New content is down a little; here are just 600,000 or so options
Streaming services are starting 2023 with a whimper and an eye to the markets, while still offering a fair amount of content to keep viewers occupied as they puff away at New Year’s resolutions in the gym or stand in line to return holiday gifts. Fears of an economic downturn have squeezed platforms and spurred show cancellations and cost-cutting; Disney, for one, says they’ll no longer sink billions of production and advertising dollars into a low-return streaming-content firehose just to chase subscription numbers at the expense of traditional revenue channels. Yet as programming schedules waver and the studio axe looms, we can still cling to the return of at least a few of our favorite shows (sorry, Stanley Tucci) and a pile of new content to warm our eyeballs in this cold, uncertain world.
The Pale Blue Eye (Jan 1) – Fraternal secrecy, corruption, and occultism are at play in the new Christian Bale film centering on the gruesome death of a young West Point cadet in 1830. Academy leaders enlist detective Augustus Landor (Bale) to solve the ritual murder and quell a potential scandal for the young military school, but the soldiers’ code of silence stonewalls Landor’s investigation. He engages an eccentric, brooding young cadet to infiltrate the ranks and reveal the truth behind the strange happenings— a pallid officer in training named Edgar Allan Poe (played by the hypoteloric Harry Melling). Director Scott Cooper’s (Black Mass, Antlers) snow-blanketed, isolated vistas are as hushed and insular as the omerta behind the strangely coded world Landor uncovers. Also stars Gillian Anderson, Robert Duvall, Lucy Boynton, Timothy Spall, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Toby Jones.
Kaleidoscope (Jan 8) – Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad) stars in a new heist series that futzes with format, interaction and linearity a la Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and improv mystery-comedy series Murderville. Esposito is Leo Pap, a longtime thief chasing one last payday: 7 billion dollars of dirty money kept in the “world’s safest vault.” Pap recruits a crew who’s up for the challenge: a smuggler, chemist, armorer, safecracker, and driver. But his hidden past with the vault’s security consultant could complicate their mission and risk the greatest score of their lives. You can randomize even of the eight episodes and watch them in any order culminating in the final episode, White: The Heist. The “choose your own adventure” style is a fun concept, but it will have to be written deftly to be both clever and cohesive— then again with a Lego-basic storyline, are there any finer points to get lost in the shuffle?
That 90’s Show (Jan 19) – Red and Kitty are hosting a basement full of new talent in the 90’stalgia sequel series to That 70’s Show, along with the original cast fans fell in love with. Eric and Donna’s daughter Leia bonds with new friends and falls for Jackie and Kelso’s son Jay as she spends the summer of 1995 with her grandparents in Wisconsin, recreating her parents’ philosophical smoke sessions and madcap adventures. The future of the original pals has played out with reassuring familiarity: Jackie and Kelso are still exasperated and besotted with each other, Red and Kitty fume and fuss, Donna and Eric canoodle on the car’s hood in the driveway, and Fez owns a chain of tacky hair salons— the spell is a little broken by the absence of Danny Masterson, currently on trial for sexual assault. Fresh faces Callie Haverda, Ashley Aufderheide, Mace Coronel, Maxwell Acee Donovan, Reyn Doi and Sam Morelos make up the new crew.
You People (Jan 27) – Ezra (Jonah Hill) and Amira (Lauren London) are in love: the kind that starts with a romcom meet-cute and bridges diverse cultural and religious backgrounds with a shared passion for sneakers, music and laughter. But moving to the next step might not be so easy: getting Ezra’s progressive Jewish parents (Julia Louis-Dreyfus and David Duchovny) and Amira’s Muslim parents (Eddie Murphy and Nia Long) on the same page with each other—and on board with a wedding. Combining their families may not be easy or comfortable, but Hill’s comic earnestness cuts the tension: in the trailer, he meets Murphy and Long at a Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles to ask permission to propose. It’s the first time behind the camera for writer-creator Kenya Barris (Black-ish and BlackAF), who co-wrote the script with Hill.
