January 2021 is so loaded with content to watch, we had to create a second volume of recommendations! See our thoughts on some things you might find interesting to stream!
HUMOUR RESOURCES (CBC)
I first got my introduction to charismatic Jon Dore when he was a correspondent on Canadian Idol. We’re going wayyyy back. Since then, he’s continued to tour, had a show on The Comedy Network and appeared on Sitcoms like How I Met Your Mother.
He’s back with a new Just for Laughs-produced Series, HUMOUR RESOURCES, which has him taking on the role of the Human Resources Manager of Comedy where he interviews fellow Comedians under the context of a virtual chat to discuss their “performance”, effectively doubling the Series as a mock talk show. This, while he navigates fictional situations in his life with his stepdaughter Emma and partner Christina at home. Interestingly, this was created just recently amidst the pandemic.
The talent featured is actually quite impressive including chats with the likes of Sarah Silverman, Tom Green, Nikki Glaser, Scott Thompson, Ronny Chieng, Debra DiGiovanni and several more. Episodes are 30 minutes and there are six for you to enjoy.
We felt he could’ve played-up the deadpan HR Manager bit even more, as the subjects sometimes feel unsure of the context. It might’ve been even funnier that these Comedians get grilled with more sternness. Regardless, Dore has a good idea and this is a quick, fun watch. You can stream now on CBC Gem here.
THE HISTORY OF SWEAR WORDS (NETFLIX)
We can’t get enough Nicolas Cage! The History of Swear Words is a six-episode Docu-Series hosted by the Oscar winner, tracing the etymology of curse words like “fuck”, “shit”, “pussy”, “dick” , “bitch” and “damn”. With the help of a panel of Comedians including Nick Offerman, Sarah Silverman, Nikki Glaser, London Hughes and more, we get a briefing of how these words have evolved over time. In some instances taking on negative connotations, but in some instances we see how words like “bitch” and “shit” have been reclaimed as terms with positive connotations. While we feel the deep dive could’ve been even deeper, this is entertaining enough a watch and insightful enough as a conversation piece. The History of Swear Words streams now on Netflix.
We haven’t been so excited for a new Series in quite some time! This nine-episode Series transports Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) in the world of classic television Sitcoms as we explore their chemistry over their course of the Series as they try to be a normal American family. Olsen particularly is a standout just absolutely nailing the diction, tone and speech of the eras she’s placed in. While we struggled to understand how exactly this all ties in with Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it all becomes clearer piece by piece with small connections scattered. We’ve never seen anything quite like this and we’re certain this will be back for more! Can’t wait for you to discover it. First two episodes stream on Disney+ Friday, January 15, 2021.
COBRA KAI (NETFLIX)
If you’re like me, you adored The Karate Kid franchise as a kid, but I’m not sure why I was so reluctant to give Cobra Kai a try. In fact, I let three seasons pass by before finally giving it a shot. The Series reunites rivals Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) and Daniel Larusso (Ralph Macchio) whom 30+ years later find their feud ignited as adults. Daniel is a successful car dealership owner with a great home and family. Johnny has a bit of a drinking problem, coming out of a failed marriage with a strained relationship with his son Robby (Tanner Buchanan). He is hoping to revive Cobra Kai, but is struggling financially and winds up mentoring a bullied and frail teen named Miguel (Xolo Maridueña). Johnny hasn’t forgotten how Daniel got in the way of his dream girl Ali (Elisabeth Shue) and he is out to avenge his loss in their last match back in 1984. Daniel also hasn’t forgotten some of the ill philosophies that Cobra Kai stands for and this awakens his passion again for Martial Arts. Things get complicated when Daniel’s daughter Samantha (Mary Mouser) and Miguel fall for one another, but then Robby seeks Daniel’s guidance as a fighting mentor. And this is enough to fuel three seasons worth of ass-kicking drama.
While the dialogue is shockingly a slap in the face at progressiveness at times, its Writers are fully aware what they are doing and it is little wonder why Cobra Kai is connecting with audiences right now in need of catharsis and a release of aggression during this pandemic. Aside from this, it feels nostalgic and its Soundtrack which often nods to the original era of the franchise help take us back there. Its decision to see this from the side of Johnny Lawrence is an inspired and ballsy move which has paid dividends. All three seasons of COBRA KAI are available now on Netflix.
