ScreenCrush Staff Picks for What to Watch the Weekend of March 10
If you can’t decide what to watch this weekend, ScreenCrush’s Staff Picks are here to help. They’re like the recommendations at an old video store, except you don’t have to put on pants or go outside to get them. Here are six things to watch this weekend:
In America, reality cooking shows are often fast-paced, hyper-dramatic competitions full of arrogant chefs trying to one-up each other. As much as I love a good Top Chef Quickfire Challenge, the most rewarding reality competition follows everyday British folks making art out of butter and flour. The Great British Baking Show (known as The Great British Bake Off across the pond) has to be one of the most delightful reality shows in all of existence. The contestants don’t try to sabotage one another, they don’t brag about their fancy schooling and experience, and the spirit of winning isn’t fueled by pride or greed, but by the pure joy of baking. Everyone in this show is so damn jolly you can’t help but watch it with a giant smile on your face. The wisecracking hosts Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins always find ways to add goofy innuendos and humor to the show while co-judge Mary Berry is surely the cutest British woman you ever saw. All three have sadly exited the show since it moved from BBC to Channel 4, but you can devour three seasons on Netflix and be baffled by whatever the heck a German schichttorte and cream-filled religieuses are.
The Great British Baking Show is streaming on Netflix.
With Kong: Skull Island barreling its way into theaters, I’m recommending my all-time favorite monster movie, the original Godzilla from 1954. Long before he mutated into the campy hero of children’s science-fiction (and long before Kong: Skull Island tried to deploy a monster as a metaphor for the monstrosity of war), Godzilla was an object of pure nuclear terror. Unleashed upon an unsuspecting world less than a decade after the end of World War II (and the atomic bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki), Ishiro Honda’s film distilled a generation’s anxieties into the story of a nation attacked by an ancient dinosaur released from centuries of captivity by nuclear testing. Later Godzillas became effects showcases, with lots of big kaiju battles; the first plays more like Jaws, with an unseen menace flash-frying sailors off the shores of the Japan. The effects certainly aren’t as advanced as the ones you’ll see in Kong: Skull Island. But nothing in the new movie can match this old one for pure allegorical power.
Godzilla is available to rent on Amazon.
This week is a little light on new streaming movie releases, which means you might have some time to catch up on one of the best new TV shows of the season (and maybe even the year). It’s difficult to put Legion into words; imagine if David Lynch created a superhero TV show, and then Wes Anderson remade it in his image — which is to say that it’s eccentric and surreal, rife with nightmare logic, and boasting a retro aesthetic. Only somewhat tangentially related to the X-Men series (don’t expect any big name-drops or cameos), Legion is a bizarre elevation (and at times, perhaps even satire) of this Golden Age of cinematic television. To put it more plainly: Legion is just plain f—ing weird. Should you need more convincing, the fourth episode features Jemaine Clement dancing in a leisure suit inside the ice cube where he lives, and a slow-mo action sequence set to a song by Feist. The fifth episode, “Chapter 5,” aired this week (there are only eight episodes this season), so you still have plenty of time to catch up and experience the magic of Dan Stevens covering “The Rainbow Connection,” complete with banjo.
Legion is available OnDemand and FX Now.
I’d be the first to tell you that for all the ups and downs of Netflix and Judd Apatow’s Love, the final beat of that first season finale felt like a wild miscalculation of two characters whose compatibility was thoroughly disproven over the course of 10 episodes. That said, the second season picks up with Gus (Paul Rust) and Mickey (Gillian Jacobs) immediately in the aftermath of that awkward beat to reveal an anti-rom-com with much tighter grasp on what made it so endearing in the first place. Neither of the two leads hold the high ground over the other, and Season 2 exercises much greater balance in highlighting that Jacobs’ Mickey struggles to balance real feelings with her ever-present addictions, while Gus can get lost in his own neuroses and smug satisfaction of pseudo-support. Embracing what works also means much screentime for breakouts like Claudia O’Doherty’s Bertie, Mike Mitchell’s Randy, and Chris Witaske’s Chris (an episode featuring the leads on a mushroom trip is a clear highlight). Apatow’s productions often meander, but the 12 episodes of Love Season 2 are as warm and challenging as any relationship should be.
Love Seasons 1-2 are streaming on Netflix.
I recently watched an episode of popular reality dating program The Bachelor for the first-ever time in my life, and while I could easily eat up 2500 words articulating what a strange, confusing, sad, funny, and upsetting experience that was, nobody here has that kind of time. But if you’ve got 20 spare minutes, I’d entreat you to check out an episode of Burning Love on Hulu, a ludicrously funny spoof that does to The Bachelor what Wet Hot American Summer did for the ’80s summer-camp movie. The first season stars Party Down‘s Ken Marino as the boorish bachelor while comedy stalwart June Diane Raphael (co-host of the How Did This Get Made? podcast, another thing with my full recommendation) takes the lead in Season 2, but in either case, the real treat is the deep lineup of funny people they corral to play the daters. Each contestant is sort of one-joke, but when that one joke is as good as “Malin Akerman plays a super-hot homeless woman,” it works out okay.
Burning Love is streaming on Hulu.
Browse previous staff picks here.