The It List is Yahoo’s weekly look at the best in pop culture, including movies, music, TV, streaming, games, books, podcasts and more. Here are our picks for Oct. 28 - Nov. 3, including the best deals we could find for each.
WATCH IT: The Smithsonian Channel is spilling all the royal tea with a look back at Princess Diana’s frosty relationship with her stepmother
Long before Thomas Markle posed for staged paparazzi photos, Princess Diana’s stepmother was the problematic royal in-law du jour. As part of its new Private Lives of the Windsors series on the British royal family, the Smithsonian Channel is digging up the dirt on Raine Legge, the socialite and countess who married Diana’s father, the Earl of Spencer, in 1976. Princess Diana’s ‘Wicked’ Stepmother features interviews with royal insiders dishing on the tense rivalry between the late princess and the woman she called “Acid Raine.”
Princess Diana’s ‘Wicked’ Stepmother airs Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week on the Smithsonian Channel; check local listings for air times.
STREAM IT: Apple TV+ joins the streaming wars with several new binge-worthy series including The Morning Show, For All Mankind and Dickinson
Back when network television was the only game in town, ABC, CBS and NBC were collectively known as the Big Three. For the past few years, Amazon Prime, Hulu and Netflix have enjoyed the same status in the streaming realm. But those legacy streamers are about to get some serious competition as a pair of big-spending, deep-pocketed corporations — Apple and Disney — enter the battle for binge-watchers. First blood goes to Apple TV+, which launches on Nov. 1, two weeks ahead of the Mouse House’s Disney+ service. Where Disney is relying on a family-friendly mixture of big-name franchises, nostalgic favorites and cult oddities to attract subscribers, Apple is building a content library from the ground up without a lot of pre-existing IP.
Good thing they’ve got some famous friends to help them out: Apple TV+’s marquee launch series is The Morning Show, which stars Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon as the hosts of a Today-esque AM chat show that recently parted ways with its male co-anchor (Steve Carell) after accusations of sexual improprieties. (Any resemblance to Matt Lauer is supposedly accidental, but sure feels intentional.) The supporting ensemble is equally star-heavy, featuring such actors as Billy Crudup, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Martin Short, while creator Jay Carson previously helped get Netflix’s landmark series, House of Cards, off the ground. The first three episodes of The Morning Show aren’t as immediately addictive as those early years of Cards, though, lacking the propulsive plotting and winking villainy that made the Underwoods a premiere streaming TV power couple. But Witherspoon and Crudup are early candidates for next year’s Emmys, and with Succession off the air, The Morning Show scratches that itch for thinly-fictionalized versions of the New York media world.
Apple TV+ has three other original dramas available on Nov. 1 as well. (More shows, including M. Night Shyamalan’s, Servant, are coming later in the month.) Dickinson stars Hailee Steinfeld as the titular 18th century poet, but avoids the typical period piece trappings through 21st century humor and music. In that way, it’s closer in spirit to Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette than a traditional biopic. The post-apocalyptic See takes place in a far-off future where a virus has wiped out most of humanity, while robbing the survivors — including Jason Momoa’s warlord, Baba Voss — of their sight. Buyer beware: It’s also the kind of guilty pleasure sci-fi that asks an actor like Alfre Woodard to utter such lines as “That’s what the owls told me” without batting an eye.
Ronald D. Moore’s For All Mankind aims to be a guilt-free sci-fi pleasure, one that imagines an alternate timeline where the Soviet Union beat America to the moon. It’s a great idea for a show, but the first few episodes at least don’t take full advantage of the parallel reality premise. On the other hand, For All Mankind has already been renewed for a second year, (and Moore reportedly has seven seasons mapped out), so we’re prepared to boldly go with Apple TV+ as it launches into a new streaming future. — Ethan Alter
Apple TV+ launches Nov. 1; visit the official site to subscribe.
