Behind His Eyes at Nine Perfect Strangers: The Hateful TV Watches of 2021 | Television


Nine Perfect Strangers (Amazon Prime)

When a beaming Nicole Kidman first slipped into the shot, speaking with a Russian accent an offensive uncle could pull off after a few coolers, it was clear that Nine Perfect Strangers was, in fact, not that perfect. . But I persevered, because this was another glossy adaptation of Lianne Moriarty – the novelist behind Big Little Lies – and it had a cast that included Regina Hall, Michael Shannon, and Melissa McCarthy. Why would the enigmatic Masha (Kidman) invite this motley team to his Tranquillum wellness center? Was there a supernatural twist to come? Was she mean? Two episodes later, he attempted a big reveal – that she slipped guests a daily cocktail of LSD – and no one eyed that because, hey, YOLO. A breathtaking finish was surely due.

But he did not come; it turned out to be a woman going on hallucinogenic journeys to “see” her deceased son – and bringing another grieving family for the ride. That’s good, but why was he pretending to be something more sinister or exciting all the time? Without even knowing it, it was a satire of the wellness culture, and proof that we are all too easily sucked into wanting to know what happens to stupid, rich people without problems. Shame on us. Hollie Richardson

The morning show (Apple tv+)

Like a horrible piece of cosplay from The Newsroom … The Morning Show. Photography: Erin Simkin / Apple TV +

The first season of The Morning Show had a dizzying pace. A group of very famous people, some of whom have done their best work in years, were unleashed on #MeToo and the results bordered on opera. But then they had to do a second season. The list of everything that’s wrong with The Morning Show this year could fill the entire internet, so I’ll try to stick to the worst offenses. Making Billy Crudup the authority figure, automatically robbing him of all of his charm. Put it at the start of Covid, like a horrible piece of cosplay from The Newsroom. The entire Italian episode, which was by far the most baroque little-known television hour of the year. Lack of guidance. And the end. My God, the awkward shocker, defying logic and brain destroyer of an ending. Congratulations, The Morning Show. You were the only show this year that made me physically scream on TV. Stuart Heritage

You (Netflix)

One of the few times Netflix You remembered Penn Badgley's character as having a baby.
A heady cocktail of stalking, murder and bibliophilia … You. Photograph: John P Fleenor / Netflix

You is one of the most improbably bizarre dramas ever made, a heady cocktail of stalking, murder and bibliophilia that makes your average daytime soap plausible in comparison. And yet, for all of these reasons, he’s also undeniably compelling, with literary and murder-snob aficionado Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) drawing viewers in with every Sub-American monologue from Psycho. While its first two seasons seemed problematic – guy kills girl, multiple times – season three was a less controversial bingewatch. Joe and his wife, Love (Victoria Pedretti), both pushed the fourth wall as they landed in the California suburbs to fight blogger moms and tech barons … as well as attack the bizarre neighbor with an axe. I almost forgot – they also have a baby (Joe and Love also seemed to forget: there wasn’t much in it). From questionable stalker drama to questionable family stalker drama, have you ever heard anything more heartwarming? Hannah j Davies

The L Word Generation Q (Sky Atlantic)

I grew up with the original L Word, when seeing gay women onscreen seemed so revolutionary to me – so of course I was going to watch the reboot, Generation Q. The first season was perfectly decent, soapy, and trashy in the game. good measure, but by series two the shine had faded. He managed to make the gorgeous Bette Porter a goofy caricature, much of it involving a court case over the marketing of opiates that was uncomfortable with the tone elsewhere, which was a patchwork of bizarre moods in the first place. . The rest of the characters seemed stuck on a conveyor belt of circular stories that had no tension, as they would have been so easily resolved with one rational action. I understand there’s no drama in there, but a whole season of people doing stupid things for no good reason, in an increasingly confusing mess of storylines, isn’t very captivating. So obviously I watched all the episodes. Rebecca Nicholson

The Crew (Netflix)

