New on Netflix: Good Girls, Anne with An E season 2, Samantha, Somebody Feed Phil
Good Girls Available on Tuesday
This might be a bit of a coup for Netflix. Jenna Banns, who created this, worked on Desperate Housewives and Scandal and indeed this does have touches of the housewives, except that the desperation is vastly more nuanced and there isn't much domestic banality.
The three women - sisters Beth (Christina Hendricks) and Annie (Mae Whitman) and their friend Ruby (Retta) - are all driven to crime by separate issues: Beth's mortgage is in default, Annie's about to lose custody of her child, and Retta's daughter needs expensive medical care. But behind the economic concerns lurk the needs of three dissatisfied women, cheating husbands and no-good men.
Annie, Beth's younger sister, suggests they rob the grocery store she works at - not least because her manager (David Hornsby) won't stop his sexual advances - and the others play along. Largely, it's Beth who is the real head of the trio. Hendricks is wonderfully controlled in the role as the once-wealthy mother of four, owning her scenes with silent, steely grace. She has a touch of Kathleen Turner in Serial Mom about her and this funny and chaotic series will likely be as big on Netflix as it was on ABC, from whence it came.
Anne With An E: Series Two Available on Friday
It was without doubt the casting of Donegal teenager Amybeth McNulty with her open, honest face and precocious talent that made the first series of this show such a worldwide hit.
The series, the most recent adaptation of the enduringly popular 1908 novel Anne of Green Gables, is the brainchild of Emmy-winning Breaking Bad screenwriter and producer Moira Walley-Beckett, who made a more nuanced and modern version of the classic story. Reflecting contemporary sensibilities, Walley-Beckett uncovered the "accidental feminist" within Anne, while also depicting the abuse and neglect of her earlier childhood from the time before she was adopted.
Netflix says the second season "continues to chart bold new territory, adding new characters and storylines", and will further explore "themes of identity, prejudice, feminism and empowerment through the lens of its fierce, starry-eyed, irrepressible 14-year-old protagonist" and from the glimpses we have seen, it certainly lives up to that billing.
Samantha Six episodes, available on Friday
No, not the Sex in the City spin-off you've been waiting for, but instead a comedy series which has touches of The Comeback with Lisa Kudrow and Morrissey's song Little Man, What Now?
An 1980s' child star in Brazil is now grown up and determined that she is going regain her relevance using a variety of preposterous schemes to get the attention she feels she deserves. With help from her manager and kids, and even from her former husband and former soccer player 'Dodoi', she'll do anything to get back into the spotlight.
This was originally broadcast in Brazil so there will be subtitles from the Portuguese but the wit and warmth of this series make it worth that minor inconvenience.
Somebody Feed Phil: The Second Course Six episodes, available on Friday
This has been called 'the sweetest, most joyous soul food on television' and is a worthy follow-up to the popular PBS series, I'll Have What Phil's Having.
It's an original documentary series from the creator of Everybody Loves Raymond in which Phil Rosenthal takes viewers on a goodwill eating tour of the world. Along for the ride are Phil's friends, family and his trademark sense of humour as he travels to Venice, Ireland, Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, Capetown and New York.
While he was in Ireland, Phil filmed in Brother Hubbards, Gallagher's Boxty House, Guinness, Murphy's Icecream, Deasy's in Clonakilty, Miyazaki in Cork, and The Happy Pear in Greystones.
The Irish episode will also see Phil try his hand at seaweed foraging with Sally McKenna and being hosted for a full Irish breakfast by Darina Allen in Ballymaloe.
Phil's boyish exuberance shines through every scene and the episode will doubtless serve as a showcase for great Irish food.