WiC Report: What to watch, read and play this weekend

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Perry Mason – Photograph by Merrick Morton/HBO

The weekend is here. What movie are you going to take in? What TV show are you ready to binge? What game are finally ready to play and what book are you ready to crack open? There’s a bewildering array of choices out there, and we’re here to narrow it down.

Or we suppose you could go outside, but why do that when you can do all of this from the comfort of your couch?

What to watch on TV: Perry (HBO)

The biggest ticket item of the week is definitely HBO’s splashy reboot of Perry Mason. This one has a long history. The original Perry Mason show started in 1957, and became the first weekly one-hour series made for TV. Raymond Burr starred as Perry Mason, a criminal defense lawyer who always solved the case just in the nick of time.

After 271 (!) episodes of that, the show ended, although there was a short-lived reboot in the ’70s. Now, HBO is slathering it with its patented polish, making Perry a detective rather than a defense attorney, packing the cast with Emmy winners and abandoning the case-of-the-week formula in favor of the miniseries format.

This show has been in the works for years; original, executive producer Robert Downey Jr. was going to play the title character, but the role ended up going to The Americans star Matthew Rhys. Orphan Black star as a new-age preacher, and John Lithgow, famous for everything from The Crown to 3rd Rock from the Sun.

The plot involves a child murder case that Perry Mason, naturally, investigates a little too well. It’s set in 1930s-era Los Angeles, giving HBO a chance to flex its period drama muscles. Honestly, it’s giving me a whole lot of Penny Dreadful: City of Angels vibes, which is set in the same place in the same time and also has a subplot at a new age church, only without the demons driving the world to war.

Anyway, the premiere airs this Sunday.

What movie to watch: Field of Dreams (stream on Hulu)

Look, all the movie theaters are still closed down on account of the coronavirus, so there’s nothing new to see there. Instead, this Father’s Day, why not curl up with this 1989 classic beloved of dads everywhere?

Kevin Kostner plays Ray Kinsella, a family man with lingering daddy issues who lives on his corn farm in Iowa. One night, he hears a mysterious voice whispering, “If you build it, they will come.” Build what? A baseball field, obviously. He builds it, and soon long-dead players appear out of the corn to play ball. Ray goes on a strange journey into the past, eventually finding a way to reconnect with his father, a devoted baseball fan.

Field of Dreams sounds odd in abstract, but for dads of a certain age, it hits he spot. For a long time, baseball had a nigh-mystical hold on the American consciousness, to the point that adding in ghosts (if that’s what they are) and time travel (if that’s what’s happening) doesn’t seem that out of place.

Or, if you want a less dated Father’s Day pick, try Final Fantasy XIV: Dad of Light, a miniseries about a son who reconnects with his distant father through the role-playing game Final Fantasy XIV.

Happy Father’s Day.

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