LOVECRAFT COUNTRY (HBO, HBO MAX)
This genre bending show told more story in one season, sometimes one episode than some series do over the course of their lifetimes. Part SciFi, part horror and part historical drama, “Lovecraft Country” gives Black characters the rare opportunity to have big fantastical adventures as leads and not just supporting characters who get killed off in the first act. The cast, led by Jurnee Smollett and Jonathan Majors give Emmy worthy performances in every episode. I suggest binging all 10 episodes because sometimes what seems like a small plot point in one episode comes around to have big meaning in later episodes. The series took big risks and they all mostly paid off.
SOMEONE HAS TO DIE (NETFLIX)
This limited series is technically Spanish language but in the US it’s dubbed in English. The story, set in 1950s Spain focuses on an affluent family riddled with dysfunction and secrets. Star Alejandro Speitzer gives a sensitive performance of a young man struggling to own his true identity as a gay man during a time when it could have him jailed or worse. A lot happens in the three episodes and I wish the series was given more time to flesh out the stories and characters. With that said, each character is well defined and by the final moments of the series a complete story is told.
THE BOYS IN THE BAND (2020) (NETFLIX)
This remake of “The Boys in the Band” features the original cast of the recent Broadway revival. The remake succeeds in presenting the groundbreaking story of seven gay friends who attend a birthday party where long held resentments come to the surface and the bonds of friendship and stretched to the max. It’s incredible to watch a movie about gay men being portrayed by all out gay actors. Jim Parsons, who is having the most amazing post-“Big Bang Theory” career gives a heartbreaking performance as party host, Michael. Tony winning playwright Mart Crowley was able to participate in the remake before his death this past March. The film is fittingly dedicated in his memory.