Article Intro. Language: This is a preview of our pop culture newsletter The Daily Beast’s Obsessed, written by senior entertainment reporter Kevin Fallon. To receive the full newsletter in your inbox each week, sign up for it here.
- Diane Lockhart abandoning us in our time of need.
- The most beautiful new show on TV.
- The Twitter mess is horrible… but also funny?
- We have thoughts about People’s “Sexiest Man Alive.”
- The good news that we all deserve.
OK, The English Is Really Freaking Pretty
There’s a lot of darkness on TV these days. As in, I can’t see a damned thing.
Good luck watching an episode of Ozark if you haven’t retrofitted every window in your home with blackout curtains and crawled down to cover every gap between a door and the floor, to ensure that no light seeps in. There was that episode of House of the Dragon that caused a veritable riot, because no one could make out what was happening on screen. The conflation of “good TV” with “dark TV” has gotten out of control.
But watching the new Amazon Prime series The English was like seeing TV for the first time again. In this case, almost literally.
On the recommendation of my colleague Coleman Spilde, I checked out the Western series, which stars Emily Blunt and Chaske Spencer as an unlikely duo journeying through the plains together to accomplish their respective missions. And if it isn’t the prettiest dang series I’ve ever seen.
Created and directed by Hugo Blick, it is so bright and colorful I contemplated wearing sunglasses while watching it. The visuals are stunning. Shots of Blunt in the center of the frame, the wind sweeping her hair, are beyond gorgeous, with the sky behind her so blue it seems painted. A sun flare bursts in the corner of the frame, as if it’s going to come through the screen. So many shots like that are so beautiful, I felt moved to shed a single tear—a poignancy that would be worthy of such camera work. (Are the shots that nice, or am I just so moved at finally being able to see something on TV again? Who could say?)
There’s a lot to endorse about The English. Blunt continues her reign of being perfect at acting, and Spencer very much rises to the occasion as her scene partner. But, folks! Again, it’s so pretty! Watch and (if you’re like me) weep!
Laughing as Twitter Digs Its Grave
I am so conflicted about what is happening with Twitter. I’m both sad about the community I might lose and the laughs that I might not get back if Elon Musk’s dimwitted policies eventually drive us all off the site—but also tantalized by the possibility of being freed from my unhealthy devotion to a toxic social media platform.
Still, there’s fleeting amusement to be had as Musk burns it all to the ground.
Musk’s announcement that impersonation accounts not clearly marked as “parody” would be immediately banned was a calamity and a joy, as people tested the limits of this (apparently serious) threat. But the thing that has me giggling still is the policy that no longer allows verified users to change their names. That, again, is to thwart impersonation. It also is boneheaded. Good luck to you if you ever get married and take your spouse’s last name. Elon Musk said, “Single-people rights!”
A perhaps unintentional result of this policy, however, is that anyone who changed their Twitter name to something silly for Halloween and forgot to change it back before this new rule went in place is now stuck. Case in point: This hilarious tweet from RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Jaida Essence Hall.
The Truth About the “Sexiest Man Alive”
I’m going to let everyone in on a secret that will blow your minds. It will make you rethink everything you know about yourself, the world, and humanity. It’s that shocking.
Are you ready?
People’s “Sexiest Man Alive” is a sham.
(“What?!” you’re thinking. “The title that went to Blake Shelton instead of Ryan Gosling in 2017 isn’t democratic or legitimate?” I know. I’m sorry to break it to you.)
The issue is orchestrated between the editors of the magazine and celebrity publicists who are pitching their clients, often because they have something to promote. A celebrity needs to agree to be on the cover, and their publicist needs to think it’s a good career move at that moment in time. There’s a whole photo shoot and everything; if an actor doesn’t want to do it, or feels embarrassed by the attention, he doesn’t get the title—even if he deserves it.
All that said, this year, the magazine got it right. Sexiest Man Alive is selected through a flawless process, and the decision is unimpeachable. It’s perfect. It’s right. No notes.
Rejoice, My Fellow Humans
There’s hope for the future yet:
What to watch this week:
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever: If we must see a Marvel movie, at least it’s this one. (Now in theaters)
Falling for Christmas: If you watch this movie and take it seriously, seek help. (Now on Netflix)
The English: Emily Blunt in a Western! Pretty person in pretty places looking pretty! (Now on Amazon)
Teletubbies: Support our purse-toting purple alien. LGBT rights! (Mon. on Netflix)
What to skip this week:
Mammals: Wild timing for a show in which James Corden plays a Michelin-starred chef to premiere. (Now on Amazon)
R.I.P.D. 2: Rise of the Damned: A straight-to-streaming sequel to a movie we didn’t even know existed. (Tues. on Netflix)