HEAR IT: Miranda Lambert drops Wildcard, her eagerly awaited 7th studio album
The seventh album from the country firebrand features contributions from fellow fierce female country powerhouses Maren Morris, Ashley Monroe, Hillary Lindsey and Lori McKenna, as well as Lambert’s stellar songwriting and typical badass attitude, of course. — Lyndsey Parker
WATCH IT: The return of the Ultimate Thanksgiving Challenge will prime your tastebuds for Turkey Day
At the end of the week, put away those jack-o’-lanterns because it’s turkey time! The countdown is on to pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce and all the fixings. Get inspired by host Giada De Laurentiis and six of “America’s best chefs” as they compete for a $25,000 prize, overcoming challenges such as cooking with a low-cost ingredient or, like last season, when they had to cook with an ingredient from the very first Thanksgiving. At this point, holiday cooking shows like this one have become a kind of tradition of their own, the perfect thing to toss on when you’re planning your menu or, you know, avoiding the inevitable holiday errands that you’re supposed to be running. The best part is that there are no dishes to be done after you indulge. — Raechal Shewfelt
The new season of the Ultimate Thanksgiving Challenge airs Nov. 3 at 9 p.m. on the Food Network, which you can stream on Hulu.
WATCH and HEAR IT: Prep for Elizabeth Banks’s Charlie’s Angels film with its accompanying soundtrack and reissues of the 2000 and 2003 movies
Get in the mood for the latest Charlie’s Angels reboot — out Nov. 15, with Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott and Ella Balinska playing the iconic crime-fighters — by binge-watching the 2000 and 2003 deluxe reissues starring Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu. Then crank up the new 2019 soundtrack, packed with empowerment-anthem bangers by independent women like Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, Lana Del Rey, Nicki Minaj, Normani, Kash Doll, Kim Petras and Chaka Khan. — L.P.
WATCH IT: Experience all 3.5 hours of The Irishman in theaters before it goes to Netflix
Martin Scorsese’s opinions about Marvel movies have been grabbing so much attention, it’s easy to forget that he’s got an actual movie coming out. But he does… and it’s a great one. It’s also a movie that demands to be seen on the big screen before heading off to its streaming afterlife on Netflix. (Look for it in theaters starting Nov. 1; the Netflix premiere date is set for Nov. 27.) Clocking in at a weighty three-and-a-half hours, The Irishman is the director’s latest Mob-related drama, but it also feels like his last word on the genre that he’s mostly closely identified with. Re-teaming with Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci for the first time since his pervious super-sized gangster epic, 1995’s Casino, Scorsese weaves a decades-spanning saga about real-life assassin Frank Sheeran, who went to his grave claiming to have been close pals with union leader, Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino), before being ordered to kill him by his benefactor, Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci).
Thanks to the magic of de-aging digital technology — which was pioneered by Marvel Studios, funnily enough — De Niro is able to play both the old and young Frank, instead of having to switch places with another actor. His presence throughout allows Scorsese to cut to the beating heart of Steve Zaillian’s intricate screenplay: Sheeran’s gradual corruption, and increasing isolation. As the devil on Frank’s shoulder, Pesci does some of the finest work of his career; his quietly sinister performance functions in perfect concert with Pacino’s boisterous bombast as Hoffa. Despite Scorsese’s claims to the contrary, the lack of an equally complex female character — think Lorraine Bracco in Goodfellas or Winona Ryder in The Age of Innocence — is felt as the film moves through Sheeran’s life, the little ripples caused by his choices culminating in an emotional tidal wave of a final scene. You may need a minute to collect yourself before leaving the theater. — E.A.
HEAR IT: Slow Burn reopens the file on “Biggie and Tupac”
After two seasons chewing over the stories of Watergate and the impeachment of President Bill Cinton, the Slate podcast turns its lens to a very different story: the lives and deaths of rappers Tupac Shakur in September 1996 and, six months later, the Notorious B.I.G. “In just a few years, they changed music forever. They also went from allies to enemies,” host Joel Anderson, who previously reported for ESPN and BuzzFeed News, explains in the trailer. “They became the faces of a deadly rivalry between two rap scenes.” Expect the show to examine their game-changing triumphs and why each was so important to the culture, as well as their many challenges over several hours. Consider it required listening for the music obsessed, general pop culture junkies and mystery lovers alike. — R.S.
