I finished up watching the Netflix series Maniac the other week. It’s a weird show — my fiancée described it as “Stranger Things + Wet Hot American Summer + Eternal Sunshine,” which I thought was weirdly accurate.
That odd, messy combination works as often as it doesn’t, but it’s great even just watching the show try to keep it all together. The thing that I feel like they could have learned with some reflection is how much stronger the show is when it makes sense.
There are rules to Eternal Sunshine’s mind trips; in Maniac, there are none whatsoever during similar sequences, and that weakens a lot of the interplay between different groups of characters. The early episodes also seem to enjoy being unnecessarily opaque, but the show feels so much richer later on, when the characters’ journeys matter more than the nonsensical world around them.
Check out 10 trailers from this week below.
Here’s the first full trailer for The Punisher’s second season, which seems to be promising lots of... emo murder, I guess? I am somewhat confused as to how this isn’t one of the Marvel series that got canceled, but maybe this trailer isn’t the best representation of why the show stands out. The new season debuts January 18th.
Marvel released a not-quite trailer for Captain Marvel this week that’s actually kind of better than a lot of the real trailers at depicting of the movie’s tone and humor. Like a bunch of this is just jokes — it’s great! The film comes out March 8th.
This is a really smart concept. Russian Doll takes Groundhog Day, but turns it into a dark comedy series, where the lead character just can’t stop dying and reliving the same day. She’s also way more of a screw up than Bill Murray’s character ever was, leading to a much bleaker take. The show premieres February 1st.
The streaming service Shudder has a really cool-looking documentary coming up on the history of black actors and filmmakers in the horror genre, from their absence in the early days of film through modern-day phenomenons like Get Out. The film speaks with Jordan Peele, Tony Todd, Paula Jai Parker, and more about how they shaped the genre, and how it’s reflected back on culture. The film comes out February 7th.
Netflix has the next film from Nightcrawler director Dan Gilroy, which sees him teaming up with Jake Gyllenhaal again for a movie about snobby art people who suddenly find themselves haunted by evil paintings. The film looks to be every bit as critical of voyeurism and capitalism as Nightcrawler was, just with a lot more straightforward horror. It comes out February 1st.
YouTube Originals don’t exactly have a great reputation, but this one is an anthology series with a fun premise and a long list of amazing names on board, including Laverne Cox, Yvette Nicole Brown, Awkwafina, Steven Yeun, Michael Cera, Levar Burton, Rosario Dawson, and Mark Hamill. Plus, Jordan Peele is involved somehow? The show debuts February 13th.
Netflix has a new sci-fi film coming up with a bare bones survival premise that looks like it could be just simple and straightforward enough to work. The film stars Margaret Qualley and Anthony Mackie as two stragglers left behind on a dying Earth, trying to catch the last shuttle off the planet. It comes out January 18th.
Ask Dr. Ruth
Hulu has a documentary coming up on the life and work of Dr. Ruth Westheimer, famous for her unusually honest and open sex education radio and TV shows in the 1980s. Westheimer turned 90 last year, and it looks like the filmmaking team was around to catch up with her and look back. There’s no release date just yet, but the film is set to premiere at Sundance.
Amazon has a four-part documentary series coming up that looks back at the Lorena Bobbitt case — with an eye not strictly toward what happened, but toward how the media covered it and failed to respect Bobbitt amid allegations of assault and abuse. It comes out February 15th.
Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened
This feels like an easy cash in on a recent viral story, but maybe it doesn’t matter — the Fyre Festival disaster was hilarious, and this documentary seems to legitimately get behind the scenes of the mess, which should make for a fun watch. It comes out January 18th.