Weekend Watchlist: New to streaming


Jeffrey Neira, Netflix | TNS

John Mulaney in “John Mulaney and the Sack Lunch Bunch.”

By The Pitt News Staff

“Friends” has finally disappeared from Netflix. But for every wildly popular 1990s sitcom the streaming gods take away, they add a pair of cult classic Tarantino movies. New content is coming to a streaming service near you all the time — from a December variety special from Tinder’s favorite stand-up comedian to the latest season of a show about a graduate school of magic. Here’s what’s new and exciting on streaming, according to a few Pitt News writers.

John Mulaney and the Sack Lunch Bunch (Netflix) // Megan Williams, Staff Writer

Those familiar with John Mulaney will likely know him for his numerous Netflix comedy specials (New in Town, The Comeback Kid) but even fans might not be aware of Mulaney’s musical prowess. An avid fan of Broadway, Mulaney’s had smaller parts in theatrical shows, like Documentary Now’s “Company” parody. In his new Netflix special, however, Mulaney leans fully into his love of musical theater, marrying it with humor about being a kid — supplied from the excellent cast of children, the aptly named Sack Lunch Bunch — and New York City. Several standout numbers feature guests all entwined with music in some way, from Broadway veteran and Tony winner André De Shields to Talking Heads lead singer David Byrne. The new Netflix special is a spectacle for all ages, infused with well-known and not so well-known Mulaney signatures. 

His Dark Materials (HBO) // Brian Gentry, Contributing Editor

Pets that can talk to you and know your deepest, darkest secrets. A fugitive rebel child escaping her parents. A heretical plot to kill God. All of these are packed into “His Dark Materials,” a new HBO show. The new series is an adaptation of the children’s book series of the same name by Philip Pullman and is a much better take on the books compared to the 2007 movie “The Golden Compass,” which earned just 42% on Rotten Tomatoes.

The show follows its young protagonist Lyra as she faces danger from adults who literally want to rip her soul from her. As Lyra travels north from Oxford to Svalbard in the first season, she encounters old friends and makes new ones, even befriending a talking armored polar bear along the way. Full of fighting and magic as well as philosophical questions about free will and the existence of God, the show makes a fascinating watching experience for everyone.

Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 (Netflix) // Caroline Bourque, Managing Editor

If you’re in need of a Tarantino education, this is a good place to start — especially if you’re put off by the excess of swaggering bravado and aggressive male energy that marks many of the acclaimed auteur’s other films. This revenge odyssey warrants two full length films, released in 2003 and 2004, both of which made a return to Netflix at the start of this year. 

The saga begins when a trained assassin, named only The Bride (Uma Thurman), wakes from a four-year coma, tormented by memories of an ill-fated wedding day in which her ex-lover Bill murdered her husband and unborn child. She sets off on a quest to avenge herself and her unborn child, tracking down the group of traitorous female assassins who helped Bill execute her near-death. In the process, Tarantino weaves through a decadent, highly stylized cadre of iconic film eras — martial arts, blaxploitation, spaghetti Western and samurai cinema. But despite Kill Bill’s cinematic flashiness, it’s Thurman’s controlled ferocity as The Bride that will have you mysteriously drawn to yellow jumpsuits for years to come.

“The Magicians,” Season 4 (Netflix) // Delilah Bourque, Contributing Editor

I’ve been watching Syfy’s take on Lev Grossman’s “The Magicians” trilogy since it premiered in 2016. I’ve also read all three of the books, and I find it difficult to put into words the ridiculous amount of fun I’ve had watching this show go completely off the rails. 

The first season starts out relatively tame, as depressed recent college graduate Quentin Coldwater gets a mysterious invitation to interview for a school called Brakebills, a graduate school of magic. Despite being beyond thrilled for the opportunity to study what he has always been convinced is real, Quentin finds himself an outsider in the magical world as well. He doesn’t have a well-defined discipline, which at this school includes skills like reading minds and teleportation, and he constantly gets into trouble in his misadventures with his friends Elliot, Margo, Alice, Penny and Katy. 

After the first couple seasons, it seemed as though the writers of “The Magicians” realized very few people were paying attention to what was going on on the show. The plot lines quickly became more and more nonsensical and the network decided they could say any cuss word they wanted. It’s a wild ride that I cannot recommend to anyone enough.