To stave off possible boredom while at home, every week Marhaba delves in to the wonderful world of popular culture to find the best new TV series, movies, books and music.


Serving as a prequel to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ratched tells the origin story of the nurse seen in the movie, who while working at the psychiatric hospital descends into her own madness. Mildred Ratched is chic on the outside, dark on the inside, and presents herself as the epitome of a dedicated nurse. She has blackmailed her way into the hospital in order to ensure her brother, who has been sentenced to stay at the facility, is deemed unfit for trial. However, it seems the whole hospital has something to hide, including the chief doctor who goes on the run after lobotomies and LSD treatments fail spectacularly, and the rich single mother who wants him dead for ruining her son’s life. Sarah Paulson is excellent as Nurse Ratched, as are supporting cast members Sharon Stone and Cynthia Nixon. Catch all eight episodes on Netflix now.


Also new to Netflix this week is Enola Holmes, the teenage sister of Sherlock (Henry Cavill) and Mycroft Holmes (Sam Claflin). Based on a series of young adult books by Nancy Springer, Enola has also obviously inherited sleuthing skills, as she sets off to find her missing mother (Helena Bonham Carter) while eluding Sherlock and befriending a young mysterious runaway lord. Millie Bobby Brown is the perfect choice to play Enola, and she also served as one of the film’s producers. Reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, lauding the movie for its original spin on an old classic and praising the humour, costumes and outstanding acting – even going so far to say it’s a franchise in the waiting. Available on Netflix from 23 September.


What to Watch, Read and Listen to

New from Christopher Paolini, the author of Eragon and the Inheritance Cycle series, is To Sleep in a Sea of Stars. Unrelated to his previous series, this is a sci-fi fantasy book and geared more towards adults than his usual teenage audience. Paolini allegedly spent around 10 years working on the novel; it was obviously worth the wait given its rave reviews so far. Kira Navárez finds an alien relic on an uncolonised planet. At first she is overjoyed, as she has always dreamed of life on another world. This soon turns to horror as she has awakened a nightmare – suddenly war erupts, threatening the future of the entire galaxy and setting Kira off on a path of self-discovery.


What to Watch, Read and Listen to

Revered Canadian jazz singer Diana Krall releases her 15th album on 25 September. This Dream of You is a Bob Dylan song that Krall has covered, and the album is a selection of music recorded with her longtime producer and collaborator Tommy LiPuma before his death in 2017. Krall put her quarantine to good use by completing the album in May 2020 by producing it herself. The first song released in advance was Irving Berlin’s How Deep is the Ocean – this is also the penultimate track, before the album closes with perennial classic Singing in the Rain. Krall has stated that the collection is ‘a long playing record’ to be played at once in full, a theatric and emotional masterpiece that she states feels like the arc of a film: ‘If But Beautiful is the overture, then Singing in the Rain is the end title.’

Author: Sarah Palmer

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