New TV show crackles with life
From a Kathryn Hahn series to the return of the effervescent Marvelous Mrs Maisel, there's a bevy of goodies this week.
(Fox Showcase/Foxtel Now - Sunday, December 8 at 9pm)
When you hear "coming-of-age story", you'd expect that to be about a young person on the cusp between childhood and adulthood, a time of discovering who you are and the world you are.
You don't expect it to be a middle-aged woman. Mrs Fletcher takes that concept and shares it between a mother and son. The son has just started college, so his coming-of-age is more rote, but the more intriguing story is that of Eve Fletcher's.
A single mother, with her son out of the nest, it's finally her time to be who she really wants to be. She just doesn't know who that is yet.
Made by HBO, Mrs Fletcher stars the delightful Kathryn Hahn whose outsized talent and presence lends the project a sheen. Not that it even needed the boost given novelist Tom Perotta (Election, Little Children, The Leftovers) has adapted his own book for the series.
For the first time, he's serving as the showrunner on the series and the pilot was directed by Nicole Holofcener (Enough Said). Mrs Fletcher crackles with life.
MARVELOUS MRS MAISEL
(Amazon Prime Video - Friday, December 6)
The Emmy-winning series with whip-fast dialogue and oodles of appeal is back for its third season this week. It's a starburst of colour, wit and the irresistible fantasy that is late 1950s Manhattan if you live a charmed life like Miriam Maisel.
A Jewish housewife turned comedian with a wardrobe Cher Horowitz could only dream of, Midge and Susie are about to hit the road on tour with singer Shy Baldwin. Fame, fortune and adulation awaits, but there will be some snags.
Marvelous Mrs Maisel may be a fantastical version of the real world, but it's one we want to live in.
(Netflix - Friday, December 6 at 7pm AEDT)
A word of warning, no matter how rock-solid your relationship is, don't watch Marriage Story with your significant other. You just don't need the awkward glances.
The film starts at the end of the marriage between Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) and Charlie (Adam Driver), she an actor and he a theatre director, but its only through its schism is the truth about their partnership revealed, including to both of them.
There's considerable Oscar buzz surrounding Noah Baumbach's latest film and it's easy to see why. Marriage Story is raw, intimate, emotionally demanding and a performance showcase for Driver and Johansson who are both so empathetic and watchable.
TRUTH BE TOLD
(Apple TV+ - Friday, December 6)
Almost two decades earlier, journalist Poppy Parnell helped send to prison a young man named Warren Cave for the murder of a father. Now she's not so sure he did it, and she's feeling particularly anxious about her role in his conviction.
Through her true crime podcast, Poppy wants to investigate what really happened all those years ago, and the line between reality and lies continues to blur.
Like most of Apple TV+'s ambitious if not always creatively successful series, it Truth Be Told has an incredible cast including Octavia Spencer, Aaron Paul and Lizzy Caplan.
QUEENS OF MYSTERY
(Acorn - now)
Hands up if you like nothing more than watching British people solve crimes in a small countryside village. From Midsomer Murders to Vera to Shetland, it's a genre with many fans - and it has a new member to add to its venerated ranks.
Queens of Mystery follows a young detective named Matilda Stone who is transferred to her home village, and where her three mystery writing aunts still live. It's not before that most British of British crimes happens right in front them - the murder of a prickly novelist at a literary festival!
Queens of Mystery has kooky characters, a Pushing Daisies-style voiceover narration and is exactly the tea-sipping comfort TV you're looking for.
LUKE NGUYEN'S RAILWAY VIETNAM
(SBS/SBS On Demand - Thursday, December 5 at 7.30pm)
Travelling a country by train is a vastly different experience to flying between the capitals and the surprises such a journey reveals has been captured by Luke Nguyen, a man who understands that often the most interesting stories about a place is told through food.
Nguyen's new series sees him visiting 10 locations and discovering the past and the stories that make them special, from Hoi An to the ethereal mountains of Sapa.
The first episode finds Nguyen in Ho Chi Minh City where the old markets are on the verge of disappearing in the face of development, and he also tries a spot of indoor prawn fishing.
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