Hulu’s ‘The Dropout' Finale, the Return of HBO’s ‘A Black Lady Sketch Show,’ and Barack Obama on Netflix - What's Upstream for April 7-13

Hulu original limited series 'The Dropout'
Hulu original limited series 'The Dropout' (Image credit: Hulu)

If you like explorations of true stories, this is your week to stream video. Netflix is debuting three documentaries: One focused on Elan Musk's interstellar ambitions (Return To Space); a globe-trotting nature doc narrated by Barack Obama (Our Great National Parks); and an investigatory examination of the murder of a South African football luminary  (Senzo: Murder of a Soccer Star). There's also dramatizations of real-life events — the eighth and final episode of The Dropout, featuring that girl next door, Amanda Seyfried, all grown up and playing fallen Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, is unspooling on Hulu. And filmmaker Michael Mann has adapted journalist Jake Adelstein's memoir of his time covering the Tokyo PD. Oh, and the women of HBO's A Black Lady Sketch Show are back to tell their personal stories in Season 3. Here's what's upstream:

Tokyo Vice (HBO Max, April 7)

If you enjoyed Michael Mann’s Heat, Collateral or The Insider, then there's a solid chance you'll also like Tokyo Vice, a new HBO series executive-produced by Mann, who also directed the pilot. An adaptation of American journalist Jake Adelstein's eponymous memoir examines the Tokyo Metropolitan Police in the 1990s. The eight-episode crime series stars Ansel Elgort as Adelstein, who documents the underbelly of Tokyo police culture. The Hollywood Reporter’s Daniel Fienberg wrote that the first five episodes “delivered enough intriguing and authentic story beats per episode to keep me consistently engaged, while at the same time making me wish that this latest entry in a long-outmoded genre might find some way to go a little deeper instead of hovering on the surface of something and someplace fascinating.” The first three episodes of Tokyo Vice will be available to stream on HBO Max on April 7. Two episodes will premiere every subsequent Thursday through the season finale on April 28.

The Dropout – Series finale (Hulu, April 7)

This dramatic portrayal of the life, career and downfall of Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes has been a hit with critics and audiences alike since its release on March 3. The series focuses on Holmes' creation of Theranos, which she claimed would revolutionize blood testing. Back in 2019. Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney made a documentary about the Stanford University dropout titled The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley. In the dramatic retelling, Amanda Seyfried plays Holmes. Her performance has garnered rave reviews. “Ms. Seyfried, who was Oscar-nominated for Mank last year, is just as revelatory here, but strictly as an actress, not as a window into the phenomenon of Holmes. The portrayal is absorbing, committed and morbidly fascinating,” wrote The Wall Street Journal’s John Anderson.

Return To Space (Netflix, April 7)

This documentary starring Elon Musk isn’t about the tech tycoon becoming Twitter’s biggest stakeholder. Instead, Oscar-winning directors Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin (Free Solo, The Rescue) explore the billionaire’s obsession with space travel. Musk’s privately funded space exploration company, SpaceX, is a success in large part because of astronauts like NASA veterans Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, who Vasarhelyi and Chin follow in the lead-up to the men’s 2020 trip to the International Space Station, the first from the United States since the retirement of the space shuttles in 2011. The directing duo also capture Musk and mission control’s efforts to bring the two astronauts’ return to earth. Vasarhelyi and Chin have a unique knack for making past events suspenseful.

Senzo: Murder of a Soccer Star (Netflix, April 7)

Back in 2014, Senzo Meyiwa, goalkeeper and captain of the national South African soccer team,  was murdered in what was alleged to be a botched robbery. This five-part docuseries investigates what happened to Meyiwa, who was shot and killed at his girlfriend’s mother’s house. Despite six eyewitnesses, it took eight years for any suspects to go to trial. The doc features members of Senzo’s family, investigators and key witnesses.

All the Old Knives (Amazon Prime Video, April 8)

Chris Pine and Thandie Newton star in this espionage thriller inspired by Olen Steinhauer’s eponymously titled 2015 novel. Pine plays a CIA agent who meets up with a former colleague and lover played by Newton. Over dinner, the duo try to come to terms with a failed mission involving the hijacking of an airplane that turned deadly. Turns out someone in the CIA might have had something to do with it, but who? While flirting over what looks like a delicious meal, Pine and Newton try to sort out which one of them is to blame.    

Metal Lords (Netflix, April 8)

Metal Lords marks the first film Game of Thrones co-creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss have made for Netflix under their multi-year, multimillion dollar agreement to write, produce and direct television series and movies exclusively for the streaming service. Jaeden Martell (Knives Out) and Isis Hainsworth (Misbehaviour) star in this coming of age film about teenagers who want to start a heavy metal band. Instead of finding a bass player, the high school boys discover a girl cello player played by newcomer Adrian Greensmith. While Benioff and Weiss produced the film, Wiess also wrote it.

A Black Lady Sketch Show - Season 3 (HBO Max, April 8)

Created, written by and starring Robin Thede, A Black Lady Sketch Show returns a core supporting cast of Gabrielle Dennis, Ashley Nicole Black and Skye Townsend, riffing on personal experiences and issues specific to African-American women. The first two seasons of A Black Lady Sketch Show have been nominated for an Emmy in the the best variety sketch show category, and were a hit with critics, who aggregated the HBO series with a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Season 3 will feature 40 guest stars, including Raven-Symoné and Wanda Sykes. “The ladies, who clearly are all BFFs, are effortlessly, amazingly funny. They poke fun at issues specific to Black women, like the care and maintenance of hair... They also take sharp aim at racial issues,” wrote Washington Post TV critic Marc Silver.

Woke - Season 2 (Hulu, April 8)

In this comedy series, Lamorne Morris plays Keef Knight, who is based on real-life cartoonist and show co-creator Keith Knight. The eight-episode series combines live-action with animated sequences. In Season 1, Keef begins seeing and hearing inanimate objects talking to him after realizing just how much racism he encounters in his everyday life living in San Francisco. Keef starts creating comic strips depicting racism and San Francisco police officers' acting violently. In Season 2, Keef is forced to contend with his newfound fame. The first season of the series received mostly positive reviews from critics, who scored it at an aggregated 74% on Rotten Tomatoes. “The show develops a bit slowly but deftly straddles the line between weightier matters and mining its sillier side,” wrote CNN television critic Brian Lowry.

Our Great National Parks (Netflix, April 13)

This five-part series, narrated by former President Barack Obama, will ply its stunning 4K cinematography to  Kenya’s Tsavo National Park, Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming and Indonesia’s Gunung Leuser National Park. The series comes from Barack and Michelle Obama’s High Ground production company, which was founded in 2018 and works in partnership with Netflix.

Ice Age: Scrat Tale (Disney Plus, April 13)

This series of six animated shorts stars Scrat, the saber-toothed, nervous squirrel/rat from Disney’s $6 billion dollar Ice Age franchise. Scrat is voiced by Oscar-winning director Chris Wedge, who has been giving the rodent a voice since the first Ice Age feature film was released in 2002. (Wedge also directed that movie.) In the series, Scrat is faced with fatherhood and all its triumphs and tribulations. While the shorts were made for kids, adults -- especially those with children -- could also find them enjoyable.