Television Reviews

What I’m Watching | January

Another month over, which means another list of of shows I’ve been catching on various streaming services. I’m so grateful for all the quality content being churned out, especially in this chilly Chicago weather. Sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming, and while we can’t stay up-to-date on all the new shows, hopefully this is a little helper for you to decide on something to catch now, rather than later, and what you could skip.


Fleabag (Amazon Prime Video)

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I’m starting this overview off with my absolute favorite, and a show that needs to be on the top of your list! You’ve likely heard of this British series, as it has been cleaning up all the awards this season. Fleabag just landed at the tail-end of the decade and is easily on my “Best Of the 2010’s” list (if I had one). Created and written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the series follows a woman, only known to us as “Fleabag”, as she navigates her family, professional and personal life – the good, the bad, and all the wackiness in between.

Waller-Bridge also stars in the title role, and often breaks the barrier between screen and viewer, where we can hear her inner monologue or have her speak directly to us. It takes an immense amount of talent to do what Waller-Bridge does, as she’s able to break that fourth wall so effortlessly. It deals with some darker themes, but in such a fresh, original way with Waller-Bridge’s fantastic writing and ability to connect with audiences.

With just twelve episodes, Fleabag is an easy binge that you’ll undoubtedly savor. Though be prepared for severe heartbreak, as the series has concluded with its second season. It is superb entertainment and an absolutely incredible piece of work.


Life with Yourself (Netflix)

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Finding himself unhappy in life, Miles Elliot visits a wellness spa that is suppose to clear his head and resolve his issues. He’s been displeased with his job and the pressure of not conceiving a child has been weighing on both he and his wife. The supposed relaxing trip is anything but, as Miles awakes outside in a shallow grave. After making his way home, he finds, well, himself… and a better version of himself at that.

Starring Paul Rudd and Paul Rudd, Life with Yourself is a dark comedy that really lets Rudd shine in dual roles. If you are a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan, you’ll find the series similar to the episode “The Replacement” where Xander is split into two versions of himself – his best qualities and his worse. The idea is the same in this series, and it’s a lot of fun to watch.


Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez (Netflix)

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The sports community was shocked in 2013 to find out Patriots player Aaron Hernandez had been arrested on suspicion of murder. His case was one that took several intense turns, as he was suspected of another double homicide as well. It was a truly mind-boggling thing to wrap ones head around, how someone with such a bright future and successful career could commit such an awful crime.

In 2017, Hernandez was found dead in his prison cell, having taken his own life. It sparked further conversation on the health effects of professional sports, specifically football, where head trauma is so common. After his death, Hernandez’s brain was donated and then found to have significant damage consistent with CTE.

This three-part documentary examines all aspects of the murder case(s) and dives deep into Hernandez’s life, including his sexuality and how that may have played a factor in all of this. It’s a heartbreaking story for all involved but one that is really eye-opening into the world of sports and homophobia, as well as further shining a light on the effects of CTE.


The Crown – Season Three (Netflix)

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I had written about my binging of The Crown in my December edition, however with the swap in season three, I thought I might bring it up again. After two seasons of the series, we experience a time jump in which Claire Foy and Matt Smith no longer fit the age of the royal characters they were portraying. For season three, the amazing Olivia Colman (who also appears in Fleabag) stars as Queen Elizabeth, while Tobias Menzies takes over for Prince Philip, with Helena Bonham Carter also appearing.

Overall I am enjoying the continuation of the story, as I find the royal family to be such a fascinating concept. It has proven difficult, at least for me, to get use to the new cast. While it was only two seasons, I found Foy and Smith to be so perfect in their respective roles. It is certainly a strange shift, as we typically don’t see this in most shows.


Succession (HBO)

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Media powerhouse Logan Roy has fallen into poor health and the state of his company is up in the air when it comes to his inevitable passing. His four children, who all want a piece of the enterprise their father has created, begin to butt heads as to who is best for taking over the family business.

With a wonderful cast and mix of drama and dark comedic moments, Succession is one of those intriguing series that will suck you in. It’s a behind the scenes look at the chaos that comes when family and business mix, but on such an extreme level of wealth and power.


Mrs. Fletcher (HBO)

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Seeing her only child off for college, a divorced mother finally begins to find her identity. She joins a creative writing class for a challenge, but also begins to dive into a fantasy world of sexuality. As she explores the online realm of porn, a young classmate of hers begins to romanticize her, in only the way a recent high school grad could. But her loneliness gets the better of her, as she can’t shake the fantasizes, and may give in to temptation.

Starring Kathryn HahnMrs. Fletcher is a dark comedy that puts you right in the same awkward scenarios our titular character is in. You can empathize with her in her experience with feeling lost and craving that affection. It’s both entertaining and cringe-worthy to see her missteps as she finds herself. It also has a great amount of positive queer subplots, that I think is refreshing for a series that doesn’t bill itself as one.

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