Labor Day Weekend is here, and you’re ready to go out and party. That’s the plan, at least, but if you’re like me, it’ll likely involve spending too much time streaming new shows and avoiding the blistering heat.
But with Facebook’s Watch — the social network’s new platform for original content — rolling out to users in the U.S., streamers have a fresh destination for shows. Viewers can now find Watch nestled right underneath the Facebook News Feed and Messenger tabs on the left side of their screen.
FB is going full force with its Watch launch, immediately dropping hundreds of shows. From the start, Watch is separating itself from streaming heavyweights like Netflix and Hulu. Many of its shows are quick-hitters, under 10 minutes long and tailor-made for sharing on social. Others, though, run longer than 20 minutes and have sleek production.
With a myriad of options to choose from, I’ve taken it upon myself to check a few of them out and pass along my two cents. Keep in mind I am not a trained television critic and these are completely arbitrary selections, but if you’re looking to sneak away from the above ground pool for a few minutes this weekend, these shows might catch your eye.
“Ball in the Family”
Look, I’m the target audience for this one; SoCal born and raised, Lakers fan, and I’ve enjoyed LaVar Ball’s yearlong run of hilarious (and sometimes cringeworthy) interviews. But with more than 2.5 million views in its first 24 hours since going live, “Ball in the Family” has clearly piqued the interest of more than just hardcore hoops fans.
The 18-minute show follows new Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball, his wacky dad LaVar, and the rest of the Ball basketball clan. The debut episode centers on the night Lonzo was drafted by the Lakers back in June, and has a few funny moments sprinkled in. I especially enjoyed every person on screen rocking Big Baller Brand — LaVar’s nascent sportswear line. The guy is a marketing genius. But the episode also had a dramatic element to it as well, touching on Tina, the matriarch of the family, and her recovery from a major stroke. Whether you love or loathe LaVar, it’s probably worth a test run.
One of TheSkimm’s two shows launching on Watch, “Skimm’d With…” features a rotating cast of celebrities breaking down topics in the news. For its maiden voyage, “Skimm’d With…” has “The Simpsons” voiceover masetro Hank Azaria explaining what bitcoin is. And he’s doing it from a bathtub, with a glass of champagne in his hand, because why the hell not?
The explainer was top notch from Azaria, but Bitcoin is moving too fast for the show to keep up; “Skimm’d With” notes bitcoin has rocketed to hit $2,000… and it’s now at nearly $5,000. Upcoming episodes will have Chelsea Handler, Brooklyn Decker, and Minka Kelly chiming in on the news.
“Humans of New York: The Series”
Building off the popular art project profiling New Yorkers since 2010, “Humans of New York: The Series” takes a look at several stories in The Big Apple. It covers the full spectrum, from dancers on the subway to a woman dealing with her husband’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Along the way you get a glimpse of what makes New York such a distinct city — it’s array of natives from every walk of life.
I stumbled across this one in my Watch queue, another example of Facebook knowing what you want to see — even before you know it. “Dad Jokes” works because it’s simple, with two comedians squaring off and telling each other silly PG-rated jokes. Whichever jokester can earn the most “laugh points” by getting a reaction from their competition is crowned the winner. If you’re nostalgic for MTV’s “Yo Momma,” “Dad Jokes” is a good show to zone out to.
This is for all the dog lovers out there. ABC Network’s “Career Canines” takes a look at dogs with jobs — and put me to shame in the process. The first episode profiles Isky, a K-9 that helps a wounded warrior returning from Afghanistan. As one sergeant puts it, Isky is truly an “American hero.”