MANILA, Philippines – The Holy Week break is coming up, and binge-watching a new show is as good a plan as any for the especially long weekend. If you’ve got some downtime in between visiting churches and bonding with family, take a deep dive into these binge-worthy shows:
Jane the Virgin
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With a devout Catholic woman at the center of the show, Jane the Virgin is right in theme for Holy Week. The show follows Jane, the titular virgin who has promised to remain celibate before marriage but still manages to get pregnant out of wedlock via accidental artificial insemination. If the premise sounds ridiculous, well, that’s because it is – and unapologetically so. This show is all about elevating convoluted telenovela plot lines into an art form, and the results are hilarious – especially with a disembodied narrator called the Latin Lover Narrator telling the story. More than the comedy, the show also touches on relevant social issues – including the immigrant experience in the US, sexuality and feminism, and morality.
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This show, which is equal parts western and sci-fi thriller, is said to be HBO’s next big franchise (especially with the end of Game of Thrones on the horizon). Westworld is based on the 1973 Michael Crichton film, and takes place in an Old West amusement park where rich guests live out their wildest fantasies and desires with the help of the park’s android hosts – who become more and more human with each passing day. With disturbingly good performances from the likes of Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, Thandie Newton, and Evan Rachel Wood, this is the kind of show that will make you question what it means to be human, and you may just find yourself trawling through every episode as you panic-search for answers. With a second season set to premiere in April, there is no better time than now to get into the show.
The Good Place
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In this show, “the good place” is actually heaven (or a religion-neutral approximation of it), and that’s where a woman named Eleanor finds herself after being told she died in a car accident. The good place turns out to be a really good place – you can drink 30 glasses of wine and not have a hangover – but Eleanor realizes soon enough that someone “royally forked up” and mistook her for a different person, which probably means she really belongs in hell. With an intriguing premise plus Kristen Bell and Ted Danson leading the cast, this show was made for guilt-free bingeing, and is also oddly insightful and inspiring.
A Series of Unfortunate Events
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Anyone who has even a casual knowledge of pop culture will know of A Series of Unfortunate Events, a series of novels by Lemony Snicket, turned into a film adaptation, and then a TV series on Netflix. The show is an adaptation of the first 4 novels, and follows the troubled lives of the Baudelaire orphans at the hands of their evil guardian, Count Olaf, played by Neil Patrick Harris. The first season was released in January 2017, and the follow-up season is all set for a March 30 release, so if you time your binge right, you can catch up just in time for season 2.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
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In The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Miriam Maisel decides to become a stand-up comedian after her husband tells her he's been having an affair and is leaving her – which may sound like a bit of a snooze story-wise, except that it happens in the uber-chauvinist 1950s, when women were dismissed if they were anything other than the perfect housewife. Factor that in, and you've got a heroine for the modern age who is as inspiring as she is hilarious. If you're looking for something feel-good and funny for the long break, tune in to this.
The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes
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This show is exactly what it says it is: a series of extraordinary homes set against extaordinary backdrops. With so much architectural eye candy (about an hour's worth per episode), you really couldn't ask for more in a show, though be warned – at the end of watching all 4 episodes, you may find yourself questioning your life – and interior decorating – choices.
Wild Wild Country
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If you're in the mood to get your mind warped during the Holy Week break, get started on Wild Wild Country, a documentary series about an Indian guru who decides to take his cult to a remote valley in Oregon, and faces backlash from the neighboring town. The brewing battle between the two communities gets outlandish, even downright insane, and touches on topics like xenophobia, and the fine line between cult and religion.