What To Watch: 11/19/2021

Ogre is in his personal hell as it’s one heck of a time for nerds and nerd culture and this Streaming Friday has something for so many hues of nerdery, from anime nerds to sci-fi nerds to musical nerds to sports nerds (yes, that is a thing, but we’re stretching it a bit here). Here’s our suggestions for the last Friday before the giving of thanks.

KATHERINE’S PICK:
Cowboy Bebop [Netflix]
The live-action adaptation of this classic anime stars John Cho, Mustafa Shakir, and Daniella Pineda as bounty hunters in space in 2071. Looks fun as hell.

BRAD’S PICK:
The Wheel of Time [Amazon Prime]
The adaptation of Robert Jordan’s fantasy masterpiece finally hits Amazon today and it’s pretty epic. Full disclosure, as I have yet to read the books, I may not be the best judge, but the early episodes find the characters quite fleshed out. Egwene al’Vere ‘s journey has begun and it’s already pretty fraught with challenges. And wait til you get a load of Rosamund Pike’s Moiraine Damodred.

FIONA’S PICK:
Tick, Tick… BOOM! [Netflix]
This adaptation of Jonathan Larson’s autobiographical musical follows a young Larson in the days before an important showcase. As his 30th birthday rapidly approaches, Larson feels the pressure of the clock, worrying about the time he has left. He had no idea just how right he was and I cry everytime I think about his untimely death so I will almost certainly be crying through this movie.

JASON’S PICK:
King Richard [HBO Max]
Richard Williams is the ultimate sports dad, fathering and essentially moulding his two daughters, Venus and Serena, into tennis superstars, and unlike a certain BaksetBALL dad, he managed to (mostly) let it be about the talented kids themselves. Will Smith plays Williams in this biopic.

BUT, WAIT, THERE’S MORE:

  • The critically lauded Procession looks at the Catholic Church abuse scandal from a unique angle–six victims have enrolled in a therapy program which has them re-enact their trauma to let it go. This documentary records their one-act plays and the process that got them to the point where they were ready to share. It debuts on Netflix today.
  • Another documentary about a more subtle, but extremely public moment of sexual abuse swept under the rug debuts today. Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl halftime show “wardrobe malfunction” has been the subject of jokes for years. However, we tend to gloss over the actual trauma the singer faced and how its aftermath unfairly made her a two-time victim as the career of one of music’s biggest superstars took a huge hit. The New York Times Presents: Malfunction: The Dressing Down of Janet Jackson. Perhaps one bright spot of 2021 could be a re-evaluation of how we treated two women in the shiniest of spotlights in the recent past. It’s broadcast on FX and featured on Hulu.
  • Gillian Anderson joins the second season cast of The Great as the titular ruling Catherine’s mother (Catherine herself is played by Elle Fanning). The charmingly cheeky drama(-edy?) is found on Hulu.
  • Jamie Demitriou had a role in the first season of The Great as Doctor Chekov, and can also rejoice that his showcase slapstick comedy Stath Lets Flats returns for a third season on HBO Max. This show, in which Demitriou plays an inept real estate agent, has won a BAFTA for its writing and also features his sister Natasia who you will certainly recognize as Nadja in What We Do In The Shadows–a definite contender for Screen Scholars top TV show of 2021 (watch this space).
  • Dominican pop singer-songwriter Natti Natasha is the subject of the new Amazon Prime reality series Everybody Loves Natti, and love is (at least theoretically) a big part of it as it chronicles the early stages of her marriage with her manager.
  • We’re not sure if Mickey just couldn’t get it together by Disney+ Day (which was a week ago today), but in any case, Adventure Thru The Walt Disney Archive is released today and given how vast and vital the company is in the history of movies and animation, it promises to be a fun ride.
  • It’s a good time for Korean titles in the international zeitgeist, so I would not bet against the new Yeon Sang-ho dark thriller Hellbound, in which actual demons manifest on Earth to drag their targets to Hell. The episodic debuts on Netflix today.
  • Other new Netflix imports include the Indian political thriller Dhamaka, in which a news anchor tries to revive his career when he gets an inside scoop on a possible terrorist attack, and the Turkish drama Love Me Instead which, on its YouTube page touts its Telegram presence, so that feels like, at best, an odd sign.
  • Finally, in the LHV (Lifetime-Hallmark Vortex), we have a pair of Christmas movies–it is almost Thanksgiving after all. In Lifetime’s Dancing Through the Snow is about a single father who becomes a viral sensation when he and his daughter do a dance, but the father’s heart belongs to his daughter’s dance teacher. That was just a guess, but it turns out to be the actual plot. Cool. On Hallmark, Nantucket Noel is a bit of a role reversal for the network as it’s the dude who in the role of busy businessman has lost the Christmas spirit and is about to exploit his hometown before a ruggedly beautiful local lady stirs his heart to grow two and a half sizes (and it’s Hallmark, so the heart is just a heart and not also his cigar).

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