I was housebound for a couple of weeks, so I got to watch a lot of new and returning shows on the streaming channels. Here are my thoughts:
I was really looking forward to “Good Omens” (Amazon Prime), the adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s comic novel starring Michael Sheen (as a prissy angel) and David Tennant (as a narcissistic demon) who work together to save the world from Armageddon. I was not disappointed; the reliably quirky Gaiman has fashioned a script that crams all the delicious silliness of the book and their relationship—going back to the Garden of Eden and involving the Antichrist, Beelzebub, Gabriel and a slew of other biblical/mythological entities—into a witty six-episode miniseries that’s as fast-paced and satiric as the best British shows can be.
“Always Be My Maybe” (in theaters and on Netflix): Another romcom with an Asian cast? Why, yes. And why not? This is not “Crazy Rich Asians,” not in the least. This one has a powerhouse heroine played by co-writer Ali Wong who doesn’t even think of giving up her dream for her man. In fact, it’s a turnaround ending, one we’re not used to seeing in romantic comedies. For sure, the “Me too” movement has had its effect on the previously unbalanced battle between the sexes and Wong and co-writer and co-star Randall Park work well together, each with different pacing and comic timing that successfully counterbalance the other. A perfect escape film.
“Big Little Lies,” Season Two (HBO): Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, Zoe Kravitz and Shailene Woodley, the actresses who play the ladies with the Very Big Secret about the death of Perry Wright—and who are now known as The Monterey Five—are back. But this time there is a fly in the ointment: The late Perry’s mother has come to sniff out the truth about her son’s death. And as she is deliciously underplayed by Meryl Streep, are we in for some fun. Witherspoon’s character Madeline is still grating and often obnoxious but she keeps redeeming herself with acts of kindness. Kidman as the widow Celeste is no longer being victimized by her husband, but his mom has stepped easily into the role. And there are more secrets and more shame. It should be fun to see how it all plays out.
“Wanda Sykes, Not Normal” is now streaming on Netflix. Do yourself a favor and catch this amazing one-hour stand-up routine. The woman is a treasure and not to be missed: funny but cutting and brutal and truth-telling and oh-so-very human. In the hour, Sykes points out all kinds of not-normal things going on today and how society is having a nervous breakdown as a result. She skewers Trump, sure, but says we have to face the fact that if we don’t get a handle on the racial issue, our country is doomed. She surprises in that she, a black woman, is married to a white woman with two white children—French, no less—and the adjustments that have to be made. Oh, and the fun topic of menopause comes up, that time when women lose estrogen-based compassion and nurturing, gain stomachs and facial hair, and basically, she claims, turn into, well, men.
Jessica Jones is back and I rejoice. Krysten Ritter returns in “Marvel’s Jessica Jones” (Netflix) for a third season. I watched the first two episodes and yes, she has not changed; she’s still bitter, sad, angry, trying to find some meaning in life by doing good, which often backfires. She forgoes any kind of permanent relationships, even that of her former BFF, Trish (Rachael Taylor), who also happens to be the woman who killed Jessica’s psychotic, murdering mother last season and is no longer welcome in her life. Jessica is alone. Very alone. And you can’t take your eyes off her. I look forward to bingeing the rest of the season.