It’s a busy Thursday as we’ve got a new take on an historical figure, the finale of a prestige show’s opening season, the debut of two oddball comedies from abroad, and a compelling documentary about a gamechanging movie producer’s big disco moment. And that’s not even getting to the return of one of the most influential and beloved–if polarizing–TV shows of all time.
Anne Boleyn [AMC+]
Queen Anne Boleyn, accused witch, a woman with opinions, finally gets her small screen justice (I want to believe she gets it in Six, on Broadway, and frankly, Wolf Hall‘s adaptation wasn’t enough, and don’t even get me started on The Tudors) in this streaming-only miniseries. (That’s my only complaint, that the good stuff is only streaming). Jodie Turner-Smith stars as Anne Boleyn, and Mark Stanley will star as Henry VIII. The cast is rounded out by Paapa Essiedu, Lola Petticrew, Barry Ward, Jamael Westman, Amanda Burton, and Thalissa Teixeira. The series is written and directed by women, which is sorely needed here, with Eve Hedderwick Turner and Lynsey Miller respectively.
Mr. Saturday Night [HBO, 8p]
This new documentary chronicles the life of Robert Stigwood, the man behind Saturday Night Fever. It’s no far stretch to say this film changed the world forever. Stigwood’s understanding of the link between music and the moving image lead to a cultural touchstone still considered a classic. Watch this to see how it all happened.
This fast-paced slapstick comedy from the world of EMTs might be immediately dismissable if the mismatched duo at the center of it weren’t Jane Horrocks (of Little Voice and AbFab fame) and Samson Kayo (who shined in both the delightfully absurd Timewasters and the Pegg-Frost supernatural parody Truth Seekers). The series also boasts a fun supporting cast led by Lucy Punch.
The Sex Lives of College Girls [HBO Max]
Things came to a head last week as Kimberly discovered that Nico has a girlfriend at his surprise birthday party. Leighton purposefully left Alicia off the guest list, making it clear she is not ready to come out anytime soon. Bela balanced her joy of being accepted to Catullan with the realities of workplace harassment and Whitney’s affair with assistant coach Dalton was discovered. Things are looking very chaotic for these roommates! Season one wraps up today with HBO Max releasing the last two episodes.
BUT, WAIT, THERE’S MORE:
- In And Just Like That…, while the city returns to the Sex and the City… sequel(?) reboot(?), Kim Cattrall’s Samantha does not, but that still leaves Carrie, Miranda, and Charlotte along with role reprisals from pretty much every significant love interest, plus the final filmed appearance of the late Willie Garson as “Fifth Lady” Stanford Blatch. The first two episodes appear on HBO Max today.
- The critically lauded New Zealand program Creamerie takes the premise of the post-apocalyptic Y: The Last Man and adds dark comedy–with an emphasis on the dark. The post-male-killing-virus world is a bit less chaotic, but still twisted as the cultish Wellness crew has taken over the political sphere, at least in the land of kiwis. Our three lead women pals have very different outlooks about this new world order; however, they’re going to have to alter their view when suddenly a man appears in their life. Its first season arrives on Hulu today.
- The comedy is less dark (at least on the surface) in The Housewives of the North Pole, which we kinda hoped would feature elf wives throwing wine at each other before Mrs. Claus popped in to debut her latest dance-pop single, but turns out to be more Deck the Halls meets The Parent Trap (sort of). Two teenagers (who may or may not be a couple or be about to be a couple) work to get their Christmas-obsessed moms–whose friendly competition for best over-the-top holiday house displays has turned cutthroat–to bury the hatchet. The teens’ motives may seem kind, but are mostly so their obsessive personalities aren’t foisted upon their kids.
- If tuning through the dial of Winter Wonderland of Christmas programming is neither a wonderful sight nor making you happy tonight, you can switch to Shudder whose horror movie du jour is the Alien-esque Death Valley. Mercenaries are brought in to rescue a scientist beset by a mysterious supernatural critter. Good, wholesome, American fun!
- The shiny Italian docu-series The Ferragnez looks into the personal and family life of the 30-something lifestyle blogger Chiara Ferragni who has become a household name in her home country for her site The Blonde Salad. The first of eight parts drops at Netflix today.
- The other two major Netflix imports today are The Asakusa Kid, a Japanese drama(?) about a stand-up comedian, and the Brazilian docu-series about a musical family, The Family That Sings Together: The Camargos.
- If you work at a Scranton paper concern managed by Robert California and try to sneak a glance at Amazon Prime to watch Kanye with Special Guest Drake, and he jokes you’re on a conference call with Kanye and special guest Drake, don’t try to tell him you’re warming up for the work day with a video, because he expects you to come to work warmed up!
- Finally, over in the LHV (Lifetime-Hallmark Vortex), Hallmark is slacking, as they have taken two days off from counting down for Christmas (as far as we can tell) and have left the space for Lifetime to own, which they do with the uber-Hallmark titled A Finacé for Christmas. To be clear, this movie about a single gal who creates a registry just to go on her own shopping spree, but is caught and now has fake a beau, is on Lifetime.