Weekend Streaming: Olympic Alternatives
Sick of sports? Try Netflix's dreamy sci-fi series "Altered Carbon" or Alan Ball's "Here and Now."
Welcome to Weekend Streams, where every Friday, Darian Lusk, comedian and writer living large in Brooklyn—will gently recommend a roundup of things to watch and stream. Follow him on Twitter @eatpraylusk to send suggestions for future installments.
It’s February, which, aside from the endless trek that was January (five Mondays!), feels like the longest month of the year. It’s cold, people in romantic relationships are unfairly rewarded and we don’t hear the end of it from that one friend who was born on a leap day. We get it Lucas; you’re six.
Luckily, the greatest Valentine of all has arrived early: binge-worthy content.
From The Onion’s hilarious foray into the true crime podcasting world to an ambitious sci-fi series on Netflix, there are a lot of great things to stream this weekend. Your only challenge may be deciding what to watch first. Luckily we have your back. Here is everything streaming across Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and HBO Go and a few recommendations along the way.
When Netflix announced it was rebooting Bravo’s fabulous Queer Eye For Straight Guy, it was fair to be skeptical. The show, which saw its “Fab Five” lifestyle experts make over a straight man’s wardrobe, decor, cultural knowledge and kemptness for a more chic adulthood was groundbreaking at the time — but that was 2003. We were wearing pink Lacoste polos. Could a reboot feel as immediate? Well, I am here to tell you that the new season of Queer Eye lives up. In fact, it may be even better than the original.
Though our new batch of five experts does not include Carson Kressley, they have great on-screen chemistry and are fun to watch. Especially Gay of Thrones star Jonathan Van Ness. And what really makes the show work is that it ventures past New York City — where transforming a coastal elite wouldn’t really cut it anymore — into the rest of America. This first season sees us in and around Atlanta, Georgia, where working with well-chosen subjects like a stand up comic and a devout Christian father is emotionally rewarding. Like, where-are-the-tissues rewarding. Venturing into a red state feels timely and it gives a new friction to the show. Queer Eye will definitely have a healthy run on Netflix. Can you do Justin Timberlake next?
Altered Carbon, an ambitious cyberpunk series set in the dystopian future where a person’s consciousness can be uploaded to a different body after you die — hit Netflix this week. The show offers an interesting premise — there’s humor in a six-year-old girl got put in an old person’s body — and it shows the streaming platform isn’t afraid to think even bigger. But also, Altered Carbon takes itself too seriously, as if Westworld looked slightly worse and had mediocre acting. These minuses generally even out and this show offers an original story that’s really committed to being bombastic from the get-go. Hardcore sci-fi fans will definitely enjoy the ride.
This week, Netflix surprised dropped the third installment of the Cloverfield trilogy — The Cloverfield Paradox — directly after the Super Bowl, thrilling fans of the franchise and anyone who wanted to keep their watch party going after the game (“please guys STAY!”).
This film is fun to watch. It is visually stunning, beautifully scored and helmed by a promising new director, Julius Onah. The main problem, actually, is that it didn’t need to be a Cloverfield film; the third in a highly anticipated, well respected, associated-with-J.J. Abrams series. When Netflix bought it, they should not have branded it as such. If you can separate yourself from that context, the film is a perfectly enjoyable Alien-style trip. The plot may not fully make sense and Chris O’Dowd’s “arm” jokes may not be knee-slappers, but it was no Bright.
Also out on Netflix:
Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams made it big off their fierce comedy podcast 2 Dope Queens, which sees the comedians riffing live, so the leap to a series of HBO specials simply makes sense. Directed by Tig Notaro, the four specials will feature a generous helping of iconic celebrities, from Sarah Jessica Parker to Jon Stewart. And with episode themes like “New York,” “Hair,” and “Hot Peen,” there will be no shortage on hilarity.
Wonder Woman (Added Feb. 9)
The Onion, known for being America’s finest purveyor of satirical news (and being notoriously hard to work for) (not bitter!) took on its most niche medium to date this week: true crime podcasting.
A Very Fatal Murder is a Serial send up from David Pascal, a chatty NYU-graduate host who is desperate to find the perfect murder around which to build a potentially award-winning podcast. He finds himself in the small town of Bluff Springs, Nebraska, where the (fictional) death of 17-year-old Hayley Price has shaken the town. And its secrets are soon to emerge. As even the ad breaks are fake — Pascal has the mother of the victim read aloud an advertisement, so funny — this is an absolute joy for the type of person always looking for the next buzzy podcast. Though the story isn’t real, the binge-ability is definitely here. It turns out that the next S-Town may be an S-Town parody.