'Poker Face,' Bill Russell Doc & Trio of AppleTV Releases Highlight February Streaming
by Julian Spivey
Poker Face – Peacock – Thursday, February 2
OK, so technically Peacock’s new mystery series “Poker Face,” starring Natasha Lyonne and created by “Knives Out” director/writer Rian Johnson, premiered last week in January with its first four episodes, but its fifth episode drops Groundhog Day, so let’s make like Bill Murray and give ourselves a re-do. “Poker Face” sees Lyonne as Charlie Cale who has the special gift of being able to tell when someone is lying just by looking at them. It’s sort of a “Columbo” for today’s generation of TV viewers. The pilot, which featured a superbly sleazy performance by Adrien Brody in a supporting role, was excellent and I can’t wait to see what’s up ahead for Charlie. It’s probably the most promising and most likely stand-out series from Peacock thus far. New episodes of the series will drop on Thursdays.
Dear Edward – AppleTV+ - Friday, February 3
Jason Katims is one of my all-time favorite TV writers and showrunners thanks to his work on “Friday Night Lights” and “Parenthood,” but since then he’s fallen on some hard times with three straight series being canceled after one season (even though I enjoyed the only one of the three I saw (“Rise”) and his most recent “As We See It” on Amazon Prime Video was well-received by critics). His latest, this time for AppleTV+, is “Dear Edward,” based on the bestselling 2020 novel by Ann Napolitano, about a 12-year-old boy who is the only survivor from a plane crash and the relationship he forms with the grieving family members of the ones who didn’t survive. The series stars newcomer Colin O’Brien in the titular role with Taylor Schilling as the aunt who takes him in and Connie Britton, reuniting with Katims after their work together on ‘FNL.’ The first three episodes premiere on Friday, February 3 with new episodes coming every Friday until the season wraps.
Bill Russell: Legend – Netflix – Wednesday, February 8
Bill Russell, who died in July of last year, was such an important and giant figure in the National Basketball Association (NBA) that the league announced it would retire his No. 6 jersey league-wide shortly after his death. He was a towering figure, not just on the basketball court where he dominated the game and won more championships than any player in league history, but also as a civil rights leader. I can think of few better ways to celebrate Black History Month with media than with Netflix’s two-part documentary series “Bill Russell: Legend,” directed by Sam Pollard, about this amazing man.
Sharper – AppleTV+ - Friday, February 17
AppleTV+ doesn’t have too many original films debuting on its service, but it has had a pretty good track record with them – most notably Oscar Best Picture winner “CODA.” Its latest is “Sharper,” a psychological thriller by director Benjamin Caron and written by Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka, about a young man who exacts revenge on his family for not accepting him and cons the rich to gain the wealth he desires. The film, which premieres Friday, February 17, stars Julianne Moore, Sebastian Stan, Justice Smith and John Lithgow.
Hello Tomorrow – AppleTV+ - Friday, February 17
Billy Crudup has been the best thing about AppleTV+’s drama series “The Morning Show,” even winning an Emmy for his first season performance, and while that show will return at some point (even if I’d be OK if it didn’t), Crudup is debuting his new AppleTV+ series “Hello Tomorrow” on Friday, February 17. “Hello Tomorrow” is told in a world that both feels retro and modernistic, which should be a fun setting, in which a charismatic salesman (played by Crudup) leads a team of associates trying to revitalize their customers’ lives by selling timeshares on the moon. The series co-stars Hank Azaria, Haneefah Wood, Alison Pill and Jacki Weaver. While the trailer makes everything seem cheery and bright you can just feel something sinister bubbling beneath.