Posts tagged HBO
Ball Don't Lie EP 52 - Dany The GD Queen

Scott Flows and Pierce wrap about the divisive penultimate episode of Game of Thrones, the pacing of season 8, what's gone right, what's gone wrong, and where GOT ranks among the best television shows in history. Plus, Bulls anger after losing the Zion sweepstakes, and predictions for the NBA conference finals.

As Justin Bieber readies to drop much anticipated new music, enjoy this Barber's Chair playlist of the best hits in Bieberveli's arsenal! 
Apple Music: https://apple.co/2HdG2yN
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2HbTcME
Tidal: http://bit.ly/bieberveli

Throw your diamonds up for more than a decade of heat with the new TIDAL-exclusive Roc La Familia playlist from The Barber's Chair! The greatest hits from the most prolific label in hip hop history.
Listen here: https://tidal.com/playlist/dfcd8a98-7eb0-473e-8666-170acc564443

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!
Tidal: bit.ly/tidalbangers
Spotify: bit.ly/spotifybangers
Apple Music: bit.ly/applebangers

WrestleMania might be over but you can still rep Becky Two Belts with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair
or
teespring.com/freetheman

Insecure S3E4: Go 'Til You Get It Right Issa

After taking the property management position, Issa (Issa Rae) can finally afford to move on her own.  Taking the opportunity, Issa moved into a new place and it looks as though her life could be getting the revamp it desperately needs.  Episode four begins where the entire season should have started: with Issa rapping in the bathroom mirror.

Hey mirror bitch, you lookin’ real clean. You lookin’ real bad. You lookin’ like a queen.
— Issa

The first three episodes were slowly building to this moment but ultimately, Issa “Thanos Snapping” half of her bullshit was a great move. This episode, we see Issa finally let go of comfort with hopes of growth and new beginnings.

Although Daniel (Y’lan Noel) and Issa know each other inside and out, he’s the first casualty of Issa’s new beginning spree. Daniel drops of the last box of Issa’s to her new place and the conversation between he and Molly (Yvonne Orji) eerily hints that this may be the last time viewers get to see Daniel and Issa together.  Molly, who’s attitude towards Daniel always leaned towards shade, happily exclaimed “BYE DANIEL” after the two crossed paths in the courtyard of Issa’s new residence.  

“You Out” - Molly
“I’m Gone” - Daniel

Issa and Daniel continued to bring out the best and worst in each other yet, could his exit final? On one hand, Insecure follows the lives of Issa and Molly and those involved so if he is no longer her “roommate” then he could be gone for good. On the other hand, there is a chance he may return.  The first three episodes of season 3 offered insight on Daniel’s background, introducing viewers to his flaws, insecurities and dreams.  Did we get to know Daniel in vain?

#TeamNathan

While Daniel might be out, Issa’s love life takes a new turn down when she runs into her party Lyft passenger Nathan (Kendrick Sampson) on lunch break. Instead of reverting to her normal practices of lying to herself and others, Issa shows a new level of vulnerability on this spontaneous afternoon date. Physically and mentally, Issa exposes her true nature to Nathan, one truth or dare round at a time.  

From episode one (back when I first claimed #TeamNathan) when we were first introduced to the handsome man with southern charm,  fans wanted more. Today we got our wish when Issa and Nathan had an impromptu date around walking Los Angeles and ending at her place, kissing and eating tacos. A game of truth or dare ends up with both Nathan and Issa naked in the pool of Issa’s childhood home (which they broke into).  

Nathan got to learn Issa’s truths. She even revealed that she cheated in her previous relationship. To share that on a first date takes a lot. Even with all of her truths exposed,  we are left guessing about him. Viewers learn that he relocated to Los Angeles after Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, flooding his apartment. He took the opportunity to take a risk and moved to a new city for a fresh start,   His answers to Issa’s questions vaguely. Issa notices a bruise on Nathan and he shrugs it off. Could Nathan’s past hold some not so proud moments?

Overall, moving into her own apartment was only one of Issa’s strides towards becoming a “new bitch.”  Not only did Daniel get axed, she also put her job and her past on the chopping block. This episode we finally see Issa take charge of her professional development with We Got Y'all by quitting.  Quitting a job may not seem to be the best move for someone in Issa’s very broke situation however, after five years of stagnancy, the time for change. After getting rid of Daniel and letting We Got Yall go, Issa also trashed items from her dead relationship with Lawrence.

While unpacking her belongings in her new place with Molly, she shares that she still holds onto those mixtapes, using the excuse that it’s because of the music but really, Issa hoards things that make her feel comfortable. Finally getting rid of these allows Issa to truly begin to shake things up. Throwing away mixed CDs harboring from relationship with Lawrence officially closes that chapter of her twenty somethings.

Hopefully this go around, Issa's glow-up will be televised. 

