Every month, Netflix churns up its selection of offerings with new TV shows and movies—adding even more to what feels like a veritable ocean of material to watch, while adding deadlines to those things you’ve promised to yourself to watch later. So here, our critics make their recommendations about the best and most bingeable things that are coming out this month, and flag the series or film 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.
IN: Crashing: Season 3
In its third season, HBO’s Crashing remains really good. Pete Holmes’s affable, doofus alter-ego is complemented by his sharp ex-girlfriend Ali Reissen. Jamie Lee brings effervescent presence to Ali, subverting stale tropes about lady comics. In episode six, directed by series producer Judd Apatow, Ali is winningly nervous about making her late-night stand-up debut on Seth Meyers. Meanwhile, Kat (Madeleine Wise), Pete’s new girlfriend, loses it at a Comedy Cellar viewing party for Ali. Kat is seething with jealousy about Ali and Pete’s friendship, and takes umbrage after Jamie jests on TV about Pete’s bedroom performance. Further highlights include episode four, when Ali hilariously brings the smackdown on Jason, a misanthropic and unfunny has-been. And the series opener, in which Pete befriends Jaboutkie, a talented young comic, at a college gig. Pete invites him to crash on his NYC couch. Thoroughly well put together, with nice musical selections. Crashing: Season 3 comes to HBO on Jan. 20.
IN: Springsteen on Broadway
“I’ve never worked 9 to 5 till now,” Bruce Springsteen opens his intimate one-man Broadway show. “I’ve never seen the inside of a factory floor.” He is also honest about his desire for attention, fame, women and sex. Having read and listened to the Boss’s weighty autobiography, and seen him live, I got some more illumination and entertainment from Springsteen on Broadway. Running over 153 minutes, it’s a considered combination of voice, guitar, piano and harmonica. Springsteen speaks engagingly about his all-American life. He is aware of his complexity. Born to run, with “white line fever in his veins”, but he lives just a ten-minute drive from his Jersey home town. He maintains a sense of humour about the industry’s challenges. Classics like “Thunder Road” and “Dancing in the Dark” resonate with promise, possibility, mystery and adventure. Springsteen’s minimalist take on “Born in the USA” is exceptional. Springsteen on Broadway is streaming on Netflix now.
OUT: Straight Outta Compton
Straight Outta Compton is worth a look. There’s no doubting N.W.A.’s influence on hip-hop culture, especially Ice Cube and Dr Dre, albeit the group is problematic. Ice Cube’s son O’Shea Jackson Jr. impresses playing his father. Detroit‘s Jason Mitchell is memorable as the late womanizer Eazy-E. Paul Giamatti twitches across the screen as shrewd entertainment lawyer Jerry Heller. “You just gotta slow down, you can’t bang every broad on the planet,” he informs Eazy-E. F. Gary Gray (The Italian Job) is a skilled director, who crafts an engaging visual aesthetic. He got a genuine death threat from rap’s bad hombre Suge Knight for his efforts, which counts as a significant endorsement. N.W.A. were involved with the making of the film, and allowed there catalogue to be unleashed to score it. There are, of course, some lively tunes. Straight Outta Compton leaves Netflix Jan.1.