Congratulations — you've made it to Friday. But can you make it to Saturday without hearing spoilers for the twisty new Netflix movie The Perfection? Our advice? Stay off Twitter until you've seen the movie.
Netflix's mission is to get you to stay indoors this Memorial Day Weekend, and it might just work. On Friday, May 24, we'll get a whole bunch of new treats (though of them all, The Perfection is definitely the most squirm-inducing). An obvious highlight is What/If, an unabashedly dramatic show in which Renée Zellweger plays a billionaire puppet-master who enjoys putting people in morally compromising situations — what's there not to like? The second season of She's Gotta Have It, which also drops May 23, catches Nola Darling after she's gotten everything she thought she wanted.
It's like Netflix knew we had a three-day weekend and planned accordingly. Here's what you should watch.
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What is it?: The Perfection is the kind of Netflix movie that will get people talking. The Perfection is, as Refinery29's senior movie critic Anne Cohen so aptly described it, Black Swan meets the stylish thriller A Simple Favor – plus the potential virality of Bird Box.
What is it about?: That’s a valid question. Because judging from the trailer, which is a pastiche of disjointed imagery, it’s completely impossible to know. The Perfection is about a former music student (Allison Williams) who becomes friends with her old academy’s current star (Logan Browning), for potentially nefarious reasons.
See or skip?: Skip if you’re squeamish. See it if you want to understand the memes.
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She's Gotta Have It: Season 2
What is it?: She’s Gotta Have It is a TV adaptation of Spike Lee’s 1986 film of the same name. Like the movie, the show follows the adventures of fierce, charismatic, confident Brooklyn artist Nola Darling (DeWanda Wise) as she shuttles between four alluring — and very different — lovers. The second season of this fun, timely show has nine episodes.
What is it about?: A year-and-a-half after the events of season 1 (catch up here), Nola’s life has changed significantly. Now a virally successful artist, Nola pauses at the crossroads of selling out to a corporate company and remaining true to her mission. Now in a committed relationship with Opal, Nola struggles with monogamy. Essentially, as Nola evolves, what parts of her old life will she miss along the way?
See or skip?: She’s Gotta Have It will appeal to fans of Insecure or Sex and the City. It’s a show that understands an individual woman’s voracious desire for experience, for sex, for fun. Lola Darling feasts on her life. Around every leafy corner in Brooklyn is the potential for inspiration. If Nola sounds like someone you'd be friends with, watch it.
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What/If: Season 1
What is it?: Do you crave the unsubtle fun of a soap opera? Do you wish peak TV weren’t so relentlessly serious? Meet What/If, a time machine to simpler, cheesier eras of entertainment. What/If It is pure trash, and it is an utter blast. Two things can be true at the same time.
What is it about?: It’s honestly hard to explain What/If. Just know that Renee Zellweger plays a billionaire puppet master who puts two young newlyweds in an uncomfortable situation just to watch them squirm.
See or skip?: If you want to watch a serious dramatic thriller, skip and never look back. However, if you're looking for a truly strange few hours of deranged television featuring Renée Zellweger having the time of her life, watch ASAP. This is perfect sleepover material.
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Rim of the World
What is it?: With the movie Rim of the World, Netflix is filling the niche of playful, edgy movies for teenagers and adults who wish they were teenagers.
What is it about?: Four tweens barely have time to settle into the summer camp routine when aliens invade. The fate of the earth rests in the hands of four middle-schoolers. I’ve never been more afraid.
See or skip?: See if you have intense nostalgia for the ingredients of childhood summer: Aimless hours with friends in the sunshine and alien movies. Skip if you want your sci-fi movies with more edge.
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What is it?: After Maria is a 36-minute-long documentary directed by award-winning filmmaker Nadia Hallgren.
What is it about?: This searing documentary exposes the devastating ramifications Hurricane Maria had on the lives of three Puerto Rican women. In the aftermath of the 2017 disaster, the documentary’s subjects were forced to flee for a FEMA hotel in the Bronx, where they struggle to find stability or a sense of home.
See or skip?: Don’t walk, run to press play on this documentary. Hurricane Maria took the lives of more than 3,000 Puerto Ricans and uprooted even more lives, like the women in this documentary. This is a horror happening to American citizens — we should all be paying attention.
