'Now See This' Newsletter: 'Helter Skelter' in a Summer Swelter

12:23 PM 7/24/2020

by THR staff


Welcome to Now See This, THR chief TV critic Daniel Fienberg’s weekly viewer guide newsletter dedicated to cutting through the daunting clutter of the broadcast, cable and streaming TV landscape! Comments and suggestions welcome at daniel.fienberg@thr.com.

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  • When I Get to the Bottom I Go Back to the Top

    MGM Studios Inc.

    Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry’s bestseller Helter Skelter: The True Story of The Manson Murders has been adapted twice as a TV miniseries and the general story of the Manson Family has been told in almost countless other forms. Not a technical Bugliosi adaptation, Epix’s new six-part Helter Skelter: An American Myth doesn’t often feel revelatory and I wish it could have had a few more new interviews with the surviving members of the Family, but it puts the story in solid context and captures the terrifying moment well

  • Mobsters and Office Drones

    Comedy Central

    Looking for other options? This is actually a somewhat slow weekend for new premieres. The final season of Comedy Central’s Corporate premiered this week and THR’s Inkoo Kang praised the cult favorite as the perfect comedy “if you’re in the mood for an icy splash of truth.” And over on Netflix, there’s Fear City: New York vs. the Mafia for fans of by-the-numbers organized crime realness. Plus, I haven’t watched yet, but I hear Netflix’s Love on the Spectrum will make you cry.

  • Board to Death

    Alison Rosa/HBO

    I’ve recommended it before, but here’s another chance to sing the praises of HBO’s Betty, a loose and lively dramedy about female skateboarders that can be binged in a pleasant morning. I compare it to Kids if Larry Clark actually liked his characters. It’s all available on HBO Max and creator Crystal Moselle is this week’s interview guest on the TV’s Top 5 podcast.

  • Honoring John Lewis

    Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

    John Lewis, longtime Georgia congressman and civil rights icon, died last weekend at the age of 80. PBS’ streaming platform has lined up some options if you want to honor Lewis and his life’s work, including the documentaries Freedom Riders and John Lewis — Get in the Way, as well as the installment of Finding Your Roots featuring Lewis and Senator Cory Booker. Now why has nobody simply made Eyes on the Prize available for free streaming permanently?


  • Some Homework

    Courtesy of Netflix

    Do you remember ANYTHING that happened in the first season finale of Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy? I certainly didn’t. With the second season premiering next Friday, it’s worth a refresher. No such refresher is necessary for the return of Last Chance U on Netflix, since the new season of one of TV’s finest sports docuseries focuses on a different junior college football program. But if you haven’t watched the earlier installments, they’re pretty great. 

  • This Week’s THR Staff Pick

    Natalie Seery/HBO

    Senior Awards Editor Rebecca Ford writes: “I have to add my voice to the chorus of praise for I May Destroy You. Michaela Coel's series, in which she stars as a writer who is piecing together — and also trying to recover from — her rape, not only features a spectacular performance by Coel, but memorable work by Weruche Opia and Paapa Essiedu as her best friends. Coel tells this very personal story in such a delicate and brave way.”