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What to watch this weekend: ‘Pen15,’ ‘Ratched’ and more

We've got lots of new Netflix suggestions for you.
We've got lots of new Netflix suggestions for you. (2018 Chesnot)

Thinking that you’ve dried up the old Netflix cue when it comes to new shows and movies to watch?

Think again, dear reader, as the streaming networks are still pumping out new content, despite Hollywood being shut down for a few months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

From shows about lovable middle school outcasts to a wild barbecue cooking showdown, there is new content for everyone.

Here are a few suggestions if you’re looking for something new to watch this weekend.

‘Pen15’

The second season of this coming-of-age comedy just dropped last week, and it honestly might be one of the best seasons of TV released in 2020. The show follows best-friend seventh-graders Maya and Anna as they tackle the daily horrors and embarrassment of middle school, circa the year 2000.

The catch is, the actresses who play Maya and Anna are 30-something-year-olds Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle, who also serve as the show’s creators. Maya and Anna’s classmates are played by actual teenagers, so it’s pretty funny to see these two grown women embody what it means to be an awkward pre-teen while acting around 14-year-olds.

If you’re a millennial who was in middle school or junior high during the late ’90s to mid-aughts, you will relate so hard to this show. Maya and Anna have a crush on Jonathan Taylor Thomas and love to talk to each other on their see-through landline phones. They wear butterfly clips in their hair and wear chokers around their necks. It’s a true blast from the past, and the show truly captures the awkwardness of being a pre-teen.

You can stream it on Hulu.

‘Ratched’

Another day, another new TV show from the mind of Ryan Murphy.

The writer and director has been churning out new shows for Netflix (with more coming in the future), a lot lately, and “Ratched” is the latest from the creator of “American Horror Story” and “Glee.”

Co-created alongside screenwriter Evan Romansky, “Ratched” is the untold origin story of Nurse Mildred Ratchet from the book and movie “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.”

Nurse Ratchet is more recognizable from the 1975 film, and the character is infamous for being one of the most evil characters in cinema history. The actress who played Nurse Ratchet, Louise Fletcher, even won an Oscar for Best Actress for the film.

“Ratched” tries to give us a glimpse into the life of Nurse Ratched before the events of “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” happened.

Sarah Paulson, who has worked with Murphy on countless other projects, plays the title character and is incredible in the role.

While at times the show does seem like it could be just another season of one of Murphy’s other shows, like “American Horror Story," the cast he assembled for this project, which includes Sharon Stone and Cynthia Nixon, make “Ratched” worth watching until the end.

You can stream it on Netflix.

‘Sing On’

Do you need a little mindless entertainment so you can unplug from the chaotic world around you? Look no further than Netflix’s latest silly show, “Sing On.”

This singing competition show is hosted by actor and singer Titus Burgess and it features amateur singer competitors as they do their best to out-sing each during karaoke.

We’ve all probably embarrassed ourselves at a night of karaoke, so it’s pretty easy to relate to the “singers” on this show. A machine judges each singer on how well they sing their parts of a song, and depending on the round, a singer is eliminated by being the worst singer -- or by the other contestants. A winner is named at the end of each episode.

It kind of resembles another Netflix competition show, “Nailed It," in which amateur bakers are encouraged to just do their best. It’s fun, light-hearted, and sometimes, you’ll probably find yourself singing along to the popular songs on the show.

You can watch it on Netflix.

‘Great British Baking Show’

The tent is back, the tent is back!

“Great British Baking Show” is a baking competition show that takes place in England (go figure) and it features a cast of very good amateur bakers as they compete in weekly baking challenges. The show filmed a few months ago after restrictions were lifted in the United Kingdom, and it’s currently airing overseas.

While Netflix usually just dumps the entire season once a show premieres, the new episodes of “Great British Baking Show” will be released weekly, with the first episode dropping Friday, just a few days after the premiere in the U.K.

While the format of the show doesn’t change much, it’s still fun to meet the new group of bakers and see what these amateurs bring to the competition. While it’s the most wholesome reality competition show currently on TV, it’s still fun to pick a favorite and root for them all season.

‘American Barbecue Showdown’

If you’re a fan of “Great British Baking Show,” then “American Barbecue Showdown” will be right up your alley. Ten amateur cooks who specialize in barbecue compete in a series of challenges that will test all of their skills when it comes to smoking meat on an open fire.

It doesn’t seem like there could be a season’s worth of challenges when it comes to barbecue, but the show did a really good job of getting creative and challenging the cooks. There are challenges like “make a classic combo with two sides,” to the chefs making their best pork and beef ribs and smoking exotic meats, like venison, alligator and raccoon.

The contestants are also super supportive of each other, just like the bakers on “Great British Bake Off,” so it’s a nice light-hearted watch if you enjoy cooking competition shows.

You can see it on Netflix.

‘Enola Holmes’

This original Netflix movie is based off the book by the same name, and it follows Enola Holmes, the youngest sibling of the famous and popular Sherlock Holmes. It’s a super fun concept to think that Sherlock Holmes has a younger sister who wants to be a detective just like her older brother.

Just after her 16th birthday, Enola is set up to solve a big mystery, and of course, she goes on a wild adventure, with a little bit of help from her brother Sherlock.

The film has an A+ cast, which includes Millie Bobbie Brown, Henry Cavill and Helena Bonham-Carter.

What will you watch first?


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