By Ritika Jain
Quarantine has given us ample time to sift through many TV shows and movies that have recently come out. Certain releases had many people talking, including a documentary on a zookeeper, ”Tiger King”, and a show exploring a complicated relationship between two students in Ireland, ”Normal People.” There is a wide variety of content including teen drama, coming-of-age stories, romance, and comedy. Here is a spoiler-free list of the latest shows and movies that are worth watching.
Dead to me
“Dead to Me” is a dark comedy about two middle-aged women who experience dark events in their lives, from the loss of a spouse in a hit-and-run accident to five miscarriages. They meet at a support group where their friendship takes off in unconventional ways. While the show touches on heavy topics, it is filtered with comedic desperation, sloppy decisions, and the aesthetic setting of Laguna Beach. It also features a dreamy James Marden, who we all know and love, and TV veteran Christina Applegate. The show attained popularity after the release of its second season on Netflix last month. Grab some popcorn and prepare for a series of plot twists.
Never Have I Ever
“Never Have I Ever” is a coming-of-age series on Netflix about an Indian American teenager, Devi Vishakumar, who is entering her sophomore year of high school. The show, written by Mindy Kaling, explores Devi’s struggles with the death of her father and her desire for more, especially in the love department. Devi’s story is narrated by sports star John McEnroe, who offers funny commentary on Devi’s plights and is perhaps one of the best parts of the show. Viewers become familiar with the dynamics within a brown immigrant family and Indian culture, as it draws from Kaling’s actual childhood. It is the perfect blend of funny, sad, and heartwarming.
The Half of It
“The Half of it” is a coming-of-age film released on Netflix, in which shy and introverted Ellie Chu helps sweet school jock Paul win over a girl who they both like. The movie is set in a small, rural town in Washington called Squahamish, and sheds light on a Chinese American family. The movie is directed by Alice Wu and has received positive reviews, gaining a 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. It explores the depth of homosexuality–and many references to religion–and contains genuine, heartfelt moments that capture teen innocence.
“Normal People” is a romance-drama based on the book by Sally Rooney, which centers on two teenagers, Marriane and Connell, who attend school in Ireland and start a relationship despite being in completely different social groups. The complex nature of their relationship increases as they go through college, each experiencing their own set of internal struggles. They engage in different relationships and move to different cities, but somehow seem to always come back to each other. Disclaimer: there is a lot of sex. But it still pulls at your heartstrings.
This eccentric British series follows a bored intelligence investigator, Eve Polastri, who is assigned to hunt down a psychopath assassin, Villanelle. Once they encounter each other, the two leads become obsessed and try to outsmart each other in a game of cat and mouse. Villanelle is a cold-blooded killer who finds thrill in what she does and possesses rare hints of emotion that only Eve can bring out. The show is written by the immensely talented Phoebe Waller Bridge, and stars the equally impressive Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but you may be pleasantly surprised.
“Queer Eye”, which just released its fifth season on Netflix, is a reality show about five gay men who conduct life makeovers on people, typically those who hold different beliefs and experiences from them. The men, known as “The Fab Five,” are all experts in different areas which include cooking, grooming, interior design, culture, and fashion. They have bright, positive personalities and treat their heroes as friends, helping them see their worth and better look after themselves physically and emotionally. The latest season is set in Philadelphia, migrating up north from their previous settings in Georgia and Missouri. “The Fab Five” even brought their expertise to Japan in “Queer Eye Japan”. The show is heartfelt and wholesome and appropriate for unwinding at the end of the day. Trust me, you won’t get enough of Antoni, Jonathan, Karamo, Bobby, and Tan.
Ritika Jain is an editorial writer who focuses on all things fashion, pop culture, and important social events. Follow her on Instagram.