Friday Refresher: 10 TV Shows I’m Loving
By Bilal Hafeez
By Bilal Hafeez
Since the pandemic, my TV diet has shot up and I’ve been devouring TV shows. Here are the ten best ones I have seen recently.
Squid Game (Netflix). This has become a global phenomenon and for good reason. It’s disturbing, insightful and original. Think of it as a cross between Hunger Games, Parasite and The Purge. Almost every episode has something that shocks and surprises. There’s also a deeper social commentary on the gap between the rich and the poor. Watch it and enjoy the Squid Game memes that have exploded.
The White Lotus (HBO/Sky Atlantic). A diverse collection of couples and families go to a resort in Hawaii and watch them slowly implode as all simmering issues come to the surface. We also watch the staff of the resort go on their own often nutty journeys. The show is funny, disgusting and dramatic – a must-watch.
Mare of Easttown (HBO/Sky Atlantic). Kate Winslet starts in this crime drama set in a small town in the middle of America. At the centre is the murder of a teenage girl, but it’s the lives of all the people around it that is compelling. There is no flashiness, rather you see the real emotional and physical pain everyone is going through. The characters are very relatable and the who-dunnit nature of the murder keeps the show gripping.
We Are Lady Parts (Channel 4/Peacock). This was super funny and very very original. A group of religious Muslim girls, who wear head-coverings, form a punk rock band. It has a hint of Fleabag, with its lead character sharing her thoughts at opportune moments. The dissonance of seeing religious woman singing vulgar punk lyrics ends up being very funny.
Invincible (Amazon Prime). This adult animated series turns on the superhero genre on its head. Here, you see the bad side and dubious morals. It reminds me of the other Amazon show The Boys. The opening episode is a shocker and the journey of a teenager learning about his powers gives the show a coming-of-age theme.
Loki (Disney+). There’s been a slew of Marvel TV shows. I found The Falcon and the Winter Soldier disappointing, WandaVision quirky but I loved Loki. It really pushed the boundaries in terms of expanding the Marvel universe and introducing the multiverse concept that will power the next phase of Marvel movies. Hiddleston was great as always.
Baki Hanma (Netlfix). I’m a fan of violent anime shows that have a nice story. This one features the world’s strongest high schooler with daddy issues entering a prison to take on the strongest man in America. I love the flashbacks explaining different concepts and the fights have nice payoffs.
I May Destroy You (BBC/HBO). This has to be one of the best dramas of recent years. Set in a realistic London (not the Hollywood version), it follows an author who has a wild night but later recalls that something may terrible may have happened to her. The central performance is captivating, and the story keeps you engaged.
Giri/Haji (Netflix/Giri) I loved this show. It revolves around a Japanese cop trying to capture his Yakuza brother who has fled to London. The cop partners with a British detective. But the story is really about relationships between the brothers, the partners and their families. It was great to see almost as many scenes in Japan (in Japanese) as there were in London (in English).
The Knick (Cinemax/Sky Atlantic). This is the show I’m currently watching – it’s actually from 2014 and I’m only a few episodes in, but it’s very good. It’s directed by Steven Soderbergh (Ocean’s Eleven, Magic Mike). It stars Clive Owen as a pioneering and unorthodox surgeon at the Knickerbocker Hospital in 1900. It has the drama of medical shows like ER, but also throughs into the mix the social issues of the day, especially on race, which adds a nice tension.
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