Vikings: Valhalla Season 2 (Jan 12)
Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street Season 1 (Jan 4)
Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song (Jan 26)
Visit Netflix for a full list of releases.
The Drop (Jan 13) – Lex ( Anna Konkle from PEN15) and Mani (Coming 2 America’s Jermaine Fowler) are a happily married couple excited about starting a family together, but a trip to a tropical resort for a wedding goes quickly south when Lex accidentally drops her friend’s baby (the aggrieved mother is played by Aparna Nancherla from Mythic Quest and Space Force). The vibe of the reunion sours as past drama and old wounds surface, throwing the couple’s future into doubt. Written, produced and directed by Sarah Adina Smith (Buster’s Mal Heart), the Duplass Brothers production is drawing comparisons to The White Lotus and The Slap.
Will Trent (Jan 4)– Special Agent Will Trent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was abandoned at birth and grew up in the harsh realities of Atlanta’s impacted foster system. Motivated by his own troubled childhood, he now has the highest crime clearance rate in the GBI. Trent relies on his keen instincts to uncover the truth when a murder investigation reveals a second shocking crime, and another vulnerable victim is in desperate danger. Based on Karin Slaughter’s best-selling book series, the crime drama stars Ramón Rodríguez as Trent and Iantha Richardson as his partner Faith, along with Erica Christensen as Angie, the estranged wife who’s been in and out of his life since his tumultuous adolescence.
Death in the Dorms (Jan 5) – Death in the Dorms tells the true stories of six college students whose lives were cut short by murder: Andrea DelVesco (UCLA), Christian Aguilar (University of Florida), Yeardley Love (University of Virginia), Michael Deng (Baruch College), Samantha Josephson (University of South Carolina), and Katie Autry (Western Kentucky University). Emotional testimony from loved ones and interviews with law enforcement trace each student’s bright potential, tragic loss, and the fight to bring their killer to justice. It’s one of three exposé-style Hulu docuseries released this month from ABC News Studios in association with IPC, the company behind Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath.
Extraordinary (Jan 25) – The latest superhero sendup unfolds in a world where everyone develops a power on their 18th birthday— except for late bloomer Jen (Máiréad Tyers), who’s turning 25 and still waiting for hers. Frustrated with her dead-end job and flaky hookup Luke (who can fly of course), Jen plods through a world of superstrength and hyperability in search of her elusive power. Like other shows taking wry shots at the genre (The Boys, Deadpool, Hancock, Mystery Men), Jen’s vulnerability and mundanity are a grounding element for the miraculous world around her: the trailer shows Jen revealing embarrassing character defects to a job interviewer whose power is eliciting brutal honesty. A man standing at a curb preserves his pristine suit by redirecting a splash of gutter-water from a passing taxi into her face. “Maybe the real power is just being yourself,” offers a helpful friend. “That is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard in my life,” she responds.
Koala Man season 1 (Jan 9)
How I Met Your Father Season 2 (Jan 24)
National Geographic Investigates: LSD and Psychedelics Premiere (Jan 26)
Visit Hulu for a full list of releases.
Hunters Season 2 (Jan 13) – The alt-history revenge/conspiracy thriller is back for a second and final season, three years after fans got hooked on the Golden-Globe-nominated pulp tale starring Al Pacino. Holocaust survivor-turned-philanthropist Meyer Offerman (Pacino) has assembled a team of outcasts to hunt Nazis hiding in 1970’s America, but an accident derails their plans. This season they must reunite on an international mission to track down and kill Adolf Hitler, supposedly hiding in South America and mobilizing an army to establish a Fourth Reich. After season one’s explosive ending, Pacino will continue to appear in season two in a parallel plot and timeline as the show revisits his past in flashbacks, exposing a secret that could destroy the hunters’ mission and endanger the world. Another big name joins the cast this season: Jennifer Jason Leigh will be joining the team as Nazi hunter Chava. David Weil (The Twilight Zone), created the show. He executive produces along with Jordan Peele and showrunner Nikki Toscano.
