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A/V Brew: Wine, Popcorn, & Streaming – May 2020

As the stay at home orders stretch into the 3rd month, I wanted to discuss some content I have watched in recent months. One thing most of these shows have in common is that I consumed them the day I started watching them. 

 

Netflix:

The Bonfire of Destiny (Le Bazar de la Charité) is a period drama set in Paris in 1897. A fire at a charity bizarre upends the lives of three society women and their families. The storylines touch on survivor guilt, classism, corruption, adultery, and how differently grief is handled. One of the storylines is downright insane; I loved every minute of it. The fire portrayed in the first episode is based on a real event that killed 126 people; the rest of the plot is fictionalized.  The cinematography is stunning, the costumes design perfection. If there was one thing that might be off-putting is the show is dubbed from French into English so the lips and words will not be in alignment.

With eight (8) episodes, if you enjoyed Downton Abbey, you could find some enjoyment and escapism here.

 

Hollywood explores how the entertainment industry could have started to include artists of all races and sexual orientations at all levels in the 1940s.  Everyone in Hollywood is chasing stardom; some end up working at a gas station that is a front for a male prostitution ring. The station attracts all types of Hollywood executives and stars, creating an excellent networking opportunity.  The central plot surrounds the production of a film about British Actress Peg Entwistle.  From the writer of the screenplay to will star in the lead roles to directs the film, everyone is fighting to make the best movie they can and bucking the system in the process.  The show incorporates real people from the era and takes creative license with their biographies. The primary example, Rock Hudson decides to live openly gay; in reality, Hudson did not publicly come out as gay until his HIV diagnosis.

With seven (7) episodes, if you love old Hollywood and want to see an alternate version of it, this show is for you.

 

In Sweet Magnolias, three friends going through varying drama in their lives, come together to open a spa in their home town. The show topics include struggles of starting a business, creating families, struggles of divorce, and finding new love.  This show is a Hallmark Channel show with a little more edge. This show is not breaking any new ground or telling a new story, but it’s entertaining.

With ten (10) episodes, Sweet Magnolias is perfect for a lazy summer’s day stream.

 

Upload, set in an unknown time in the future, is a sci-fi comedy imagining a world where technology meets the afterlife. In this world, at the time of death, your consciousness is uploaded into a computer mainframe for all eternity. To enjoy the most luxurious afterlife, you must plan for it or have someone footing the bill. While in the matrix, you can still be in contact with your living loved ones. There is a love story, murder mystery, corporate intrigue, and a fascinating take on hookup culture. The writers did not shy away from the complications this technology can cause. The premise and execution of this show are phenomenal. They left a cliff hanger and high hopes for a season two.

With (10) episodes, Upload is fun and effortlessly engaging. You will find yourself questioning some of your beliefs about the afterlife and what you would do if you were in this situation.

 

 

For those who haven’t yet watched it, Homecoming is about a secret program (of the same name) run by Geist Industries. Designed to erase the war memories of soldiers by covertly drugging them, the program’s goal is to send those soldiers back into a combat zone.

Season one of the show was based on the 2016 Homecoming podcast (by Gimlet media) which ran for 2 seasons. Season 2 builds on that tale, with all original story. The military has now discovered what Homecoming has been doing and wants to take over the program for an immoral scheme. Of course, there is a loose end; a soldier who escaped the program is trying to find out what happened to him. An investigator is sent to find him and try to get him to stop him from digging into this part of his story.

With seven (7) episodes, season 2 of Homecoming maintains the pacing of the first season while also shedding light on how US veterans are treated.  This show is more than worth the time. Start with season one if you haven’t yet watched it, and enjoy the ride. 

 

Well, that’s everything I’ve enjoyed in recent months. Hopefully, you too can find some enjoyment in one (or more) of these shows. Let us know what you’ve been watching by leaving a comment down below!

About Simply Sherri (24 Articles)
Poet, writer, movie nerd and historian.

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