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A&E >  Entertainment

Stream on Demand: Kate Winslet, Ed Helms make the case for new shows

UPDATED: Wed., April 28, 2021

By Sean Axmaker For The Spokesman-Review

What’s new for home viewing on Video on Demand and Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max and other streaming services.

Top streams for the week

Kate Winslet stars as a police detective in “Mare of Easttown” (TV-MA), a limited-series crime drama steeped in the depressed culture of its small Pennsylvania town, where everyone knows everybody else, and they all hold grudges and secrets in equal measure. Winslet’s divorced, beaten-down cop, still haunted by an unsolved case of a missing teenager, bears the brunt of both when a dead body is found. As much character drama as murder mystery, it is sustained by the performances of Oscar winner Winslet and Jean Smart, who plays her sneering mother. New episodes Sundays. (HBO Max and all HBO platforms)

Also set in a small Northeastern town, the comedy “Rutherford Falls” (TV-14) stars Ed Helms as a clueless guy whose obsession with championing his family legacy (his ancestor founded the town) collides with the Native American community, including his best friend (Jana Schmieding), curator of a small tribal cultural center at the nearby reservation. Helms created the comedy with Mike Schur (“Parks and Recreation” and “The Good Place”) and Sierra Teller Ornelas (“Superstore”), and it uses Schur’s brand of character comedy to take on issues of history, representation and identity. The writing team features numerous Indigenous writers who give the Native culture a dimensionality not seen before on American television. New episodes each Thursday. (Peacock)

The historical fantasy epic “Shadow and Bone” (TV-MA) follows the journey of an orphan (Jessie Mei Li) who discovers she holds powerful magic and trains with an elite army of magical soldiers. Developed by Oscar-nominated screenwriter/producer Eric Heisserer (“Arrival”) from the young adult fantasy novels of Leigh Bardugo, it’s Netflix’s attempt at a young adult version of “Game of Thrones, complete with an imagined past of rival kingdoms, political intrigue, monsters and magic and featuring a cast of teenage heroes. (Netflix)

International passport: With the addition of “Quo Vadis, Aida?” (Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2020, not rated, with subtitles), “Better Days” (China, 2019, PG, with subtitles) and “The Man Who Sold His Skin” (Tunisia, 2020, not rated, with subtitles), all five Oscar nominees for best international feature are now streaming on Hulu.

True stories: “Secrets of the Whales” (2021, TV-PG) delves into the complex communication skills and social structures of five whale species (Disney+), and “Life in Color with David Attenborough” (TV-PG) uses revolutionary camera technology to reveal the extraordinary and never-before-seen ways animals use color to survive and thrive (Netflix). Both limited series documentaries debut for Earth Day.

“Mortal Kombat” (2021, R), the new big screen spinoff of the hit video game, stars Lewis Tan as a fighter taking on the champions from all the realms in a battle to the death. Jessica McNamee, Josh Lawson, Joe Taslim and Tadanobu Asano also star. It debuts the same day it opens in theaters and streams for 31 days only. (HBO Max)

Last chance: The giant monster mash-up “Godzilla vs. Kong” (2021, PG-13) leaves HBO Max on April 30.

Pay-Per-View / Video on Demand

In the romantic comedy “We Broke Up” (2021, not rated), a couple (Aya Cash and William Jackson Harper) pretends to be happily in love at a friend’s wedding.

Netflix

The lives of astronauts on a mission to Mars are jeopardized by a “Stowaway” (2021, TV-MA) in the science-fiction thriller starring Anna Kendrick, Toni Collette, Daniel Dae Kim and Shamier Anderson.

Amazon Prime Video

Four women who worked as code-breakers in World War II reunite to solve mysteries in 1950s London in “The Bletchley Circle” (TV-14). Anna Maxwell Martin, Julie Graham, Rachael Stirling and Sophie Rundle star. Also on PBS Masterpiece.

“JCVD” (2012, R) is a clever, satirical action thriller starring Jean-Claude Van Damme.

Hulu

The young adult thriller “Cruel Summer” (not rated) follows the kidnapping of a high school girl and its reverberations for three girls over three summers. Two episodes streaming, new episodes on Tuesdays.

HBO Max

The documentary limited series “Pray, Obey, Kill” (Sweden, TV-14, with subtitles) delves into a notorious murder in a Pentecostal congregation in a remote Swedish village. New episodes Mondays.

The second season of “A Black Lady Sketch Show” (TV-MA) debuts with new episodes each Friday.

Other streams

The documentary “Going to Pot: The High and Low of It” (2021, not rated) looks at the rapidly growing business of legal recreational marijuana. (Paramount+)

Season 22 of rural mystery series “Midsomer Murders” (TV-14) debuts with two feature-length mysteries. Four additional mysteries are scheduled to to arrive in the fall. (Acorn TV)

Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. His reviews of streaming movies and television can be found at streamondemandathome.com.

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