We’re many months into 2020 at this point. A frightening number of months, in fact. And honestly, my only real achievement is that I’ve managed to not slowly poison my housemates via our weekly spag bol and watch an extraordinary amount of television.
For a hot second there I was v. concerned about the state of pop culture given COVID-19 really screwed with shooting schedules and release dates. But the streaming gods called a last minute meeting, set some strong action items and really came through with the goods. It’s like they knew we all needed TV and film now more than ever.
With nothing else to do, or people to see, streaming has become even more of a global phenomenon. That, and a strong meme game, really hold the fabric of society together. If you’ve dropped off the bingeing bandwagon and pop culture has stopped making sense to you (or heaven forbid you’re still using the crying laughing emoji) it’s time you upped your screen time boys and girls. Here’s where to start:
Remember when the pandemic had only just started spreading and the whole world was united by sourdough, excited by House Party and significantly less depressed? That’s right, I’m talking about the COVID golden age – where knockoff drinks began at 11am and zoom meetings were still novelty. Well, Tiger King was an important part of that era.
If you missed out on Joe Exotic, you better buckle up because it’s a wild ride. This documentary series has tigers, an assassination plot, hell it’s got Carole bloody Baskin. If you’re into three-way marriages with a touch of true crime, it’s time to get acquainted with the Tiger King.
Not only is this cat-and-mouse thriller super addictive but it’s got Phoebe Waller-Bridge (of Fleabag game) behind it and Sandra Oh AKA Christina Yang of the House of Steady Surgery Hands front and centre. And we need to talk about Villanelle – the best hit(wo)man since Pulp Fiction.
Killing Eve has garnered a passionate following of viewers all of whom are just as obsessed with the show as the main characters are with each other. It’s cunning, it’s darkly funny and it’s made by the BBC so everyone has nice accents. The third season was released earlier this year so catch up now.
Normal People just hits differently. And by differently, I mean you’re going to want a day off work to process the slightly traumatising but incredibly beautiful tale of Connell and Marianne – the high school not-so-sweethearts whose relationship we follow right into adulthood.
Based on the Sally Rooney novel, the TV series was released to global acclaim. Partly thanks to the brilliant acting of its breakout Irish stars and a great deal because of the disconcertingly real sex scenes. Holy moly, those sex scenes. Also let’s not forget Connell’s gold chain became a pop culture phenom unto its own.
Since forking out the money for Disney+ I’ve been on a steady lockdown diet of childhood nostalgia, so obviously I (just like the rest of the world) was stoked for the live action Mulan. Sure, there’s no singing. Sure, there’s no Mushu. But are you into dynasty family duty? Honour? Hot Chinese military men?
The live action Mulan follows in the footsteps of Beyonce’s The Lion King and Emma Watson’s Beauty and The Beast and promises super spectacular cinematography. Considering they forked out a pretty USD200 million for it, you’d hope it’s at least decent.
Schitt’s Creek is a Canadian sitcom that absolutely CLEANED UP at this years bizarro COVID-safe Emmy awards, taking home seven of those weird gold trophies, including Best Comedy, Director and Writing.
The thing is, Schitt’s Creek isn’t new to screens. It aired back in 2015 and officially wrapped this year. Making it a pop culture icon post-mortem, I guess? The show’s about one ultra-rich family who end up bang out of luck (and money) and living in a backwater town called Schitt’s Creek. Shenanigans ensue bébé.
The premise: seven super hot LA women sell mult-imillion dollar properties and… that’s about it. Jokes. Selling Sunset is reality TV gold and if you can drag your ass off the couch during one of Christina and Chrishell’s spats then you’re an impressive human with much better resolve than me.
The whole world was so hungry for more of the Oppenheim Group’s brokerage gossip that Netflix dropped not one BUT TWO seasons in 2020, and shit did they serve us the tea. Divorce, white weddings, exorbitant commissions… and the shitshow that is Davina.
The Last Dance
What is the cost of greatness? I mean, I don’t personally know because look at me, but this ESPN doco gets pretty close to an answer as it recounts the Michael Jordan-era of the Chicago Bulls. The 10-parter follows the all-star team through the final championship season in 1997-98 and features all the big ball names, we’re talking Pippen, Rodman, Kerr and Jackson to name but a few.
If you’re a basketball fiend, I’d be surprised if you haven’t already binged this. If you’ve never heard of Dennis Rodman, I highly recommend you get acquainted with The Worm.
If you can wrap your earholes and eyeballs around this lot before Christmas we’re confident you’ll be able to contribute to the generic ‘what have you been watching?’ conversation with your second cousins. Go get cultured, fools.