Grace and Frankie.
(photo credit: ALI GOLDSTEIN / NETFLIX)
As Israeli series become increasingly popular around the globe, it’s interesting to track their progress.
The latest news is that Bryan Cranston, the star of the wildly successful Breaking Bad, has been cast in the lead of the remake of the Israeli series Your Honor (Kvodo), playing a respected judge who finds his moral compass challenged after his son gets into a hit-and-run with a gangster’s son.
The show, which will have 10 episodes, is being produced by Robert and Michelle King, the husband-and-wife duo behind The Good Wife and The Good Fight.
Netflix recently released season five of Grace and Frankie, the dramedy about two very different women, one obsessive and well put together and one free and freaky, played by Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, who bond when their husbands, Robert and Sol (Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston), announce they have fallen in love and are getting married. The streaming service announced that there will be a sixth season next year.
The fifth season is a delight. Season four ended with the two friends breaking out of a retirement home their children conned them into via a golf cart, and season five opens with them trying to reclaim their beach house, which has been sold to a celebrity. It ends with a fantasy about what their lives might have been like, had they not moved in together after their husbands left them, imagining a future where Frankie is totally dependent on her ex and his husband, while Grace has a grotesque face full of botox and is married to a boring businessman. While the episode is full of laughs, it does highlight the ways these women have changed each other.
In between the two episodes, they have a lot of adventures, including a visit to a retreat where Frankie hooks up with an old flame played by Paul Michael Glaser of Starsky & Hutch; Grace gets hopped up on Adderall, a stimulant that is sometimes used to treat the elderly as well as kids with ADHD; and Frankie goes on various crusades, including one to slow down the stoplight at a crosswalk to accommodate those who walk at a slower pace.
Through it all, the quartet of main characters all do some of the best work of their long careers. Some of it is broad comedy, much of it is smart and funny, and here and there, it can be quite moving.
The Oscars are coming up on February 24 (early on February 25 in Israel), and some of the most-nominated films will be on television soon. Starting on February 11, you can see A Star is Born, the fourth remake of the story of a showbiz pro on the way down and a newcomer on the way up, on HOT VOD Movies and YES VOD. It is nominated for eight Oscars.
The movie, which stars Bradley Cooper (who also directed the film) as a country music star who falls for a young singer played by Lady Gaga, is filled with intense musical numbers and may lose some of its power on the small screen. Veteran character actor Sam Elliott received his first Oscar nomination in the Best Supporting Actor category playing Cooper’s brother. Elliott also had a key role on an earlier season of Grace and Frankie, playing the lost love of Grace’s life.
Young audiences – most of whom have probably never seen any of the earlier versions – have embraced this film, which offers an old-fashioned tragic romance. It may be a little less powerful if you know where the story is heading, but it’s undeniably a triumph for Cooper, who makes his directorial debut here but, strangely, did not get nominated for a Best Director Oscar.
John Oliver, the comic who has found so many ways to laugh at today’s political chaos, will be back with the latest season of Last Week Tonight on HOT VOD on February 18 and on YES VOD on February 19. This genial and inventive host actually published a book about a bunny which actually outsold a similar book by US Vice President Mike Pence’s wife, so it should be fun to see what he comes up with next.