Spending quality time with your loved ones is overrated. Don’t forget your real family this holiday season: the television.
The last weeks of the year are upon us and the daylight is rapidly fading. It’s a busy time, with parties, projects, dinners and desserts, and simultaneously more free time than many people have had all year. And while spending time with friends and family, especially after two years of the global pandemic, will certainly be delicious, it’s safe to say people will need a way to decompress after 37 rounds of apple to apple.
If television is your game, it’s important to spend your viewing time wisely, keeping the best the medium has to offer, and incorporating a bit of quality on top of your quantity. With that in mind, we’ve picked five shows, from potential award contenders, nothing less, that you should try to squeeze into as everyone else slips into a tryptophan-fueled slumber. All five series are new this year, so there is no catalog to catch up and most have already fully released their entire season.
“Only the murders in the building” (Hulu)
“Only Murders in the Building” is a charming murder mystery comedy, with lush production design and impeccable costumes starring Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez as the unlikely trio of true fans of crime podcasts reunited by a potential murder in their own apartment building on the Upper West Side. Once the three of them are together, they quickly decide to do what any real crime junkie would do: start their own podcast.
The series captured the eyes of critics and the hearts of the public on its weekly Hulu release and it’s exactly the type of show you want to watch while crouching on your couch with your loved ones snoring quietly around you. .
Much less fun than the last choice, “Maid” is nonetheless a captivating limited series centered on a young mother who struggles to keep her head above water as she is trapped in a system that makes it almost. impossible to succeed. Margaret Qualley delivers yet another groundbreaking performance (see also: “The Leftovers”, “The Nice Guys”, “Fosse / Verdon”, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”) as Alex, a woman taking her life. young girl and leaves her emotionally abusive partner. Like “Squid Game”, “Maid” is another series that takes a long look at the debilitating effects of poverty. Much like “Squid Game,” it hasn’t left Netflix’s Top 10 since its debut on October 1.
Apple TV +
“Swagger” (Apple TV +)
“Swagger,” by Kevin Durant and Reggie Rock Bythewood, centers around a supernatural talented and motivated 14-year-old boy and his team competing on the AAU Tour, striving for greatness and mostly trying to stay alive. “Swagger” is not “Friday Night Lights” and it’s amazing. It’s easy to compare the two as they go head-to-head on adjacent playing fields, but while the latter feels like it happened in a universe long and far ago, the former is rooted in the here and now. The pilot’s opening card reads Before: ABC, revealing that the letters represent Ahmaud, Breonna, and COVID-19, two murders – Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor – and a global pandemic, all of which rocked the year 2020. “Swagger “has all the open-hearted goodness of young athletes who want to be great, but adds the frightening reality of trying to survive as a black child in America.
“Reservation Dogs” (FX on Hulu)
Created by Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi, “Reservation Dogs” is set on a reservation in rural Oklahoma and revolves around the four teenagers as they commit potato chip crimes and engage in gang war (paintball), while trying to scavenge enough cash to leave their dreary surroundings in the dust and head west to California. The series not only employs all of the native writers and directors, but the vast majority of its cast and crew are native as well. As a model of expanded and reshaped media representation, “Reservation Dogs” is formidable. And as a fun coming-of-age story about longtime friends, it’s even better. Devery Jacobs as Elora is a star and Zahn McClarnon is a delight as Officer Big, too rare a chance for him to stretch his legs comically.
“Hacks” (HBO Max)
Centered on Deborah Vance (an ever better Jean Smart) and Ava Daniels (dynamic upstart Hannah Einbinder), “Hacks” is a wonder from the first. Deborah is a somewhat long-nosed actress whose career was not what it could have been because of systemic injustices. She nonetheless became the queen of Las Vegas comedy. Ava is a Gen Z comedy upstart who found her meteoric rise derailed by a few unsavory jokes in the wrong place at the wrong time. They are, as you can guess, something of a strange couple. “Hacks” is funny and Smart is a queen. You can’t go wrong here.