — they can talk to but not see each other — before walking down the aisle. Is it real? Is it fake? Are they sane? That’s all part of the thrill in watching how strangers looking for love are willing to make spontaneous, life-altering decisions — some with surprising success, as well as the requisite, highly awkward meet-the-parent moments.
5. It’s Okay to Not Be Okay
You won’t find a more wholesome series to consume during your downtime than this K-drama. It’s Okay to Not Be Okaysensitively portrays mental illness and trauma at a time when all of our psyches are being tested, as it follows an antisocial children’s book author with a personality disorder who discovers love with a nurse at a psychiatric hospital. The story is lovingly told — and when you’re not distracted by how gorgeous the two leads are, there’s a tender message about neurodiversity and acceptance.
Remember Yakko, Dot and their brother, Wakko? The iconic ’90s animated series was a Saturday-morning staple for children all over the world — and now it’s back! But before you start griping about another reboot, the chaos-causing Warner siblings meet their critics head-on in the first episode, saying: “When we sell out, we know we’re selling out, so it’s cool.”
2. Ted Lasso
Played by longtime funnyman Jason Sudeikis, Ted Lasso is a small-time college football coach from Kansas hired to manage a U.K. soccer club despite having no experience. While the brash American bumpkin grapples with learning a new sport — and navigating a new culture — the sitcom delivers big doses of soulful joy and offbeat charm.
3. Stath Lets Flats
Office fans, this one’s for you. Stath Lets Flatsis about an objectively awful North London leasing agent who’s desperate to prove his business acumen to his father in hopes he will inherit the family rental agency. The only issue? He’s terrible at his job.
4. The House of Flowers
What’s better than eating the rich? Absolutely nothing. But a close second would have to be watching them scramble to protect their wealth, class and prestige. The House of Flowers is a darkly comic telenovela that follows an upper-class Mexican family whose 50-year-old floral business is turned upside down after one character’s mistress hangs herself from the shop’s ceiling — leaving behind the all-important suicide note dishing on the family secrets.
5. I Hate Suzie
In Hollywood, you’re either hot or a has-been, and Suzie, who’s been dancing on the edge between the two, is afraid she’s about to plunge into has-been territory when her phone gets hacked and compromising pictures are leaked. I Hate Suziefollows the unraveling of her career and marriage over eight brutally funny chapters (each episode is named after one of the stages of grief). After enduring “Shame” and “Anger,” will Suzie reach the final stage, acceptance?
Young businesswomen in Belfast, Northern Ireland, are being murdered and it’s up to detective Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson) to solve the crime. But as she investigates, she finds herself in a game of cat and mouse with the serial killer, forcing her to confront her own demons. It’s a story where each murder is more gruesome than the last and will leave you dying — no pun intended — to know what comes next.
2. The Little Drummer Girl
This AMC miniseries, an adaptation of John Le Carré’s 1983 espionage novel, tells the story of how Israeli intelligence agents convince an actress (played by the luminous Florence Pugh) vacationing in Greece to go undercover as a spy by insisting it’s for a highly coveted role. Her mission: to eliminate Palestinian terrorists. But she ends up following her heart instead. You’ll find yourself absorbed by the historical backdrop, entertained by the glamorous espionage and unnerved by the psychological tension.
3. The Path
What is a cult, really? Streaming on Hulu, The Path attempts to answer this question through the eyes of Eddie, a convert to the fictional Meyerism religion who is married to Sarah, a higher-ranking member of the movement she was born into. Directed by Jessica Goldberg, who swears that Scientology did not serve as the model for Meyerism, the series wrestles with issues of faith, power and surrender — with enough magical realism to make it freaky.
How about a black comedy/crime mashup? Traveling back in time to 1950s Kansas City, Fargo’s fourth season tells the story of rival crime bosses who team up to take advantage of the country’s economic upturn through exploitation, graft and drugs. To cement the deal, the leaders of the Black American crime family — whose boss is played by Chris Rock — and the Italian American crime family exchange their sons as collateral.
