A ’70s housewife, an exhausted mother, and a law student moonlighting as a call girl: these are just a few of the people coming to Lightbox in August.
Better Call Saul (S4 starts August 7, Express)
The mostly-prequel sometimes-sequel series to Breaking Bad could very easily have been more of the same. There was a real risk that the story of how scumbag lawyer with a heart of gold Jimmy McGill became scumbag lawyer with a heart of lead Saul Goodman, who’d go on to grease Walter White’s slide to the bottom, would be a fanservice exercise in connecting the dots and singing the hits. But Better Call Saul is much more than that. This isn’t a band singing the hits one more time; it’s them putting out a whole new album. You know the sound, but the tune always surprises and delights you.
From lead Bob Odenkirk (of Mr Show and every other comedy in past twenty years fame) on down, the cast is packed with comic talent, which doesn’t so much lighten the mood as make it much slipperier. While Breaking Bad was a show that grimly told us what the end was going to be and let the brutal logic of the story trap the audience and characters in a downward spiral to their inevitable fate, Saul knows we know where this is going but refuses to let that make the story feel inevitable. For a prequel, Saul feels astonishingly open-ended, going where it wants to instead of where the canon tells it to. And that makes it feel much fresher than it has any right to be. / Uther Dean
American Woman (S1 arrives August 24, Binge)
Time is a flat circle, the history book on the shelf is always repeating itself and Alicia Silverstone and Mena Suvari are back, on screen, together at last. American Woman follows a housewife set alight by the discovery that her real estate husband has been cheating on her. Breaking free from the shackles of her comfortable home into the sex parties and drugs of 1975 Hollywood, Bonnie (Silverstone) has a second wave feminist reawakening and brings her friends along for the ride. Inspired by the childhood of Real Housewives star Kyle Richards – who once thought she was having a stroke but it was just her false eyelashes getting stuck – American Woman is sure to be packed with all the ridiculous excess that can only come from Hollywood. / Alex Casey
You’re The Worst (S4 arrives August 10, Binge)
“You’re The Worst has the kind of premise that would be the set-up for a rom-com, if rom-coms tried to show how people really interacted – rather than a condensed, highly structured narrative where people with good bone structures only face one hurdle, usually around the two-thirds mark, before falling in love forever.
That’s not the kind of rom-com You’re the Worst is. Though it is one where you know these people are meant to be together – they’re as messed up as each other, and the ways that they’re messed up are also what make them gel so well together, and what stops them from getting to know and love anybody else. They’re the kind of people who go to bed with makeup on, who lie to everybody around them, and don’t pretend they’re anything other than what they are. They’re truly, beautifully, awful people.” (read the full review here)/ SB
The Girlfriend Experience (S1 arrives August 3, Binge)
At first glance, this looks like a show that you’d mostly be embarrassed to watch in front of your family or on public. And that’s probably true, but actually The Girlfriend Experience is one of the more intelligent shows on television. On the surface, it appears ‘just’ be about a law student, Christine (Riley Keough, who is, as a matter of trivia, Elvis Presley’s granddaughter) who decides to be a high-end call girl.
However, beneath that is a surprisingly ruminative show about Christine’s discovery of her own sexuality, her power in the world, and how the world responds to that power. If you want to simplify it, it’s what would happen if Mad Men met one of the more mood-driven BBC dramas. It’s compelling, it’s chilling, and it’s utterly essential TV. / SB
Hurricane Heist (movie arrives August 29)
No, it’s not about people stealing a hurricane. You’re as disappointed as I am. Hurricane Heist is what happens when you mix Twister with that Fast & Furious film where they robbed a bank, before those films got full-on ridiculous and insane, and frankly, kind of amazing. The premise is… not at all simple: It’s about a group of thieves who plan to rob a bank during a category 5 hurricane, and our heroes, played by Ryan Kwanten (the hot one from True Blood), Maggie Grace (the girl who got taken in Taken) and Toby Kebbell (a… lot of things that are not very good, to be honest with you) have to stop them. It is a tremendously silly film, and a tremendously fun one, exactly the perfect way to spend two hours after a hard week of work, or to wrap up warm with a box of popcorn/wine (you do you) on a cold winter’s night. / SB
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