The Rig Season 1 (Jan 3) – Scottish oil rig workers are wrapping up a shift when a sinister vapor rolls in, cutting them off from the outside world and literally shaking their world with a mysterious supernatural threat: it’s nature’s revenge after centuries of plunder for profit. As the crew begin to turn on each other and slowly go insane, scientist and oil company rep Rose Mason (Schitt’s Creek actress Emily Hampshire) tries to keep the operation together—but the story’s thrill withers in the trailer, which is one long third-person polemic about Mother Nature as an actual character: “If we keep punching holes in the earth, eventually it’s gonna punch back,” says one salty dog. “That’s what you get for diving into the abyss,” another character echoes forlornly. “Nature isn’t a balance, it’s a war!” chuffs a florid man in shirtcuffs. “It’s trying to warn us!” screams a fourth in a completely unrelated scene. “You don’t negotiate with nature,” a fifth chimes in. “We’re listening now,” Rose breathes raptly, finally humbled, before the screen fades to black.
Nate Bargatze: Hello World (Jan 31)– Grammy-nominated comedian and podcaster Nate Bargatze heads to Amazon with his first stand-up special for the streaming service. Filmed in Phoenix on a 360-degree stage, Bargatze gently prods the familiar buttons of childhood in the 80’s and 90’s, the awkwardness of marriage, and his own foot-in-mouth disease. The Tennessee Kid has crafted a meticulous haplessness with calibrated nonchalance and pin-sharp timing–his second hour-long special in less than two years, Bargatze’s content explosion shows he’s far from clueless and anything but average.
Indiana Jones original trilogy (Jan 1)
Endeavour Season 8 (Jan 3)
The Test Season 2 (Jan 13)
Visit Amazon Prime for a full list of releases.
Velma (Jan 12) – Mindy Kaling voices Velma in a new adult animated mystery series that follows the nerdy sleuth’s origins before the official formation of the classic Scooby Doo gang—with a sharper, more serious storyline and a brand new look. Kaling, also executive producing, is joined by Sam Richardson, Constance Wu and Glenn Howerton in supporting voice roles, along with appearances by Jane Lynch, Nicole Byer, Gary Cole, Wanda Sykes, Fortune Feimster and Weird Al Yankovic. Notably absent is Scooby-Doo himself, thanks to Warner Bros.’ refusal to allow use of the character, and the writers’ difficulty fitting the loppy hound into an adult storyline—but the original Scooby-Doo voice actor Frank Welker will still make an auditory appearance as Fred’s father.
The Last of Us (Jan 15) – It’s 2033, 20 years after humanity was ravaged by a brain fungus that turns its hosts into violent, feral monsters that use echo-location to rip survivors apart. Post-apocalyptic mercenary Joel (Pedro Pascal, The Mandalorian) is hired to escort a teen named Ellie (Bella Ramsey, Game of Thrones) on a brutal trek across post-pandemic America to a team of doctors who hope that she may hold the cure to the plague. The nine-episode series comes as the long-anticipated adaptation of the popular survival horror video game; the production has serious gaming pedigree on both sides of the camera, from the cast to the score composer, co-creators and executive producers. Watch for Nick Offerman, who guest stars as, what else, a loner survivalist living in the woods.
The Climb (Jan 12) – Jason Momoa and rock-climbing iconoclast Chris Sharma are holding a competition to inspire the next generation of adrenaline junkies: amateur climbers will endure a gauntlet of physical and mental challenges in a contest for a $100,000 prize and a sponsorship from elite outdoor brand prAna. Momoa, who’s co-hosting with Sharma, says he took up rock climbing to train for several films; his joy and reverence for the sport gives the series a wild, spiritual quality. The beautifully shot trailer shows palm-moistening feats of gravity on spectacular Spanish cliffs as the competitors strain through one spine-tingling ascent after another, risking big falls and facing down their own mental and emotional blocks to gain the summit.
