We all know something big is happening this week, but if you’re looking for distractions, even for just an hour or two, you’ve certainly come to the right place.

1. WHAT TO WATCH AND LAUGH AT, WHICHEVER WAY YOU’RE VOTING THIS WEEK

(Photo: NBC)
The 2016 SNL Election Special

Airing on the eve of the election tonight (November 7), this hour-long compilation of the show’s recent political sketches should offer a tonic at the end of an incredibly divisive campaign. Alec Baldwin‘s uncanny Donald Trump impersonation has rightly gone viral, but Kate McKinnon‘s depiction of Hillary Rodham Clinton has grown slicker and funnier each week too. If laughter is the best medicine, America could really use this extra dose of SNL right now.

2. WHAT TO WATCH BECAUSE THE INTERNET IS ALREADY GETTING OBSESSED WITH IT

Martha & Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party
Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party

Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg have an unlikely chemistry that lit up last year’s Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber. The trailer for their new co-cookery show, which premieres tonight (November 7) on VH1, suggests the pair’s shared sense of fun could be infectious. Guests including Seth Rogen, 50 Cent, and Kathy Griffin will be joining them each week for a playful hour of TV that Martha reckons “will exemplify America’s fascination with food, entertaining, and celebrity.”  Snoop, rather more humbly, says it’s all about “cooking, drinking, and having a good time with our exclusive friends.” Either way, bring it on.

3. WHAT TO WATCH IF YOU LIKE STRANGER THINGS‘ SUPER-SEDUCTIVE ’80s NOSTALGIA

Red Oaks
Red Oaks

Exec-produced by Steven Soderbergh, this Amazon original series offers an off-the-wall homage to classic ’80s coming-of-age films, with season one even featuring a body-swap episode. Launching on Friday (November 11), season two follows endearingly aimless college student David Myers (charming Welsh actor Craig Roberts) as he returns to his summer job teaching tennis at an upscale country club. In a sweet bit of meta casting, his mom is played by Dirty Dancing legend Jennifer Grey.

4. WHAT TO WATCH IF YOU LIKE YOUR SCI-FI TO BE KINDA HIGHBROW

Arrival
Arrival

Based on a short story by award-winning author Ted Chiang, this film stars Amy Adams as a brilliant linguist who’s hired by the military to translate alien communications following a series of mysterious landings on Earth. Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker co-star in another clever, elegant effort from Denis-Villeneuve (Sicario, Prisoners), the Canadian director who’s currently shooting the Blade Runner sequel. Arrival hits theaters this Friday and Adams’ performance is gaining Oscar buzz.

5. WHAT TO WATCH WITH A (VERY) OPEN MIND

Elle
Elle

It would be reductive to call this film opening in select theaters Friday (November 11) simply “controversial.” Directed by Paul Verhoeven (Basic Instinct, Total Recall), it’s an incredibly provocative R-rated dramatic thriller about a woman who responds in various unexpected ways after being brutally raped. However you respond to Elle, it’s hard to deny the magnificent lead performance from French actress Isabelle Huppert. She’s known for playing atypical women, and Elle’s unconventional heroine is one of her most intensely challenging roles yet.

6. WHICH ENLIGHTENING AND EMOTIONAL PODCAST TO CHECK OUT

The Love Bomb with Nico Tortorella
The Love Bomb with Nico Tortorella

Until this summer, actor-model Nico Tortorella was probably best known for playing handsome tattoo artist Josh on TV Land’s Younger. But in June the 28-year-old made waves in Hollywood and beyond by coming out as “sexually fluid,” still, unfortunately, a brave move for a young actor with leading man potential. Launched in September, his weekly podcast tackles “love and the labels associated with it” in a way that’s fresh, interesting and often very touching.

7. WHO TO FOLLOW ON INSTAGRAM FOR A DAILY DOSE OF LATE ’90s/EARLY ’00S NOSTALGIA

@destinyschild
@destinyschild

Though Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams parted ways over a decade ago, an official Destiny’s Child Instagram account has just been launched. Some fans think this could be a teaser for some kind of reunion, but as the account is being run by Sony’s back catalog division, a series of reissues or new Greatest Hits album seems more likely. Comeback or no comeback, it’s fun having pictures of the group in their “Bootylicious” prime popping up on your feed.

8. WHAT TO ADD TO YOUR HOLIDAY PARTY PLAYLIST TO SHOW YOU HAVE YOUR FINGER ON THE PULSE

Belinda Carlisle: Heaven Is a Place on Earth
Belinda Carlisle: “Heaven is a Place on Earth”

Obviously it’s not an actual Christmas song, and it’s nowhere near new, but this classic ’80s hit is having a revival moment because it soundtracks a key scene in Netflix’s Black Mirror. Readers who’ve already watched the show will really appreciate the reference; everyone else will enjoy the song anyway because, well, who wouldn’t appreciate a little bit of heaven on Earth? All together now: “Ooh, baby, do you know what that’s worth …”

9. WHAT TO LISTEN TO IF YOU PREFERRED TAYLOR SWIFT BEFORE SHE WENT POP

Little Big Town: Better Man
Little Big Town: “Better Man”

The established country band shared this emotional ballad in October, but they’ve only just revealed it was written by one Taylor Alison Swift. Once you know this, it’s hard not to interpret the lyrics as a reflection of Swift’s much-analyzed personal life. “You push my love away like it’s some kind of loaded gun / Boy, you never thought I’d run,” goes one pointed couplet. Either way, “Better Man” is a classy song that would slot nicely onto an early Swift album like Fearless.

10. AND FINALLY, WHICH NEW EMOJIS TO USE (BUT ONLY IF YOU HAVE AN IPHONE, WE’RE AFRAID)

anglo_2000x1125_emojis
Emojis Galore

The latest iPhone update introduces 72 new emojis including a facepalm, a shoulder shrug and even an avocado. But by the far the coolest additions are two glam rock-flavored icons inspired by David Bowie. These fierce-looking faces (one male, one female) have a lightning bolt painted across one eye in homage to the singer’s classic Aladdin Sane album cover. Can we have Prince emojis next, please?

What are you up to this week? 

Read More
By Nick Levine