Look, it’s hot out.
And going outside when the heat index is in the triple-digits is overrated. Here are five TV shows to binge-watch this weekend when it will either be in the high 90s or raining or somehow both.
1. “GLOW” (Netflix)
A heavily fictionalized account of the late 80s wrestling phenomena the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, “GLOW” takes the real story (chronicled in this moving documentary “G.L.O.W.: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling”) and morphs it into a sweet, often very funny look at the intersection of women, money, power, the perils of entrepreneurship, and 1980s hair.
Alison Brie plays Ruth Wilder, a struggling actress who backs into in this wrestling startup when she is out of options. Betty Gilpin (looking EXACTLY like Nicole Brown Simpson for some reason) plays her best frienemy Debbie, who also joins the crew.
Plenty of wrestlers an sprinkled throughout (Kia Stevens, who has wrestled under the names Kharma and Awesome King, has a key role, while Alex Riley and John Morrison/Johnny Nitro pop up).
And then there’s Marc Maron, who has been apparently waiting his whole life to play Sam Sylvia, the schlock filmmaker who serves as the wrestling crew’s head writer, director and co-producer. Maron can apparently do “mildly sleazy” and “not as awful as he first seems” as well as anyone alive. The first season is eight half-hour episodes and just flies by.
2. “The Defiant Ones” (HBO)
Sure, it’s essentially a four hour Behind the Music without the melodramatic voice overs, but it’s a four hour Behind the Music about Interscope Records head Jimmy Ioivine and producer/executive Dr. Dre, two of the most powerful, influential people in the last 30 years of popular music.
Iovine’s story starts in the 1970s, an Italian kid from New York City longshoremen stock who worked his way from sweeping up a studio to engineer on “Born to Run” to producer (Patti Smith, Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks, etc.) to co-founder of Interscope, where his path eventually crossed with a post-NWA Dr. Dre.
Dre, fresh from leaving N.W.A., was looking for someone to put out “The Chronic,” which became one of hip-hop’s true game-changers. (We go back to Dre’s childhood as well). Interscope got into bed with Death Row Records and the rest is history, a history which ends up involving U2, Nine Inch Nails, Tupac, Marilyn Manson and more.
Director Allen Hughes is a canny documentarian and talks to most of the major players and the whole thing is catnip for music doc nerds.
And the scene of a very young Dre blending “Please Mr. Postman” with some old school electro...well, it was 30-plus years ago and still sounds shocking.
3. “Rick and Morty” (Cartoon Network) Is it the best show on TV?
Well, wWhen you are in the right mood for an incredibly smartly written (and very adult) cartoon about an alcoholic, nihilistic-yet-somewhat-moral, dimension-hopping mad scientist; his grandson Morty, whom he drags on adventures; their exceptionally dysfunctional family; and all manner of aliens, creatures, planets, parodies and incredible comedy, then MAN ALIVE, YES, IT ABSOLUTELY IS. The new season starts July 30; catch up on the first two seasons on Hulu now.
4. “Fargo” (FX) The third season of this terrific crime series by Austinite, novelist and total champ Noah Hawley might be its most purely cinema-noir season -- there’s a complicated plot, a few cool dead ends (one of which is about sci-fi pulp magazines), chumps who are not quite as smart as they think (both of whom are played by Ewan McGregor), flunkies who are too smart for their own good (Michael Stuhlbarg), a perfect femme fatale (Mary Elizabeht Winstead), a near-Satanic villain (David Thewlis, amking up for his “Wonder Woman” phone in) and a dogged hero (Carrie Coon). Outstanding.
5. “The Young Pope” (HBO). Let’s be real: you probably didn’t watch this the first time around.
But if you can hang with the High Weirdness that “Fargo” and “Twin Peaks,” you owe it to yourself to check out this slightly more grounded but somehow just as unhinged program.
Jude Law is somehow absolutely perfect to play Lenny Belardo, aka Pope Pius XII, the sleaziest Pope of all time.
Law slithers around the screen, imports a kangaroo to leap around the Vatican, hangs out with Diane Keaton as a nun who ran the orphanage in which he grew up and generally makes for an unsettling presence.(Also, Keaton’s absolute refusal to act just adds to the overall oddness.)
Director Paolo Sorrentino and cinematographer Lica Bigazzi makes every show look louche, gorgeous, majestic and intimidating -- just like the Church Lenny envisions.