It’s a busy Friday as we’ve got conspiricies against activists, Hip-Hop’s OG’s, scares of all variety from nostalgically goofy to genuinely terrifying, the first episode after a Marvel’s series’ big reveal, and a Lifetime movie based on a Parks & Rec holiday!
Judas and the Black Messiah [HBO Max]
The title sounds like something out of the bible, but no, it’s inspired from the pages of FBI cointelpro reports. President Hoover’s paranoia would soon focus on one activist in particular: Fred Hampton. Director Shaka King brings the events that lead to his murder to life in this historical drama starring Daniel Kaluuya as Fred Hampton and Lakeith Stanfield as the FBI informant that would deceive him.
Hip Hop Uncovered [FX, 10p]
This one may be for the true hip hop heads or it may work for those trying to simply get to the essence of the sound. This unique anthology points its historical lens not at the big names casual fans know, but at some of its original hustlers and champions, the OG’s–one of whom, Deb Antney, just happens to be the mom of Waka Flocka Flame. It gets extra points from me for the perfect trailer soundbite of one of my all-time favorite tracks, Eric B. & Rakim’s “Juice (Know The Ledge).”
Are You Afraid of the Dark? [Nickelodeon, 8p]
Nickelodeon’s revival of Snick’s scariest series returns for its second season with new members of the Midnight Society.
Given last week’s huge reveal all bets are off and all options are on the table for what comes next on this brilliant addition to Marvel’s canon. But it is poised to (and this isn’t hyperbole) be a turning point for the MCU and, by extension, pop culture at large.
BUT, WAIT, THERE’S MORE:
- It’s a banner day for horror, as in addition to the fun Nickelodeon classic series, we have the award-circuit-acclaimed Saint Maud, the debut from director Rose Glass, dropping on Epix. In it, Welsh actress Morfydd Clark is an obsessive nurse whose latest Misery-style crush is a dying dancer played by Jennifer Ehle.
- There’s also the latest in the holiday-themed Hulu horror anthology (we’re guessing since there’s a couple and no presidents involved, it’s Valentine’s Day). Into the Dark: Tentacles comes from the House of Blum and signs point to it having all the psychological creepiness we’ve come to expect from them.
- Both Groundhog Day and Edge of Tomorrow are things that exist in the time loop universe of The Map of Tiny Perfect Things. This new mega-meta YA-feelin’ Amazon Prime flick follows a teenager as he tries to navigate his way through the same day every day in a world where some people seem to be in on the trick It’s on Amazon Prime and is actually getting a ton of good reviews.
- One of the greatest storylines from The Great British Bake-Off was the crowning as ultimate Star Baker of 2015 of the initially soft-spoken Nadiya Hussain. Her journey even leaped off that show and into the real world as the charismatic baker has become one of the UK’s biggest personalities. Her latest, Nadiya Bakes, debuts on Netflix today.
- If Six Feet Under happened in real life, and took place in Memphis with an African American family, you’d have something close to Netflix’s Buried By the Bernards, but with a few fewer time jumps. The Bernards run a funeral home and do seem eminently likeable in the same manner the Jersey Couture (remember them) klan were affable with their mismatched quirks and long-running family feuds.
- A Spanish comedian does a tight hour about the absurdity of the human capacity for hatred on the Netflix stand-up special, Hate By Dani Rovira.
- The third of the movie adaptations of author Jenny Han’s American trilogy that takes its overall name from the unlikely source of a 1985 Julio Iglesias/Willie Nelson top 5 hit, To All The Boys: Always and Forever finds teenage heroine LJ trying to figure out her next step as she is set to graduate from high school. What to do about her boyfriend Peter might be the stickiest of wickets. It’s on where else but Netflix.
- Discovery+ digs from its bottomless bag of channels it owns to bring us a few from-the-headlines-rip’t true crime mini-docs. We’ve got the title that will ruin Yvonne Elliman’s hit song for you, If I Can’t Have You: The Jodi Arias Story and the awfully punny (emphasis on awful) Unseamly: The Investigation of Peter Nygard.
- On a much lighter note–although Disney’s holdings and this one in particular are not immune from the actions of horrific men–there’s Disney+’s latest BTS (as in “behind the scenes,” not to be confused with this BTS) showcase, Inside Pixar returns.
- Streaming service Mubi continues to bring us recent critically-acclaimed cinema–in this case it is the first film from Cathy Yan, who hit the big time, even if her DCU showcase Birds of Prey wasn’t a huge hit. Her debut, Dead Pigs, a social satire about a real life incident near Shanghai, earned awards at Sundance and can now be seen on an even smaller screen, even your phone if that’s your wont.
- We end it all with something amazing. You know the TV holiday Galentine’s Day has hit the big time when it’s the subject of a Lifetime movie and Galentine’s Day Nightmare is less romantic than it is stalky-scary. We don’t know if Leslie Knope would be thrilled or dismayed or both, but we’re all three. It’s even based on a true story, and we don’t think they mean that Fargo-style. In any case, we do truly look forward 30 Rock‘s Leap Day to make its Hallmark Movie debut with a rugged man in blue standing back-to-back with a busy-busineswoman in yellow as they meet cute and fall in… love?