New this week: ‘Sex and the City,’ Juice Wrld and Will Smith
Here’s a collection curated by The Associated Press’ entertainment journalists of what’s arriving on TV, streaming services and music platforms this week.
— Fresh off his Oscar nomination Riz Ahmed teams up with “Beast” director Michael Pearce for “Encounter,” an alien invasion/family drama hitting Amazon Prime Video on Friday. Ahmed plays an ex-Marine with a host of troubles that only compound when he suspects his ex-wife, with whom he shares two sons, may have been infected by the extra-terrestrials. What starts as a straightforward science fiction adventure takes on its own life as a family drama — a choice some might disagree with. And if “Encounter” isn’t for you, Ahmed’s best actor-nominated performance in “Sound of Metal” is also still available on Prime.
— Sandra Bullock struck viewership gold with “Bird Box” on Netflix and now is back with another very different project, “The Unforgivable,” about a woman trying to reenter society after serving her time in prison for a violent crime. Bullock plays the ex-convict, who finds that people aren’t quite ready to forgive her while on a search for her younger sister. Jon Bernthal, Vincent D’Onofrio and Viola Davis are among the starry supporting cast. “The Unforgivable” hits Netflix on Friday.
— Or for something lighter and more family oriented, Netflix also has the animated “Back to the Outback” also arriving on Friday. It’s a lighthearted pic about a group of Australia’s “deadliest creatures” looking to escape from a zoo. The starry voice cast includes Eric Bana as the zookeeper, Isla Fisher as a taipan, Tim Minchin as a koala, Guy Pearce as a funnel web spider and Keith Urban as a cane toad.
— AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr
— Juice Wrld may be gone but he’s far from forgotten. The Chicago rapper who died two years ago will have his second posthumous album, “Fighting Demons,” drop Friday. Its first single “Already Dead” debuted in the Top 10 of Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The rapper also tops Spotify’s 2021 Most Streamed Artists list at No. 10 in the world and No. 3 in the U.S., behind only Drake and Taylor Swift. Juice Wrld’s first posthumous release, “Legends Never Die,” came out in July of 2020. And there’s more on him coming: A HBO documentary “Juice Wrld: Into the Abyss” debuts Dec. 16 directed by Tommy Oliver.
— Alicia Keys doesn’t have one album coming out this winter, she has two. “Keys,” out Friday, will be a double album, with one half titled “Originals” featuring her singing with a piano, or as she posted, “laid back piano vibes.” The other half, titled “Unlocked,” will feature the same songs but with “upbeat, drums, level up vibes.” All the music on the “Unlocked” portion she produced with Mike Will Made-It. Keys premiered “LaLa” — one of the songs from the “Unlocked” half — at the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards in September.
— AP Entertainment Writer Mark Kennedy
— ABC’s 1970s and ’80s sitcom nostalgia franchise, “Live in Front of a Studio Audience,” is back with reenactments of “Diff’rent Strokes” and “The Facts of Life” episodes. They’re paired in a special airing 8 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Tuesday, with star-filled casts that may indicate Hollywood’s fondness for the shows or a craving for the adrenaline rush of stage work. The reprise of “Diff’rent Strokes” stars John Lithgow, Kevin Hart and Damon Wayans. “The Facts of Life” features Jennifer Aniston, Gabrielle Union, Allison Tolman, Kathryn Hahn and, somehow, Jon Stewart. Ann Dowd appears in both episodes.
— Will Smith stars in a real-life global adventure in “Welcome to Earth,” a six-part limited series out Wednesday on Disney+. With scientists and explorers at his side, the actor visits natural wonders including an Icelandic glacier, erupting volcano and a Great Barrier Reef island that holds a special allure for sharks and turtles. Produced by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Darren Aronofsky (“Black Swan”), the National Geographic series promises a “multisensory” exploration of the planet’s wonders. Smith says he asked the pros to take him to the ends of the Earth and was told, “Oh, we can go further than that.”
— If a comedy sequel for grown-ups is your taste, consider HBO Max’s 10-episode “And Just Like That.” It revisits friends Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte of “Sex and the City” as they discover that life in their 50s can be trickier than young adulthood. Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis are back as the pals, along with Chris Noth, David Eigenberg and Evan Handler. (Kim Cattrall as Samantha is MIA). Newcomers include Sara Ramirez, Sarita Choudhury and Nicole Ari Parker. The first two episodes debut Thursday on the streaming service.
— AP Television Writer Lynn Elber
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