by Brittney Emanuele
The second season of “You” recently dropped on Netflix and it was as tantalizing as season one.
Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley), now known as Will Bettelheim is now living in Los Angeles working at the TV version of Whole Foods and meets Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti), his next “Beck.”
Season Two is full of twists and turns that no one saw coming. Goldberg attempts to be on his best behavior in his fresh start in Los Angeles. He gets an apartment, a job and actually makes friends. He knows that in order to not get caught for his past actions, he needs to become a better individual. He seems to be on a journey of self-discovery. And it all goes well, until it doesn’t.
The second season sheds a light on Goldberg's past, his childhood and the mystery behind Candace (Ambyr Childers) that was briefly mentioned in season one. By bringing up Goldberg’s past, there is a question brought upon by the flashbacks, is Joe a product of his environment or was he born a killer? Nature vs nurture? However, his traumatic childhood also attempts to make everyone a little sympathy toward Goldberg. This question is left up to the viewer. It is a question that plagues nearly every show about a murderer. This question also arrives for Pedretti’s character, who is not as sweet and innocent as she seems. Goldberg’s ex, Candace, could potentially end it all for him, leaving everyone at a constant struggle with her character. Everyone understands why she feels the way she does but also seems to be ruining Joe’s new shot at life.
The characters all come together to deliver a story that is gripping and leaves the viewers questioning everything. It also makes each other a little less trustworthy than they seem. “You” also sets up for season three, of course, the same way it was set up for season two. There have been many theories surrounding the mysterious neighbor, the new women next door. Everyone is expecting season three to be as gripping, frightful, interesting and telling as the last.
“You” is such a binge-worthy show that only someone as creepy as Joe Goldberg could make us stop watching.
by Julian Spivey
“Uppity: The Willy T. Ribbs Story” – Netflix – February 5
Willy T. Ribbs was an incredibly talented auto racer in the ‘80s and ‘90s that became the first African-American driver to compete in the Indianapolis 500, as well as testing a Formula 1 car and competing in a handful of NASCAR events. His foray into a predominantly white sport wasn’t easy and this Adam Carolla and Nate Adams directed documentary tells Ribbs’ story. The documentary makes it world premiere on Netflix on Wednesday, February 5.
“Black Hollywood: They’ve Gotta Have Us” – Netflix – February 5
Director Simon Frederick’s three-part documentary series “Black Hollywood: They’ve Gotta Have Us” makes its American debut on Netflix on Wednesday, February 5 after previously premiering on the U.K.’s BBC Two in 2018. The documentary series shows the black experience reflected through the history of African-Americans in cinema and looks to be a great watch for Black History Month. The docuseries includes interviews with legends like Harry Belafonte, Diahann Carroll and John Singleton.
“The Farewell” – Amazon Prime Video – February 12
Lulu Wang’s 2019 comedy-drama “The Farewell,” starring Golden Globe winner Awkwafina, was one of the most critically-acclaimed films of the past year and was one of the bigger Oscar controversies when it wasn’t nominated for a single Academy Award last month. The film makes its streaming debut on Amazon Prime Video on Wednesday, February 12 and will no doubt be one of the service’s most viewed films of the month.
“High Fidelity” – Hulu – February 14
One of Hulu’s most promising original series slated for 2020 “High Fidelity” debuts on Valentine’s Day, Friday, February 14. The series is based on Nick Hornby’s 1995 novel about a London record store owner and his life revolving around music. It was made into a successful 2000 romantic comedy-drama directed by Stephen Frears and starring John Cusack in the lead role. The TV series developed by Veronica West and Sarah Kucserka flips the gender of the main character and stars Zoe Kravitz as a Brooklyn record store owner obsessed with pop culture and top-five lists. The series was originally developed for Disney+, but moved to Hulu as it will reportedly take on a tone not really aligned with the Disney brand.
“Hunters” – Amazon Prime Video – February 21
Anything that has director/producer/writer Jordan Peele’s name connected to it right now is going to be high on anybody’s list of movies or shows to watch. Add Oscar-winner and acting legend Al Pacino’s name to it and you’re bound to have a winner. “Hunters,” created by David Weil and executive produced by Peele, premieres on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, February 21. The drama features Pacino as the leader of a group called “The Hunters” in 1977 New York City who discover hundred of high ranking Nazis are living among them and want to create a Fourth Reich in the U.S. and set out to ensure that this doesn’t happen. The supporting cast includes Carol Kane, Logan Lerman, Josh Radnor and Saul Rubinek among others.
by Aprille Hanson
For four seasons, we’ve watched the story of human redemption played out in the hilariously creative NBC sitcom “The Good Place,” created by Mike Schur. Fans have followed Arizona dirt bag Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell), indecisive philosopher Chidi Anagonye (William Jackson Harper), socialite Tahani Al-Jamil (Jameela Jamil) and Florida amateur DJ Jason Mendoza (Manny Jacinto) as they navigate death and how the afterlife is seemingly as confusing as life on earth. Along the way, we’ve seen demon-turned-softy Michael (Ted Danson) and not-a-robot Janet (D’Arcy Carden) guide the humans as they try to ultimately save humanity.
