CVIndependent

Sun07122020

Last updateMon, 20 Apr 2020 1pm

New Year, new you? Likely not—but at least there’s new TV to stream.

You’re thinking, “New TV? I’m not even caught up on last year’s shows!” Just accept it: Unless you somehow land a sweet gig as a pro TV reviewer, you never will. I’m not saying I’m better than you; I’m just saying

Onward and upward—or at least fast-forward. Here are 11 new streaming shows to kick off the New Year. (I didn’t say “new decade,” because that starts in 2021. Don’t @ me.)

Reprisal (streaming now on Hulu): A flashy bouillabaisse of Tarantino pulp, rockabilly fetishism and neon-noir camp, Reprisal was lost in the December streaming overload—and I know that WTF? synopsis certainly didn’t help. The plot is simpler than the execution: A wronged woman (Abigail Spencer) is out for revenge against the savage hot-rod gang who left her for dead. Reprisal is weird and imperfect, but rarely dull.

The Witcher (streaming now Netflix): Speaking of weird and imperfect, you’ve probably heard of The Witcher; former Superman Henry Cavill’s pecs and He-Man wig are nearly as meme-able as Baby Yoda. For a Netflix series with a mild TV-MA rating, The Witcher is as much blood ’n’ boobs as it is swords ‘n’ sorcery, like a dollar-store Game of Thrones with a sense of humor. Beats the hell out of The Mandalorian.

Servant (streaming now Apple TV+): Remember Apple TV+? The arrival of Disney+ squashed its buzz before The Morning Show finally stopped sucking (only a little) and M. Night Shyamalan’s Servant arrived. It’s a creepy baby-sitter thriller with a twist—and then another twist, and another, and another, because M. Night Shyamalan. Most disturbing of them all is a teen baby sitter with no Instagram account (!).

Medical Police (streaming Jan. 10 on Netflix): A sequel to 2010-16 Adult Swim cult favorite Childrens Hospital, Medical Police stars several OG series doctors (including Erinn Hayes and Rob Huebel) as undercover Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agents recruited to stop a global bio-terrorism plot. It’s a mashup of Childrens Hospital and Jack Ryan that’s still less ridiculous than Jack Ryan, or (stay with me here) a sub-homage to Baywatch Nights.

The Outsider (streaming Jan. 12 on HBO Now): The murder of a small-town Georgia child leads to a solid-but-not-really case against a teacher (Jason Bateman), so it’s up to a pair of mismatched PIs (Ben Mendelsohn and Cynthia Erivo) to crack it. Spoiler: The Outsider is based on a Stephen King novel, so there’s supernatural shit afoot. As with King adaptation Mr. Mercedes (which no one saw), subtlety makes it work.

Curb Your Enthusiasm (streaming Jan. 19 on HBO Now): Season 10?! Damn. When last we left Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry (Larry David) was about to be assassinated over Fatwa! The Musical (2017 was a gentler time). We can assume he survived, unless CYE is going with an elaborate, Garfield Minus Garfield-esque setup of J.B. Smoove talking to himself for 10 episodes … which actually sounds amazing. R.I.P., Larry.

Avenue 5 (streaming Jan. 19 on HBO Now): Cocky Ryan Clark (Hugh Laurie) captains Avenue 5, a 1-percenter luxury cruise liner with an upgrade: It’s a spaceship. When a routine trip around Saturn goes awry, Capt. Clark and his crew aren’t up to the challenge of correcting course, calming passengers or paying NASA to save them. Avenue 5 is from the Veep people, so it’s at least funnier than Netflix’s Lost in Space.

Star Trek: Picard (streaming Jan. 23 on CBS All Access): As annoyingly reductive as the nostalgia-reboot trend is, there’s always room for more Star Trek—and if it involves Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), even better. Picard picks up with the retired Starfleet commander in 2399, taking on a new mission with help from new and classic characters (including ex-Borg Seven of Nine in odd militant-hippie mode). Make it so!

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (streaming Jan. 24 on Netflix): Fashion-forward witch Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka) can only save her boyfriend from Madam Satan (Michelle Gomez) and her clutches in Hell by assuming the throne as queen of the underworld to defend it against the Prince of Hell. Meanwhile, a pagan carnival rolls into Greendale with apocalyptically evil intent—this new season is not screwing around. Still no Lucifer crossover, Netflix?

Shrill (streaming Jan. 24 on Hulu): Last year, Hulu debuted Shrill, a charming comedy about a large woman (Aidy Bryant, below) that wasn’t about making said large woman lose weight—yeah, crazy. Even crazier, as Season 2 opens, Portlander Annie (Bryant) is regretting quitting her job at the local weekly newspaper. Such regret doesn’t exist in 2020, nor do (last time I checked) local newspapers. Fake news, Shrill!

