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From Netflix to DStv: What to watch this weekend

Showmax
(Image credit: Showmax)

Netflix, Showmax and DStv have loads on offer but it always seems like there is nothing to watch.  Rather than rewatching an old favourite for the umpteenth time, we've made your decision process easier.  

From romcoms to thrillers, here are our top picks on what to watch this weekend. 

Netflix 

Next in Fashion

Next in Fashion

(Image credit: Netflix)

Next in Fashion is a dream series for any creative. It is a competition show meets reality TV but without the scripted drama and nonsense. It pits talented and established fashion designers that you've never heard of against one another, first in a team situation and then as individuals. 

The show is wholesome and epic because the clothing that is produced is mind-boggling in its beauty. Next in Fashion is hosted by Alexa Chung and Tan France who know a thing or two about this glamorous world. The British duo have divine chemistry and bounce off each other really well.

Chef's Table

(Image credit: Netflix)

Whether you like to cook or not, Chef's Table will really make you appreciate this art form. There are six volumes (seasons) to choose from and each is as good as the next. You get to see the inner workings of some of the globe's best restaurants, as well as a peak into the creative minds of the head chefs. Warning: Don't watch while hungry.

My Octopus Teacher

(Image credit: Sea Change Project)

This is South Africa's first original Netflix documentary. My Octopus Teacher has been revered as a groundbreaking insight into the secret life of cephalopods. Craig Foster was at a point in his life where he needed to seek out meaning. He decided to free dive every day into the freezing kelp forests of the Tip of Africa as a way to reenergize himself. Here he encountered an octopus, who continuously returned to him like clockwork on each dive. 

Up in the Air

(Image credit: Netflix)

Who doesn't want a bit of George Clooney for their weekend? This critically acclaimed film follows his character, Ryan Bingham, as he travels around the US firing employees on behalf of companies.

This cynical comedy-drama is the perfect middle ground move when you don't think you can handle a full on drama or a silly comedy. It is witty, clever, funny and dramatic all in the same breath. The stark economic realities it is based on will leave you with a lot to think about.

Love on the Spectrum 

(Image credit: Netflix)

Love on the Spectrum is about a group of adults who have Autism Spectrum Disorder, and their journey as they navigate dating and relationships. Set in Australia, the show is impressive in its delivery of each story and experience, without the usual sympathetic lens cast over those with disabilities. 

It's largely upbeat and brings up a lot of serious points about how the world has left those with this disorder out of society and how they are often misrepresented in media. 

Lovesick

(Image credit: Netflix)

Although a few years old, this series is a great option if you're looking for a new weekend binge. It follows Dylan who has to contact his previous sexual partners when he is diagnosed with chlamydia. 

The series interweaves the stories of his friend's lives, and all of Dylan's lovers. It's a classic sitcom/romcom but a nice take on the classic mid-20s life crisis in love, work and relationships. 

American Psycho 

(Image credit: Netflix)

A scathing look at the 80s New York yuppie, Christian Bale shines as the psychotic Patrick Bateman. Fulfilling his murderous urges and need to look perfect and outshine his peers take up all his time. Whether these murders are real or he's going insane is not helped by his peers who seem equally as evil. 

The Lovely Bones 

(Image credit: Amazon Prime Video)

This chilling tale follows teenager Suzie who is murdered and left to watch her parents deal with her death. From her perspective we can see the grief but also the murderer's plan to kill his next victim. 

Dirty John

Dirty John

(Image credit: Netflix)

Each season of this show follows a new protagonist based on a true story. 

The first season captures audiences in the twisted tale of John Meehan as he emotionally manipulates a rich woman, resulting in a bloody end. The second Betty Broderick as she deals with her difficult husband.

If you're into true crime but hate the poorly acted documentaries, this is the option for you. 

Down to Earth with Zach Efron

(Image credit: Netflix)

While some initially watch for Mr Efron, he is not really the 'star' of this docu-series. The star of the show is the message being communicated: The world is dying and we need to act now to save it. Efron and his co-host venture across a number of cities doing what they can to save Mother Earth. They visit Paris, Iceland and more to see the latest innovations around combatting climate change. Watch it for an education.

Filthy Rich 

(Image credit: Netflix)

This 4-part limited docu-series is a real eye opener to the world of sex trafficking and the abuse those in powerful positions can inflict. 

Some of the world's elite are tied up in this spiderweb of horrors and through this series one of the most notorious offenders, Jeffrey Epstein, is exposed. This deep-dive into Epstein's network of underage victims speaks to the survivors and details how abuse can be ignored for years. 

Showmax 

Yesterday

(Image credit: HBO)

This is the ultimate feel-good film. There is a global blackout and in the wake of it, struggling artist Jack realises that no one remembers who The Beatles were. He then claims their songs as his own and shoots to stardom. The rom-com is bound to have you humming along to these epic classics.

