Disney’s Just Beyond, Netflix’s Baby-Sitters Club among great shows to stream


THE BABY-SITTERS CLUB (NETFLIX)

Now in its second season, this adaptation of the popular children’s novel series of the same name by Ann M. Martin has earned praise both for its fidelity to the original stories and the way it has updated them to make them relevant for a modern tween and teen audience.

In this eight-part edition, a new school year brings booming business, new relationships, personal journeys and important lessons, as well as the introduction of beloved characters Mallory Pike and Jessi Ramsey.

“The core cast shares such brilliant chemistry, their interactions in ensemble scenes always flow naturally. And the series continues to offer a realistic portrayal of teen girls’ interactions and day-to-day challenges with school, boys, and their families,” wrote AV Club’s Saloni Gajjar.

FOUNDATION (APPLE TV+)

Based on the award-winning novels by Isaac Asimov, this 10-part sci-fi series chronicles a band of exiles on their monumental journey to save humanity and rebuild civilization amid the fall of the Galactic Empire.

The cast includes Chernobyl’s Jared Harris, The Hobbit trilogy’s Lee Pace and Voyagers’ Lou Llobell.

“While it delivers in both scope and spectacle, Foundation is not for the faint-hearted. This is a slice of rock-hard sci-fi that tickles the intellect with concepts both philosophical and profound,” wrote Empire magazine’s James Dyer.

Maid, Just Beyond and the season two of The Babysitters Club are among the great shows available to stream this weekend.

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Maid, Just Beyond and the season two of The Babysitters Club are among the great shows available to stream this weekend.

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Just Beyond is now available to stream on Disney+

JUST BEYOND (DISNEY+)

Inspired by a graphic novel series created by Goosebumps author R.L. Stine, this eight-episode anthology series aims to tell astonishing and thought-provoking stories of a reality just beyond the one we know.

Each episode introduces viewers to a new cast of characters who must go on a surprising journey of self-discovery in a supernatural world of witches, aliens, ghosts and parallel universes. Those lined up to feature include Mckenna Grace, Gabriel Bateman and Henry Thomas.

“With each episode running for around 30 minutes, most ending on a twist, and virtually all containing a thinly veiled lesson that’ll resonate with the target audience, there’s something for everyone here,” wrote Ready Steady Cut’s Jonathon Wilson.

MAID (NETFLIX)

Inspired by the 2019 New York Times best-selling memoir, Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay and a Mother’s Will to Survive, by Stephanie Land, this 10-part drama follows the story of Alex (Margaret Qualley), a single mother who turns to housecleaning to – barely – make ends meet as she escapes an abusive relationship and overcomes homelessness to create a better life for her daughter, Maddy (Rylea Nevaeh Whittet).

The show also features Andie MacDowell, Nick Robinson and Anika Noni Rose.

“It’s the mother-daughter bond – and strain – that shines brightest. Qualley and MacDowell are each other’s best scene partners,” wrote The Washington Post’s Inkoo Kang.

Hamish Linklater plays Midnight Mass’ Father Paul.

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Hamish Linklater plays Midnight Mass’ Father Paul.

MIDNIGHT MASS (NETFLIX)

The Haunting of Hill House creator Mike Flanagan is back with this seven-part tale of a small, isolated island community whose existing divisions are amplified by the return of a disgraced young man and the arrival of a charismatic priest.

When Father Paul’s appearance on Crockett Island coincides with unexplained and seemingly miraculous events, a renewed religious fervour takes hold of the community – but do these miracles come at a price?

“There will be screams, yes. There will be blood. But not before Midnight Mass has seduced its audience into caring about what happens,” wrote The Wall Street Journal’s John Anderson.

RESERVATION DOGS (DISNEY+)

Taika Waititi’s Midas touch continues with this bittersweet, hilarious Oklahoman comedy.

However, those expecting a laugh-a-minute chuckle fest could be in for a disappointment with this tale about a group of troubled Native American teens who have poured their energies into a series of nefarious schemes aimed at earning them enough money to plot their “escape” to California.

Rather than constant gags, this offers observational and nuanced humour with a Coen Bros’ esque cadre of eclectic characters and scenarios providing the lion’s share of the moments that will make you smile.

While Waititi is a co-creator, sometime writer and executive producer, in truth, he’s the interloper on what is otherwise a virtually all-indigenous Oklahoman project.

A member of the Seminole nation, Sterlin Harjo infuses his stories with the tensions, juxtaposition and absurdities of growing up on a reservation in modern-day America.

TVNZ

Spice Girls: How Girl Power Changed the World is now streaming on TVNZ OnDemand.

SPICE GIRLS: HOW GIRL POWER CHANGED THE WORLD (TVNZ ONDEMAND)

They were the manufactured pop group with a mind of their own.

The girl group that inspired a generation. Five seemingly, disparate, ordinary woman who took the world by storm and managed to turn the words “zigazig ah” into chart-topping gold.

But, as the excellent three-part Channel 4 documentary recounts, it was a sometimes rocky path to stardom and, once there, the quintet had to deal with deep-seated sexism, almost unbearable scrutiny and a series of scandals seemingly designed to undermine them.

While, perhaps unsurprisingly, this doesn’t feature any modern day interviews with Baby, Posh, Scary, Ginger or Sporty, what it does offer is a treasure trove of candid archival footage, coupled with new interviews with everyone from their hair stylist and makeup artist to unsuccessful auditionee Lianne Morgan and their first music manager Chris Herbert.

WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS (NEON)

A show that achieves the seeming impossible double whammy of being a successful adaptation of a popular movie and transplanting an overseas conceit to America, this spin-off of the 2014 Kiwi mockumentary of the same name has deservedly become a runaway hit, adored by viewers and critics alike.

While perhaps not hitting the heights of the best of the two previous seasons, the opening salvo of this 10-episode run does a terrific job of putting all the pieces in place for another round of laugh-filled antics.

Filled to overflowing with jokes both high and low-brow and promising another production line of celebrity cameos, What We Do in the Shadows continues to be one of America’s most consistently funny comedies, while still retaining a little of its original creators’ Kiwi sensibilities and DNA.



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