‘Fear Street’ Trilogy, ‘Tomorrow War,’ ‘Summer of Soul,’ ‘Boss Baby’ Sequel, A ‘Roswell’ Deep Dive
Looking for something to stream as we head into a holiday weekend? That’s where most of the action is at on Friday, as Netflix launches a three-part shocker based on R.L. Stine’s Fear Street best-sellers, Amazon Prime Video presents a big-budget sci-fi thriller and Hulu looks back at a Harlem music festival that was overshadowed by Woodstock.
Fear Street Part One: 1994
There’s a definite Scream vibe in the air as a trilogy of horror films based on R.L. Stine’s best-selling series kicks off in 1994. Unlike most Netflix projects which drop every episode at once, the three Fear Street films arrive on consecutive Fridays — the second (July 9), echoing Friday the 13th, is set in 1978; and the third (July 16) traces the evil back all the way to 1666. (666, get it?) The scary slasher antics begin when a group of teens in Shadyside realize they may be targets of an ancient force that has haunted their town for 300 years.
The Tomorrow War
The streamer reportedly paid something like $200 million for the rights to this sci-fi action thriller. Jurassic hero Chris Pratt stars as Dan Forester, a high-school teacher and family man who’s called to duty by time travelers from 30 years in the future. They’ve got bad news about a global war against alien invaders that the humans are losing in 2051, and they’re recruiting soldiers and civilians to join the fight. It may be up to Dan, a scientist (The Handmaid’s Tale’s Yvonne Strahovski) and his estranged father (Oscar winner J.K. Simmons) to save the planet.
Summer of Soul
In the same summer of 1969 as Woodstock, over six Sundays, a remarkable Harlem Cultural Festival brought together some of the brightest talents of soul, R&B and gospel, footage that has remained largely unseen until Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson assembled these performances into a rapturous and acclaimed documentary. Among the legends seen in their prime: Stevie Wonder, Sly and the Family Stone, B.B. King, Nina Simone, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Abbey Lincoln, The Fifth Dimension, the Staple Singers, and, in a rousing duet of “Take My Hand, Precious Lord,” Mahalia Jackson with Mavis Staples. Expect your roof to be raised.
The Boss Baby: Family Business
In what is becoming a trend, you can go to the movie theaters for a family outing to watch the sequel to the hit animated comedy, or you can stay home and stream it — if you’re subscribed to Peacock’s Premium tier. Templeton brothers Tim (James Marsden), a stay-at-home dad, and hedge-fund CEO Ted (Alec Baldwin) are now adults, but Tim’s new baby daughter Tina (Amy Sedaris) turns out to be a chip off the baby block. She’s a top-secret agent for BabyCorp, whose mission is to expose dark secrets at 7-year-old sister Tabitha’s (Ariana Greenblatt)’s mysterious Acorn Cernter for Advanced Childhood, founded by the sinister Dr. Erwin Armstrong (Jeff Goldblum).
Roswell: The Final Verdict
Well, until the next final verdict, anyway. An innovative six-part docuseries uses artificial intelligence lie-detection software to revisit footage of first-person accounts from eyewitnesses and experts regarding the alleged cover-up of a UFO incident from 1947. The first three episodes drop Friday, with the remaining three (including one dealing with the ever-popular topic of alien autopsies) streaming each Friday through July 23.
Inside Friday TV:
- The Price Is Right (11 am/10c, 10 am/PT, CBS, check local listings): A little-known fact about comedian/host Drew Carey is that he served six years as a field radio operator in Ohio’s 25th Marine Regiment. During a special July 4-themed episode, in which active military service members play for patriotic prizes, Carey receives the U.S. Navy Memorial’s 2021 Lone Sailor Award, presented by Rear Admiral Frank Thorp IV, given to Sea Service veterans who have excelled during or after their service.
- Dynasty (9/8c, The CW): A mini-Melrose Place reunion occurs when Laura Leighton guests as an SEC officer who meets with Fallon (Elizabeth Gillies) and Blake (Melrose co-star Grant Show) as they brainstorm the launch of the Fallon Unlimited IPO.
- Trying (streaming on Apple TV+): The second-season finale of the domestic dramedy takes place on Karen (Sian Brooke) and Scott’s (Darren Boyd) wedding day, when prospective adoptive parents Jason (Rafe Spall) and Nikki (Esther Smith) must make a split-second decision that could change their lives forever. A third season has already been commissioned.
- Central Park (streaming on Apple TV+): As the delightful animated musical comedy settles into its weekly pattern, the fourth episode features an original song by Rufus Wainwright among its tuneful pleasures. Owen (Leslie Odom Jr.), typically fretful about leading a multi-school field trip through the park, enlists a mentor whose speech goes alarmingly off-script. Ed Asner returns as Bitsy’s (Stanley Tucci) “scaly little goblin” of a brother, Ambrose, as the Brandenham siblings compete to finish dueling memoirs.