What To Watch: 12/03/2021

It’s the most streamingest time of the year! This Streaming Friday is pretty well packed from those genteel bakers to those cash thieves to a new series about four friends in an iconic NYC neighborhood. So, to ensure our fingers don’t fall out, we’re gonna start typing about the shows.

KATHERINE’S PICK:
Harlem [Amazon Prime]
A single-camera sitcom created, written, and produced by Girls Trip‘s Tracy Oliver, this comedy is poised to be a Sex and the City antidote, following four 20-somethings living in Harlem. It stars Meagan Good, Grace Byers, Shoniqua Shandai, and Jerrie Johnson, and promises guest appearances from Whoopi Goldberg, Jasmine Guy, and Andrea Martin.

BRAD’S PICK:
Money Heist [Netflix]
To call this Spanish caper show a sensation is an understatement. Now we get to see the how the whole story finishes up. I’m guessing it’s not going to be with a nice bow and all story lines wrapped up. The true magic of this series is the attention to detail and watching the Professor be one step ahead of everyone. Until he’s not. To those of you who moved on to Squid Game, it’s time to come back and pay the OGs some respect.

JASON’S PICK:
Silent Night [AMC+]
The reviews on this post-apocalyptic dinner party flick are not overly great, but it does boast an amazing cast including leads Kiera Knightly and Matthew Goode, along with a supporting cast including steady hands like Kirby Howell-Baptiste (Chidi’s Australian gf on The Good Place), Rufus Jones (Flack‘s eqully screw-up brother-in-law) and Lucy Punch (who may be a tad typecast as she was in Dinner For Schmucks). I’m a sucker for this sort of surreal end-of-the-world gallows humor, so I’ll buck the buzz and check it out.

FIONA’S PICK:
The Great British Baking Show: Holidays [Netflix]
Paul and Prue and joined by some familiar faces! Former contestants return to the tent to bake some classics in this holiday themed competition.

BUT, WAIT, THERE’S MORE:

  • The teen queens of awkward get equally awkward boyfriends and try to figure out what the future holds as we count down the final episodes of Hulu’s PEN15.
  • Whether you are a fan of The Bachelor or not, the trajectory of former contestant (and ex-sorta-NFL’er) Colton Underwood has been beautfiul and fascinating as he’s revealed the secret of his sexuality. Coming Out Colton on Netflix allows him to confront the homophobia in his various worlds (he’s also a devout Christian) as he comes to terms with who Colton will be in his 30s and beyond.
  • Director Sterlin Harjo–whose Reservation Dogs is one of the top reviewed shows of 2021 and will surely show up on our Top 30 shows later this month–looks into the creative contributions of indiginous peoples in his Netflix documentary Love and Fury. Current poet laureate Joy Harjo (no relation, it’s a pen name) is one of many profiled.
  • A pair of titles are stimulating our little kids of the ’80s and ’90s music loving brains here and the actual concepts behind them are just as exciting. Showtime’s You’re Watching Video Music Box celebrates the pioneering hip-hop show founded by Ralph McDaniels that would be one of the first to bring the music (or at least its deeper cuts) to a national audience. Upping the ante, this illmatic film was directed by rap legend Nas.
  • In a different vein, but no less intriguing, the upbeat Netflix YA flick Mixtape follows the journey a 12-year-old takes to try to understand her late parents when on a trip to the attic, she discovers a mixtape they exchanged. However, the tape is broken, so our heroine goes on a journey with her abiding friends to discover who her parents are by hunting down the music that helped them fall in love. The film takes place in 1999, so in the early days of Napster (which gets a mention), but the quest does involve visits to various venues, so if you’re feeling the least bit nostalgic for the days of hunting down obscure albums at a record store, this should give you a shiver.
  • And the ’90s nostalgia don’t stop til we get to the top… or well, the end of this section [Number 3]. Aardman Films (aka the Wallace & Gromit studio) brings a new version of one of its tentpole characters to Netflix in holiday special form. It’s Shaun the Sheep: The Flight Before Christmas.
  • And if your zest for the decade extends to its most successful pop artist–and the woman whose song will surely be the number one hit in the U.S. in a few weeks–then you might be lured by the siren song of Apple TV’s Mariah’s Christmas: The Magic Continues. One might say that it’s all you want for Christmas… but we won’t.
  • Due to the archivist’s code, it’s still weird to us that IMDb has a streaming arm, even if it makes perfect sense (and there’s no such thing as the “archivist’s code”). It’s Britist teenage spy series, Alex Rider, returns for a second season today.
  • The Grey Lady travels down to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s sweet home state to expose one of the Yellowhammer State’s sourest sides. The New York Times Presents: To Live and Die in Alabama examines the abuse of the death penalty and hits FX and Hulu today.
  • We’ll close on an abrupt tonal zag, but that’s what the Lifetime-Hallmark Vortex will do to you. Hallmark kinda botched it the last time they tried to add a certain Xmas-adjacent Jewish holiday to its holiday fare (they essentially made the movies about Christians and Christmas–here’s Lewis Black’s funny rant). At least Eight Gifts of Hannukah seems to at least focus on the holiday and has no apparent ulterior motives. Lifetime goes with A Christmas Dance Reunion.

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