The Menu (Jan 3)
In With the Old Season 3 (Jan 11)
No Me Gusta Conducir (Jan 13)
Visit HBO Max for a full list of releases.
Mila in the Multiverse (Jan 25) – Latin American original series Mila No Multiverso is landing on Disney Plus in the U.S. with eight episodes of spacetime-bending adventure. Mila is a Brazilian teen who gains the ability to travel to parallel universes on her 16th birthday and embarks on a world-hopping quest in hopes of finding her missing mother, who also discovered the multiverse before disappearing in one of its infinite manifestations. She must face a dangerous group called the Operators who want to destroy the multiverse, while discovering how to hone her new power and navigating the pitfalls of adolescence without her mother’s guidance.
Lost Treasures of Egypt Season 4 (Jan 4) – This immersive, gripping science series follows international teams of Egyptologists as they unearth the world’s richest archaeological treasures in desert catacombs and burial chambers. Through nail-biting excavations and VIP access to the teams on the front line, the camera follows these modern explorers as they battle harsh weather and terrain to make the discoveries of a lifetime. Explore the rise of Alexander the Great, uncover the search for Cleopatra’s lost tomb, and investigate Tutankhamun’s mysterious death.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch Season 2 (Jan 4) – With an 86% critic/82% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s safe to say punctilious nerds have given the stamp of approval to the Dave Filoni-driven Clone Wars spinoff about a squad of elite clone troopers with genetic mutations that give them each a unique skill. The bloom was in the seed for season one as franchise veterans boosted production power, animators discovered new ways to stun with scale, and fan-favorite character cameos from sister properties dropped in like the neighbor’s kid. As the second season opens, months have passed since the events on Kamino, and the Bad Batch continue their journey as rogue clones on the run from the Empire after the fall of the Republic. They will cross paths with friends and enemies as they take on a series of daring mercenary missions in an effort to find new purpose, and the Empire seeks to squash a growing clone rebellion.
Chasing Waves (Jan 11) – In the wake of surfing’s 2020 Olympic debut in Tokyo, a new eight-part docuseries shines a spotlight on the people and places that are defining Japan’s reach in global surf culture. Shot with state of the art 4K cameras and stunning 16mm archival film, the documentary examines the diverse regions, unique characters, and endless search for the perfect wave along Japan’s 18,000 miles of coastline. From the indoor wave pool “Ocean Dome” in Miyazaki to the sturdy surfers in the icy waters of Hokkaido, Chasing Waves follows multicultural athletes and extraordinary pro surfers in pursuit of their dreams and showcases what it takes to succeed in the international surf industry.
Willow Season Finale (Jan 11)
Ocean’s Breath (Jan 20)
Challenger Disaster: Lost Tapes (Jan 27)
Visit Disney+ for a full list of releases.
Apple TV Plus
Servant Season 4 (Jan 13) – M. Night Shyamalan’s psychological thriller is coming to a nerve-jangling close with a final installment of supernatural terror, after a grieving couple opens the door for a sinister force named Leanne to enter their home and all hell breaks loose. As season four opens, Leanne’s war with the Church of Lesser Saints heats up, threatening Spruce Street, the city of Philadelphia— and beyond. Meanwhile, the shattered Turner family must confront the increasing threat of Leanne’s instability and evil—and as the their brownstone home continues to crumble, viewers will learn who Leanne really is, and the identity of the mysterious child in their home.
