What To Watch On Netflix That’s New This Week (Aug. 4-10)

A guide to conquering peak TV

What’s up: After a failed television program, the women of “GLOW” (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling) move to Las Vegas for a residency show. Living in a hotel and doing the same bits every night quickly gets old, especially given the tourist trap nature of Vegas. While the flashing lights distract everybody upon arrival, the characters realize that only their personal relationships will truly bring them fulfillment.

Stars: Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin and Marc Maron

Sum-up: Moving the show to Vegas supercharges what works in this series and the writers deserve much credit for that (even if the decision aligns with the actual history of the “GLOW” organization). “GLOW” has always been a show of balancing glamour and action with rawness and quiet. Vegas is the perfect home for the characters to get even glitzier, yet lonelier.

This season starts with an uncomfortable will they/won’t they between Marc Maron’s and Alison Brie’s characters ― complicated territory due to a significant power imbalance, age difference and a working relationship necessary for everybody else’s job. As the residency requires all the characters to essentially remain stuck in a Vegas lifestyle loop of the same days over and over, the characters must actively choose to escape from or bond further with each other. These two characters veering toward and away from each other repeatedly makes for a compelling central storyline.

Otherwise, the repeated use of comedy to explore tragedy remains strong. The season starts in 1986 with a phenomenal bit about the space shuttle Challenger disaster that definitely comes close to insensitivity but doesn’t cross the line. This is a show jumping off the high ropes with no fear.

Marc Maron and Alison Brie in “GLOW.”

Heads-up: The show has too many characters to do right by, which makes most of the show feel like a B-plot. The episodes don’t really rise to must-watch status and just comfortably combine the thrills of wrestling in Vegas with the protagonists’ occasional examinations of whether they’re happy. I appreciate the show using both sides of the narrative happy/sad coin, but with so many different storylines, the highs aren’t that high and the lows remain shallow.

Bonus: A comic book based on the show debuted earlier this year. So far the series has had five issues. The plots don’t seem to mirror the show, with more hijinks than underlying sadness. So if you like the world of “GLOW,” but wish you could do without the existential malaise, consider checking out this series.

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The Season 2 recap:

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The Season 1 Recap:

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Read on for more recommendations and news from the week.

And if you want to stay up to date with what to watch on a weekly basis, subscribe to the Streamline newsletter.

What Else Is New This Week On Netflix

“Screwball” ― A sports documentary about doping in baseball that focuses on Alex Rodriguez and leans into comedic elements of this time.

“The InBESTigators” ― I don’t know much about this show for children, but it has one of the best names I’ve seen.

A Couple Of Netflix News Stories From This Week

1. Netflix canceled “The OA” after two seasons. This is the third time Netflix has canceled a show that I named as one of the best in 2019. Goodbye, “Tuca & Bertie,” “Friends From College” and now “The OA” ― I hope I didn’t curse you.

2. The creators behind “Game of Thrones,” David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, signed a contract with Netflix to create new content. The Hollywood Reporter puts the contract at $200 million, making it similar to ones that Ryan Murphy, Shonda Rhimes and the Obamas have signed in the past. Netflix is assembling quite the creative team.

And here are the shows and movies that joined Netflix throughout the week:

  • “Patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj” (Volume 4, Netflix Original)
  • “Enter the Anime” (Netflix Original)
  • “No Good Nick” (Part 2, Netflix Family)
  • “Screwball”
  • “Sebastian Maniscalco: Why Would You Do That?”
  • “Dollar” (Netflix Original)
  • “Jane the Virgin” (Season 5)
  • “Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer”
  • “The Naked Director” (Netflix Original)
  • “Wu Assassins” (Netflix Original)
  • “Cable Girls” (Season 4, Netflix Original)
  • “The Family” (Netflix Original)
  • “GLOW” (Season 3, Netflix Original)
  • “The InBESTigators” (Netflix Family)
  • “iZombie” (Season 5)
  • “Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling” (Netflix Family)
  • “Sintonia” (Netflix Original)
  • “Spirit Riding Free: Pony Tales” (Netflix Family)
  • “Tiny House Nation” (Volume 1)