Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Aidy Bryant; Kiernan Shipka, John Murphy, Nelson Leis
Aidy Bryant; Kiernan Shipka, John Murphy, Nelson Leis
Photo: Allyson Riggs (Hulu), Diyah Pera (Netflix)

Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Friday, January 24, and Saturday, January 25. All times are Eastern.

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Top picks

Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina (Netflix, Friday, 3:01 a.m., first half of season 2): If it feels like this Riverdale-adjacent Kiernan Shipka vehicle is back for its third or fourth go-round, rather than its second, there’s a reason for that. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s appealing series split its first season into two parts and stuck a holiday special in the middle, and now its second chapter (“Part 3”) begins in earnest.

Lisa Weidenfeld has packed her poms and is ready to recap.

Shrill (Hulu, Friday, 3:01 a.m., complete second season): Hulu brings us the second season of the sitcom Shrill, an adaptation of Lindy West’s book of the same name. Last week at the Television Critics Association’s press tour, The A.V. Club sat down with executive producer, writer, and star Aidy Bryant to discuss what’s next for the new-and-improved Annie, what inspired the season’s big musical moments, and because we cannot help ourselves, the clothes, the clothes!

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[Note: the remainder of this section contains minor plot details from the second season of Shrill, primarily its first episode.]

The A.V. Club: Now that it’s ready to launch into the world, how do you feel about the show’s second season?

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Aidy Bryant: I’m really excited. The first season was so much about figuring stuff out and trying to have a tone in mind, and I think we got there. But this felt like, ‘Yes, we get to do it again,’ and I feel like we’ve kind of hit our stride in a nice way. It’s also just nice to still have the body image stuff be part of the story, but not be the only thing that we had to carry. Now we can open it up a little bit more.

AVC: It was sort of thrilling realizing early in the season that so much of it was going to be focused on her professional and creative life.

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AB: That just sort of happened naturally. Because the first season was only six episodes, it was like this tight little bundle, and so much effort was put in that small space. It felt like we had done a character study in some ways, and it was all about her getting from point A to point B with some sort of body image epiphany. This season, she can sort of move beyond that and start to focus on her actual goals or interests or relationships without being like plagued by that looping monologue of self-hatred. The theme of the season is that she’s going hard and confident, but it’s never quite there until it finally is. You know what I mean? I’m purposefully speaking in a vague way, but she’s trying to concretely make big changes in her life, and there’s a lot of emotional fallout and I think a lot of like self-reflection in all of that. So it’s always a little bit sloppy. A little messy.

AVC: She goes freelance at the beginning of the season. Do you have any longtime freelancers in your writers’ room?

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AB: Yeah, it’s a big mix. Lindy’s in the writers’ room and she’s worked freelance, and at an alt-weekly. She’s our journalism expert, but the rest of us have had weird gigs and have been broke. We have a really nice mix of different types of people who have gone through all different kinds of things. Almost half of our writer’s room, maybe more, have immigrant parents and that sort of kept coming up. So that was part of what fueled Fran’s story. It’s funny, with television, each episode says it was written by this person, but it’s such a collaborative process. I really enjoyed writing for Fran’s story.

AVC: I wanted to ask about your Celine Dion singalong, to “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now.”

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AB: Oh god, the Celine moment was my baby… I feel like for girls of a certain generation, Celine Dion is the embodiment of raw emotion and power. As a girl I would watch that music video and be like, “yes, the ghost and the motorcycle and the sex and the nighttime, all of it, thunder, lightning, yes!” So to me it was the perfect song. It’s like [Annie’s] going to catapult, almost like she’s been shot out of a cannon into this new life. What better way than to arrive in the darkness with Celine Dion?

AVC: Annie’s dad has a “jazz friend.” Is that an archetype you’ve noticed in your life?

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AB: Oh my God, I love that question. My dad always had weird friends where I’d think, “Oh, that’s his football friend,” or whatever. “That’s my dad’s like rock and roll friend.” So Bill is kind of a jazz guy, so we called him his jazz friend, And Damian Young is so funny. I’ve been a fan of his for a long time, on The Comeback and other great things. He was really, really funny.

AVC: The costumes got so much attention last season, rightly so. Did you feel like there was pressure to top that this season?

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AB: Definitely. We talked about that. “Oh God, we didn’t expect there to be that much focus on the clothes.” So we felt it. But we also were feeling inspired, feeling excited. I work closely with Amanda [Needham], our costume designer, and we just really get each other. I think she’s helped me understand how much clothes can say about a character in a moment. Before, I sort of felt like it was just something you wear, but now, I don’t know if I could do some of the scenes I’ve had to do without support from someone like that, who could make sure I felt comfortable.

We work really closely. I send her boards and ideas, and she sends me stuff, and then we talk. The dress that I ended up wearing in the roller rink party scene [above], that was a hybrid of six or so ideas that we kind of put all together. We have fittings almost every day to get ready for upcoming episodes; we choose fabrics together. It’s really a labor of love. I like that Annie has a sense of style, of who she is and how she likes to present herself to the world.

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Regular coverage

Saturday Night Live (NBC, Saturday, 11:29 p.m.): host Adam Driver, musical guest Halsey

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Wild card

The Goop Lab With Gwyneth Paltrow (Netflix, Friday, 3:01 a.m., series premiere): “Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle site, Goop, guides the deeply curious in an exploration of boundary-pushing wellness topics.”

Please, take everything on The Goop Lab with a grain of salt, which should not be inserted into any part of your body that isn’t your mouth. This is the purest kind of wild card pick, and it calls to mind another Netflix reality series subject:

Gif: Giphy
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Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves television, bourbon, and dramatically overanalyzing social interactions.

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