The big title of the week is Ted Lasso, but there's a lot of new TV this week to stay on top of.
Just quietly, a sneak preview of new AMC show Lucky Hank has been released earlier than its original release date of this Sunday. The show stars Bob Odenkirk as the chair of an English Department at a not-great college. I was very fond of the show, but will hold it over in the Always Be Streaming guide until it has been released properly. Know that you can watch it now on AMC+ in the US and Stan here in Australia.
But here's what you need to know about this week's releases:
The gem of the week is a new series co-created by Donald Glover and Janine Nabers titled Swarm. It's about a young woman who is deep into the online fandom of a Beyonce-esque performer. Where Beyonce has her 'hive' of supporters, "Ni'Jah" has her 'swarm'. Very quickly the series takes a pretty dark turn and we follow the obsessed fan as she gets a little, well, murderous.
Stories in the show are loosely inspired by real events and the show is a perverse mix of scathing commentary on true crime storytelling and the toxic communities of fandom that dominates online discourse. It's a complicated show that is not for the faint of heart.
High on my must-see list was Scott Z Burns show Extrapolations. I've enjoyed his work in the past, notably his screenplays for Contagion, Side Effects, and The Laundromat. Extrapolations is an anthology series with an all-star cast including the likes of Meryl Streep (!!!) about the impact of climate change over the coming decades.
Where it lost me is with a tone that mixed the distant reportage-style that we saw in Contagion, but layered over with silly future-tech that feels confected - technically possible, sure, but that doesn't stop it being silly. The first episode has a teen girl (a la Greta Thunberg) addressing groups of protestors across the globe through large projected holograms - because that's the sort of thing we will all be doing in the future, apparently. Never mind that most communication increasingly happens on hand-held devices that occasionally sit in our pockets. Where Contagion felt prescient, Extrapolations is a sermon with Hollywood futurism layered on top.
Gotham Knights. Why does Hollywood bother with mining IP like this? Viewers know who Batman is, but this isn't a Batman TV show. Instead, it loosely gathers 4th and 5th tier Batman comic book characters and teams them up to avenge Batman's non-sensical murder. Fans of the comic books won't be satisfied with the exceptionally loose screen adaptations of the characters, while general viewers won't know who any of these characters are. Of course, it wouldn't be such an issue if the show was enjoyable to watch.
Flashback - 2011's Wonder Woman
Watching Gotham Knights, I was reminded of another misguided DC Comics adaptation - David E Kelley's Wonder Woman. Starring Adrianne Palicki, the series was a weird Frankenstein blend of the Wonder Woman comics of the time with a strong dose of Ally McBeal mixed in.
Politely, it isn't good.
Ted Lasso (s03), Shadow & Bone (s02), Good Trouble (s05), Superman & Lois (s03)
Gotham Knights - US: The CW | AUS: Binge
Stars: Oscar Morgan, Misha Collins, Anna Lore
Bruce Wayne is murdered and his adopted son forges an alliance with the children of Batman's enemies. As the city becomes more dangerous, these mismatched fugitives will become its next generation of saviors, known as the Gotham Knights.
Agent Elvis - Netflix
Stars: Priscilla Presley, Matther McConaughey
Elvis trades his jumpsuit for a jetpack when he joins a secret spy programme to stop villains from destroying the world.
The Glory - Netflix
Stars: Song Hye-kyo
A young woman, bullied to the point of deciding to drop out of school, plans the best way to get revenge. After becoming a primary school teacher, she takes in the son of the man who tormented her the most to enact her vengeance.
Maestro In Blue - Netflix
Stars: Klelia Andriolatou, Orestis Chalkias, Marisha Triantafyllidou
A musician travels to an island during the pandemic to set up a music festival. He begins a romance and finds himself embroiled in other people's problems.
Sky High: The Series - Netflix
Stars: Luis Tosar, Álvaro Rico, Asia Ortega, Richard Holmes
Sole, a young widow with a son in her care, is not willing to return to the tutelage of her father Rogelio, one of the biggest dealers in stolen goods in Madrid. To avoid this, she joins her late husband's gang of thieves.
Noise - Netflix
Stars: Sallie Harmsen, Ward Kerremans
A search for her missing daughter leads a mother to a support network, where she bonds with other women whose lives have been destroyed by violence.
Class of 07 - Amazon Prime Video
Stars: Emily Browning, Caitlin Stasey
A tidal wave hits as a group of women celebrate their ten-year reunion from an all-girls school. The former students must find a way to survive on the island tip of their high school campus.
Swarm - Amazon Prime Video
Stars: Dominique Fishback
An obsessed, Houston-based fan goes to increasingly violent lengths for her favourite R&B singer.
Extrapolations - Apple TV+
Stars: Meryl Streep, Kit Harington
In the near future, the effects of climate change have become embedded into people's everyday lives; eight interwoven stories explore the intimate, life-changing choices that must be made when the planet is changing faster than the population.
A Town Called Malice - UK: Sky Max
Stars: Jack Rowan, Martha Plimpton
A family of petty thieves from South London decamp to Spain to profit from an unexpected windfall.
Boston Strangler - US: Hulu | International: Disney+
Stars: Keira Knightley, Carrie Coon
Reporter Loretta McLaughlin becomes the first person to connect a series of murders and break the story of the Boston Strangler. She and Jean Cole challenge the sexism of the early 1960s to report on the city's most notorious serial killer.
In His Shadow - Netflix
Stars: Alassane Diong
After the death of their father, two half-brothers find themselves on opposite sides of an escalating conflict with tragic consequences.
That's it for this week.