Anyone who sees me over the next couple of weeks is going to have to listen to me blather on about Homecoming, which I binged last weekend, and afterwards lay on my bed for a solid half hour, staring at the ceiling, contemplating humanity, unsure of what to do with myself. The Julia Roberts conspiracy drama is based on a fictional podcast which I raced through earlier this year, but this Amazon Prime series is a rare case of an adaptation that builds something new from its source material. Roberts plays Heidi Bergman, a therapist in a mysterious facility for returned soldiers, where it becomes increasingly clear she hasn't been looped in on what's actually going on. Years later, she's a waitress with little memory of her past when an investigator comes knocking. It's the most gripping series I've watched all year, and it relies on character and humanity for its hooks and twists rather than flashy action or violence. And with just half-hour episodes, it's a lesson in the power of concise storytelling.
Limetown is another fictional podcast that I chewed up last year – and it's also getting a prestige TV adaptation, with Jessica Biel set to star for Facebook Watch. Meanwhile, the second season of the podcast has just debuted, and it's a considerable step up from the first, with increased production value and better performances. Season one followed journalist Lia Haddock's investigation into the disappearance of 300 individuals from a mysterious research facility/community; I won't spoil the shocking cliffhanger that ended it, but season two has elevated the sense of fear and conspiracy that was lingering on the sidelines in season one. It's so engrossing that if I listen on my walk to work, I arrive feeling a bit shaken and quite suspicious of everyone around me.
Three of the best new voices in indie folk have united to form a sort of mini-supergroup called boygenius. Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus bring their powers together on a stunning six-track EP that flies by brilliantly in an all-too-short flash. It's collaborative material that's strengthened by the sum of their parts; Bridgers' proud fragility is matched by Baker's belting, emotional crescendos and Dacus' gritty rock sensibilities. It's also their shared DNA as singer-songwriters that elevates the record – their voices layer beautifully, while their lyrics and stories display a stark emotional vulnerability that's devastating and hopeful at the same time.
Imugi is one of our most exciting local acts at the moment. Slated to make a splash at Laneway next year, the duo blend dance music and pop hooks to make some of the most sublimely groovy tunes coming out of Kiwi artists today. Their EP Vacasian is an excellent introduction to their tunes; the record looks at 21st-century identity and intersectionality while also providing back-to-back dancefloor bangers. They're putting on a gig at Whammy on Saturday with Being, Power Nap and Milk – catch them before they're everywhere.