A version of this story appeared in Pop Life Chronicles, CNN’s weekly entertainment newsletter. To get it in your inbox, sign up for free here.
Sure, I could load this week’s newsletter up with Halloween content, but leave it to me to be a contrarian.
No judgment if Halloween is your thing, but I don’t like to be scared so I don’t indulge.
That means while my neighbors are handing out candy this year, I’ll be curled up enjoying some of the content below. I mean, there will still be treats, but I’m not sharing.
Three things to watch
‘The Surreal Life’
I should probably start by mentioning that Dennis Rodman likes to walk around the house in which he filmed the new season of “The Surreal Life” naked. Do I have your attention?
That’s right, VH1 has revived the reality TV series – 16 years after it last aired – where a group of stars live together and compete in challenges “to determine which one of them is their most authentic self.”
In addition to Rodman, this season’s cast features Frankie Muniz, Tamar Braxton, Kim Coles, Stormy Daniels, August Alsina, Manny MUA and CJ Perry.
Episodes are currently streaming on VH1.com.
‘The White Lotus’ Season 2
This time the red carpet is being rolled out for guests at a luxury resort owned by the fictitious hotel chain in Sicily – but don’t worry, the change in location does not means there will be any less satire, drama or the delight that is Jennifer Coolidge’s character.
If you haven’t watched the first season, you should check in and check it out to fully grasp why the show so quickly became part of the pop culture zeitgeist. And not to give too much away, but there’s a cool scene in season two which addresses binge-watch culture.
“The White Lotus” season 2 premieres Sunday on HBO and HBO Max, both of which are owned by CNN’s parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery.
If liquor and libations are your thing, this show has got you covered. And if they’re not, well you could still learn something.
Think of it as the perfect pairing to the many culinary competition shows out there, as “twelve of the world’s most innovative mixologists infuse, stir and blend their way through a series of high-stakes cocktail challenges to win a life-changing prize and the title of Ultimate Drink Master.”
Just remember to watch responsibly as “Drink Masters” is streaming now.
Two things to listen to
Arctic Monkeys are scaling up, and making plans to play their first full stadium tour in the UK next year.
According to the band’s singer and guitarist Alex Turner, the music from new album “The Car” warrants it.
“It wouldn’t have made sense for us to play stadiums before this album and I don’t think we were mentally ready for it up until now,” he told NME. “I don’t want to get ahead of myself and say that some of our songs ‘belong’ in a stadium, but they could definitely hang out in a stadium.”
Reviews have been solid, and prove that “The Car” – which is out now – is an example of the band’s drive to try new things, including shooting a concert film at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn during their headlining performance there last month.
Believe it or not, it’s been a decade since Carly Rae Jepsen hit the big time with her single “Call Me Maybe.”
And there’s no maybe about it, in the years since she has definitely established herself as a pop music mainstay. She recently released her sixth album, “The Loneliest Time,”and talked to People about how the loss of her grandmother during the Covid-19 pandemic factored into the record’s development.
“That was my first experience, really, of love lost to that degree,” she said. “When I have an emotion so extreme that I don’t know what to do with it, part of my therapy has always been to try and process it through songwriting.”
One thing to talk about
50 Cent is proving to be pretty savvy when it comes to television production.
In a partnership with the cable network Starz, he is behind the scripted series “BMF,” which tells the story of brothers Demetrius (“Big Meech”) and Terry (“Southwest T”) Flenory, who in the 1980s founded a drug empire known as the Black Mafia Family.
Ahead of the show’s second season, the rapper has also brought us “The BMF Documentary: Blowing Money Fast.” The eight-part series is billed as offering “exclusive access inside all the epic family feuds, high stakes drug deals, suspicious murders, and champagne drenched parties attended by hip-hop royalty.”
When I interviewed 50 Cent last year about “BMF” he told me he had “the cheat code” when it came to urban content – that certainly looks to be true.
Something to sip on
The world lost its best “guncle” (that’s gay uncle) this week with the death of actor Leslie Jordan.
Many people have credited his series of social media videos with helping them endure lockdowns and life disruptions during the height of the pandemic, but he brought muxch joy through his work even before then, whether in “Will and Grace,” “American Horror Story” or any number of other roles.
With his impeccable comedic timing, Southern joy and refusal to be anyone other than who he was made, Jordan was the best kind of star – one who fully embraced being on the stage we call life.