RIPLEY – Review by Diane Carson

Steven Zaillian, responsible for directing and writing the screenplay for all eight episodes in the new Netflix series Ripley, resists exploiting sensationalism or indulging melodrama, Zaillian denies Tom Ripley an appealing, charismatic personality, even to his victims. It’s just that Ripley’s manipulative strategies, combined with his indifference to shame or humane behavior, facilitate his perverted ways. Devoid of any social graces, con man Ripley relies on the goodness of others and their inability to imagine his depravity, even when details don’t add up.

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RIPLEY – Review by Susan Granger

The idiom “Everything old is new again…” can be applied to writer/director Steven Zaillian’s sensational new noir Netflix series Ripley, based on Patricia Highsmith’s pulpy, best-selling novels. Sociopathic antihero Tom Ripley (Andrew Scott) is a down-on-his-luck grifter in 1961 New York who is hired by wealthy shipping magnate to travel to Italy to try to convince his prodigal son Dickie Greenleaf (Johnny Flynn) to return home. Tom’s acceptance of this lucrative job opens the door to a labyrinthine life of crime. As soon as he arrives in the picturesque coastal village of Atrani, he begins to ingratiate himself with entitled Dickie, much to the annoyance of his resentful girl-friend Marge Sherwood (Dakota Fanning), who is suspicious from the getgo. “I’m not someone who takes advantage of people,” Tom claims when, in fact, that’s exactly who he is.

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APPLES NEVER FALL – Review by Susan Granger

Based on a bestseller by Australian author Liana Moriarty (Big Little Lies), Apples Never Fall is a seven-episode limited series that’s ready for binging. The family drama begins with the sudden disappearance of recently retired Joy Delaney (Annette Bening), who spent decades running a prestigious tennis academy in West Palm Beach with her husband Stan (Sam Neill), a highly competitive former player who became a respected coach, having launched the career of Grand Slam winner Harry Haddad (Giles Matthey).

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FARAWAY DOWNS – Review by Susan Granger

Do you recall a 2008 Baz Luhrmann film called Australia? Starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, I found it an exciting, epic adventure but – at the box-office – it went nowhere, perhaps because it touched too superficially on that country’s notorious Aboriginal race issue. So resourceful Luhrmann recently re-edited it into a six-episode limited series called Faraway Downs, telling a compelling tale as viewed through the eyes of Nullah (Brandon Walters), an enchanting half-Aboriginal outcast child – and adding nearly an hour of never-before-seen footage.

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THE SHRINK NEXT DOOR – Review by Lauren Anderson

The series is based on a podcast of the same name and tells the true story of Martin “Marty” Markowitz and his psychiatrist Isaac “Ike” Herschkopf. Over the course of 30 years, Herschkopf scammed Markowitz out of millions of dollars, inspired his estrangement from his friends and family, and took control of his family estate in the Hamptons.

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UNORTHODOX – Review by Susan Granger

Inspired by Deborah Feldman’s 2012 memoir, this revelatory four-part mini-series follows the religious rebellion of 19 year-old Esther “Esty” Shapiro (Israeli actress Shira Haas) as she escapes from her strictly traditional husband and family in Brooklyn’s Satmar Hasidic community to fly to Germany with only a passport and some cash.

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UNORTHODOX – Review by Martha K Baker

Netflix’ four-part series about a young woman seeking liberation fromNew York’s Hasidic community is positively riveting. The series, impressively directed by Maria Schrader, is based on the memoir by Deborah Feldman entitled, significantly, Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots.

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