We would never say, "Hey, there's nothing out there in the world this weekend, so you better just call it quits and commit to your television." No, we would never say that.
Fact of the matter is, well, there's plenty of cool sh*t to do in New York City this weekend, Valentine's Day or not.
But with it being winter and all, and this weekend due for an outrageous Polar Vortex, if you're on the fence about whether to brave the elements or just stay inside, there's plenty of good TV to catch up on.
Next week features new seasons of beloved shows, some of which are set right here in our own backyard (which is always a good thing when done right), so this weekend is about catching up and catching on.
Remember: Nothing says love quite like, "Shall I order takeout for us?" when in the midst of a mini-binge (read: 3-4 episode max), or a full-fledged, I'm-not-leaving-this-couch-for-nothing marathon.
Then again, there's always at least one good reason to head out to the movie theater.
Here's what we're watching this weekend.
1. Better Call Saul
Fans of the brilliant Vince Gilligan show Breaking Bad might have been a little skeptical of this spin-off featuring Bob Odenkirk's sheisty lawyer character, Saul Goodman.
It's essentially the story of how Albuquerque lawyer Jimmy McGill went from unsuccessful lawyer to Saul Goodman, a man in hiding after his dealings with Walter "Heisenberg" White.
To be sure, it was slow at first. It was good. It showed promise, and by the end of the first season, it was something nearly great.
Odenkirk is fantastic, Jonathon Banks (beloved character of Mike in Breaking Bad) is as must-watch crotchety as we'd hoped, and Michael McKean, Saul's brother, is fantastic. Again, the first season was very good, so we're binge-watching it on Netflix prior to Monday's season premiere on AMC.
Sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll, Scorsese, Terence Winter (writer, producer, and director involved in HBO's The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire, and Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street), New York City, 1973, HBO, Valentine's Day-- what about this doesn't sound good?
Well, to be fair, HBO has had its share of misses. True Detective season 2 was not good, The Brink is not a show that should have been made, and despite its greatness, Boardwalk Empire was a pretty slow-moving show.
But HBO is good correctively (look at season 2 of The Leftovers), so hopefully this show can suffer the few stumbling blocks sure to impede its progress in the first few weeks. We'll find out, but we're definitely down to check out Vinyl this Sunday night on HBO (HBO Now because cable is awful).
3. Broad City
Abbi and Ilana are back next week, and we're pumped for a few reasons. First being, the first two seasons of Broad City are great, so we're streaming them this weekend. People used to call it "Workaholics, but with girls." Unfortunately, Broad City quickly surpassed Workaholics in wit, character, story, and humor.
Second, Hannibal Burress pops up every now and then, and if you have the same abiding affection for Hannibal Burress that we do, you know that's a very good thing. Lastly, this interview in Interview Magazine. Here's an excerpt that makes us fall in love with them all over again.
Why? Because transplants are people, too; native New Yorkers even have their own romanticized notions of NYC; we're all trying to tell our own stories of what NYC is and means-- whether NYC is treated as a character or not; and, lastly, NYC is both disgusting and beautiful.
"And we are these suburban transplants. We didn't grow up here. We came here thinking, 'New York is so cool,' and we still feel that way. Our main writers live in L.A. now, and when they're here, I feel like I have to apologize for how disgusting the city is—it's f***ing disgusting.
It is a really hard place to live, even if you have money, even if you come from a place of privilege. It's really hard no matter what. And it's so visceral. It smells like sh*t.
It looks beautiful, but then there are horrible things to look at. The sounds are so f***ing annoying. It's so easy to draw from. I don't know ... Somehow New York keeps you down. But in a way that's good.",
4. Hail, Caesar!
For people who want to see this movie because of the star-studded cast in Clooney, Scar-Jo, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Josh Brolin, and many others, well, you might need a better reason. That reason is simple if you already know and love the Coen brothers.
It's not an all-star comedy. Why? Because all-star comedies suck. When you pack so many big names into one film, the audience comes with their own expectations. Most of the time it's because they're ignoring the Coen brothers.
This movie isn't anything brilliant, but such is the case with 80% of the Coen brothers canon. It ages well. Fargo, Raising Arizona, Miller's Crossing, Blood Simple, Barton Fink, The Hudsucker Proxy-- none of these were highly billed movies, but they're all incredible.
People think, "Oh, George Clooney! Must be an O' Brother Where Art Thou kind of vibe!" False. That movie is a big movie of many ideas. This is just a weird Coen brothers comedy. It's great, but you have to already have the taste for it, or be ready to refine your comedic palate.
So this doesn't come back to HBO until next week, but with each episode only 30 minutes long, and there only being 4 seasons, you should be able to put a solid dent in the stream before then. HBO did announce in January that the show will end after 6 seasons.
Lena Dunham is really great at times, Allison Williams (you'll know her better as Peter Pan in NBC's 2014 train wreck broadcast of Pete Pan Live, or daughter of the semi-disgraced NBC News anchor, Brian Williams) has crazy eyes, but the main attraction is Adam Driver (Kylo Ren from Star Wars VII).
It's a fun show, if not little more than a guilty pleasure. Binge-watchers beware: it's crass, sexual, annoying, whiny, and chock-full of unlikable characters. As far as what you can expect from season 5 next Sunday? Well, we can't say quite yet. Binge through 4, and we'll talk next weekend.
Again, it's sometimes hard to watch because of Girls' self-destructive behaviors, but these are all discomforts you can live with because it's fiction. It's almost inverted escapism that puts your own real-world problems into a manageable perspective, "She thinks she has problems? Sheeeeeeeeeeit."
If you love Bob's Burgers, this might be for you. Archer? Maybe. Adult Swim classics like Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Venture Brothers, or Frisky Dingo, possibly. And if you love Bojack Horseman, this might not be what you're looking for.
That's not to say that one of these things is not like the other. It's to say that Bojack did what no other show starring animals has done, and that's have them act like humans, deal with very human emotions and problems, all while still interacting with humans.
Animals. is what NYC animals look like when the human influence, not necessarily the self-awareness or emotional complexity (it's not quite smart enough yet) has tapped into primal instincts. It's really funny, but it's nothing exceptional.
This is a recommendation in lieu of binge watching the previously mentioned cartoons or even trying to get through Bill Burr's decidedly not great F Is for Family. Check out Animals. on HBO Now.[Feature Image Courtesy Instagram]