Give Dominique Fishback Every Award in the World for ‘Swarm’

Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Amazon
Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Amazon

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There are roughly 47,000—oh, wait, a new Netflix Original just dropped; make that 47,001—TV shows and movies coming out each week. At Obsessed, we consider it our social duty to help you see the best and skip the rest.

We’ve already got a variety of in-depth, exclusive coverage on all of your streaming favorites and new releases, but sometimes what you’re looking for is a simple Do or Don’t. That’s why we created See/Skip, to tell you exactly what our writers think you should See and what you can Skip from the past week’s crowded entertainment landscape.

See: Swarm

Swarm creates a genius, endlessly compelling satire of a Beyoncé stan whose obsession turns murderous. With a host of incredible celebrity cameos—and the best lead performance of the year so far—this one’s worth getting stung by over and over.

Here’s Kyndall Cunningham’s take:

“By now, you’ve probably heard about the new TV series Swarm that’s about Beyoncé fans but not about Beyoncé fans. Donald Glover and Janine Nabers’ new Prime Video show, out today, follows a troubled young woman (Dominique Fishback), whose obsession with a pop star resembling the “Crazy In Love” singer takes her down a disturbing path.

‘Swarm’ Transcends the BeyHive Parody to Become Something Brilliant

Such an offhand description of a show would typically sound reductive. But Swarm is so flagrantly conceived around Beyoncé’s cultish fan base (known as the BeyHive), from its title to several other on-the-nose references, that it feels appropriate. At the same time, Swarm’s grabby premise feels partially designed as a decoy. In fact, it’s the tension between the show’s satirical elements and what it tries to achieve outside of them that makes it so engaging.

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p><em>Swarm</em>.</p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">Courtesy of Prime Video</div>


Courtesy of Prime Video

Throughout the show’s seven episodes, I kept wondering whether I was more impressed by Swarm’s ruthless depiction of stan culture and the novelty of a Black, female antihero than by the actual story at its core. Thankfully, as the series progresses, it reveals itself to be much more than a stylized parody centered around what many might consider obvious internet bait. Instead, it’s a provocative and surprisingly humanistic portrait of the people who get left behind.”

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<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>Sophie Thatcher and Kevin Alves in <em>Yellowjackets</em>.</p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">Kailey Schwerman/Showtime</div>

Sophie Thatcher and Kevin Alves in Yellowjackets.

Kailey Schwerman/Showtime

See: Yellowjackets

Yellowjackets also has its stingers out, albeit with a weakened potency. The survivalist/supernatural mish-mash dips a bit as Season 2 begins, but its fantastic cast carries it when the show stumbles, unwilling to let itself be eaten alive in the woods…yet!

Here’s Coleman Spilde’s take:

Yellowjackets was an undeniable original in a sea of televised remakes and reboots. That alone was enough to pique viewers’ interest. But the show’s bold dissection of teenage hierarchies—seen through the eyes of a team of high-school soccer champions whose plane crash-lands in the Canadian wilderness—was also an incisive, sharp new take on teen dramas made for adults. Throw in a stacked core cast with Tawny Cypress, Christina Ricci, Melanie Lynskey, and Juliette Lewis playing the older counterparts of four players as the show jumps through time, and it’s no wonder audiences were attracted to Yellowjackets like flies to honey.

‘Yellowjackets’ Season 2 is Even Darker and Bloodier

But there’s an unfortunate consequence that can come into play when shows become bigger than themselves—especially for semi-supernatural dramas with such ambitious plotting, like Yellowjackets. The fan attention the series received sparked an early second season renewal after only half of the first season’s episodes had aired. Though co-creators and writers Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson had reportedly pitched the series with a five-season arc, there’s no telling what kind of pressure having millions of people waiting with bated breath for a second season can do to a show, even one with such a stellar episode-to-episode track record.”

Read more.

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>Keira Knightley in <em>Boston Strangler</em>.</p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">20th Century Studios</div>

Keira Knightley in Boston Strangler.

20th Century Studios

Skip: Boston Strangler

Boston Strangler finds Keira Knightley—gasp!—in a period piece, doing her best Zodiac impression in drab 1960s Massachusetts, devoid of any color. Unfortunately, the film is just as yearning for any suspense. Ben Affleck simply will not stand for this!

Here’s Nick Schager’s take:

“Boston in the early 1960s was a bleak place courtesy of the Boston Strangler, a mysterious fiend who preyed upon unsuspecting single women of various ages in their apartments. According to Boston Strangler, things were in fact so grim that there were no vibrant colors to be found; everything was coated in a drab sheen of muddy browns, greens and grays that were only illuminated by blooming fluorescent lights. It was like living in a septic tank, except darker. This cannot actually be true, and yet don’t tell that to writer/director Matt Ruskin’s feature (which premieres Mar. 17 on Hulu), which—either for creative or budgetary reasons—boasts not a single vivid splash of red, yellow or blue.

‘Boston Strangler’ Is Bleak in All the Wrong Ways

The ostensible idea seems to be that this dire tale requires a palette to match, but the excessiveness of Boston Strangler’s visual dreariness is a drag on its action, if in keeping with its narrative monotony. The story of the two female sleuths who fought a culture of misogyny while trying to report on—and uncover the identity of—a serial monster consumed with taking women’s lives, it has one thing to say, and it says it over and over again with a dismal lack of nuance.”

Read more.

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>Jessie Mei Li as Alina Starkov and Archie Renaux as Malyen Oretsev in Shadow and Bone.</p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">Netflix</div>

Jessie Mei Li as Alina Starkov and Archie Renaux as Malyen Oretsev in Shadow and Bone.


See: Shadow and Bone

Shadow and Bone Season 2 ups the number of shadows and, wouldn’t you know it, there are more bones too. Hokiness aside, the show provides a place for all fantasy fans to land, chock full of wildly written universes and tropes that never get old.

Here’s Laura Bradley’s take:

“When Shadow and Bone premiered in 2021, it demanded a lot from its audience. Its world is chock-full of warring nations and tribes, and at first, it could be difficult to keep them all straight. For those of us who watched the series, jumping into Season 2 feels a lot like the first; there might be questions like ‘Where is Ravka, again?’ and ‘What the hell is merzost?’ (An explainer never hurts.)

Just like before, however, Shadow and Bone Season 2 rewards those who take the time to find their footing with a high fantasy adventure for the ages. There’s a slew of new characters on deck here—most delightfully, a merry band of privateers—but even more enticing are the increasingly fraught bonds between our central characters. It’s not just our hero Alina Starkov’s love triangle, or mercenaries Kaz Brekker and Inej Ghafa’s ‘will they, won’t they?’; this season, it seems that no relationships are simple anymore, even among fast friends.”

Read more.

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