Whatever your mood this winter, there’s a series, audiobook or podcast to match. So curl up on the couch with these recommendations by Delia du Toit.
6 TV Shows To Stream
A Dose Of Reality
The Show Escape at Dannemora miniseries on showmax.com; 22 May.
Why Watch It? The real-life 2015 prison break this tale is based on was begging for dramatisation, and Ben Stiller did a fantastic job as director. Oscar winner Patricia Arquette is stellar as the equally haunting and haunted lead. You’ll love the character insight, plotting leading up to the escape, and tense manhunt and investigation after.
The Plot David Sweat (Paul Dano), and Richard Matt (Benicio del Toro), murderers with life sentences, escape from a New York prison. Of course, they had help, and we meet Tilly (Patricia), a prison employee, being questioned. Her life is fertile ground for wayward behaviour – bored in her marriage and dreary job, she becomes romantically involved with both inmates, helping with their escape.
Have A Laugh With Your BFF
The Show Insecure on showmax.com; season 3 out 3 June.
Why Watch It? The comedy-drama series explores the experience of two friends, Issa (Issa Rae) and Molly (Yvonne Orji). They’ll reel you in as you watch them navigate uncomfortable everyday experiences, and try to work on their flaws while juggling all of life’s inevitable ups and downs. This season, emotional stakes are higher and the humour is sharper than ever before.
The Plot Last season ended with Molly taking job interviews and going back to therapy, exploring her feelings for a lovely man she’s stringing along. Issa, newly single and dealing with a flailing career, has to move out of her apartment and in with an ex. Single. Thirty. Thriving. Or not? It’s both hilarious and endearing.
For Thrill Seekers
The Show The Catch on black.co.za; seasons 1 and 2 staggered from 14 April.
Why Watch It? This action-driven dramedy has legendary Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes at the helm as executive producer. Powerful female lead? Check. Thrilling plot? Check. Beautiful people with great wardrobes and far-too-complicated romances? Yup. It ticks all of those classic Shondaland-boxes!
The Plot Alice (Mireille Enos) is a strong and successful private investigator, but when she’s expertly conned by fiancé Christopher (Peter Krause), who takes off with everything she has, she’s left juggling other cases while playing a dangerous game of cat and mouse with him. The Catch has the glamour and entertainment factor of big screen hits like American Hustle, with a plot twist around every corner and smart comedic moments to lighten the mood.
For Die-Hard Romantics
The Show Being Mary Jane on deod.tv; seasons 1 to 4 staggered from 18 April.
Why Watch It? After four fab seasons, the show was wrapped up in a two-hour movie released early April on BET, DStv channel 129. Catch up on Mary Jane’s lamentable loves, awkward antics, and emotional struggles before watching the film finale. Actress Gabrielle Union is just so genuine and believable as Mary Jane – this will be your new guilty pleasure.
The Plot Meet successful TV news anchor Mary Jane Paul. She has her professional life together – from the outside, at least – but, like so many successful women, her love life is a mess. She’s also often the only working member of her large family, expected to keep them afloat, watching her salary evaporate on payday. It’s utterly charming, life’s warts and all!
The Show Good Girls on netflix.com; season 2 out 31 May.
Why Watch It? Witty, irreverent, suspenseful… Good Girls is a smart mix of comedy and drama, with high stakes and grisly consequences. It delivers on the entertainment front with aplomb.
The Plot Three housewives (Christina Hendricks, Retta and Mae Whitman) are having a hard time making ends meet, so end up robbing a supermarket. But the successful heist is only the tip of the iceberg and they’re thrown into a world of crime they never even knew existed. Season 2 is touted to be darker and bolder, and we’ll get to see the women’s moral fortitude tested beyond what they thought was possible. And yet, the comedy is always kept alive through the cast’s banter and chemistry.
Quirky Adult Animation
The Show Tuca & Bertie on netflix.com; season 1 out 3 May.
Why Watch It? It might be about bird women in their thirties, but these lovable characters face all the same issues real women do. It’s fun, weird and hilarious – to be expected from creator and producer Lisa Hanawalt, one of the masterminds behind hit adult animation BoJack Horseman. Lead voice actors, Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong, say that their characters’ personalities reflect their own, which explains why it feels like you’re watching real people, not colourful animated birds! Topics are risqué at times, so it’s not one for the kids.
The Plot Tuca (Tiffany) is a cocky and carefree toucan, and Bertie (Ali) is an anxious, daydreaming songbird. These besties put a hilarious spin on some topical modern-day themes, from the gender pay gap to mansplaining. So funny!
3 Must-Buy Audiobooks
Anatomy Of A Scandal by Sarah Vaughan
The privileged life of a British politician accused of rape is in stark contrast with prosecuting barrister Kate Woodcraft’s thorniness, but she, too, is hiding a few secrets… nail-biting fiction! From US$15,34 (about R214) at audible.com
The Greatest Love Story Ever Told by Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman
Yes, Parks and Recreation’s ‘Ron’ and Will & Grace’s ‘Karen’ wrote a memoir! The married couple also narrate it, bringing comedy to happily-ever-after insights. From US$24,50 (about R341) at audible.com
Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
An odd but endearing tale about how one autistic woman’s life is turned upside down by others’ expectations. The dry, dispassionate narration adds to the ‘realness’ – so on point. From US$20,97 (about R292) at audible.com
3 Podcasts To Try
The Dropout hosted by Rebecca Jarvis
Elizabeth Holmes was the youngest self-made, female, medical-company billionaire in America until she was indicted on fraud charges in 2018. The podcast looks at her incredible rise and fall. Free on abcradio.com/podcasts/the-dropout
Awkward Sex And The City hosted by Natalie Wall
Writers and comedians from all over New York relive their most embarrassing sexual experiences. Comedic retelling makes the cringe-worthy tales hilariously relatable. Free on iTunes, visit apple.co/2WK9EZm
Proof hosted by Bridget Lancaster
This truly novel food show doesn’t share recipes or host celeb chefs. Instead, it explores the weird and wonderful world around food, from the obscure history of certain dishes to why cravings exist. Free on iTunes, visit apple.co/2ORVSkL