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TV Watch List: Marvel Studios’ ‘Moon Knight’ Leads a Week Full of Lunar-Themed Programming

Plus ‘The Girl from Plainville’ and ‘Julia’

It’s another giant week of television, with many movies and TV sharing an overlapping space theme – Marvel Studios’ “Moon Knight” is about a superhero (Oscar Isaac) who transforms under the cover of darkness; Richard Linklater returns to his youth (and the initial United States space program) in “Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood;” and “Moonshot” features a YA romance that plays out via a voyage to the red planet. (Elsewhere, there’s the “Bel-Air” finale and two new based-on-a-true story series.)

On with the television! To infinity and beyond!

spring tv watch list premiere
Marvel Studios

“Moon Knight”
Wednesday, March 30, Disney+

Marvel Studios’ latest Disney+ original series (its sixth) is a relatively deep cut character – Marc Spector (played by Oscar Isaac), a man who, depending on the comic book run, is truly inhabited by a deity from ancient Egypt or just deeply unhinged mentally. We are introduced to Spector via one of his alter egos, sheepish British museum employee Steven Grant (Isaac goes full Dick-Van-Dyke-in-“Mary Poppins”), who is soon plagued with visions of a mystery man who looks an awful lot like himself, as well as nightmarish creatures with animal heads that look like old gods. (Most superheroes have secret identities; Moon Knight has multiple personalities.) And things only get more complicated when Steven/Marc is confronted by a mysterious cult leader played by Ethan Hawke, who is searching for something that could wipe out most life on Earth. “Moon Knight” will definitely scratch your MCU itch (the last Disney+ show, “Hawkeye,” ended in December and the next feature is “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” due in theaters in May), especially if you are looking forward to seeing the spookier side of Marvel Studios, with enough odd choices, tonal shifts and left-handed turns that you’ll be kept on your toes and anxious for more. Could Moon Knight be your new favorite hero (or heroes)? After this week, he just might be. [FEATURETTE]

spring tv watch list finale
bel-air
Peacock

“Bel Air”
Thursday, March 31, Peacock

The dramatic reboot of Will Smith’s beloved sitcom comes to an end. “Bel-Air,” which stars Jabari Banks as the Will Smith character from “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” is based on a semi-spoofy short film by Morgan Cooper, who helped develop the new series and directed the first episode. And Peacock had so much faith in both the updated concept and the new version of the series (which Will Smith executive produces) that they OKed an additional season. If you love “Bel-Air,” don’t fret – it will be back. The Season 1 finale is co-written by Malcolm Spellman, who worked on “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” for Disney+ and is directed by Matthew Cherry, who won an Oscar for his charming animated short film “Hair Love.” [TEASER]

spring tv watch list movie
Apollo 10 1/2 A Space Age Childhood
Netflix

“Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood”
Friday, April 1, Netflix

Richard Linklater’s first film since 2019’s oddly underwhelming “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?” returns him to the loose, Texas-set hang-out movies he’s perhaps best known for (“Slacker,” “Dazed and Confused,” “Everybody Wants Some!!”) “Apollo 10 ½” is, like “Boyhood” before it, chiefly a coming-of-age story, this one set in the suburbs of Houston around the launch of the initial Apollo missions and following young Stanley (Milo Coy), who is recruited by NASA to go on a secret mission. (Linklater was born in Houston in 1960, making this one even more autobiographical.) Of course, this being Linklater, long stretches of the movie are catalogues of life in Texas in the 1960s – what people were watching on TV, drinking out of the refrigerator and listening to on the radio. (While working on the movie, he had people send in period appropriate materials from the era.) Like his earlier films “Waking Life” and “A Scanner Darkly,” “Apollo 10 ½” is animated in a painterly, rotoscoped style that is both lifelike and impressionistic. If you’re a fan of Linklater’s earlier work and want something fun to watch with the entire family, “Apollo 10 ½” should fit the bill. [INTERVIEW]

spring tv watch list documentary
How to Survive a Pandemic
HBO

“How to Survive a Pandemic”
Tuesday, March 29 at 9 p.m., HBO

Sure, it might be a little “too soon” for a documentary about the pandemic. But “How to Survive a Pandemic,” the latest film by acclaimed journalist and Academy Award-nominated filmmaker David France (“How to Survive a Plague”) could also inspire. Not only does it detail the unprecedented development and deployment of the various COVID-19 vaccines, but it may inspire those who haven’t gotten the vaccine to correct that mistake (just remember to come back for dose two and the booster). You know, one of those documentaries that is both devastating and uplifting in equal measure. [TRAILER]