Five under-the-radar shows worth your time

More and more millennials are moving away from trips to the movies in favor of staying planted on the couch. Aside from it being a more economical choice (a large popcorn shouldn't cost the same as floor seats at MSG), it's just more convenient to scroll through On-Demand and hit play from the comfort of home. Inviting over friends, significant others or even live-tweeting "as a family" further enhance the viewing experience. Major production companies are starting to notice the shift from the big screen to television screens as well.

The race between Netflix, Hulu, and now Amazon Prime has added to the already flooded wave of original content. To keep up with the cord cutters, premium channels like HBO, Showtime, and Starz have created standalone services with a focus on creating more programming. As of late, these Digital Stream Platforms (DSPs) are having a real Suge Knight "Come to Death Row" approach to recruitment.

We are living in the Golden Age of Television yet, there's entirely way too much new TV. A good problem to have because there are more chances for the next legendary series like Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad to emerge. Plus, networks are forced to think outside-the-box for new programming which leads the way for voices of Color such as Shonda Rhimes, Donald Glover, and Issa Rae to have opportunities that wouldn't have been present for them a decade earlier.

The problem with too much new TV though is where the fuck to actually start.

Netflix has hundreds if not thousands of selections to choose from. Starting a new series is a serious decision; it could potentially be your source of entertainment for the next 10-20 hours (try to get some fresh air in between a binge, though), depending on how many seasons there are. "Do I trust this 4-star rating?" "Am I in the mood for this?" "Is this worth my time?" All of these questions cycle in our heads before we ultimately end up rewatching The Office for the seventh time (Stanley is my OG and will be respected as such).

Start here.

Below are some shows that either debuted or had a new season this year that are high quality but are somewhat off the radar. Hit us up on Twitter to let us know what you think of this list and if some other series got overlooked in 2018!

Snowfall
Premiere Date: 2017
Currently on Season: 2
IMDb: 7.7/10 | Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Where to Stream: Thursdays at 10pm EST on FX/On-Demand with FX+

The genius mind of John Singleton (Boyz n the Hood, Four Brothers) can create and tap into gritty crime dramas like none other. Centralized during the '80s crack epidemic in Los Angeles, Snowfall is a rollercoaster of emotions from the onset. The story revolves around Franklin Saint (Damson Idris), an obedient mama's boy who slowly, then abruptly decides to ditch selling weed in favor of slangin' crack for increased profits. Of course, his dreams of becoming a local kingpin aren't without major obstacles: turf wars, race wars, crew wars, and the struggle of maintaining an honest relationship with his mother, Cissy (played by Michael Hyatt; D'Angelo's mother/Stringer's sister from The Wire).  There's some comedic relief mixed in to break up the high-level intensity, but Snowfall will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. Parallel storylines including crooked law enforcement and a "luchador-turned-dealer" weave their way into the main plot to create an interesting series that is only halfway through its second season. One thing is for certain: Damson Idris is a star in the making

Succession
Premiere Date: 2018
Season 1 just ended; renewed for Season 2
IMDb: 7.5/10 | Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Where to Stream: HBO Go or HBO Now

After watching the trailer for Succession, you're probably wondering why you should give a shit about another show that revolves around rich white billionaires acting like assholes to everyone in sight when you could just turn on CNN. Because this isn't just another boring re-tread of that idea. Created by and executively produced by Jesse Armstrong, Will Ferrell & Adam McKay (Anchorman, Step Brothers, Eastbound & Down), the fresh new HBO drama Succession is a compelling watch with the way it balances seriousness and deadpan absurdities. HBO's response to Showtime's Billions. What makes Succession more terrifying is than Billions is the realistic "evil" nature of the Roy's. The plot jumps head first into the world of a dysfunctional media family all jocking for positions of power within the company worth billions, all while promoting and protecting their own self-interests. Don't let the lighthearted jokes fool you early on; the cutthroat actions of each family member and the harsh dialogue will make you cringe. But like a bad car crash, you can't help but look. Also, don't be discouraged early on; Succession finds its footing around Episode Four. The nerve-wracking intensity of the final two episodes will reward you for your patience.

Killing Eve
Premiere Date: 2018
Season 1 ended in May; renewed for Season 2IMDB: 8.4/10 | Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Where to Stream: BBC America (Cable) / Hulu soon / get creative

An intelligent and skilled assassin, Villanelle (Jodie Comer), gets bored with her assignments and goes on a rogue killing spree. An equally smart detective, Eve (Sandra Oh from Grey's Anatomy), pieces clues together that are purposefully left to get lured in by the bored assassin to "hangout." If there's one show out of this list to binge, make it this one...if you aren't faint of heart. Killing Eve is one-half gruesome thriller/one-half dry, British humor whose dark jokes roll in stride. There's a weird developing appreciation that grows between the two main characters during their cat-and-mouse chase which lasts 8 episodes. Being only 40 minutes a piece, Killing Eve becomes a quick binge that'll leave you wanting more as soon as you finish. There's something about Villanelle's sadistic behavior that makes her very endearing; a testament to the brilliant acting by newcomer Jodie Comer, who brings a whole new meaning to "kill 'em with kindness." Sandra Oh, who became the first Asian actress to receive an Emmy nomination for the lead in a Drama Series for this role, does such a convincing job of bouncing through several emotions during the action-packed first season. It gets my vote for Show of the Year.

