Oscar-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen presents “Small Axe” (TV-14), an anthology of five original films set over two decades in London’s West Indian Community. The debut feature “Mangrove” tells the true story of The Mangrove Nine and the racial violence perpetrated by the London police in 1970. Stars Shaun Parkes and Letitia Wright. New films in the series arrive every Friday. (Amazon Prime Video)
Olivia Colman returns as Queen Elizabeth in “The Crown: Season 4” (TV-MA), which follows the British monarchy into the 1980s as Elizabeth clashes with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson) and Prince Charles marries Lady Diana Spencer (Emma Corrin). Tobias Menzies and Helena Bonham Carter costar as Prince Philip and Princess Margaret. (Netflix)
The fantasy epic “His Dark Materials” (TV-14) returns for a second season, which sends its young hero (Dafne Keen) to a whole new world while the battle continues in her own world. Ruth Wilson and Lin-Manuel Miranda costar. New episodes each Monday. (All HBO platforms)
The rapidly-paced thriller “Run” (2020, PG-13) stars “American Horror Story” veteran Sarah Paulson as the maniacally controlling mother of an isolated teenager (Kiera Allen) who flees when she discovers her mother’s dark secrets. It’s the second feature from “Searching” writer/director Aneesh Chaganty. (Hulu)
Tilda Cobham-Hervey plays the Australian-born singer Helen Reddy in “I Am Woman” (2020, TV-MA), a biographical drama named after her iconic hit song, which became an anthem for seventies feminists. Danielle Macdonald and Evan Peters costar. (Netflix)
“Loving” (2016, PG-13) stars Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga as Richard and Mildred Loving, whose interracial marriage defied the racist laws of 1960s Virginia and was fought all the way to the Supreme Court. (Netflix)
True stories: the documentary series “The Reagans” (TV-PG) chronicles the political lives of Ronald and Nancy Reagan. New episodes each Sunday. (Showtime Anytime)
Holiday trimmings: Dolly Parton stars in the holiday drama “Christmas on the Square” (2020, not rated) and provides 14 original songs (Netflix) and the animated “LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special” (2020, TV-G) celebrates Life Day with Rey, Finn, Poe, Chewie, Rose and the droids (Disney+).
News: HBO Max is now available on Amazon Fire devices. If you have HBO Now, you can upgrade to the expanded HBO Max at no extra cost.
Pay-Per-View / Video on Demand
Dev Patel stars in “The Personal History of David Copperfield” (2019, PG), Armando Iannucci’s jaunty, energetic adaptation of the sprawling Charles Dickens classic. Also new:
superhero movie “The New Mutants” (2020, PG-13) with Maisie Williams and Anya Taylor-Joy;
acclaimed mother-daughter drama “Miss Juneteeth” (2020, not rated) with Nicole Beharie;
“The Broken Hearts Gallery” (2020, PG-13), a romantic comedy with Geraldine Viswanathan;
“Dreamland” (2020, R), a Depression-era romantic crime drama starring Margot Robbie;
“The Nest” (2020, R) starring Jude Law and Carrie Coon as a couple imploding in 1980s England;
young adult drama “Words on Bathroom Walls” (2020, PG-13) with Charlie Plummer and Taylor Russell;
“Joan of Arc” (France, 2019, not rated, with subtitles), a musical directed by Bruno Dumont and starring ten-year-old Lise Leplat Prudhomme as the Maid of Orleans.
Premium VOD: the horror film “Come Play” (2020, PG-13) pits the parents (Gillian Jacobs and John Gallagher, Jr.) of a young boy against a malevolent force that uses electronic devices.
The animated short film “If Anything Happens I Love You” (2020) confronts grieving in the aftermath of a high school shooting.
Streaming TV: “We Are the Champions: Season 1” focuses on such offbeat competitions as Cheese Rolling, Chili Eating, Fantasy Hair Styling, Yo-Yo, Dog Dancing, and Frog Jumping. Rainn Wilson produces and narrates. Also new:
“America’s Next Top Model: Seasons 19 & 20” (TV-14);
More holiday trimmings: it’s Vanessa Hudgens times two in the sequel “The Princess Switch: Switched Again” (2020, TV-PG). Also new:
stop motion animation adventure “Alien Xmas” (2020, TV-Y);
family comedy “The App that Stole Christmas” (2020, TV-PG);
“Holiday Home Makeover with Mr. Christmas: Season 1” (not rated) with Benjamin Bradley.
Kid stuff: “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2” (2013, PG) features a genetic zoo of experimental hybrids that are both animal and vegetable: the foodimal.
