Whatever your entertainment needs, we got your back (and hopefully your mind) with Queerty’s weekly “Culture Club” column with some of the highlights of new releases, streaming shows, classics worth revisiting, and what to drink while you watch.
The Hidden Gem: Search Party Season 4
Search Party—possibly the most underrated comedy on television—returns for a fourth season this week bringing with it the show’s trademark black humor, Millennial satire and a heaping dose of queerness. Season 4 picks up with Dory (Alia Shawkat) kidnapped by a mysterious stalker known only as The Twink (yes, really). Meanwhile, ex-boyfriend Drew struggles to put his life back together as a theme park character following his acquittal for murder, while gay bestie Elliot (John Early) pursues a new career as a far-right commentator. Well not give anything more away here, other than to say that this season involves quite a bit of drag, as well as guest appearances by Susan Sarandon and Broadway diva Lillias White (as a parody of Oprah, no less). It’s as savage a comedy as anything else out there, which makes it all the fun. Give it a watch and join the party.
Streams January 14 on HBO.
The Reset: Batwoman Season 2
The Ruby Rose-less superhero drama returns this week, debuting actress Javicia Leslie as Ryan Wilder, Gotham’s new Batwoman. The question as to whether the show can survive the loss of its main character has less to do with Leslie’s performance than the loss of Rose’s Kate Kate—the character upon whom the entire show revolves—remains open. Ditto, the issue of whether die-hard fans of the show will accept the loss of the lead character. That said, we can say we found Leslie a likable and compelling screen presence and the effect of Kate Kane’s disappearance on the other characters a well-written mystery. We’re not sure where Batwoman goes from here exactly, though showrunner Caroline Dries plunges ahead with palpable enthusiasm. Besides, we have a feeling we’ll see Rose & Kate Kate return at some point in the future.
Premieres January 17 on The CW.
The Return: 911 – Lone Star
The Ryan Murphy-produced procedural drama returns this week, bringing with it the usual mix of cop & firefighter drama as well as the soapy personal lives of lead Owen (Rob Lowe). Our reason to watch: the presence of Brian Michael Smith, possibly the highest-profile transmasculine actor in the world. As with Season 1, Smith’s Paul (who is also transgender on the show) steals his scenes thanks to Smith’s ample charisma. With a famine of transmasculine stories in film and television, 911: Lone Star feels like a breath of fresh air on the media landscape.
Returns to Fox January 18.
The Destination: Not Another Second
Anyone curious or craving a bit of queer history should make sure to visit Not Another Second, the new interactive art exhibit debuting at The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights this week. The mixture of art and recorded media retells the stories of a dozen LGBTQ elders who recount their time in the closet, the days before Stonewall, AIDS and the fight for legal equality. As shot and designed by Karsten Thormaehlen, Not Another Second crafts a personalized look at queer history, told by those who lived it. For anyone unable to travel to New York to experience the opening (and that is likely most of us), don’t fret: the exhibit is set to travel later this year, with dates and cities to be announced (COVID allowing, of course).
Opens January 19 at The Watermark Brooklyn.
The Creeper: White Lie
A reader tipped us off to this Canadian thriller about a lesbian faking her cancer diagnosis. We didn’t quite know what to think of the premise, and frankly, we’re still not sure. Kacey Rohl stars as Katie Arneson, a woman going to great lengths to make the world think she has cancer in hopes of using crowdfunding and bursaries to put herself through college. When her university demands medical records proving her condition Katie will stop at nothing to forge the needed documents. At the same time, her father threatens to out Katie as the longtime liar she is. Though Connor Jessup has a brief role as one of Katie’s friends, the real draw here is the way co-directors Yonah Lewis and Calvin Thomas craft a character study of a reprehensible woman into a taut thriller. Katie is despicable, yes, but we held our breath as she bounced from one close call to the next. Rohl and actor Martin Donovan both give splendid, effective performances as the estranged father & daughter, and the verite-style camera work had us feeling agitated the entire runtime. Anyone looking for an exercise in suspense or neo-noir should have a look: White Lie is a unique and thrilling entertainment.
Streams on Amazon & VUDU.
The Wowzers: American Gangster – Trap Queens
This BET docuseries about some of America’s most notorious female criminals returns this week with one Hell of a season opener. We were not prepared for the story of Dwen Curry, a transgender woman who describes herself as “the original gay gangster.” For years Curry perpetrated wire and credit card fraud to the tune of millions of dollars. The irony: she used the money to start her own wildly popular hair salon, become a stylist for such stars as Mariah Carey, Tracee Ellis Ross and Mary J. Blige, and even launch a successful acting career. Of course, it all came crashing down. The season premiere—narrated by Lil Kim, no less—features Curry recounting her own story of coming out first as a gay man, and later, a transgender woman, along with a cornucopia of harrowing tales from her life as a queer woman, local celebrity and criminal mind. Now reformed, Curry laments her crimes, but doesn’t apologize for the adventure of it all. Hers is an outrageous story, one we just can’t get enough of. Angelica Ross, if you’re reading this, option Dwen’s life rights and star in a biopic!
Streams on BET+ January 14.
The Sip: The Godfather
In honor of Dwen Curry, of whom we’ve become enamored, we present this week’s themed libation: The Godfather. Easy to make, and with a potent sweetness, it might just send you online shopping for a new handbag, whether you carry handbags or not.
- 2 ounces scotch
- 1/2 ounce amaretto
Pour ingredients over ice, stir and serve.