TORONTO — Here's a look at some of the standout TV series and films debuting on subscription streaming platforms in January:
“That ‘90s Show”
Swap out your bell bottoms for cargo pants and disco records for grunge CDs. Many things changed in the two decades between “That '70s Show” and its new sitcom update, but one hasn’t: Red and Kitty Forman. The Wisconsin parents watched their teenage son Eric grow up and marry his high school sweetheart Donna. And now, their granddaughter Leia is staying with them for the summer. That’s where “That ‘90s Show” picks up, as the cast quickly eases back into the familiar suburban habits: from high school crushes to getting high in the basement. Newcomer Callie Haverda steals the show as the youngest Forman, while many of the original “That '70s Show” cast members return for appearances throughout the season. (Netflix, Jan. 19)
It's forks and knives out when a wealthy foodie takes his new girlfriend to an ultra-exclusive cuisine getaway run by an eccentric chef (Ralph Fiennes) on a private island. A group of elites have gathered for the experience of a lifetime: dining on some of the finest eats they can sink their teeth into. Except that as the dishes start to arrive at the tables, the guests learn that something darker might be afoot. Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicholas Hoult and John Leguizamo also star in this satire with shades of horror. (Disney Plus, Jan. 4)
A tense battle plays out in Brazil's Amazon rainforest as farmers seek to push the Indigenous Uru-eu-wau-wau people off their protected land so they can build roads and grow crops. Alex Pritz’s immersive documentary brings two perspectives to the fore, giving the local tribe the space to tell its own story while capturing the words of the farmers who see their future on the land. "The Territory" won the Sundance Film Festival's audience award for world cinema documentary. (Disney Plus, Jan. 13)
"The Last of Us"
A viral outbreak has left cities in ruins while two survivors trek across America with their only hope for a cure — a young woman who has proven resilient to the infection. Based on the popular video game, HBO's ambitious nine-episode series was filmed in Alberta over the better part of a year. It's part zombie thriller, part apocalyptic drama that kicks off with a nail-biting 70-minute first episode with plenty of twists and a stunning single-shot sequence that'll have viewers talking. (Crave, Jan. 15, episodes weekly)
ALSO THIS MONTH:
"Kaleidoscope" - Viewers can watch all eight episodes in any order — though it's best to save the one titled "White" for last — piecing together the puzzle of an elaborate $7-billion heist and its many characters. (Netflix, now streaming)
"The Pale Blue Eye" - Christian Bale is a detective hired to investigate the brutal murder of a cadet at the U.S. Military Academy in the 1830s. (Netflix, Jan. 6)
"The Northman" - Robert Eggers, director of "The Lighthouse," returns with his critically acclaimed tale of a viking bent on avenging his father's death. Starring Alexander Skarsgård and Björk. (Crave, Jan. 6)
"If These Walls Could Sing" - Mary McCartney, daughter of Paul, tells the stories behind 91-year-old Abbey Road Studios where the Beatles, Elton John and countless others have recorded their albums. (Disney Plus, Jan. 6)
"Sound of Metal" - Riz Ahmed was an Oscar nominee for his role as a heavy-metal drummer who loses his hearing. (Jan. 7, Netflix)
"The Climb" - Hollywood star Jason Momoa and rock climber Chris Sharma host an outdoor rock climbing competition series on the hunt for the best amateur climber. (Crave, Jan. 12, episodes weekly)
"Ambulance" - Two brothers hijack an ambulance after their bank heist goes awry. Michael Bay heightens the tension of his latest action flick by shooting many of the scenes with drones. Co-starring Jake Gyllenhaal. (Crave. Jan. 20)
"Shotgun Wedding" - A destination wedding goes off the rails when a couple, played by Jennifer Lopez and Josh Duhamel, get cold feet in the final hours — right around the time the celebration is hijacked by sea pirates. (Prime Video, Jan. 27)
Several popular streaming series wrap up in January. At Apple TV Plus, the twisted horror tale "Servant" begins its fourth and final season (Jan. 13, episodes weekly), while CBC Gem ramps up for the last run of "Workin’ Moms” (Jan. 3, episodes weekly). Over at Prime Video, the Al Pacino-led Nazi killer series "Hunters" closes in on a reclusive Adolf Hitler in its grand finale of episodes (Jan. 13). And on Netflix the ultra-violent Spanish action series "Sky Rojo" delivers a big finish (Jan. 13).
Other returning shows of note include the Toronto-shot dramedy "Ginny & Georgia" which is back for a second season (Netflix, Jan. 5) and Bryan Cranston's "Your Honor," which sees him return as a New Orleans judge dragged into the mess his son leaves after a hit-and-run (Crave, Jan. 13, episodes weekly).
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 4, 2023.
David Friend, The Canadian Press