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


The wait is over – Season 2 of The Mandalorian airs on Disney+ from 30 October. The first series was an unprecedented success, nominated for Outstanding Drama Series at the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards and winning seven Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards. The Mandalorian follows Mando (Pedro Pascal) as the title character who we discover is actually named Din Djarin, a lone bounty hunter who ends up caring for The Child, aka Baby Yoda. There are guest stars a-plenty, with the new series including Rosario Dawson and Timothy Olyphant among the cast. Will Din Djarin and The Child be able to elude the show’s villain, Moff Gideon, and learn why he has a darksaber? Will fan-favourite Boba Fett be making an appearance (or his clone)? Can Baby Yoda possibly get any cuter? So many questions to answer – no wonder Season 3 has already received the go-ahead to continue the story.


As we move into the winter months, so begins the holiday-related content. New to Netflix this week is Holidate, a romantic comedy holiday film starring Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey. Set in Chicago, overworked Sloane is fed up with her family’s constant jibes about finding a partner. After one too many dodgy dates, she meets Jackson, a commitment-phobic Australian – they both hate the holidays, and agree to be each other’s partner to the dreadful upcoming festivities. Naturally, this being a rom-com, they discover their hate of the holidays is one thing they can both love together.


This Week’s Top Choices to Watch, Read and Listen to

To say the Jack Reacher novels have been successful is an understatement. Over 100 mn of the books by Lee Child have been sold since the first one, Killing Floor, in 1997. The 25th novel in the series, The Sentinel, is available from 29 October and is the first to be co-written by James Grant and his younger brother Andrew, but published under their pen names Lee Child and Andrew Child. In this new thriller, former US army military police major Jack Reacher gets off the bus in a town with no name near Nashville. He just wants a cup of coffee and a good night’s sleep before moving on. That’s not going to happen. The town is in lockdown due to a cyber attack and local IT guy Rusty Rutherford is in the middle of a kidnapping ambush when Reacher steps in. Rule one: if you don’t know the trouble you’re in, keep Reacher by your side. He may not understand cybercrime, but he does know about injustice. The Sentinel is an addictive read, involving conspiracies, cover-ups, murders and fisticuffs, and as James Patterson states, ‘shows that two Childs are even better than one.’


This Week’s Top Choices to Watch, Read and Listen to

Speaking of all things cyber, virtual band Gorillaz, created by Blur’s Damon Albarn, has released their seventh studio album. Part of the band’s web series project, Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez is a compilation of some of the tracks released monthly on YouTube since January, with each ‘episode’ featuring a different guest artist such as Beck, St Vincent, Skepta and Elton John. The ever-evolving project encompasses a whole range of genres, everything from synth-pop and hip-hop to punk and bossa nova. What could be a disjointed album is instead pulled together into a coherent whole – probably the best album Gorillaz has made in quite some time. Available for download or old school vinyl and CD; the deluxe version has bonus tracks.

Author: Sarah Palmer

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