Greetings!

After a long and probably unnoticed hiatus, I am back to deliver to you the recommendations you desperately need to help you answer the perennially nagging question: what should we watch?

Moving forward, This Week in Worcester will feature two Living the Stream posts every week. One will be a review of whatever streaming-platform-original-content I got around to watching that week (similar to past reviews such as Netflix’s Jim & Andy, or the Punisher series). The first of those will be released Monday, Netflix’s A Futile and Stupid Gesture.

The other (this one!) will be a weekend guide to help you navigate your (seemingly bottomless pit of) options on whatever streaming platform you use. It will be mostly limited to the Big 3: Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon (if you’re looking for advice on what to watch on Crackle this weekend, look elsewhere, friendo), but the recommendations won’t be limited to original content only. We’ll be perusing these platforms far and wide to help cut through the hours of searching that we’ve all wasted looking for ‘what we’re in the mood for’.

So, without further ado, let’s answer the question:

What Should We Watch?

Super Bowl Weekend Edition

Scenario #1: Waiting for Football:

Even if you have no vested interest in the outcome of Sunday’s game, you are very likely going to gather ‘round with some pals and watch the biggest sporting event of the year. That means you’ve already got weekend plans! So you can devote Saturday to a good old-fashioned binge sesh – the only thing more fun (and potentially brain-damaging) than a 4-hour football game! Here’s what I’d recommend:

  • In the mood to laugh?:
    • “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” (Netflix / 4 seasons, 59 episodes)
      • Jerry Seinfeld’s award-winning original series (originally from Crackle, actually) has moved over to the Netflix platform, much to the chagrin of the six people in the universe who have Crackle but not Netflix.
      • Each episode is a different length (usually in the 15-minute range), and each delivers on the show title’s promise: Jerry Seinfeld picks up a fellow comedian, and they grab a cup of coffee together and usually galavant about afterwards. It’s simple, incredibly snackable, and usually very very funny. For many of the folks he talks to, it’s especially interesting because it’s a side of them that the public is not often privy to. The Jim Carrey and Will Ferrell episodes stick out in particular because they’re not ‘in character’ like they usually are. There’s also an Aziz Ansari episode that takes place in good old Shrewsbury, Massachusetts (S1E13) that you are going to want to check out before, you know, it gets taken down probably.
  • In the mood for existential dread?:
    • “Black Mirror (Netflix Original / 4 seasons, 19 episodes)
      • Listen. Everyone’s been telling you to watch this. I think it’s about time you get around to it. Not every episode is perfect, but the beauty of this show is that it is more anthological than chronological. You can more or less start anywhere and watch episodes in isolation. But if I had to recommend one episode to get you in the door, might I recommend “White Christmas” – Season 2, Episode 4. It’s 1h 13m, but it’s got Jon Hamm. so.
  • In the mood to laugh about existential dread?:
    • “The Good Place” (Netflix / 1st season, 13 episodes; Hulu / 2nd season, 11 episodes)
      • From the folks who brought you “Parks & Recreation” and “The Office”, NBC’s newest comedy smash explores what the afterlife might be like! Kristen Bell and Ted Danson lead a dynamic and hilarious cast in this perfectly original sitcom. Once you start watching, it will be very difficult to put down.

Scenario #2: Dying for Football:

I’d imagine that there is a large population of you out there who are thinking, ‘If I have to wait one more second for this Super Bowl, I’m going to puke. You’re going to need a little football to wet that whistle. I’ve got you covered there.

  • In the mood to laugh?:
    • The Waterboy (Netflix / 1998, dir. Frank Coraci / 1h 29m)
      • This year marks the 20-year anniversary of this film, which many consider to be the beginning of the end of Adam Sandler’s comedy (film) career. Some (my dad) would argue that it never began!
  • In the mood to be inspired?
    • “Last Chance U” (Netflix Original / 2 seasons, 14 episodes)
      • A docuseries set at one of NCAA football’s most fertile recruiting grounds (East Mississippi Community College), Last Chance U follows college athletes–many of whom have been removed from other D1 rosters due to academic or disciplinary issues–trying to make a name for themselves in the sport.

Scenario #3: Football is a Barbaric Plague to Society and I Want Nothing to do with it!

Okay, yikes, we get it. You’re not a football person. That’s okay! We’ve got something for you, too.  Over the last ten years, the average length of the Super Bowl has been (3 hours, 44 minutes. So let’s find you some stuff to watch to fill that block of time!

  • The Big Sick (Amazon Video / 1 hr 59m)
    • One of my favorite movies of 2017, this based-on-a-true-story comedy is uplifting and beautiful and laugh-out-loud funny from beginning to end. It received only one Oscar nomination (Best Original Screenplay), but I think it’s better than most of the films nominated for Best Picture this year.

But you’ve still got an hour and 45 minutes to kill. Let’s factor in a quick 10-minute break in between movies, and then move right onto…

  • Too Funny to Fail: The Life & Death of the Dana Carvey Show (Hulu Original / 1h 35m)
    • An absolutely fascinating documentary about the shockingly unsuccessful Dana Carvey show, and the factors that led to that failure. Interviews with Carvey, Robert Smigel, Steve Carell, and Stephen Colbert pepper this hilarious documentary and provide insight into this flash in the pan that many folks, it seems, never knew existed.

Okay, that’s all for our first installment. Tune in next week for “The Patriots Won the Super Bowl!” edition.

And whatever your plans are this weekend – have fun, be safe, and go Pats!

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