Bosch
Premiere Date: 2014
Season 4 came out in April; renewed for Season 5
IMDB: 8.3/10 | Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Where to Stream: Free on Prime Video (if you have a Prime account)

Fans of The Wire should have a strong affinity for Bosch, a great but surprisingly well under-the-radar crime show that's been tucked in Prime Video for a handful of years. The book-to-television adaptation, which takes place in Los Angeles, is a thrilling police procedural that's highly detailed from the terminology right down to the authentic tracking shots and locations of downtown LA. By any means necessary, Homicide Detective Harry Bosch (Titus Welliver) and his partner Jerry Edgar (Jamie Hector, who played Marlo Stanfield) attempt to solve murders by a singular person or a complex criminal organization from season to season. The pacing can be slow when establishing the main story arc for the season which was a chief complaint about the first (it's decent but sluggish and too cringe at times; start with the second season and you won't miss much), but the payoff with the way the plot unfolds is worth it. The show's developer, Eric Overmyer brings his expertise (and Lance Riddick, aka Lieutenant Daniels) over from his days as a producer/writer on Season Four of The Wire to create an authentically intense crime drama. Far from dense with smartly written dialogue, Bosch is a very solid show, mixed plenty of high octane shootouts and rubber burnin' car chases to keep your attention at a maximum.

Sneaky Pete
Premiere Date: 2015
Season 2 came out in March; renewed for Season 3
IMDB: 8.4/10 | Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Where to Stream: Free on Prime Video (if you have a Prime account)

Netflix may have had the early advantage with original programming. In terms of quality of content, however, Amazon is striding like Usain Bolt to catch up. On paper and of course on screen, Sneaky Pete does grab attention's with two notable legends (Bryan Cranston and "character actress" Margo Martindale) but is made whole by the standout performances by the rest of the relatively unknown cast.  Without giving too much away, Giovanni Ribisi stars as "Pete," a con man who takes identity theft to the next level by pretending to be his cellmate upon release from prison. "Pete" maneuvers his way and cleverly functions as a member of his new family, all the while making sure his cover doesn't get blown. He lives a double life where a violation of his parole is the least of his problems. His life, his brother's life, and increasingly his new family's life are what the titular character care about the most as they are in grave danger resulting from "Pete's" past cons. Not gonna front: the first season was incredible; the second season was a bit of a mess, but watchable. The Sophomore Slump is a real thing. Shows like these where they try to navigate through additional content after the major reveal lose their footing (Westworld for example), but the potential for a pivot with Season Three still makes Season Two of Sneaky Pete worth watching. Intriguing storyline and interesting characters will make this an enjoyable binge that won't feel like a chore.

Insecure S3E1: Who’s Couch Is It Anyway?

Insecure season three kicked off "Better-Like" in a manner only main character Issa (Issa Rae) and her antics could. By exploring the ups and downs of adulthood, Insecure shares situations that many have been in but few will speak on; the multidimensional, all around flawed nature of characters allows the audience to engage honestly, often times exposing ourselves through the messy lives being played out on screen. The season picks up where season two left off, giving viewers a glimpse of the continuing saga of Issa's love life, along with a deeper look at the toxic nature of white saviors through the exposure of her non-profit gig We Got Y'all, and we're also introduced to the show within a show, KEV-YN - a modern reboot of a 90s sitcom.

The situationships between Issa and Daniel (Y'lan Noel), along with Molly (Y'vonne Orji) and Dro (Sarunas J. Jackson) attempt to stride towards growth by setting boundaries, yet unclear communication paired with controlling, manipulative behavior creates chaos for all four parties. While a common theme seems to be controlling your own narrative and setting boundaries, Issa, Molly, Dro and Daniel all struggle to fully take charge.

Residing on the couch of her former fling Daniel, Issa’s continues to pile up L's. The season opens with Daniel having sex with a brown skin woman presumed to be Issa until it's made aware that our favorite awkward Black girl was only listening from the living room sofa. As the sex gets even louder we learn Issa is now a Lyft driver as she leaves the house to earn money on the side. Her status at We Got Yall has downgraded from in the field to on the phone. While Issa is both romantically and professionally spiraling downward, BFF Molly has everything in order, from the outside looking in.

