What would a new week be without a new Disney Plus series from Marvel Studios? A sad one, so it’s a good thing that Ms. Marvel is heading our way next Wednesday. Ms. Marvel is the first Disney-Marvel project to feature a Muslim lead and comes out a month before The Marvels is released in theaters. After years-long hiatuses, Hulu’s The Orville: New Horizons, Netflix’s Borgen – Power & Glory and Amazon Prime’s The Boys are back. Hulu’s Fire Island about two gay best friends who take a trip to New York’s Fire Island is already scoring high praise from critics as is HBO’s The Janes, about an underground abortion organization in the pre-Roe era. Here's what's upstream:
The Orville: New Horizons - Season 3 (Hulu, June 2)
The third season of Seth McFarlane's sci-fi comedy series comes three years after the second season debuted on FOX, with Disney's acquiring the, er, enterprise and shifting it over to the SVOD JV it now controls. The live-action series is set 400 years in the future and follows exploratory spaceship U.S.S. Orville and its intrepid inhabitants. The new season, which stars MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, Penny Johnson Jerald and Scott Grimes, finds the crew “continuing their mission of exploration, as they navigate both the mysteries of the universe and the complexities of their own interpersonal relationships.” Critics have been pretty unanimous in their support of McFarlane's live-action work. “[It] may not want to be a space spoof, but if it's able to fully evolve into a character-driven dramedy that just happens to be set in space, then that's adding something unique to the genre. And that could make The Orville a show worth watching,” wrote IndieWire’s Liz Shannon Miller.
Borgen – Power & Glory (Netflix, June 2)
This political drama focused on Birgitte Nyborg (played by Sidse Babett Knudsen) becoming the first female prime minister of Denmark was an instant hit after initially airing in Denmark back in 2010. It’s been close to a decade since Season 3 of the series was first broadcast. The first three seasons of the series began streaming on Netflix in 2020 and found an audience Stateside. Borgen – Power & Glory is a stand-alone continuation of the show. The new season involves a drilling company that discovers oil in Greenland. As the newly appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs, Nyborg finds herself in an international struggle for power over the Arctic. Per Netflix, “The series deals with some of the biggest political issues of our time, as well the relevance of the Danish Realm in the modern world, the superpowers’ battle for control of the Arctic – and not least, the climate crisis.” Season three of the series scored an aggregated score of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. “Knudsen is brilliant, and the show is amazing,” wrote The San Francisco Chronicles’ Mick LaSalle.
Interceptor (Netflix, June 3)
After selling 7.5 million copies of his novels worldwide, Australian action-thriller specialist Matthew Reilly (Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves) is making his directorial debut with this Netflix film starring Fast & Furious actress Elsa Pataky and Luke Bracey (Hacksaw Ridge). Written by Reilly and Stuart Beattie (Collateral), the movie centers on an Army lieutenant who uses her tactical training and military expertise to save humanity when 16 nuclear missiles are launched at 16 American cities. Pataky’s husband, actor Chris Hemsworth serves as an executive producer on Interceptor, which if it’s anything like Reily’s books, should be a thrilling ride.
The Boys - Season 3 (Amazon Prime, June 3)
After close to a two-year hiatus, the group of vigilante superheroes known as The Boys are back to expose the truth. Based on the Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson eponymous comic book, Season 3 of the series sees the group continuing their quest to expose the truth about certain members of The Seven and Vought, which is the multibillion-dollar conglomerate that manages all superheroes. Season 2 of the series scored an aggregated 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. “This series manages not only to be exciting and unpredictable, but to examine the perils of hero worship in a manner that's mind-blowing in more ways than one, and incidentally, absolutely not for the squeamish,” wrote CNN’s Brian Lowry.
