Weekend Streaming: Your Pre-Spring Final Binges
From the sci-fi ambiance of "Mute" to the slap-stick comedy of "The Tick."
We’re approaching the end of February and thus, the beginning of spring. Music festival rosters are rolling out, Fire Island rentals are being discussed — New York even had nicer weather this week than L.A. (take that, west coast friends who are probably happier than me!). But even though it’s getting nicer outside, we shouldn’t be watching any less content.
As always, this week saw a great crop of new shows from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO Go and beyond. Here’s everything streaming, and our picks, from the return of The Soup, (literally?), to a TLC reality show about polygamy. The nice weather isn’t going anywhere, but “the zeitgeist” moves fast, so don’t wait!
The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale (Available Feb. 28)
Great news for fans of The Soup came this week, as Joel McHale has a new show on Netflix, and it’s literally The Soup. The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale sees the Community star highlighting the most ridiculous TV moments of the week, much in the style of his cult 2000s comedy show, with a new episode out on the streaming service each week. The pilot alone offered a peek into Korean television (lots of people hitting cars), a cameo from Jason Priestley (who McHale unfairly calls Luke Perry, #FreeJason) and fun pre-taped segments including an actual tour of Netflix studios that makes good use of the “duh dun” sound.
Much like the new Queer Eye, the Joel McHale show feels like a reboot we need. As our era of “peak TV” seems like it’s constantly reaching critical mass, it’s simply too hard to keep track of everything that’s happening on the small screen. That’s why you need Joel McHale (and also me! LOL). As his usual snarky self, he is here to keep us grounded and informed, something we could use just about once a week.
Bates Motel: Season 5 (Available Feb. 20)
Seven Seconds: Season 1 (Available Feb. 26)
Ugly Delicious: Season 1 (Available Feb. 26)
David Chang, the chef behind the Momofuku empire, is hitting Netflix with a new docu-series and he’s not interested in dishes with Instagram-ready plating. Instead, he’s getting down to the ugly truth. In its eight episodes, Ugly Delicious explores the origins of universal dishes like pizza, barbeque and tacos, without making them seem like elegant delicacies. Instead, he breaks down myths and misconceptions about each dish in a genuinely fascinating take on the traditional food show.
Famed chefs like Wolfgang Puck and April Bloomfield regal us with stories and Chang also dines with comedians like Jimmy Kimmel, Ali Wong and Nick Kroll. Anyone with cooking show malaise will relish the chance to see such big name take on the politics and outdated norms of food. It’s something different, but will still make you immediately hungry.
Mute (Available Feb. 23)
There are basically two ways Seeking Sister Wife, TLC’s new reality show about polyamorous couples and families could go. The first: A self-aware, educational glimpse into an unorthodox lifestyle and why people choose it, in which the stars say things like, “we know how this looks, but it works for us.” Or a completely unhinged exercise in great reality television, in which polyamory not only seems like a constant balancing act, but a terrible idea. Luckily for us, it’s the second one.
Seeking Sister Wife is an eye-opening experience that follows three poly couples as they seek, well, more sister wives. One family just added a third wife to the mix and together, they and their fifteen (!!!) collective children are all moving into one home. The feud between two of these wives is at the dramatic center of the show; one of them seems like a literal witch in disguise. For their husband, making each wife feel special but not more special than the other wives is truly an endless task; a house of cards where saying the wrong thing could make the entire thing collapse at any time. Another couple is looking to add a third sister wife to their family, but there’s a twist they weren’t prepared for. And the third couple is looking to add their first sister wife; very exciting! The show doesn’t really attempt to justify or have a discourse about the lifestyle — the word Mormon isn’t so much as mentioned. Instead, it’s just interested in entertaining us with these families. And it does a pretty good job.
The Tick: Season 1B (Available Feb. 23)
If you’re looking for a superhero show more emotionally rewarding and light than Netflix Marvel world, The Tick is for you. It stars Peter Serafinowicz as the titular hero, a goofy, do-gooder who doesn’t stop to ponder the origins of his bug-like powers — he’s too busy stopping crime! — and Griffin Newman as his more grounded sidekick. Their relationship is what makes the show…tick — and with the second portion of the first season available to stream, it’s the perfect time to swoop in. With great CGI, fun action sequences, a light touch and a surprising amount of heart, The Tick will not disappoint. Plus, Griffin Newman is a gem.
Good Girls (Available Feb. 27)
The Voice: Season 14 Premiere (Available Feb. 27)
Channel Zero: Butcher’s Block (Available Feb. 7)
Though I have been loving The Assassination of Gianni Versace, the best horror currently on TV is not a Ryan Murphy joint, but SyFy’s Channel Zero. The anthology from Nick Antosca, which uses internet stories from CreepyPasta to spawn its eerie tales, is now in its third installment. And as it ventures into darker, more cannibalistic territory, it’s the most sinister one yet.
Butchers Block centers on Alice (a terrific Olivia Luccardi) and Zoe (Holland Roden), two sisters who move to a new city in the deep south to escape their troubled family past. Soon after they move into their new home, they start unraveling the town’s dark history and how it’s connected to a series of disappearances — and mysterious white staircases that are popping up in the woods. Soon, a “cure” for Zoe’s mental health issues and Alice’s past trauma presents itself, but just say it involves a change of diet.
Channel Zero is one of the best-kept secrets on TV, a fantastic episodic horror series with great acting, stunning visuals and an unflinching ability to take on topics like mental health with eloquence, all while scaring our socks off. It is definitely worth seeing what Antosca is cooking up for SyFy.