Hello! Every Wednesday, our internet culture staff discusses the world of streaming entertainment in this newsletter. In today’s Insider:
- What to watch this Thanksgiving
- Why Ms. Marvel fans are mad about Kamala Khan’s new powers on Disney+
- ‘The Wheel of Time’ opens up a vast and intimidating world
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What to watch this weekend
Do you get the feeling that there’s just too much stuff coming out lately? I spend a lot of time keeping up with the latest releases as part of my job, but sometimes a lot of stuff falls by the wayside, so I’m spending my holidays playing catchup. It’s not just awards-friendly movies, although there are some of those in the mix, nor is it only binge-friendly genre shows. In the past few weeks, we’ve seen the arrival of The Wheel of Time, Cowboy Bebop, The Great season 2, more Tiger King, Dickinson season 3, and the third Princess Switch movie. That doesn’t even cover what’s in theaters right now.
We’ve got a long weekend ahead of us and yet another batch of shows and movies on their way, just as we’re settling into wherever we’re staying for Thanksgiving. Looking a bit back but mostly ahead, here are only a few of the titles you might want to check out while digesting those mashed potatoes.
King Richard (HBO Max): King Richard isn’t your typical paint-by-numbers sports biopic. It’s centered around Richard Williams (Will Smith), the father of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams. He strove to ensure that his daughters would not only succeed in a sport that was largely inaccessible to Black athletes but become the greatest players the sport had ever seen. While most of the Oscar buzz has been about Smith’s performance, and the tennis scenes are legitimately engrossing, the standout is Aunjanue Ellis, who plays Venus and Serena’s mother Oracene Price.
Tick, Tick…BOOM! (Netflix): Jonathan Larson’s autobiographical musical gets the big-screen treatment from Lin-Manuel Miranda in his directorial debut. Andrew Garfield plays a pre-Rent Larson on the verge of turning 30 and feeling immense pressure to create a Great Work.
Hawkeye (Nov. 24 on Disney+): Clint Barton in the MCU has been extremely hit-or-miss for me (mostly miss), but Hawkeye has still been one of my most-anticipated Disney+ Marvel shows. Heavily inspired by the Matt Fraction/David Aja run of Hawkeye that ran from 2012 to 2015 (one of my all-time favorites), it will introduce Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) and Lucky the Pizza Dog into the MCU, give us the Captain America musical we never knew we needed, and pay off that Black Widow post-credits tease.
The Beatles: Get Back (Nov. 25-27 on Disney+): Peter Jackson was given access to and restored nearly 60 hours of footage and 150 hours of audio recorded during The Beatles’ frenzied writing and recording sessions in January 1969, just before the band’s first live performance in two years. His three-part docuseries—which airs over three days—not only takes viewers behind the curtain but aims to give a complex portrait of one of the most famous bands of all time.
A Castle For Christmas (Nov. 26 on Netflix): Netflix is going all-in with its holiday Hallmark Channel aesthetic, and the trailer for A Castle For Christmas leans hard into many of those rom-com tropes. But it’s hard not to fall for the charm of Cary Elwes with a kilt in a Scottish castle (and a Scottish accent).
The Great British Baking Show season finale (Nov. 26 on Netflix): If you delved into the spoiler side of U.K. Twitter, you already know which of the final three contestants took the top prize in this year’s bake-off. But for those of us watching a few days later on Netflix, it’s bound to be a nail-biter. The semi-finals end with the elimination of the contestant we long thought would easily win the whole thing, so all bets are off for those final three bakes.
—Michelle Jaworski, staff writer
The best Black Friday TV deals are on Amazon, and you don’t have to wait to shop for them! Whether you’re beginning your holiday shopping or simply upgrading your home theater, you won’t want to miss out. Here are the top 10 Amazon Black Friday sales happening right now.
Why Ms. Marvel fans are mad about Kamala Khan’s new powers on Disney+
The MCU usually strikes a good balance between loyalty to Marvel comics canon and introducing new ideas to improve classic stories. For instance, Black Panther and Shang-Chi updated certain characters to avoid racist themes from the comics, and those changes were well-received. However, the upcoming Ms. Marvel Disney+ show is facing criticism for making similarly drastic changes—this time for less obvious reasons.
Based on some early promotional art for the show, Marvel fans are theorizing that Disney+ will reboot Kamala Khan’s superpowers. Instead of being able to shape-shift and change the size of her body (a power that falls somewhere between Ant-Man’s technology and Mr. Fantastic’s stretchiness), it looks like she’ll have energy-construct powers like DC’s Green Lantern. So far, two pieces of leaked Ms. Marvel art depict this new MCU power.
To most viewers, this probably doesn’t seem like a major change. It just means that Ms. Marvel’s giant fists will be a CGI energy weapon instead of “embiggened” parts of her actual body. The problem is, Kamala’s superpowers aren’t just about punching. Her origin story ties into the comic’s exploration of race and identity.
—Gavia Baker-Whitelaw, staff writer
DAILY DOT PICKS
- Staying informed about the world doesn’t have to be boring. Get the most important geopolitical news and analysis in a 5-minute daily briefing from International Intrigue. It’s curated by former diplomats and free to sign up here.*
- The Fraction/Aja Hawkeye run is irreverent fun, sparked some all-time incredible out-of-context images, and features an issue from Lucky the Pizza Dog’s POV that is truly great.
- Showtime’s addictive new series Yellowjackets takes on dual timelines as it follows a New Jersey high school girls’ soccer team whose plane crashes into the wilderness. Nearly 25 years later, several survivors are trying to keep the truth of what happened from getting out.
- Make your holiday party a hit with the best holiday party games for adults, kids, and the whole family!*
*The Daily Dot may receive a commission in connection with purchases of products or services featured here.
The Wheel of Time opens up a vast and intimidating world
The Wheel of Time arrives as the “unwieldy high fantasy epic” descriptor has long stopped being a deterrent for the average TV viewer. The show has been—and will continue to be—compared to Game of Thrones, a rival of which Jeff Bezos reportedly really wanted for his then-emerging streaming platform.
There are even a few similarities, such as some eerie spirals made of carcasses and the shared usage of Irish actor Michael McElhatton. (Game of Thrones made it to TV first, but Robert Jordan’s first Wheel of Time book came out more than six years before George R.R. Martin published A Game of Thrones. Both Jordan and Martin were influenced by J.R.R. Tolkien.)
The Wheel of Time is much closer in tone to Lord of the Rings, and it’s a shadow that The Wheel of Time, at times, struggles to escape from. In early episodes, you could draw a very close comparison between the two, but The Wheel of Time fares better as the world opens up and leans more on the unique aspects of its world. It’s got a stellar cast bringing it to life, and it offers just enough to keep you watching.
The first three episodes of The Wheel of Time are streaming on Amazon Prime Video. New episodes debut on Fridays. —M.J.
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