BRIDGERTON – Review by Susan Granger

While Netflix’s Bridgerton sprawling mini-series may seem like Gossip Girl-meets-Downton Abbey, it’s unique in reimagining 19th century Britain with aristocratic families seeking favor from Black royalty. Produced by Shonda Rhimes, it’s fun, frothy escapism. According to showrunner Chris Van Dusen, regarding that era’s excess, beauty and decadence: “It was over-the-top: the costumes, the jewels, the glittering ballrooms, the country homes.”

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THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT – Review by Susan Granger

Who would have thought that this seven-episode Netflix series – built around an intellectual game like chess – could be so compelling? Based Walter Trevis’ novel, it’s written and directed by Scott Frank, who turns this fictional character-study into a fascinating coming-of-age drama about an obsessive, self-destructive young woman taking control of her life and succeeding in what is traditionally considered a man’s domain.

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THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT – Review by Martha K Baker

It’s a sports film played not on field or court but on a board. The sport is chess. But The Queen’s Gambit is not all about chess although knowing nothing about the ancient game does not deter from its thrills. Walter Tevis’ story, as written for the screen by director Scott Frank and Alan Scott, is also a bildungsroman about a young woman coming of age, stabilized by a male-dominated game.

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EMILY IN PARIS – Review by Susan Granger

Since the definition of a “guilty pleasure” is a cheesy movie/TV program that one enjoys, despite feeling that it’s not generally held in high regard, this new Netflix series fits that perfectly. It’s a fabulous fantasy of fashion, glamour and romance as seen through the eyes of 20-something Emily Cooper (Lily Collins), a junior ‘social media marketing’ executive at Savoir who, when her boss unexpectedly gets pregnant, is transferred from Chicago to the boutique agency her company recently acquired in Paris.

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THE COMEY RULE – Review by Diane Carson

Deciding to adapt former FBI director James Comey’s 2018 memoir A Higher Loyalty for Showtime’s series The Comey Rule, writer/director Billy Ray faced a daunting task. He needed to present extensively reported well-known recent events accurately and dramatically, while also adding insightful information. Ray meets this challenge by finding the heart of the story not in added details but in the conflict of an ethical individual handling political dynamite.

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RATCHED – Review by Diane Carson

Every frame of Ratched communicates the off-kilter nightmare realm. The art direction, including lighting, gives an expressionistic twist to its bizarre, hermetically sealed setting. The cinematography intensifies the garish greens, antiseptic whites, shimmering blues, and rainbow of psychedelic colors, complemented by red lipstick, so bright it all but jumps off the women’s lips that look more like wounds.

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RATCHED – Review by Susan Granger

Serving as an origin prequel for the tyrannical nurse in Ken Kesey’s novel/ Milos Forman’s film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, this new, eight-part Netflix series, set in 1947, introduces stern, sharp-tongued Mildred Ratched (Sarah Paulson), who oozes calculating, condescending control over those she encounters.

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THE COMEY RULE – Review by Susan Granger

As FBI Director, James Comey was placed in an untenable position during the final days of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential campaign against Donald Trump, as he struggled to be an apolitical public servant in today’s America. Adapted and directed by Billy Ray, this two-part mini-series is based on Comey’s memoir A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership, with Jeff Daniels playing Comey and Brendan Gleeson as Donald Trump, interspersed with actual TV news reports.

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