1. Better Call Saul
As a huge Breaking Bad fangirl, I was very pleased to hear Better Call Saul was coming to Netflix this spring. Saul (Bob Odenkirk) was always one of my favourite characters in Breaking Bad, and his signature style of dark humour translates well in his own spin-off show which follows him as he transforms from scam artist Slippin’ Jimmy to small-time lawyer Jimmy McGill to the Saul Goodman we know and love. Although it has a slightly different feel to the original, Better Call Saul is every bit as atmospheric. It’s a slow burner, just as Breaking Bad was in the beginning, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it progresses over the coming seasons. Plus, I love seeing how everything fits in to the Breaking Bad universe, like the origins of Mike and Tuco, as well as more subtle nods, like the nail salon. AHHHHHH. Watch it!
2. This is 40
Another spin-off (of sorts), This is 40 follows two minor characters from the film Knocked Up, but it’s not necessary to have seen one to understand the other. Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) are happily married with three kids, their own businesses and a nice big house – that is, until they turn 40 and it all starts to fall apart. Usually I’m a fan of Judd Apatow films, but this one fell a bit flat for me. It wasn’t a terrible film, but it was SO LONG (over 2 hours, ugh) for no reason, some scenes were so unnecessarily long that I stopped paying attention. There were funny moments here and there but overall it was just a bit boring.
3. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
The latest addition to the ever-growing list of excellent Netflix original series, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt tells the story of Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) who is rescued from a doomsday cult and has to find her feet in the world 15 years on. Leaving her days as one of the “Indiana Mole Women” behind, Kimmy heads to New York City to start life all over again. Seeing Kimmy trying to adapt to normality after 15 years underground is both hilarious and endearing, and her positive outlook on everything can’t fail to put a smile on your face. From the makers of 30 Rock, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is funny and clever – oh, and it has possibly the best theme tune ever.
4. Hot Tub Time Machine 2
Hot Tub Time Machine is kind of a guilty pleasure of mine, I think mostly because it was set in the 80s and had John Cusack in it. Hot Tub Time Machine 2 had neither of these things, which should have been a warning sign that it was going to be pretty terrible. I stand by my view that the first film is actually quite funny, but the second one is just rubbish. Without much of a plot, it’s full of jokes that aren’t that funny and characters you don’t really care about. There were a couple of funny bits, but if I were you I wouldn’t bother sitting through this one, even if you were a fan of the first.
5. 22 Jump Street
Yet another sequel (shall I just rename this Watching Lately: Sequel Edition?!), 22 Jump Street takes the winning formula that worked in 21 Jump Street and does it again, and it’s pretty funny. Mismatched police officers Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) are sent back to college on an undercover mission, and they fully immerse themselves in the student life in an attempt to catch a local drug kingpin. This film doesn’t take itself too seriously (at some points even acknowledging they’re basically making the exact same movie again) but still has a decent plot and funny jokes to tie it all together. I doubt it’ll win any awards, but it’s an easy, entertaining watch and you’ll definitely enjoy it if you like the first one.
6. Life and Death Row
And now for something a little different… Life and Death Row. I find documentaries about serial killers, criminals, prisons and the like absolutely fascinating and stumbled across this on BBC3 a couple of weeks ago. Focusing on some of the youngest death row inmates in the USA, the documentary explored how their crimes, their time on death row and their impending death sentence had impacted not only these young men, but also their families, the victims’ families and even their lawyers and people on the jury. The three programmes in the series did a good job of presenting a balanced view and letting you make up your own mind; in some cases the death penalty seemed like a just sentence but in others it seemed like completely the wrong decision. A very thought provoking series, especially for BBC3!
What have you been watching lately?