Yep, its New Year’s Day. While there is work to be done. The first day of the new year is traditionally a time to rest. Even in these times, this probably means nursing hangovers, indulging in leftovers and despite our constant streaming in 2020, binging on more television. You may have already gone through your Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, [insert new streaming service here] queue’s already. But there are new offerings practically every day. And there is some well-produced, culturally relevant and just plain old fun content every man can enjoy. Here are our five picks.
Cobra Kai Season 3
Cobra Kai initially premiered on YouTube. It was a certified hit and eventually Netflix took it on. Netflix moved the release date of the new season up to New Year’s Day. Specifically, because they knew folks would be streaming aplenty. Business reasons aside. The first two seasons of The Karate Kid spin-off did not disappoint. The show definitely leans into its 80’s nostalgia. Yet, its’ also self-aware and provides a great 360 look at what were once thought to be one dimensional characters – were’ talking to you Johnny Lawrence.
The show has also developed new story lines for the current generation. Leading the way is Xolo Maridueña who plays Miguel, the de facto leader of the new generation of Cobra Kai. Maridueña plays Miguel with nuance. He’s mostly good, but also a little misdirected bad. Above all he brings a humanity to the role and makes you want to watch. Check out the trailer for Season 3 below.
For all those fans of Star Wars. The saga continues with its first live action series in the form of The Mandalorian on Disney+. By now the blogosphere is all too familiar with Baby Yoda but may not know about the show itself. In The Mandalorian we go back to five years after the events of Return of the Jedi. The Empire has fallen, and the New Republic risen in its wake. Din Jjarin, better known as the Mandalorian is a bounty hunter in the outer reaches of the galaxy. He is hired by the last remaining vestiges of Imperial forces to retrieve “The Child” but instead ends up on the lamb to protect the infant. His clients are none too happy and said vestiges are in hot pursuit, under the belief that their package has ties to The Force.
Pedro Pascal (Narcos, Wonder Woman 1984) is the bounty hunter himself and does a bang-up job in the role. Don’t believe us, you try conveying fear, sadness, anger, excitement all without ever being to show your face!
Break It All: The History of Rock in Latin America
A six-part docuseries on Netflix. Break It All is exactly what it states. A chronicle of the evolution of rock in Latino America. Consisting of vintage footage of performers from and through the decades, intertwined with interviews of folks who lived on the scene from Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay to Peru.
As Break It All unfolds, there’s a wealth of knowledge revealed about how rock music spun out in Latin America from youth into new forms of protest. But also, how these Latino rockers took old aesthetic forms and their local Latino culture to create a new style all their own.
What We Do in the Shadows
If you want to tickle your funny bone on New Year’s Day, What We Do in the Shadows is a must see. This mockumentary series created by Jermaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) is set in Staten Island, New York. It follows the lives (or after-lives) of three traditional vampires, Nandor, Laszlo, and Nadja; Colin Robinson, an energy vampire; and Guillermo, Nandor’s familiar (aka servant).
The series revolves around the centuries-old vampires interacting with the modern world and other supernatural beings. Played by Harvey Guillen, Guillermo De la Cruz, is Nandor’s long-suffering valet. Despite his frustration with his unreasonable workload and Nandor’s disregard for his mortality, he has served his master for 11 years in the hope of being made a vampire, a dream inspired by his seeing the film Interview with the Vampire. A great plot twist develops late into the first season involving Guillermo, we won’t spoil it other than to say, Guillermo has a very particular set of skills – one not to favorable to his master. What We Do in the Shadows is on Hulu.
This critically acclaimed, but overlooked series, created by Tanya Saracho, is a gem that dives straight into the subject matter of Latinx culture, a reckoning of intergenerational relationships and gentrification. All in a smart, sexy and dramatic fashion. Don’t believe us – the tag line for the second season was “operating on a chingona level”. If that is not drama, we don’t know what is.
The series focuses on two Mexican American sisters, Emma (Mishel Prada) and Lyn Hernandez (Melissa Barrera), both from the Eastside of Los Angeles. Yet they couldn’t be more different or distanced from each other. The untimely death of their mother force them to return to their old neighborhood. Things are not how they remembered. The sisters now have to step up and step in to save the family business. All while confronting their past, their mother’s identity and a neighborhood that’s not as welcoming as it once was. Vida concluded its three-season run on the Starz Network, but is now available for streaming on Amazon Prime and Hulu.
Here’s hoping these picks make your New Year’s Day binge a little more nostalgic, educational, funny or heartwarming. Stream on people.