Weekend Binge Guide: October 2016

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

 

If you want to laugh:

 

Fleabag

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It only takes three minutes to learn everything you need to know about this comedy: it's quite dirty, very real, rather dry, and it obliterates the fourth wall. But most importantly, it's funny. Especially if you like your humour with the u. Written by and starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Crashing), this biting comedy is a deep dive into the mind of a witty, angry, grief-stricken Londoner struggling with professional and personal drama. The use of flashbacks helps broaden the picture and leads to an emotional — if not completely surprising — reveal. And the supporting cast is fantastic, especially Olivia Colman as a heinous stepmother figure. Because comparisons, while annoying to creators, can be useful to potential viewers, think Sex & the City meets Miranda with a bit of Girls and Bridget Jones in the mix.

 

If you want to cry:

 

Transparent (Season 3)

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Jill Soloway's award-winning series is one of those modern comedies that is as moving as it is funny, with as many weepy spells as laugh-out-loud moments. In case you're still holding out after two lauded seasons, the series centers around the late-in-life decision by Maura Pfefferman to come out as a transgender woman and how that action shapes the lives of her family. Jeffrey Tambor has won two Emmys so far for his work, but he's supported by the gifted Gaby Hoffmann, the divine Kathryn Hahn, a game Anjelica Huston, and the dreamy Judith Light. Some of this season's stories seem to be a response to the show's critics, including one forcing Maura to address the privilege with which she moves through the world compared to many transgender women. Among the best surprises is actress Trace Lysette, who gets to stretch beyond her previous role as sassmaster and share an important romantic storyline.

 

If you want to scream:

 

Darknet

See all reviews for Darknet

This creepy Canadian horror series may not actually make you scream, but it will gross you out. Not just because of the gore, which there is plenty of, but also because of how evil people behaving abhorrently seems more normal every day. Similar in construction to recent anthology collections like Black Mirror, this adaptation of the Japanese series Tori Hada features a different director (including Splice's Vincenzo Natali) for each of the (mostly) self-contained episodes. The link between the many sinister storylines is the titular Darknet, a website where users ask and answer truly grim questions. You know, like, "How do I get rid of this dead body?" With several plotlines flowing through each half-hour episode, the series is lean, wasting little time before getting to the action. The very end of the last episode produces a satisfying final twist and suggest an intriguing continuation of the series, although there's no word on a second season.

 

If you want to think:

 

Eat The World With Emeril Lagasse

See all reviews for Eat The World With Emeril Lagasse

Yes, that Emeril. The "bam" guy has a new show — and it's good. With carte blanche from Amazon, the longtime staple of food television changed up his recipe, producing another of those travel/food fusions. Not exactly revolutionary, but extremely well done. It's a little Parts Unknown, a little Chef's Table, and a little (not too much) of the Emeril we all know and tolerate. Like a decadent dessert, Emeril is best in moderation. With that in mind, each of the six episodes features a co-host to serve as a bit of a cultural bridge. In Spain, the always enthusiastic José Andrés leads cameras through his native Asturias before setting up an adventure with legendary chef Ferran Adrià. And in Italy, famed baker and pizza maker Nancy Silverton is the passport to the restaurant where she says the best pizza in the world is made.

 

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scotwotContributor
Sep 29, 2016 3:11PM EDT

Fleabag was the standout show for me this year. Phoebe Waller-Bridge's acting was exceptional, as was her writing, I absolutely loved this show and wish very much I'd seen it as a one woman show. May her star rise and rise.

Transparent, I love this show so much, I adore it! It's shelved atm as I really want to be able to sit and binge watch my way through every episode - no distractions allowed!

Darknet, I'm tracking but have yet to watch it. I enjoy reading and watching really good fictional horror. I remember a reading Clive Barker gave about 15 years ago where he said that once people hit 35 yrs old they come up to him and say, "I love how you write but I just can't read or watch horror anymore." They were now aware (he said) that bad things happen, that the horrors of which he (and others) write are not entirely fictional and they could no longer dismiss them as such. I'm not quite at that stage but whether it be tv, movies or books, horror now scares the hell out of me where once upon a time I would have just shrugged it off. If anyone wants my Stephen King collection, just lemme know... ;)

I haven't heard of Emeril Lagasse, no food shows for me, I might own every Nigella Lawson cookbook and far too many others but watching cooking shows, yes, even your beloved GBBO, leaves me cold. That said, I'm thrilled the show is good as it seems that everyone is watching food or cooking shows. I have to say, the thought of all those wonderful different locations has me reaching for the 'track show' button...

What a great, diverse list, as always! Thanks, T.J. :)

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zazerhContributor
Oct 5, 2016 2:34PM EDT

I ♥ Nigella

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scotwotContributor
Oct 5, 2016 5:00PM EDT

@zazerh - Some friend and I went to one of her book signings when 'how to be a Domestic Goddess' was published and I had both that book and 'How to Eat' signed by her. She is absolutely beautiful close up, has the most amazing eyes. She was just as she is on the shows only the stove they had for her to cook on stopped working halfway through! She took it all in good spirits and entertained us all with funny stories for a good hour or two. It was a fun night. Afterwards, my friends and I went and got a huge plate of chocolate brownies at a nearby restaurant, agreeing that we were being 'totally Nigella.' rofl

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