What’s new on Netflix? Hot on Hulu? Amazing on Amazon? Crossing the Streams scours the web to find the best shows and specials freshly available for online viewing. You’re welcome!
TRANSPARENT: SEASON 2 (Amazon)
More like Transcendent. The second season surpasses even the series’ award-winning first, with Jeffrey Tambor bringing new depth and humanity to transgender parent Maura, and the rest of the spectacularly dysfunctional Pfefferman clan (Judith Light, Gaby Hoffmann, Amy Landecker and Jay Duplass) somehow maintaining their lovability. Standout additions to the cast include The King of Queens’ Jenny O'Hara as Maura’s deeply judgmental sister, 24’s Cherry Jones as a lesbian poet/professor, and Anjelica Huston, who turns up in the ninth and best of this season’s ten episodes (“Man on the Land,” set at a feminist music festival) as a breast-cancer survivor who becomes a love interest for Maura. Okay, so it doesn’t sound funny — nor does a running subplot set in Nazi Germany — but Transparent may be the best sad-com ever.
THE RIDICULOUS SIX (Netflix)
You’ve heard of The Magnificent Seven and The Hateful Eight? Well, this is a lesser band of Western anti-heroes, reminiscent of The Three Amigos. Adam Sandler horses around as “White Knife,” a Caucasian raised by Native Americans who meets his biological father (a surprisingly sober Nick Nolte) and unites with five half-brothers — hence the title — to save their dad’s life. The titular sextet — which also includes Rob Schneider, Jorge Garcia, Terry Crews, Luke Wilson and Taylor Lautner — don’t bring much as comedic firepower as the stunt-casting cameos by David Spade (as General George Custer), Vanilla Ice (as Mark Twain), Blake Shelton (as Wyatt Earp) and Dan Patick (as Abe Lincoln). It’s Ridiculous, all right, but not as atrocious as you might expect.
HIGH PROFITS: SEASON 1 (Netflix)
This eight-part CNN docu-series follows a young couple, Brian Rogers and Caitlin McGuire, who set out to franchise the legal sale of marijuana in Breckenridge, Colorado. High drama ensues as the town votes whether to allow pot shops to open on Main Street or be relegated to a remote strip near the airport. The cable network’s tagline for the show is “Cannabis meets Capitalism,” but we prefer to think of it as Shark Tank with the munchies.
THE TRIALS OF JIMMY ROSE (Acorn TV)
Veteran big-screen tough guy Ray Winstone (The Departed) takes the title role in this three-part British miniseries about a gangster who’s sprung from jail after a 12-year stretch and attempts to reintegrate himself with his family. His wife (Amanda Redman, who also co-starred with Winstone in Sexy Beast) and son (Downton Abbey’s Tom Cullen) prove hard cases to crack, especially after Jimmy gets mixed up with some of his old partners in crime in an attempt to save his runaway drug-addict granddaughter. Guess every Rose really does have its thorn.
THE ADVENTURES OF PUSS IN BOOTS: SEASON 2 (Netflix)
The Shrek spinoff’s small-screen spinoff returns for a second season, with Antonio Banderas soundalike Eric Bauza (nope, we’ve never heard of him either) giving voice to the swashbuckling feline. More familiar pipes are supplied by Glee’s Jayma Mays (as Puss’ beloved Dulcinea), original SNL sketch artist Laraine Newman (as a cantina-owning cow), Machete’s Danny Trejo (as the villainous El Moco) and John Leguizamo (as Puss’ brother-in-arms Jack Sprat). With a surprisingly sophisticated sense of humor, Puss is not just for kittens… er, kids.
Currently Senior Articles Editor for Closer Weekly, Bruce Fretts has written for The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, TV Guide, Emmy Magazine, Fast Company, and Vulture. You can follow him on Twitter @brucefretts.