Dry January is the perfect time to catch up on all the lesser-known shows you missed when you were actually having fun.
Darlene from Mr. Robot. Credit: Amazon
A show for people who’ve already finished Mindhunter
What am I searching for? Manhunt: Unabomber
What’s that? Anyone who enjoyed David Fincher’s serial-killer series, Mindhunter, I highly recommend the markedly similar and admittedly worse Manhunt: Unabomber. Like Mindhunter, it’s on Netflix, having presumably been acquired by the platform in a desperate attempt to plug the gap while Fincher works on season two. Unlike Mindhunter, it has absolutely no qualms about the inherent ghoulishness of its offering and cuts down on scenes of anguished moral wrangling. Also, Paul Bettany looks great with a beard!
Where can I watch it? Netflix
Basically Entourage but French and not shit
What am I searching for? Call My Agent
What’s that? A friend who makes good TV recommendations told me: “It’s trashy, but it’s fine because it’s in French.” Trashy is how I like my TV, and the fact that everyone is speaking in cool accents won me over. This well-written comedy-drama set around a stressful French film agency follows the agents as they struggle to keep the business afloat after the agency’s owner dies. I’m completely obsessed with one of the leads, Andréa—a cool, sex-loving, commitment-phobic lesbian who storms around in skinny jeans and loose silk shirts, chain-smoking cigarettes, kissing women, breaking metaphorical balls, and sorting other people's messes out.
Where can I watch it? Netflix
The actual best show on TV
What am I searching for? Mr. Robot
What’s that? Mr. Robot is smarter and weirder than any TV show out there right now. It makes Black Mirror look like daytime children's TV. It's been vaguely described as a techno-dystopian show set in an alternate future about hackers, but it's also so much more than that. You want a scathing dissection of the tech industry and corporate gender politics? You got it. Deep state-type espionage? Cryptocurrency hijinks? David Lynch-type surrealism with cigar-chomping assassins and masked gunmen? More twists than Kurtz going down the river in 'Nam? Go on then. Please, I beg you, watch this show because I will literally cry if it gets canceled.
Where can I watch it? Amazon
The story of Grenfell Tower told by the people who lived there
What am I searching for? Failed By the State: The Struggle in the Shadow of Grenfell
What’s that? While the enormity of the disaster at Grenfell Tower was difficult to understand, it also exposed a bewildering media landscape: A broken established media that had lost the trust of the community in North Kensington, England and the wider public, and an insurgent alternative media that is, at its worst, only "alternative" in so far as will blithely promote alternative facts.
Through this disheartening fog shines Failed By the State: The Struggle in the Shadow of Grenfell. Presented by a local resident born in Grenfell Tower, who lived there for 25 years, it’s an amateur antidote to clickbait news companies and a shrill social media cycle.
It sets the tone by telling viewers, “You won’t see any shots of the fateful night in this film. We never want to see that again.” Instead, you see local residents speaking their minds candidly, council officials being made to sweat under tough questioning, and radical political propositions juxtaposed to state condescension. Watching it is one of the best ways to understand the most significant story in years.
Where can I watch it? YouTube
The First Horny Pope
What am I searching for? The Young Pope
Oh yeah I've heard of that. I know it was fairly celebrated at the time via episode recaps on Vulture, essays in The New Yorker, and many, many Brandon Wardell tweets asking "what if the pope blasted cigs," but I feel like The Young Pope really didn't get that much love in the UK. If you have ten hours to spare, I would highly recommend using them to watch this visually stunning, psychologically powerful spectacle of a TV show starring Jude Law as the Vatican's first American (and most horny) Pope who loves Cherry Coke Zero and does a 'getting dressed' montage to LMFAO's "Sexy and I Know It."
Where can I watch it? HBO
Honestly, the new season of South Park
What am I searching for? South Park, season 21
What is this, 1999? Anyone who thinks South Park is an adolescent cartoon from the late 90s that can't possibly still be relevant is just a person that hasn't watched much South Park recently. Matt and Trey remain the greatest satirists of the modern age. It's true that season 20 was overambitious and the first episode of this season seemed like it was heading in the same direction, but then they really turn it around. The show's takes on Weinstein, the opioid epidemic, the rise of Netflix, and, of course, Trump is funnier and sharper than anything you have heard delivered by a guy behind a desk on a late night show.
Where can I watch it? Comedy Central
Just watch Matty Matheson really really enthusiastically cooking shit
What I’m searching for? You don’t need to, we’ve just embedded it above.
Ok but what is it? Listen, I don’t want to be "a company man" about it—I mean, as a writer, I am pre-ordained to consider the entire video production side of this company to be some sort of elaborate and many-armed enemy of mine. The constant looming threat of the pivot, that inevitably, one day, someone will softly come over to my desk, sitting gently on the side of it, just enough weight so that my laptop starts leaning over to one side, and they gently tilt the lid of it until it’s closed, and go, “Shh, stop writing. Only nerds read. Just say this overlong shit you do in front of a camera, instead.” For that reason, I fear them—but I have found lately that I very much enjoy watching Matty Matheson really cheerfully cooking shit over on MUNCHIES. You ever watched this stuff? It’s amazing: He’s really funny, very relaxed, says “fuck” so much, just so so much, and also, he really likes deep frying things. Watching people cook at Christmas—in real life, in the flesh, your mom's sweating a party hat to her head until it goes see-thru, while your dad, deranged, peels gallons of vegetables in front of the TV—is actually a very high-stress thing to do. Go upstairs, man. Sit cross-legged on your old childhood bed with the laptop. Watch this guy soak a chicken in pickle juice overnight. It’s good.
This article originally appeared on VICE UK.