The man behind ‘One Perfect Shot’ breaks down his favorite ‘perfect shot’

Three people sitting in a living room
Terry Blanchard, left, Kasi Lemmons and Cynthia Erivo discuss “Harriet” on “One Perfect Shot.”
(Eddy Chen / HBO Max)

This is the Los Angeles Times newsletter about all things TV and streaming movies. This week, we hear from the man behind the Twitter account One Perfect Shot, argue over Season 2 of “Bridgerton” and get our first reader recommendation. Scroll down!

This year’s Oscars telecast, airing Sunday on ABC, might be the most high-pressure in recent memory. Beset by years of flagging ratings, and facing a slate of acclaimed but not exactly blockbuster nominees, the annual celebration of cinema has already caused plenty of heartburn this time around. Producer Will Packer promises a no-holds-barred entertainment event, but many in Hollywood have criticized the decision to excise eight below-the-line categories from the televised ceremony.

For the record:

5:17 p.m. March 25, 2022An earlier version of this article said Neil Miller created One Perfect Shot. He is the executive producer.

Whether a trio of new hosts (Regina Hall, Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes), a flurry of live musical performances (Beyoncé, Billie Eilish) and fewer trophies to hand out add up to success remains to be seen, but it’s hard imagining even a hitch-less Oscars being much more than a blip in the trend. This is the 94th Academy Awards, and no number of cosmetic alterations can change the fact that “the awards show” has evolved at a glacier’s pace while TV transformed at the speed of lightning. To wit: You can still catch the telecast via an over-the-air antenna, but there’s no free livestream.


Sure, it’s possible a bunch of business from the Dolby Theatre stage will be enough to get casual fans to tune in, or even buck up and buy Hulu + Live TV. But don’t put your Oscar pool money on it.


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A teenage boy at a stand selling treasure maps to residents of his small town.
Sam Straley, center, in “Welcome to Flatch.”
(Brownie Harris / Fox)

“Recent studies show that Americans long for a simpler life in small towns,” reads an opening title on each episode of “Welcome to Flatch.” This new Fox series, also streaming on Hulu, purports to investigate a fictional Ohio hamlet (pop. 1,526). But if the mockumentary approach, setting and complement of eccentrics brings “Parks and Recreation” quickly to mind (there is even a much-hated rival town next door), “Flatch” quickly establishes its own world through the specificity of its characters, the strength of its performers and its bittersweet tone. (It’s also consistently funny.) TV newcomer Holmes and Sam Straley (oldest son Lawrence on the late lamented “The Kids Are Alright”) play cousins and best friends Kelly and Shrub, wandering through what technically would be called their young adulthood, pulling pranks, looking for validation, money and love; they seem born to lose, but they feel born to win. Among their fellow citizens: Seann William Scott as the fairly new-to-town reverend, formerly a member of a Christian boy band; Aya Cash as his dumped girlfriend, now running the local paper; and Krystal Smith as Big Mandy, who can hear you whisper a block away. It’s executive produced by Paul Feig (who also mucks in as a writer and director) and adapted from the British series “This Country” by Jenny Bicks, who created another series about love in an out-of-the-way place, the delightful “Men in Trees.”Robert Lloyd

If the first season of “Starstruck” (HBO Max), one of last year’s joyous discoveries, flew under your radar, let this serve as your reminder not to make the same mistake twice. Starring creator and co-writer Rose Matafeo — a woman whose grooving to Mark Morrison’s “Return of the Mack” is a thing of beauty (trust me) — the show is a refreshing riff on rom-com classic “Notting Hill.” Set in London, the series follows Jessie (Matafeo), a 20-something “normie” who develops a hard-to-forget connection with movie star Tom Kapoor (Nikesh Patel) after a one-night stand. Just as in its debut season, its sophomore outing is a woefully brief but charming six episodes that will leave you longing for more. Love gets more complicated for Jessie and Tom in Season 2, but no less delightful and witty for the viewer. You won’t find another series that can expertly weave mentions of “Magic Mike Live” into a storyline. —Yvonne Villarreal

Guest spot

A weekly chat with actors, writers, directors and more about what they’re working on — and what they’re watching

A bearded man headshot
Neil Miller, executive producer of “One Perfect Shot.”
(Neil Miller)

Inspired by the hugely popular Twitter account and brought to television by Ava DuVernay, the new docuseries “One Perfect Shot,now streaming on HBO Max, does what stills and GIFs floating by in your Twitter feed can’t: narrate the stories behind cinema’s most unforgettable images. (Getting Michael Mann to talk about “Heat” is a particular coup.) Executive producer Neil Miller, who runs the One Perfect Shot Twitter account, swung by Screen Gab to talk about what he’s watching, the episode that made him emotional and, yes, his favorite “perfect shot.” —Matt Brennan

What have you watched recently that you are recommending to everyone you know?