Harriet

(Image credit: Wikicommons)

This is the story of the heroic abolitionist Harriet Tubman, who escaped from slavery and the missions she carried out to liberate thousands of slaves through the Underground Railroad. 

Her story is well-known in the US, but there is something in the struggle for liberation and freedom that almost every person can identify with. It is a fantastic portrayal of her heroism and insight into slavery in the US from the angle of the oppressed rather than the oppressors.

The Nightingale

(Image credit: Wikicommons)

Hellbent on revenge, Clare, a young Irish convict, pursues a British soldier through the Tasmanian wilderness. She is determined to right a terrible act of violence committed by the soldier against her family. An eye for an eye. While chasing him down, Clare seeks help from an Aboriginal tracker named Billy, who has endured his own trauma. This is a real historical thriller, if you are brave enough. 

I May Destroy You 

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I May Destroy You comes from the much-loved Michaela Coel (creator of Chewing Gum on Netflix, also give that a watch) and follows Arabella, a novelist considered the voice of Millennials, as she comes to terms with an assault she barely remembers. 

Surrounded by friends, going to therapy, and finding coping mechanisms,  the show speaks to the real experience of survivors and the trials of rebuilding your life after such a traumatic experience. 

Ramy 

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Ramy follows its title character as he grapples with being a religious-ish Muslim in the US. From the personal conflict of not being observant enough to the external battles with ignorance and islamophobia, the show is a perspective not often found on mainstream, US-based channels. 

Blackkklansman

BlacKkKlansman

(Image credit: Focus Features)

From the brilliant Spike Lee, this is an unbelievable true story of a black detective who infiltrates the Colorado Springs branch of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s. 

This is one of Lee's best works, with his usual didactic style he weaves the history of the struggle for civil rights in America into the narrative of the story. And adds the continuous fight of Black people in America today. 

Love Life 

watch love life online

(Image credit: HBO Max)

A very millennial rom-com, this series feels a bit fresher than others but very much in line with the updated "unlucky in love rope". Anna Kendrick takes the lead role as her character journeys from first love to finding your ultimate person. 

A great choice if you're felling a little down and would like a relatable story about trying and failing and everything in between. 

Booksmart

(Image credit: Netflix)

Considered the first "Gen Z" high school movie, Booksmart flips the stereotypes on their head - kind of. 

One the eve of their graduation, two best friends realise they spent all their time studying and it still didn't give them a leg up on the kids who partied. So they decide to fit all the fun they missed out on in one night.

Extremely Wicked and Shockingly Evil and Vile

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile

(Image credit: Netflix)

It seems to be a weekend for true crime dramas. This time, Zach Efron takes on the story of Ted Bundy. While the film was critiqued for making Bundy seem too appealing, it is almost where its strongest effect lies. Bundy's approachability and seemingly harmlessness was the reason he got away with the acts he committed. 

A fascinating and chilling look into the court case and story that shook the world. 

Bombshell 

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Bombshell is based on real-life events that saw ex-CEO of Fox News, Roger Ailes, fall from grace. It is based on the 20+ accounts of women at Fox News who accused him of sexual harassment, which eventually lead to his demise in the company. 

Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, and Margot Robbie star in the film. It is epic to see these three powerhouses in one film taking on such an important and harrowing subject.

Little Fires Everywhere 

(Image credit: Hulu)

Based on the novel by Celeste Ng with the same name, Little Fires Everywhere is about two families living in Shaker Heights, Ohio in the 90s. The children bring the two families from different socioeconomic backgrounds together, with dramatic results. 

As South Africans, this film will resonate as the gap between those that own the wealth and those that work for the wealthy continues to grow. 

Miracle Workers 

(Image credit: Warner media)

Miracle Workers is an anthology comedy based on writings by Simon Rich. Daniel Radcliffe further cements his position as an actor with alternate tastes, taking on the role of a "wish fulfiller" in heaven. 

The first season follows Radcliffe and his new intern as they try do more for humans on Earth while having to deal with a jaded, grumpy God (played by Steve Buscemi). 

It's a weird show and might take a minute to get into, but once you've come to terms with the bizarre elements it's worth it. 

 

On the Basis of Sex

(Image credit: Participant )

In a nod to National Women's Day coming up over the weekend, this film is well-worth watching to gain insight on just how difficult men have made life for women. 

The biographical legal drama film follows the life and early cases of US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. While Notorious RBG might be considered a badass now, this film showcases her battle for equal rights and the early fights and triumphs of her career. 

What We Do in the Shadows

watch what we do in the shadows online

(Image credit: FX)

Based on the acclaimed indie film of the same name starring Taika Watiti, this off-beat series is a mockumentary/horror/ comedy which follows the lives of vampires residing in an apartment in New York. It sounds silly because it is and once you give into the absurd, it's a great time. 

DStv

The Last O.G.

(Image credit: Wikkicommons)

Tray, played by comedy legend Tracey Morgan, leaves prison after 15 years and while not much has changed about him, the world he once knew is completely different, especially when it comes to gentrification and the assimilation of hip-hop.   From the newly affluent Brooklyn to twin boys: Tray has a lot of learning to do.

