While other sites are telling you what you should be watching while the country huddles around the TV, we here at Psycho Drive-In decided instead to share what we’re watching to keep us from thinking about the potential end of the world as we know it.

In this installment, Jessica Sowards, Mike Burr, and Shawn Hill share the eclectic collection of shows and movies that have been filling their days and nights!

Television Binge Buffet

Night Gallery (1969-1973) Free with ads on IMDBTV

I recently showed a friend my favorite episode of The Twilight Zone (1959-1964), which is “Time Enough at Last” from the first season. The episode started a nagging Rod Serling itch that I could not scratch with more of The Twilight Zone as I annually tune in for a New Year’s Day marathon.  It provides the entertaining and topical plot twists of The Twilight Zone, but in episodes I have not seen.  I also enjoy seeing the talents of classic actors such as John Astin, Tom Bosley, and Phyllis Diller.

Anne with an “E” (2017-2019) Netflix

I am binging the 3rd and, sadly, final season of the show.  Anne (Amybeth McNulty), Gilbert (Lucas Jade Zumann), and Diana (Dalila Bela) are growing up in this season which tackles death, racism, and gender issues.  True, these sound awfully heavy for Green Gables, but they are managed well without being too preachy and not becoming “A Very Special Episode of…”  I grew up loving the Anne of Green Gables (1985) film that I grew up with and seemed to air every weekend on my local PBS affiliate and this version is as delightful, fresh, and bright as the original.

Tiger King (2020) Netflix

Holy crap! This is Netflix’s latest docuseries and it is insane!  Every episode I watch is crazier and crazier!  Joe Exotic, a self-proclaimed mullet wearing, gun toting, big cat loving, gay, redneck is a larger than life character than any writer could create! His rivalry with a fellow (and much different!) big cat enthusiast Carole Baskin is a train wreck I cannot stop watching.

Movie Munchies

The Kitchen (2019)

I love crime movies and Melissa McCarthy so I used this time to catch up one I missed when it was in theaters. Although it could easily trick you into thinking this is based on a true story, it comes from a DC/Vertigo Comics limited series of the same name by Ollie Masters and Ming Doyle. Kathy (Melissa McCarthy), Ruby (Tiffany Haddish), and Claire (Elisabeth Moss) take over operations in the Irish Mob after the arrests of their husbands in 1970’s Hell’s Kitchen. Each character has their own angle and agenda in this dark film. Now I am anxious to read the comic!

The Hunt (2020)

This film was released for rental for a whopping $19.99 on streaming platforms after the increased restriction on screenings in movie theaters due to the coronavirus pandemic. I have a confession.  I partly watched this for the historical aspect of a movie being released to rent before the end usual theatrical run. I also wanted to watch it because it is so fitting for America today.  It is a black comedy action horror thriller that serves as a satire on the extremes of the American left and right. Twelve strangers wake up gagged in a clearing without any knowledge of where they are, how they got there, and who is behind it.  All they know is they are being hunted and have been provided with weapons to use to defend themselves.  It features Betty Gilpin, Wayne Duvall, and Hilary Swank and provides laughs worthy of a Coen Brother film while exposing the dangers of thinking in absolutes and parodying the concept of social media commentators.  I do not consider myself a political person, but I loved this movie.

— Jessica Sowards

The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula

While I am sure many people are availing themselves of all the excellent content offered by PBS, the Metropolitan Opera, and other culturally significant outlets, I personally feel that a global pandemic is not the time to challenge one’s self with highbrow entertainment. Firstly, even for those who have been lucky enough to not be directly affected by COVID-19, there is  the existential dread of the situation and levels of guilt associated with everything from eating the last Pop-Tart to feeling relieved that your job was essential enough to be retained, but not in any meaningful way, like that of a grocery clerk or garbage collector. The last two weeks have also called for locking down both our parents and kids, dealing with the twenty minutes it takes Bruce to log in for what was supposed to be a thirty minute meeting, and coming to terms with how many candy bars I actually consume a week now that I am sheltered in place with my spouse and her stubborn insistence on buying actual groceries. I don’t need something to lift my spirit or offer edification in this time of strife. I want to be somewhere else, and not have to do a hell of a lot of work once I get there. My solution so far has been Dragula, two seasons currently streaming on Netflix. 

The premise is simple: put Face Off, Fear Factor, and RuPaul’s Drag Race in a blender, and a healthy dose of camp delivered by hosts Dramcorda and Swanthula Boulet, drag icons that are equal parts Vampira and Bea Arthur. The Boulets steer into their roles as hammy masters of ceremonies, but also as avatars and nurturers of drag styles that have been largely overlooked as the art form hit the mainstream in the last decade. There are queens whose bread and butter is genre work, glam queens willing to get in the muck for a little exposure, and, perhaps most gloriously, a few who don’t really seem to register that a competition is happening around them. The cast is put through the de rigeur “look” challenge and a squeamish elimination, both of which are done, in true grindhouse style, on a budget. On the episode takes place in a ghost town, be assured that it is the cheapest ghost town available. Production springs for a total of one disinterested looking horse. These details actually add to Dragula’s “let’s put on a show” hangout vibe. The competition often takes a back seat to the queens themselves, who seem less interested in winning than offering their skewed take on reality tropes. Dragula reaches its apex however, when a contestant goes even further afield and uses the show simply as a platform for his or her particular brand of weirdness. There is something glorious about watching contestants on a reality show about subverting reality shows subvert the show for no other reason than they can. What’s the worst that could happen? Getting shot with paint and eating alien guts are part of the planned program.

