TV

Weekend Preview: A Super Bowl Like No Other, A Puppy Bowl For Posterity, And So Much Streaming Goodness

Super Bowl LV (Sunday, CBS 6:30 p.m.) — This has been a season like no other, and tonight, the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be going at it (with a smaller live audience than usual) from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, and you’ll be seeing The Weeknd at halftime.

Puppy Bowl XVII (Sunday, Animal Planet 6:00 & 9:00 p.m.) — Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart are hosting all of this intentional cuteness, and I don’t know about you, but I might have to watch this twice in one evening. Will they get baked? Please let them get baked and have lots of yummy snacks

Wandavision: Episode 4 (Disney+ series) — Marvel fans were thrilled to tip their hats to Kevin Feige for what’s easily the best episode of the series so far. Watch out for that brutal Easter egg and a sort-of Full House vibe, but only because “Olsen” and “twins.”

Malcolm & Marie (Netflix film) — Zendaya and John David Washington are getting “achingly romantic,” not to mention dramatic, in this black-and-white film shot during lockdown. Sam Levinson directs and Marcell Rev is on cinematography, so the film looks achingly beautiful as well. Washington’s character is celebrating his movie premiere, and Zendaya portrays his girlfriend, and something goes wrong once they return home with revelations flying and their love put to the test. Levinson meant to send an ode to the Hollywood romances of yesteryear with this one, so Happy (early) Valentine’s Day.

Earwig and the Witch (Studio Ghibli film on HBO Max) — Not a moment too soon, Studio Ghibli follows up the internationally acclaimed Howl’s Moving Castle with a new classic adaptation, and this one focuses upon Diana Wynne Jones’ novel about an orphan, Earwig, who never wants to be adopted because she can apparently control everyone at the orphanage. However, a witch wants to adopt Earwig, who decides maybe that’s not so bad after all because… magic?

Firefly Lane (Netflix series) — Now for a different type of love. Katherine Heigl returns to TV with Sarah Chalke as co-star, as the duo portrays two women over three-to-four decades of best friendship. Expect laughs and sentimentality, all based upon the New York Times bestselling book of the same name, and a brunette Heigl. The show’s an exploration of the most important relationship in one’s life and those friendships that can pick up without missing a beat, even after time apart.

More Than Miyagi (Streaming on VOD platforms) — The The Karate Kid films would never have translated with a lesser Miyagi actor than Noriyuki “Pat” Morita. He was Oscar-nominated for the first film, and as Ralph Macchio reveals in More Than Miyagi (a new Love Project Films documentary), his one Morita-centered regret is not being able to walk the awards red carpet with his friend. Cobra Kai fans will also love this film full of revelations from an impressive assembling of Morita’s well-known co-stars, all of whom express nothing but love and respect for an icon.

Bliss (Amazon Prime film) — Mike Cahill directs this sci-fi thriller about a man (Owen Wilson) who realizes that he’s residing within a computer simulation, and the film aims to make you wonder whether you’re in the “real” world or said simulation. It’s a mind-bending adventure with Salma Hayek portraying a mysterious romantic interest, and her telekinesis might be the least weird thing about this movie. Oh, and they definitely go roller skating, too. Fun!

Strip Down, Rise Up (Netflix film) — Pole dancing ain’t easy, and Academy Award-nominated director Michèle Ohayon sends up an intimate look at a group of women who come together to heal trauma and put body image issues to rest with this particular type of dancing. Yes, it’s sensual stuff but so much more, and it looks like a take-the-power-back kind of ride.

The New York Times Presents: “Framing Britney Spears”: New Episode (FX on Hulu) — The seemingly unending saga of mega pop star Britney Spears’ controversial conservatorship is only one focus of this docuseries that aims to do a deep-dive, retrospective view on how Spears’ life and career has also been shaped by public perception and the press. It’s been a long twelve years for Britney under her father’s financial thumb, and that followed a few years of public chaos, which I’m sure you will never forget. Her fans rally in this series for her “freedom,” given that Britney has vowed not to work again until she can make her own decisions again.

Here’s the rest of this weekend’s notable programming:

Saturday Night Live (Saturday, NBC 11:29 p.m.) — Dan Levy hosts with musical guest Phoebe Bridgers.

Supermarket Sweep (Sunday, ABC 8:00 p.m.) — Leslie Jones and every bit of her enthusiasm will host contestants in this revival of the grocery-shopping game show.

The Equalizer (Sunday, CBS 10:00 p.m.) — Queen Latifah’s toting the gun in this reboot as enigmatic former CIA operative Robyn McCall. All she wants to do is settle into civilian life, but you know how that’s gonna go. She’ll step up to help a teen who’s been accused of murder and is also running from the bad guys.

The Lady and the Dale: Episodes 1 & 2 (Sunday, HBO 8:00 p.m.) — The Duplass Brothers are at it again, and this week, they’re bringing us Elizabeth finding off both conspiracy charges and inquiries about her gender identity.

Your Honor (Sunday, Showtime 10:00 p.m.) — It’s limited series finale time for the Panic-Cranston series, and the main man is still breaking bad as a corrupt judge. Will Michael find a way to dig himself out of the massive hole he’s dug for his family and associations. Well probably not… he’s totally screwed.

In case you missed these recent picks:

The Little Things (HBO Max film) — Three Oscar winners headline a film that’s mostly landing on streaming (there are few limited theaters in the mix), so thank goodness for the Internet during pandemic times. The movie stars Denzel Washington and Rami Malek as police officers hunting a 1990s-era serial killer in Los Angeles. (Yep, Denzel is playing a cop again! You can’t hate on that.) Their prime suspect is portrayed by Jared Leto, and this is a tale of overarching obsession and secrets that are best left uncovered.

We Are: The Brooklyn Saints (Netflix series) — Rudy Valdez, the Emmy-award winning filmmaker who poured his soul into HBO’s The Sentence, is here with more intimate verité footage of his newest subject. Here, Valdez turns his camera upon a youth football program in the heart of inner city Brooklyn. The program, of course, is much more encompassing than a pastime but also a vehicle for opportunity for these boys. They also become family with an incredible support system of coaches and parents, all while they strive for victory and overcome losses on and off the field. All of this, hopefully, will point toward a brighter future for all involved.

50M2 (Netflix series) — This Turkish hitman series (and how can you not be intrigued?) revolves around Gölge doing the second-chance thing while doing dirty work for Servit Nadir while taking refuge in a tailor shop. Gölge is masqurading as the late tailor’s son, and he’s transforming the neighborhood and vice versa. Meanwhile, Gölge doesn’t recall his own childhood, so get ready for the photograph-related fallout there.

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