What to watch

🌶️ Mary & George | 🤠 Yellowstone | 🐶 Oscar goody bags

15 March 2024

What to watch

The scheming socialites Mary (Julianne Moore) and George (Nicholas Galitzine)

Mary & George

It’s never too late to learn, says Morgan Cormack in Radio Times, and Mary & George delivers a “history lesson for the ages”. Based on Benjamin Woolley’s non-fiction book The King’s Assassin, the sex-filled 17th century period romp follows the “no-nonsense” Mary (Julianne Moore) as she pimps out her handsome son George (Nicholas Galitzine) to the court of James I, in a scheme to recover her family’s fortunes. Moore is compelling as the enigmatic matriarch, delivering “quick-wit and dry humour with the skill of a marksman”. And as with any good psychological drama, there’s no shortage of twists and turns. “You won’t be able to tear your eyes away.”

Mary & George sits squarely alongside the likes of offbeat historical dramas The Favourite and The Great, says James Jackson in The Times. It’s stuffed with colourful swearing, bizarre jokes and “romping a go-go, the more sexually fluid the better”. The “candlelit couplings are bums-out (and everything else-out) explicit, while looking like a work of art” – one “royally gay ménage-a-six” resembles a Caravaggio painting come to life. Tony Curran is particularly good as the roistering James I, a man “so cockstruck, it’s like a curse”. The seven-part show does slightly suffer from “mini-series bloat”, but the plotting keeps you hooked and the denouement is “astonishing”.

Mary & George is available on Now TV here.
Seven episodes (trailer here).

In case you missed it

Kevin Costner as John Dutton III

Yellowstone

This modern Western “enraptured middle America”, says Emily Baker in The i newspaper. It was the most-watched entertainment show of 2022, beating the likes of Better Call Saul and The Bear, and has already spawned several spin-offs. Yet it has largely flown under the radar here in the UK. At the heart of the series are the Duttons, a family of conservative cattle-ranchers headed by curmudgeonly patriarch John Dutton III (Kevin Costner), as they navigate the ups and downs of ranch life in Yellowstone National Park. There are run-ins with Native Americans, “small and capital ‘P’ politics”, and family squabbles straight out of Succession – all set amid the stunning Montana landscape. USA Today called it “one of the most reliably watchable series around”.

Yellowstone is available on Paramount+ here.
Five seasons (trailer here)

Noted

🎿🍿 At the Oscars, it’s not just the winners who get to take something home from the ceremony, says the BBC. Every year, all the actors and directors nominated for awards are gifted an “Everyone Wins” goody bag, stuffed with extravagant free treats. This year’s recipients each bagged a trip to the Caribbean; a voucher for a luxury 10-person holiday in the Alps worth $50,000; a fridge containing 45 rare bottles of wine; and a “decadent supply of popcorn”. The nominees’ dogs were catered for too, with dedicated hamper items including “a line of vegan dog treats” and a voucher for 10,000 doggy dinners. Alas, “due to the gifts being subject to tax laws, many of the celebs don’t cash in on all the items”.