Struggled out of first gear … The Crew. Photography: Netflix

What prompted me to go the distance with a multi-camera sitcom set in the deeply macho male surroundings of a Nascar garage? During the dark days of February, all you really want is something that is low in stakes and easily digestible. The Crew plot of a veteran Garage Manager (Kevin James) bumping into a fresh-faced new owner (Jillian Mueller) seemed to promise generational and gender shenanigans. But despite an episode where James unexpectedly rocked an eye patch, this half-hearted Netflix project struggled to get out of gear. The first 10 installments were characterized by the mechanical delivery of so-called zingers, unappreciated side characters upset by the wringer, and two oddly weird romantic cliffhangers to wrap up the season. Of course, I ran through the whole thing and five months later – when it was quietly canceled – I hated myself even more. Graeme Virtue

Buffering (ITV2)

The distasteful sitcom character of Iain Stirling and the rest of the Buffering crew.
Less empathetic than a piece of felt … Buffering. Photograph: Mark Johnson / ITV

While viewing was intensely maddening in 2021, Love Island narrator and comedian Iain Stirling’s sitcom writing debut was nearly unbeatable. Apparently playing himself, Stirling’s turn as a children’s television presenter was so garish and boring that his scenes alongside a co-star puppet saw him be less empathetic than a piece of felt with ping-pong balls for the eyes. And yet, in a sort of cry on television, of prayer for disaster, it was captivating. It is not uncommon to be addicted to a show while looking for its lead. But in this case, you wanted it to fail. Alexis Duggins

Behind Her Eyes (Netflix)

For the most part, Behind Her Eyes was a wickedly good psychological thriller – the perfect mix of raunch, wealth, secrets and lies, based on a book by Sarah Pinborough that you can imagine tearing up at the airport. He follows Louise (Simona Brown), a receptionist who begins having an affair with her boss psychiatrist David (Tom Bateman) and then befriends his wife Adele (Eve Hewson). Soon, the true story of this seemingly perfect but damaged couple begins to unfold, with Hewson giving a trembling performance as the dead woman behind his eyes. But just when we thought we were going to get a thoughtful conclusion, the series decided to change genders and become a supernatural story about astral projection. Of course, it was a shocking finale that no one saw coming and we couldn’t stop tweeting – but that’s exactly why it was so infuriating. Where was the logic? Why come out of a decent ending with an absurd twist? That said, the closing scene where Adele’s son realized that another soul lived in his mother’s body made me want a second season. TIME

Married at first sight (channel 4)

The contestants of season six of the UK version of Married at First Sight - whom you felt really worried about.
Sticky Drama Factory … Married at first sight. Photography: Simon Webb / Channel 4

When the UK version of Married at First Sight launched in 2015, I immediately fell head over heels. Despite the whimsical premises, the show had all the sociological delights of the best reality TV show and none of the maddening cynicism: the contestants really seemed there for the promise of undying love, not a career on the influencer circuit. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case with this year’s edition, reworked to emulate the hugely popular Australian format. Starring eight huge couples, forced to interact regularly at mass dinners and joint ‘engagement ceremonies’, what was once a true social experience has become just another sticky drama factory: performative arguments, fake friendships, games, cheating between couples, confrontations at the table. Yet, like the previous series, I watched until the end, desperate to know if the contestants were going the distance – not because I rooted for them, but because I cared about their well-being. Most of these relationships were unusually dysfunctional: were they extended only for airtime? In light of the string of separations (and continued tabloid media coverage), the answer – thankfully – was yes. Rachel Aroesti

Kim’s Convenience (Netflix)

The first four seasons of Kim’s Convenience were a perfect lockdown viewing: a heartwarming, at times biting, comedy about a Korean Canadian family and their convenience store. A rare Western show to feature a predominantly Asian cast, it tackled immigrant stories without ever becoming judgmental. Until, in the final season, things take a turn with any emotional investment being lost in favor of a series of dead end stories. Would the parents shut up shop? Would patient daughter Janet (Andrea Bang) find a job? Would older son Jung (Simu Liu) get a… better job? (There was irony here: Over the summer, Liu starred in the Marvel blockbuster Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.) But despite everyone who seemed to have given up, I had to know what had happened to my lock mates. We were ultimately rewarded with a series finale, memorable primarily for introducing a breakup in the last five minutes. After the end, Liu denounced a lack of diversity in the Writer’s Room, turning that hateful watch from a final season into something sadder: a missed opportunity. Henri wong