The best of entertainment from August 2019, as chosen by Red Bee’s entertainment experts.
BEST COMEDY: THIS WAY UP
A Creative Director recently of this parish was so convinced of Aisling Bea’s unrecognised talents that, on multiple occasions, he presented campaigns with her in the starring role. "Open on Aisling Bea" is now very much part of the Red Bee lexicon, but we suspect she will be in much greater demand once more people have watched season 1 of This Way Up on Channel 4/All 4. Is it really a comedy? It has been labelled a "sadcom", which feels about the right description. Beautifully written by Ms Bea, it follows her character Aine in the immediate aftermath of "a teeny little nervous breakdown" and her close relationship with a sister played by the equally talented Sharon Horgan. In the words of The Guardian, it captures "the ability to embrace laughter and despair and know they can be pretty much one and the same thing".
BEST TV SERIES: SUCCESSION SEASON 2
Party poppers have been going off all round the agency this week, celebrating the return of Succession, which came top of our Best of Entertainment Countdown at the end of 2018. We're only a few episodes into the second series, and fans will be pleased to know that nothing has changed. The Roy family is as dysfunctional as ever. The backstabbing is as deep as ever. Roman is as filthy as ever. And the power of money continues to drive everything and everyone. Given the narrative chicanes that Jesse Armstrong sprung on us in the first series, we’re in for a wild ride once again as the concept of 'family politics' gets taken to a whole new catastrophic level.
BEST FILM: ANIMALS
Animals is a brilliant observation of friendship, love and trying to figure out your place in the world. Laura is the so-called writer who suddenly becomes painfully aware she hasn’t actually ever written anything. Her best friend Tyler is the party-loving, Withnail-type, good-time enthusiast, whose refusal to take the traditional path in life is matched only by her inability to find an alternative one. Laura likes the party too, but she can see beyond it: it’s her idle toe-dipping into serious relationships and careers that creates the tension driving the film, as she tries to break out of the invisible threads of Tyler’s friendship, and the unwritten agreement that to do anything other than have fun forever is a betrayal to that friendship. The relationships, the motives, the pain, the denial, all make it an incredibly poignant and moving film. It’s an incredibly well-observed look at the very, very fine line between having a blast and having a breakdown.
BEST PODCAST: THE JOE ROGAN EXPERIENCE
With an array of guests from all walks of life, including Russell Brand, Jack Dorsey and Elon Musk to name a few, The Joe Rogan Experience is a funny and insightful podcast to dip in and out of. Joe has a way of making every guest feel comfortable, and each episode usually turns into a glorified chat rather an interview. This month’s episode with Bernie Sanders was no different: despite discussing pharmaceutical lobbying, gun reform, marijuana legalisation and more, the interview is wonderfully intimate, and leaves you feeling like you got to know the man, rather than just the politics he stands for.
BEST GIG: PROM 32
Prom 32 combines extraordinary playing from America’s most talented young musicians from The National Youth Orchestra USA, with Strauss’s An Alpine Symphony, to achieve an evocative and cinematic wall of sound. Catch it on BBC iPlayer before it’s too late.
Stay tuned for more in September