Around this time of year I always find myself in a show rut. There’s plenty to stream, of course, but hardly anything holds my interest. All the good shows are on hiatus, and the ones that aren’t feel painfully desperate. But there have been a few exceptions! All are ripped from the headlines, which means that after the last episode I stay up waaaay too late going down the Google rabbit hole.
Here are three I’ve enjoyed recently in case you’re searching for a late-summer escape:
• Candy (Hulu) – Jessica Biel is dynamite in this six-episode series based on the real-life story of Candace “Candy” Montgomery, who was accused of brutally murdering her neighbor and friend Betty Gore in 1980 in Texas. (Side note: Montgomery was sleeping with Gore’s husband.) Montgomery was found not guilty at trial and subsequently moved out of state with her then-husband. Biel plays Candy to perfection, and Justin Timberlake makes a cameo! An undercurrent of dark humor helps lighten the mood.
• The Staircase (HBO Max) – Colin Firth plays Michael Peterson, the crime novelist convicted of murdering his wife Kathleen Peterson (played by Toni Collette) after she was found dead at the bottom of a staircase in their North Carolina home. Did she stumble or was she pushed? The series takes viewers through Peterson’s yearslong legal battle to clear his name and the enormous strain it places on his family. As the saga plays out in the courtroom, law offices and prison, a French documentarian (played by Juliette Binoche) develops an unhealthy obsession with the story and the accused.
• The Dropout (Hulu) – While the pacing and energy can seem overly frenetic at times, this series is a solid retelling of the spectacular rise and fall of biotech start-up Theranos and its delusional founder Elizabeth Holmes (played by Amanda Seyfried). The show pokes and prods through Holmes’ childhood, trying to find an explanation for the manipulative, deceitful and narcissistic behavior she exhibited while building Theranos and running it into the ground. Naveen Andrews is superb as Holmes’ boyfriend and partner in crime Sunny Balwani. (John Carreyrou’s gripping book on the Theranos saga beats any Google search.)