Blog: What to watch this wintery weekend

With a snowstorm hitting and roads already covered in snow and ice, it’s looking like this weekend will be spent indoors. For the best indoor entertainment, our staff has shared their top picks of shows from online streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu. Now, a weekend indoors doesn’t have to be a weekend wasted.


Eike Schroter/Netflix

A still with Neil Patrick Harris, center, from "A Series of Unfortunate Events."

By The Pitt News Staff

“A Series of Unfortunate Events” // Victoria Pfefferle-Gillot, Staff Writer

Netflix // Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld // Rating: A+   

If you’re looking for a lighthearted and fun-filled romp of a streaming show, then I suggest you look elsewhere on the internet. Based on the hit book series penned by Daniel Handler under the pseudonym Lemony Snicket, the three seasons of Netflix’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events” deliver exactly what the title promises.

“A Series of Unfortunate Events” follows the woeful tale of Violet (Malina Weissman), Klaus (Louis Hynes) and Sunny Baudelaire (Presley Smith), siblings who lost their home and parents in a terrible fire which was set by the villainous Count Olaf (Neil Patrick Harris) in a plot to steal their fortune. Wrapped up in all of it are the underlying machinations of a secret organization known as V.F.D., to which both Count Olaf and the Baudelaire’s parents have connections. Along the way, the Baudelaires meet new friends and new foes, and the line between what is noble and what is wicked gets blurred as they must do what they can to survive and stay together.

While the show is chock-full of misery and despair, its strengths lie in the dry humor and intelligence of its writing, as well as the heart that each of the actors bring to their roles. Since season 3 dropped on Netflix Jan. 1, you can now binge the entire 25-episode adaptation in one go.

“Sex Education” // Sarah Connor, Culture Editor

Netflix // Directed by Ben Taylor and Kate Herron // Rating: A

The new series “Sex Education” dropped on Netflix Jan. 11, and follows a group of British teens through their relationship escapades and mishaps during their time at the fictional Moordale Secondary School. The show is centered on Otis Milburn, an inexperienced archetypal nerd character, played by an all-grown-up Asa Butterfield who we all know as the kid from “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” and “Ender’s Game.”

But Otis has a secret: his mother is a sex therapist and renowned author of self-help books about sex and relationships. Otis’s single mother Jean (Gillian Anderson) raised him in a therapeutic atmosphere, with few secrets between the two of them. This means that although Otis is sexually inexperienced, he knows quite a bit about problem-solving when it comes to relationships. He and his bad girl best friend Maeve Wiley (Emma Mackey) start an underground sex therapy clinic in their school. The two friends help classmates who approach them with relationship difficulties — no matter how embarrassing the issues might be — and make a pretty penny while they’re at it.

While unbelievably awkward at times, the show is hilarious, staying true to the problems we all faced in our high school days  — sexual or not — and making us all wish we had a friend like Otis to guide us through our cringeworthy moments.

“Cutthroat Kitchen” // Rachel Saula, For The Pitt News

Hulu and Amazon Prime // Originally aired on Food Network // Rating: A-

Ever wondered what it would be like to cook pasta in an espresso machine? Perhaps you’ve instead pondered the difficulties of crafting the perfect gnocchi with a potato masher attached to your hand. If either of these scenarios sound the slightest bit interesting to you, “Cutthroat Kitchen,” with seasons four through 10 available online a whopping 96 episodes may be the show to indulge in this weekend.

Hosted by actor Alton Brown, this unconventional cooking show begins in a rather familiar fashion: four chefs are tasked with creating the best assigned dish out of the lot. The delicious catch is that throughout each round of eliminations, the host presents sabotages that contestants may choose to inflict upon their opponents. These sabotages, varying in levels of ridiculousness, are sold to the cooks auction-style. Each cook is handed their possible prize money of $25,000 at the start, and it’s with this cash that they can bid for each sabotage. Whoever survives each round of eliminations is declared victorious and keeps the money they didn’t spend. During the competition, whichever cook bids the highest chooses one opponent to hinder and the results are nothing short of chaotic.

Only on “Cutthroat Kitchen” can you witness someone making a sushi roll while wearing a speader bar on their hands, or a dignified chef having to smash coconuts from a tree instead of using the ones provided for him. It has earned its name in the popular meme — “Cutthroat Kitchen” is the Mario Party of cooking shows.

“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” // Elizabeth Donnelly, Staff Writer

Hulu // Created by Dan Goor and Michael Schur // Rating: A

If you’re in the mood to laugh, gasp and possibly cry all in the span of one 22 minute episode, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” is the show you’re looking for. It follows the detectives of the 99th precinct through their work and personal lives in New York City. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” has developed a massive following since the first airing of the show back in September 2013 on Fox. However, the show was cancelled this past May, but due to public outcry, it was picked up by NBC and renewed for a sixth season.

“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” features detectives like Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) and Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero) who make up the majority of the precinct’s team. Led by Captain Raymond Holt (Andre Braugher), these detectives investigate different cases ranging from theft to arson. The series mainly follows Peralta, and his highs and lows throughout his career. Peralta, who loves action and goofing off, is often presented as slightly childish but an admirable and talented detective. His partner, Amy Santiago, is much more strict and uptight — a by-the-book rule follower.

Not only is “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” entertaining, but it is also extremely progressive. The cast is diverse and tackles important issues in society with humor to guide the discussion. Although this show follows a police force, it often criticizes the way the police and other powerful institutions handle difficult issues. While the show handles heavy issues, the characters are usually able to lighten the mood.

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