As a writer, there is nothing more infuriating than the sadistic blinking of the text cursor, tormenting you for having spent the larger part of the last hour having written precisely twelve words — which is mostly, your headline. You’re in an endless loop, worried that what could potentially be your next viral, path-breaking work will disappear into the darkened alleys of the internet, thanks to the mediocre work you’re dishing out. You write and delete, ad nauseam, struck numb that if you do write the words, and they are out there, you’ve committed to it. Funnily enough, this is the same kind of commitment-phobia comes into play when you’re sitting before that same screen, unable to choose between the hundreds of rather underwhelming shows that having taken your streaming platform by storm.
See, now I could take the high road and recognise my personal issues, but where’s the fun in that? Instead, I choose to curb my enthusiasm and blame the entertainment industry’s newest obsession with throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks. Much to my pleasure, however, things are looking up this July. So, whether you’ve stumbled upon this page by luck or by loss, here are 6 new shows and films to keep you — and me — company this monsoon season.
This summer, as we step into the archives of history, Netflix’s original documentary Wham! resonates with the sounds of music. Reflecting the life of British pop duo George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley, Wham! charts their lineage through sepia-toned footage from the 1980s. In the hands of director Chris Smith (Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened), this trove of nostalgia — which is knit together by previously unheard interviews and a memorable grainy-filter — traces the journey of two buddies from the 70s who became icons of the 80s.
Currently streaming on Netflix
Blind, the namesake of a 2011 Korean crime-thriller, is obsessive, compelling but never unsurprising. Shouldered by Gia (Sonam Kapoor Ahuja), a visually-impaired police officer who is in dire pursuit of a serial killer, the show is helmed by director Shome Makhija and cradled within the able hands of Jio Studios. While the cinematography of Blind is spine-tingling beyond doubt, it is the flesh and bones on its characters that takes it one step beyond. Interspersed with a cast of Purab Kohli, Vinay Pathak and Lillete Dubey, Blind welcomes this cops-and-robbers story with vulnerability, desire and surgical precision.
Streaming on JioCinema on July 7
Come for the nostalgia; stay for the epiphanies. In Tarla, writer and director Piyush Gupta has created a homegrown spectacle . Offering a glimpse into the life of Tarla Dalal — “the iconic home chef, who redefined Indian-styled cooking and won the hearts of millions” — this show is empowering. Although deemed a “Hindi-language biographical drama,” Tarla is, by no means, a biopic. It is a slice-of-life film that is complete with comedic one-liners, life-changing revelations and a slow-cooking plate of murgh musallam.
Streaming on ZEE5 on July 7
4. The Horror of Dolores Roach
The Horror of Dolores Roach is a horror-comedy that is lost in a man-eat-man world. Much like every quintessential ex-con story, this eight-part series follows Dolores Roach (Justina Machado) who returns to a gentrified Washington Heights — and by extension, workforce — after a 16-year prison sentence. Naturally gifted with a charming spirit, magic masseuse hands and a rather lax moral compass, Roach must navigate the most sinister encounters of New York’s underbelly — most specifically, cannibalism. So, let me begin again: The Horror of Dolores Roach is a horror-comedy that is lost…
Streaming on Prime Video on July 7
5. The Summer I Turned Pretty Season 2
Caught between a chuckle and a tear-jerker, The Summer I Turned Pretty is a sweeping portrait of Jerry Han’s young adult trilogy. With a vivid, teenage love triangle that is brought to life by the ensemble’s heart-on-sleeve performances, the second season of this widely-adored series is set to bring back waves of life to Cousins Beach. With Belly on the fence about Conrad and Jeremiah, a visitor threatening to devastate Susannah’s beloved house and a severely commitment-punctured plotline, The Summer I Turned Pretty is a boiling pot of charm, belonging and the anguish of young love.
Streaming on Prime Video on July 14
6. The Trial
Suparn S Varma has re-written the rules, once again. In an Indian adaptation of The Good Wife, an acclaimed American series, The Trial packs an emotional punch. With Kajol continuing her run on OTT as Noyonika Sengupta, the series revels in the shadows of a sex and corruption scandal. However, what begins as a story of broken ties moves, with both ease and affliction, into a suspense-heavy courtroom drama, filling the frame with a talented ensemble that masterfully threads elements of the genre into the fabric of the story.
Streaming on Disney+ Hotstar on July 14