spring tv watch list re-watch

“Miami Vice”
Peacock

Miami Vice
Universal

“Miami Vice” has ridden a few waves of appreciation and depreciation over the years. When it was first aired, the crime drama (created by Anthony Yerkovich and executive produced by Michael Mann, who weirdly never directed an episode) was heralded for its style and innovation; it was truly a series that embraced the MTV generation, from the stylishness of its photography to its ridiculously overstuffed pop soundtrack. For some reason a few years later, all of this became kitschy and camp. And Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas, whose performances are stylized but still subdued, were seen as ’80s go-go caricatures. Now, the pendulum seems to have returned and people are appreciating “Miami Vice” for the casual ground-breaker that it was (and understanding that a pastel t-shirt and sports jacket is a look that will never go out of style). Just look at the amazing, wordless sequence from the pilot set to Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight.” Is there anything on TV these days that’s even half as effortlessly cool? [WATCH]

spring tv watch list best of rest

“The 94th Annual Academy Awards”
Sunday, Marcy 27, ABC
It’s the battle of the streaming services as “CODA” and “The Power of the Dog” face off for Best Picture. But the real test is how the new producing team manages to boost eyeballs for an event that has seen steady erosion in viewership over the years (particularly last year. Will relegating eight craft categories to the preshow help speed things up? What about the new Twitter poll for a Fan Favorite film? Or the tag-team of hosts Regina Hall, Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes? And the Oscar goes to…

“The Girl From Plainville”
Tuesday, March 29, Hulu

The latest ripped-from-the-headlines, based-on-a-true-crime story is “The Girl from Plainville,” which recounts the shocking story of Michelle Carter (Elle Fanning), who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in a landmark Massachusetts court case after bullying her boyfriend (Colton Ryan) into killing himself. The new series, co-created by “The Post” screenwriter Liz Hannah (who also had a hand in Hulu’s excellent “The Dropout”), looks gripping and totally insane and queasy. And as an added bonus, the first two episodes were directed by the great Lisa Cholodenko (“The Kids Are All Right,” Netflix’s “Unbelievable”). Prepare to be obsessed. [TRAILER]

“Julia”
Thursday, March 31, HBO Max

Fire up the stove, there’s a half-hour comedy series based on the life of Julia Child about to heat up your life! This new series, based on Child’s life in Boston during the 1960s, comes from “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” alum Daniel Goldfarb. There was a bit of a shake-up during production, with “Happy Valley” alum Sarah Lancashire replacing Joan Cusack initially in the title role, and David Hyde Pierce stepping in for Tom Hollander as Child’s husband. But “Julia” looks like it could be a tasty delight, especially with Bebe Neuwirth, Fran Kranz, James Cromwell and Isabella Rossellini in the cast. Probably best not to watch on an empty stomach, though. [TRAILER]

“Moonshot”
Thursday, March 31, HBO Max

If one space-centered coming-of-age streaming movie wasn’t enough, there’s also “Moonshot,” which has a YA feel with sci-fi flourishes. Lana Condor, fresh from Netflix’s “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” trilogy, plays a college student on her way to visit her boyfriend (Mason Gooding) on Mars who helps a plucky barista (Cole Sprouse) sneak aboard the spaceship. It doesn’t take a crystal ball (or a degree in astrophysics) to see that these two might just fall in love during that look trip to the red planet … [TRAILER]

“The Bubble”
Friday, April 1, Netflix

Judd Apatow, who has made a career of miniaturist comedies like “The 40 Year Old Virgin” and “Funny People,” goes high concept for his latest outing as writer/director. “The Bubble” concerns a big-budget adventure movie (“Cliff Beasts 6”) that is being filmed during the pandemic, and all of the crazy high jinks that go along with the process. (Supposedly, the movie is more-than-slightly based on the filming of “Jurassic World: Dominion,” which might explain why this movie isn’t being released by Apatow’s usual studio, Universal.) The cast is filled with many veterans from actual blockbuster franchises (Karen Gillan, Fred Armisen, Maria Bakalova, Keegan-Michael Key, Pedro Pascal and David Duchovney, to name a few). And the trailer has an agreeably madcap energy. Bring on “Cave Beasts 7.” [INTERVIEW]

“Slow Horses”
Friday, April 1, Apple TV+

Based on the novel of the same name by Mick Herron, “Slow Horses” follows a group of disgraced British spies at Slough House, where rejects go to toil away in administrative obscurity. The group is run by Gary Oldman, in his first series regular role, who uncovers a mystery along with some new recruits. (Whether or not that mystery is resolved in the first six episodes remains to be seen; Apple TV+ has already ordered a second season.) With a ridiculously stacked cast that includes Olivia Cooke, Jonathan Pryce and Kristin Scott Thomas, “Slow Horses” could, like the members of Slough House, reveal itself to be more than what it initially appears. [TRAILER]

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