One of the few pleasures of our locked-down lives during the pandemic was binge-watching anything and everything. Now, with distressing images of war and natural disasters filling the news, it’s a good time to update your go-to list of comfort viewing. Here are a variety of shows, movies and specials to help bring some sunshine in.
Bridget Everett, comedian and star of Somebody Somewhere.Credit:Krista Schlueter/New York Times
Comedian and singer Bridget Everett plays a woman who returns to her Kansas hometown as she grieves the death of her sister in this HBO series, billed as “a coming of middle age story.” Washington Post TV critic Inkoo Kang called the “warm and moving drama” the first great show of 2022. (Streams on Binge and Foxtel Now)
Will Arnett and Conan O’Brien in Murderville.Credit:Netflix
A bumbling police detective (played by Will Arnett) solves crimes with celebrity guest stars – including Conan O’Brien, Sharon Stone and Marshawn Lynch – who have no script in this improvisational comedy. There’s simply no pre-written dialogue that could lead to a scene as funny as O’Brien telling a small child that a murder victim “had instantaneous, probably 90 per cent blood loss and then she went into that black void known as death”. (Streams on Netflix)
Mavis Staples and Mahalia Jackson in Summer of Soul.Credit:Mass Distraction Media
Summer of Soul (… Or, When the Revolution Could Not be Televised)
Music is healing and Questlove’s recently Oscar-nominated documentary is a true balm. The feature dives into a Harlem music festival that happened the same year as Woodstock, with footage of performances by Sly and the Family Stone, Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone and other greats. (Streams on Disney Plus or rent on Apple iTunes, Amazon Video, Microsoft Store and Fetch)
Charlie Briggs (Owen Wilson) and Kat Valdez (Jennifer Lopez) are married at first sight in Marry Me.
Jennifer Lopez is Kat Valdez, a pop star as famous as herself, in this charming if imperfect rom-com that stars Owen Wilson as her unlikely love interest. (We can all dream of a concert meet-cute with a massive celebrity, no?) Colombian crooner Maluma, who plays Kat’s caddish fiance, Sarah Silverman and Michelle Buteau round out the cast. (In cinemas now)
I Want You Back
For slightly more relatable rom-com fare, watch Jenny Slate and Charlie Day help each other through tough breakups (and try to win back their respective partners) in this movie helmed by Big Time Adolescence director Jason Orley. Manny Jacinto, Scott Eastwood and Gina Rodriguez also star. (Streams on Amazon Prime)
Stand-up comedian Ali Wong in Hard Knock Wife.Credit:Netflix
Ali Wong: Don Wong
Comedian Ali Wong, who has largely appeared to focus on her acting career since her 2018 comedy special Hard Knock Wife, returns to the stand-up stage and brashly takes on cultural double standards and the pitfalls of monogamy. (Streams on Netflix)
Mirabel in the hit Disney film Encanto.Credit:Disney
We don’t talk about Bruno or how many times we’ve already seen this animated children’s movie about a magical family, but we always feel better after watching it. (Streams on Disney+ and rent on Apple iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Video, Microsoft Store, Fetch, Youtube and Telstra)
John Cena is a goofy, comic presence in Peacemaker.Credit:HBO/Binge
You’ll be amused from the opening credits of James Gunn’s recently renewed series (an irreverent spinoff of The Suicide Squad), which stars John Cena as the titular antihero. Peacemaker is given more depth here than on the big screen; he also gets a group of friends that include Vigilante (Freddie Stroma) and a team of secret government operatives that join him in trying to save the world. Danielle Brooks, Steve Agee and Jennifer Holland also star. (Streams on Binge and Foxtel Now)
Quinta Brunson created this hit mockumentary, which finds her molding young minds as second-grade teacher Janine Teague, opposite a cast that includes fellow educators played by fan favorites Sheryl Lee Ralph and Tyler James Williams. (Streams on Disney+)
Find out the next TV, streaming series and movies to add to your must-sees. Get The Watchlist delivered every Thursday.
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