Musical staff

In 2022, remember the good things, like recommendations from our staff

Well, it’s been a week in January and it’s cold (at least where I live). The outside world remains… well, let’s not talk about it. Let’s talk about the good stuff like the TV shows that we’ve recently discovered, or that we’re excited to have back, books, movies, music and games that we think we can enjoy, etc. Every week in this space you’ll find a set of recommendations from our writers, ranging from TV and movies to music and podcasts, or whatever we might be right now. These things may or may not be new to the world, but that is not the point. What matters is what’s interesting and what’s worth your time. This week’s entries include: Couple therapy, Let’s build a zoo, The right gems, Miss subways, Saint Jude, and Mass (2021).

TV recommendation: Couple therapy

Daniel Siuba: Last weekend I watched the first season of the original Showtime series Couple therapy. The show follows several couples as they engage in therapy sessions with psychoanalyst Orna Guralnik. In addition to the couples therapy clips, there are also intermittent scenes where Orna visits another psychologist named Virginia, who serves as her clinical advisor. Throughout this series, I was struck not only by the participants’ willingness to be vulnerable and honest with each other (and on film, no less), but also by Orna’s ability to observe. , name and articulate the complex interpersonal dynamics that occur between these couples in real time. There are many shots where Orna leans forward, eyes open, without blinking. Her presence is palpable, and she listens with all her being. Guralnik’s ability to shed light on the reality of each participant’s experience while framing it according to his subjectivity is, in a word, masterful.

Contrary to what you might expect, Couple therapy does not feel voyeuristic; it’s not like reality TV, it’s more of a mixture of art and education. Watching this show also elicited a deep sense of compassion, as I recognized pieces of myself in each attendee, as well as Orna. Once I started the show it was hard to turn it off, and I can’t wait to watch Season 2. If you’ve got a long-term partner and you’re feeling adventurous (and maybe a little bit stupid), I suggest you watch this show together. I watched a few episodes with my partner, and after that we had several exuberant conversations about what we observed, both in the participants and in ourselves.

The first episode is available for free on YouTube.

Game recommendation: Let’s build a zoo

Lor gislason: Due to some unfortunate plumbing issues and freezing Canadian winters, we lost water as a Christmas present. While I was doing a ridiculous amount of back and forth between the plumbers and the condo association, I played Let’s build a zoo after a friend gave it to me. I now have over 25 hours of playtime.

If you know Zoo Tycoon or most recent Planet Zoo, you know what you’re getting into here; from scratch you build animal facilities, hire staff, build many hot dog stand and slowly rake in cash. Some fun additions to the formula are a morality system and hybrid animals. Because I’m a two-shoe goody, my morale meter is downright in the positive, earning me clean energy and farming. If I turned to the dark side, I could literally turn my zoo into an industrial farm.

Hybrid animals are unlocked after acquiring five out of ten variants of a species and then assembling two strands of DNA into a CRISPR unit. A serpent’s head with a pig’s body, a duck-goose hybrid, an ostrich horse… they are both terrible and magnificent creatures. People will surely flock to see the majesty of nature!

The game has become quite addicting as I am a bit obsessed with getting my hands on as many animals as possible. Providing optimal enclosures and enrichment (I love giving them trampolines. It’s pure happiness) never gets tired. I don’t even have half of the total animals yet. I think I’ll be here for a while and enjoy the ride.

Book recommendation: Miss subways by David Duchovny

Christophe pilbeam: It’s been said over and over again that New York City is a melting pot… well, get ready to hear it again. Seen by the protagonist Emer is a world where fantastic beings from Jewish, African and Irish folklore share the same metro routes. Duchovny is best known for being an actor, but it is worth reading his novels even if you never watch his shows. He makes his mark as an author by writing about things he loves; Miss subways is driven by a love for New York City and for storytelling itself.

In light of the latter, the reason I speak of Miss subways it’s not the story (which I found convincing despite a few flaws) but the way it is told. As a writer myself, I find Duchovny’s characteristic playful style inspiring and appreciate his penchant for the genre. Miss subways explores not only the content of different myths, but the nature of mythology itself – how it, like our lives, exists in repeated cycles. I really enjoyed Miss Subways and think any reader would love her too.

Miss subways

5 supernatural stars at Miss Subways! 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 This audiobook was recommended by my friend, Jennifer! I liked it! This is going to be a short review as the synopsis says most of what I’d like to let go, which isn’t much as this audio is a real experience.

Another TV recommendation: The right gems Season 2

Caemeron Crain: I had the pleasure of seeing the first two episodes of the new season of The Righteous Gemstones, which premieres Sunday, January 16, and it’s great to see this show again. It has been going on for two years! I recently refreshed my memory on the first season, but since the start of season 2 I have no idea how necessary this is, if I’m being honest. I tend to think that if you can’t remember all of the events of Season 1 perfectly, you’ll be fine. Maybe read a summary somewhere.

In addition to the return set, The right gems Season 2 sees the addition of Eric Andre, Jessica Lowe, Jason Schwartzman, and Eric Roberts of All People. I don’t know why I’m saying this, I love Eric Roberts! I still think about it South Park I can’t believe the episode is over 20 years old at this point, however.

The plot is new, but not disconnected from Season 1. The series is still so funny. And somehow, for all their darkness and hypocrisy, I love these characters. If you haven’t seen the show at all, check it out, and if you have, be sure to watch the first of two episodes on the 16th.e and check back for my thoughts on each episode after they air.

Music recommendation: Saint Jude, Diary of a Soul Demon

Steve swift: An album. Only one. But what an album. It’s Saint Jude Diary of a Soul Demon, released in 2010 with understandable applause, it made a really interesting sound.

It was seamless soul and rock combined, big guitars, blues, real warmth and the powerful yet caressing voice of Lynne Jackaman at the top.

A second album was prepared, but guitarist Adam Green passed away and things naturally did not continue.

Lynne still produces pretty good music, but St Jude was so special that they shouldn’t be overlooked.

This journal should be a daily entry.

Movie recommendation: Mass (2021)

Alix turner: I was going to watch a movie and then go to bed, but I’m stunned; I can’t lie down yet. The movie I watched was Mass, written and directed by Fran Kranz, about two couples (Reed Birney & Ann Dowd, Jason Isaacs & Martha Plimpton) who first meet several years after a horrific event that affected them all. I didn’t feel like I was watching a movie though, but that I was in the same room as these people; either there in the humble hall of the church where they were sitting, or maybe watching the script unfold on a stage. The simplicity, scale, precision of the carefully crafted script delivery… it all screamed at me in the theater. Again Mass is not dramatic, but rather tense in its examination of down-to-earth domestic emotions. I felt this tension all along and I kept wondering why. What did I expect to happen? There are only a few people speaking.

The acting across the board was flawless, but I wasn’t expecting anything else. What surprised me and kept my mental eyes wide open was the writing; characters and dialogues. There is authenticity, pain, a range of parenting experiences, awkwardness in the feelings of others… all topped with social commentary that doesn’t smell like the pamphlet at all. Seriously, I will recommend anyone I know who wants to write to watch this movie. Oh and then I found out that this was the writing and directing debut of an actor who played Madman in one of my favorite movies! I love when talented people suddenly blossom another gift.

Mass has traveled the festival circuit extensively last year, premiering at Sundance and stopping off at the BFI London Film Festival in October. It has been available digitally for a few months in select regions and will arrive on Sky in the UK later this month.

What have you been in this week? Let us know in the comments!