What to watch: Industry quiz nation
Hey there! I just had a baby so the Pop Culture Brain newsletter is currently on parental leave. I’ll be back soon with regular news, trailers, and recommendation emails — but for now please enjoy highlights from the what to watch segment!
Quiz — AMC’s Quiz has a lot going for it. It’s a fascinating behind-the-scenes dramatization of how Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? was created, it’s a gripping true crime caper about the people who tried to game the gameshow, and it’s an impressive showcase for Succession’s Matthew Macfadyen, Fleabag’s Sian Clifford, and journeyman actor Michael Sheen. But most importantly, it’s only 3 hours total. Make it your final answer.
Industry — British production company Bad Wolf is on a bit of a hot streak: The Night Of, His Dark Materials, I Hate Suzie, and my recommendation for today: Industry. Imagine if the cast of Billions was younger and sadder and you start to get at what HBO Max’s Industry is all about. A bunch of recent college graduates are vying for permanent jobs at a cutthroat big bank in London. There’s plenty of sex, drugs, and financial jargon — but what I was most impressed with at the end of the first season was what the show had to say about class, race, ambition, and harassment. Myha'la Herrold and Marisa Abela are giving formidable breakout performances, while Ken Leung (Lost) is showing just how underutilized he’s been on television for 20+ years. I’m a big fan of Billions, but sometimes its plot twists seem arbitrary; Industry derives its complicated plottingfrom character, which creates a deeper, richer experience.
Taste the Nation — I first watched Padma Lakshmi’s Taste the Nation during peak quarantine last year, when it played as a clear reaction to Trumpian xenophobia. In the passing year, its relevancy has only grown as immigration and anti-Asian racism dominate headlines. The 10-episode Hulu series is Padma’s take on a Bourdain-style travel and food show, but each episode brings added poignancy by focusing on one immigrant or marginalized community in America. For example, did you know there’s a huge Peruvian community in Paterson, New Jersey? Taste the Nation serves up a perfect blend of empathy-driving representation, mouthwatering food, and travel wanderlust. It would be a great amuse bouche for Top Chef, which returns this week.