Forget ‘Emily In Paris.’ Watch ‘Alice In Paris’ instead
With much of the arts moving to online and streaming platforms, here’s a look at a weekly standout:
My pick: “Alice In Paris,” a French TV series from Tastemade starring Alysse Hallali and directed by Thibaud Martin.
Why: You’ve probably heard of “Emily In Paris” — a Netflix show released in quarantine that received mixed reviews, earned two Golden Globe nominations and already secured a second season. After bingeing the divisive series, I stumbled across a show which should be getting all that hype: “Alice In Paris.”
Despite similar names, the show is everything “Emily In Paris” is not — charming, original and award-worthy. Rather than drop an annoying American in the city of love, this show follows a young French woman named Alice (Hallali) who leaves her home in the countryside and moves in with her sister Elsa (Alix Bénézech) to chase adventure, usually in the form of mouthwatering food.
Alice has absolute taste, meaning she can recognize all flavors and ingredients in a dish — a fictional ability inspired by the “perfect pitch” musicians can possess. On her quest to find the best Parisian cuisine, she often lands herself in precarious, though mostly light-hearted, situations. Each episode is easily digestible; there are a few recurring characters and continuing storylines, but many scenes can stand alone.
In a word, Alice is quirky. Unlike some TV shows that abuse this trait — creating a clumsy character always falling down stairs or stumbling through relationships — Alice’s quirkiness is endearing, largely thanks to Hallali. Not only did she win “Best Actress” at the Spanish festival Bilbao Seriesland last October for her role as Alice, Hallali is also the show’s writer and occasionally helps direct.
Alice’s colorful persona mirrors the overall visual of the brightly saturated, fast-paced show. The short-form series is punctuated by eccentric cinematography, including unexpected camera angles and quick zooms, that match her high energy. And while its artistic style often evokes a Wes Anderson aesthetic, the French flair of “Alice in Paris” puts the show in a league all its own.
Find it: All three seasons can be streamed Amazon Prime Video; season one is available on Hulu and YouTube TV.
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