For its 8th season, The Great British Bake Off, in a controversial move, changed networks from the BBC to Channel 4 much to the apparent entire UK’s consternation. Fans will be pleased to learn, however, that despite the addition of a few new faces on the judging panel and some unwanted ads interrupting the delightfully cake-based puns filled proceedings, the show remains largely the same.
To anyone unfamiliar with the show, 12 of Britain’s best aspiring amateur bakers of all ages, go head to head every week in a bid to be named Star Baker. Three episodes in, this week we saw scouser pensioner Flo head home after her Davy Jones inspired bread sculpture failed to shiver the judges’ timbers.
Equal parts stressful as it is charming to watch, it’s extremely hard not to get caught up with each and every contestant as they attempt to pull off spectacular feats of baking according to a different theme each week. Next week is caramel week and we can’t wait to see what’s on the menu!
The Great British Bake Off is currently airing on Channel 4 every Tuesday evening but you can catch up on all episode of Season 8 on Channel 4’s free online player All 4.
Give it a go: If you’re looking for an engrossing reality show suitable for all members of the family.
Give it a miss: If you tend to veer away from all things twee.
The Path explores the unknown and mysterious world of the cult-like Meyerist Movement in upstate New York. The drama centres on conflicted husband Eddie (played by Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul), his devoted wife (Michelle Monaghan) and the ambitious group’s leader (Hugh Dancy). The difference (if any) between religion and cult is the backbone of this dark, smart and haunting series.
Critics were generally favourable towards the show, with the first season receiving a score of 82% on Rotten Tomatoes, with many drawing parallels between the Meyerist Movement and The Church of Scientology. Even with that flavour to pique your interest however, The Path succeeds on its own in creating a tense and layered drama.
Promising review: “The Path is not a rollicking Scientology takedown but a more measured, slow-building dismantling of the insidious accommodations required to maintain absolute religious certainty.”
You can watch the first two seasons of The Path on Amazon Prime Video now.
Give it a go: If you’re looking for a measured drama that asks some big questions.
Give it a miss: If you find it hard to get your head around faith of any kind.
From Sharon Horgan (creator, writer and star of Channel 4’s excellent comedy series Catastrophe) comes Divorce; a comedy series following the demise of Frances and Robert’s (Sarah Jessica Parker and Thomas Haden Church’s) marriage following Frances’ affair with another man.
Though the subject matter of the show might be familiar to us in theory, “it is by its very nature a taller order for the viewer, because the show's narrative arc follows a couple falling out of, rather than into, love” as one reviewer put it. Therefore, you may well find yourself alternately annoyed, amused and to a lesser extent saddened throughout the duration of the series as you witness the gradual dissolution of a marriage. Parker and Church are arresting in their portrayals of the perfect imperfect duo and before long you’ll be sucked into their drama.
Divorce is available to stream on NOW TV now.
Give it a go: To see how Sharon Horgan’s excellently astute talent and wit translates to the American screen.
Give it a miss: If you prefer happily ever afters.
Rotten Tomatoes puts it best in its summary of Netflix’s latest original show American Vandal; “a true-crime satire that explores the aftermath of a costly high school prank that left 27 faculty cars vandalised with phallic images. Over the course of the eight-episode season, an aspiring sophomore documentarian investigates the controversial and potentially unjust expulsion of troubled senior (and known dick-drawer) Dylan Maxwell. Not unlike its now iconic true-crime predecessors, the addictive American Vandal will leave one question on everyone's minds until the very end: Who drew the dicks?”
Critics are in love with the show and it has received a surprisingly high score of 100%(!) on Rotten Tomatoes.
Promising review: “Few shows I've seen catch high school society, with its self-contained seriousness, as well as American Vandal does, as well as the mix of innocence and experience, confusion and certitude that mark that age.”
Give it a go: If you’re in the mood for something silly.
Give it a miss: If you’d prefer to watch one of the hard hitting docu-series American Vandal seeks to satirise.
American Vandal is available to stream on Netflix now.
The summer rom-com of 2015, Trainwreck killed it at the box-office as a result of its ability to pull in even the most rom-com averse filmgoers. The story follows commitment-phobic Amy, a successful magazine writer. Finding herself in a rut, things start to change when she meets with a sports injury doctor to the stars who might just have the key to her heart of stone.
If that sounds mushy and very predictable, rest assured that the movie will have you chortling from start to finish and comes bursting with energetic performances and razor-sharp comedic timing from Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie Larson and more.
Give it a go: If you’re looking for a modern comedy and good laugh this Friday night.
Give it a miss: If you just can’t get on the Amy Schumer hype train.
Trainwreck is available to stream on Netflix now.
That’s all for this week’s recommendations, if you’re looking for more, check out last week’s recommendations right here.
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