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What Streaming Service Offers The Best Options This Weekend?

Streaming services can’t stop and won’t stop, and thank goodness for their continued drive to best each other or, at least, knock each other’s socks off on a repeated basis. They’re here for us, and we should be there for them if at all possible. With that said, we are back for another evaluation of which streaming service is granting us the best fresh content on any given weekend. Quantity matters, but so does quality, and this week, it’s a little tougher than usual to pick a winner.

Netflix clearly has the advantage going in this week with its longevity and years of practice under its belt. However, it can’t be assumed that the streaming giant will be the default winner. Every week is different, and there are strong showings from Peacock (with the Modern Family library), Hulu (with a Britney documentary series and Modern Family), Amazon Prime (with a Salma Hayek and Owen Wilson movie), and Disney+ (with more Marvel Cinematic Universe goodness). None of them were able to top HBO Max this week.

We’ll discuss all of these top streaming services below, beginning with HBO Max’s newest offerings, including a new Studio Ghibli movie, a docuseries and docufilm, and their solid library editions to binge to your heart’s delight.

HBO Max:


Earwig and the Witch (Studio Ghibli film on HBO Max) — Not a moment too soon, Studio Ghibli follows up the internationally acclaimed Howl’s Moving Castle with a new classic adaptation, and this one focuses upon Diana Wynne Jones’ novel about an orphan, Earwig, who never wants to be adopted because she can apparently control everyone at the orphanage. However, a witch wants to adopt Earwig, who decides maybe that’s not so bad after all because… magic?

Fake Famous (HBO Documentary on HBO Max) — Veteran journalist Nick Bilton’s a first time director here while journeying into the bizarre world of Los Angeles-based social media influencers who are jacking up their own followings in illicit ways, including armies of bots and purchases of fake followers. Look out for the costs of this immersive lifestyle to come roaring in from the sidelines.

The Investigation (HBO debut episode on HBO Max) — This Scandinavian limited drama series follows the real-life investigation into the 2017 murder of a Swedish journalist (Kim Wall) in what became one of Danish history’s most notorious criminal cases (aptly dubbed the “Submarine Case”). This is a homemade submarine (?), apparently, and the series hails from Oscar-nominated screenwriter and director Tobias Lindholm (A War, Mindhunter).

Everwood: All Seasons (Warner Bros. series on HBO Max) — One of Greg Berlanti’s most beloved series returns with two MCU stars in tow. Revisit Chris Pratt’s early aughts hair and marvel at how Emily VanCamp manages to look cool, and almost like she still appears today, beside the guy who who would go on to play Star-Lord. To be slightly more serious, this is an opportunity to catch up on all four seasons of a a dramedy that’s set in a fictional, idyllic Colorado town, where a city boy attempts to fit into the small-community vibe and relationships of all types swirl after a Manhattan physician decides to transplant to Everwood. There’s plenty of bright (and Pratt’s character is actually named Bright) and tragic and heartwarming moments to be found in this show.

Babylon 5: All Seasons (Warner Bros. series on HBO Max) — WarnerMedia’s streaming service keeps adding to its throwback library (last Wednesday, they did all of Everwood), and now, here’s something for the nerds. Revisit the futuristic space opera that takes place across five seasons and five miles of space station. There’s plenty of potential warfare concerning the Earth Alliance and plenty of personal drama.



Malcolm & Marie (Netflix film) — Zendaya and John David Washington are getting “achingly romantic,” not to mention dramatic, in this black-and-white film shot during lockdown. Sam Levinson directs and Marcell Rev is on cinematography, so the film looks achingly beautiful as well. Washington’s character is celebrating his movie premiere, and Zendaya portrays his girlfriend, and something goes wrong once they return home with revelations flying and their love put to the test. Levinson meant to send an ode to the Hollywood romances of yesteryear with this one, so Happy (early) Valentine’s Day.

Firefly Lane (Netflix series) — Now for a different type of love. Katherine Heigl returns to TV with Sarah Chalke as co-star, as the duo portrays two women over three-to-four decades of best friendship. Expect laughs and sentimentality, all based upon the New York Times bestselling book of the same name, and a brunette Heigl. The show’s an exploration of the most important relationship in one’s life and those friendships that can pick up without missing a beat, even after time apart.

Tiffany Haddish Presents: They Ready: Season 2 (Netflix series) — Netflix’s stellar run of stand-up comedy specials took a bit of a breather in late 2020, but there’s some excellent news on the horizon. Girl’s Trip star Tiffany Haddish returns with an updated collection of half-hour specials that includes a diverse crop of comedians who are near and dear to Haddish. These players include Chaunté Wayans (Wild n’ Out), April Macie (Last Comic Standing), Tracey Ashley (The Last O.G.), Aida Rodriguez (Comedy Central’s This Week at the Comedy Cellar), Flame Monroe (Def Comedy Jam), and Marlo Williams (BET’s Comicview). We could really use those laughs.

Strip Down, Rise Up (Netflix film) — Pole dancing ain’t easy, and Academy Award-nominated director Michèle Ohayon sends up an intimate look at a group of women who come together to heal trauma and put body image issues to rest with this particular type of dancing. Yes, it’s sensual stuff but so much more, and it looks like a take-the-power-back kind of ride.

Space Sweepers (Netflix film) — Time to get a little wacky with a genius space pilot who’s clashing with a mysterious ex-space pirate, and there’s an engineer and reprogrammed military robot to make things even weirder. The film’s set in 2092 and revolves around a crashed space shuttle with the spaceship Victory hoping to salvage debris for profit, but apparently, there’s a young child inside. Dilemma.

Amazon Prime:

Amazon Prime

Bliss (Amazon Prime film) — Mike Cahill directs this sci-fi thriller about a man (Owen Wilson) who realizes that he’s residing within a computer simulation, and the film aims to make you wonder whether you’re in the “real” world or said simulation. It’s a mind-bending adventure with Salma Hayek portraying a mysterious romantic interest, and her telekinesis might be the least weird thing about this movie. Oh, and they definitely go roller skating, too. Fun!



Wandavision: Episode 5 (Disney+ series) — The Marvel Cinematic Universe has launched into Phase Four with abandon, and oh boy, things got seriously dark last week. The good news is that we got a lot of answers last week, and there’s one heck of a villainous curveball coming your way if you haven’t watched yet. The show’s more inventive than most superhero-oriented fare that we’ve seen in the past few years, and it’s fantastic to finally see the Marvel titles coming our way once more.


FX Networks

The New York Times Presents: “Framing Britney Spears”: New Episode (FX on Hulu) — The seemingly unending saga of mega pop star Britney Spears’ controversial conservatorship is only one focus of this docuseries that aims to do a deep-dive, retrospective view on how Spears’ life and career has also been shaped by public perception and the press. It’s been a long twelve years for Britney under her father’s financial thumb, and that followed a few years of public chaos, which I’m sure you will never forget. Her fans rally in this series for her “freedom,” given that Britney has vowed not to work again until she can make her own decisions again.



Modern Family: All Seasons (series on Peacock and Hulu) — The enormously popular series that ran for eleven seasons left the airwaves in 2020 will now be available for streaming in its entirety. In addition, Peacock is adding curated collections, bonus content and more goodies to create a “fan experience,” This show has more Emmys than anyone could possibly count, so perhaps that exercise can be part of the bonus content? Do it.