Catch the new series April has to offer
By Noel Murray
‘Worn Stories,’ Season 1
For over a decade now, writer and historian Emily Spivack has been gathering anecdotes about the everyday objects — clothing especially — that people find meaningful. Now Spivack and “Orange Is the New Black” creator Jenji Kohan have produced “Worn Stories,” a docu-series adapting the author’s 2014 book of the same name. Each of the eight half-hour episodes contains short reflections on how and why we dress, peppered between longer slice-of-life segments about everything from work uniforms to flamboyant costumes to the appeal of nudism. The clothes themselves (or the lack thereof, in the nudism episode) are just a hook, allowing the show’s creative team to spend some time with a diverse collection of likable folks, as they explain their passions. Currently streaming on Netflix.
The first season of the new horror anthology series “Them” has the subtitle “Covenant,” referring to the rules for residents of a middle-class Los Angeles suburban subdivision in the early 1950s. A Black married couple (played by Deborah Ayorinde and Ashley Thomas) and their two young daughters move from North Carolina to an all-white neighborhood, looking for their piece of the American dream. There, they meet open hostility from their new neighbors (including the local housewives’ cruel ringleader, played by Alison Pill), while also being haunted by strange supernatural forces. Created by Little Marvin and produced by Lena Waithe, “Them” uses the discomforting facts of racial discrimination to unsettle the audience, even before the nonhuman monsters arrive. Streaming Friday on Amazon.
‘Exterminate All the Brutes’
Filmmaker Raoul Peck — perhaps best known for his Oscar-nominated 2016 documentary, “I Am Not Your Negro” — tackles his most ambitious project yet with this four-part cinematic essay. “Exterminate All the Brutes” is based in part on Sven Lindqvist’s book of the same name and also on the work of academics Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and Michel-Rolph Trouillot. Relying on a mix of clips from old movies and new dramatizations of historical incidents — overlaid with the director’s discursive narration — Peck considers how high and low culture alike has shaped the narratives around Indigenous people and their colonial invaders. Equal parts informative and provocative, this project is aimed at changing the way viewers think about who history’s heroes and villains are. Streaming Wednesday on HBO.
‘Mare of Easttown’
Kate Winslet plays a dogged small-town Pennsylvania police detective with a messy home life in “Mare of Easttown,” a crime drama created by Brad Ingelsby, the screenwriter of the films “Out of the Furnace” and “The Way Back.” As with Ingelsby’s previous movies, this miniseries uses a pulpy premise — a murder mystery, in this case — as the entry point to a complex and absorbing study of a place at once unique and familiar. The director, Craig Zobel, and a top-shelf cast (including Jean Smart as the heroine’s opinionated mother and Julianne Nicholson as her former high school basketball teammate) capture the limitations and comforts of a community where everybody knows one another’s secrets. The gray tones and the procedural plot resemble grim European cop shows, but the performances and dialogue exhibit a lot of vitality. Streaming April 18 on HBO.
Journalist David Holthouse has spent a lot of his career investigating American subcultures, spending time with people whose lives sometimes revolve around drugs, violence and the arcane. In this three-part docu-series, Holthouse heads into Northern California’s “Emerald Triangle” — one of the most storied cannabis-growing regions in the world — to look into a legend he heard decades ago, about a trio of farmers who were dismembered by the infamous cryptid known as Bigfoot. Director Joshua Rofé follows Holthouse into the wild, as he interviews locals who are enthusiastic about both marijuana and the paranormal. The stories they unearth are partly about eerie phenomena and partly about the very real dangers of a community rampant with crime. Streaming April 20 on Hulu.