Weekend Watchlist | Deserves the Hype

By The Pitt News Staff

The Twilight Zone (Netflix) // Megan Williams, Digital Manager

Though it racked up less awards than other recommendations on this list, “The Twilight Zone” has the most staying power. An iconic series based on science fiction and horror, this episodic show helmed by Rod Sterling still shocks and scares today — over 60 years later. The best Twilight Zone episodes were often the simplest — ”Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” starring William Shatner followed an airplane passenger who sees a monster on the wing. “Living Doll” is self-explanatory — the titular doll, Talky Tina, goes from programmed sayings to some creepy improvisations. Despite starting production in 1959, the measly special effects have almost no negative impact on the show’s modern reputation — it’s just that good. Its theme park ride, movie and subsequent reboots are all a testament to the deserved hype that surrounds this much-loved classic.

The Lord of the Rings (Hulu) // April Silva, For The Pitt News

Peter Jackson, director of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, gave life to J.R.R. Tolkien’s renowned series of novels that left millions of fans in a messy pool of emotion. The Lord of the Rings evokes themes of love, friendship, sacrifice and above all else, hope. Although these movies were released in the early 2000s, the images of Middle Earth from Mordor to Rivendell captivate even the toughest critic. This three-part series follows four young hobbits on their journey to save the age of man.

Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) is appointed the position of Ringbearer and given the quest to destroy the one ring that has the power to damn them all. However, Frodo does not embark on this journey alone. Accompanying him is a dwarf, an elf, two men, a wizard and his three hobbit friends. While their quest together might not always be straightforward, the pieces to their complicated puzzle of a quest finally come together in the end. Frodo and his best friend Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin) show us the strength of the bond of friendship while the others convey the undying spirit of trust and hope. These three movies will have you at the edge of your seat as you watch twist after twist, waiting to see how this unconventional group of friends will prevail. Prepare for heart-wrenching, fingernail-biting suspense as their tale unfolds. The exponentially high ratings and long list of awards give these movies the recognition they deserve.

Stranger Things (Netflix) // Heaven Infinity, For The Pitt News

Yeah that’s right, “Stranger Things.” It was an instant cult classic based on other cult classics, and Netflix’s cash cow for five years straight — and rightfully so! Fans of movies like “Stand By Me,” “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and “The Goonies” will definitely enjoy “Stranger Things,” which was loosely based on these films and many others. The Duffer Brothers’ hit show follows characters in the sleepy, fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana. When local child Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) goes missing, the town begins to look for him and they uncover the thrilling and chilling secrets Hawkins has tucked away. A star studded cast helps to bring the off-kilter plot to life — Winona Ryder, Finn Wolfhard and Joe Keer, to name a few. Mix that with crazy special effects, a killer soundtrack, Dungeons and Dragons, Christmas lights, a creepy scientist and a couple of kids on bikes, and you’ve got yourself at least a month’s worth of delicious binge-watching material.

Bridgerton (Netflix) // Diana Velasquez, Senior Staff Writer

The sole reason why it now takes three to four weeks to ship a $20 corset your way on Amazon, Bridgerton is that secret “Days of Our Lives” and “Pride and Prejudice” lovechild you’ve been waiting for. Lock up your bank accounts tight y’all, or lose them to petticoats you definitely don’t need but are totally going to buy because of this show.

Based on the bestselling historical romance novels by Julia Quinn, Bridgerton focuses on the high society of London in the Regency era and the romances that sizzle in its wake. The lead Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) is the queen-proclaimed “diamond of the season” and is intent on finding her intended match on her first debut out into society. On her quest for love she finds herself embroiled under the mystery and absolutely knee-shaking attention of one Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page) that deters her from the traditional path of romance she dreamed of. It’s an absolute binge-watch of a show, with sets and costumes to die for, and sexual tension off the charts between the leads. Just wait until you get to episode six. Escapism at its finest, Bridgerton sucks you in and leaves you with a deep-seated yearning you can’t get rid of, for countryside manors and a love story of your own.

The Great British Baking Show (Netflix) // Sarah Stager, Contributing Editor

Yes, yes, I know — you’re probably tired of the exaltations of the stressfully soothing and sweetly personable episodes of “The Great British Baking Show.” But it’s true! This show takes the typical reality format — effervescent participants, good-cop-bad-cop judges, timed challenges — and creates the most consistently enjoyable and classy competition on television. The bakes are incredibly aesthetically pleasing and probably inordinately tasty, the judges dole out actually helpful constructive criticism and you get to feel better about your own pitiful baking skills as you watch the best amateur bakers in Britain drop desserts on the floor and produce concrete-textured cakes. Though the most recent seasons of the show are objectively not as good, I still find the shots of lambs bathing in golden light on verdant fields interspersed among the intense baking action to be a therapeutic break from back-to-back online classes. Some things never change, and “The Great British Baking Show” has managed to keep that same quiet charm through all its years on air.