The one good thing about having a pandemic during the holidays is having the time to binge some great television and movies. After enduring the horrors of Tiger King at the beginning of the year, it’s been wonderful to wrap up 2020 with some of the best shows I’ve ever watched. Here are a few must-sees you need to add to your list–all that are great to watch as a couple. (All of these are also fine to watch with older teens, but not at all appropriate for young viewers.)
The Queen’s Gambit: OMG! This was a-mazing! I went into this series super reluctant that a chess heroine could be interesting, but Netflix proved me wrong and then some. This story follows the life of an orphaned chess prodigy on her rise to the top of the chess world while struggling with drug and alcohol dependency. Anya Taylor-Joy plays the lead role of Elizabeth Harmon and is completely captivating–somehow managing to be incredibly pathetic and powerfully endearing all at the same time. And if she doesn’t win you over, her wardrobe will. I want everything she wore! It’s the perfect comeback story for 2020.
The Undoing: I’m not usually a murder-mystery kind of gal, but The Undoing from HBOMax has me singing a different tune. I was literally on the edge of my seat at the end of every episode starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant, who are entangled in an Upper East Side love triangle where Grant’s alleged mistress ends up dead. Not since “Who Shot JR?” have I been so confused about who the murderer was, but I take this as a sign of a very well-written storyline.
The Spanish Princess: There’s nothing better than watching a show where you actually learn a thing or two about history along the way. The Spanish Princess on Starz was just this, telling the story of England’s Henry VIII told from the perspective of his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. The blurring of fact and fiction in this tale is very good, where many Google searches revealed the historical accuracy of many of the characters. Shot like a movie with many battle scenes to keep the romantic storylines in check, this series is also a winner. I’m hopeful that Starz will launch another series where this one left off.
The Crown: I know much has been written about this epic series from Netflix, but Season 4 of The Crown didn’t disappoint–not one bit. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Princess Diana are introduced, making it my favorite season to date. You can certainly watch Season 4 as a standalone, but why deprive yourself? Go back to the beginning! I came away from this season with three takeaways: 1. Great admiration for Queen Elizabeth. 2. Prince Charles and Princess Diana should never have married. 3. Prime Minister Thatcher’s interaction with her cabinet members was so strange. She was the most powerful woman in England, yet felt compelled to wear an apron and make her male counterparts dinner before they could discuss policy! Hmmm. So interesting and so good. I can’t wait for Season 5.
The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone: It’s a little known fact that I’m mildly obsessed with Francis Coppola’s Godfather series (well, honestly–anything mafia, but Coppola’s films aren’t very gory making them very watchable to me). But like many others, I’ve always been so disappointed in Godfather III–until this year, when Coppola unveiled a re-edit of the final film in his famous trilogy. The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone is terrific and such an improvement over the the original third film. It’s absolutely fascinating to see how Coppola refigured the footage he had taken at the time the original movie was made, bringing back characters we met in the first Godfather movie. While it’s still my least favorite of the three movies, it’s a hundred times better than the original and worth a watch.
I hope these little recaps help you fill the quiet time over this holiday break. I’d love to know what you’ve been watching.