In the unauthorized biography Pam & Tommy, released in February, Hulu managed to carve out a more nuanced narrative for actress Pamela Anderson, who endured ridicule, slut-shaming, career ruin and much other cruelty and humiliation after a video tape created only for private consumption was stolen from her private residence. This week, Hulu is back again with another limited series produced against the strongly expressed will of its subject matter, Mike, which explores the "wild, tragic and controversial life" of Mike Tyson, "one of the most polarizing figures in sports culture." (Hulu's log line, not ours.) Tyson's breathtakingly ferocious debut on the heavyweight boxing scene in the 1980s, when he took down a flurry of big-name opponents, some of them in less than a minute, was famously juxtaposed by his 1992 rape conviction and subsequent imprisonment, followed by a ghastly ear-biting incident involving opponent Evander Holyfield in an ill-fated comeback attempt in 1997. It kind of writes itself. These days, Tyson has been largely redeemed in the eyes of the broader culture ... and social media, where he virally emerges from time to time, lauded for pulling punches on deserving hecklers ... or pulling up just enough when he does finally lose his cool, as was the case on a recent airline misadventure with a persistent drunk who seemed to have a kind of death wish. Indeed, the zeitgeist has seemingly reconciled the brutality -- experienced by too many young inner-city African-American men -- that made Mike Tyson a brutal man, and the much kinder, gentler middle-aged "Iron Mike" himself, who seems to have made a kind of peace with it, as well. With that in mind, is Mike going to show us the young Tyson abandoned by his father at birth, raised in poverty, saved from juvenile hall by boxing ... only to fall into the waiting arms of exploitative promotor Don King and exploitative wife Robin Givens? Or are we going to see the resulting monster who rapes an 18-year-old beauty contestant and bites opponents in the ring? Unlike Anderson, we, the broader zeitgeist, seem to get the equation that equaled "Iron Mike." We may not need this TV show to understand him in the same we did, say, to re-evaluate the horrible way we treated Pam Anderson. But since it's here, here's hoping that narratively, the twain shall meet.
-- Daniel Frankel
Everything I Know About Love (Peacock, August 25)
An adaptation of Dolly Alderton’s 2018 National Book Award-winning novel, the series is set in London in 2012 and centers on four female friends trying to survive their twenties. The romantic comedy-drama was written and created by Alderton, with China Moo-Young Pennyworth) directing. The seven-episode season stars Emma Appleton (Pistol) as Maggie, Bel Powley (The Morning Show) as Birdy, Marli Siu (Alex Rider) as Nell, and Aliyah Odoffin (Better Get Better) as Amara. The BBC released Everything I Know About Love in June. “The TV adaptation of Everything I Know About Love is brilliant because, like the book, it doesn’t pretend to be about anything other than figuring out your twenties as a young woman,” wrote the New Statesman Pravina Rudra
Little Demon (Hulu, August 25)
This animated show follows an overprotective mother named Laura (voiced by Aubrey Plaza) who is trying to raise her antichrist daughter Chrissy (voiced by Lucy DeVito) in an ordinary fashion, even though Chrissy’s father is Satan (voiced by Danny DeVito). Created by Darcy Fowler, Seth Kirschner and Kieran Valla, this FXX series follows Satan as he attempts to reconnect with Chrissy, much to the chagrin of Laura. “The hit rate of Little Demon’s jokes is high enough to make each individual episode enjoyable whether they add up to anything greater or not. It might not have the emotional depth or intelligent design to get itself out of Rick and Morty’s shadow, but it still manages to have the sort of fun in the dark that holds promise for future seasons,” wrote Slant Magazine’s Ross McIndoe.
Mike (Hulu, August 25)
This unauthorized limited narrative series will explore the controversial life and career of heavyweight boxing legend Mike Tyson. The eight-episode show, created by Steven Rogers (I, Tonya), explores the tumultuous ups and downs of Tyson's boxing career and personal life. The series, starring Trevante Rhodes (Moonlight), also examines race and class in America. Tyson isn’t happy about the series. Earlier this month on Instagram, Tyson wrote: "Don’t let Hulu fool you. I don’t support their story about my life. It’s not 1822. It’s 2022. They stole my life story and didn’t pay me. To Hulu executives, I’m just a n****r they can sell on the auction block.” Is it that he didn’t get paid that made Tyson so angry about the series, or is it how they portrayed his tumultuous marriage to Robin Givens and that Evander Holyfield ear-biting incident? Who knows? But either way, it's a car wreck you can't take your eyes off.