Stand-up: “Kevin Hart: Zero F**ks Given” (TV-MA)
Amazon Prime Video
The competition series “The Pack: Season 1 (TV-PG) sends twelve teams of dogs and their human companions on a global adventure. Gold Medalist skier Lindsey Vonn hosts with her dog Lucy.
Quentin Tarantino’s unique twist on the World War II thriller “Inglourious Basterds” (2009, R) was nominated for eight Oscars and won for supporting actor Christoph Waltz. Also from Tarantino is his action double feature “Kill Bill: Vol. 1” (2003, R) and “Kill Bill: Vol. 2” (2004, R) with Uma Thurman.
Scarlett Johansson is the “Girl With a Pearl Earring” (2003, PG-13) in the drama inspired by the famous Vermeer painting and actor Robert Duvall and screenwriter Horton Foote won Oscars for the touching drama “Tender Mercies” (1983, PG).
Binge alert: Zach Braff, Donald Faison, and Sarah Chalke star in the hospital sitcom
“Scrubs: Complete Series” (2002-2010, TV-14).
More streaming TV: before Kevin Spacey, Ian Richardson was TV’s most mercenary politician in the original British “House of Cards Trilogy” (1990-1995, TV-14).
Amazon Prime and Hulu
Holiday trimmings: the made-for cable movies “12 Pups of Christmas” (2019, not rated) (Amazon Prime and Hulu), “A Christmas Crush” (2019, TV-G) (Amazon Prime and Hulu), and “A Christmas Movie Christmas” (2019) (Amazon Prime and Hulu) stream for the holidays.
Ethan Hawke plays Nikola Tesla, the legendary electrical engineer and pioneering inventor, in Michael Almereyda’s unconventional biographical drama “Tesla” (2020, PG-13), which mixes history, commentary, and invented scenes. Kyle MacLachlan is rival Thomas Edison and Jim Gaffigan and Eve Hewson costar.
“69: The Saga of Danny Hernandez” (2020, TV-MA) profiles rap sensation and internet troll Tekashi69, who testified against Brooklyn gang the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods in a landmark trial. More true stories:
“The Mole Agent” (2019, Chile, not rated, with subtitles), a comic documentary about a civilian hired to go undercover in a retirement home;
“McQueen” (2018, R) on the life and career of British fashion designer Alexander McQueen.
Streaming TV: A French airline pilot dives into the Syrian civil war in search of his sister in “No Man’s Land: Season 1” (France, not rated, with subtitles).
Kid stuff: “Animaniacs: Season 1” (TV-G) revives the animated comedy about the Warner siblings Yakko, Wakko, and Dot. Also new is “Trollstopia: Season 1” (TV-Y7), a spin-off of the animated movie series.
HBO Max / HBO Now
The ten-episode limited series “Valley of Tears” (Israel, TV-MA, with subtitles) follows a group of young Israeli soldier in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Four episodes available, two new episodes each Thursday. (HBO Max)
Will Smith leads the cast of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion” (TV-14). (HBO Max)
“Crazy, Not Insane” (2020, TV-14), about the work of forensic psychiatrist Dorothy Otnow Lewis and her controversial work studying serial killers (HBO Max).
Anthology series “Marvel’s 616” (not rated) presents a series of documentaries on the history and legacy of Marvel Comics. New episodes each Friday on Disney+. Also new:
animated anthology “The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse: Season 1” (TV-G), with new episodes each Friday’
documentary “The Real Right Stuff” (2020, TV-14), which chronicles NASA’s Project Mercury program.
The limited series “Cold Call” (2019, not rated) stars Sally Lindsay as a single mother who seeks revenge after her life is upended by a single telephone. (Sundance Now)
“30 Years of The Film Foundation” spotlights some of the greatest and most important films restored by the nonprofit created by Martin Scorsese, from such classics as Frank Capra’s Oscar-winning “It Happened One Night” (1934) and Sergio Leone’s operatic western “Once Upon a Time in the West” (1968) to the offbeat, orphaned film noir “The Chase” (1946) and the long-unavailable landmark “The Night of Counting the Years” (Egypt, 1969, with subtitles). New on Criterion Channel, along with:
- “Three by Nadav Lapid,” the Israeli auteur, including his debut “Policeman” (Israel, 2011, with subtitles, not rated) and the award-winning “The Kindergarten Teacher” (Israel, 2014, with subtitles, not rated);
- Afro-futurist science fiction drama “Welcome II the Terrordome” (1995, not rated);
American indie landmark “Lovers and Lollipops” (1956);
- Steven Soderbergh’s sophomore feature “King of the Hill” (1993, PG-13), presented with supplements from the Criterion disc release.
Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. His reviews of streaming movies and TV can be found at http://streamondemandathome.com.