“Very British Problems”: Consider this chatty, lightly self-loathing Netflix series should you ever notice the sensation of feeling like “the ugly American” based on recent developments in the news. A playful look by the English at the specific internal traumas that come with being English — a discomfort with small talk, anxiety about public embarrassment or the perils of traveling without Marmite, to name a few — told through the lens of celebrities and comics such as James Corden, Stephen Mangan and Aisling Bea. Consider it a self-esteem boost in that we Americans certainly have our problems, but at least they’re not those.
The War & Treaty’s “Are You Ready to Love Me”: Be prepared to hear a lot more about this Nashville band, who will be following up the recent release of its debut album with an appearance on Chris Thile’s post-“Prairie Home” public radio show “Live from Here” this weekend. Composed of husband and wife Michael and Tanya Trotter, the duo is a joyful mix of gospel, soul and Americana best carried through the raw, rafters-reaching power of their voices, which combine with keys and pedal steel on this song to sound something like the best of whatever idea we have about America.
The sliding scale of horror: ’Tis the season for jump-scares and horror marathons, and everyone has their favorites leading into Halloween. Yet that perhaps is rooted in the longtime mainstream dismissal of the genre that allows for some forgiveness for the clunky dialogue and leaden acting that happen between the movie moments that go bump in the night. The situation is improving of late with indie horror such as “Get Out” and “Hereditary” as two easy examples, but for all the positive notice Netflix’s “The Haunting of Hill House” has received, there’s some overcooked aspects to overlook to accept the series’ quality chills.
Piers Morgan: A dimly remembered TV phantasm who serves as a sentient justification for the American Revolution, Morgan hosted a show on CNN years ago before poor ratings led to his cancellation. Clearly struggling with his reduced profile, Morgan now busies himself by channeling the wisdom of the average YouTube commenter, trolling for outrage with statements like one this week that questioned the masculinity of Daniel Craig because he was cradling his infant daughter in a baby carrier. Can we log Morgan as another “very British problem” and just ignore his antics? We have enough lunacy here without having to accept inferior imports.
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