Weekend Binge Guide: April 2017

Have the weekend free? Going out is overrated! Binge-­watch one of these shows instead:

 

If you want to laugh:

 

Best Friends Forever

See all reviews for Best Friends Forever

Alas, this gem of a sitcom was too good for this world. But the nearly perfect six-episode run is the ideal binge. From the equally subversive and sweet minds of real-life besties Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham, the show kicks off with Len convincing a soon-to-be divorced Jess to move back to Brooklyn to figure out her next move. There's a bit of a three's-company situation with the women and Lennon's live-in boyfriend (an excellent Luka Jones), a will-they-or-won't-they vibe with old friend and neighborhood bar owner Rav (Stephen Schneider), and some serious sass from the young neighbor with an old soul, Queenetta (Daija Owens). They're all fantastic. But this show rests on the leading ladies' shoulders. If you've seen their current USA comedy Playing House, you'll recognize the mix of heart and laughs.

 

If you want to cry:

 

This Is Us

See all reviews for This Is Us

If you've been living under a rock, you're probably very dirty. Jump in the shower, have a nice meal, and then strap yourself in for the TV season's twistiest new show. The entire first season has aired, so it really is time to watch this remarkable ensemble series, starring GOLDEN GLOBE NOMINEE MANDY MOORE, king of television daddies Milo Ventimiglia, and one of the best actors working in TV today, Sterling K. Brown. This is one of the very few shows that not only lived up to the early hype (which began as soon as its trailer was released), but surpassed it. Even more surprisingly, it's one of broadcast network TV's increasingly rare ratings winners, pulling an Empire by improving each week. So really, give in and tune in, because it's the real deal. Just make sure you have a tissue or three on hand.

 

If you want to scream:

 

National Treasure

See all reviews for National Treasure

This four-part U.K. series examines the impact of a beloved comedy star being accused of sexual misconduct earlier in his legendary career. Robbie Coltrane plays Paul Finchley, a "national treasure" whose life is turned upside down when he is arrested on suspicion of raping a woman in 1993. Soon, several other women come forward. Coltrane, a multiple BAFTA winner in the '90s for his work in Cracker, is perhaps best known in the U.S. for playing Hagrid in the Harry Potter films. He's exceptional here, causing viewers to question his guilt until the end; Julie Walters also is superb in a very challenging role. The series draws inspiration from the wide-reaching scandal involving Jimmy Savile, but clearly will remind American viewers of Bill Cosby's woes, making it feel depressingly raw and familiar to all.

 

If you want to think:

 

Born This Way

See all reviews for Born This Way

In the first minute, we watch Steven and Sean in a bar enjoying a couple of beers and talking about dating. Playfully egging each other on, they ask the woman next to them if she's single. She's sitting with her boyfriend, she replies good-naturedly. "OK, this is awkward," Sean says, smiling. And some viewers might think this reality show about young people with Down Syndrome could be awkward to watch. After all, it comes from Bunim-Murray Productions, the people behind The Real World and Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Given that producers manipulate situations and that editors wield considerable power over how a person is portrayed, there was concern that this could be an exploitative mess. The result, however, is a heartwarming, inspirational, humorous, and thought-provoking look at the reality of life with DS.

 

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TelevisionFanboyContributor
Mar 30, 2017 7:42PM EDT

I HAVE to check out Best Friends Forever, Playing House is an amazing show.

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