Tulsa: The Fire and the Forgotten (PBS, 9:00pm) — HBO and Damon Lindelof’s Watchmen (2019) brought the Tulsa Race Massacre into mainstream consciousness. This Greenwood-district event — the total decimation of what Booker T. Washington dubbed as “Black Wall Street” and one of the most horrific instances of racially-motivated violence in U.S. history — was excised from the books, and this documentary (directed by Emmy-winning Jonathan Silvers) contextualizes the tragedy alongside systemic racism that persists today. During the massacre, a violent white mob killed up to 300 Black Tulsa residents and left thousands without homes and businesses; and this documentary charts a search for mass graves and ongoing efforts for renewal, justice, and reparations. The project features interviews with Greenwood descendants and several local leaders, including current Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum, along with civil rights activists, including Greg Robinson II, who we spoke with about his hopes for justice.
In case you missed these top streaming picks from the weekend:
Mare Of Easttown (HBO series streaming on HBO Max) — It’s finale time! Kate Winslet returns not only to TV but to HBO (a decade after her award-winning Mildred Pierce turn) to star as a hard-vaping detective in a small town where she both portrays and elevates the “complicated” cop trope. She’s captivating while digging into a murder mystery that has rocked her small town and caused the community to feel utterly claustrophobic. This show will suck you in, and you won’t mind one bit. Also you’ll be wondering about this: what the heck was in that picture?
Cruella (Disney movie on Disney+) — Yes, Cruella de Vil is finally getting her origin story. Even if you don’t agree that she needed one, no one can argue that Emma Stone is the actress who could deliver a damn good time in this role. Granted, the film starts out slow (the runtime’s over two hours) with a protracted childhood era that doesn’t illustrate much about why she villained out and murdered puppies. Yet it does speed up, with lots of mayhem and a cackling Emma hanging off a truck in a billowing dress. Fashion can be evil! Also, the soundtrack feels like a character in its own right.
Plan B (Hulu film) — Oh boy, does this story ever hit home for countless ladies who find themselves driving from drug store to drugstore in the heartland. That’s exactly what happens in this film, after a regrettable sexual encounter sends a high school student (Kuhoo Verma) and her best friend (Victoria Moroles) on a bit of a road trip with the clock ticking to find Plan B in America’s heartland. It’s actually a twist on the teen sex comedy, and it arrives by way of Cobra Kai and Harold & Kumar producers.
Lucifer: Season 5B (Netflix series) — The Devil is still up to no good. Even worse, Lucifer is still plagued by his twin brother, Michael, who’s trying to take his place, and Lucifer also decides that he wants to be God? Alright. Well, God’s apparently retiring, so there’s an opening for that gig. Heaven help us all if this show ever starts to make sense (and Tom Ellis has so much swaggering fun with his lead role), but Netflix’s synopsis promises that “God himself comes to Earth. Secrets will be revealed, heroic sacrifices will be made, and the world will never be the same.” Season 6 will be the show’s final run, and I’m secretly rooting for Chloe to shake off her destiny and ditch the Devil.
Friends: The Reunion (HBO Max feature-length special) — The whole O.G. gang is back in one place, which means that Rachel (Jennifer Aniston), Monica (Courteney Cox), Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow), Chandler (Matthew Perry), Ross (David Schwimmer), and Joey (Matt LeBlanc) are all here. Sadly, Paul Rudd is not on the scene, but there’s a buffay (get it?) of guest stars here to reinforce why this pop-culture phenomenon remains popular to this day, and why, oftentimes, friends can become your family.
Panic: Season 1 (Amazon Prime series) — This show’s a bit like The Purge in concept, only it revolves around a dangerous game that takes place over the course of a summer for graduating seniors in a tiny Texas town. They compete for a pot of money (while hoping to escape their tiny-town lives, of course), but the stakes are high and risky as players must confront their deepest fears. The story, which is based upon the bestselling novel by Lauren Oliver, will likely hook you, so be ready to binge.
Hacks (HBO Max series premiere) — Jean Smart’s not-so-quiet domination of recent prestige TV shows (Fargo, Watchmen, Mare of Easttown, Legion) and other popular shows of late (Big Mouth, Dirty John) has finally culminated with this leading-lady turn in a role she was arguably meant to play. Hacks hails from executive producer Michael Schur and has three Broad City alums in the writers’ room, so get ready for a (Las Vegas) buffet of complex female characters. Smart portrays a legendary comedian who forges a “dark mentorship” to a 20-something newcomer in town. Don’t miss this one.