5. Two Weeks to Live
You probably know her as Arya Stark in Game of Thrones, but Maisie Williams is making a name for herself in a new show — and winter’s still coming. Williams plays Kim Noakes, a doomsday prepper raised by a survivalist mother. Already anxious about the eventual apocalypse, she’s tricked into believing the world will end in two weeks, setting her on a race to find and kill the man who murdered her father.
This 10-part sci-fi thriller follows the lives of two androids tasked with raising human children on a war-torn planet split between atheists and believers. If the dystopian futuristic drama reminds you of Blade Runner, that may be because the former’s director, Ridley Scott, was behind the camera for the first two episodes, setting a tone that’s straight-up epic. The show tackles all the big themes: family, technology and whether dad jokes play better in space (spoiler: They don’t).
2. La Révolution
You’ve learned about the French Revolution in song, read about it in history books and even seen it turned into a musical. This time, witness the retelling as horror in this eight-hour French-language series that asks: What if the revolution had been masterminded by the aristocracy? A wild mix of fantasy and history, the show is about nobles ravaged by a “blue blood” virus who attack the poor and turn into high-class cannibals. Gruesome? Absolument!
Crime dramas can quickly turn trite with regurgitated storylines and plots you can see coming from a mile away. Then there’s Forever, which subverts the genre — and your expectations — in the most surprising, delicious way. The show follows the career of New York’s top medical examiner whose investigative work studying the dead is nothing like you’ve seen before because he too is dead. Well, immortal. Hooked yet? We thought so.
4. Lovecraft Country
When you combine the talents of Jordan Peele and J.J. Abrams, you get a fright-filled travelogue as a Black Korean War vet, his uncle and his childhood friend journey through the Jim Crow North, where they encounter monsters, both actual and supernatural. The real monster? Racial prejudice. What to expect? Lurking menace punctuated by jump scares with a heavy serving of social commentary.
5. Moonbase 8
Sci-fi doesn’t mean unfunny. Moonbase 8, starring Fred Armisen and John C. Reilly, is a deft blend of the two as it follows a group of astronauts in training in the dismal Arizona desert forced to battle the heat, engineering snafus — and their own incompetence.
For Civil War buffs, this three-part documentary goes deep into the life of the celebrated Union general, detailing everything from his modest roots to his ascent to become President Lincoln’s favorite general to his epic clashes with the Confederate general Robert E. Lee. It’s the story of a military icon and future American president, and of a nation fractured and reconstructed.
2. The Vietnam War
Ken Burns. Enough said? He’s the master of the sweeping documentary, from jazz to baseball, and this one is no exception. At 18 hours, the PBS series is exhaustive — going all the way back to France’s conquest of Indochina in the 1800s — and examines this harrowing and highly controversial event in U.S. history. And while you’ll be surprised at how much more there is to learn about the tragic conflict, don’t expect any easy answers or comfortable resolutions. The war, as the narrative makes painfully clear, was the result of a long series of bad decisions that cost far too many lives.
3. The Great
Elle Fanning is a fetching Catherine the Great in this raunchy, satirical comedy on Hulu. This miniseries focuses on the Russian monarch’s ascent to the throne after toppling her husband, Emperor Peter III, in a coup. That part’s true, but much of the show is fictionalized fun. And crude, and violent, and over the top. What more could you ask for?
4. The Same Sky
Yes, we’re still mourning the end of The Americans, but that’s not the only Cold War drama out there. Set in 1970s Germany, The Same Sky follows characters on both sides of the Berlin Wall as they plot and plan for an uncertain future. For fans of the early Bourne movies, this offers the same breakneck pace, and with only six episodes, you can binge it in a single “personal day” … we won’t tell.
5. The Good Lord Bird
Based on the award-winning novel by James McBride, this Showtimeoriginal follows abolitionist John Brown (played by a grizzled, scripture-quoting Ethan Hawke), who, along with an escaped slave and a band of abolitionist soldiers, stage a raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859. This antebellum timepiece is a tantalizing yarn for historians and action junkies alike.