Happy New Year! If one of your resolutions is to broaden your movie, music, and TV tastes, you’re in luck, because this week’s On the Beat is brimming with possibilities.
1. WHAT TO STREAM IF YOU BELIEVE “YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT”
This intriguing six-part documentary series promises to “give food the true crime treatment.” Individual episodes will explore the dangers of producing unpasteurized and organic milk, the devastating consequences of over-fishing, and the reasons behind an uptick in the number of people suffering from extreme food allergies. Debuting Friday on Netflix, Rotten is thought-provoking viewing well-timed to capitalize on the growing interest in sustainable and ethical eating. One caveat: it’s probably not something to watch with fast food take-out.
2. WHAT TO WATCH FOR DELICIOUSLY DARK HIGH SCHOOL DRAMA
Rising star Quinn Shephard writes, directs, and takes a lead role in this gripping indie drama hitting select theaters Friday. She plays high school outsider Abigail, who enrages her more popular classmate Melissa (The Sinner‘s Nadia Alexander) when she lands a starring role in the school’s production of The Crucible. As Abigail begins an illicit relationship with their charismatic drama teacher (Chris Messina), Melissa plots against in ways which echo the classic Arthur Miller play. Shephard’s film occasionally lacks subtlety, but she handles the plot’s moral grey areas beautifully, making this a very promising debut from someone She’s definitely a talent to keep an eye on in 2018.
3. WHAT TO LISTEN TO FOR NEW YEAR’S MOTIVATION
Written for the soundtrack to movie-musical The Greatest Showman, this empowered ballad was originally recorded by Broadway singer Keala Settle. But Kesha evidently related to the lyrics, and has covered the song with a slightly grittier and more contemporary arrangement. “I’m not scared to be seen, I make no apologies, this is me,” she sings emotively on the chorus. After a tumultuous couple of years, the L.A. native pulled off a heartwarming comeback with last year’s excellent, chart-topping Rainbow album. This stirring cover version feels like a very well-earned victory lap.
4. WHAT TO WATCH FOR LAUGHTER AND A LOT OF HEART
This U.K. sitcom started out with a rather ruder title, Scrotal Recall, and definitely has an edgy premise: lead character Dylan (Johnny Flynn) is compelled to reconnect with his exes when he discovers he has an STI. But over the course of two previous seasons, Lovesick has proven it has loads more to offer than bawdy jokes, growing into a show with warmth, depth and real affection for its characters. Launching today on Netflix, season three is perfect comfort viewing if you’re feeling a touch delicate after New Year’s Eve.
5. WHO TO FOLLOW ON INSTAGRAM FOR GOTHIC POP CULTURE “MAGIC”
Floria Sigismondi‘s dark, otherworldly aesthetic has made her an in-demand music video director, collaborating with the likes of David Bowie, Katy Perry, and Rihanna. The Italian-Canadian artist also directed episodes of The Handsmaid’s Tale and American Gods, and takes on photography commissions for publications including The New York Times. She recently said she wants to be “witness to magic,” and her Instagram allows us to glimpse it too by providing a behind-the-scenes peek at her various creative projects. If your Instagram feed felt a bit lackluster in 2017, she’s a fine addition.
6. WHAT TO WATCH FOR RELATABLE AND UP-TO-DATE HUMOR
Black-ish is one of network TV’s freshest and funniest sitcoms, and this cable spin-off looks like it’s cool kid sister. Premiering Wednesday on Freeform, it follows Yara Shadidi‘s character Zoey Johnson as she heads off to college and discovers that young adulthood isn’t quite as straightforward as she thought. If Grown-ish can recreate its parent show’s winning mix of likeable characters and topical plotlines, it should grow into a lively 30-minute delight. We already know there will be episodes tackling issues like drug use, safe spaces, and the politics of “hooking up,” so it certainly doesn’t lack ambition.
7. WHAT TO TRY IF YOU’VE ENJOYED ANY OF RYAN MURPHY’S PREVIOUS SERIES (AND YOU SURELY HAVE)
On the surface, this new procedural drama looks a little too conventional for TV mastermind Ryan Murphy, creator of American Horror Story, Glee, and Feud. Premiering Wednesday on Fox, it follows the lives of several L.A. first responders as they deal with all manner of emergencies — each episode will begin with an ominous 911 call. But the super-classy cast is led by Murphy favorites Angela Bassett and Connie Britton, and he’s said he wants many episodes helmed by female, minority, and LGBT directors. So don’t be surprised if 9-1-1 winds up rather more adventurous than the average new network show.
8. WHAT TO READ IF YOU’RE SUPER INTO KUNG FU
Nearly 45 years after his death, Bruce Lee remains the world’s most famous martial arts star, and this lavish coffee table book celebrates his iconic life and career. Published tomorrow, it’s actually being billed as “the biggest illustrated volume ever published on Lee.” Compiled by super-fan Steve Kerridge, it features photographs taken by Lee at home and on set, excerpts from his film scripts, some of the late star’s own writing, and a foreword by his daughter Sharon. If you loved Lee in films like Way of the Dragon and Fist of Fury, this book is a real treasure trove.
9. WHAT TO TRY EVEN IF YOU WEREN’T KEEN ON ITS LAST COMEBACK
The iconic sci-fi show’s 2016 revival series was uneven, but it was a ratings winner for Fox, so it’s not too surprising to see David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson back again as Mulder and Scully. Premiering Wednesday, this new season comprises 10 episodes: eight standalone adventures, plus two exploring the show’s ongoing mythology. Fans were most disappointed with the mythology episodes last time around, so that’s definitely a promising split. There’s also an emotionally-involving story arc following Mulder and Scully’s quest to find their lost son. Whisper it, but it looks as though The X-Files is poised for a return to form.
10. AND FINALLY, WHICH INSTAGRAM TO FOLLOW FOR ’90s NOSTALGIA
This terrifically infectious account really lives up to its title. A typical post might be a Spice Girls album cover, an old Coca-Cola holiday commercial, a clip of Anna Chlumsky and Macaulay Culkin in My Girl, or a still from cult Nickelodeon sitcom Daria. You might not want to recreate some of the hairstyles on display, but @allthings90 is terrific inspo for nostalgic Netflix viewing or creating a retro party playlist. “Totally wicked,” as a ’90s kid might say.
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