Amazing Grace

(Image credit: Wikkicommons)

This concert film takes viewers back to 1972 when singer Aretha Franklin performed gospel songs at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles. While obviously  based around the Church and Gospel, this powerful and emotive documentary concert showcases this incredible singers power and captures this chapter of her career perfectly. 

Killing Eve

watch Killing Eve season 3 online

(Image credit: AMC/BBC America)

Killing Eve follows the life of an extremely intelligent M15 security officer, Eve, who is contrarily bound to her desk. She inevitably feels the boredom of her job until she is assigned to hunt down and Villanelle, a psychopathic assassin. 

This series has been hailed as groundbreaking for its representation and addictiveness. You have been warned, it's a binger.

Lovecraft Country 

(Image credit: HBO)

This horror drama series set in the in the 1950s follows Atticus Freeman, his friend and uncle as they take a trip across the segregated south to find his father. This inventive script intertwines their need to avoid becoming subject to racist terrorism from the white people they meet and the monsters that plague one of the towns. 

This series takes the horror genre out of its usually a-historical space and makes it fresh, thrilling and enterataining.   

Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker

(Image credit: Jonathan Olley/Lucasfilm )

If you haven't seen the final instalment in the Star Wars series, or if you have but want to watch is again, now is your time. Make a binge weekend out of it and see if you can watch all the films or just catch-up with Rae and see if she can find out who her family is. 

Parasite

Parasite movie (2019)

(Image credit: CJ Entertainment)

This is a must-see before you die kind of movie, so this weekend is a great time to tick it off your list. 

From the incredible Bong Joon-Ho, this upstairs/downstairs Korean drama highlights the massive gap between the rich and poor and how this can have terrible consequences. 

Although completely in Korean, the subtitles are barely a hurdle once you settle into the story and follow the lives of the poor Kim family as they con their way into getting jobs for the rich Park family.

Bad Education

watch Bad Education HBO online

(Image credit: HBO)

If it had not been for coronavirus this movie would have been one we were all talking about for ages. Possibly Hugh Jackman's best role and based on a true story, he plays a school superintendent who is at the centre of what became the biggest public school corruption scandal in US history. 

The Wife

(Image credit: Netflix)

The always impressive Glen Close plays the wife of a man who is receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature. During the process she begins to question her own life, and how she ended up in the role on her husbands arm. 

A fascinating look at marriage, the position of women and relationships. 

I,Tonya

Another true story, this film follows Tonya Harding's perspective on the infamous Nancy Kerrigan scandal. It also is an impressive turn by Margot Robbie, who completely transforms into Harding, taking the audience through her experiences and difficult life. 

Molly's Game

A promo shot for the movie mollys game

(Image credit: Amazon)

Jessica Chastain is undeniably a Hollywood queen and her title is solidified in this film. Based on true events, Molly's Game follows an underground world were the rich and famous throw away their riches in a high-stakes poker game organised every week by Molly Bloom. We're talking millions and millions of dollars being thrown around like it's nothing. It's a real insight into how the 1% live and how one woman worked hard to protect her clients, in fear that they would do bad things to pay her back. Also, Player X is technically an amalgamation of the celebrities she crossed paths with but a popular fan theory suggests its Toby Maguire. 

On Becoming a God in Central Florida

(Image credit: YouTube)

This dark comedy film stars Kirsten Dunst and is based in the 90s in Orlando, Florida. She plays Krystal Stubbs who works at a local waterpark for minimum wage. Krystal, however, is seeking a better life for herself and does so through a multi-level marketing scheme which she eventually turns on its head. 

 It's epic to see Dunst on the screen again, feels like it been a minute. 

Red Joan

(Image credit: Wikipedia)

It would be a crime to have a spy movie without Judy Dench. This film is based on a novel of the same name, written by Jennie Rooney. The tale is inspired by the life of Melita Norwood who worked at the British Non-Ferrous Metals Research Association  and passed nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union during the Cold War. 

Black is King 

watch black is king beyonce online

(Image credit: Disney Plus/Beyonce.com)

Black is King is Queen Bey's new musical film and visual album. This work of art was directed, written and executive produced by Beyoncé. It speaks to a pan-Africanist sense of identity, not locating itself in any one country but rather weaving together different African cultures and nationalities through an artistic lens. 

Many South Africans like John Kani and Mary Twala make appearances, while some of the shots were done in our country, with South Africans working behind the scenes as well. 

I Know This Much is True 

watch I Know This Much is True online

(Image credit: HBO)

Mystery, intrigue and Mark Ruffalo: An addictive and binge-watchable trip. he show follows the life of Dominick Birdsey (Ruffalo, who also plays Thomas Birdsey) and how he learns of his grandfather's arrival to Three Rivers in the early 1900s from Sicily. Domincik is convinced his family is cursed and the mysteries unravel from there.