I’ve only recently started to slow down my maximum-pressure campaign to get everyone I know to watch “Yellowjackets” (Showtime). After spending the first two years of the pandemic diving deep into and podcasting about “Lost,” perhaps my favorite show of all time, it was great to finally find its perfect successor. Plus, one of my long-standing rules for living well through pop culture is that if Melanie Lynskey is in a thing, then I’m going to watch it. It’s a rule that has not failed me yet.

Now that “Yellowjackets” is in its offseason, I’ve been doing everything I can to get friends and enemies alike to watch Lauren Hadaway’s “The Novice” (VOD), a blistering thriller about a young woman who goes on a physically brutal, psychologically intense journey to make her college’s highly competitive rowing team. It’s an immersive, incredibly well-crafted film anchored by a ferocious performance from Isabelle Fuhrman. It has some spine-tingling body horror elements that unnerved me and still somehow made me feel like I should buy a rowing machine and finally become a fit person. That’s some powerful cinema right there.

What’s your go-to “comfort watch,” the movie or TV show you go back to again and again?

For me, there’s no bad day that can’t be improved with a few episodes of “Bob’s Burgers” (Fox, Disney+). Especially if it’s one of the show’s many episodes with musical numbers, like “Topsy” or “Work Hard or Die Trying, Girl.” This is a theory I’ve been testing for a while, and it has held true, especially during the most stressful parts of the last few years. Even as I’ve brought other great new sitcoms like “Abbott Elementary” (ABC, Hulu), “Grand Crew” (NBC, Peacock) and the most recent season of “The Righteous Gemstones” (HBO Max) into my rotation, because that’s what I’m most often watching in the background during my workday, there’s always going to be room for my favorite working-class family and their pun-filled adventures.

The TV series deconstructs the making of six perfect shots.” What was the one making-of story or detail that surprised you the most?

What I didn’t expect was that I would be a sobbing mess by the end of the episode featuring Kasi Lemmons. The story behind the shot from “Harriet” is a perfect example of how thoughtful preparation and a filmmaker’s instinct can put an entire crew in the right place at the right moment to capture something powerful and indelible. It’s exactly the kind of story and episode that I had in my mind when we first began thinking about what a “One Perfect Shot” show could be.

OK, toughest one last: In the annals of the Twitter account, what is the most perfect perfect shot” (or your favorite)?

Attempting to identify the “most perfect” shot feels like the quick and easy way to get absolutely roasted on Twitter, so I think I’ll stick with a favorite. Plus, I’ve always thought of the Twitter account as less of an arbiter of taste and more about celebrating the moments in cinema and television to which we have a strong emotional connection. A running list of single frames (or sequences of frames in GIF form) that can transport us back to the moment we fell in love with a particular movie or show or with the medium itself.

One of my all-time favorites is the shot of two water glasses sitting on the dashboard of a Jeep in “Jurassic Park,” in which tiny ripples in the water build the tension necessary to make the arrival of the T. rex one of the great moments in cinema history. Experiencing that film on the big screen as a kid was a formative experience. It ignited a love for movie magic that has informed everything I’ve wanted to do with my life since. It’s also a seemingly simple shot with an amazing backstory — from the fact that Spielberg got the idea while listening to an Earth, Wind & Fire song in his car to effects supervisor Michael Lantieri figuring out how to get the ripples just right by plucking a guitar string below the dashboard. Every time I see even one frame from that moment, I can immediately hear the sound of the T. rex’s footsteps and feel that same sense of excitement and dread that I felt the first time I saw it. Everyone who loves film undoubtedly has similar moments from the movies they love. And if we can use One Perfect Shot to chronicle as many of those perfect moments as possible, maybe we can make Twitter a slightly more bearable place to spend time.

Break down

Times staffers chew on the pop culture of the moment — love it, hate it or somewhere in between

A sopping wet man emerges from a pond.
Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton in Season 2 of “Bridgerton.”
(Liam Daniel / Netflix)

Warning: The following contains spoilers from Season 2 of “Bridgerton.”

The return of Netflix’s wildly popular “Bridgerton,” a sudsy romantic drama from executive producer Shonda Rhimes and creator Chris Van Dusen, is sure to set off plenty of debates: Who’s hotter, Jonathan Bailey or Regé-Jean Page? Who’s more ruthless, Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel) or Lady Danbury (Adjoa Andoh)? And which of our canny ingenues, Eloise (Claudia Jessie) or Penelope (Nicola Coughlan), is the “Bad Art Friend”?

But none is likely to be debated as fiercely as the relative merits of Season 1 and Season 2, which take contrasting approaches to sex, marriage, ambition and duty, among other of the series’ major themes. Staff writers Meredith Blake and Ashley Lee, who came down on either side of the divide, duke it out — see what we did there? — in time for Friday’s season premiere.

