Weekend Binge Guide: April 2016

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

 

If you want to laugh:

 

 

Moone Boy

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At its heart, this nostalgic comedy is a standard family sitcom: Mom and Dad are stressed, the three daughters are over it, and the youngest child, 12-year-old Martin, is obliviously exploring his small town with his imaginary friend. Only… in this semi-autobiographical series, the pretend pal is a grown-ass adult played by creator Chris O'Dowd. The quirky show, set around 1990, delivers legit laughs with its blend of the ordinary (battling for bathroom time) and the surreal (donkey-kidnapping aliens). But beyond the jokes, it's a thoroughly delightful trip to another time and place. There's a lot of warmth and relatively little snark. And with just six episodes in each of the three seasons, there's no filler.

 

 

If you want to cry:

 

 

Finding Your Roots

See all reviews for Finding Your Roots

Your favorite subject is yourself, right? Samesies! That might explain TV's current genealogy craze. These shows suggest that everyone, no matter how ordinary they might seem, has a fascinating story hidden within their family tree. Of course, TV is TV, so the latest season of Henry Louis Gates' PBS show investigates the family histories of Hollywood A-listers like Julianne Moore and Shonda Rhimes. Among Season 3's highlights: watching Dustin Hoffman bawl as he connects with his Jewish ancestry and finding out whether Ty Burrell's family story about a black great-grandmother is fact or fiction. It's simple storytelling at its best.

 

 

If you want to scream:

 

 

Narcos

See all reviews for Narcos

Narcos is a strange show — in the best possible way. It's about a terrible man who did terrible things. But it's also… effervescent. The 10-episode, bilingual first season isn't all light and breezy, of course. There are plenty of stomach-churning moments in this telling of Pablo Escobar's obsessive, violent climb to the top. But similar to The Americans, you find yourself liking and rooting for the bad guy at times. Spanish-speakers will immediately notice Brazilian actor Wagner Moura's janky accent (think Renee Zellweger taking on Bridget Jones with her native Texas twang). But the story is fascinating, the pacing is great, and the visuals are stunning. Así que deja de chimbiar, malparido.

 

 

If you want to think:

 

 

Gaycation

See all reviews for Gaycation

This could have gone very wrong. First, there's the Vice of it all, which is… a lot. Then there's the idea of a very privileged and only recently out-of-the-closet actress circling the globe with her hipster bestie, popping in and out of the lives of poor or repressed LGBTs. But Gaycation succeeds, in large part due to Ellen Page, who is thoughtful and eloquent, and who smartly acknowledges her position. Throughout the four-episode season she handles emotional moments with compassion and tense segments with assuredness. In short, she's a badass. And perhaps her best move was bringing the show back to the U.S. for its finale to remind viewers that homophobia isn’t just a problem abroad.

 

 

 

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