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HBO Series to Binge Over Thanksgiving

11/24/2021 Culture & Entertainment

You know we love movies, TV, documentaries – anything we can curl up on the sofa at home with and CHILL.  We also ask our friends and family for suggestions.  With so many streaming services now, not to mention the services producing their own programs, there never seems to be a shortage of awesome shows to watch while chilling and partaking!

Here’s our take on some of the great shows out there – and as always, slowing eating your edibles is the best way to enjoy these while stoned!

Succession

Succession is one of those shows that make you feel bad, but it pulls you in so strongly you can’t resist.

This darkly comic drama centers around the dynasty of Logan Roy (played brilliantly and sans accent by Scottish actor Brian Cox) and who might inherit. He is aging and has had a severe health scare.

The comparisons to Shakespeare’s King Lear are on right on the money. Logan Roy has four children who love and fear him. He is angry and downright abusive but gives out tiny portions of love along with enormous sums of money. The chance for some scraps of attention or the possibility of inheriting the keys to the kingdom keeps them returning to him.

Cordelia-in-the-Court-of-King-Lear-1873-Sir-John-GilbertCordelia in the Court of King Lear | John Gilbert, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Waystar Royco is the fictitious corporation Logan spent his entire life building, and it’s in big trouble at the beginning of Season 3. A conglomerate of a conservative news juggernaut (uh, hello Rupert Murdoch), cruise lines, and tattered amusement parks, the corporation is trying to survive legal problems stemming from staff abuse.

Some of the Roy children have worked for the company. Second son Kendall, an addict who tries to be profound, knows enough to feel he should be running things. He has tried more than once to take over.

The writing is raw and confusing but stunning and natural. “Succession” is an at times shocking look at how the very rich live. But, more than likely, you will feel grateful you’re not one of them.

Insecure

Insecure” is Issa Rae’s frank and funny and portrait of a young(ish) beautiful Black woman coming into her own in Los Angeles. Season 5 has just premiered, so there are plenty of episodes and season for binging on those super cold weekend coming up!

Issa Rae (cropped)
Actress, writer, and producer Issa Rae arrives on the red carpet.

Issa frequently talks to herself in the mirror, raps, gives herself advice. It’s a brilliant way to observe how the character sees herself.  Issa broke up with boyfriend Lawrence in season one. Still, his story has continued to intertwine with Issa’s throughout the show. We can see that maybe they belong together, but also they could hold each other back. They have both grown.

Issa’s girlfriends are vital to the narrative, especially her best friend Molly, a high-paid lawyer played by Yvonne Orji. Issa and Molly’s bond is intense, but at times their conflicts threaten to end the friendship. Kelli is another friend who will stun you with comedy then slay you with insight.

Issa has started her own business and is focused on revitalizing her old L.A. neighborhood. The company gets off to a rough start. When Issa is invited to speak on a panel of entrepreneurs at a Stanford reunion, she says plainly she’s not sure what she’s doing.

The show is frank about sex, and the music makes you feel cool and knowing by association. I will miss the Issa of “Insecure” when this season, the show’s last, ends, and I look forward to seeing what Issa Ray comes up with next.

Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy

In between lockdowns, acclaimed actor Stanley Tucci was able to film a six-episode season of this show. With Italian heritage on both sides of his family tree, Tucci loves food, and the show combines an appreciation of food with a casual history lesson of each region that he visits. For armchair tourists settling in for the prospect of a long winter, a virtual visit to sunny Italy is very welcome.

Actor, producer Stanley Tucci arrives on the red carpet.

Stanley Tucci’s voice is golden, sexy, and kind. His appreciation of the food is so sincere. He starts out in Naples, and we join him walking down narrow streets threaded between old tenement buildings. He’s accompanied by a lovely Italian professor who explains the history of fried bread and pizza margherita. We learn about Mount Vesuvius, which last erupted in 1944 and looms over the city still. (Timely, since at the time of this post the Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma, Canary Island is still erupting!)

Pizza margherita … nom, nom, nom …

Naples is also unique in how it views food and the dead – the dead are always with you, and you remember them as you eat and celebrate being alive. Something like that. Next, we learn about buffalo mozzarella and watch Tucci eat a ball of fresh mozzarella straight out of the vat, spraying himself with whey. Watching him, you can almost taste the food and feel the Italian sunlight on your face!  But really, you had me at “cheese”!

Cheesemaker making buffalo mozzarella.

Anthony Bourdain set the standard for a travel show that appreciates food and history. Searching for Italy helps fulfill some of the longing left by Bourdain’s absence. The episodes take you all over Italy: Rome, Bologna, Milan, Tuscany, Sicily.

Season 1 is available on HBO Max, and season 2 is planned!

The weather outside might be getting frightful, so enjoy these great series these cold months coming up!

 

 

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