Binge-worthy series on Showmax in May mirror real-life events

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THIS past weekend I watched the HBO documentary series – two parts – I Love You, Now Die The Commonwealth v Michelle Carter on Showmax. From May 23, The Girl From Plainville will be on the platform, a drama series inspired from these dreadful true events.

In July 2014, Michelle Carter encouraged her boyfriend Conrad Roy III, both teenagers, to commit suicide, via text messages. There were two long phone calls on that evening as well, but those remain forever a mystery. Michelle was charged with involuntary manslaughter for her actions, and found guilty as the judge ruled she had the chance to stop Conrad but instead urged him to continue.

It’s a horrifying tale and far more complex than this brief paragraph can convey. Both had severe mental health issues; Conrad had attempted suicide several times, and both were medicated. I’d still love someone to explain to me why one of the major side effects of antidepressants is suicidal thoughts (ideating). It seems very wrong that a pill that is supposed to alleviate depression can in fact lead to tragic self harm.

In the eight-episode miniseries, Elle Fanning (pictured above) plays Michelle and if you watch the doccie you will be as amazed as I am at how much she looks like her character. It’s eerie. Among Rotten Tomatoes’ Most Anticipated Shows of 2022, The Girl From Plainville is created by Critics Choice nominee Liz Hannah (The Dropout) and Patrick Macmanus (Dr Death – a series also close to the true story on which it is based; it and its companion documentary series Dr Death: The Undoctored Story are also on Showmax).

The Girl From Plainville also stars Colton Ryan (Little Voice) and Oscar nominee Chloë Sevigny (We Are Who We Are). Michelle Carter was released from prison in January 2020, after serving 11 months.

Ready to watch now is season two of The Righteous Gemstones. It’s been ages since the first season so my memory is hazy but I do know I enjoyed it and thought it to be hilarious. It’s about a mega-famous televangelist family who are not particularly well endowed with morals. Or righteousness (not in the religious sense anyway). This season finds our blessed Gemstone family threatened by outsiders from both the past and present who wish to destroy their empire.

Oscar nominee Eric Roberts (The Expendables, The Dark Knight) joins the cast this season, while multi-award-winner and Vice Principals creator Danny McBride (who also created, wrote and executive produces the show), Emmy winner John Goodman (Argo, The Big Lebowski), Edi Patterson (Knives Out, Vice Principals), Teen Choice Award winner Adam Devine (Pitch Perfect, Modern Family), Skyler Gisondo (The Amazing Spider-Man, Santa Clarita Diet), and Emmy nominee Walton Goggins (The Hateful Eight, Justified), below, all return to what Collider hails as “one of the greatest ensembles in comedic television.”

HBO Max recently renewed The Righteous Gemstones for a third season, hooray. “After a season of literal fire and brimstone, blood, sand, and rollerblading, who wouldn’t come back for more?” says Amy Gravitt, executive vice president, HBO Programming. “The Gemstone family makes us laugh like nobody else.” Thank you, Amy.

Another of Rotten Tomatoes’ Most Anticipated Shows of 2022, six-part Women of the Movement tells the true story of Mamie Till-Mobley (Adrienne Warren), who devoted her life to seeking justice for her son Emmett Till (Cedric Joe from Space Jam: A New Legacy) following his brutal murder in 1955 in the Jim Crow South.

Created and written by Emmy nominee Marissa Jo Cerar (The Fosters, The Handmaid’s Tale), Women of the Movement is directed by four pioneering Black women directors – Black Reel Award winners Gina Prince-Bythewood (The Old Guard, Love & Basketball) and Tina Mabry (Pose), Black Reel Award nominees Kasi Lemmons (Harriet, Eve’s Bayou) and Julie Dash (Daughters of the Dust).

I still have mixed feelings about And Just Like That…the spinoff of Sex And The City, 20 years later, and 11 years after the second movie. Emmy winners Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, and Kristin Davis reprise their much-loved roles as Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte (Samantha has sadly moved on), alongside fellow franchise alums such as Evan Handler as Harry, Mario Cantone as Anthony, David Eigenberg as Steve, and Willie Garson as Stanford. Emmy nominee Sara Ramirez (Grey’s Anatomy) and Screen Actors Guild Award nominee Sarita Choudhury (Homeland, Little Fires Everywhere) come in as new characters.

Developed by Emmy-winning Sex and the City writer and executive producer Michael Patrick King, And Just Like That has been renewed for a second season by HBO Max. IndieWire hailed the show as a “whirlwind of haute couture, budding romance and fervent friendship,” while USA Today praised And Just Like That as “sharp” and “vibrant.”

You can also binge all six seasons of Sex and the City on Showmax.

Based on Ian McGuire’s acclaimed 2016 novel, The North Water is set in 1859 and follows disgraced ex-army surgeon Patrick Sumner (BAFTA winner Jack O’Connell from ‘71 and Unbroken), who signs up as ship’s doctor on a whaling expedition to the Arctic. But the ferocity of the elements is matched by the violence of his crew mates, chiefly Drax (MTV Movie Award winner Colin Farrell from The Lobster and In Bruges), a harpooner and a distinctly brutal force of nature. As the true purpose of the expedition becomes clear, the conflict between the two men takes them on a journey far from solid ground and beyond the safe moorings of civilisation.

BBC romantic comedy drama Cheaters is a sexy, messy comedy about love, morality, monogamy and how the heart, brain and body are idiots who are never on the same page. Cheaters kicks off with a cancelled flight, a chance meeting, and a night of drunken airport-hotel sex between two strangers who’d both prefer to forget it ever happened. Except, they – and their respective partners – are about to become neighbours.

The Pembrokeshire Murders dramatises the real-life 2006 investigation into two unsolved murder cases linked to a string of burglaries in the 1980s. Teen Choice Award winner Luke Evans (The Alienist, Beauty and the Beast, and Fast & Furious’ Owen Shaw) stars as newly promoted Detective Superintendent Steve Wilkins, who goes all in to reopen the investigation against a ticking clock as his prime suspect awaits release from prison. I give this one two thumbs up.

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