Watchlist: Facebook debuts its first drama series and other must-see television shows
Sorry For Your Loss
Stars: Elizabeth Olsen, Mamoudou Athie and Kelly Marie Tran
Premise: Leigh Shaw (Olsen), struggles to put her life back together after her young husband's untimely passing. She tries to get into his phone in an attempt to learn more about him that she didn't know before. Too little, too late if she asked us. Snooping through a partner's phone is never a good idea, even when they're dead. Who knows what kind of hairy skeletons she might find in his closet.
Why it's worth your time: Sorry For Your Loss is on Facebook. Yes, you read that correctly. It is one of the first long-form shows on the social media giant's original content channel, Facebook Watch. It also marks several firsts for Olsen: it's the first TV show she is leading and the first time she is producing. The first episode has over 3 million views so far, so get with it and bookmark this space for more big-time shows in the near future. We might even see Facebook winning an Oscar next year.
Stars: Jonah Hill, Emma Stone and Justin Theroux
Premise: Annie (Stones), Owen (Hill) and 10 other subjects voluntarily participate in a three-day drug trial that they're assured will solve all of their problems for good, with no complications or side effects. She is aloof and marked by fractured relationships with her mother and sister, while he has struggled with schizophrenia. Needless to say, the trial was too good to be true and they end up in the middle of a mind-trip that takes a deep dive into their existential crises.
Why it's worth your time: Maniac is directed by Cary Fukunaga, who was recently announced as the new director of James Bond. It's like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Inception and Wes Anderson had an illegitimate baby that suffered from schizophrenia. Then that baby accidentally eats a couple of weed brownies and experiences a severe case of paranoia. That's Maniac. You might not who or what is real, or if you're just too dumb to understand what's going on. Either way, it's beautiful to watch.
Stars: Jennifer Garner, Juliette Lewis and Bridget Everett
Premise: Married couple Kathryn (Garner) and Walt plan, what they hoped to be, a delightful 'back-to-nature' picnic weekend for Walt’s 45th birthday. When a whole cast of characters tag along, the aggressively controlling and high-strung Kathryn loses her shit and the weekend becomes a shouting fest between a bunch of bourgeois white Americans.
Why it's worth your time: Camping marks the return of creator Lena Dunham (Girls) and Garner since her appearance in Alias after more than a decade away. Some people say Kathryn resembles Garner's real-life persona. We have a funny feeling her ex-husband Ben Affleck would have more than a few words to say about that.
Stars: Julia Roberts, Bobby Cannavale and Stephan James
Premise: Government conspiracies. Antipsychotic drugs. A mysterious and eerie facility. Soldiers with PTSD. Some bad things have clearly happened and caseworker Heidi Bergman (Roberts) knows what's up.
Why it's worth your time: Homecoming is a triple threat: based on a popular podcast created by Eli Horowitz and Micah Bloomberg, created in collaboration with TV auteur Sam Esmail of Mr. Robot and starring Pretty Woman herself, Julia Roberts, in her first 'television' appearance on Amazon Prime.
The Little Drummer Girl
Stars: Alexander Skarsgård, Florence Pugh and Michael Shannon
Premise: A bomb planted by an elusive Palestinian explodes in the house of an Israeli attaché in West Germany. The Israelis convert an eccentric English actor into a covet Israeli agent. She persuasively wins the confidence of the Palestinian network and she is accepted as their own, but will they find out her true identity?
Why it's worth your time: Directed by Chan-wook Park of Oldboy fame, this the second film adaptation of the 1983 spy novel by John le Carré. Add to the political nature of the film, The Little Drummer Girl is a wildly romantic journey around the world that will carry you from England's greyscale skies to the ancient Parthenon in Greece to historic Tel Aviv boulevards, with various subplots taking place in the undiscovered and underrated Eastern European nations of Yugoslavia and Austria.