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.

Safe Harbour TV Series – A New Psychological Thriller on SBS

Safe Harbour is a psychological thriller about a group of friends whose sailing holiday alters their lives forever after they cross paths with a struggling fishing boat overloaded with asylum seekers en-route to Australia.

The Australians decide to tow the refugees, but when they wake the next morning the fishing boat is gone. Five years later they learn that someone cut the rope between the two boats, with tragic consequences.

I’ve been in a bit of TV watching slump since The Crown and two episodes of Safe Harbour has pulled me out of it.

The four-part series from Matchbox Pictures stars Ewen Leslie (Top of the Lake: China Girl), Leeanna Walsman (Seven Types of Ambiguity), Joel JacksonPhoebe TonkinHazem Shammas and Jacqueline McKenzie.

Watch the trailer.

Read more about Safe Harbour or watch it now on SBS On Demand.

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.

Sunshine – A TV Crime Drama Series

Set in Melbourne’s outer-west suburb of Sunshine, the four-part TV crime drama series, Sunshine, follows Jacob, a young, aspiring South Sudanese-Australian basketball player who dreams of making it to the NBA.

He’s on the cusp of being picked up by scouts for the US college league but his future is put in jeopardy when he’s drawn into a criminal investigation.

Sunshine features a line-up of renowned and seasoned Australian actors including Anthony LaPaglia, Vince Colosimo and Kim Gyngell, alongside a stellar South Sudanese Australian cast being seen for the first time on Australian TV.

According to The Guardian, “Sunshine is one of the standout Australian TV shows of the year.”

Watch Sunshine now on SBS On Demand.

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.

Ozark – TV Crime Drama on Netflix

Jason Bateman is best known for his comedy roles but there is nothing funny about his character, Marty Byrde, in the Netflix drama, Ozark.

It’s tense from episode one where it is revealed that Marty, a Chicago-based financial advisor, has connections to a drug cartel that go awry so he is forced to relocate his family to the Missouri Ozarks in an attempt to fix the problem (and escape death).

The series is well cast, with Laura Linney playing Marty’s wife, Wendy, who leaves her own mess behind in Chicago, and Julia Garner as the smart and fiery local, Ruth Langmore.

Ozark has been compared to the highly-awarded Breaking Bad (family man gets caught up in drug world and needs to keep his family safe) and whilst it’s not as groundbreaking, it is gripping and has just been renewed for a second season.

Watch the Ozark trailer.

 

Top of the Lake: China Girl, Starring Elisabeth Moss & Nicole Kidman

Top of the Lake: China Girl sees Detective Robin Griffin return to Sydney (after a lot bad stuff went down in New Zealand in season 1) and lead an investigation into a prostitute that was thrown over a cliff in a suitcase.

Uplifting, I know. It’s dark and seedy but intriguing and beautifully shot. Elisabeth Moss and Nicole Kidman are both excellent. Most of the male characters are sexist and repugnant and there is a particularly disturbing scene with a bunch of young guys on laptops in a cafe that will make your jaw drop.

It’s shot in Sydney and instead of seeing an idyllic city, which is usually how Sydney comes across on screen, we are shown a seedy underbelly. Jane Campion wrote and directed the series and fun fact: the character Mary (Alice Englert), who plays Nicole Kidman’s adopted daughter, is Jane Campion’s real life daughter.

Top of the Lake: China Girl airs on BBC First in Australia on 20 August or you can watch all episodes now with BBC iPlayer.

Watch the trailer.

Watch season 1 on iTunes or on ABC from 6 August.

 

Seven Types of Ambiguity TV Series – A Gripping Psychological Thriller

Based on the critically acclaimed novel ‘Seven Types of Ambiguity’ by award-winning author Elliot Perlman, this six-part TV series is a gripping psychological thriller told from the shifting perspective of six characters following a complicated chain of events triggered when a child is taken and relationships are thrown into crisis. The Australian cast is impressive on paper and on screen with Hugo Weaving, Alex Dimitriades, Xavier Samuel, Leeanna Walsman, Andrea Demetriades, Anthony Hayes and Susie Porter. I read the book years ago when it came out (2005), loved it, and wondered how long before someone would adapt it for the screen. Read more about Seven Types of Ambiguity. See what SMH has to say about it. Watch the trailer. Watch the series on ABC iView (until 1st June) or on iTunes.

Fargo Season 3 – Crime/Drama/Thriller TV Series Starring Ewan McGregor

Fargo is a crime/drama/thriller anthology TV series that is inspired by the Coen brothers’ 1996 film of the same name. Set in 2010, the third season centres on “Emmit” (Ewan McGregor) and his brother “Ray Stussy” (also played by an almost unrecognisable McGregor). Emmit sees himself as an American success story, whereas Ray is more of a cautionary tale. Forever living in his more successful brother’s shadow, Ray has a huge chip on his shoulder about the hand he’s been dealt. He blames his brother and their sibling rivalry follows a twisted path. I’ve only seen the first episode and it’s excellent (and again, perfectly cast). You don’t need to have watched seasons 1 and 2 to enjoy this but they are worth seeing (available on iTunes). Watch the season 3 trailer. Fargo premieres in Australia on SBS 17 May or catch episode 1 on SBS On Demand from 10 May. It’s also currently airing on FX.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: