TORONTO — Backstage drama abounds on streaming services in November as Shawn Mendes confronts his demons in a new documentary and the estranged buddies of “Kenny vs. Spenny” reunite for a pandemic reality show.
Netflix pulls back the curtain on Mendes as he embarks on a gruelling world tour of more than 100 shows in under a year. "Shawn Mendes: In Wonder" debuts Nov. 23 on the streaming platform, just before the launch of the Pickering, Ont.-raised pop star's new album.
Over at CBC Gem, "Kenny and Spenny: Paldemic" puts the frayed relations between Canadian pranksters Kenny Hotz and Spencer Rice on full display as COVID-19 places even more distance between the duo. The half-hour special debuts Nov. 20.
Amazon Prime Video will debut two underseen films with distinct visual styles. "The Current War," due Nov. 14, fuses wild energy into the race between Thomas Edison (Benedict Cumberbatch) and George Westinghouse (Michael Shannon) as they compete to deliver electricity to society. And the pulsating drama "Waves," out Nov. 18, follows a Black family in South Florida as their son, a high school wrestling star, struggles with addiction.
Here's a selection of other new films and TV series worth streaming in November:
TRUE CRIME DOCUSERIES
Failures of the criminal justice system are at the centre of two multi-part documentaries that explore murder mysteries from very different perspectives. "Trial 4" pours through the case of Sean Ellis, a Boston man who served 22 years in prison after being found guilty of killing a police detective, despite many holes in the case against him. The eight-episode Netflix series arrives on Nov. 11. Meanwhile, "Murder on Middle Beach" is told from the vantage point of first-time filmmaker Madison Hamburg as he searches for answers about who murdered his mother at the family’s Connecticut home in 2010. The four-part series rolls out weekly starting Nov. 15 on Crave/HBO.
With many yuletide celebrations sidelined this year, Netflix is getting into the festive spirit early. Among the highlights are the Air Force base-set romance "Operation Christmas Drop" (Nov. 5) and the return of Kurt Russell as Santa Claus and Goldie Hawn as Mrs. Claus in "The Christmas Chronicles 2" (Nov. 25). "Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square" puts a fresh spin on "A Christmas Carol," with Christine Baranski and Treat Williams starring alongside the country superstar (Nov. 22). The streamer's holiday-themed TV series including the romance "Dash & Lily" (Nov. 10) and home décor reality show "Holiday Home Makeover with Mr. Christmas" (Nov. 18).
Four kids grappling with their gender identity are the focus of documentarian Sharon Liese's even-handed exploration of growing up transgender. Captured over five years, the filmmaker traces the lives of several families who faced many ethical and financial questions as their vibrant young children moved towards adolescence. "Transhood" balances the complicated sociopolitical questions of being transgender with an unwavering empathy for the people who exist at the centre of these debates. (Crave/HBO, Nov. 12)
THE 007 COLLECTION
James Bond fans were shaken after “No Time to Die” saw its theatrical release postponed until April 2021, but Crave’s 007 Collection may stir up enough excitement to carry them through to next year. Twenty-five films from the Bond vaults land on the service Nov. 10, including Sean Connery classics "Dr. No," "Goldfinger" and "Diamonds are Forever," as well as Daniel Craig’s most recent foray, "Spectre."
Jason Sudeikis plays a U.S. football coach who hops the pond for a shot at turning around a losing U.K. football team. But once he arrives, he learns he's not only out of his league, but possibly being tossed into the spotlight for other reasons. Based on a character that originated in NBC Sports promos, Sudeikis gives a standout performance alongside his stellar supporting cast, making this one of this year's most surprising underdog TV comedies. (Apple TV Plus)
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This report by The Canadian Press was first published October 29, 2020.
David Friend, The Canadian Press