If you were thinking this week might hit a pop cultural slow patch between last night’s BAFTAs and the Oscars on February 26, well, think again. As our latest On the Beat selections demonstrate, there’s actually lots going on to keep you entertained.
1. WHAT TO SAVOR ON THE BIGGEST SCREEN YOU OR YOUR NEIGHBORS HAVE
After airing in the U.K. to massive acclaim last year, this sequel to the landmark 2006 documentary series Planet Earth has its stateside premiere Saturday (February 18) on BBC America at 9/8c. Using first-class research, stunning ultra HD close-ups, and an evocative voiceover from Sir David Attenborough, each episode investigates the animal and plant life of a different habitat, from deserts to jungles, and grasslands to cities. Plenty of TV shows claim to be jaw-dropping, but this one really is.
2. WHICH POP SHOW TO BOOK IF YOU LIKE A REAL SPECTACLE
Following her well-received Super Bowl halftime show, Lady Gaga has announced a world tour in support of 2016’s Joanne album. There are two separate North American legs, running August-September and November-December, and the first batch of tickets go on sale today (February 13). Though it only lasted 13 minutes, Gaga’s Super Bowl set was a welcome reminder of her flair for pop theatrics and enviable catalog of hits. If you still have tunes like “Poker Face” and “Bad Romance” on your playlists, this show should be a lot of fun.
3. WHAT TO INVESTIGATE IF YOU’RE STILL MISSING THE GOOD WIFE
Christine Baranski‘s character Diane Lockhart was often under-used in later seasons of The Good Wife, so it’s great to see her take center stage in this spin-off series. The plot sounds promising too: after Lockhart loses her life savings in a financial scam, she’s forced to accept a new job at a competitive Chicago law firm, where she’s joined by another The Good Wife favorite, Cush Jumbo‘s Lucca Quinn. The first episode airs Sunday (February 19) on CBS, but subsequent episodes will only be available on the network’s new streaming service, CBS All Access.
4. WHAT TO WATCH FOR A FEMININE TAKE ON THE HORROR GENRE
Recent stats revealed that just seven percent of last year’s top 250 movies were directed by women, so it’s hard not to root for this female-led horror anthology. Opening in select theaters Friday (February 17), XX brings together four different scary stories written and directed by four different female film-makers: Jovanka Vuckovic, Roxanne Benjamin, Karyn Kusama, and Annie Clark (a.k.a. indie musician St. Vincent). Though some of their shorts are more fully-formed than others, each one has a smattering of inventive and frightening moments. Flaws aside, XX is well worth seeking out.
5. WHICH INSTAGRAM TO FOLLOW WHILE YOU’RE WAITING FOR MORE CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM
After a six-year hiatus, Larry David‘s semi-autobiographical comedy Curb Your Enthusiasm is due to return for a ninth season on HBO later this year. In the meantime, this popular fan ‘gram should whet your appetite with its steady supply of memes, clips and quirky Curb merch. Seinfeld nostalgia is well represented too, making this account an entertaining daily reminder of why David has become the master of misanthropy.
6. WHAT TO WATCH IF YOU APPRECIATE INTELLIGENT SCIENCE FICTION
A co-production between AMC and U.K. broadcaster Channel 4, this award-winning drama imagines a world where the human race is supported by anthropomorphic robots called “synths.” Despite the subject matter, there’s nothing cold and mechanical about the writing, which focuses on the social and psychological repercussions of people’s growing reliance on their robot helpers. Season two, which introduces new cast members Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix) and Sam Palladio (Nashville), premieres on AMC tonight (February 13).
7. WHAT TO WATCH IF YOU LIKE YOUR COMEDY SHARP AND DARK LIKE AN ESPRESSO SHOT
Better Call Saul‘s Bob Odenkirk co-writes and stars in an intriguing Netflix film about a faded greeting cards writer. Although it launches Valentine’s Day, this is no soppy rom-com: the plot follows Odenkirk’s character as he gets tangled in a web of murder and deceit while trying to devise a card for a new holiday called Girlfriend’s Day. If you’re planning a cozy night in with your significant other, Girlfriend’s Day probably isn’t the film to pick.
8. WHO TO FOLLOW ON INSTAGRAM FOR FASHION THROWBACKS AND LASHINGS OF GLAMOR
Fashion is supposed to be a fickle business, but Naomi Campbell‘s modeling career never seems to dip. Last week, she became the face of a new GAP campaign 25 years after she first posed for the brand. It’s the perfect excuse to check out her infectious Instagram account, on which she mixes images from her incredible personal archive — seriously, Campbell seems to know everyone — with posts that celebrate female solidarity and inclusivity. Here’s to her next 25 years!
9. WHICH FILM TO TRY IF YOU HAVE A SOFT SPOT FOR JAMES FRANCO
James Franco is so prolific that it’s difficult to keep up with his output, let alone whether it’s any good or not. This adaptation of John Steinbeck‘s 1936 novel about workers’ rights, which Franco directs and stars in, sometimes feels a bit disjointed, but its more compelling scenes suggest Franco is blossoming as a filmmaker. It helps, of course, that he’s assembled a terrific ensemble cast that includes Robert Duvall, Ed Harris, Selena Gomez and Bryan Cranston. In Dubious Battle opens in select theaters Friday before being released on DVD on March 21.
10. WHAT TO CURL UP WITH IF YOU’RE FOND OF A “BRITCOM”
After 16 years off air, this classic British sitcom about a pair of prison widows and their snobbish next-door neighbor returned in 2014 and managed to win a new audience. Acorn TV, the streaming service that specializes in shows from the U.K., Ireland and abroad, adds the latest season to its library today. It’s hardly cutting-edge stuff, but Birds of a Feather will tickle anyone who appreciates heartfelt humor based on sisterly camaraderie, class differences and the odd smutty misunderstanding.
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