What to Watch: Chris Pine Stars as Scottish “Outlaw King”
And school is in session in John Leguizamo's "Latin History for Morons."
Welcome to What to Watch, a series in which we tell you the best shows, movies and series out right now, both on networks and streaming services.
John Leguizamo’s Latin History for Morons (Netflix)
Here Leguizamo covers Latin history from A-Z in the 90-ish minute timespan, dropping more wisdom than you ever learned about the original Americans in your 12 years of primary and secondary schooling.
This one-man show marks John Leguizamo’s (The Pest) sixth stand up special and fourth Tony nomination. Unlike previous stand up specials, Leguizamo plays one character — sort of himself but also sort of a Latin Ta-Nehesi Coates — giving a “The World Between You and Me” retelling of his interactions with son Junior, who struggles to find pride in his Latin heritage. It’s a set up that doesn’t always deliver on its intent to pull the crowd’s heartstrings, but the retelling of American history and Leguizamo’s introspection in his own accounts of childhood do. It’s funny and insightful and the must-see on this week’s list.
Medal of Honor (Netflix)
This eight-chapter docuseries profiles one Medal of Honor recipient per episode. Recipients along with their friends and families give testament to their bravery in addition to live reenactments of the heroic feats required to be awarded this honor. The recipients range from combat in WWII to Afghanistan, but it’s a shame the series doesn’t reach back further to tell of the only female Medal of Honor recipient, Dr. Mary Walker. You can read about the eight brave men featured in the series here.
Outlaw King (Netflix)
Chris the Pine is Robert the Bruce (who is the 14th Century Scottish Outlaw King). No, not Robert the Brute, which is what I think every time I read Bruce. It’s fine. I just doesn’t see why a surname warrants the article “the” when not denoting anything other than his surname. I’ve already seen both Braveheart and Game of Thrones, so I can’t image this movie having anything new. But I’m looking forward to the showdown between Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie in Mary, Queen of Scots, and will watch this as a prequel to that new movie.
Room 104 season 2 (HBO)
This half-hour anthology show by Mark and Jay Duplass (Animals) was both a hit and a miss when it premiered last year on HBO. Each thirty-minute episode is completely different—including actors, writers, styles—except for the dingy motel room it’s set in. I’m a sucker for any show requiring less than one hour’s total attention for a plot to be wrapped up nicely. Season one episodes range from a cult initiation gone awry to an endearing writer in 1997 teaching his mother how to send an email. While that second one may not sound as interesting as the first, the rotating writers do a good job stitching the experimental format to its limits, making every episode suspenseful and revelatory. Critics have already compiled a list of season two’s best episodes, but I prefer to go into each one with limited knowledge. It’s also worth cherrypicking the best episodes of season one (episodes two and five) to watch.
If you watched Bodyguard, you know Britain can produce some great dramas, but they also produce stellar comedies as well. Cases in point: The Office and Monty Python. There are loads of new series and comedians perfect for staving off seasonal depression: wunderkind Michaela Cole’s Chewing Gum, Crazyhead, The IT Crowd, Lovesick, Crashing.
The latest Netflix gem is Sally4Ever, created by Julia Davis. Catherine Shepherd stars as an average woman who ditches her gross boyfriend of ten years, Alex Macqueen, after he proposes entering into a new relationship with pansexual sociopath Emma, played by Davis. The show captures that desperate last-ditch effort of inviting crazy into your life to instill a sense of purpose and excitement, only to have it all explode in your face and be left with the consequences.