Fans said their final goodbyes Jan. 30 in the two-part “Whenever You’re Ready” series finale. For a show with just 51 episodes, the writing staff packed so many plot twists, it was hard to imagine the way it would all end. In the penultimate episode “Patty,” it begins with the group flying in a hot air balloon to the actual Good Place, finally – and we know they’re heading to the Good Place, since they’re greeted by a flying talking puppy.
When they land, Michael is tricked into being put in charge and they soon realize that eternal happiness creates a zombie-like state when there’s nothing around the bend. The show has always had great cameos, this time with Lisa Kudrow, playing Hypatia of Alexandria, a Hellenistic Neoplatonist philosopher, who prefers to go by Patty now, as her brain has turned to mush and is easily distracted by tasty milkshakes. There’s nothing left to aspire to, it’s the end of the line, so what is the point? There’s only so much happiness one can experience until becoming utterly bored, a shell. It is this notion that moves the group, now that Michael is in charge, to create a doorway out. When a person has reached their ultimate happiness and there’s nothing left to do, they can walk thru and join the universe, ceasing to exist in their afterlife form. No one is actually sure what happens beyond the door, but it is the precise unknown that breathes new life into the Good Place.
As the final episode begins, time is moving forward in Jeremy Bearimy’s. We don’t see much of the activities of the group, but we do see when each comes to the end of their individual roads. It’s when this seemingly light-hearted comedy got heavy, which honestly was the best way it could have panned out. As much as I would have loved to know that they were living out their lives eternally in the Good Place, it would have felt like an easy way out for a show that was just too creative to end in the way everyone expected.
Jason was the first to realize it was his time. Then Tahani, though she’s the only one that took a different path, becoming an architect for incoming humans to test them for the Good or Bad Places. Chidi was by far the most emotional exit, as Eleanor tried to change his mind, until ultimately letting him go. And this is where credit again goes to the writers because in one of the most emotional moments of Chidi walking through the door to the unknown, Jason pops out from behind a tree to see Janet one more time. He had been waiting for God knows how many Jeremy Bearimy’s because he had found the necklace he made for her, and accidentally lost on his way to the door, and wanted to give it to her. So he lived in solitude, a vow of silence out in nature if you will, like the Buddhist Monk he initially disguised himself as at the beginning of the series. It was one of the funniest and perfect moments in the finale, a perfect bit of comic relief after saying goodbye to Chidi.
Then there was Eleanor, who had to figure out her purpose, why she wasn’t quite ready to leave. There was a beautiful moment when she met with Mindy St. Claire, who lived in her own kind of purgatory. Eleanor realized had she not made the friends that she did, her life would have wound up just like Mindy. She convinces her to test in for the Good Place, with Tahani as her architect.
But it wasn’t her only task. Her last idea came for Michael. He couldn’t walk through the door as he wanted to, but there was another way out of the Good Place. He would become human, living out his existence on earth until it was time for him to return. It was a beautiful moment with Janet, as they say goodbye for the time being. While we don’t really see much of the goings on of the group in the Good Place, we do see highlights from Michael’s time on earth, including the amazing cameo of Danson’s wife, Mary Steenburgen, teaching him guitar. It was an interesting move on the writer’s behalf to feature more highlights of Michael’s time on earth than the group really exploring the Good Place. It really highlighted how a life well-lived matters and it was a sweet moment to see how even a fire squid demon can be redeemed and get his happily ever after.
With Eleanor ready to head out the door, after one last margarita with Janet, we finally see what happens beyond the door. In specks of light, they float back into the universe, with a piece of her landing in the arm of one of Michael’s neighbors. Fishing a letter he just threw out addressed to Michael Realman – perfect last name – he decides then to knock on his door, handing him his letter, a membership card to Coyote Joe’s. It was an ode to Eleanor’s first act of kindness, giving someone’s wallet back. Michael then ends it in the best way, in true Eleanor fashion: “I’ll say this to you, my friend, with all the love in my heart and all the wisdom of the universe. Take it sleazy.”
“The Good Place” was undoubtedly one of the most creative modern-day shows and stayed true to a theme everyone should live by – giving a fork about others.