See - Season 3 (Apple TV Plus, August 26)
This post-apocalyptic drama, starring Jason Momoa as Baba Voss, the chief of the Alkenny tribe, is set hundreds of years after humankind has lost the ability to see. In the third and final season, we see Voss, who has defeated his nemesis Edo (Dave Bautista), living remotely in the forest. But when a scientist develops a new form of sighted weaponry that threatens the future of humanity, Voss must return to save his tribe. “Bold and batshit in equal measure, See might not be the most accessible of shows, and its penchant for the bizarre is occasionally goofy, but the series boasts a rich tapestry of world-building and an expanding story with real emotional punch,” wrote Empire Magazine’s James Dyer about the series’ second season.
Me Time (Netflix, August 26)
Kevin Hart, Mark Wahlberg and Regina Hall star in this comedy about a stay-at-home dad (Hart) who finds himself with some “me time” for the first time in years while his wife and kids are away. What does he do? He reconnects with his former best friend (Wahlberg) for a weekend that nearly upends his life. It's hard to tell if Hart ever has any me-time himself, given his impossibly busy level of output for Netflix, Roku, BET and other production partners. Just in the narrow sphere of Netflix buddy comedies, his pairing with Woody Harrelson in the hitman-themed Man From Toronto just debuted two months ago. For his part, Wahlberg mixes frequent Netflix paint-by-numbers genre films into a pretty busy schedule, too. Me Time was spawned by writer /director John Hamburg (Along Came Polly, I Love You Man). There are not reviews ... but the Netflix bill is already paid, so...
Samaritan (Amazon Prime Video, August 26)
This action-thriller, starring three-time Oscar nominee Sylvester Stallone follows 13-year-old Sam Cleary (Euphoria‘s Javon “Wanna” Walton), who suspects that his reclusive neighbor Mr. Smith (Stallone) is actually a legendary super-hero pretending to be a mere mortal. Sam knows about a super-powered vigilante named Samaritan who, 25 years prior, was reported dead after a fiery warehouse battle with his rival, Nemesis. The movie follows Sam as he coaxes a reluctant Mr. Smith out of hiding to save Sam’s city from ruin. The release of Samaritan was delayed several times. The film was scheduled to be debut theatrically in 2020 and then again in 2021, but the pandemic prevented that from happening.
Partner Track (Netflix, August 26)
An adaptation of Helen Wan’s 2013 novel, the series centers on Ingrid Yun (Arden Cho), an idealistic young attorney who struggles with how choosing to become partner at an elite New York City law firm is in conflict with her values. Created by Georgia Lee (The Expanse), the season consists of 10 episodes, all of which were filmed in New York. “Part rom-com, part light legal drama, 100% easy watching on Netflix,” wrote The Chicago Tribune’s Nina Metz.
Fate of a Sport (ESPN Plus, August 29)
This documentary chronicles lacrosse legend Paul Rabil as he establishes the Premier Lacrosse League. For over five years, Rabil was a professional lacrosse player in the NLL, which was anything but professional. After ending his time in the NLL in 2013, Rabil decided to create his own lacrosse league. In partnership with his brother, Rabil raised capital from investors including The Chernin Group and The Raine Group, poached top pro players, and fought off lawsuits to establish the Premier Lacrosse League in 2019. The doc explains how the new league changed the trajectory of the sport. The film, which premiered earlier this year at the Tribeca Festival, features interviews with Rabil, his brother Mike Rabil, Jeffrey Wright, Adam Silver, Bill Belichick, Peter Berg, Joe Tsai and Lyle Thompson. Fate of a Sport will have its ESPN linear debut on September 15 and will also air on ABC Sunday on September 18.
The Patient (Hulu, August 30)
Created and written by Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg (The Americans), this limited, half-hour series is about psychotherapist Alan Strauss (played by Steve Carell), who is being held prisoner by a serial killer Sam Fortner (played by Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker actor Domhnall Gleeson.) Sam wants Alan to cure his homicidal urges. “Driven in large part by what is possibly Carell’s finest dramatic performance to date, there’s a nuanced series here beyond the juicy pitch... that has caused it to linger in my mind long after completing it,” wrote The Hollywood Reporter’s Dan Fienberg.
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