BoJack Horseman (streaming Jan. 31 on Netflix): Netflix is stretching out the sixth and final season of BoJack Horseman, the Citizen Kane of alcoholic-horse cartoons, by splitting it up; these are the last eight episodes, sadly. In October’s Part 1, BoJack (the voice of Will Arnett) finally got his act together, but Part 2 looks to blow it all up. Don’t be fooled by the talking animals: This is smart, emotional storytelling—binge it, hard.

Published in TV

I’m a Spotify Premium subscriber, because I don’t want ads interrupting my stream of the 16 new Oh Sees albums released last week. Thanks to my exorbitant Coachella Valley Independent salary, it’s a small luxury I can easily afford. Please clap.

In March, Spotify added another perk to Premium membership: a free Hulu subscription. Sure, it’s the basic ad-supported version of Hulu, but so what? There’s plenty of cool shit on the streaming service, including every Seinfeld ever (spoiler—it doesn’t hold up) and mucho-buzzed-about originals like The Handmaid’s Tale (the feel-good hit of the Trumpy the Clown era).

Here are eight more lesser-hyped original Hulu series that you may or may not be aware of, so you can get the most out of your freebie sub. Also, after you spring for the Spotify Premium upgrade, give my band a listen—10 million more streams, and we’ll make enough in royalties to buy a case of PBR.

Shrill (Season 1 on Hulu): Saturday Night Live’s Aidy Bryant stars as Annie, an insecure, full-figured young woman toiling away at a Portland newspaper; the death of print is the least of her problems. Fed up with everyone trying to “fix” her, Annie decides to stop apologizing and just be herself—and the results are as human as they are funny. Shrill is short, sweet and one of the best comedies of 2019.

Hard Sun (Season 1 on Hulu): In British import Hard Sun, London detectives Hicks (Jim Sturgess) and Renko (Agyness Deyn) stumble upon government evidence that Earth will suffer a solar extinction event in five years—I know; I wish it were sooner, too. Despite the sci-fi twist, Hard Sun is a gritty Brit cop drama (it’s from Luther creator Neil Cross) that’s deeper than it seems. And waaay violent.

Future Man (Seasons 1-2 on Hulu): An average janitor (Josh Hutcherson) who’s an above-average video-gamer is recruited by future warriors to save the world—turns out the game he just beat was a recruitment tool. (Rejoice, e-nerds.) Imagine Back to the Future if Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (the producers of Future Man) applied their sick, stoned imaginations to it, or Ready Player One if it didn’t suck.

Deadbeat (Seasons 1-3 on Hulu): Deadbeat (upper right) is an old, old, old-school Hulu original: It debuted all the way back on 2014! Tyler Labine stars as Pac, a slacker-slob medium who helps spirits move on … when he gets around to it. With the help of his drug-dealer Roofie (Brandon T. Jackson), Pac fucks with “fake” medium Camomile White (Cat Deeley); spooky hilarity ensues. Don’t think about it too hard.

Shut Eye (Seasons 1-2 on Hulu): On the medium note: Charlie (Jeffrey Donovan) is a “fortune teller” conman desperate to escape Los Angeles’ gypsy mafia and start his own racket—but then his clairvoyant visions become real, inspiring him to give up the grifter life. Naturally, his mob boss (Isabella Rossellini) doesn’t see eye-to-third-eye with him. Odd that Shut Eye couldn’t predict its own cancellation. 

Difficult People (Seasons 1-3 on Hulu): What’s your tolerance level for Billy Eichner? You might reconsider after checking out Difficult People, wherein he and Julie Klausner play self-absorbed New Yorkers who hate everything and everyone but each other. The pair’s comic interplay sings like an off-Broadway production they’d adore, but wouldn’t cross town to see. DP MVP: James Urbaniak (The Venture Bros.).

The Hotwives (Seasons 1-2 on Hulu): It seems impossible to parody The Real Housewives, the TV franchise that helps you understand an anti-American terrorist’s point of view. However! Hulu’s 2014-2015 series The Hotwives (of Orlando; later of Las Vegas) nailed it, thanks to a ridiculously funny cast (including Andrea Savage, Casey Wilson and Kristen Schaal), and a grand total of zero reality TV fucks given.

UnReal (Seasons 1-4 on Hulu): On the darker side of reality TV, UnReal (below) dramatizes the behind-the-scenes machinations of a Bachelor-style dating show, with only a few exaggerations (Drugs! Depression! Murder!) and one hard truth. (Reality shows are 110 percent bullshit). Showrunners Rachel (Shiri Appleby) and Quinn (Constance Zimmer) are as emotionally wrecked as they are ruthless, and UnReal is too real.

Published in TV