This two-part Documentary by Co-Directors Matthew Hamachek and Matthew Heineman about golf icon Tiger Woods, documents his rise from a very age under the guidance of his father Earl. Though archived footage we see first-hand how his father had prophesied his son’s greatness into existence. The Film isn’t afraid to examine their estrangement from one another as Woods‘ star rose and also some of the problems in their family life. Following the death of his father, the second-half of the Documentary details Woods‘ public downfall around 2009 when he found himself at the center of a scandal where it was exposed he had been involved in multiple extra-marital affairs, losing his wife and several sponsorship deals. One of the women he had been involved with, Rachel Uchitel who had felt her side of the story on the matter had yet to be told, agrees to sign-on to speak in the Documentary. From here we witness his rise again. TIGER examines cause and consequence in Wood’s life and also the relationships that came to define him. The first half is available now on Crave with the HBO add-on, with the second half arriving January 18, 2021.
BLING EMPIRE (NETFLIX)
If you loved Crazy Rich Asians, these characters are actually the real deal! Set in glamorous L.A., we follow the lives of a circle of friends. This eight-episode series is none short of juicy as we see dueling Queen Bees Christine (founder of Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery Inc and wife of Dr. Gabriel Chu) and the mysterious Anna (heiress to an arms empire) fire friendly shots at one another. Kevin (a model) is our eyes into this world as he tries to grapple with his wealthy friends’ excess, while at once trying to make sense of his own Korean-American identity. He was adopted by an American family at a young age, not knowing his biological parents and their story. He is best friends with the flamboyant Singaporean fashionista Kane, who sits in the chair of the judgy onlooker who also helps give us insight into this world. Kelly is in a bit of a toxic relationship which her friends disapprove of, though sometimes she doesn’t know what’s best for her. Kim is a world-renowned DJ on a search for her estranged father. Cherie is expecting a second child, but her partner is stalling on the marriage proposal still. There’s a bit of betrayal that keeps the show moving along, but none detrimental that these characters sever ties – just the way we want it. We’re thrilled for you to discover this fun escape which never loses sight beneath the gloss of its deeper meaning about finding one’s identity.
There has to be a Season Two!
BLING EMPIRE arrives Friday, January 15, 2021 on Netflix.
NIGHT STALKER: THE HUNT FOR A SERIAL KILLER (NETFLIX)
This honestly was so horrifying I had to take breaks and turn on the lights. This four-part Series documenting a serial killer who tormented Los Angeles one summer in the mid-80s. He was random about who he preyed on – neither children nor the elderly were safe from this sinister predator who sent detectives on a restless chase before he ultimately was captured. We learn about the roadblocks and obstacles the two lead detectives faced trying to keep clues classified, as media threatened to destroy their case divulging too much information to the public.
This is outstanding storytelling which gave me major anxiety, but also beneath this is a story about how the investigation tore one detective apart from his family as the Night Stalker‘s crimes circled closer and closer to their home. We also get first-hand accounts from some victims and family who made the grizzly discovery of his victim’s bodies. We felt an overwhelming feeling of grief for these victims and their families, whose lives were altered forever after the summer of ’85. Definitely not for the faint of heart, but if true crime is your thing, this was done very well.
LOCKED DOWN (HBO MAX/CRAVE)
While originally intended to be a much larger production when it was announced September 2020, the ongoing Pandemic had forced this to alter its course and we wonder what would’ve came of it otherwise. This Heist-Comedy from Director Doug Liman (Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Edge of Tomorrow) clocks-in at two hours but truly could’ve been told in a fraction of that as it spends much of its time exploring the work lives and romantic falling-out between its two central characters Linda (Anne Hathaway) and Paxton (Chiwetel Ejiofor). The couple are on the verge of separation but the lockdown forces them to remain together longer and they devise a plan to steal a jewel valued at £6 million at Harrod‘s. Only in its Final Act do things pick-up outside of what feels like a lot of video conference calls and time spent within the confines of their shared flat, and they venture to Harrod’s to carry out the heist. And this is where LOCKED DOWN goes from okay to great, with Hathaway shining yet again, this time taking a bit more of an active role in a crime than her posh prima donna in Ocean’s Eight. This is smart and witty, but admittedly feels a bit long. If you’re willing to sit through it, you’ll be rewarded. LOCKED DOWN streams now on Crave with HBO add-on.
In case you missed our last volume of recommendations, you can catch them here.