Being a television critic has gotten more challenging as the amount of new shows on new platforms as increased exponentially. I can’t imagine how hard it is to keep up with everything as a fan who’s not paid to stay informed about the industry. We’ll do our best to help with a monthly guide to new content available on the various streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. In March, new shows premiere on Netflix and Hulu and second seasons return on Netflix and Amazon, including Daredevil and Bosch.
Daredevil Season 2 – March 18 on Netflix
Everyone’s been waiting for season two of Daredevil. Now with the promise of The Punisher and Elektra, you don’t even have to be a fan of Daredevil. For me personally, I’m in it for Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal), one of my favorite Marvel characters who’s never really gotten his due on screen, despite three movies attempting to.
Bernthal is perfect casting as Castle/The Punisher. He’s an imposing figure with that volatile sense of danger he brought to The Walking Dead, but also the emotional turmoil so we know he can play the tragic loss of his family. That’s what drove Castle to become a vigilante.
I only know Elektra (Elodie Yung) from the Jennifer Garner movies, which I’m told were not especially faithful to the character. In the movies, Matt met Elektra and watched her become an assassin. In Netflix’s Daredevil, they already had a past relationship so she is returning to butt into Matt’s protection of Hell’s Kitchen, her own way.
Flaked – March 13 on Netflix
Will Arnett’s new series is billed as a more dramatic turn for him. I’m not surprised a comedic actor can do drama. People, fans and critics alike, make a big deal every time this happens. Most recently it was Sarah Silverman in I Smile Back but how many Robin Williamses or Jim Carreys does it take to get it? Actors act. Hopefully Netflix is a better fit for Arnett than the short-lived network shows he’s launched post Arrested Development.
The show opens with Chip (Arnett) in an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting telling his tragic DUI story, but it’s not very heavy afterwards. I’m sure the show can go there again. I mean, Arnett’s other Netflix series, Bojack Horseman, gets real, and that’s a cartoon about a talking horse.
Flaked is not without humor but it’s nice that Arnett doesn’t have to be “on” the whole time. It’s about awkward situations in life for relatively poor buddies living in Santa Monica. The fact that both Chip and his friend Dennis (David Sullivan) are both pining for a thin blonde (Ruth Kearney) is a bit tired but Kearney makes sure she’s not an object. It’s just the guys who are idiots.
Pee-wee’s Big Holiday – March 18 on Netflix
For over a decade Paul Reubens has been talking about making more Pee Wee Herman movies. He brought Pee Wee back in a live show, but the movie finally started coming together when producer Judd Apatow got involved. Eventually, it became a Netflix original movie when the streaming service began producing their own instead of simply acquiring titles.
Pee-wee’s Big Holiday will premiere first at SXSW so we can check social media and reviews out of the festival. It will be fun to see a brand new Pee-wee story, since the Broadway show was really just an update of the original Pee-wee Herman Show. If Rocky, Han Solo, Indiana Jones and John McClane came keep having adventures, so can Pee-wee Herman!
The Path – March 30 on Hulu
How do you follow Breaking Bad? Bryan Cranston went to stage and did a movie, Trumbo, that landed him an Oscar nomination. Aaron Paul did some more blockbuster movies, but he’s coming back to television in a new series for Hulu.
The Path stars Paul and Michelle Monaghan as a couple who join a cult led by Hugh Dancy. With films like Martha Marcy May Marlene and Sound of My Voice, the subject of cults is dramatically fascinating. Exploring it in an extended series can find a lot more dramatic fodder in it, and it’s great to see Dancy back after Hannibal.
Bosch – March 11 on Amazon
Author Michael Connelly’s detective solved many cases in books, so a second season brings a whole new case across his desk, after a leave of absence. This case takes Bosch to Las Vegas and reveals connections to the mob and some police corruption. Titus Welliver makes a great grizzled detective, and the supporting cast includes heavyweights like Jeri Ryan, Lance Reddick and Sarah Clarke. If you’re into cop drama, it won’t take too long to catch up on season one before season two premieres.
Fuller House – Now on Netflix
For children of the ‘80s and ‘90s, the return of Full House was an eagerly awaited nostalgia treat. Now that many have binged the entire first season, which released in February, fans are split. Some appreciate the self-conscious nods to the original series while others feel it coasts too much on nostalgia with no new story to offer.
Much of the original cast – John Stamos, Bob Saget, Dave Coulier and Lori Laughlin – only returned for cameos in select episode. Fuller House is really a vehicle for Candace Cameron Bure, Jodie Sweetin and Angela Barber as the new trio of surrogate parents. The gender swap, including a cast of precious sons and one daughter, should provide a clever twist on Full House but the new show never really explores that. It’s more content to give a new generation the same sort of saccharine family comedy and remind the old fans of their favorite TGIF show.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny – Now on Netflix
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was an Oscar winning film, so when the sequel was announced as straight to Netflix deal, it seemed like a surprising lack of faith in its prospects. It makes sense though. Except for The Godfather Part II, sequels rarely get the same recognition. Look at all the Rocky sequels.
Also remember that, while Crouching Tiger was a breakthrough for American audiences, to the Chinese it was just yet another historical fantasy epic. The sequel tells another tale, with Michelle Yeoh returning for continuity. There are some excellent fights choreographed by director Yuen Wo-Ping and performed by Yeoh and Donnie Yen. The film is striking on Netflix. I don’t even have a 4K TV but the locations look better than Blu-ray.