Archive People Picks By Tom Gliatto and Kim Hubbard Published on January 12, 2015 12:00 PM Share Tweet Pin Email A DOZEN COOL THINGS TO SEE, HEAR, READ AND DOWNLOAD THIS WEEK FOR ADDITIONAL REVIEWS OF MOVIES, TV SHOWS, MUSIC AND BOOKS, GO TO PEOPLE.COM/PICKS No. 1 Downton Abbey Recovered loves and a pet in distress—it’s a fine new season at the great British manor TV DRAMA The fifth season of the Masterpiece hit is much better than last year’s, which was spoiled by Bates (Brendan Coyle) skulking around as if he were a giant skunk hell-bent on unleashing his noxious power. The stories this time are more generously distributed and more generous-hearted—Isis, beloved dog of Downton, finally gets her small due. Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael) can’t stop doting on her baby daughter, secretly placed with a farming couple, which leads to many anguished tears. Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) gets her hair bobbed and looks to die for. (Oh. Bad choice of words.) In particular, acerbic Violet (Maggie Smith) is allowed a sentimental lapse—something to do with the return of an old Russian flame. Even crotchety dowagers can dream of white knights. (PBS, Jan. 4, check local listings) No. 2 Boyhood DVD DRAMA Heavily touted for a Best Picture Oscar, director Richard Linklater’s labor of love was filmed over more than a decade with the same basic cast: young Ellar Coltrane and, as his parents, Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke. We watch Mason (Coltrane) grow up and become his own person. That’s it. Boyhood makes you realize how seldom movies capture something so simple yet revelatory. (Jan. 6) No. 3 Portlandia TV COMEDY Season 5 kicks off with the backstory of bookstore owners Toni and Candace (Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen, in drag). Surprisingly, we travel to Manhattan in the era of Joan Collins shoulder pads and Wall Street financial machismo. Yet it feels more like Portland than ever. (IFC, Jan. 8, 10 p.m.) No. 4 Madonna‘s 6 New Songs The Queen of Pop surprises fans with a holiday gift MUSIC POP “Life is a mystery,” Madonna once sang—but she could have been talking about herself. Shortly before Christmas the diva unexpectedly released a half dozen new tracks from the upcoming Rebel Heart, and they’re terrific. The standouts: “Living for Love”—a buoyant post-breakup anthem that echoes the gospel-drenched heights of “Like a Prayer”—and “Ghosttown,” a mid-tempo ballad in which Madonna promises to stick by her beloved even when “the world has turned to dust.” (Side note: Are you okay, girl?) The album’s remaining 13 songs are set to drop in March, but hey, this is Madonna, so who really knows? If they are just as outstanding, Rebel Heart could be Madge’s best album since 1998’s Ray of Light. No. 5 Marvel’s Agent Carter TV ACTION Carter is a fun, silly distraction combining retro glamour and feminist aspiration. Peggy Carter, who was introduced in the Captain America movies, is an undercover specialist tracking world-threatening weapons in 1946. Hayley Atwell, who looks like folksinger Natalie Merchant as a femme fatale, plays the part with intrepid spirit. (ABC, Jan. 6, 8 p.m.) No. 6 The Best New Books Nat King Cole lives again, celebrity diets put to the test and an unsettling novel about jealousy and revenge Ravi Howard Driving the King NOVEL Nat King Cole really was attacked in Jim Crow Alabama in 1956, but author Howard makes up what comes next: A childhood pal leaps to his defense, landing in prison for “inciting a riot.” Released, he becomes Cole’s chauffeur and bodyguard, only to find that racism knows no bounds. A moving tale about bigotry and the power of friendship. Rebecca Harrington I’ll Have What She’s Having MEMOIR Fandom through weight loss … well, why not? You’ll laugh out loud at the author’s attempts to follow the sometimes excellent, sometimes stomach-churning diet regimens of celebrities: Gwyneth Paltrow (tasty!), Elizabeth Taylor (peanut butter and steak, yuck), Madonna, Beyoncé and more. BOOK OF THE WEEK Harriet Lane Her NOVEL When Nina catches a glimpse of Emma on the streets of London one day, her heart skips a beat. Years earlier the women had an encounter—the mysterious nature of which suffuses this eerie novel with foreboding. As Nina, a painter, insinuates herself into young mom Emma’s life, it’s soon clear her motives aren’t pure. Chilling, suspenseful and shrewd about friendship’s mix of love and envy, Her captivates right up to its shocking denouement. NEW STORY COLLECTIONS Edith Pearlman Honeydew These elegant, compassionate stories bring “regular” people to complex life. Pearlman’s flawed characters demand your attention and win your heart. Megan Mayhew Bergman Almost Famous Women Bergman imagines the lives of minor but fascinating historical figures—including “the pretty, grown-together children” Violet and Daisy Hilton. Karen E. Bender Refund Bender probes the depths people will sink to for love and money in this