Fire Island (Hulu, June 3)
Two gay best friends, Noah (Joel Kim Booster) and Howie (Bowen Yang.), take a trip to New York’s Fire Island, a ritzy hotspot popular among gay men. The film takes on topics that not so long ago were taboo movie topics. Andrew Ahn (Spa Night) directed the film, which Booster wrote. Described as a modern take on the classic Jane Austen novel Pride and Prejudice, Booster initially developed the story as a short form series for Quibi. So far, critics are loving the film, which scored an aggregated score of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Fire Island "straddles the divide between an early 19th century comedy of manners and a frothy modern-day rom-com with disarming sweetness,” wrote The Hollywood Reporter’s David Rooney.
Irma Vep (HBO Max, June 6)
This six-part drama is loosely based on Olivier Assayas’ eponymous 1996 French film. In this rendition, Academy Award winning actress Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl) plays an American actor named Mira who travels to France after a romantic breakup and tabloid scandal. In Paris, she stars in a film called Irma Vep and begins to have difficulties making the distinction between herself and her onscreen character. If it sounds meta, it is. The series recently screened at the Cannes Film Festival. A few critics, including Screen Daily’s Jonathan Romney, reviewed the it. “Admirers of the ever-venturesome Assayas will be fascinated to see how he’s adapted to (or rather, adapted) the mini-series format. As it happens, he hasn’t aimed for the addictive speediness of the Netflix era, rather choosing to offer extended sections focusing on individual characters, as opposed to building up a complex, rapidly progressing narrative,” wrote Romney.
Ms. Marvel (Disney Plus, June 8)
Ms. Marvel is the latest Disney Plus series from Marvel Studios and the first featuring a Muslim lead. Iman Vellani stars as Kamala Khan, a Pakistani American teenager from New Jersey who idolizes superheroes, especially Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel (played by Brie Larson). Khan is an awkward teenager whose dreams come true after she is exposed to a Terrigen Mist, which enables her to shape-shift her body at will. Not coincidentally, the six-episode series is being released weeks ahead of The Marvels - the sequel to 2019’s Captain Marvel – which stars Larson and features Vellani as Khan.
The Janes (HBO Max, June 8)
This documentary about an underground organization, The Jane Collective, that provided illegal abortion services in Chicago from 1969 until abortions became legal in 1973 couldn’t be more relevant. In their four-year existence The Janes, which was made up of ordinary, twenty-something women, facilitated 11,000 safe, illegal abortions. During a police raid in 1972, seven members were arrested and charged with multiple counts that could have led to each receiving 100 years in prison if not for the legalization of abortion the following year. It’s a harrowing story that resonates given Roe's current imperilment on the Supreme Court. Viewers will no doubt be left wondering if Jane Collectives will start popping up across the country. The doc scored an aggregated score of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes “These women were outlaws. They were also heroes, and it's high time more people recognized them as such. The Janes is a great start,” wrote Rolling Stone’s David Fear.
Hustle (Netflix, June 8)
This Adam Sandler basketball movie is produced by LeBron James and features an all-star supporting cast including Queen Latifah, Ben Foster and Robert Duvall. Sandler plays Stanley Sugerman, a washed up basketball scout who discovers a talented Spanish streetballer named Bo Cruz (Juancho Hernangómez). The duo team up with the hopes of proving that they can make it as a professional coach and NBA player respectively. Sandler has made multiple films with Netflix since 2014, when the actor-comedian signed a deal with the streaming service. Interestingly, the most critically successful film for Sandler in recent years, 2019’s Uncut Gems, streams on Netflix everywhere except the U.S. Hustle could be the actor’s next big hit, given the fact that indie darling Jeremiah Zagar (We the Animals) directed the film.
Baby Fever (Netflix, June 8)
This six-part Danish language romantic comedy-drama comes with a logline that can’t help but make you laugh. “When Nana (Josephine Park), in a drunken state, inseminates herself with a really special portion of sperm – namely her ex-boyfriend’s – she starts a chain reaction of catastrophes, both big and small.” The twist is that Nana is a highly-competent, successful fertility doctor who pretends that she has children in an effort to comfort nervous patients. Now that she’s actually going to become a mother, Nana has to confront not only her lies, but her disastrous personal life. Pregnancy and parenthood are too often depicted as either pure bliss or utter hell. A comedy drama about the issue made by the Danes is worthy of a peak.
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