Amanda's Picks

February 13, 2024 at 3:55 p.m.

By AMANDA GLAM Columnist

Am I watching the right TV?

According to the Emmys and other award bestowers, if you aren’t watching Beef, The Bear and Succession, you are wasting even more time than you think you are wasting watching TV. These three shows continue to scoop up just about every award in their respective categories. But are they really that good?

The Bear -, I’ve seen both seasons of The Bear (Hulu) and am a big fan. It’s got a great cast, sharp writing, and a compelling story. My issue with it winning all the comedy awards is that The Bear isn’t really a comedy. It’s an often intense and realistic look at restaurant life. You’re lucky if you get 2.5 laughs per episode. Abbott Elementary? Comedy. Ted Lasso? Mostly a comedy. The Bear, Barry and Wednesday, all nominated for Best Comedy Series? Not so funny. Your Amanda is not the first writer to suggest that award shows add a Dramedy category for these shows. Ultimately The Bear deserves your attention. But if you want to laugh, watch or re-watch Parks and Recreation on Peacock, the funniest series of the last 20 years that, by the way, won a total of ZERO Emmys. 



Beef - I watched most of Beef and I admire the creativity, performances by Ali Wong and Steven Yeun, and the original story. My problem is that the escalating unlikeability of the main characters who are out to destroy each other’s lives after a road rage incident, was too big a turn-off. I need to feel empathy for someone in a show to keep watching. Beef ultimately lost me while winning everything else. You can catch it on Netflix. 



Succession - I feel about Succession the way I feel about the movie Everything Everywhere All at Once. It’s a critical and awards darling I tried to watch - and then tried again because the critics told me to - but still could not get into. Again, I just can’t give up my precious TV-watching time for a show where nearly every main character is basically icky. Am I ready to give it another chance? Not really. But I’m OK with that. It’s available on HBO on demand.

So you ask, what is Amanda watching? 

Funny Woman - I loved the novel Funny Girl (no relation to Miss Barbra) by Nick Hornby that this six-part British series is based on. Gemma Arterton plays the charismatic young actress Sophie Straw who makes it big on British TV in 60s swinging London. If you love that era’s music and fashion, and would enjoy watching a show where nobody has a cell phone, Funny Woman is available in “real time” on PBS. 

The Curse - This 10-episode comedy/satire series on Showtime is actually funny, but in a creepy/cringey way. Asher and Whitney Siegel (Nathan Fiedler and Emma Stone) are a newly married couple hoping to sell their high-concept home makeover show, Flipthranthopy, to HGTV. Their goal is to “improve” their struggling New Mexico town by building expensive eco-friendly housing, adding chic shops and luring out-of-town buyers. They see themselves as doing good but they are actually making life work for the town’s residents. Spoiler alert: The finale is one of the craziest episodes of TV I have ever seen. I’m still not sure if I liked The Curse, but I couldn’t stop watching it. 



True Detective, Night Country - It’s probably a good thing that you can’t binge the third installment of this HBO anthology series because it is very tense and very dark, literally. Jodi Foster is fabulous as always, as a detective in Ennis, Alaska who finds herself in charge of a case involving multiple bizarre deaths. I’ve seen two episodes and while I’m not all in on the story, the characters are compelling and the acting is, dare I say, Emmy-worthy. 



Fargo - I haven’t seen every season of Fargo, Hulu’s entry in the darkish anthology series category. But I am watching season five for one reason - Jon Hamm. You can put Hamm (Mad Men’s Don Draper) in anything and I’ll watch it. Unfortunately, I’m just three episodes in and things are getting a bit violent and weird! Even Hamm as super evil Roy Tillman, might not be enough to keep me watching.

The good news is that Network series Abbott Elementary, Ghosts, Will Trent and Not Dead Yet return this month with new episodes. They may not have scored big during awards season, but they all have the Amanda Glam Seal of Approval.