Shows to Binge Over the Holidays…Or Not.
By Amanda Thornton, AKA “Media Manda”
Development Assistant, Red Arrow Industries
Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party
VH1 – Mondays at 10pm, renewed for Season 2
This show is exactly what it sounds like. Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart have dinner parties with friends in front of a live audience who get to eat what they’ve prepared. This show makes the viewer happy simply because you can genuinely tell Snoop and Martha are good friends and love cooking with each other. They cook everything, from having a fried chicken competition to cooking the Maine best lobster. Check out the “super trailer!”
Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath
A&E Network – Tuesdays at 10pm
Actress and ex-Scientologist Leah Remini gives a voice to victims of the Church of Scientology despite the church’s public attempts to discredit them. The Church of Scientology recently requested to A&E network to take this limited series off the air. Watch the trailer here.
REVIEW: This series was A&E’s strongest debut in 2 years with 2.1 million people tuning in. Leah Remini also did a very eye-opening Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) the day of the premiere. The Church of Scientology demanded A&E to pull the show from airing, which obviously didn’t work. This show is pretty good, although if you know a lot about Scientology already from HBO’s documentary Going Clear, there’s not a lot of new information so far in the series, but it’s still very fascinating to hear from individual victims of the Church of Scientology.
Timber Creek Lodge
Bravo – Mondays at 10pm
Similar to Bravo’s Après Ski that aired last year, this series follows the employees of a Gibbons Whistler, a ski resort in British Columbia, Canada. It seems they’ve basically rebooted that series with a new cast but are still keeping Gibbons Life CEO Joey Gibbons in the new series. Consisting of a personal chef and bar tender, lodge manager, VIP mountain hosts, housekeepers and servers, this team will do whatever it takes to satisfy their clients, even if that means blurring the lines of professionalism.
REVIEW: Compared to Après Ski that aired on Bravo in the spring of 2016, this series is definitely a step up. The cast of Timber Creek Lodge are much more likeable. My only critique is that I just wish there was just a bit more diversity with the cast. My favorite cast member is hilarious grumpy chef Nikita whose Instagram is equally funny.
E! – Sundays at 9pm
The eight-episode series follows the life of singer Mariah Carey as she begins her The Sweet Sweet Fantasy Tour around Europe and plans to get married. “I refuse to call it a reality show,” said Carey in an interview with The New York Times. She further commented that the goal of the series is for her fans to get to know her personality better and not to show that, “Here I am, getting my nails done.”
REVIEW: This series has been one of the more anticipated shows of the winter television season. What better time to premiere it than December when that’s the most likely time people will be playing Mariah’s hit song “All I Want for Christmas is You.” The premiere episode was simulcast on E! and Bravo with 1.88 million viewers. Bravo had more viewers than E!, but that could be explained by the Real Housewives of Atlanta lead-in. All in all, my favorite on-point review of this series is from CNN, which calls the series a “predictable train wreck.”
I Want My Phone Back
People care way too much about their phones. In I Want My Phone Back, host Alana Johnston and a cast of improvisers take to the streets of Los Angeles to see if contestants will put their mobile devices in the hands of total strangers, for a chance to win cold, hard cash. Alana and her cohorts can log into contestants’ social media, taking every liberty as they post, text, and call to their hearts’ desire in an effort to wreak complete havoc on their marks. Who will go the distance, and who will yell “I want my phone back!”? Watch the first episode by clicking here.
REVIEW: I panned on watching a couple minutes, but I ended up watching the full 10-minute episode. This show is very clever, and the host Alana Johnston is hilarious. The tasks she comes up with for people to win money is genius, but so embarrassing for the contestants. At the end of the first episode, the winner of the game show agrees for Alana to keep her phone until Friday, but my only question is what does Alana do with it? Maybe we find out later, but otherwise, this show is great.
AMC – Streaming on Amazon Prime
With HBO’s Westworld coming to an end soon, people will need their humanoid robot fix. What better show to watch than Humans? It’s a co-production between AMC in the US and Channel 4 in the UK. The series is based in a parallel present in the UK where the latest must-have gadget for a busy family is a humanoid robot, called a “synth”. These robots are so similar to real humans, it’s transforming the way we live. Season 2 is currently airing on Channel 4 in the UK (look out for spoilers online). It will air in February on AMC in the US. Check out the trailer here.
Netflix – Streaming now
This series is a hidden gem on Netflix. The tagline for this series describes the intrigue best: “Two hunters; one cold, deliberate and highly efficient and the other, a strong, athletic man with a wife. One is a serial killer, and the other is a cop.” The series stars The X Files alum Gillian Anderson and Fifty Shades of Grey’s lead man, Jamie Dornan. The third, and final, season was just added to Netflix. Watch the trailer for the first season to get a closer look.
Something Different to Try
First Netflix Original Brazilian series – Streaming now
Directed by César Charlone, the Oscar-nominated cinematographer behind the Brazilian hit film City of God, this series is a mix between The Hunger Games and a very long Black Mirror episode. Set in a dystopian future in Brazil, everyone on the “Inland” at the age of 20 has to go through “The Process” in order to live a better live in the “Offshore,” but only 3% make it through. Check out the trailer.