Top 5 TV and Streaming Picks for February: Maisel Returns, Reacher Recast and we get personal with Pam and Tommy

Top 5 TV and Streaming Picks for February: Maisel Returns, Reacher Recast and we get personal with Pam and Tommy

With new month comes the inevitable shuffle of tv shows round the streaming services, but also the arrival of some shiny new ones too. Amusingly enough, BBC3 returns as a digital broadcast channel once again – almost like the last 6 years never happened – if only (Brexit?). 

As they develop and grow into new monsters, it’s an ever changing debate of what streaming service is giving you the best bang for your buck. It is noticeable that Disney Plus keeps chipping away at the back catalogue of Netflix and Amazon Prime with more and more of their legacy shows appearing on the service. With the dawn of 2022, Netflix crucially lost How I Met Your Mother, Sons of Anarchy, New Girl, Modern Family and Prison Break to Disney, and it has been cause of much speculation over whether their profits are stagnating due to possessing a healthy or unbeatable market share, or if they are losing too many subscribers to the competition

If you are lucky enough to have access to multiple services – maybe you do what I do and pay for one and then share other accounts with friends and family – you will be richly rewarded for surviving the never-ending slump that is always January with some fantastic treats to watch. 

Before I get to my top 5 shows to watch, for you fellow crime fans out there I have some serial killer news to dispatch – the Criminal Minds revival that was a bit of a “will they won’t they” drama all through the pandemic has been confirmed not DOA at Paramount. We also have the final season 4 of Killing Eve starting at the end of this month – February 27, BBC One. Now just for that new Mindhunter season to materialise…

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2 February

Pam and Tommy, episodes 1-3 (new episodes weekly), Disney Plus

One of the most anticipated shows that should really be given a new genre of “tab-drama” or “drama-bloid”? I highly doubt whether substance will beat over style in this retelling of Pamela Anderson (Lily James) and cantankerous rock legend Tommy Lee’s (Sebastian Stan’s) stolen sex tape scandal. Seth Rogen features as the star thief who made their sex life internet-famous. It’s made by Disney though. I can’t work out where it will fit between The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story and Hannah Montana-Gone Wild? But I cannot wait to watch.


4 February

The Tinder Swindler, Netflix

Another true story making it to the small screen, but in the form of the ever-popular True Crime documentary, without which I sometimes feel Netflix and civilization, and definitely 80% of the podcast industry would stop. This is a pretty curious topic though and one that will have us all deleting our online dating profiles just in time for Valentine’s. The Tinder-Swindler conned women out of millions of dollars worldwide, but didn’t bank on them catching on, ganging up and getting revenge. Sounds more like the plot to a brilliant thriller, right?

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Reacher, Season 1, Amazon Prime

This is one of my personal must-watches. Mainly from anticipation/curiosity/hope? This is a brand new adaptation of the Lee Child crime books. Tom Cruise previously played Jack Reacher in the film adaptations to much disappointment of fans of the books. Cruise was never physically present enough as “Reacher” in their eyes and it ruined so much the world avid readers had built up around a character they loved. I think we’ve all been there at some point. The new Reacher, Alan Ritchson (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Titans) therefore has a lot of work to do to unite fans of Cruise with critics and also just make some fun TV. That should be guaranteed with writer Nick Santora on board (Prison Break, Scorpion). This season is based on ‘The Killing Floor’ which sees former Military operative Reacher framed for the first murder to take place in 20 years in a sleepy Southern town. As he fights for his innocence – not always legally – a larger conspiracy reveals itself.


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11 February

Inventing Anna, Netflix

With the exception of Bridgerton, which I know might make me very unpopular as I know it’s got its fans, I love Shonda Rhimes. And including Bridgerton I respect her, her writing and her career deeply. Inventing Anna is her second outing as part of her big Netflix deal but it has a much more “Shonda” feel to it. Produced with longtime collaborator Betsy Beers it boasts a cast that we all know will deliver something special that includes Laverne Cox, Anna Chlumskya and Anders HolmOzark’s Julia Garner plays the eponymous Anna Delvey, a real life woman who scammed the New York elite by pretending to be a famous German heiress to gain access to the most luxurious lifestyle and exclusive parties… something the elite were not forthcoming in forgiving her for. Cue lots of fantastical style, party scenes, beautiful people and Rhimes’ trademark pace and witty dialogue. 

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18 February

Marvelous Mrs Maisel,  Season 4, Amazon Prime

…And speaking of witty dialogue… Amazon Prime’s biggest critically acclaimed hit so far with a whopping 19 major award wins returns with its fourth season, propelling Midge & Co. into the 1960’s. Marvelous Mrs Maisel has been controversial in its success, however. It follows the arguably all too easy journey of a female Jewish comic in 1950’s New York as Midge (Rachel Brosnahan) kind of goes against her family and kind of goes against society to start performing . There are huge issues here as beautifully laid out by Emily Nussbaum in ‘The Cloying Fantasia of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”’. Nussbaum perfectly deconstructs how our heroine Midge has things far too easy, how real life comedienne Joan Rivers lived that very similar life but had to endure very different experiences. The Marvelous world writer and creator Amy Sherman-Palladino has created is a “fantasia”, but that is what she does. Anyone who is a fan of Gilmore Girls will know her TV ecosystems are insular, protected, idealised. And that is what you  have to buy into to enjoy the Mrs Maisel ride. Don’t expect a realistic depiction of life as a female comic in the ‘50s and ‘60s (yes, I agree that would be a good show too), but do expect a fantastically well written show with “only holy Monk Tony Shalhoub” as our new favourite TV dad and a new Sherman-Palladino cast of characters to get lost in. 

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