Ricky Gervais Will Divide Viewers in Bittersweet ‘After Life’

In desperate need of a palate cleanser after watching Leaving Neverland, Ricky Gervais’ new Netflix comedy series, After Life, delivered on the laughs and also, unexpectedly, on the tears.

Tony (Ricky Gervais) had a happy life and adored his wife, Lisa. But after she dies, Tony doesn’t want to go on living. He decides to say and do whatever he likes because being nice is simply a waste of time and energy, particularly when you don’t plan on living for much longer.

Suicide is a central theme in After Life and Gervais doesn’t hold back when it comes to cracking jokes about it, which will no doubt lead to criticism. But that’s his style so if you haven’t warmed to him through his other shows, you may not find this one amusing.

After Life is a six-part series created, written and directed by Ricky Gervais and you’ll recognise much of the cast from other shows he’s starred in. Each episode runs for around 25 minutes.

Watch the trailer for After Life.

It’s on Netflix now.

Dirty John on Netflix – A Harrowing Real-Life Thriller

Online daters, beware. Netflix’s Dirty John will give you nightmares and could quite possibly contribute to an online dating activity plunge once the show gains traction.

Eric Bana plays “Dirty John” Meehan in this eight-part true crime anthology series. It’s based on the Los Angeles Times podcast of the same name. John is a seemingly charming man who turns out to be dirty in every sense of the word. He preys on vulnerable women through dating sites and wreaks havoc in their lives, stopping at nothing to extort money from them.

He meets cashed up interior designer, Debra Newell (Connie Britton), and within weeks has intertwined himself in her life and driven a wedge between her and her family. What unfolds is horrific.

Eric Bana and Connie Britton are superbly cast and the terror is unrelenting.

Watch the trailer.

Watch Dirty John on Netflix.

Netflix’s Fyre Documentary Has Delusion, Ego and Fraud on a Grand Scale

As I watched Netflix’s new documentary, Fyre, I couldn’t stop putting my hands over my eyes. For anyone that’s ever run an event and felt it going a little off the rails, Fyre will be anxiety-inducing. However, watching a complete disaster of this nature unfold is also hilarious and highly entertaining.

The documentary is a behind the scenes look at the infamous unravelling of the Fyre music festival that was created by Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule. The event was promoted as a luxury festival on a private island in the Bahamas. Millennials who paid outrageous sums of money for tickets were expecting bikini-clad supermodels, an A-List lineup and rockstar amenities. When they arrived the reality was very different.

Look, although it was very sad that many people got financially burnt, my heart really doesn’t bleed for those who willingly forked out up to $250,000 for tickets based on the promos they saw. Comedian, Ron Funches, nailed it when he said: “If you had thousands of dollars to go on a trip to see Blink 182, that’s on you… that is Darwinism at its finest.”

Watch the trailer.

Read a Fyre review.

Watch Fyre on Netflix.

Samin Nosrat’s SALT FAT ACID HEAT Cooking Documentary on Netflix is Pure Joy

Salt Fat Acid Heat is a captivating four-part series on Netflix and is based on Samin Nosrat’s best-selling book of the same name.

Samin believes that if you can master these four elements, you can master the kitchen. In this new series, she travels to home kitchens of Italy, the southern islands of Japan, the heat of the Yucatán and back to Berkeley’s Chez Panisse – where she started her culinary career – to demystify and explore the central principles of what makes food delicious and how each of us can easily incorporate those elements into every dish.

If your heart is still racing from the tension of Bodyguard and you’re after something more uplifting to remind you of the good things the world has to offer, let Salt Fat Acid Heat soothe you. It’s pure joy, beautifully shot (reminiscent of the excellent Chef’s Table), with the only downside being you’ll want to leave your life and start a new one like hers.

Watch the trailer.

Watch Salt Fat Acid Heat on Netflix.

Hannah Gadsby’s Stand-Up ‘Nanette’ on Netflix

In Nanette, now on Netflix, “Australian comic Hannah Gadbsy reshapes standard stand-up by pairing punchlines with personal revelations on gender, sexuality and childhood turmoil.”

I saw the award-winning Nanette live at the Sydney Opera House earlier this year where the show was being recorded for Netflix. Steering clear of detailed reviews, I went in knowing only that it was powerful, confronting and those who saw it said it had changed them.

