Now Streaming: THE REGIME Plods, GIRLS5EVA Rocks

Kate Winslet and Matthias Schoenaerts star in a dramatic satire. Sara Bareilles, Busy Phillips, Paula Pell and Renee Elise Goldsberry star in a comic satire.

Managing Editor; Dallas, Texas, US (@peteramartin)
Now Streaming: THE REGIME Plods, GIRLS5EVA Rocks

Most often, I tune into TV shows for the creative talent involved behind the camera. Or for the concept itself, if it sounds like a neat twist on a familiar premise.

Sometimes, I keep watching if the actors are giving very good performances.

The Regime
The first three episodes are now streaming on Max.

Ever since Matthias Schoenaerts starred in Michael R. Roskam's Bullhead in 2011, I've kept my eyes peeled for his appearance. Often, he works within a narrow register, the strong and steady type who speaks softly and carries a big stick, metaphorically if not physically.

He enters The Regime as a disgraced military man, Corporal Herbert, implicated in a massacre of protesting citizens in a fictional Central European nation, yet quickly becomes a confidant of the country's ruler, Kate Winslet's somewhat unbalanced Chancellor Elena. Andrea Riseborough is another familiar face, as a key worker on the Chancellor's staff.

Created by Will Tracy, the show is a mixed stew that doesn't quite congeal, not funny enough to land all its jokes and not sufficiently potent to take down its intended targets, at least in its first two episodes. Episode 3 aired last night; I'll push through to watch all six episodes, but it's tough sledding so far.

What keeps me going is, yes, the performances. Schoenaerts is, once again, quiet and menacing, with the sort of thousand-yard stare that prompts people to step out of his way. Winslet plays a character who long thought she had a handle on her own agency, yet is realizing that others around her have long sought to push her around.

It's not what I call a priority watch, or something you simply must see as quickly as possible, but it's worth sampling if you're a subscriber to the Max streaming service.


Girls5eva S3
Season 3 is now streaming exclusively on Netflix. Seasons 1 and 2 are streaming on Netflix and Peacock.

sa_girls_five_eva_ver3_430.jpgOutside of our primary field of coverage (genre films and TV shows), I enjoy watching classic British and U.S. TV sitcoms, especially from the 1970s. Very few shows from the past decade have appealed to me, which is why Girls5eva truly surprised me.

As a Peacock Original, the show featured the salty language of the modern era as it followed a girl group from the late 90s / early 00s who had one hit and toured for a while before disbanding, only to reunite when that one hit was sampled in a new song and brought them renewed attention.

The show premiered with its first season in May 2021, followed by a second season in May 2022. I was slow to catch onto the show's appeal, but I've been catching up as time allows and have thoroughly enjoyed all eight episodes of Season 1. In October 2022, the show moved to Netflix, and Season 3 just debuted last week.

Rather than watch Season 2 first, I jumped right into Season 3 -- it's only six episodes -- and easily binged it.

The third season has a simple premise that ties all the episodes together: the group's decision to book Radio City Music Hall as the concluding stop on their reunion tour. The episodes start in Fort Worth, Texas, U.S., which is close to home for me, since I live in neighboring Dallas, and lived in Fort Worth for five years.

That may sound like a home-field advantage, but I was already on the team. Sara Bareilles, Busy Phillips, Paula Pell and Renee Elise Goldsberry star, and they make beautiful music together, playing off each other with sparkling chemistry, composed of equal parts sibling rivalry and Best Friends Forever energy. (That's BFF for you kids.)

Even more so than Season 1, the new season gets into different facets of the primary characters' personalities. They're on the road for their tour, so they spend even more time together, which enhances their differences while showcasing their similarities.

They are women who are reaching the middle portion of their lives and wanting to make the most of it while they still can, leading to unexpected revelations about their own needs and wants. Fundamental issues are raised, especially the balance between fame, family, and finances, and how they impact dreams delayed. Are you ever too old to fulfill what you imagined your life to be when you were younger?

Girls5eva is a comedy, tuned to the rhythm of classic sitcoms: the set-ups and the wisecracks and the witty rejoinders and the joking insults and the sly ridicule of all things ridiculous. The show never forgets that it's a comedy, and it frequently made me laugh out loud. (That's LOL for you kids). Bundling the comedy with friendship makes it all stick together better.

The Regime

  • Kate Winslet
  • Andrea Riseborough
  • Hugh Grant


  • Meredith Scardino
  • Sara Bareilles
  • Busy Philipps
  • Paula Pell
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Busy PhillipsKate WinsletMatthias SchoenaertsMaxNetflixPaula PellPeacock TVRenee Elise GoldsberrySara BareillesAndrea RiseboroughHugh GrantDramaMeredith ScardinoBusy PhilippsComedyMusic

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