Entertainment

Tuesday 12 December 2017

New on netflix: Flying fur and a menage a trois

Frontier 1 season, 6 episodes, available from January 20

Greg Poehler, Rachel Blanchard and Priscilla Faia in You Me Her
Greg Poehler, Rachel Blanchard and Priscilla Faia in You Me Her
Malcolm Gladwell
Donal Lynch

Donal Lynch

This was first screened in Canada on the Discovery Channel but Netflix funded it, hence they have the rights to show it worldwide. It's a sort of Wild West tale but instead of oil the Canadians have fur. The action - and there is plenty of it - centres around the cartel murders which mark shifts in control of the trade.

At the start, and for much of it, the dominant character is Declan Harp (Jason Momoa, familiar as the beast Khal Drogo on Game of Thrones), a half-Irish, half-native outlaw who is the most determined of the rebels who want to wrest control of the trade. A young Irish rogue, Michael Smyth (Landon Liboiron), is a stowaway to Canada after trying to rob a ship with his girlfriend and is persuaded to try to con his way into the company of Harp. Of course with a series like this there is always the delicate matter of how they deal with the native settlers, but Declan's trump card is that he works with them rather than killing them. It's action-packed, never overly-earnest, and there are panoramic views of the Canadian wilderness. Irish actress Katie McGrath also puts in a fine performance.

Take The 10

Movie; available from January 20

The question used to be asked if Andy Samberg was big enough to carry a movie. Well ask no more, because here is the Saturday Night Live alumnus doing just that on an often funny road movie. The 10, of course, refers to Route 10, the highway in Southern California that you can take to get from Los Angeles to the so-called 'Inland Empire', which is the working-class part of Orange County. The plot is really very much in the vein of your typical 'buddy' movies (think all the way back to the Easy Rider days). Two hapless friends want to get to a music festival by any means necessary. And that "by any means necessary" part is where they all get into trouble. It's all good fun - the jokes flow at a terrific clip and there is the added bonus of the spectacular scenery of Southern California.

You Me Her

1 season, 10 episodes; available from January 18

The South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, is best known for showcasing movies but occasionally a cracking TV series has emerged. You Me Her comes from writer John Scott Shepherd and stars Greg Poehler, the younger brother of Amy Poehler. It's being billed as television's first "polyromantic comedy", a sort of indie rom-com with a naughty twist. What begins as an impulsive one night stand between suburban husband Jack (Greg Poehler) and neophyte escort Izzy (Priscilla Faia) spins into a whirlwind three-way affair including Jack's wife Emma (Rachel Blanchard), who's been keeping secrets of her own. Their 'arrangement' soon breaks free of its financial bonds to become something else entirely - a real romance with real stakes involving three real people - confronting viewers with the question: What if your best, truest, happiest life looked nothing like you thought it would? Would you be brave enough to live it? These might seem like weighty themes to ponder, but this series leans on its comedy and it may cause a little stir when it airs to a bigger audience (it has previously languished on a little-known network in the US).

Neal Brennan, 3 Mics

Available from January 17

When this show debuted on Broadway it was likened variously to a play, and an exercise in eavesdropping on someone else's therapy sessions. Chappelle's Show co-creator Neal Brennan multi-tasks by switching between - you guessed it - three different microphones, symbolising three different styles of comedy. One is for traditional stand-up, another is for one-liners, and the third is for short confessional monologues, or what the trailer calls "emotional stuff", such as his difficult relationship with his father. It's at this microphone, of course, that the real risks are taken. Brennan is at his best in his segment on depression, where he does a moving, yet also witty, job of explaining this still-misunderstood condition and how frustrating it is when people treat it dismissively. The mood changes could be jarring but they flow brilliantly here and you can see why Amy Schumer got this guy on board to work on her series. Excellent stuff.

Podcasts... listen at your leisure

Emily Hourican

Revisionist History

www.revisionisthistory.com

PL Malcolm Gladwell.jpg
Malcolm Gladwell
 

Revisionist History is the work of Malcolm Gladwell (author of best-selling game-changers, including David and Goliath and Tipping Point), who has temporarily moved his particular brand of counter-intuitive thinking into podcast form. Ten episodes, 10 historical events, with Gladwell revisiting and reinterpreting them, and providing plenty of fascinating contemporary insight as he goes. So The Lady Vanishes is dedicated to artist Elizabeth Thompson Butler, whose painting The Roll Call took England by storm in the 19th century, becoming prominent in an all-male world, and was promptly forgotten after her death. Through this, Gladwell explores the idea of ‘moral licensing’, which is when the acceptance of one outsider — a female leader, one Jewish poet for the Nazis, a black President — actually gives the status quo “justification to shut the door again,” as Gladwell puts it. Then there’s an episode about a Grade-A scholarship student in LA, Carlos, who’s academic success is pitched as an example of American meritocracy. Until Gladwell looks a little closer. His style is intimate and revelatory, and the analysis typically thoughtful and provocative.

Hip Hop Saved My Life with Romesh Ranganathan

www.audioboom.com/channel/romeshranganathan

This is comedian Romesh Ranganathan’s personal take on what hip hop means to him, but also the device he uses to interview others — including Robert Popper, writer of Channel 4’s Friday Night Dinner — about themselves and their relationship to music. Even the guests, who say they don’t like hip hop, end up sharing stories and anecdotes, thanks to Ranganathan’s infectious enthusiasm. These are then intercut with great old gems from Wu Tang, and more unexpected acts.

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