This week’s On the Beat is as eclectic as ever: it includes everything from Japanese science fiction to British costume drama, and designer fashion to, well, classic Fleetwood Mac. Dive right in!
1. WHAT TO WATCH IF YOU FIND MOST PERIOD DRAMAS TOO PRIM AND PROPER
This eight-part drama explores a less genteel side of Georgian England: its sex trade. Acclaimed British actresses Samantha Morton (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) and Lesley Manville (Maleficent) play rival madams who use their courtesans — high-class prostitutes, essentially — to compete for status and influence in 18th century London. Downton Abbey‘s Jessica Brown Findlay co-stars as the city’s most coveted escort. Streaming on Hulu from Wednesday, Harlots has the powerful performances and sumptuous production values we’ve come to expect from British costume drama. But at the same time, it’s probably not one to watch with grandma.
2. WHAT TO LISTEN TO WITH A FRESH PAIR OF EARS
When it was released in 1987, this glossy pop-rock album reinvigorated Fleetwood Mac’s career with hits like “Everywhere” and “Little Lies.” Available from Friday (March 31), the 30th anniversary reissue edition adds loads of demos, alternate takes, and remixes to make a fancy, fan-baiting package. But even if the bonus material doesn’t interest you, it’s worth streaming the original 12-track album again because it’s been newly remastered and now shines brighter than ever. Tango in the Night is an enjoyable listen any time, but it’s especially perfect on a lazy Sunday morning.
3. WHAT TO WATCH IF YOU LIKE WRY AND SELF-REFERENTIAL HUMOR
Premiering Wednesday (March 29) on TV Land, this new sitcom was created by and stars three members of Los Angeles’ influential Groundlings comedy troupe: Hugh Davidson, Larry Dorf, and Rachel Ramras. Because they play a trio of comedians struggling to make it in the City of Angels, Nobodies is hardly lacking in knowing in-jokes. It’s consistently funny, though, and boosted by some good-natured cameos from Allison Janney, Jason Bateman, and Melissa McCarthy (who’s also one of the exec producers). TV Land has already ordered a second season, so it’s well worth getting invested.
4. WHAT TO WATCH IF YOU’RE A SUCKER FOR A DARK HIGH SCHOOL DRAMA
The Netflix adaptation of Jay Asher’s best-selling novel was never destined to fly under the radar. After all, it’s exec-produced by the most popular person on Instagram, Selena Gomez, who’s been sharing teaser clips with her 112 million followers. Thankfully, 13 Reasons Why has enough substance to justify the hype. Directed by Spotlight‘s Tom McCarthy, the series follows a group of high school students as they unpack the contents of a mysterious box claiming to explain why their former classmate committed suicide. The full season launches Friday, so if you can’t watch straight away, beware of spoilers on social media.
5. WHAT TO LISTEN TO WHEN YOU NEED A BIT OF A PICK-ME-UP
Since she climbed the charts with 2014’s brilliant, slinky “2 On,” Kentucky-born singer Tinashe has struggled to land a follow-up hit. This new single seems primed to right that wrong. Ditching the low-key R&B of previous releases, it’s a big, fat slab of unapologetic pop with a chorus you could belt out at karaoke. Whether it takes off at radio level or not, “Flame” will definitely light up your latest workout playlist.
6. WHAT TO WATCH FOR A GLIMPSE OF A RISING STAR IN ACTION
British actress Bel Powley won rave reviews when she starred in 2015’s The Diary of a Teenage Girl, one of the decade’s best coming-of-age films. Here, she plays another precocious but appealing teenager, Carrie Pilby, who’s already a Harvard grad at 19, but lacks the emotional intelligence to match her IQ. This cute indie film has some cheesy and cliché moments, but Powley’s smart central performance adds nuance, and she’s well supported by Nathan Lane and SNL‘s Vanessa Bayer. It opens in select theaters Friday before hitting VoD on April 4.
7. WHICH INSTAGRAM TO CHECK OUT IF YOU APPRECIATE THE FUNNY SIDE OF FASHION
This witty Instagram uses Photoshop to place cutting-edge runway looks into humdrum everyday contexts. A recent post showed a model in an edgy Balenciaga dress strutting purposefully out of a McDonald’s. Though it’s certainly tongue-in-cheek, the account’s creator says he isn’t poking fun at fashion too much. “I wanted to see if these looks on the runway actually make sense in these different situations and scenarios,” former PR exec Sidney Prawatyotin told Vogue recently. Either way, his mash-ups are very clever and plenty entertaining.
8. WHAT TO WATCH IF YOU FANCY A DIFFERENT KIND OF ROM-COM
Rooney Mara and Jason Segel play young lovers in this whimsical-looking indie film — but there’s a twist. The Discovery is set in a world where the afterlife has been scientifically proven to exist, and people can now choose to “pass over” when they want. Streaming on Netflix from Friday, this buzzy movie from writer-director Charlie McDowell (The One I Love) has some slow-moving and clumsy moments, but it’s thought-provoking enough to hold your attention. Robert Redford adds value as the compromised scientist behind the (literally) life-changing discovery.
9. WHO TO FOLLOW IF OLIVIA POPE (OR MAYBE FRANK GALLAGHER) IS YOUR STYLE ICON
L.A.-based Lyn Paolo is one of the busiest costume designers working in TV. Not only does she oversee clothes for Shonda Rhimes‘ hits Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder, but she also looks after wardrobe on Shameless and Animal Kingdom. Give her a follow on Instagram for clues on how to copy the slick office style of Murder’s Annalise Keating and Scandal’s Olivia Pope. (If you prefer the, ahem, “scruffy chic” of Shameless’s Frank Gallagher, Paolo can help too, of course.)
10. AND FINALLY, WHAT TO WATCH IF YOU WANT TO JOIN THE RAGING CONVERSATION ONLINE
When Scarlett Johansson was cast in this sci-fi blockbuster based on a Japanese “manga” or comic book, it caused outrage online. Had Hollywood “whitewashed” a role that should have gone to an actress of Asian origin? Though Ghost in the Shell has never shaken off the initial controversy, it remains one of spring’s most anticipated films. When it hits cinemas Friday, expect excellent special effects and terrific action sequences as a given. But the film’s overall success will depend on whether Johansson convinces as a “cyberpunk” fighting terrorist forces in a dystopian near-future. Let the internet think pieces commence!
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