By The Associated Press on December 21, 2023.
A new Percy Jackson series and a PBS special hosted by cookbook author and restaurateur Lidia Bastianich are some of the new television, movies and music headed to a device near you.
Also among the streaming offerings worth your time as selected by The Associated Press’ entertainment journalists are a heartwarming CBS holiday special about adoption, a thriller starring John David Washington about artificial intelligence and the return of Marvel’s mind-bending “What If…” series.
NEW MOVIES TO STREAM
– “Maestro,” Bradley Cooper’s follow-up to “A Star Is Born” takes a loving look at the life of Leonard Bernstein and wife Felicia Montealegre. Cooper co-writes, directs and stars opposite Carey Mulligan in a portrait of the public and private side of the legendary composer and conductor. AP Film Writer Jake Coyle called it a “high wire act of a biopic” in his review, favoring the experimental black-and-white beginning over the later years, which focuses more on the increasingly complex family dynamics. The first hour, he wrote, is “like a dream of 1950s New York modernism.” The film, now streaming on Netflix, is expected to be a big contender through awards season, especially for Mulligan’s lived-in, decades-spanning portrayal of an artist living in the shadow of a genius and a wife grappling with the compromises she’s made to support him.
– Artificial intelligence is at the heart of “The Creator,” Gareth Edwards’ visually dazzling sci-fi epic which is now on Hulu. John David Washington plays a retired special forces operative enlisted to help find the creator of advanced AIs after a nuclear bomb destroys downtown Los Angeles. In my review, I wrote that “even if it is a somewhat convoluted and silly mishmash of familiar tropes and sci-fi cliches, it still evokes the feeling of something fresh, something novel, something exciting to experience and behold – which is so much more than you can say about the vast majority of big budget movies these days.”
– If “The Creator” didn’t have enough “Star Wars” vibes for you, Netflix has another ode to that ever-influential film from Zack Snyder with his long-in-the-works “Rebel Moon ““ Part 1: A Child of Fire.” Sofia Boutella leads a starry cast (including Djimon Hounsou, Charlie Hunnam and the voice of Anthony Hopkins) in this space opera about a small colony that must rise up against a tyrannical threat to the galaxy. It begins streaming on Friday and the second part will follow in April.
– AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr
NEW MUSIC TO STREAM
– Prepare the tissues. On Friday, CBS will air its annual “A Home for the Holidays” musical special, drawing attention to families and life-affirming stories of adoption through the foster care system. Now in its 25th year, the special – presented in partnership with the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and the Children’s Action Network – boasts of a tear-jerking lineup: Lauren Daigle, Gavin DeGraw, David Foster and Katharine McPhee, Pentatonix and CeCe Winans will take on holiday classics. McPhee will also host the event, airing live on CBS and on demand for Paramount+ and Paramount+ with Showtime subscribers.
– AP Music Writer Maria Sherman
NEW SERIES TO STREAM
– PBS is celebrating its 25-year partnership with James Beard-winning chef, cookbook author and restaurateur, Lidia Bastianich, with “25 Years with Lidia: A Culinary Jubilee.” Lidia is joined by family and friends to reflect on her more than two decades in public television, and some of the dishes she’s made along the way. The special, which first aired Monday, will also stream on PBS.org and the PBS app.
– The animated anthology series “What If”¦?” is a mind-blowing, meta experience for Marvel fans where MCU characters are placed in different timelines and situations to play out an alternate story. Jeffrey Wright narrates as The Watcher, observing from afar. The first season’s storylines explored possibilities including “What If… T’Challa Became a Star-Lord?” and “What If… Killmonger Rescued Tony Stark?” Season two’s premiere, debuting Friday on Disney+, asks “What If… Nebula Joined the Nova Corps?”
– Alicia Rancilio
– Percy Jackson finds out that Greek myths aren’t just a history lesson in a new Disney+ series, based on the bestselling books by Rick Riordan. Walker Scobell (“The Adam Project”) takes the lead as the 12-year-old who goes from dealing with school bullies to battling monsters, while finding out his paternity means he’s a demigod with special abilities. Jackson sets out on a quest to clear his name. The first two episodes of “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” are now on Disney+.
– Hilary Fox
Catch up on AP’s entertainment coverage here: https://apnews.com/entertainment.