Always Be Streaming - 18 December 2020

Your weekly guide to the new and returning shows ready to stream... right... now...

Aside from the second season finale of The Mandalorian, there’s two big titles in release this week. The most immediately recognisable is the new CBS All Access adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand.

I’m keen to check out The Stand, but there’s some two major red flags surrounding the release of it:

  1. Why were critics under embargo to hold off on publishing reviews? Reviews were given the green-light just a few days before the show debuted. Never a positive sign. Variety called the show “uneven”.

  2. Why did CBS All Access release the costly, well-known IP on the streaming service just a matter of 2-3 months before it is rebooted as Paramount+? If this was any good, they’d be using it as an enticing launch title.

As far as I’m aware, The Stand is only available this week in the US on CBS All Access.

By default, this positions Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom as the Must Watch event of this week. A filmed adaptation of an August Wilson play, it stars Chadwick Boseman in his final filmed performance. Also starring is the ever-good Viola Davis.

It is on Netflix, so everyone can give this one a look.

Currently it’s standing at 99% on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics are uniformly positive, but many had the same criticism of the film: it’s too rooted in the stage. Here’s Indiewire’s Eric Kohn:

Outside of a clever introductory passage that brings old photographs to life, the movie rarely ventures beyond its “filmed play” conceit, and some of the loudest monologues can sound awfully strained when the voices aren’t echoing off the walls in a packed house. 


returning:

Pennyworth (s2), The Expanse (s5), Home For Christmas (s2), Hilda (s2), Song Exploder (s2)


new:

The Stand - CBS All Access

StarsJames MarsdenJovan AdepoWhoopi Goldberg
After the world is in ruins, due to a man-made plague, a battle of Biblical proportions ensues between the survivors.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom - Netflix

StarsChadwick BosemanViola DavisColman Domingo
Chicago, 1927. A recording session. Tensions rise between Ma Rainey, her ambitious horn player and the white management determined to control the uncontrollable "Mother of the Blues". Based on Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson's play.

Tiny Pretty Things - Netflix

StarsShaun BensonBrennan ClostBarton Cowperthwaite
Follows the world of an elite ballet academy, and charts the rise and fall of young adults who live far from their homes, each standing on the verge of greatness or ruin.

The Ripper - Netflix

Investigators and witnesses recall how a modern-day Jack the Ripper terrorized the north of England during the late 1970s.

How To Ruin Christmas: The Wedding - Netflix

StarsBusi LurayiThando ThabetheNambitha Ben-Mazwi
Prodigal daughter Tumi goes home for the holidays and manages to ruin her sister's wedding plans. Now she must make things right before it's too late.

The Netflix Afterparty - Netflix

StarsDavid Spade
The Netflix Afterparty is a first-of-its-kind weekly comedy panel show where comedians, casts, and creators come to chat about the streaming giant's buzziest shows and films. Each episode will be dedicated to one of the latest Netflix movies or TV shows to hit the cultural zeitgeist, with the stars of that title participating in interviews, pop culture discussions, sketches and segments. Each week, the co-hosts will be joined by a different Netflix comedian to round out the panel.

El Cid - Amazon Prime Video

StarsJaime LorenteAlicia SanzJosé Luis García Pérez
The story of Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, a Castilian nobleman and war hero in medieval Spain.


That’s it for this week. Let’s be careful out there.