TV Shows Worth Trying

Every now and again you will find me reviewing some of the latest TV content that I have been hooked into. So here I am again sharing my thoughts on some brilliant recent TV series. The first has two very entertaining seasons so far and each episode is thirty minutes long, while the second is a three-part police drama which I found to be riveting.

Dead To Me (Netflix)

This funny series has quite a stark backdrop. Jen Harding (Christina Applegate) has lost her husband in a car accident when she is befriended by Judy Hale (Linda Cardellini), not knowing that she is reaching out as the woman who ran the hubby over. The guilt that Judy holds is palpable and makes every scene either funny or intense.

The strange friendship that they established becomes uncomfortable and amusing. Judy finds that she is trying to hide her connection, but her ex-boyfriend keeps stirring up trouble for her. In season two, working as a duo, her and Jen have such hilarious situations consume them, as they now both know the full story about each other.

From moments of drama to scenes of laughter, these two Hollywood actors do a great job of taking you on a journey through their chaotic lives. With short episodes, it would be a shame not to try out one and see if you agree that this Netflix show is well worth a watch.

The Tower (ITV/Britbox)

I have always loved watching Gemma Whelan act, starting when I saw her in Game of Thrones as Yara Greyjoy. Her recent three-part series is about a police sergeant who was in charge of investigating a tragic event that occurred at a high storey building in London.

Taken from a short book called ‘The Tower: Post Mortem’ by Kate London, this was an extremely gripping show where Gemma got to showcase her subtle ability to closely portray any character. A policeman and teenage girl had jumped from a tower block for no obvious reason. Rather than wiping it out as an accident, DS Sarah Collins (Gemma) was determined to get to the bottom of the more sinister causes.

Both of these shows have been enjoyable. Dead To Me is now returning for a third season and it is rumoured that DS Sarah Collins will also be coming back in another drama, utilising her detective skills. For another TV review check here.

The Morning Show – Hollywood But Satisfying

When you think about ‘The Morning Show’ you probably know that it was Apple TV Plus’s flagship show when they started streaming TV shows last year. Yes, it was massively hyped but I have nonetheless become a huge fan.

On a basic level, it was fun to see Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston reunite on screen. I hadn’t seen them together since Reese played Rachel’s manic sister in ‘Friends’. But there was more to the show than just these two screen legends. It was a programme packed with dilemmas and challenging topics.

This duo are full of energy, emotion and envy.

‘The Morning Show’ is about a big budget breakfast TV programme which is run by a fictional TV company in New York, called UBA. At the beginning of the first series we find Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston) presenting alongside Mitch Kessler (Steve Carell) as part of an established anchor team. Quickly this apparently strong partnership is destroyed as it comes out that Mitch has mistreated several women.

Reese’s character is a rural reporter for a local TV channel and soon becomes popular with The Morning Show’s boss. As the Mitch drama opens the door to more complaints about male misconduct in the company, Bradley Jackson (Reese) gets her foot in the door of the TV breakfast show and starts to rattle things further.

I like the fact that Apple only release one episode a week, like in the old days. Currently the second season is bringing a new episode out every Friday and so far I am loving it. It really makes you think about workplace relationships and shines a light on some serious issues that we might otherwise turn our backs to. The script delivers every time and, even though it is fairly glamorous, it digs deep into modern attitudes and pressures.

If you have an Apple TV Plus membership then definitely check out ‘The Morning Show’ as it is gripping and covers lots of contemporary problems. Reese and Jennifer really do lead a talented cast as they act out some very difficult stories.

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Perfect Strangers – Book to TV

(Disclaimer: I have included some affiliate links in this post. If you choose to buy through one of the links I will get a small kickback at no extra cost to yourself)

Many of you will know that I am a huge fan of both Liane Moriarty and Nicole Kidman. So it will come as no surprise that I wanted to review ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’, which is now a limited TV series. Ever since I read the novel a while back, I have been looking forward to seeing this narrative told on screen.

It is now available on Amazon Prime Video around the world. On Hulu in the USA.

After reading the brilliant ‘Big Little Lies’ it didn’t take long for me to become hooked on Liane Moriarty’s writing. This was the second book of hers that I read and it was fresh, relatable and mind-blowing. Having been to a health spa plenty of times myself, I was instantly intrigued by the setting. Soon I realised that her idea of a spa was far different to mine. The cleverly written plot is original, thought-provoking and absolutely absorbing.

Summary

Nine strangers all arrived at a health retreat in Australia where they had paid high fees to enjoy a revitalising, well-recommended break. They expected a healing experience based around good food, long massages and plenty of fresh air. What they got was a roller-coaster ride of an experience, led by a Russian lady who seems almost ethereal.

I won’t go into too much detail but suffice to say, the first three episodes have done brilliantly by representing all of the characters incredibly well. Each person has an interesting, and sometimes harrowing back story, and these characters are deemed a perfect set of strangers because their issues are meant to balance each other out.

On Screen

Nicole Kidman plays Masha, the powerful and mysterious owner of Tranquillum House, who has taken to experimenting with her clients, finding innovative ways to deal with their anxieties. She is joined by Melissa McCarthy (who also executive produces with Nicole) as Frances, a once best-selling author who is a little down on her luck.

Liane Moriarty always says that she feels she can identify most strongly with Frances. I guess because she is also an author of a similar background. Anyway, there are plenty of other interesting people in this. In fact it is full of stars. With Samara Weaving (The Babysitter) as a young Instagram lover, married to a fast car obsessed husband, the cast also includes Luke Evans (Beauty and the Beast), Regina Hall (Scary Movie) and Asher Keddie (Stateless).

Just like with ‘Big Little Lies’, David E Kelley wrote the script for this series and his use of diversion, pace and heartfelt drama makes this show so unmissable. Obviously they did the Hollywood thing of relocating Tranquillum House in California instead of Australia, but I have let them off for this transgression.

I can happily state that so far he has kept very true to Liane’s book, probably helped by the fact that she too is an executive producer. I could almost hear her describing the characters in my head as I watched them introduce themselves. The casting of Napoleon, a high school teacher struggling to keep his traumatised family in one piece, is particularly excellent. Similarly the two health spa workers, Delilah and Yao are exactly as I imagined them.

Final Thoughts – Having watched it all.

After watching the last episode there is no doubt this is a thought-provoking series with some great acting. Although some of the storyline is different from Liane’s book, most of the key elements exist and are well represented. Melissa McCarthy impressed me with her portrayal of a character experiencing social anxiety and Regina King was skilful in how she dissected her manic part.

Just in case you wanted to read the book before you watch the series I have included a link here:

If you are in the UK, you might want to consider subscribing to Amazon Prime Video to check out the first three episodes. The others will follow each week until all eight are online.

We are only three episodes in and it is already clear from what I have read online that this series is a hit. I totally recommend both the book and the series. If you like this kind of blog post perhaps consider following my blog and making my day.