What To Watch: 12/11/2020

You know, if Screen Scholars had planned its prom, the theme might actually have been Meryl Streep. She joins a bunch of other screen icons who are not afraid of singing–and in the case of James Corden might never stop if he did not record the talk segments of his late night show. The musical leads a Friday night that is over-filled with new content to watch and we’ll try to get to nearly all of it, because that is what we do here.

JASON’S PICK:
The Prom [Netflix]
Ryan Murphy is notorious for being over the top’s top in his work, so who else should bring to the small screen the Tony Award winning musical about that day in a teenager’s life which is meant to be gloriously gaudy. Matthew Sklar’s (not the third Sklar twin, I checked) Broadway show gets an all-star treatment as Streep and Corden are joined by Andrew Rannels, Kerry Washington, and in the comedian’s second singing role this month (see Jingle Janglealso, see Jingle Jangle, as it’s wonderful) Keegan-Michael Key. It may or may not be good, but with everyone involved, it’s sure to be spectacle!

KATHERINE’S PICK:
The Wilds [Amazon Prime]
Amazon’s “first YA series” answers the burning question we’ve had since middle school: what if Lord of the Flies was about girls instead? Featuring flashbacks and lots of ennui and dread, we have ten episodes to find out.

BRAD’S PICK:
Wolfwalkers [Apple TV]
This new animated thinker mixes Irish folklore, girl power and werewolves. Brought to you by the team behind The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea, this old school animated film is like a time machine to a time of hand-drawn animation. It almost reminds me of Don Bluth, but without the sense of dread.

BUT, WAIT, THERE’S MORE:

  • We’re up to the fourth in Academy Award winning director Steve McQueen’s acclaimed suite of movies about London immigrants. Small Axe: Alex Wheatle stars Sheyi Cole as the titular novelist imprisoned for her connection to the Brixton uprising of 1981. It debuts on Amazon Prime today.
  • If reliving your prom in musical form is not enough alma mater-y nostalgia for you, Disney+ has got High School Musical: The Musical: The Holiday Special (whoa, that’s a lot of colons). Here’s an interesting factoid we learned this week. While he does not appear to be involved in this event, the movies’ director Kenny Ortega’s first big break was the notoriously campy 1984 video that is said to have ended rocker Billy Squier’s career. We have to say, that tracks, and we mean that in the nicest (or at least neutral-est) way.
  • For more feelgoodery, Disney+ is also offering a heartwarming tale of a Clemson football player raising his 11-year-old brother on campus. Is Safety based-on-a-true-stoty? What do you think.
  • Julia Hart’s new thriller I’m Your Woman has its debut on Amazon Prime today and stars Rachel Brosnahan who is best known to the Prime crowd and beyond for being stupendous as a standup on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Here she’s on the run (see the car) with her infant child, hoping to escape her violent husband.
  • Speaking of standups, the latest Daily Show correspondent to get work beyond the confines of the 11th Avenue studio is ironic fratboy Michael Kosta, whose city-themed Comedy Central special Michael Kosta: Detroit. NY. LA airs tonight.
  • Playwright August Wilson lived just long enough to finish all ten decades of his suite of the Black experience in America. A year after he died in 2005, from the ashes was borne the August Wilson monologue contest. Giving Voice, brought to you in part by Viola Davis and the tireless John Legend, examines the history of the event and debuts on Netflix.
  • Man, shots of people staring daggers from inside their cars is like catnip to television promoters. Adult Material, a UK import series dropping on HBO Max, stars Hayley Squires as a single mom trying to make it in the porn industry.
  • Back over to Netflix, The Mess You Leave Behind is also an import (from Spain) and features characters driving and fighting for both their legacy and for those they love.
  • Finally, it’s December 11th, so you know there’s no shortage of new Christmas content. Let’s start with the whimsical as Disney (minus the plus) offers up the Disney Channel Holiday House Party. It’s everything you might expect, but if you don’t trust us (or what our admittedly snarky selves) mean, click on the title. The CW’s Christmas Caroler Challenge is also pretty self-explanatory, but the same rules apply. However, where our crusty pun-sucker hearts will discover the true meaning of Christmas is clearly at Lifetime whose movie offering tonight is the exquisitely named Inn Love By Christmas. Spoiler alert: it’s not just a clever name!

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