A guide to conquering peak TV

What To Watch On Amazon Prime This Week (Feb. 17-23)

Kal Penn will teach you about money.

The Amazon Prime Highlight: “This Giant Beast That Is the Global Economy,” which debuted on Feb. 22.

Premise: Kal Penn travels the world for various interviews in this docuseries about different facets of the global economy. This has a long list of executive producers including Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Adam Davidson, a co-founder of NPR’s “Planet Money.” The series continues those producers’ storytelling philosophy of trying to make the complicated seem fun and simple.

Sum up: Between the overly long, tongue-twister of a name and the high-octane editing style of using rapid-fire shots that last only about two seconds, I thought this would make my skin crawl. Of course, the aim of explaining the convoluted evils lurking within capitalism is noble and I didn’t mind the idea of “White Castle” actor and Obama administration alum Kal Penn as host, but I remained skeptical. To my surprise, this show ultimately charmed me and I found it hard to stop watching. This project is clearly in sturdy, experienced hands and I found myself impressed by all aspects from the narrative style to the cinematography to Penn’s interviews. If you have any interest at all in the economy and how the flow of money works today, I highly recommend this as a standout in that genre.

Heads up: As mentioned, shots typically last about two seconds. The creators did an impressive job of choosing unique and nuanced shots and the editors made the transitions smooth but this constant cutting may still overwhelm you. This is also a show with bountiful jokes crammed in. As such, a few are groaners and feel particularly forced.

Will everyone be talking about this? Unfortunately, no. The trailer has only 18,000 views on YouTube and I haven’t seen any buzz for this show. I can envision teachers showing their students these episodes, though, so the project may eventually find an audience.

Check out the trailer for “This Giant Beast That Is the Global Economy” below.

Read on for more recommendations.

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"This Giant Beast That Is the Global Economy" on Amazon Prime.
"This Giant Beast That Is the Global Economy" on Amazon Prime.

Here’s the trailer:

What’s New This Week on Amazon Prime

Feb. 17

  • “The Party”

Feb. 21

  • “Odd Squad: Odds and Ends”

Feb. 22

  • “This Giant Beast That Is The Global Economy,” Season 1 (Prime Original series)

Feb. 23

  • “Death Wish”