Quibi: 9 Shows Worth Your Time. Or at Least a Few Minutes.

Quibi: 9 Shows Worth Your Time. Or at Least a Few Minutes.

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This documentary series looks at the support system behind musicians: The mixing engineer MixedByAli and the rapper YG explain their relationship, as do the light director Gabe Fraboni and DJ Martin Garrix among others. This won’t be news to anybody following the music scene, but the show is good at describing in quick strokes how music stars’ careers are made of distinct building blocks.

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To win $5,000, two cooks must recreate from scratch a dish that has been blown out of a cannon and into their faces. “Dishmantled” is as close as American TV gets to a Japanese game show: preposterous, messy and loud-loud-loud. Its host, Tituss Burgess, and a rotating cast of judges (including Jane Krakowski and Daniel Levy) look into who came closest to the original dish and crack semi-wise. Numbing at first, the show does have a certain nutty charm once you get used to it.

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This documentary follows the first year of I Promise, the public school for at-risk youth that LeBron James created in his hometown, Akron, Ohio, in 2018. The show could easily have devolved into celebrity back-patting, but it is insightful and touching. In confronting systemic problems, it also provides a necessary counterbalance to Quibi’s patronizing and at times infuriating “Thanks a Million,” in which celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Kevin Hart and Aaron Rodgers each donate $100,000 to initiate a series of benevolent acts.

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Liam Hemsworth’s character in this series, Dodge, is in debt and terminally ill, and his wife is pregnant. Volunteering to raise money by becoming the target in a human hunt suddenly becomes a valid life choice. Yes, this is yet another variation on the enduring “human-hunting” concept. Yes, the serialized movie squanders four installments to finally get Dodge on the run. And yes, Hemsworth’s acting barely squeaks above bare minimum (though it’s fun to watch Christoph Waltz run circles around him in their scenes together). But I kept coming back for more, so mission accomplished.

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The “RuPaul’s Drag Race” winner Sasha Velour provides the soul behind “NightGowns” — both the live revue of that name and this series tracking the backstage action. Velour ventures onto the fantastical side of drag, making imaginative use of projections and costumes, and she encourages the other participants, who include Sasha Colby, Vander Von Odd and the drag king K. James as they develop their performances. The series documents the often obscure inspiration behind the acts, like the 1920s drag aerialist Barbette, and the work required to pull them off. But beyond the art, the series also documents community building. This is among the most life-affirming shows you could find on any platform.


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