My father worked in television news in Greenville, South Carolina, for almost forty-five years, so I’ve never felt guilty about loving TV—we were practically required to install a giant eighties-era satellite dish, which only picked up the Disney Channel and HBO, in our rural backyard, and even as a preteen I planned out my week with help from TV Guide—which still earns a place of honor atop Dad’s recliner-side Jenga tower of magazines. Here’s hoping these Southern-tinged February recommendations are half as useful to you as those Golden Girls and Designing Women entries were to me.
Outer Banks, Netflix
I firmly believe there are no guilty pleasures, only pleasures, so I willingly admit I’m hooked on Netflix’s red-hot, filmed-in-Charleston (but takes-place-in-North-Carolina) teen mystery, back for season three on February 23. Treasure hunts, dastardly villains, class warfare—c’mon, you know you’re curious. And if you’re still on the fence, maybe this G&G Q&A with the show’s cocreator Josh Pate, a North Carolina native and UNC grad, will entice you further.
The Jig Is Up
Murf the Surf: Jewels, Jesus, and Mayhem in the USA, MGM+ (formerly Epix)
Speaking of treasure, in 1964, the biggest jewel heist in the country’s history was pulled off by the unlikeliest of thieves: a trio of Miami surfers. The ringleader, Jack Roland Murphy, aka Murf the Surf, and his accomplices broke into the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and snagged a gem collection that included the legendary 563.35-carat Star of India sapphire. For this four-part docuseries that begins February 5, director R.J. Cutler—who also helmed The September Issue, the award-winning documentary about Vogue—examines the crime and ensuing wild life of Murf. That’s intriguing enough for me to figure out what MGM+ even is.
Bill Russell: Legend, Netflix
Bill Russell emerged from his hometown of West Monroe, Louisiana, and the segregated South to become one of the best basketball players of all time—and a powerful voice for civil rights. NCAA Championships, NBA titles, a gold medal, MVP honors, a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Hall of Famer won them all and much, much more, which this two-episode documentary will certainly detail when it releases on February 8.
The Civil Dead, on demand
The Alabama friends, comedians, and filmmakers Clay Tatum and Whitmer Thomas collaborated on this dark comedy, which won the audience award for narrative feature at the 2022 Slamdance Film Festival. In it, they play characters named after themselves: Clay, a Los Angeles photographer, and Whit, the childhood friend who Clay runs into only to discover Whit is…a ghost. The film debuts in theaters this month, but you can catch it on demand starting February 17.
Behind the Masters
Full Swing, Netflix
Perhaps hoping to do for golf what the epically popular Drive to Survive did for Formula 1, Full Swing follows PGA golfers such as Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Tony Finau, and Rory McIlroy at home, in the gym, and on the course as they prepare for and play in prestigious tournaments—including Augusta’s Masters—starting February 15.. (Bonus: Drive to Survive also returns this month for its fifth season, if you’d like to catch up on the drama before the Florida native Logan Sargeant, the first American F1 driver in a spell, starts on the grid for Williams Racing this spring.)
Lauded actor Trevante Rhodes, raised north of Dallas, returns to his home state for Bruiser, a coming-of-age tale releasing February 24 centered on fathers and father figures that garnered stellar reviews after it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last September. The Atlanta native Jalyn Hall, who plays Darious, the fourteen-year-old at the center of the tale, impressed critics in particular.
Play It Again, Hampton County
Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal, Netflix
No, I didn’t forget to erase my December Alex Murdaugh entry from my Southern Streaming document; this is an entirely new documentary centered on the labyrinthine Hampton County, South Carolina, murder-and-fraud-and-who-knows-what-else mystery—and probably not the last, considering that Murdaugh’s trial has started. This documentary, though, claims to include interviews with players not heard from previously, including victim Paul Murdaugh’s longtime girlfriend, Morgan Doughty. See for yourself when the three episodes land on February 22.