Sunday, May 28, 2023

Culture From The Couch: What to Watch, Read and Listen to This Weekend

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Capsule’s latest pop culture recommendations on what to watch, read and listen to this weekend!

Welcome to the weekend! Every fortnight, we compile what we think are THE shows you need to be bingeing, the books worth reading and the podcasts you NEED to listen in to! So sit back, relax – we have this weekend covered!


Queen Charlotte
On Netflix

If you are a Bridgerton fan in need of a new fix, you can’t go past Shona Rhimes’ new accompanying show Queen Charlotte on Netflix. The prequel focuses on a young Queen Charlotte’s rise to power in the late 18th century. Unlike the two seasons of raunchy Recency drama Bridgerton, Queen Charlotte offers a deep-dive into characters and explores why Charlotte is the way she is. It has it all you know and love about Bridgerton – impeccable costuming, steaminess and a heartbreaking love story, and this series also introduces queer storylines. Try to savour the limited series, as our next dose of Bridgerton is coming, but the release date of season three has yet to be announced.

Jury Duty
On Amazon Prime Video

There’s been a lot of hype and discussion about Jury Duty – is it worth it? Short answer, yes! The mockumentary sitcom series centres around a ‘real’ jury trial in the US – but the catch is that everyone on the show is an actor except for one person, solar contractor Ronald Gladden. He’s legit the only person that’s unaware of what’s really going on and thinks it is an actual court case he has been summoned for. James Marsden plays a cringe-worthy version of himself, and the jury members are a quirky bunch who make outrageous and awkward comments throughout the eight-part series. You’ve got a socially awkward inventor, someone who keeps falling asleep and a teacher who is having marital issues and initially tries to get out of jury duty by claiming he has more 30 children to care for. While the series is funny, I also couldn’t help feeling sorry for Ronald in what is a real-life Truman show. The show’s crew have explained his mental health was important to them during the prank and while Ronald is ok, he revealed it took him months to come to terms with what actually happened. Wild stuff!


The Albatross
by Nina Wan

A book cover sure to brighten your bookshelf is the debut novel by former Australian journalist Nina Wan. The Albatross is about first love, second chances and – hear me out – golf. Primrose Li is 36 and her marriage is on the rocks due to infidelity and illness. She makes an unplanned visit to a golf course called Whistles which brings up her past and forces her to confront what’s actually going on in her life. Oh, and her love from 20 years ago now lives across the street – so Primrose has a bit on! The golf course becomes a happy place for Primrose while she figures everything out. The author drew inspiration from her own experience at a Melbourne golf course during a challenging time in her life.

Happy Place
by Emily Henry

If you’re looking for a light romcom to escape with, add Emily Henry’s fourth novel Happy Place to your reading pile. You may recognise the bestselling authors’ colourful book covers – Book Lovers, Beach Read and You and Me on Vacation have taken over book clubs and BookTok.

Her latest instalment is about a perfect couple Harriet and Wyn, who every year for 10 years have gone on holiday with their friends to live their best vacation lives, drinking wine and soaking up the sun. Except this year is different – Harriet and Wyn broke up six months ago and haven’t told anyone. Their home is for sale and they’re planning to fake still being together for the trip. The book has the backing of two of the most popular authors Taylor Jenkins Reid and Colleen Hoover.


The Witch Trials of J.K Rowling

Oooh, the subject of J.K. Rowling is a hard one. Like many millennials I was transfixed by the books and movies and as an adult visited the set of Harry Potter in London, stood in the Gryffindor common room and enjoyed a glass of butterbeer while strolling down Diagon Alley. I try to stay in that happy bubble of memories, but it’s hard now with the controversy surrounding author J.K. Rowling, which all started when she posted a series of tweets in 2020 about the transgender community.

Host of the podcast Megan Phelps-Roper (a former member of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church) wrote a letter to J.K and was invited to have a conversation at her home. The series explores the creation and legacy of Harry Potter and we hear J.K speak in depth about the life-changing idea that came to her while she was on a train, her comments on gender and sex and the backlash and book bans which followed. The series does a good job of attempting to remain balanced and features interviews with supporters, critics and experts – a good one to listen to then form your own opinion.

The Human Race

TW: Fertility, miscarriage.

Well known and not-so-well-known Kiwis have been bravely sharing their stories about their fertility struggles on new podcast The Human Race, and it’s a worthy listen. The podcast is a safe space for these difficult conversations, and is hosted by TV presenter Nadine Higgins and her husband Dan.

The couple have openly shared their struggles with IVF, and speak with people who have spent years trying to have a baby including radio hosts Bryce and Sharyn Casey, Shortland Street’s Ria Vandevis – who had a miscarriage and had to continue her character’s pregnancy and act out giving birth on screen.

This podcast is really special, and shines a light on those challenged with circumstances, including singles and the rainbow community.And, on one of the latest episodes, Nadine and Dan shared some big news about their own long-awaited pregnancy!

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