I’m not sure that I wouldn’t have liked a Cenobite fashion show two weeks ago, but after fourteen days of adjusting to the new normal, I need something novel, diverting, and utterly unlike anything I might encounter within the four walls where I now spend most of my time. Unless things take a really unexpected turn with the wife and kids over the next little while, this is just what Dragula delivers.  

— Mike Burr

Here’s the things that have been helping me shelter in place. Obsessing over the 180 11-minute episodes of Steven Universe and Steven Universe Future. Seeing Patrick Stewart back on a starship. And binging season 2 of the surprisingly well-updated Lost in Space.

Top Ten Steven Universe Episodes

  1. Gem Glow: the first one, Cookie Cat and the Centipeedle. Want some Chaaps?
  2. Mirror Gem: everything about Lapis makes her my favorite character of all time. She is personified angst. And yes, Steven, she’s a Water Witch, your dad is right.
  3. Ocean Gem: More Lapis.
  4. Giant Woman: Opal is so cool, not least because usually Pearl and Amethyst don’t possess the harmony it takes to create her. Fusions!
  5. Lion 3: Straight to Video: Lion isn’t really trying to smother Steven.
  6. Alone Together: Stevonnie! Human fusion, and Kevin!
  7. On the Run: “I never asked to be born!” This is not the language of a kid’s cartoon, even in the Kindergarten.
  8. Jailbreak: “Oh Steven, we already love you.” Steven learns about Garnet’s fusion at last! Jasper!
  9. Chille Tide: You had me at “recurring dreams of Lapis.” Almost as surreal as the crossover with Uncle Grandpa.
  10. Change Your Mind: the only non-Season 1-2 episode on my list, really 4 episodes, and the culmination of everything that ever came before and all that ensued.

Picard Season 1

Picard had a kind of impossible role to fill, bringing TNG back to streaming TV in all it’s successful drama, and powerful chemistry, and certainly the old show’s most exciting episode (featuring Locutus of Borg, who is name-dropped more than once) was one touchstone. But this is a darker Federation, one where synthetics are outlawed after a murderous spree on Mars, and Picard is old and defeated from the start. Of all things, it’s really a sequel to the final TNG movie, Insurrection, and while that one gave us an early Tom Hardy role and some truly gruesome Romulan death scenes, I’m pretty sure no one was clamoring for it to be the even bigger touchstone.

But that’s where Data died, and so in this series we get memories of Data; we got nice and evil and emotionally messy Romulans all over the place; we get Federation corruption to recall the worst days of the DS9 conspiracy (and that one had Changelings!); and we get a slow start to get a questionably healthy Picard back in action. Along the way, a few clichés about sneaky siblings and unlikely undercover operations (Pirate Captain Picard anyone?) get thrown in with a Borg cube, an apocalyptic prophecy, an evil Vulcan, and a brand new star in Isa Briones (who was a little flat, but then again she’s playing three versions of the same robot by the end).

What saves it all is the fan service. Riker and Troi, finally married and with a child. Seven of Nine, for some reason a kind of Maquis ranger now, not the predictable orderly fate for the once rigid Seven, but interesting (how did Janeway lose touch?). Hugh, a welcome face from the past. And Brent Spiner playing at least two characters, but probably game for Lore and infinite others had he been called to. He always sells maximum sci-fi weirdness. The story was as histrionic and predictable as some of Discovery’s many swerves, but just as that show managed some classic episodes despite the bombast, this one managed to keep the focus almost always on Picard and his colorful new friends. Raffi and her depression, Rios and his haunted past, Agnes and her mental abuse, Elnor and his bravery, they became a winning team and crew by the end. Season 2 can’t come too soon.

Lost in Space

Not a very promising prospect, this show. And original premise that seemed hackneyed and dated (except for its very good pilot episode) filled with goofy guest stars and plots that revolved around having a histrionic traitor always in their midst. But it had two things going for it. The gender switch weirdness of Parker Posey playing Dr. Smith, and the new cast of Robinsons which managed to preserve the nuclear family charm of the original while easily dispensing with the 1960s sexism that hampered the old stories. Now it’s okay to let Maureen be the smart one, Judy be a doctor already, and Penny be the emotional glue of the family. On the spear side, John is pretty much the thankless workhorse, which lets Will be a crazy little dreamer who can control murderous alien robots. Posey’s eccentric choices reinvent the character (I can’t imagine there’s any way to recreate what Jonathan Harris did in the original for a modern audience; all the dizzy queen coding isn’t as fun anymore ), and she’s a great counterpoint to the stalwart yet creative Robinsons. They are hardly better than her Machiavellian ways (as she points out often, they follow the rules until breaking them starts working better for their goals), just better at doing it openly without her protective subterfuge and endless mind games. They are actually who they say they are. Mostly.

And they have special effects now, which helps a lot. And Don is more than just window dressing. And there’s a bigger supporting cast, and fewer extras in monster suits. One more season is promised, but this season provided more satisfying dilemmas of the week than the first one (which relied on pretty dumb dilemmas for a while). Season 2 had mysterious trenches with electrical charges, predatory horse raptors, a whole episode about sailing on a spaceship, very annoying seaweed, and something small that decides to start dissolving all the metal it can find. And in every case, either a Robinson (usually Maureen, who is so sure of herself she cheated on the psych eval to make sure her son could come along) or Dr. Smith figures a way out at the last minute. It’s even more fun when they begrudgingly team up.

— Shawn Hill

(Visited 87 times, 1 visits today)