Pixar’s ‘Luca,’ Apple Gets ‘Physical,’ Juneteenth Celebration, ‘Fatherhood’ and ‘Elite’ on Netflix
Pixar’s latest animated charmer, Luca, bypasses the big screen for streaming. Rose Byrne returns to TV as an unhappy 1980s housewife who gets Physical through the aerobics craze. ABC celebrates Juneteenth early with a Soul of a Nation special. Netflix premieres include Kevin Hart’s Fatherhood comedy and a new season of the sexy Spanish thriller Elite.
Originally intended for movie theaters, Pixar’s latest animated charmer is now a streaming exclusive, telling the coming-of-age story of two boys having the summer of their lives in an Italian seaside village. But Luca (voiced by Jacob Tremblay) and pal Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer) have a secret: They’re actually sea monsters who’ve taken on human form to explore the Riviera town. Just don’t expose them to water—when their true natures are revealed—and they’ll be OK.
Last seen as Gloria Steinem in FX’s Mrs. America, the chameleon-esque Rose Byrne (Damages) takes on one of her juiciest roles yet by going back to the 1980s, a time when the aerobics craze gave women not only a rush of empowerment but business opportunities. No one could use it more than dissatisfied San Diego housewife Sheila Rubin, whose inner voice of bitter self-loathing reveals serious food/body issues. This dramedy, launching with three episodes, follows Sheila as she takes to the exercise with physical abandon, becoming a pro and eventually a lifestyle guru with enviable hair. For many, those were the days.
Soul of a Nation
With Juneteenth now our newest official federal holiday, ABC’s Soul of a Nation franchise devotes two hours to a celebration of the historic emancipation day with special performances and news features. GMA’s Michael Strahan interviews former President Barack Obama about his latest book A Promised Land, discussing race and resilience. Hamilton’s Leslie Odom Jr. guest-hosts the special, with performances by Jimmie Allen, Chloe Bailey (of Chloe x Halle) and Leon Bridges. Other segments include Deborah Roberts’ look at soul food and Black cuisine, and Kenneth Moton’s report on the struggles of Black farmers.
Friday Night Vibes
Tiffany Haddish and co-host Deon Cole (black-ish) introduce movies in a new 52-week franchise with an emphasis on cultural diversity, blockbuster action and feel-good comedy. On the bill for the first double feature: 2015’s hit Rocky spinoff, Creed, and its 2018 sequel, Creed II. Guests include Snoop Dogg, who gives a play-by-play of the top knockouts of all time, and Beyoncé’s celebrity mom, Tina Knowles Lawson. Segments pay tribute to Juneteenth and Father’s Day.
Kevin Hart stars in a poignant comedy well timed for Father’s Day weekend. Based on a true story (Matthew Logelin’s Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss & Love), Fatherhood is about a widower bringing up his baby girl after his wife unexpectedly passes a day after giving birth. Paul Weitz (About a Boy) directs this tale of heartbreak and hilarity, with Lil Rel Howery, Alfre Woodard, Frankie R. Faison and Barry’s Anthony Carrigan in the stellar supporting cast.
Also new to Netflix:
- Elite: A fourth season of the sizzling Spanish mystery soap, set at the exclusive Las Encinas private school, introduces a strict new principal, four new students and, inevitably, a new mystery—though it will be hard to top the who-killed-Marina storyline.
- The World’s Most Amazing Vacation Rentals: After a year in lockdown, who wouldn’t want to get away? This travelogue will encourage wanderlust as it takes armchair travelers to a working cattle ranch in Montana, a Japanese ski chalet and a tree house on an alpaca farm in Atlanta.
Inside Friday TV:
- Rise Again: Tulsa and the Red Summer (9/8c, National Geographic): The latest documentary to mark the 100th anniversary of the Race Massacre that destroyed the “Black Wall Street” district of Greenwood, leaving some 300 dead and thousands displaced and homeless, features the reporting of Oklahoma native and Washington Post journalist DeNeen Brown.
- Great Performances at the Met (9/8c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): A famed soprano hits the high notes in Anna Netrebko in Concert, filmed at Vienna’s Spanish Riding School, where she performs Russian songs by Rachmaninoff, Rimsky-Korsakov and Tchaikovsky among an international repertoire.
- Trevor Noah Presents Josh Johnson: # (Hashtag) (11/10c, Comedy Central): The Daily Show host gives one of his writers a debut stand-up spotlight with a set including riffs on how the pandemic affected interpersonal relationships.
- Big Shot (streaming on Disney+): The first season of the basketball dramedy ends with Westbrook one win away from Division Two, but Coach Korn (John Stamos) suspects rival Carlsbad may have stolen their playbook.