What To Watch: 11/05/2021

It’s an insanely busy Streaming Friday with everything from kids with adult longings to a doc about an adult named Kid along with three kids(?) who have been wreaking maniacal havoc at the WB studios for decades. We’ve got a movie featuring a dog, a robot, and American treasure Tom Hanks. Kenneth the Page channels the spirit of Steve from Blue’s Clues wrapped in a cardigan sweater that is somehow recognizably Presbyterian. Mexican gangsters chart their last season’s course for now. Netflix unveils a few days’ worth of foreign imports of all types. All this, and Benedict Cumberbatch, is covered in our daily TV round-up.

BRAD’S PICK:
Finch [Apple TV]
Tom Hanks creates a robot to take care of his dog in the post-apocalypse (this one was solar flares). Come on, you know you want to see this no matter what the reviews say!

JASON’S PICK:
Big Mouth [Netflix]
The world of Bridgetown High School adds love bugs and hate worms to a world of teenage angst that already included hormone monsters, shame wizards, and attic ghosts of dead jazz men. Adam Goldberg and Nick Kroll’s raunchiest animated show on television returns for a welcome fifth season.

NAVANI’S PICK:
A Man Named Scott [Amazon Prime]
I still have a soft spot for Kid Cudi (Scott Mescudi) since his role in How to Make It in America, so when I heard he was making a doc about his life I perked up a bit. It offers an introspective look at the man behind the genre-bending music and the toll his art took on him and his mental health. Featuring Timothée Chalamet, Shia LaBeouf, Jaden Smith and Willow Smith. 

KATHERINE’S PICK:
Animaniacs [Hulu]
The Warner Brothers and their Sister promise a zanier, brainier, and insanier season two. 

FIONA’S PICK:
Tampa Baes [Amazon Prime]
This new reality series explores the ins and outs of the lesbian scene in Tampa Bay, Florida. Curious to see how this compares to The Real L Word. It looks like exactly my favorite type of trainwreck.

BUT, WAIT, THERE’S MORE:

  • Could there be any better choice for the host of a new kids show than 30 Rock‘s Jack McBrayer, whose ever sunny disposition becomes even more engagingly demented outside of the role of Kenneth the Page. Therefore, Hello, Jack! The Kindness Show on Apple TV is a no-brainer and one must expect shades of Mister Rogers Neighborhood, Blue’s Clues (with which it shares a creator), Pee-wee’s Playhouse, and maybe even a little of Yo Gabba Gabba!… oh, and John Mulaney’s special from last year.
  • That bio-series that is lovely as a tree, as well as the thing with feathers comes to a close. The third and final season of the story of the Belle of Amherst, Dickinson, starring Hailee Steinfeld in the title role, comes in tonight, also on Apple TV.
  • Members of the casts and crews of just about every series and movie in the long and extensive history of Gene Roddenberry’s classic sci-fi series tell stories reverent, confessional, and crude (did you want to hear about Jake Sisko’s onesie erection?) in the History Channel’s The Center Seat: 55 Years of Star Trek.
  • Few shows capture the chaos of drug dealing quite like Narcos: Mexico (perhaps, Breaking Bad or in its way, Weeds). The third and final season of the Netflix show drops tonight.
  • It pairs well with the more offbeat A Cop Movie, a Mexican semi-documentary, a quirky, buzzworthy film that still has an undercurrent of the sinister as any story about policing in Mexico City (or anywhere really) is going to have. It features the tales of a pair of cops re-enacted by well-known Mexican actors.
  • In addition to that, there is a record(?) number of new imports on the premier streaming service most of which seem to hinge on nostalgia. Netflix is releasing today, in alphabetical order: The Club, a moody Turkish drama about a mother and daughter trying to reunite in 1950s Istanbul, Glória, a taut Portuguese series about the Cold War and a missing KGB agent named Mia (really?!), Meenakshi Sundareshwar, a romanic Indian tale about long-distance romance, The Unlikely Murderer, a Swedish thriller series based on a true story about a suspect in a 1980s crime who may just be innocent, We Couldn’t Become Adults, a Japanese film about a forty-something recalling coming of age in the 1990s, Yara, a dark Italian thriller about the true murder of a teenager in a small town, and finally, Zero to Hero, a biographical Hong Kong film about an early paralympic.
  • And then there’s also the Netflix American rom-com Love Hard, a Christmas tale about a catfishing that may or may not have a happy ending. The premise feels a bit dangerous and iffy, but that the leads are Jimmy O. Yang and Nina Dobrev has us feeling bad about burying this possible gem so deep down in the mix, but it’s truly an insane day for new content and, hey, this is about where we put the top Netflix phenomena of 2021.
  • Even Benedict Cumberbatch is below our third fold today as his biopic of schizophrenic English artist Louis Wain drops today on Amazon Prime. The Electrical Life of Louis Wain has not wowed at festivals, but the reviews are solid and with Cumberbatch, it’s always possible you’re watching an Oscar nominated performance when it all shakes out.
  • Stand-up Joyelle Nicole Johnson celebrated her 40th birthday at The Bell House in Brooklyn and all she got was this likely not lousy Peacock comedy special Joyelle Nicole Johnson: Love Joy.
  • A pair of profiles of movie legends comes out on different sources, one traditional, one streaming. PBS brings us The Oratorio: A Documentary with Martin Scorsese while Apple TV presents The Oprah Conversation: Will Smith. Interestingly, all three names mentioned here have been nominated for Oscars.
  • We’ll end this insane journey in the LHV (Lifetime-Hallmark Vortex) as we usually do, where our two titans of mostly-cheesy-but-often-lovable movies both have new, and very different, offerings. Hallmark is leaning way the F into Christmas and their latest heartwarming and/or tearjerking flick is Gingerbread Miracle, about cookies, magic, small towns, and lost loves rekindled. Lifetime is still striving to keep Halloween with us all through the year as Lifetime Movie Network airs Her Fatal Family Secret about a woman’s secret about her family that proves fatal to someone. We pieced that together because we’re smrt!

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