10 Things You Need to Know This Week - January 22 - 28
Awards season continues Sunday with the 60th annual Grammy Awards hosted by James Corden. But if watching pop stars collecting trophies isn't really your thing, here are 10 other ways to satisfy your pop culture cravings this week.
1. WHAT TO WATCH FOR HISTORICAL THRILLS AND SPILLS
[caption id="attachment_419324" align="alignnone" width="2000"] Britannia[/caption]
It's hard not to get excited about this ambitious period drama series launching Friday on Amazon Prime; after all: it was co-created and written by Jez Butterworth, the award-winning English playwright who also co-wrote the screenplays to Spectre and Black Mass. Set way back in AD 43, it follows ancient Rome’s conquest of the Celts in a British Isles that was dominated by superstition and pagan rituals. Factor in a fantastic cast led by David Morrissey, Kelly Reilly, and Zoë Wanamaker, and Britannia looks like pretty unmissable TV.
2. WHAT TO TUNE INTO IF YOUR JANUARY FEELS DRAB AND DREARY
[caption id="attachment_419338" align="alignnone" width="2000"] RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars[/caption]
Even if you've never seen a regular season of RuPaul's Drag Race, this spin-off series should be a blast. Popular drag queens from past cycles including Shangela and Trixie Mattel will be given a second chance to show off what RuPaul famously calls "charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent" in a succession of acting, fashion, and musical challenges. Drag Race has grown over the years to become one of TV's most hilarious and heartwarming reality shows; thanks to fabulous casting, this all-star season premiering Thursday on VH1 promises to be one of the best yet.
3. WHAT TO READ FOR ANECDOTES AND SELF-ANALYSIS
[caption id="attachment_419343" align="alignnone" width="2000"] Nick Nolte: Rebel: My Life Outside the Lines[/caption]
With an acting career spanning nearly 50 years, Nick Nolte has earned the right to call himself a proper Hollywood survivor. This memoir published Tuesday recounts his acclaimed performances in movies like The Prince of Tides and Affliction, but doesn't shy away from the less glittering aspects of his life story; his tough upbringing in rural Nebraska and very public arrest for a DUI in 2002 are also covered. Throughout, it's hard not to admire the candor of a man who writes wryly that he now gets cast as a project's "designated old guy."
4. WHAT TO WATCH FOR A FRESH INSIGHT INTO ONE OF THE 1990s' BIGGEST NEWS STORIES
[caption id="attachment_419346" align="alignnone" width="2000"] Waco[/caption]
As its title suggests, this six-part miniseries is based on 1993's infamous Waco siege. Friday Night Lights' Taylor Kitsch stars as David Koresh, the self-styled prophet and leader of the Branch Davidians religious cult, while Michael Shannon plays Gary Noesner, the FBI hostage negotiator tasked with securing the release of his followers. Premiering Wednesday on the Paramount Network, Waco looks like super-gripping prestige TV: it promises to recount the incredibly tense 52-day standoff between Koresh and authorities from several perspectives, utilizing a stellar cast that also includes John Leguizamo and Andrea Riseborough.
5. WHICH SUPER-FAMOUS INSTAGRAM NEWBIE TO ADD TO YOUR FEED
[caption id="attachment_419348" align="alignnone" width="2000"] @nicolekidman[/caption]
Some Hollywood A-listers "do" social media; others choose not to. Until very recently, Nicole Kidman belonged in the second category, but after her Golden Globes success earlier this month, the iconic Australian actress finally joined Instagram. Kidman has always maintained her personal privacy so fans shouldn't expect her posts to be massively revealing, but her TV and movie work is so interesting that she's definitely worth a follow. Keep your fingers crossed for teasers from the set of Big Little Lies season two.
6. WHAT TO CHECK OUT IF YOU STILL LOVE THE NATIONAL LAMPOON MOVIES
[caption id="attachment_419350" align="alignnone" width="2000"] A Futile and Stupid Gesture[/caption]
This Netflix original film premiering Friday tells the story of 1970s comedy writer Doug Kenney and his role in creating the National Lampoon magazine and movie series. During his tragically short life Kenney battled depression and substance abuse, but trailers suggest director David Wain (Wet Hot American Summer) will focus primarily on his spectacular success as an influential (and often subversive) voice in American comedy. Led by Last Man on Earth's Will Forte as Kenney, the cracking cast includes Matt Lucas, Domhnall Gleeson, Joel McHale, and Natasha Lyonne.
7. WHAT TO TRY WHEN YOU NEED SOME LIGHT RELIEF
[caption id="attachment_419352" align="alignnone" width="2000"] Schitt's Creek[/caption]
Since it launched in 2015, this quirky Canadian sitcom has deservedly built a cult following. Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara star as a once wealthy couple forced to relocate to an unfortunately named small town after being duped by their business manager. The fish-out-of-water premise isn't dazzlingly original, but Schitt's Creek has since grown into a funny and touching show filled with warm performances. O'Hara is especially entertaining as a former soap opera diva struggling to shake off her old grand habits. Premiering Wednesday on Pop, season four is especially recommended to comedy fans still missing Parks and Recreation.
8. WHAT TO LISTEN TO FOR EFFORTLESS POP PERFECTION
[caption id="attachment_419354" align="alignnone" width="2000"] Hayley Kiyoko: "Curious"[/caption]
When it comes to her music career, Hayley Kiyoko has been playing the long game. Though she's probably best known for her TV roles in The Fosters and CSI: Cyber, the L.A. native has been self-releasing catchy electro-pop tunes for a few years. Now signed to a major label, the 26-year-old is preparing to drop her debut in March, and "Curious" is a very fine appetizer. "I'm just curious, is it serious?" she sings, wondering whether an ex is dating someone new. Sleek, hooky, and confident, this has potential to become Kiyoko’s biggest hit yet.
9. WHAT TO GO SEE IF YOU FANCY SOMETHING FEEL-GOOD THIS WEEKEND
[caption id="attachment_419355" align="alignnone" width="2000"] American Folk[/caption]
Though this likeable indie film begins on the morning of September 11, 2001, it's really about the unifying power of music. Real-life folk musicians Joe Purdy and Amber Rubarth star as Elliott and Joni, a pair of strangers whose flight from Los Angeles to New York City is grounded as the world reacts to a series of unthinkable terror attacks. In order to make their journey east, they borrow a rusty old van from Joni's friend and discover a mutual love for playing American folk songs, which helps them bond with other strangers along the way. Opening in select theaters Friday, it's a low-key but gently uplifting film with a lot of heart.
10. AND FINALLY, WHAT TO TRY BECAUSE IT'S DEFINITELY DIFFERENT
[caption id="attachment_419320" align="alignnone" width="2000"] Mosaic[/caption]
There's no denying HBO's new murder mystery series is innovative. Directed by Steven Soderbergh and written by Ed Solomon (Men in Black, Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey), Mosaic originally debuted in November as an iOS/Android app, which allowed viewers to watch the plot unfold from different perspectives and delve deeper into certain parts of the story. Now its tale of a successful children's author (Sharon Stone) and a con man who may or may not have plotted to murder her (In Plain Sight's Fred Weller) has been streamlined into a more traditional miniseries airing every night this week. Could this be the future of TV? Tune into tonight’s premiere and decide for yourself.
What are your plans for this week?