YOUR WEEKLY BINGE: The IT Crowd

One of the best unexpected surprises of my life was discovering The IT Crowd. A British comedy that aired in Britain from 2006 to 2013, The IT Crowd is one of the best comedy series I’ve ever watched, and guaranteed one you have never heard of—and, if you have, it may be for the wrong reasons.

The series stars Chris O’Dowd, Richard Ayode and Katherine Parkinson as a three-person IT department at a large company in London. O’Dowd is Roy, the self-absorbed manchild, Ayode is Moss, the nerdy, brilliant social misfit and Parkinson their boss Jen, the ambitious but ineffective corporate climber who resents being stuck in the basement. While the format of the show is centered around an IT department, the stories rarely have anything to do with work, and mostly are designed to feature the actors, each of whom are brilliant and at the start of soaring careers.

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YOUR WEEKLY BINGE: Masters of the Air

AppleTV+
Every Memorial Day, HBO replays their seminal series, Band of Brothers, and every year, I find myself drawn in again to perhaps the most definitive narrative series about World War II. Band of Brothers, based on historian Stephen Ambrose’s book, dramatizes the battles of “Easy” Company, a parachute regiment of the 101st Army Airborne Division, one that faced some of the most brutal conditions and conflicts in Europe and came home as one of the most decorated. A companion series, The Pacific, also on HBO, focused on the Marine Corps’ action in the Pacific Theater of Operations. Both series were created and executive produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, who worked together on what many consider the seminal film about World War II, Saving Private Ryan.

It is clear that Spielberg and Hanks are dedicated to telling the stories of the Greatest Generation, of those who fought—and died—during what many call the last great war, and they will continue their efforts as long as they are able, and as long as there are still stories to tell. Tragically, there never seems to be a dearth of stories from World War II, and Hanks and Spielberg have brought us yet another monumental series dedicated to the generation that saved the world from tyranny and fascism, but this time it’s not about battles fought on the ground, it’s about ones fought in the air.

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YOUR WEEKLY BINGE: Our Flag Means Death

MAX
Sometimes you just need something different. And a little wacky. And silly. And sweet. For two delicious seasons and 18 near-perfect episodes, MAX had all of it in a tiny show that everybody underestimated or ignored altogether, Our Flag Means Death. Before being cruelly and surprisingly cancelled after its second season in 2023, Our Flag Means Death carved out an adoring audience, myself included, who was devastated to see it go, but grateful that such a weird and wonderful show ever made it to the airwaves in the first place. If you blinked and missed it when it first aired, now is your chance to appreciate one of the least-heralded, best-kept secrets of the past decade.

Our Flag Means Death, created by David Jenkins, is a weird and darkly romantic comedy about the golden age of pirates. Specifically, the year is 1717 and the plot—based on a true story– centers on one English aristocrat, Stede Bonnet, played by Rhys Darby, who is bored with his life and decides to give it all up to chase his dream of being a pirate. Bonnet, nicknamed “The Gentleman Pirate,” finds his way onto a ship and quickly bonds with a ragtag band of pirates who have been left without a leader. General wackiness ensues as Bonnet’s crash course in pirating is tested when his ship crosses paths with the most famous and vicious pirate of all, Blackbeard, played by Taika Waititi, who, at first, has neither the patience nor the tolerance for Bonnet’s ineptitude. But Blackbeard quickly becomes enamored with Bonnet’s charm and style and the two forge a strong relationship, both professional and personal.

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YOUR WEEKLY BINGE: The New Look

AppleTV
Fashion is most definitely not my thing, but even I’ve heard of Coco Chanel and Christian Dior. And that’s exactly what AppleTV is counting on with their new limited series, The New Look, which premiered on February 14.

But before you immediately dismiss The New Look as an inside look at the fashion world (for which you may have zero interest), it is worth noting that the series is not about fashion as much as it is the lives of famous designers in France in the 40’s, especially Chanel and Dior, and their lives were much more than just sewing and drawing. In fact, you’ll be amazed to hear how much more complicated and fascinating their lives actually were, apart from any fashion at all.

The series creator, Todd A. Kessler, has an impressive resume, which includes The Sopranos, Damages and serving as the showrunner for Bloodline. All of those shows were complex, dark and violent shows about complex, dark and violent people—not exactly what you think of when you think of fashion designers. But that’s what’s so great about The New Look—it isn’t at all what you expect.

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