What To Watch: 05/14/2021

Looks like May Sweeps is still around and applies to streaming as well as Friday Streaming is packed to the gills. There’s a lot of history to be had with new shows about Harriet Tubman, Halston, and the history of LBGTQ+ Pride in America. Netflix especially rolls out a ton of new titles. So continue below…

KATHERINE’S PICK:
The Underground Railroad [Amazon Prime]
Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, which won a Pulitzer and a National Book Award, gets its limited series adaptation on Prime Video. Thuso Mbedu stars as Cora, an enslaved woman in Georgia, hoping to ride the (literal) train to freedom. Barry Jenkins is the series’ director.

NAVANI’S PICK:
Pride [FX, 8p]
Leading up to Pride month, FX is releasing a 6-part docuseries that chronicles the LGBTQ community’s fight for civil rights spanning the 1950s – 2000s. Did you know the government had surveillance on the community in the 1950s? Or that Massachusetts was the first state to issue same-sex marriage licenses in 2004? So much to learn about this part of American history that is seldom taught. Besides the trauma the LGBTQ community has faced (which is what is usually highlighted) equally important are the moments of joy and love and that’s what I’m most excited to see in this limited series. Catch the first three episodes when it premieres tonight. The last three parts will air on May 21st. 

JASON’S PICK:
Halston [Netflix]
How am I not surprised that Ryan Murphy is behind this adaptation of an unauthorized biography of the famed designer’s rise during the 1970s & ’80s. Expect all the Murphy-isms for better or for worse–and expect a lot of both. That said, Ewen McGregor is cast in the lead, so that makes it easily worth a viewing. It’s five parts and also features performances from Rory Culkin, Krysta Rodriguez, Vera Famigla, and Bill Pullman.

BRAD’S PICK:
Love Death + Robots [Netflix]
This provocative series returns to Netflix for a second season today. This animated anthology series can be weird, funny and horrifying all in the same episode. What’s so fun about the series is that you have no clue what you’re going to get episode to episode. The only other sci fi show like it is maybe Black Mirror so tread lightly… or dive right in.

BUT, WAIT, THERE’S MORE:

  • While Netflix’s The Woman in the Window is not explicitly a Rear Window remake–it’s based on a 2018 novel by A.J. Finn–it does hit a lot of that classic Jimmy Stewart movie’s beats. A housebound woman suffering from agoraphobia becomes obsessed with the action in the windows across the way from her city apartment, eventually witnessing a murder… or did she? The reviews are abysmal, but based on the trailer it might still offer a fun watch.
  • Netflix’s newest South Korean import, Move To Heaven, finds an ex-convict charged with the care of an autistic nephew upon his release from prison. The trailer for the new series has a vibe that suggests upbeat drama.
  • From South Africa, Netflix brings us I Am All Girls, a thriller about a criminal trafficking organization.
  • It’s hard to believe it’s already been 15 years since the first High School Musical. Ashley Tisdale is 35. It’s also cool to see how much the franchise has a sense of humor about itself, as expressed in the title of its latest iteration: High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. Its second season drops today on (where else?w) Disney+. Believe in your dreams!
  • Back to Netflix, the German movie The Strange House meshes the family drama with the spooky supernatural as a teen, depressed from his move with his mom and lil bro to Austria, also has to contend with a possible haunted house.
  • The Indian Institutes of Technology were formed in the 1950s with the mission of fostering generations of Indian engineers. Alma Matters: Inside the IIT Dream looks into the successes and failures of the program and it’s another Netflix creation.
  • In our last Netflix title, Ferry from Amsterdam, drug gang enforcer (and future kingpin, apparently) Ferry Bouman is tasked with carrying out a revenge mission for his boss, whose son was terribly hurt in an ambush. Unfortunately, the prime suspects are campers from the world where he grew up and he gets close enough to them, especially one woman, that his job is in jeopardy.
  • Like Woman in the Window above, Those Who Wish Me Dead was intended as a feature film, is on streaming due to the pandemic, sports an impressive cast, and is not getting the greatest of reviews. It stars Anjelina Jolie as Hannah, a smoke jumper haunted by three colleagues who died on a mission. It’s on HBO Max.
  • A King is forced to stan a queen who just lost her king (well, technically her consort). CBS’ The Queen Carries On: A Gayle King Special examines how the UK’s 95-year-old figurehead monarch is handling the loss of her husband of almost 74 years, Prince Philip. We suspect she’ll keep calm.
  • We’ve got to say the Lifetime movie titles are getting just more and more fun. Today’s new guilty thrill is Mommy’s Deadly Con Artist which we are hoping is a quirky bio of Mary Ann MacLeod Trump. If not, it’s a waste of a title.

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