FILM | If you're unfamiliar with the work of Spanish auteur Pedro Almodóvar, his wild, candy-colored 1988 soap-opera-meets-farce WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN would make a perfect entry point. The film, out of print on home video for years, received the Criterion Collection treatment last month, and the new BluRay disc boasts a sparkling picture, striking cover art and new interviews with the director and his star and muse Carmen Maura. A good chunk of Almodóvar's filmography is unavailable in the States, so hopefully this release sparks a rediscovery of his vibrant, singular work.
TV | The FX drama series THE AMERICANS has been on the air since 2013, but it's one of those shows that has never attracted a huge audience or much award consideration despite being universally beloved by critics. (In fact, last week's season five opener was reportedly the lowest rated of its premiere episodes.) Much has been written about the show's sudden political relevance — it is, after all, about two Russian spies passing as an all-American family in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. — but it's also wickedly smart, propulsively plotted and brilliantly acted TV. The first four seasons of The Americans are available to stream on Amazon Prime, so get to bingeing.
PODCAST | MISSING RICHARD SIMMONS was already being hailed as the new Serial by the time its first installment landed (it's currently on episode 5 of 6). Hosted by former Daily Show producer Dan Taberski, the podcast is an investigation into the disappearance of the indefatigable fitness instructor, who hasn't spoken to his closest confidants or made a public appearance in nearly three years. Whether or not you agree with the practice of turning Simmons' plight into an episodic radio drama (complete with weekly cliffhangers), it's impossible to deny that this is compelling listening. ♦