Blake: When “Bridgerton” arrived way back in late 2020, it became a massive breakout success for Netflix, thanks largely to the charisma of its lead, Regé-Jean Page, its many, many sex scenes and its not entirely unrealistic depiction of a young woman gradually figuring out how babies are made. It was always going to be hard for “Bridgerton” to top the bonkers-lightning-in-a-bottle of Season 1, especially given Page’s departure from the series. But even though I came in with lowered expectations, I was still disappointed by the show’s sophomore turn.

To start with: I miss the Hot Duke. It seems obvious that the folks at Shondaland massively screwed up by not getting him back for Season 2, especially since his absence is barely explained and his supposedly devoted wife, Daphne, plays a crucial role in the season. He’s become the equivalent of Samantha Jones in “And Just Like That” — the character made conspicuous by his absence.

Ashley, I know you felt quite differently. Convince me I’m wrong!

Lee: I’m the opposite! I missed the initial “Bridgerton” boat in 2020 and only binged the first season a few weeks ago when I was craving more low-stakes corset drama between episodes of HBO’s “The Gilded Age.” While it is an indisputable fact that Page is the human embodiment of sex appeal, I was beyond put-off by the second half of the season, in which the main “obstacle” to overcome was Simon Basset’s objection to getting married or starting a family.

I get that it’s a series based on Julia Quinn’s books and still a period piece, but it’s also 2022 — if the Hot Duke doesn’t want to be Hot Duke with a wife and a kid, let him be! Plus, the way in which it all went down was pretty gross, and no amount of very, very well-done sex scenes could make me look past that. I’m shocked that so many other viewers could, though part of me has to wonder if its massive reception was due to its release date, when many of us were sheltering in place for the holiday season and generally desperate for frivolity and excess.

Luckily, both those things are still hot commodities, which is why I enjoyed the second season. I totally looked past Anthony Bridgerton in Season 1 (it’s hard to claim heartthrob status when standing next to Page), but in learning more about him (that bee sting, yikes!), his appeal grew on me, as it did on Kate Sharma. When they finally kissed, I squealed. It was cute.

READ THE FULL CONVERSATION >>> Which season of ‘Bridgerton’ is better? We fight it out

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Recommendations from Screen Gab readers

A man in a grocery store holding a bag of grapes.
Sebastian Stan in “Fresh.”
(Searchlight Pictures)

As a U.K. resident, I had to wait an extra few weeks before “Fresh” would be released on Disney+. (Editor’s note: The film is streaming on Hulu in the U.S.) I’m not joking when I say the wait was agonizing, but having finished the film 10 minutes ago, I’ve decided that it was well worth it. I thought I knew what the plot was about already, yet it still managed to shock me; almost every single scene involved a twist of some kind, which is exactly the kind of thing I’m looking for in a good thriller. As always, Sebastian Stan and Daisy Edgar-Jones absolutely killed it (pun intended) with their performances … even as a die-hard Sebastian stan (sorry, I’ll stop with the bad jokes now), I was rooting for Edgar-Jones’ character from the very first scene. What struck me most, though, was just how beautifully put together the film is. Everything from the lighting to the camera angles to the soundtrack has clearly been thought through carefully, and the payoff is incredible. Director Mimi Cave nailed it. So, if you want to laugh, cry, cringe, gasp, whatever … watch “Fresh.” Maybe not while you’re eating, though. —Yasmin, Norwich, United Kingdom

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What’s next

The TV shows and streaming movies to keep an eye on in the coming week

Two women dancing on a pink stage
Lizzo, left, with choreographer Tanisha Scott in “Watch Out for the Big Grrrls.”
(James Clark / Amazon Prime Video)

Fri., March 25

“Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls” (Amazon Prime Video): In this reality competition, part of her first-look deal with the streamer, Lizzo auditions plus-size backup dancers.

“Olivia Rodrigo: driving home 2 u (a Sour film)” (Disney+): Make sure your “Drivers License” is up to date, because the pop star is going on a road trip in her new concert film.

“Pachinko” (Apple TV+): When at its best, this Korean family epic, based on the novel by Min Jin Lee, “is a lesson in how to do melodrama right,” writes TV critic Robert Lloyd.

Tues., March 29

“The Girl from Plainville” (Hulu): Elle Fanning takes on the role of Michelle Carter, who encouraged her boyfriend, Conrad Roy, to kill himself in 2014.

Wed., March 30

“Moon Knight” (Disney+): The latest TV series in the MCU stars America’s boyfriend, Oscar Isaac, as Marc Spector/Moon Knight and draws on both Egyptian mythology and the talents of Ethan Hawke and May Calamawy.

Thurs., March 31

“How We Roll” (CBS): A sitcom about professional bowling. What a world.

“Julia” (HBO Max): “Julie & Julia” fans rejoice: There’s a new Julia Child comedy to chew on, this one set during Child’s time shooting “The French Chef” in Boston in the 1960s. With Sarah Lancashire (“Happy Valley”) as the beloved gourmet and David Hyde Pierce (“Frasier”) as her husband, Paul.