What to stream: The next generation of MST3K on Netflix, Oscar-nominees on VOD

The Netflix reboot of MST3K from creator Joel Hodgson stars Jonah Ray, Felicia Day, and Patton Oswalt

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return revives the cult comedy show built around robot puppets heckling bad movies with Felicia Day and Patton Oswalt as the new mad scientists (“the mads,” as the fans say) and Jonah Ray as their human test subject.

“The deceptively ingenious structure of the show offers a double experience, of both a terrible movie one might enjoy for its own sad sake and a running comical commentary on the film provided by Jonah, Crow and Tom, seen in silhouette against the screen; we watch with and behind them,” writes Robert Lloyd for Los Angeles Times. “Not every hit lands — the new writing crew, led by former The Daily Show With Jon Stewart head writer Elliott Kalan, also includes Community creator Dan Harmon and that show’s star, Joel McHale — and many references will go right past younger viewers, but with hundreds of quips in the course of an episode, enough do. And the sketches that frame and interrupt the showing are all delightful.”

The A.V. Club is currently reviewing each episode, a work in progress.

14 new episodes, beginning with their riffs and rips on the notorious Reptilicus (1961), a monster movie shot in Denmark.

Queue it up!

Pay-Per-View / Video-On-Demand

Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer star in the Oscar-nominated Hidden Figures, the true story of the brilliant African-American women whose unheralded work in the early days of NASA helped send the first American into space (PG). Reviewed on Stream on Demand here.

Also based on a true story, Lion stars Dev Patel as the adoptive son of Australian parents (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham) who uses Google Maps to find his lost family in India. It was nominated for six Academy Awards (PG-13).

The German comedy Toni Erdmann, about a prankster father who puts on an eccentric persona to invade the life of his workaholic daughter, was an Oscar nominee and a big winner at the European Film Awards (R, with subtitles).

Also new: the family adventure comedy Monster Trucks with Lucas Till and Jane Levy (PG), and horror film The Bye Bye Man (PG-13 and unrated versions).

Available same day as select theaters nationwide is Werner Herzog’s historical adventure Queen of the Desert with Nicole Kidman and James Franco (PG-13).

Also new: high school revenge comedy The Outcasts with Eden Sher and Victoria Justice (PG-13), action thriller Altitude with Dolph Lundgren and Denise Richards (R), and documentary Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo (not rated).


The animated odyssey Kubo and the Two Strings (2016) from Portland’s Laika Entertainment is a family-friendly epic of imagination steeped in Japanese culture and mythology. Features the voices of Charlize Theron and Matthew McConaughey (PG). Reviewed on Stream On Demand here.

Sandy Wexler is the third Adam Sandler comedy made directly for Netflix (not rated).

Foreign Affairs: Come What May (France, 2016) follows the exodus of French refugees fleeing the 1940 Nazi invasion of France (R, with subtitles).

Streaming TV: the CW superhero team series DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: Season 2 improves on the overstuffed first season. Also new: Documentary Now!: Season 2 from Fred Armisen and Bill Hader and the talk show Chelsea: Season 2, which offers three new episodes each week.

Stand-up: Kevin Hart: What Now (2016)

Remember Don Rickles, the godfather of insult comedy, with the documentary Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project (2007, not rated).

Amazon Prime

The sexy South Korean drama The Handmaiden (2016) spins a compelling tale of con artists, forbidden love, pornography, and poetic justice (not rated, with subtitles). Reviewed on Stream On Demand here.

Anna Biller’s The Love Witch (2016) pays tribute to 1960s Technicolor romances and European horror films with a supernatural story about a passionate witch (Samantha Robinson) whose love potions keep killing her lovers (not rated).

Foreign affairs: Mads Mikkelsen (Rogue One), Ulrich Thomsen (Banshee), and Iben Hjejle (High Fidelity) star in the crime comedy Flickering Lights (2000) from Denmark (not rated, with subtitles).

True stories: Monty Python’s Terry Jones explores modern economics in Boom Bust Boom (2016) with comedy, animation, and puppets (not rated).

Streaming TV: Nordic noir series Fortitude: Season 2 offers up a new murder mystery in the Arctic

Amazon Prime / Hulu

Ice Cube and Cedric The Entertainer star in Barbershop: The Next Cut (2016, PG-13) (Amazon Prime and Hulu) and Lake Bell writes, directs, and stars in the show business comedy In A World… (2013, R) (Amazon Prime and Hulu).


The Australian horror film The Babadook (2014) is both a primal fairy tale and an affecting family drama with old-fashioned scares and no explicit violence (not rated). Reviewed on Stream on Demand here.

Oscar-winning actress Brie Larson shines in the tender and touching drama Short Term 12 (2013) as a counselor at a facility for at risk, abandoned, or otherwise homeless kids (R). Reviewed on Stream on Demand here.

Streaming TV: the animated Camp Lakebottom: Season 1 arrives from Disney XD.


Inspired by a true story, the satirical War Dogs (2016) stars Jonah Hill and Miles Teller as private munitions brokers in over their heads (R).

HBO originals: the Brazilian drama Psi: Season 3 begins (with subtitles) and comedy Crashing completes its debut season.

Showtime Anytime

The Man Who Knew Infinity (2015) stars Dev Patel as visionary mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan and Jeremy Irons as his mentor at Trinity College (PG-13).

David Lynch’s sweet, autumnal family drama The Straight Story (1999), starring Richard Farnsworth and Sissy Spacek, is gentle and offbeat and rated G.

Sundance Now

A pair of provocative American indie dramas: Kid-Thing (2012) from David Zellner and Sun Don’t Shine (2012) from actress Amy Seimetz (not rated).

From France comes Claude Chabrol’s low-key psychological thriller The Color of Lies (1999) (reviewed on Stream On Demand here) and Jean-Luc Godard’s notorious Hail Mary (1985), which sparked protests for its modern take on the story of the Virgin Mary.

Acorn TV

The British nonfiction series The Art Detectives, with art experts Bendor Grosvenor and Jacky Klein looking lost treasures undiscovered in museum collections and storerooms, makes its American debut on Acorn.

Richard Roxburgh returns as barrister Cleaver Greene in the Australian legal comedy of bad behavior Rake: Series 2. The first season is reviewed on Stream On Demand here.

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Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. He writes the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website, and his work appears at RogerEbert.com, Turner Classic Movies online, The Film Noir Foundation, and Parallax View.

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