Analysis: It's messy history week with 'Dangerous Liaisons' and 'The Crown'

Analysis by Lisa Respers France, CNNUpdated: Sat, 12 Nov 2022 14:08:48 GMTSource: CNNOh historical fiction, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways -- because thanks to some newly-streaming shows th

Analysis by Lisa Respers France, CNN

Updated: Sat, 12 Nov 2022 14:08:48 GMT

Source: CNN

Oh historical fiction, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways -- because thanks to some newly-streaming shows this week, there's at least two.

I live for this genre, as you all know well, and especially when the reenactments are spicy and scandalous. Can't wait to dive in? Me either!

Three things to watch

'Dangerous Liaisons'

I love, love, love a good origin story -- especially one tied to one of my favorite movies.

I am a huge fan of the 1988 film "Dangerous Liaisons," starring Glenn Close and John Malkovich, based on the novel and play of the same name.

And with its new series of the same name, Starz offers up a fresh take on the classic tale of scheming and seduction in ancien régime France, focusing on how Camille (played by Alice Englert) and the Vicomte de Valmont (played by Nicholas Denton) came to be lovers -- while also taking other lovers.

I've watched the first few episodes of the show and I can tell you this: there's a reason Starz greenlit a second season before the first had even debuted, because it is a luscious period drama.

"Dangerous Liaisons" is streaming now.

'The Crown' Season 5

This new season of "The Crown" hits differently following the death of Queen Elizabeth.

Imelda Staunton is stepping into the royal main role, and the action picks up in 1992 as she grapples with her "annus horribilis."

That (horrible) year included a devastating fire at Windsor Castle, the disintegration of both Prince Charles and Prince Andrew's marriages, a tell-all book about Princess Diana and some in the public questioning the royal family's relevance.

We know, of course, that "The Crown" is a dramatization, not a documentary, but it's still entertaining to imagine at least some of what the show portrays happening in real life.

"The Crown" is streaming now on Netflix.

'Say Hey, Willie Mays!'

After the boys of summer are gone, we have a new documentary movie about one of the best baseball players to ever play the game.

"Say Hey, Willie Mays!" examines the life and sporting legacy of the Black athlete, who was widely esteemed for his skill on the diamond but faced criticism for not speaking out more about civil rights.

Mays participates in the project -- and having the subject speak for themselves, rather than others talking about him, brings a real richness to the narrative.

It's available now on HBO and HBO Max, both of which are owned by CNN's parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery.

Two things to listen to

Bruce Springsteen is far from slowing down.

The Boss rocker has a new album out this week, and this time the famed songwriter is tackling other people's material.

"Only the Strong Survive" features his takes on classic songs including The Four Tops' 1981 hit "When She Was My Girl" and The Temptations' "I Wish It Would Rain."

"In my own memoir, I give my voice a little short shrift by saying I didn't think I had much of one," Springsteen said in a video about the new album. "But once I started in on this project, after listening to some of the things we cut, I thought, 'My voice is badass!'"

The album is out now.

One Direction is a gift that keeps on giving.

Its former members have all launched successful careers since the group disbanded, with the latest solo release coming from Louis Tomlinson.

Tomlinson has been teasing for some time that he was back in the studio and working on new music. "After living with this album for a while I can't wait for you all to hear it," he tweeted in August. "Thank you for allowing me to make the music I want to make."

"Faith in the Future" is also out now.

One thing to talk about

We see you, Cher!

The singer, Oscar winner and all-around queen stirred a great deal of interest when she was recently photographed holding hands with rapper and music executive Alexander "AE" Edwards.

Cher being Cher, she responded to some of her Twitter followers who had questions about her and Edwards' 40-year age gap. (Edwards is 36 and Cher is a fabulous 76. Not that it's anyone's business.)

Now seems like a good time to remind you that older men dating younger women never seems to cause as much stir as when the roles are reversed.

No matter. If you "Believe" in life and love after 70, raise your hand and celebrate Cher with me for doing what she wants and how she wants it.

Something to sip on

The world may not be ready for the emotional journey that is the "Black Panther" sequel.

"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" is steeped in the loss of Chadwick Boseman, who died in 2020 at 43 after a private battle with colon cancer.

At the time of his death, I wrote about how Boseman left us at a time when we most needed a superhero. That hasn't changed, and the new film finds Wakanda in a time of crisis, much like many of us feel the world is in now. But life and art go on, which is one of the reasons we mourn so deeply while also celebrating how fortunate we were to have had those we've lost -- even if only for a brief time.

So when the lights start dimming in movie theaters around the world this weekend, I would like to think Boseman is there at every new "Black Panther" screening, applauding the cast he loved -- and was loved by in return, like family.

Wakanda, forever.