Analysis: ‘Paper Girls’ features time travel, ’80s girl power and Ali Wong

Regular subscribers to this newsletter know that it brings back memories of riding bikes with friends, waiting for the ice cream truck, and catching fireflies in a mason jar.

That’s why I have to start this week with a time travel series that speaks to my soul. May your future self enjoy it as much as I do.

What would you do if you met your 12 year old self?

That’s the premise of this new sci-fi series in which four young friends time travel from 1988 to 2019. I loved the premise, but two words stuck with me: Ali Wong.

She’s a costar and I won’t say more.

“Paper Girls” is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

“Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin”

(Left to right) Zaria, Malia Pyles, Maia Reficco, Chandler Kinney and Bailee Madison star in "Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin."

Here is another new series about a group of young women. This one is very different but still flows with the theme of nostalgia.

If you were a fan of the original “Pretty Little Liars,” you know you’re expecting drama. This iteration features a group of girls who live 20 years after a series of tragic events nearly tear their working town apart.

The teens find themselves tormented by an unknown abuser determined to make them pay for what their parents did, hence the “original sin” in the show’s title.

The first three episodes air on HBO Max, which, like CNN, is part of Warner Bros. Discovery.

‘Decoupled’

(From left) Brooks Ashmanskas as Stanley James, Neil Patrick Harris as Michael Lawson, Emerson Brooks as Billy Jackson star in "Decoupled."

Remember Neil Patrick Harris as Barney Stinson in “How I Met Your Mother?”

I’ll never forget it, but I’m thrilled to embrace a new character.

In this new series, the actor plays a successful real estate agent who finds himself navigating New York City as a newly single gay man after losing the man he thought was his soul mate.

“Decoupled” is streaming on Netflix.

Two things to listen to

Beyoncé accepts the award for Best R&B Performance at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards outside Staples Center on March 14, 2021 in California.

I mean, what more do I need to say besides Queen Bey?!?!?

Beyoncé’s “Renaissance” album was released on Friday (although it was reportedly leaked to the internet on Wednesday), so you might want to stay off social media if you don’t care.

Because believe me, it will be Bey all day.

Of course, there are other artists whose new projects are getting their devoted fans excited. But when it comes to Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter, her music always sparks conversations about culture, community and more.

We are ready, Queen.

Letitia Wright as Shuri attends T'Challa's funeral in a scene from "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever."
It’s not yet a full album, but three songs from the “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” soundtrack are now available to stream.

The songs are “No Woman, No Cry” by Bob Marley covered by Tems, “A Body, a Coffin” by Amaarae and “Soy” by Santa Fe Klan, and they have me looking forward to the movie coming later this autumn.

Between the new music and the recently released teaser, I’m already feeling my way.

RIP, T’Challa.

Something to talk about

Adele performs onstage at American Express presents BST Hyde Park on July 2 in London.

Let’s try again.

Adele on Monday announced rescheduled dates for her Las Vegas residency which had been rescheduled in January, the day before it began.

Needless to say, people who had tickets were upset. I had no tickets. I still don’t have tickets.

But what I do have is hope that with the new dates — and eight more — I have another chance to try and see one of my favorite singers in Sin City after all.

something to sip

The late Paul Sorvino as Frank Costello is shown in a scene from "Godfather of Harlem" in 2019.
We are losing far too many of our actors who played gangsters.

Sorvino also portrayed mobster Frank Costello in “The Godfather of Harlem,” and while he’s had a slew of amazing roles, no one has portrayed a mob guy quite like him.

Perhaps surprisingly, Sorvino told Jon Stewart in 2015 that he almost quit the role of mob boss Paul “Paulie” Cicero in “Goodfellas” because he was “really lost” trying to find the strength to represent it.

“I’m a really sweet guy,” Sorvino said.

So sweet he burst into tears when his daughter Mira Sorvino dedicated her Best Supporting Actress Oscar to him in 1996 for her role in ‘Mighty Aphrodite’.

“When you give me this award, you honor my father, Paul Sorvino, who taught me everything I know about acting,” she said at the time. “I love you very much, dad.”

We loved it too.

What did you like about today’s newsletter? What did we miss? Enter poplife@cnn.com and say hello!

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