YOUR WEEKLY BINGE: Under the Bridge

True DetectiveI really wasn’t in the mood for another crime drama about cops investigating a young girl’s death. But then, just like the most recent season of , the casting really intrigued me. When I saw that Hulu’s new show, Under the Bridge, starred Lily Gladstone and Riley Keough, I had to give it a chance. Gladstone was the best thing in Martin Scorsese’s latest film, Killers of the Flower Moon (and came thisclose to winning the Oscar for Best Actress) and Keough, with her starring role in the recent hit show Daisy Jones & The Six, is finally being known for something other than being Elvis’s granddaughter. I like both actresses a great deal, so I was curious to see them together.

Under the Bridge is based on two things: the real-life murder of a teenage girl in Victoria Island, Canada, in 1997, and the subsequent book by the same name, written by Rebecca Godfrey. Keough plays a fictionalized version of Godfrey, returning to her hometown ten years later in order to write about the murder. There’s a hint of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood in this tale, as Godfrey chooses to focus her lens almost as much on the murderers as she does the victim, but that’s just one of the ways in which Under the Bridge really feels different from every other crime drama.

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If there’s one thing that COVID awakened in people, it’s the desire to travel. And, as a result, travel shows are more popular now than ever. Last year, AppleTV+ premiered The Reluctant Traveler with Eugene Levy and earlier this month, Max dropped four episodes of Conan O’Brien’s new travelogue, Conan O’Brien Must Go. It’s not new to have celebrities competing with the experts with their own shows where they travel the world, as everyone from Stanley Tucci, Ewan McGregor and Michael Palin have all had their own series where they visit various spots on planet Earth and take us along with them.

For my part, no matter how much I still love PBS’s Rick Steves and his professional, even-handed approach to traveling, my favorite stranger-in-a-strange-land show is Travel Man. The show premiered in 2015 on British television and there have, so far, been twelve seasons of the show, the most recent season bowing in March in Britain. Seven of the twelve seasons are currently available here on Prime Video and three seasons are available on Peacock.

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YOUR WEEKLY BINGE: Murder in Boston: Roots, Rampage, and Reckoning

It’s not always easy to face the truth of the past, but it’s sometimes essential to do so. In this country, the past is a dark and shameful thing, in many ways. We are slowly coming to terms with it, but, in order for any change to truly happen, we must understand where we came from and how far we have to go.

In the 3-part miniseries, Murder in Boston: Roots, Rampage, and Reckoning, currently streaming on MAX, filmmaker Jason Hehir tells the story of how a brutal murder in 1989 tore a city apart. But, mostly, it tells the story of how a city was forced to face its own identity, in all its ugliness. Boston’s history and journey to self-awareness is a microcosm of the entire country’s ongoing battle with acknowledging its past and reckoning with the scourge of racism that has always and still does seep into every corner of this country.

If you love true crime, this documentary will hold your attention, with tons of archival footage from the crime of the century, at least for the city of Boston, and a fascinating unfurling of events, including the really great way Hehir tells the tale, peeling back the layers, until the truth of who did it and why is finally revealed.

But, far from just being another documentary about a famous American crime, Murder in Boston: Roots, Rampage, and Reckoning is a documentary about American society, the justice system and, of course, racism. It’s impossible to look away and it’s impossible to ignore it when it’s presented in such a clear, concise, and undeniable way. It’s an incredible story, and this is an incredible documentary that I recommend highly, no matter how hard it is to stomach.

YOUR WEEKLY BINGE: Somebody Somewhere

You’d think you would have heard about a show that’s on HBO MAX (now just MAX) that’s had two seasons already and has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Well, I’m willing to bet you’ve never heard of Somebody Somewhere, the best show nobody is watching. I’m here to change that.

Somebody Somewhere is a sweet comedy with tons of heart. Don’t roll your eyes, this time it’s really true. It stars Bridget Everett in a semi-autobiographical story about a woman living in a small town in Kansas who “struggles to fit the hometown mold,” as IMDB describes it, and that’s a perfect summary. Bridget plays Sam, a wisecracking free spirit who dreams of life beyond her small town, but is stuck there, due to the needs of her family and, well, her own fears and insecurities. She takes out her frustrations on her family, which include her sister Tricia (Mary Catherine Garrison), her well-meaning father (Mike Hagerty) and her frustrating alcoholic mother (Jane Brody).

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I really thought long and hard before recommending Baby Reindeer to anyone. The 7-episode series, which just dropped on Netflix on April 11, is one of the most intense watches imaginable, and you can’t go anywhere on social media without people talking about it. But Baby Reindeer is no Game of Thrones, which was also intense and popular on the socials. Baby Reindeer is intense in a whole different way than dragons and swords. It cuts deep, and it stays with you. It is not a fun time, but I could not stop watching and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.

Baby Reindeer is an autobiographical drama created by, written by and starring Richard Gadd as Donny, a struggling stand-up comic who is stalked by a lonely woman, Martha, played by Jessica Gunning. That’s the whole premise, but Gadd uses the stalking as an entryway into Donny’s psyche and soul, and the series becomes an intense and painful journey of self-reflection. Not only is the stalking intense, but so are Donny’s demons.

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