Oh boy. The quiet patch continues on TV this week with not a whole lot of shows to really talk much about.
Far and above everything else in episodic television is the new UK drama Nolly. About the daytime TV star Noelle Brown and starring Helena Bonham-Carter, this is a well-written, smartly-produced drama about the firing of a (thoroughly unpleasant) soap star at the peak of her fame. Written by Russell T Davies, this is a step above the usual sort of Wikipedia by way of Television shows we've seen a lot in recent years.
Now, I make this comment having only seen the first episode... while the show is perfectly good, I found it didn't really do a lot outside of what I expected from the show having read a few paragraphs of Brown's bio. In this age of TV excess, there's the expectation that a show should surprise and delight - especially a show from a showrunner as talented as Davies. In a lot of ways, the show reads as a love letter to Brown, but if you're not already in love with her, I'm not sure there's a lot here that will get you over the line.
Beyond that, it is Valentine's Day early next week, meaning love is on the minds of streaming programmers. Hence, the highlights this week are romantic comedy films made for streaming with some pretty big-name talent. The biggest being the Reese Witherspoon/Ashton Kutcher-starrer Your Place of Mine on Netflix.
RIP Burt Bacharach
This morning there was the sad news that Burt Bacharach has passed away. There are few pop music composers who have had the cultural impact that Bacharach has had (often in collaboration with Hal David). Burt and Hal's songs are intrinsically linked with the screen, with the two of them penning the title/break-out songs from countless iconic films over the years.
Back in April of 1998, there was a TV special that aired on the TNT cable network that was tied in with a new album that had contemporary artists doing covers of some of Bacharach's best-known songs. The special (and album) was titled One Night Only. I can't find a copy of it online, but the special included artists: All Saints, Barenaked Ladies, Ben Folds Five, Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow, Chrissie Hynde, Mike Myers, Dionne Warwick, Wynonna, and Luther Vandross.
One of the highlights was Mike Myers on stage doing What's New Pussycat. You can watch this here - apologies for the lousy video quality:
The final [free] Always Be Streaming
After a bunch of years of sending this newsletter out every Friday (I think in all of this time, it has been missed less than a handful of times... and there has been the occasional Saturday send), I'm putting it behind the paywall for supporters of the Always Be Watching newsletter.
Thankfully, a good number of newsletter readers are supporters, which makes the decision a bit easier. I think this newsletter is a good resource and serves as a way to say thanks to those who do support the newsletter with a few bucks a month ($37 a year).
Today's Always Be Streaming is the final freebie. If you want to keep receiving it every week, I am running a promo that will let folks get it for 20% off. Click the button below to make that happen.
Thanks to all of you who are supporting the newsletter. It really brightens up my day everytime I get a notification to say that someone values this newsletter enough to throw a few dollars at it.
And now back to the usual email:
South Park (s26), Teen Titans Go (s08), A Million Little Things (s05), You (s04), The Flash (s09)
Nolly - ITVX (UK) | Binge (Australia)
Stars: Helena Bonham Carter
Exploring the reign, and fall from grace, of the inimitable Noele Gordon. With the boss's words all good things must come to an end ringing in her ears, Noele Gordon found herself thrown out of the show that was her life for over 18 years.
Love To Hate You - Netflix
Stars: Teo Yoo, Kim Ok-bin
For an attorney who despises losing to men and an A-list actor who distrusts women, love means nothing; that is, until they're forced to date each other.
10 Days of a Good Man - Netflix
Stars: Nejat Isler
A lawyer turned private investigator takes on a missing person case, propelling him on an unexpected and life-altering quest.
My Dad The Bounty Hunter - Netflix
Stars: Priah Ferguson
When a bounty hunter's two kids accidentally hitch a ride into outer space and crash his latest mission, they discover that their dad's job is anything but boring; dodging aliens and laser fights, this family's bonding time goes to the extreme.
Not Dead Yet - ABC (US)
Stars: Gina Rodriguez, Lauren Ash, Hannah Simone
Nell Stevens, a broke and newly single self-described disaster, works to restart the life and career she left behind 10 years ago; when she lands the only job she can find -- writing obituaries, she starts getting life advice from an unlikely source.
Somebody I Used To Know - Amazon Prime Video
Stars: Alison Brie, Jay Ellis, Danny Pudi, Kiersey Clemons, Hayley Joel Osment, Julie Haggerty
On a trip to her hometown, workaholic TV producer Ally reminisces with her ex Sean and starts to question everything about her life. Things only become more confusing when she learns Sean is getting married to Cassidy, who reminds her of the person she used to be.
Your Place of Mine - Netflix
Stars: Reese Witherspoon, Ashton Kutcher, Tig Notaro, Steve Zahn
Debbie and Peter are best friends and total opposites. She craves routine with her son in LA, but he thrives on change in NY. When they swap houses and lives for a week they discover what they think they want might not be what they really need.
At Midnight - Paramount+ (US) | Amazon Prime Video (Internationally)
Stars: Monica Barbaro, Diego Boneta, Anders Holm
Fate brings ambitious hotel manager Alejandro and movie star Sophie together when the shoot brings them to Alejandro's hotel. Despite their radically different lives, Alejandro and Sophie begin to secretly meet at midnight.
That's it for today. The Always be Streaming newsletter will be back next week for Always Be Watching supporters. Enjoy your weekend!