At the top of 2022, I proudly declared that I would not add another streaming platform to my roster. Four months later, I caved in after seeing a preview for a new Ben Whishaw medical series—think if House was a depressed, thirty-something British OBGYN working at a county hospital where both gut-wrenching and darkly funny shit happens. Unfortunately for me, the show was on a platform that wasn’t dinging my account on the reg. I made a compromise with myself and decided to sign up for the platform’s seven-day free trial—which would be more than enough time to watch the series before canceling my subscription before the first charge. Seconds after signing up I forgot about unsubscribing, as I am wont to do. Too lazy to go through the cancellation process, I figured I’d just see if there was anything worth watching.
The platform has a decent-ish amount of content, much of which is pretty good. Horror fans can watch every episode of The Walking Dead and its 4,000 spin-offs and post-shows and pre-shows and behind-the-scene shows. There’s also Mad Men, the Breaking Bad universe, a ton of BBC series including Killing Eve and The Watch, and original content like Kin (an Irish crime drama starring Mr. Daredevil himself) and classic American-action flicks like Young Guns.
So in an effort to turn lemons into lemonade, I have compiled a list of AMC Plus shows that you, too, should check out when you forget to unsubscribe. In no exact order:
The North Water
Starring Colin Farrell, Stephen Graham, Jack O’Donnell
5 episodes/about 50 to 60 min a pop
Whale hunting fucking sucks, or so is the case in this thriller miniseries starring a spectacularly scruffy and grumbly Farrell and a typically gruff Graham. The five-part series follows an ex-army surgeon who winds up joining a whaling expedition through the Arctic in the mid-1850s. The motley crew aboard the good ship is as ultra-violent as they come — they’d be right at home in a Westeros-like situation. Farrell turns in a Tom Hardy—inspired performance full of grunts and violence and stalking about, imposing their grown-man forged from steel attitudes on their prey.
Lil’ fun fact: The show was shot on location in The Arctic, which wound up helping the actors get deeper into character. “[It was a] very harsh environment indeed, it had to be,” O’Connell told Newsweek. “I don’t think any of the characters we’re playing have an easy time of it. So, for me it was an absolute pleasure to have that factor of the character already taken care of. Just being able to react to what we’re dealing with.”
This Is Going To Hurt
Starring Ben Whishaw, Ambika Mod, Michele Austin, Rory Fleck Byrne
7 episodes/about 45ish minutes a pop
Based on the Adam Kay’s 2017 book, This is Going to Hurt is a medical dramedy that follows the daily lives of junior doctors who work in a maternity ward at a National Health Service hospital. The equally hilarious and gut-wrenching series highlights the horrific working conditions that many health care professionals endure with little-to-no support.
Whishaw shared some insights about the role with Radio Times. “The thing that the show has done for me in terms of opening my eyes is just the sheer levels of exhaustion. It shouldn’t be shocking because it’s so obvious if you think about what these people are actually doing and dealing with every day. But I don’t think we’re encouraged to reflect on that. I think we take it for granted, actually.”
Watching the characters work never-ending shifts while dealing with actual matters of life or death is second-hand exhausting in a way but the humor throughout does a good job of giving us a break from the heaviness. The heart of the show lies in its two leads: Whishaw’s Adam and Ambika Mod’s breathtaking performance as Shruti, a student doctor that gets thrown into the deep-end. Nervous but dedicated to making her parents’ proud, Shruti is forced to learn on the job with little help from her wisecracking, disinterested mentor Adam. And thanks to Mod’s haunting and authentic portrayal, Shruti becomes the one that audiences root for—though Adam is the series’ hero.
Lil aside: Since Perfume, Ben Whishaw—affectionately known in the Bowie household as “Whishees”—has been my eye-acting king. He has a few signature eye quirks and looks that evoke so much empathy in me as a viewer. He’s also the only actor who consistently makes me want to give their character a hug. They’re often so stressed and lovelorn and well-intentioned! More rom-coms for Ben please. Some lighter fare for my tortured British thespian prince!
Stuff to Watch
AMC Plus, like Netflix and Prime, has a function that allows users to save the shows/movies they want to watch. It’s called My Stuff, and here’s a lil peek into mine:
Gangs of London
I love a good British gangster drama and this title card suggests that things are about to go down in jolly ol and the dude from Peaky Blinders is big stressed about it.
Spin Me Round
Allison Brie always chooses such interesting roles (justice for Glow!) and Spin Me Round may be no exception. To my complete delight, this trailer is a study in controlled chaos and then Aubrey Plaza shows up talking shit in Italian, so it’s a must-watch at this point.
This innovative sketch show centers on a fictional music variety hour – a la Soul Train – hosted by Sherman McDaniels, a Don Cornelius—type showman. Luckily for me and this AMC Plus subscription that I’ve allowed to stay on my bulging streaming roster, I get to check out the new season of Sherman’s Showcase when it debuts on the platform on October 26. According to Variety, a slew of guest stars are slated to appear in the new season: Issa Rae, Demi Adejuyigbe, Desi Banks, Laci Mosley, Dewayne Perkins, and Jay Pharoah.
Fans of Kenan’s “What Up With That” SNL sketch will likely love the hell out of this series. Catch the first season of Sherman’s Showcase on Hulu (unless they’ve pulled it by the time you read this. Them’s the digital breaks.)
*** As you may have guessed by the “quality” of this post, this is not an ad for AMC Plus — but man, my bank account would be happier if it was.