In this week's Now Streaming, we look at the new second seasons of two much-loved shows:
What: Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories
Why: Like the best of comfort food, almost every episode of Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories makes you feel happy and satiated. The first season of this Japanese anthology series has been around for a long time and its universal appeal must have pushed the makers to finally come up with a second season with 10 new stories about customers who visit the mysterious Master's (Kaoru Kobayashi) diner.
This time too every episode is named after the one dish which works as a catalyst in the particular story. Like how a retired old school teacher suffering from dementia reconnects with a former student through Plum Rice Ball. Or how eating or not eating Fried Chicken Wings decides the fate of a model.
My favourite episode is Fried Chicken Breast with Cheese where an astrologer starts manipulating the horoscope he writes in a magazine to win over a woman. Also, incredibly moving is the episode titled Salmon and Mushrooms about a kimono instructor, who's actually the widow of a gangster.
If you haven't tasted either of the two seasons of Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories, make time for it now. The slow, simple and tranquil nature of storytelling, which has now become a rarity of sorts, will certainly bowl you over. Like a bowl of ramen.
Rating: One episode at a time
What: The End of the F***ing World
Why: In the ever-increasing and always-mutating content dump of the OTT world The End of the F***ing World had created quite a stir when it arrived last year. Not just because of its two weird protagonists who make Norman Bates look normal – James (Alex Lawther) and Alyssa (Jessica Barden) didn't really go on a killing spree but they sure were teen versions of Mickey and Mallory Knox with a little less flair and lot more angst. But also because of the way the story was narrated, with a no-holds-barred visual flourish.
While the first season was based on a graphic novel, these new eight episodes are written directly for the show and yet the second season celebrates the same air of nihilism with elan. A new character is introduced – Bonnie (Naomi Ackie) a black girl who's grown up in an even darker and more disturbing space than James and Alyssa and is just out of prison for her own crime. The link? Bonnie was in love with the same serial killing philosophy professor whom James killed in the first season and she's out for revenge.
What makes The End of the F***ing World such an enjoyable watch is the brilliant blend of pathos and humour. Not shying away from using voiceovers to help us get inside the heads of the characters, the show makes us care for people who don't really care about themselves or the world around them. Of course one can debate whether "the perfect tragedy" needed another season but the makers clearly couldn't resist the temptation of watching James and Alyssa in action. Neither would you.
Also check out…
Guy Ritchie's never-a-dull-moment Snatch is now streaming on Netflix.
Insidious: The Last Key is now streaming on Hooq.
All 10 episodes of the second season of Britannia are now streaming on Sony Liv.
All 18 episodes of The Good Doctor are now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.