Summer is a season for being outside, but you can’t be in the sun all of the time. Imagine instead staying inside on a blistering June afternoon, lazing on a couch with air conditioning blasting at a responsibly comfortable temperature and a cold drink condensing within an easy reach. The TV is on, but instead of accepting the stagnancy of too-hot days and watching The Office again, you shake it up by trying something new. Sounds great, right? As far as fantasies go, it’s pretty achievable. This summer, anticipated new seasons of shows like Netflix’s Stranger Things 4 and Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building are finally arriving, along with exciting adaptations of The Time Traveler’s Wife, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, and Game of Thrones spinoff House of the Dragon. That’s not to say anything of Disney+ double-blessing us with Obi-Wan Kenobi and Ms. Marvel. There’s something for everyone this season, so don’t feel like you have to be in a pool to get your summer’s worth of fun. Inside is just fine, too, and inside has dragons. 1. Hacks Season 2, HBO Max, May 12
Jean Smart and Hannah Einbinder return for Hacks, HBO Max’s surprise hit about an old megastar comedian and the alleged no-name writer she hires to punch up her act. Ava (Einbinder) is on edge since sending a damning email about Deborah (Smart) to TV producers who plan to turn it into a series. They maintain their working relationship while Ava panics and Jimmy (Paul W. Downs) tries to do damage control back in Hollywood. Prepare for major hiccups in Ava and Jimmy’s plans, more of that irresistible Deborah Vance bite, and plenty of jokes — no matter who’s the butt of them. — Proma Khosla, Senior
Season 2 of Euphoria is, in a word, frustrating.Excellent performances and a standout episode or two clash with absolutely baffling storytelling choices. Jules (Hunter Schafer) and Kat (Barbie Ferreira), both so integral to Season 1, are pushed to the side. Cassie’s (Sydney Sweeney) elevated importance is tainted by an uncomfortable (and unnecessary) amount of humiliation. In the season finale, Rue (Zendaya) summarizes her recovery — supposedly the show’s focal point — in a too-neat voiceover: “I stayed clean for the rest of the school year.”Then, there are the flashbacks.Euphoria has always had a strong relationship with flashbacks. Most episodes of Season 1, and a few of Season 2, open with deep dives into characters’ backstories. These give us much-needed context about our leads. Plus, their positions at the beginnings of episodes don’t interfere with the present-day goings-on. When there are other flashbacks or narrative asides — such as Rue’s memory of the first time she tried oxycontin, or her and Jules’s fourth-wall-breaking dick pic seminar — they enhance the story. Crucially, they’re short enough that they don’t overstay their welcome.
Zendaya in the Season 2 finale.
Credit: Eddy Chen / HBO
In Season 2, creator/writer/director Sam Levinson veers slowly away from the character backstory formula. That doesn’t stop him from peppering flashbacks throughout almost every episode, to the point that they stop being informative and start being nuisances.The problem first surfaces in Season 2, episode 2, “Out of
What happens after a grand romantic gesture? After the big finale, now what? Do you sit in silence like the dentist’s aquarium fish in Finding Nemo once they’ve rolled to oceanic freedom (stay with me) or do you fill that awkwardness with so many activities you’ll never have to talk about what’s next?That’s where things pick up in the second season of Starstruck, the romantic comedy series created by and starring comedian Rose Matafeo that stole our hearts by bringing a new millennial twist to Notting Hill. It was hands down one of the best TV shows of 2021. Co-written by Matafeo, Alice Snedden, and Nic Sampson, and directed by Dead Pixels’ Jamie Jay Johnson, Season 2 has landed on BBC Three in the UK, coming later to HBO Max in the U.S., ABC in Australia, and TVNZ in New Zealand.When we last left Jessie (Matafeo) and Tom (Nikesh Patel), they’d been through the horrendously awkward and wonderful clusterfuck that is falling for someone new — especially complicated when one of you is a famous movie star. With the pair of them sitting at the back of the bus en route to Charing Cross, we had so many questions: Would Jessie leave London to go home to family in New Zealand? Would Tom take the big role and head to Ireland?
‘Starstruck’ is a sweet, funny rom-com that leans into the mess of something new