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High Seas, aka Alta Mar: Season 1
What is it?: High Seas is a lavish mystery series set on a cruise liner in 1940s Spain. Considering how fantastic Netflix's other Spain-produced shows are, like Elite and Money Heist, we have high hopes for High Seas.
What is it about?: When a woman goes overboard on a luxury cruise, everyone aboard becomes a suspect. Someone call Hercule Poirot. We have a period piece mystery on our hands.
See or skip?: If your idea of happiness is curling up on the couch with an Agatha Christie novel, then High Seas will bring you deep satisfaction. The show features sumptuous costumes, juicy twists, and an ensemble cast with ulterior motives. What’s there not to like?
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What is it?: Joy is an Austrian film from Austrian-Iranian director Sudabeh Mortezai. It swept awards categories at various European film festivals.
What is it about?: Joy (Joy Anwulika Alphonsus) is a Nigerian sex worker living in Vienna, trying to pay off her madam. When she’s tasked with mentoring a teenage Nigerian girl and initiating her into the business, Joy awakens to her role in perpetuating the system. Joy casts a sharply feminist lens on the immigrant experience.
See or skip?: Let’s be real. Joy is a tough watch. That said, Joy is a vital film, and will certainly make you a more compassionate, aware person, if you’re open to it.
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Wanda Sykes: Not Normal
Premiered: Tuesday, May 21
What is it?: An hour-long stand-up special by the incomparable Wanda Sykes.
What is it about?: Aside from laughter? Sykes’s range is enormous in this special, touching on political (read: White House) issues and events in her personal life.
See or skip?: See if you need to let off some steam about the State of Things.
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One Spring Night
Premiered: Wednesday, May 22
What is it?: One Spring Night is a one-season Korean drama created by Ahn Pan Suk, the mastermind behind lush and romantic K-dramas like Something in the Rain. The show premiered on Netflix and Korean networks simultaneously.
What is it about?: Spell it with me: L-o-v-e. Lee Jeong-in (Han Ji-min) is a librarian in a committed relationship with a banker. Then, she meets Yu Ji-ho (Jung Hae-in), a pharmacist and single dad who just fits. She sees just how good life can be.
See or skip?: See if you’re a hopeless romantic who smiles at the prospect of 32 episodes of characters falling in love. Alternatively, skip if your cynical heart will have an allergic reaction to watching a couple walk and talk their way to love for 32 episodes.
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The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience
Premiered: Thursday, May 23
What is it?: Only Lonely Island could come up with a 30-minute visual poem to the Bash Brothers, two prolific home-run hitters who played for the Oakland A's.
What is it about? Lonely Island, the musical trio made famous for SNL Digital Short videos like "I'm On a Boat," satirizes the real-life Bash Brothers, Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire.
See or skip?: There's a specific audience Venn Diagram for this audience. People who like both baseball and Lonely Island's unabashedly goofy music sensibility should watch. Also, it's worth watching for the Sterling K. Brown cameo.
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Premiered: Thursday, May 23
What is it?: Slasher: Solstice is the third season in the horror anthology show Slasher.
What is it about?: Slasher: Solstice is an interesting play on the Bystander Effect. A teenager is murdered outside an apartment building. Though he was surrounded by people, no one intervened. The following year, a masked killer comes to seek revenge on the neighbors who did nothing to help him.
See or skip?: Slasher was made for people who have already seen all the installments of A Nightmare on Elm Street and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. If you don't find masked killers entertaining, then skip.
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A Tale of Two Kitchens
Premiered: Wednesday, May 22
What is it?: A short documentary following two ordinary days in star Mexican chef Gabriela Camara’s restaurants, one in Mexico City and the other in San Francisco.
What is it about?: While Netflix has a host of food-related documentaries, none dive as deeply into the hustle of the restaurant business as deeply as A Tale of Two Kitchens. Specifically, A Tale of Two Kitchens looks at the influence of Latinx people in restaurant kitchens around the States.
See or skip?: Watch A Tale of Two Kitchens if you’ve a) never missed an episode of Chef’s Table, b) love Mexican food, and c) want to gain jaw-dropping perspective on what it takes to run a restaurant.