Disney+’s Candy, TVNZ’s The Resort among great shows to stream this weekend


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CANDY (DISNEY+)

Melanie Lynskey brilliantly essays another disaffected, troubled housewife and mother in the five-part, true-crime drama.

Sporting a Pauline Parker-esque haircut, her Betty Gore has an air of quiet despair similar to Yellowjackets’ Shauna Sadecki, as she struggles to cope with the demands of her baby.

From its Emmy-nominated Saul Bass-esque opening title sequence to the thematically pitch-perfect period music (David Soul’s Don’t Give Up on Us Baby an early standout), this evocative, provocative circa 1980-set tale quickly becomes truly immersive, thanks to the fabulous production design, cleverly constructed narrative and terrific performance from both Lynskey and Jessica Biel.

The latter is virtually unrecognisable with her Dorothy Michaels-like curls and face-framing glasses, but the more we spend time with Candy, the more compelling, complicated and seemingly conniving she becomes.

LIGHT AND MAGIC (DISNEY+)

The Millennium Falcon’s design was inspired by a stack of dirty dishes and its nickname amongst its creative crew was “the pork burger”.

That’s just one of the revelations about the production of George Lucas’ seminal 1977 sci-fi film Star Wars: A New Hope revealed in this new six-part docu-series. It takes a look at the near 50-year history of the visuals effects company Lucas set up in order to bring his space opera to life when everyone said they couldn’t do what he really wanted to do on that picture.

While fascinating for all ages, it is particularly essential viewing for younger film fans, allowing them to see the sometimes painstaking processes that helped create some of their favourite cinematic adventures.

STUFF

Eight great shows to stream this weekend.

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* Nope, Bullet Train and Disney+’s Prey among August’s must see movies
* Return of The Crown, Yellowstone, Handmaid’s among 2022’s remaining must see TV

Mystic is a New Zealand-shot adaptation of Kiwi author Stacy Gregg’s beloved noughties Pony Club Secrets book series.

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Mystic is a New Zealand-shot adaptation of Kiwi author Stacy Gregg’s beloved noughties Pony Club Secrets book series.

MYSTIC (TVNZ+)

New Zealand television’s dark horse (even though the eponymous equine is white) is back for a third season, providing another eight episodes of absorbing and ecologically aware viewing for young and old.

A collaboration between TVNZ, the CBBC and Australia’s Seven Network, this Auckland-hinterland-shot adaptation of Kiwi author Stacy Gregg’s beloved noughties Pony Club Secrets book series has gained a loyal audience both here and in the UK and the US – and deservedly so.

Series creators Amy Shindler and Beth Chalmers have done a great job of creating a cadre of complex, likeable characters and giving them believable dialogue to spout. They also get the tone right. What could have come across as overly preachy or po-faced is instead a much more relaxed delight.

Think of it as like a teen/tween version of 800 Words or Mercy Peak, a drama where a water bottling plant up to the no good shares screen time with a pig “doing something unspeakable in a gumboot”.

THE OLD MAN (DISNEY+)

Liam Neeson finally has some competition. It has seemed like the Northern Irishman has had a vice-like grip on roles for the mature gentlemen with a “very particular set of skills” for more than a decade now. But as his pulling power, range of movements and most notably the scripts have waned in recent times, audiences have wondered who might usurp him for the senior citizen man-of-action crown. Enter perhaps an unlikely contender – The Dude himself – Jeff Bridges.

In his first onscreen role since 2018’s Bad Times at the El Royale and making his debut as a recurring TV character, the 72-year-old is electric and compelling as Dan Chase in this seven-part thriller.

A former CIA operative, Chase’s longstanding off-grid life is suddenly shattered when he kills an assassin who breaks into his Upstate New York home.

What follows is truly absorbing, addictive viewing.

Jeff Bridges is The Old Man.

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Jeff Bridges is The Old Man.

THE REPLACEMENT (TVNZ+)

Grantchester’s Morven Christie faces off against Line of Duty’s Vicky McClure in this three-part Scottish crime-thriller about a successful architect who begins to suspect that the woman filling in while she is on maternity leave is plotting to take over her life.

With her mental state unravelling and her colleagues enamoured with the new hire, this paranoia is put down to her pregnancy – but is there a chance she might actually be right?

“It’s a joyously bonkers, highly psychological melodrama that starts with a foot in reality and then runs wild. It’s ridiculously addictive, though,” wrote The Guardian’s Sam Wollaston.

THE RESORT (TVNZ+)

Cristin Milioti, William Jackson Harper and Nick Offerman star in this eight-part comedy-thriller from the creator of the Groundhog Day-esque Palm Springs.

It focuses on a marriage, which is put to the test, on an anniversary trip, when a couple find themselves embroiled in one of Yucatan’s most bizarre unsolved mysteries from 15 years prior. That involved the disappearance of two young adults, a murder and a once-in-a-century hurricane.

“The show’s a bit of a genre puzzle too: part-mystery, part-off-kilter comedy, part-old-fashioned adventure à la Romancing the Stone, part-love story. Some of the fun is figuring out how weird The Resort is willing to get with its answers,” wrote Paste magazine’s Annie Lyons.

Sherwood is a British crime drama populated by a truly impressive, deep bench of seasoned talent.

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Sherwood is a British crime drama populated by a truly impressive, deep bench of seasoned talent.

SHERWOOD (TVNZ+)

Inspired by a pair of real-life murders in Nottinghamshire in 2004, this might just be the most compelling crime drama to come out of the UK since Broadchurch.

Creator and screenwriter James Graham (Quiz), whose village was traumatised by those killings, has crafted a truly addictive character study, mystery and police procedural that you can’t help but be drawn into attempting to debate and solve yourself.

It’s 30 years since the infamous miners’ strike of 1984, but tensions still run high here, neighbours and – even sometimes families – divided between those who crossed the picket line and them that followed the national union’s edict and subjected the “scabs” to verbal and occasionally physical abuse. Even the police aren’t exactly welcome either, their handling of the conflict still seen as heavy-handed. That makes the investigation into the death-by-crossbow of a former striking miner particularly delicate.

This is a drama populated by a truly impressive, deep bench of seasoned talent – everyone from David Morrissey, Joanne Froggatt and Alun Armstrong to Lesley Manville, Robert Glenister and a virtually unrecognisable Stephen Tompkinson.

WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS (NEON)

Fresh from earning seven Emmy nominations (including Outstanding Comedy Series), this show has really hit its stride as its fourth season gets underway.

A riotous programme that has already achieved the seemingly impossible double whammy of being a successful adaptation of a popular movie and transplanting an overseas conceit to America, this Staten Island-set spin-off of Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement’s beloved 2014 Wellington-set mockumentary about vampire flatmates just keeps getting better and better.

With terrific economy and plenty of laughs, the opening double-punch of this 10-episode run does a terrific job of putting all the pieces in place for another round of hilarious antics.

We learn of Laszlo’s influence on the youthful Sigmund Freud, Kristen Schaal’s stern Guide’s saucy past and why that container really got stuck in the Suez Canal, while the insults traded between the central characters are just as delightfully acerbic and adroit as ever.

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