The Circle (Netflix)
What if one could play Bigg Boss without meeting the other contestants but only by communicating with them through a social network? Well, the new show on Netflix, The Circle, does take gaming to such a dystopian degree with the help of a specially designed voice-activated social media platform.
Every contestant is assigned a small apartment in the same house and they have these screens – big and small – in every room, including the bathroom. And on those screens they can do everything that we do on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – put up a profile picture, set a status, have group chats, direct message – plus vote others out.
What makes The Circle quite fascinating to watch is that these players – we start with eight of them and then new contestants (including one who comes with his mother) get introduced in subsequent episodes as some are eliminated – think aloud. Yes, they spell out what is their game plan, who they want to befriend and who they want to go after.
And did I tell you that not all of them are who they claim to be? Yes, there are “catfish” contestants including a man presenting himself as his girlfriend on The Circle and having other men fall for her! There are real friendships also which last the distance of the show – 10 episodes – and there are games like trivia night and a version of dumb charades.
The Circle is a lot of fun and some times a bit scary in the way human minds think and operate. And there’s this Indian contestant named Shubham who’s pure joy to watch. Give it a try.
Curb Your Enthusiasm (Hotstar Premium)
He’s back after three long years. No wonder Larry David has a lot to say. So, the opening episode of the tenth season of his show is crammed with everything from Donald Trump to Harvey Weinstein to #MeToo. And yet it has all the characters and motifs that have made Curb Your Enthusiasm one of the funniest shows of all time.
At his obnoxious best, Larry grabs a selfie stick from a couple on the streets in the very first shot of the episode titled Happy New Year. He is no mood to comply! Whether it’s the temperature of the coffee he’s served or the softness of the scone he’s eating. Also, his weird rules are back – you cannot wish someone a happy new year after three days!
But the best moments from the co-creator of Seinfeld comes when he goes after Trump. And what an ingenious device he chooses – a red baseball cap with “Make America Great Again” written on it! Every time Larry wears it on the show, people around him start avoiding him and trust Larry to use that to his advantage.
The man’s also clearly not done with ex-wife Cheryl (Cheryl Hines). The moment Ted Danson (playing himself) leaves town, Larry drops her home and then gets into bed with her even as the wobbly bedside table continues to bother him.
The first 38 minutes of the new season have been worth all this wait. No reason whatsoever to curb your enthusiasm for this man and his inimitable ways.
Also check out…
While We’re Young, directed by Marriage Story maker Noah Baumbach, is now streaming on Mubi.
The Palme d’Or-winning Japanese film Shoplifters is now streaming on Netflix.
Night Shyamalan’s Glass, starring Bruce Willis, James McAvoy and Samuel Jackson, is now streaming on Hotstar.
Joaquin Phoenix’s award-winning act, Joker, is now streaming on Hooq.