Shout out to HBO for sponsoring the nation's upcoming weekend trip to Monterey, Calif. But don't worry about packing your swimsuit, you can catch the highly anticipated premiere of Big Little Lies Season 2 right from your couch. If for some wild reason you're one of the five people on the planet who hate Meryl Streep (this season's antagonist), there's plenty of other great streaming options this weekend. From Netflix, there's Tales of the City, a 10 episode season based on Armistead Maupin's classic queer novel; from Hulu, there's Season 3 of The Handmaid's Tale, which promises to focus on revolution instead of tragedy.
These recommendations courtesy of TV Guide are here to help you through your weekend binge. And if you're looking for even more suggestions, head over to TV Guide's Watch This Now! page, which has hand-picked recommendations for all the best shows you can start watching immediately.
1. Big Little Lies
When Big Little Lies exploded onto the scene in 2017, it was originally billed as a limited series. Adapted from a darkly comedic novel by Liane Moriarty, the series followed a group of (mostly affluent, white) women whose children all go to the same school. When a classroom confrontation escalated to the mothers, they found themselves uncovering a much darker secret and committing murder to move beyond it. The end of the supposedly limited series showed the women enjoying a beach day, but from the viewpoint of someone watching them from the distance. The response was so overwhelming that HBO committed to a second season that moves beyond the original novel. Season 2 will center on the lengths these women will go to in order to keep their secret. Meryl Streep joins the cast as a mother hell bent on finding out what happened to her son, even if it means tearing apart multiple families in the process.
2. Tales of the City
Netflix's rendition of Tales of the City is a modern update on Armistead Maupin's classic queer novel. The original serialization (which ran in the San Francisco Chronicle before being compiled into a novel) came out in 1976 and used a naive Midwestern girl moving to San Fransisco to give heterosexual American readers a point of entry into the weird, wild, and wonderful queer world of San Fransisco. It's a sign of how far queer people have come that Lauren Morelli's adaptation of these interconnected vignettes decentralizes Maupin's main character (played by Laura Linney) by starting the series well into Mary Ann's adulthood. Now that she has a family of her own, including a queer daughter played by Ellen Page, Mary Ann's generation gives way to a younger one who have their own understanding of identity and community. This dynamic update captures the generational tensions within the queer community and sheds light how the people within them can evolve their identities.
3. The Handmaid's Tale
If you fell off of The Handmaid's Tale wagon during the second season, no one would blame you. What felt like an imperfect but groundbreaking narrative in Season 1 quickly shifted into an endless slog of female suffering in Season 2. June (Elisabeth Moss) was narratively trapped, caught in a cycle of escape and capture with Gilead that weighed the entire show down. In Season 3 however, she makes the decision to stay and fight to change the system from within while simultaneously looking for her daughter. This move completely revitalizes the show, finally giving June an outlet for her rage as she goes about recruiting and organizing a resistance. If there was ever a time to hop back on the wagon, this is it.
If you're still looking for something to watch, remember to check out TV Guide's Watch This Now! feature. It's full of hand-picked recommendations, from the talked-about shows to the gems you can't afford to pass up.