Amanda's Picks

March 21, 2024 at 1:15 p.m.

By AMANDA GLAM Columnist

What Amanda’s Watching on TV

While many have broken with their local cable TV providers, my family continues to pay a small fortune to Xfinity every month. We also subscribe to multiple streaming services, allowing us access to way too much TV. When I think maybe we shouldn’t be spending the equivalent of the Luxemburg’s budget on home entertainment, I just think of my friends asking me how they can watch the Academy Awards in real time without access to network TV. Guess what, you can’t. But you can watch most of the following.



Stupid Pet Tricks - Sometimes you just want to turn on the TV and turn off your brain. Enter Stupid Pet Tricks (TBS), a weekly half-hour riff on David Letterman’s popular Late Night skit, and is produced by Letterman. Host Sarah Silverman brings a bit of PG-13 humor to the parade of talented and good-natured dogs, cats, horses, camels, iguanas and goats. The judges are animals dubbed with adorable voices and you never know what to expect. For example, Jon Hamm could show up with a turtle who can make chili. Also, where else can you see a hamster run an agility course? 



Animal Control - Continuing on the animal front, this FOX workplace comedy in its second season, has really grown on me. The cast, led by Joel McHale, and including Vella Lovell from My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and Michael Oakland (who looks EXACTLY like Andy Samberg’s younger brother have terrific chemistry and there’s a plethora of birds and beasts. Anytime you can work a sloth into a series, I’m in.



Life & Beth - (Hulu, all episodes available) Things get serious in this binge-able second season of the semi-autobiographical Amy Schumer series. Beth (Schumer)and John (Michael Cera) move in together, get married and start a family. But domestic bliss isn’t easy as John is diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder and Beth’s relationship with her fragile sister (Susannah Flood) becomes strained. Sharp writing, flashbacks that truly add to the story and a terrific cast, make Life & Beth worth watching



Expats - (Amazon Prime, all episodes available) is another example of a project that would have made a terrific two-hour movie or maybe a four-hour miniseries, But it’s Nicole Kidman going for another Emmy so we get six padded episodes. Expats follows Margaret and Clarke (Kidman and Brian Tee), who move to Hong Kong and then, not-spoiler-alert, their three-year-old son disappears. Where is he? Who’s to blame? And how much can Margaret neglect her husband and other kids before we kind of hate her? This is not Kidman’s best work and she’s overshadowed by co-stars Sarayu Blue and Jack Huston, and Ji-Young Woo as Mercy, the young woman who sets the plot in motion.



Feud: Capote vs. The Swans - (FX, all episodes available) If you’re in the mood to watch wealthy, snobby, spoiled women gossip and push food around on their plates, and a drunk has-been author behave badly, this is your show. Tom Hollander plays Truman Capote and a host of high-profile 50+ actresses play “The Swans,” high-society friends of Capote’s who turn on him after Esquire Magazine publishes his short story betraying their secrets. Naomi Watts as Babe Paley is the standout swan, Demi Moore and Molly Ringwald are seriously underutilized and as in real life, a little Capote goes a long way. This Feud would have been a cracking two-hour movie. But creator Ryan Murphy (American Horror Story) is not known for his restraint and the flashbacks with Capote’s mother (Jessica Lange) only pad the proceedings.



One Day - (Netflix, all episodes available) Based on the very popular 2009 novel by David Nicholls, which I personally read and enjoyed, One Day follows Brits Dexter (Leo Woodall) and Emma (Ambika Mod) from their college graduation and for the next 20 years on “one day” (July 15). This version is so much better than the 2011 film adaptation with Jim Sturgess and a miscast Ann Hathaway. One Day’s story structure is suited to its 14 bingeable episodes so it never feels bloated or slow like other series I may have mentioned. Woodall and Mod are wonderful and the story of their relationship is romantic and heartbreaking. 



The Regime - I wanted to love HBO Max’s latest Kate Winslet star vehicle. I adore Winslet, who is second only to Emma Thompson in British Actress Goddess Who is Not Helen Mirren status. However, three episodes into the six-part series, I have not warmed to her portrayal of the paranoid, germaphobic, mentally unstable Chancellor of an unidentified European country. The Regime is satire and that can be a bit tricky to get right. Showrunner Will Tracy, brought us Succession which may explain why I am not a fan and why nobody in the show is likable. Halfway through, with promised guest star Hugh Grant yet to make an appearance, I checked out.