For every buzzed about show like Netflix’s Stranger Things or Apple TVs Ted lasso, there are a dozen other shows that just go under the radar. But which ones might be worth your time?
A MARTINEZ, HOST:
For every buzzed-about show, like Netflix’s “Stranger Things” or Apple TV’s “Ted Lasso,” there are a dozen other shows that just stream under the radar. But which ones might be worth your time? NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour try to answer that question in a recent episode, and we brought on one of its hosts, Glen Weldon, to share his insights. Now, Glen, a couple of weeks ago, I was on vacation…
GLEN WELDON, BYLINE: Yeah.
MARTINEZ: …And I swear I spent more time scrolling than streaming. I just couldn’t land on anything. Are you having as hard of a time as the rest of us finding something worth watching?
WELDON: Oh, sure. I mean, it’s such a crowded TV landscape, you know? And Pop Culture Happy Hour is daily now, so we get to make a lot of recommendations, but some good stuff just falls through the cracks. So this is a great opportunity to talk about some of the stuff we haven’t gotten around to.
MARTINEZ: All right. Let’s get to some of the things that are on the top of your list that we should be checking out.
WELDON: All right. So let’s start with “Loot” on Apple TV+. This stars Maya Rudolph. And that’s really my pitch. I mean, what more do you need? Don’t be greedy, you know? dayenu. She plays one of the world’s richest women who divorces her billionaire tech bro husband of 20 years and then decides to get involved with her charitable foundation, about which she knows nothing. And that’s the comedy.
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, “LOOT”)
MAYA RUDOLPH: (As Molly Novak) I never did the work to find out who I am. It’s really, really scary.
MJ RODRIGUEZ: (As Sofia) I’m sorry. I don’t really care about any of that.
RUDOLPH: (As Molly Novak) Wow. When I said that to Oprah, she gave me one of the biggest hugs.
WELDON: I recommend checking the show out. I also recommend maybe skipping the pilot because I think the pilot invites you to think the show is going to be a kind of biting, you know, joke-driven comedy that sets out to pop that Maya Rudolph character’s privilege bubble. It’s really not that. It’s a surprisingly gentle, character-driven comedy where the people who work at the charitable foundation come around to the Maya Rudolph character, not that you can blame them. It’s, you know, Maya freaking Rudolph. She’s charm distilled. There’s a bit of “Schitt’s Creek” in the premise of the show, but there’s a lot of “Schitt’s Creek” in its tone. It’s a very warm show. So that’s “Loot” on Apple TV+.
MARTINEZ: All right. Now, what about some other shows that we should be watching?
WELDON: Well, this is one I haven’t heard a lot of people talking about. This is “Moonhaven” on AMC+. This is a hard sci-fi show with a cool premise. So Earth is dying. So years before the show begins, they have terraformed a bit of the moon and sent colonists there to figure out how to fix everything.
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, “MOONHAVEN”)
AMARA KARAN: (As Indira Mare) The mission of Moonhaven isn’t simply about solving the crushing problems of our planet. It’s about solving us.
WELDON: And they do. But when it comes time for the colonists to return to Earth and bring their knowledge with them, they don’t want to go ’cause they’ve developed this idyllic, kind of hippie dippy commune where there’s no crime and everything is taken care of by this artificial intelligence. And what it reminds me of, A, is a great sci-fi show on Amazon called “The Expanse,” which has all these different factions angling for power in a morally gray universe where there’s no heroes, there’s no villains. I get the sense that’s what the show is aiming for. Hasn’t gotten there yet – it’s still kind of taxiing on the runway. But it was just picked up for a second season, so they’re going to get a shot.
It’s got great potential, great characters, interesting conflicts. It’s also funny sometimes, sometimes not intentionally, though, because the hippie moon colonists have their own slang, and you’ll catch them saying things like, I got the dread feel because my mind is buzz foggy. And, like, that’s a lot to take, you know? Season 2 maybe they pump the brakes on that. But I’m going to be keeping an eye on this show. That’s “Moonhaven” on AMC+.
MARTINEZ: Glen Weldon is a host of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour.
Glen, thanks a lot for giving us time.
WELDON: Thank you.
MARTINEZ: And for more suggestions, check out Pop Culture Happy Hour on npr.org.
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