Funny and furious, it is life-changing and thanks to it being on Netflix, it turns out the whole world is loving it.

Watch the trailer for Nanette.

Watch Nanette on Netflix.

If you want to see more of Hannah Gadsby on screen, check out Please Like Me.

Very Good Things for a Rainy Long Weekend

How is it almost the middle of the year already? Here are my recent top picks for TV, books, podcasts and food. Very Good Things to get you through a rainy long weekend.

Watch
Killing Eve – when Phoebe Waller-Bridge is one of the writers, you have to watch it. View trailer, watch on ABC iView.
The Defiant Ones – history is made when two unexpected music moguls come together. A four-part documentary series about Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre. Watch it on Netflix.
Sour Grapes – a fascinating documentary about fine wine fraud on a grand scale. Watch it on Netflix.
Atlanta season 2 – that ‘Teddy Perkins’ episode. Whoa. Watch it on SBS On Demand.

Read
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie – an urgent, fiercely compelling story of loyalties torn apart when love and politics collide.
I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O’Farrell – an astonishing memoir of the near-death experiences that have punctuated and defined O’Farrell’s life.
The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn – a page-turning thriller, the movie is already in development. Great holiday read.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng – traces the intertwined fates of a picture-perfect family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives.

Listen (I’ve been in a bit of a podcast slump recently but my friend just gave me a bunch to get over it so stay tuned):
Revisionist History Season 3 – Burden of Proof (episode 2).
This American Life – #339 act one (Break-up) and Five Women.

Eat Out
Two restaurants I’ve revisited recently after years and they are still excellent, particularly if you’re after a cosy winter vibe – Alpha (Greek) in Sydney CBD with a stunning bar upstairs and Sagra (Italian) in Darlinghurst for perfect pasta.

Eat In
Curried Fish Pie from River Cottage.
Jill Dupleix’s Salmon in a Light Fragrant Broth. I like to up the spinach and chilli for a green hot hit.

Wild Wild Country – A Wild Documentary on Netflix

Wild Wild Country is a six-part documentary on Netflix about the controversial Indian guru, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho), and the community, Rajneeshpuram, he set up in Antelope, Oregon, in the early 1980s.

Well, he didn’t set it up. He didn’t do much in the early days except make an entrance at important moments in a Rolls-Royce, wearing lots of bling, and reaping all the glory. Sometimes he would dance. Mainly with the women. Ma Anand Sheela, Osho’s right-hand lady, was responsible for all the important bits. She was the brains behind most of it and is the real star of the show.

I don’t want to reveal too much about what goes on except to say that as a result of the locals resenting the commune/city, it all goes downhill very quickly, in a spectacular way. And it’s a thrill to watch.

Don’t read the reviews (they are good) because if you’re like me and knew little about this story, you will be gobsmacked and thoroughly entertained with the twists and turns it takes.

Watch the trailer.

Watch Wild Wild Country on Netflix.

THE END OF THE F***ING WORLD – A Bold Dark Comedy TV Series on Netflix

The new TV series on Netflix,  THE END OF THE F***ING WORLD, takes you into the dark and confusing lives of teen outsiders James (Alex Lawther – Black Mirror, The Imitation Game) and Alyssa (Jessica Barden – The Lobster, Ellen, Penny Dreadful) as they embark on a road trip to find Alyssa’s father, who left home when she was a child.

It’s hilarious and deeply unsettling in equal measures. Jessica Barden as Alyssa is incredible – she’s terrifying yet vulnerable and you just want to hug her. I wish I had half her confidence level and disregard for others opinions during my teenage years.

The show is based on the award-winning series of comic books by Charles Forsman and consists of eight episodes around 20 minutes each.

Watch the trailer for The End of the F***ing World.

Watch the show.

Dark TV Series – A German Supernatural Thriller on Netflix

Netflix’s new supernatural thriller, Dark, is set in a German town in present day where the disappearance of two young children exposes the double lives and fractured relationships among four families.

True to its name, the content is fairly dark and given the storyline, comparisons with Stranger Things, The Missing and The Returned are inevitable.

It does take a few episodes to wrap your head around who’s who and how they are connected as the show jumps through various points in time but you are rewarded with a thrilling series and excellent soundtrack.

Watch the trailer.

Watch Dark on Netflix.

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