Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Friday, November 9 and Saturday, November 10. All times are Eastern.
The Great British Baking Show (Netflix, Friday): On your marks, get set, bake! That’s right, the sweet, wholesome goodness that is The Great British Baking Show is back, and the kind-spirited baking competition might prove the perfect recipe for a relaxing weekend—no soggy bottoms here. The show’s ninth series, which wrapped in the U.K. last month, heads straight to Netflix this Friday as Collection 6. It will be the second season headed by judge team Paul Hollywood (who is himself as firm as his famously coveted handshakes) and newcomer Prue Leith, who, in spite of how daunting the task of filling Mary Berry’s shoes must’ve been, impressed audiences with her calm authority. Once again, the show will be hosted by Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding, the latter of which you might know better as Old Gregg, and who must’ve had something to do with this wonderfully weird trailer:
Westside (Netflix, Friday): Long ago, we came to accept that “reality” shows typically fail to live up to their genre name. We’ve grown to distrust shows that claim to be “unscripted”—or at least, we’ve ceased to care whether or not they really are. This reality show, however, is one that takes its genre very, very seriously. It follows nine struggling Hollywood musicians as they work together to dig up and lay bare their personal “truths,” truths which they will then convert into original songs. Over the course of five weeks, these practical strangers uncover the best and worst of each other through a series of workshops, bonding activities, recording sessions, and dance rehearsals in preparation for a make-it-or-break-it musical showcase. Somewhat laughably, the editors are a bit heavy-handed with the color correction so that each shot look as though it were pulled from an “artsy” music video; in fact, the show itself is intercut with heavily produced music videos that fit a bit too neatly into this “organic” narrative (it plays out a bit like Glee). But in spite of the theatricality of the format, the process—which is a genuinely painful and often tearful one—shows the artists to be surprisingly raw and honest in their interactions with one another and about their personal struggles and insecurities. It seems that after the massive success of Queer Eye, Netflix is, with this show, pandering to an audience demand for reality TV that makes you cry, and though this show is vastly different from Queer Eye, you might just find yourself feeling inspired in spite of yourself, shedding a few cathartic tears, and, perhaps, feeling just a bit more hopeful.