Welcome to our sixteenth installment of Sunday Streaming Suggestions!
Writers Evan Linden, Jack Martin, Sarah Smith, and Evan Northrup have delivered a fresh slate of streaming suggestions for your Sunday.
Bob’s Burgers - Hulu
No matter how pretentious one’s taste in media is, there’s still some common ground that most media consumers share: indulging in animated, easy-to-watch titles from time-to-time. When it comes to well-written comfort comedy, Bob’s Burgers is one of television’s premier options.
Airing alongside similar FOX shows such as Family Guy and The Simpsons, Bob’s Burgers separates itself in beautiful fashion. The animated sitcom follows the Belcher family—owners and operators of the titular “Bob’s Burgers” establishment. Bob (H. Jon Benjamin, who also voices a plethora of other characters) is a struggling restaurateur with a passion for puns and experimental cuisine. He’s a goofy family man who means well, but he has some of the worst luck on the planet. He's married to the love of his life, Linda (John Roberts), an eccentric but caring mother who helps Bob run the chaotic family business with the “help” of their three kids. Their eldest child, Tina (Dan Mintz), is an awkward, boy-obsessed 13-year-old who can’t lie to save her life; their middle child, Gene (Eugene Mirman), is a carefree pre-teen with a knack for music and flatulence; and their youngest child, Louise (Kristen Schaal), is an adventurous antihero who always has a scheme up her sleeve. Presumably, much of the show is centered around the misadventures the kids bring the family into. The cast is also rich in memorable recurring characters who often provide the show’s best moments.
Developed by respected comedy writers Loren Bouchard and Jim Dauterive, Bob’s Burgers has blossomed into one of the best shows of its kind over the course of its 11-season run. With two more seasons on the horizon and a feature film due to arrive this April, Bob’s Burgers will only continue to be a cultural staple.
WandaVision - Disney+
23 movies into the MCU, there is one major question/problem facing Marvel and Disney: How long can you go on making formulaic superhero movies and still sustain an insane level of popularity? The answer: not forever. The solution, WandaVision.
WandaVision is a new Marvel TV show that follows Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olson) and Vision (Paul Bettany), as they journey through different eras of classic TV, taking over the roles of the main characters. It’s an odd premise, and one that I was skeptical they could pull off. But two episodes in, the show has done a fantastic job of mirroring old TV shows like The Dick Van Dyke Show and Bewitched.
For someone who grew up watching a lot of mid-1900s TV shows, the show is a treat to watch because of the way that it masterfully replicates the details and aura of the old shows it’s copying. However, even if you’ve never watched old TV, the comedy, charm, and performances by Elizabeth Olson and Paul Bettany still make the show feel like comfort food—relaxing and easy to watch. On the other hand, the underlying mystery of the show (Why are the two characters in an old show, what is happening?) keeps it engaging.
Creative, unique, and charming, WandaVision is the beginning of a new era for the MCU. By far the most outside-the-box project that they have released so far, there is hope that this could signal a more creative direction for future Marvel projects. With new episodes out every Friday, WandaVision is a great 30-minute show to add to your weekly schedule.
A Star is Born (2018) - HBO Max
As I scrolled through HBO Max searching for my weekly suggestion, the title card for this heartbreaker popped up. With my last two picks being centered around pirates and grown men hurting themselves on purpose, it only felt right to grow up with this one.
A Star is Born follows Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper), a hard-drinking rock star who falls in love with Ally (Lady Gaga), a talented singer yet to be discovered. As Jackson helps Ally become the superstar she was destined to be while navigating their budding romance, he must deal with his escalating alcoholism, hearing loss, and relationship with his brother/manager, Bobby (Sam Elliott). The film deals with an intense love shrouded in the downfalls of fame, making for a gripping tale of success and loss.
The film features performances from two legendary comedians, with Andrew Dice Clay playing Ally's father and Dave Chappelle as Jackson's best friend. The original music, including the mega-hit "Shallow," deservingly won an Academy Award to go with seven other nominations. The acting across the board is great, with Cooper and Gaga dominating the film with their believable chemistry.
It's a longer film (almost 140 minutes) and the story's timeline is a bit blended, but it moves briskly and gets right to breaking down your spirit. It's an easily re-watchable film, and if you've had a good week so far, maybe save it for next. Perhaps you want a bit of a somber tone to match the grayness of the outside sky; either way, make sure A Star is Born is added to your watchlist.
Arrested Development - Netflix
I think it’s fair to call Arrested Development Netflix’s first truly binge-able series. The show originally aired on Fox, but only made it three years: 2003 to 2006. Netflix picked it back up in 2013 (yes, Netflix existed in 2013; remember when they would mail DVD’s?) and ran two more seasons, with the majority of the cast returning to reprise their roles. Jason Bateman stars as Michael Bluth, the self-appointed leader of an extremely dysfunctional family who is trying to run their failing business, Bluth Enterprises. A VERY young Michael Cera plays his son, George Michael, and Tony Hale, Jessica Walter, Portia de Rossi, Jeffrey Tambor and Alia Shawkat make up the rest of the family—cast to a T.
The show is probably best known for its impeccable commitment to long-running gags and catchphrases, some of which span the entire five seasons and are equally entertaining each time they are presented. You would probably recognize Lucille Bluth from Twitter memes, and if you think those are funny, the one-offs she drops in the actual show are about 50x funnier. There isn’t a single character that doesn’t pull their own weight, and the end result is a near-perfect show that genuinely paved the way for every Netflix comedy that followed.
If Arrested Development has one drawback, it’s the final season. To be honest, I think the showrunners are aware of this, and you may be better off just skipping it entirely. I struggle to even articulate a flaw for an otherwise unparalleled series, but it isn’t necessarily an unpopular opinion and I stand by it. Regardless, the fifth season does not take anything away from the four that precede it; they are all worth your time. Overall, the show is an easy binge, and your knowledge of pop culture references will be better off for watching it.