What’s new on Netflix? Hot on Hulu? Amazing on Amazon? Crossing the Streams scours the streaming services to find the best shows and specials freshly available for online viewing. You’re welcome!
STRANGER THINGS (Netflix)
It’s no coincidence that Winona Ryder’s character buys her young son a ticket to the original Poltergeist before he disappears in the first episode of this eight-part shocker. The entire series pays loving tribute to the Spielburbs of E.T., Poltergeist (which Steven Spielberg produced) and more ‘80s classics. The vanishing of Ryder’s son in Reagan Era small-town Indiana coincides with the mysterious appearance of a young girl with telekinetic powers who’s been raised in captivity by an evil government organization led by Matthew Modine (with a shock of white hair). This deeply assured show was created by a pair of 32-year-old twins who bill themselves as the Duffer Brothers. Remember that name; they could be the next Coens.
Anybody who watched Dan Harmon’s sitcom Community knows he’s a major role-playing game fan—remember the “Dungeons and Dragons” episode? Now the funnyman has gathered many of his friends, including Silicon Valley’s Emmy-nominated Thomas Middleditch, Castle’s Nathan Fillion, Parks and Recreation’s Aubrey Plaza and Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Chelsea Peretti, for this partially animated, partially live-action series based around an RPG. With such characters as Fondue Zoobag the Ranger and Boneweevil the Goblin, you know this will be epically absurd.
EAST LOS HIGH: SEASON 4 (Hulu)
One of Hulu’s first scripted dramas keeps on busting moves as the members of the East L.A. dance troupe known as the Bomb Squad deal with more explosive romantic developments. Gina (Alex Rodriguez) and Eddie (Carlito Olivero) try to resist the temptations of new team members, while Camila (Vannessa Vasquez) and Jesus (J.D. Pardo) reheat their sizzling affair. There might even be a wedding, and you can bet the couple’s first dance will be en fuego.
CRADLE TO GRAVE: SEASON 1 (Acorn TV)
Think of it as a British version of That '70s Show. Set in 1974 South London, this sitcom follows 15-year-old Danny Baker (Laurie Kynaston), a dock worker’s son who ends up having an affair with his French photography teacher, Miss Blondel (Julie Dray). Co-created by the real Danny Baker (based on his autobiography Going to Sea in a Sieve) and Jeff Pope (an Oscar nominee for co-writing Philomena with Steve Coogan), the series features music by Squeeze’s Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook. It’s “Cool for Cats.”
Not to be confused with the 1997 Tupac Shakur-Tim Roth film (that would be Gridlock’d), this action-packed thriller stars Prison Break escapee Dominic Purcell as a former SWAT leader who lets a cocky movie star (Cody Hackman, Gene’s grandson and a real-life karate champ) go for a ride along. Things get a little too real, however, when they’re attacked by a squad of mercenaries. The cast also includes Avatar’s Stephen Lang and Lethal Weapon’s Danny Glover. Fun fact: Purcell’s role was originally intended for Cuba Gooding, Jr., but he dropped out. Maybe they didn’t show him the money?
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.