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October 2019

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Television!

Catherine The Great

Catherine The Great (Starring Helen Mirren) premieres October 21 on HBO

Catherine The Great

  • By Alex Brown
  • Photo Courtesy of HBO

Long before Putin and the Soviet Union, there existed a Russia that we know through the eyes of Russia’s unrivaled artists like Tchaikovsky and Tolstoy. Ruled by seemingly invincible czars—like Alexander the Great and Ivan Terrible—who lived in unimaginable wealth, and who wielded unchecked power, these names live in history as symbols of an empire that spanned two continents. But one of the most venerated among these emperors wasn’t an emperor at all, but an empress—Yekaterina Velikaya, or, Catherine the Great.

A woman before her time, Catherine oversaw an expansion of the Russian empire the effects of which we still feel today. Look to Ukraine’s current border skirmishes with Russia along the Black Sea to see the marks she left on that nation. And now, HBO is bringing her story to life in a new miniseries styled in a way that only HBO could deliver.

The immortal Helen Mirren plays Catherine herself, and Jason Clarke her storied lover, Grigory Potemkin. The miniseries centers on Catherine’s iron grip on power and how she is willing to sacrifice anything and anyone to hold on to it. In a world ruled by men, Catherine rises to become one of history’s most notable leaders, and an architect of modern Russia.

Catherine the Great” premieres October 21 on HBO.

Riverdale

Riverdale returns October 10 on The CW Network

Riverdale

  • By Kenne Hoffman
  • Photo Courtesy of The CW Network

Riverdale and Archie Comics fans eagerly await the fourth season of the CW’s smash hit series. The great thing about Riverdale is that each season has its own story arc so first-timers can join in — although you’ll probably want to binge seasons one, two, and three at some point! After the unexpected and untimely death of Luke Perry, there is uncertainty about how the show will handle the loss of one of its primary cast members. From the start, Riverdale has incorporated nods to the reference material but deviates from the comics and creates its own storylines, so the death of Fred Andrews (Perry) won’t have a major impact on future tales.

The flash-forward season three cliffhanger showed Archie (KJ Apa), Betty (Lili Reinhart), and Veronica (Camila Mendes) covered in blood and burning Jughead’s (Cole Sprouse) beanie during spring break. Even the cast, midway through season four filming, has no idea why they end up half naked in the woods. Cast members say they’re never told anything, especially the big mysteries and how they will unfold, until filming. We’ve been promised a superhero-themed Halloween episode, the ever popular musical episode (like season three’s Carrie and Mean Girls episodes), some long-awaited character additions, and the first performance by The Archies!

Riverdale” returns October 10 on The CW Network.

ALMOST FAMILY

Almost Family premieres October 2 on Fox (Starring Megalyn Echikunwoke, Brittany Snow, and Emily Osment)

ALMOST FAMILY

  • By RICH ANDREW
  • Photo Courtesy of FOX

In her latest show adapted from the Australian series Sisters, writer Annie Weisman (Desperate Housewives) delves into the world of artificial insemination and reflects on what it truly means to be a family in this day and age.

The story follows Julia Bechley, played by the endearing Brittany Snow (Pitch Perfect), an only child and most certainly the apple of her father’s eye. When her dad Leon is honored for his groundbreaking efforts as the leading fertility doctor, the press exposes an ugly truth that threatens to tear their family apart — Leon falsified the medicine and cheated his patients by inseminating them with his own sperm without their consent. Drowning in the middle of the painful moral and legal implications, Julia also becomes immersed in a crowd of perfect strangers — each one her half-sibling. When Julia encounters the only other women, Roxy and Edie, she learns they may have more in common than just their genetics. From absent fathers to deadbeat dads, together these unlikely sisters set out to find sisterhood.

 With a cast that features heart-wrenching performances by Emily Osment (The Kominsky Method), Megalyn Echikunwoke (Late Night), Tamara Tunie (Black Earth Rising), Mustafa Elzein (Shameless), Mo McRae (Big Little Lies), Victoria Cartagena (Manifest), and Timothy Hutton (How to Get Away with Murder), this series reminds us that family comes first.

 Almost Family” premieres October 2 on Fox.

FLEABAG

Emmy winning Fleabag’s (Starring Phoebe Weller-Bridge) season 1 and 2 are now streaming on Amazon Prime

FLEABAG

  • By PAIGE PETRONE
  • Photo Courtesy of BBC

I have to admit that until I watched the Emmy Awards and saw Phoebe Waller-Bridge win three, BBC’s Fleabag was way under my radar. Not so much anymore! I’ve already cruised through season two in one sitting. The show is refreshing as it’s a new take on scripted “reality” shows. It’s definitely well written — she won an Emmy for Best Writing! (She also won for writing Killing Eve!) To say Phoebe has mad talent is an understatement.

The character Waller-Bridge plays (Fleabag) is quirky, witty, clever, beautiful, and has a great sense of humor. She is hilarious in her portrayal. Definitely an award-worthy performance. The moments when she turns to the camera to address the viewer directly are priceless. Really funny stuff here. This is must-see TV for certain. 

The new season follows Fleabag’s dysfunctional family as they befriend a priest (Andrew Scott) who will marry her father and his eclectic fiancé (played deliciously by Olivia Coleman!). The first episode opens with the family at an awkward rehearsal dinner and sets the mood for what’s to come. Fleabag begins (spoiler alert!) a dangerous flirtation with the priest which once again creates fun story-telling with her anxiety on full display — portrayed brilliantly through humor and great tenderness. Bravo. Watch it!

Fleabag” is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

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