Truth Be Told Season 3 (Jan 20) – The NAACP Image Award-winning series based on the Kathleen Barber novel Are You Sleeping offers a unique glimpse into America’s obsession with true crime. Podcaster Poppy (Octavia Spencer) tackles a new criminal investigation every season, risking everything to find justice for the voiceless. The new season follows Poppy as she teams up with an outspoken principal (Gabrielle Union) to keep the names of missing Black girls in the public eye while chasing down leads to a suspected sex trafficking ring that may be connected to the disappearances. Spencer told People magazine of the new ten-episode season, “You can expect a propulsive story. Playing Poppy, I finally understand the meaning of the adage ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions’.” Apple TV+ says the show will “challenge viewers to consider the consequences when the pursuit of justice is placed on a public stage.”
Shrinking Season 1 (Jan 27) – Grieving widower and overwhelmed therapist Jimmy (Jason Segel) stumbles on a new approach to life: he decides to start breaking the rules and telling everyone exactly what he thinks of them and their problems. His professional peer Dr. Phil Rhodes (Harrison Ford) is less than impressed, but Jimmy throws training and ethics to the wind and finds himself catalyzing profound change in peoples’ lives – including his own. Could this be the kick he needs to shake himself out of his rut and get his life back? Is he going too far? Is this a remake of Office Space in an ivory tower? “Sometimes you need to have a breakdown before you have a breakthrough,” says the trailer sagely. Segel, along with Brett Goldstein and Bill Lawrence, both of whom won Emmys for their work on Ted Lasso, wrote and produced the show.
The Mosquito Coast Season 2 finale (Jan 6)
Echo 3 Season 1 finale (Jan 13)
Superleague: The War for Football (Jan 13)
Visit Apple TV+ for a full list of releases.
Wolf Pack (Jan 26) – Sarah Michelle Gellar trades vampire hunting for investigating werewolf sightings as she stars in a new supernatural show from the creator of MTV’s Teen Wolf (no relation). During the chaos of a forest fire in California, a strange creature from the woods bites two high schoolers, who become werewolves. They join two other undercover werewolf teens, abandoned as puppies after a (wait for it) forest fire sixteen years before, to discover the secret that connects them and eliminate the beast that’s stalking them. But when one of the pack is kidnapped, the others must draw on both sides of their nature to find the cunning and courage to rescue her.
Mayor of Kingstown (Jan 15) – The acclaimed series from Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan follows the McLusky family, power brokers in Kingstown, Michigan led by Mike McLusky (Jeremy Renner), where the business of incarceration is the only thriving industry. Tackling themes of corruption and inequality, the series provides a stark look at the family’s attempt to bring order and justice to a town that has neither. After the prison riot that capped off the first season, Mike continues to play both sides in an attempt to keep a delicate balance of power in a town threatening to explode. With dapples and shades of Ozark, Mike finds himself testing relationships, making big gambles and taking the law into his own hands to keep the peace, but it may be too late to stop chaos from coming to Kingstown. Renner may have to watch the premiere from a hospital bed, however: as of press time, he’s in “critical but stable condition” following a snowplow accident at his home near Reno.
Sometimes When We Touch (Jan 3) – A new three-part documentary explores the “reign, ruin and resurrection” of soft rock, offering the hopeful view that the genre is experiencing one of the most unlikely comebacks in music history. “You can trash, bash and malign soft rock as much as you want, but I bet you know every song in the Hall & Oates catalog,” challenges the doc’s producer Van Toffler. “Personally, I’m happy that the kids are finally learning about the virtues of the Carpenters and Michael McDonald via their sampling in current hip-hop.” Among those interviewed for the series were Sheryl Crow, Stewart Copeland of the Police, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, Richard Marx, and soft-rock vets Kenny Loggins, Toni Tennille, Ray Parker Jr. and Air Supply. Sometimes When We Touch offers archival interviews and electric concert footage, along with contemporary commentary that “embraces the impact of soft rock while acknowledging the cringey excesses that sometimes led it astray, and a review of its continuing power over a new generation.”
Good Burger: The Movie (Jan 1)
Lingo Season 1 (Jan 11)
Teen Wolf: The Movie (Jan 26)
Visit Paramount+ for a full list of releases.