poignant, absorbing collec-tion of finance-themed tales. Worth investing time in. No. 7 Inherent Vice Joaquin Phoenix on a long, strange tour of old L.A. MOVIE COMEDY Joaquin Phoenix wanders the streets of 1970s L.A. in a haze of marijuana and confusion: He’s Doc, a shaggy private eye helping an ex-girlfriend get to the truth of a conspiracy involving her new beau. Ultimately less interested in crime than the death of the counterculture, director Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood) fills this hypnotically odd road trip with absurd clashes between hippies and squares. But newcomer Katherine Waterston steals the show. (R) No. 8 Katherine Jenkins, Home Sweet Home MUSIC CLASSICAL The mezzo-soprano (and Dancing with the Stars alum) flaunts her pipes on breathtaking operatic standards, but our favorite was her take on a different kind of classic: Queen’s “We Are the Champions.” (Due Jan. 27) No. 9 Babylon TV COMEDY Liz Garvey (Brit Marling), an American spin doctor hired by the London police force, steps into an imploding bureaucracy in which enforcement is less urgent than whether a crime spree can be recast as a “spate.” Unvarnished dislike and indignation give this satire considerable bite. (Sundance, Jan. 8, 10 p.m.) No. 10 TRIBUTE People’S JOE COCKER PLAYLIST In memory of the late singer—who passed away Dec. 22 at 70 from lung cancer—here are 5 of his songs that we’ll always treasure: ‘WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS’ His soulful rendition of the Beatles classic was a Woodstock standout (and The Wonder Years theme song!). ‘YOU ARE SO BEAUTIFUL’ His quiet take on the Billy Preston original is a lover’s serenade in the highest form. ‘UP WHERE WE BELONG’ This duet with Jennifer Warnes off the An Officer and a Gentleman soundtrack won a Grammy and an Oscar. ‘FEELIN’ ALRIGHT’ A must watch: Cocker and John Belushi (imitating Cocker) performing the hit on Saturday Night Live in 1976. ‘THE LETTER’ A bluesy revival of the Box Tops original, it was Cocker’s first Top 10 hit in the U.S. No. 11 Mark Ronson, Uptown Special MUSIC SOUL On his fourth LP, the acclaimed producer—he helmed Amy Winehouse’s breakout Back to Black—marries retro R&B and alt-rock (think Earth, Wind & Fire meets Foster the People). Spoiler alert: The infectious grooves on “Uptown Funk” (feat. Bruno Mars) may induce serious seat dancing. (Due Jan. 13) No. 12 The Golden Globes TV The Hollywood Foreign Press hosts the first major awards show of 2015. People forecasts the big winners. GOLDEN GLOBES Jan. 11 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC Julianne Moore, Still Alice LEAD ACTRESS DRAMA Devastating as a college professor losing her mind—and maybe her soul—to Alzheimer’s, Moore gives the performance of her career. Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything LEAD ACTOR DRAMA Redmayne’s inspirational work as ALS-stricken physicist Stephen Hawking has earned comparisons with Daniel Day-Lewis’s Oscar-winning turn in My Left Foot. Boyhood DRAMA Richard Linklater’s naturalistic take on parents, kids and the inevitable march of time is elegantly universal. Patricia Arquette, Boyhood SUPPORTING ACTRESS Smart, tough and fair, Arquette grounds the film as a single mom who grows up alongside her kids. J.K. Simmons, Whiplash SUPPORTING ACTOR A career supporting player, Simmons is finally getting his due for his alternately terrifying and hilarious portrayal of an abusive band teacher. Birdman COMEDY Set in a Broadway theater with its narrow, winding hallways mirroring the twisting story line, it’s a virtuosic, jazzy riff of a film. Michael Keaton, Birdman LEAD ACTOR COMEDY Keaton’s soaring performance as an actor going through a nervous breakdown is wrenching, brash and supremely intense. Amy Adams, Big Eyes LEAD ACTRESS COMEDY Adams captivates in an understated turn as kitsch painter Margaret Keane. THE TELEVISION CONTENDERS Dominic West, The Affair ACTOR DRAMA A writer having a midlife crisis and then a reckless fling—British actor West gave the part all the depth of his intensely chiseled brow. Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder ACTRESS DRAMA A high-flying, at times self-lacerating performance in one of the most daring female roles in some time. Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent ACTOR COMEDY Tambor’s been around Hollywood forever, but as a man seeking gender reassignment surgery, this is the role of his career. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep ACTRESS COMEDY Louis-Dreyfus gives a weekly master class in comic timing, but the Globes has a history of honoring new sitcom stars: So who would carp if Gina Rodriguez, irresistible and down-to-earth as Jane the Virgin, took the prize? The Good Wife DRAMA Year in, year out, Julianna Margulies’s legal drama is not merely good but the best—the smartest, subtlest, most delicious series on any network. Transparent COMEDY A different kind of modern family: more pain and fewer laughs, but so much truth.