Getting wined and dined by vacation bae, and multiple men in triple text territory, Molly’s hoetation is unphased. While she seems to enjoy dick on-demand and professional achievements, her mask is removed and the result is not dewy skin. Both Issa and Molly refuse to acknowledge the feelings they harbor for the men in their life.

“I just think we know better” mutters Issa after refusing a kiss from Daniel. An intimate conversation left Issa facing questions from Daniel and no amount of deflection could save her. Confronted with the fact that she could have stayed elsewhere yet found refuge in his living room, Issa retorts to simply stating she needed a place to stay.  Instead of discussing why she felt his space was where she needed to be (beyond being close to work) Issa creates a reason to leave the room. While Issa shies away from verbally expressing what she really wants from Daniel, Molly is clear with her intentions with Dro but, do their results differ?

Back in California from a tropical vacation, Molly returns on some self-proclaimed, “know better, do better shit”, yet when it comes to Dro, the tables turn. Molly attempts to establish clear boundaries with Dro, who still in his “open marriage” and takes the top spot in her hoetation.

After a long night of steamy sex, Molly’s “bloop, blip, blap, blam” mindset seems to kick in. An offer to cook breakfast interrupted by a phone call from his wife Candace, Dro (who acknowledges Molly to his wife, seemingly confirming the open relationship) continues with his proposal of a pancake breakfast.

We need to decide whether we are friends who don’t have sex or acquaintances who just have sex. - Molly

The lightbulb in Molly’s head went off as the decision was made to continue to have sex and cease other interaction; she immediately put Dro out. While this power move in reclaiming her vagina monologue seems to have boosted Molly’s confidence, those words were not followed with action. Despite laying down rules of no texts, no calls, no dates, Molly doesn't hesitate to communicate with Dro. Her desire to exist as a carefree sexual being is drowned by a flood of sensitivity.

Issa and Molly navigate themselves on opposite sides of the same road accompanied by dim street lights and echoes of silence.  They both vocalize what they think they should want only to be haunted by their inner desires and it shows. Molly believes she has developed the fortitude to break the emotional ties of a “fuck-buddy" while Issa thinks pretending feelings do not exist will actually cause them to fade away.

The flawed existence of Issa and Molly do not excuse the trash demeanor of their male counterparts. Both men exploit the feelings Issa and Molly with shrewd behavior.

Daniel is taking the Future route, adding to his collection, parading his sex life in front of Issa instead of clarifying his sentiments. Getting the heads up from her roommate Daniel about his company, Issa decides to command a “Party Lyft” with Molly riding shotgun. Armed with Capri-Suns and a playlist featuring City Girls and Cardi B, the two meet some of Los Angeles’s most interesting characters.

Like most good parties all vibes come to an end often violently. While Issa and Molly text men they claim not to care about, a fight breaks out in the back of Issa’s sedan between her ride-share passengers. As the night passes, Issa finds her way back to Daniel’s couch where still confused by Issa’s unclear motives again challenges her to just be real.

You said you that you came because you wanted to be close to your job now you’re telling me that you got feelings n’shit so like what is it?...I’m confused.” - Daniel

”Both N*gga I don’t know - Issa

Although admitting she still has romantic feelings for Daniel, Issa again refuses to fully unpack her emotional baggage, relying on the strength of their former platonic friendship to carry them to peace.

Molly’s attempts of keeping their relationship to bedroom meetings only struggles to succeed when faced with Dro’s manipulative behavior.  Undeterred by new rules, Dro uses his own key to Molly’s place to let himself in, claiming she was not answering. A surprised Molly emerges from the bathroom, flirting with Dro, even kissing him, however a sign of hope prevails as she demands he return her key.  In a perfect world, the key would have been handed over, yet Dro reaches into his contriving card deck and flips over a jester. With Molly standing firm in her decision, he returns the key after advocating against it, even telling Molly he and his wife are not her business, and hesitantly leaves.

#TeamNathan

All of the characters need to not only decide what they want, but learn how to be honest with themselves and others. After week one, I’m not #TeamIssa, #TeamMolly or even #Team Lawrence.  My allegiance lies with Nathan (Kendrick Sampson). A transplant to Los Angeles with a southern accent, Nathan allows both Molly and Issa to change his destination, sparking a genuine sense of curiosity. Laughing about how the girls picked him up because he was fine, Nathan became the life of the “Party Lyft.” The next customer however had a different night planned.

Entering the car, he complained about the flavor of Capri-Sun offered by Issa and began to roll a blunt and proceed to smoke. When told by both Molly and Issa that the Party Lyft was a smoke-free occasion, the confrontational rider continued his anti behavior. Nathan decided to take the blunt and throw it out the window. This bold behavior lead to the aforementioned fight where Nathan left the guy in pretty bad shape. We later learn that Nathan tipped $50 for the Lyft ride. Hopefully his mysterious charm makes more appearances this season.