Tune in each week as Marhaba delves into the wonderful world of popular culture to find the best new TV series, movies, books, and music.


Dickinson is a must-see if you’re a fan of poetry, 19th century Americana, and the somewhat restricted lives of women in this era. Season 2 arrives on Apple TV+ on 8 January (catch up on Season 1 quickly!) and continues the story of Emily Dickinson (Hailee Steinfeld), widely regarded as one of America’s most important poets. This historical ‘dramedy’ follows Dickinson as a budding writer in the 1850s, following her coming of age while constrained by society. Reviews have been overwhelmingly favourable, with fans raving about the great photography and costumes, along with excellent writing mixing historical facts with modern-day colloquialisms.


Getting its Netflix premiere on 8 January is Charming, a brand new adaptation of the timeless classic. Wilmer Valderama (Fez from That ‘70s Show) voices Prince Charming, who has been cursed to have every woman fall in love with him! However, on his 21st birthday, he finds himself having to choose between Cinderella (Ashley Tisdale), Snow White (Avril Lavigne), or Sleeping Beauty (G.E.M.) as his soulmate, otherwise all the love in the land will disappear. In order to break the curse upon the kingdom, he sets off with female-adventurer-posing-as-a-man Lenore (Demi Lovato), who may capture his heart instead! This family-friendly, animation was originally released in November 2018, long after Valderama and Lovato’s own romance was over.


What to Watch, Read and Listen toSomething that you will probably want to read in one sitting, The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins is a new thriller that spins some old tropes on their heads. Jane has moved to Birmingham, Alabama, and is a dog walker in an affluent neighbourhood. She’s also a broke petty thief after some new rich pickings. Trouble is, she falls in love with her potential next target Eddie, one of the gated community’s more mysterious residents. He has recently lost his wife, Bea, and her best friend Blanche in a boating accident, meaning he should be an easy mark for Jane. But as Jane and Eddie get to know each other better, Jane learns more about Bea as more secrets are uncovered. Treat this book as a totally engaging and modern reinvention of the classic Jane Eyre, this time set in the Deep South with Stepford wives and gossip a-plenty, and the feeling that sometimes we never really know the person we fall in love with.


The Bee Gees was probably one of the most successful and influential songwriting teams of the 20th century – the list of songs is endless and their singing style instantly recognisable. Surviving Bee Gee and the power behind the falsetto, Barry Gibb has been a lifelong bluegrass and country music fan, wanting to work on a project with some of the artists he admires the most. This dream is finally a reality with Greenfields: The Gibb Brothers Songbook (Vol. 1) out on 8 January. Gibb and renowned Nashville producer Dave Cobb have enlisted the talents of numerous artists including Dolly Parton, Keith Urban, Sheryl Crow and Olivia Newton-John, who collaborate with Gibb on some of the biggest Bee Gees hits, such as Jive Talkin’, How Deep is Your Love, and Words. The album’s title is taken from the lesser-known Butterfly, a song from when the trio were still in their teens, which also appears. This album is a treat for fans of both pop and country music (you can’t help but sing along!) and you can tell that everyone had a real fun time making it.

Author: Sarah Palmer

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