Every month, Netflix churns up its selection of offerings with new TV shows and movies. So here, our critics recommend the best and most bingeable things that are coming out this month, plus the series or film that’s on the way out that you should see before it’s too late. For the full list of what’s coming and going, click here.
John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous Live at Radio City
Is the 35-year-old the best working stand-up in the business today? It’s a tight and tough field—but he’s certainly on the shortlist. Honed by years in the Saturday Night Live writers’ room and on the Netfix cartoon Big Mouth (it’s best we not mention his absolute tire-fire Fox sitcom), Mulaney has a blade-like precision with details and a twinkling earnestness to his mien, playing with words like they’re toys to tell his loping, loopy stories. With more comedians mining the darkness, there’s an easy pleasure in his David Sedaris-channelling personal stories, like this coda about the night a young Mulaney met Bill Clinton, who his mother loved but his father hated: “It was the best night of my entire life. And I got home that night and my dad was still awake, like, reading angry under one lamp, and I went up to him and I said, ‘hey, I’m gonna be a Democrat, and I’m going to vote for Bill Clinton.’ And without looking up at me, my dad just said, ‘you have the moral backbone of a chocolate eclair.’ You know, how you talk to a child.” His fourth special comes out May 1.
Oscar voters were in love with the movie Coco. Adults, too, will find a lot of beauty in Pixar’s carnivalesque, magic-realist take on the Day of the Dead, and what it tells us about how we remember our loved ones. But kids? It’s hard to say whether the eye-candy atmosphere is enough to make the surprisingly complicated themes of death and memory and the complicated operations of the depicted Land of the Dead more digestible, or whether it’s just a shiny distraction. Still, that’s been the case for a number of recent Pixar films—Toy Story 3, Up!, and Inside Out among them—and it’s hard to criticize what Pixar’s become best at, when its bread and butter are more than worthy of putting on the ofrenda. And while the so-called twist can be seen a mile away, it won’t stop the waterworks for the ending that the twist sets up. See for yourself on May 29.
Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
The episode that everyone talks about is “Papa’s Got A Brand New Excuse,” the 24th episode of the NBC show’s fourth season, when Will, abandoned yet again by his father, lets his uncle Phil know how much he doesn’t need him, a soliloquy that culminates in his final breakdown: “How come he don’t want me, man?” But the part that may be the most moving about that whole scene—the gear that makes it all click, as Smith storms around from thinly veiled fury to denial to open anger to vengeance to sadness—is a moment where Smith himself breaks at the beginning of the conversation. “You know what, you ain’t got to do no—nothing, uncle Phil,” Smith says, stumbling. It’s a human fumble that shows how much the rest of the scene flows, the blemish that makes the rest all the more impressive. Tackling systemic racism and recognizing everyday misogyny well before it became the talking points of our pop culture, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was a perfect blend of heart, brain, and slapstick, with Will Smith just on the cusp of the superstardom he enjoys today. You have until May 7 to watch it.