TV This week

This new version features a very young, racially and ethnically diverse cast that includes Nathalie Emmanuel, who played Missandei on Game of Thrones.

By
September 18, 2019 20:32
3 minute read.
TV This week

Kaitlyn Dever in ‘Unbelievable’. (photo credit: NETFLIX)

One of the literary world’s most prominent Jewish power couples, Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman, have made their first foray into television writing/producing with the Netflix series, Unbelievable, which has just been released.

Based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning article that later was turned into a book and that also became the basis for an episode of the NPR show, This American Life, it tells the harrowing true story of Marie Adler (Kaitlyn Dever, who played Tim Allen’s daughter on Last Man Standing, and who starred in Booksmart). She was raped in her apartment one night but because of (seemingly understandable) inconsistencies in what she told police, as well as the fact that she had suffered trauma in foster homes and was considered unstable, she was badgered and even threatened into saying she lied about the assault. It’s both a psychological drama about what she suffers and a police procedural about detectives Grace Rasmussen and Karen Duvall (Toni Collette and Merritt Wever) who work together to catch a serial rapist several states away.

Much of the power of the series comes from watching the stellar performances by Collette (who seems to be good in everything, all the time) and Wever (The Walking Dead) as two alpha females who spar with each other as they solve the crime.

This is a disturbing series on many levels, all the more so because it is a true story. The first episode is the toughest to sit through but the entire series is filled with graphic depictions of sexual violence, but it’s suspenseful and ultimately moving. The series is also notable in that it doesn’t make stereotypical villains out of the two male detectives who badger Adler into retracting her accusation and shows that they had reasons for acting the way they did.

It’s easy to see why Chabon and Waldman were drawn to this complex story. Chabon is currently the executive producer on the upcoming series, Star Trek: Picard, which will draw on other facets of his talent.

Here’s a good excuse to watch some episodes of Friends: It’s the 25th anniversary of the series. HOT is broadcasting favorite episodes from all seasons of the show on HOT VOD starting on September 22, and also on HOT Comedy Central every night from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. and all day on the weekend.

It’s hard to imagine the television landscape without the enormously appealing guys and girls of Friends, and an impressive group of future movie and TV stars got their big breaks on the show, including Paul Rudd and Steve Zahn. Quite a few A-list movie stars dropped in as well, including George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt (who was once married to Jennifer Aniston), Jean Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis and Sean Penn.

But it was the main cast of regulars who made the series shine and it will be good to see them as they were on the show.
   
If you miss the gentle comedy of Friends, you may enjoy the new series that is an adaptation of Four Weddings and a Funeral, which will run Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on YES Drama starting on October 1, and will also be available on YES VOD and Sting TV. This series was created by Mindy Kaling, the actress/comic who was recently seen opposite Emma Thompson in the movie Late Night.

This new version features a very young, racially and ethnically diverse cast that includes Nathalie Emmanuel, who played Missandei on Game of Thrones.

If you’d like to see the original 1994 film, it will be shown as part of YES’s Romantic Days series on October 1 at 5:49 p.m. on YES 1. It’s funny but what I remember most from the movie, other than Hugh Grant’s goofy charm and his kiss with Andie MacDowell in the rain, is the funeral and not any of the weddings. In a plot turn that was a bit ahead of its time, it was the funeral of a partner in a long-term gay relationship and the surviving partner read the beautiful W. H. Auden poem known as Funeral Blues or Stop All the Clocks. It was very moving as the rom-com mechanism stopped briefly for this expression of grief.


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