IT’S A SIN (HBO Max) – This limited series from “Queer as Folk” creator Russell T. Davies is a gripping drama about the lives of a group a gay men who lived during the start of the AIDS crisis and the family and friends around them. The series does a great job of telling their stories in just five episodes. While I’ve seen the story of young gay men going through the AIDS crisis, this is the first time I’ve seen it through a non-American perspective. This series, unlike most of the countless American TV movies and films is inclusive, telling the stories of men of color. The show gets the audience instantly invested in the character’s lives and hits all the right emotional notes. This really is must-see tv.
THE UNITED STATES VS. BILLIE HOLIDAY (Hulu) – This film tells the story of how singer Billie Holiday was targeted by the U.S. government in their aim to stop her from singing her song “Strange Fruit” which is about the lynchings of Black people. The government used Holiday’s drug addiction as a means to target her and racialize the “war on drugs.” Singer Andra Day stars in the title role and gives an amazing performance. Her performance alone is a reason to watch the movie. The film also stars Travante Rhodes (MOONLIGHT) as the FBI agent assigned to bringing Ms. Holiday down. While most of us are familiar with “Lady Sings the Blues”, the Diana Ross feature about the singer, this film introduces Billie Holiday to a new generation from a fresh story telling perspective. Andra Day recently won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama. Diana Ross earned an Oscar nomination for her portrayal and Day will most likely be among this year’s Oscar nominees, with a possible win.
GOOD GIRLS (NBC) – This fun hybrid crime comedy-drama returned for its fourth season this week. The third season was cut short last spring when production was suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak, cutting the planned 16 episode season down to 11. But, the show is back and just as good as ever. The series follows three women who, having difficulty making ends meet, become involved in a life of crime. What started out as a few supermarket heists quickly turned into money laundering and producing counterfeit money. The show stars Christina Hendricks (MAD MEN), Retta (PARKS AND RECREATION) and Mae Whitman (PARENTHOOD) as our three heroines. What makes this show work is that while the women often enjoy the fruits of their crimes, they each struggle with the moral implications of their actions. “Good Girls” is intriguing and fun. Just when you think the women have backed themselves into a corner, there’s another surprise twist that moves the story in a new direction.