The third season of Slow Burn is available Oct. 30 on Apple.
WATCH IT: The Wizard of Oz touches down on 4K Ultra for the first time
The bona fide American classic The Wizard of Oz has always looked ahead of its time, even as it celebrates its 80th birthday this year. But it's never looked as good as this. The Victor Fleming-directed adventure arrives in a new Ultra HD Blu-ray and Digital package this week, complete with 4K resolution with High Dynamic Range (HDR). While there have been several spiffy reissues of the film over the years, this is next-level visual presentation for a film with its lush explosion of color palettes that warrants every possible upgrade. We're not in DVD Land anymore, Dorothy. — Kevin Polowy
Buy The Wizard of Oz 4K Blu-ray on Amazon.
HEAR IT: Let Meryl Streep’s narration of Charlotte’s Web lull you (or your little ones) to sleep
There are very few ways to make the touching E.B. White children’s classic more wonderful, but adding the voice of Oscar winner Meryl Streep? Yep, that’ll do it. Allow the veteran actress to tell you about the adventures of Charlotte, Wilbur, Fern and the entire gang, voiced by a host of others, as they learn about life, death and friendship on the farm. This reading of the Newberry Honor Book, first published in 1952, offers the perfect bedtime story to cuddle up with on a fall or winter’s night. Since it’s an audio book, no one will have to put down their hot chocolate. — R.S.
The new Charlotte’s Web audiobook is available on Amazon.
HEAR IT: Jeff Goldblum and his long-time jazz band release I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This
The iconic actor’s new jazz album features contributions from Fiona Apple, Sharon Van Etten, Gregory Porter, Inara George, Anna Calvi and Gina Saputo, and yet, he’s still the coolest person on the record — or, maybe, in the world. — L.P.
READ IT: Get the definitive account of who Batman is and how he came to be with The Definitive History of the Dark Knight in Comics, Film and Beyond
It ain’t easy to compress 80 years of history into 400 pages, but Insight Editions’s lavishly-illustrated coffee table book does right by the Dark Knight. Author and cartoon historian Andrew Farago traces Batman’s characters (and costume) evolution from 1930s comic books to 1980s blockbusters to contemporary video games. “The core concept of Batman, as envisioned by his co-creator, Bill Finger, is timeless,” Farago tells Yahoo Entertainment via e-mail. “Beyond that, Finger and co-creator Bob Kane designed a bold, iconic look that makes Batman one of the most striking, most instantly recognizable characters in all of fiction. The legion of talented writers and artists who have chronicled Batman's adventures in the ensuing decades have all benefited from the solid foundation provided by Finger and Kane.” And while the author declines to pick a favorite version of the Dark Knight, he does have an affinity for the cartoon incarnations in Super Friends and Batman: The Animated Series. “Those takes on Batman are all very different, but each manages to show a dedicated, serious crimefighter who wants to make the world a better place.” — E.A.
HEAR IT: Rare Nina Simone record Fodder on My Wings gets reissued
Nina Simone is one of those artists whose output is nearly impossible to rank — it's not that there's no variance, but there's nothing in her catalog we'd dare call inferior, even if like most artists, her late-career output may have waned. There are less heralded releases, and one of those albums — 1982's Fodder on My Wings — was actually one of the late singer's favorite works of her own. Recorded not long after she moved to Paris in the early '80s, the album finds the one-of-a-kind, soulful and soul-baring crooner mourning the death of her father and navigating new international terrain on haunting ballads like the title track, "Alone Again, Naturally" and "I Sing Just To Know That I'm Alive." The late-era gem reappears on vinyl, CD (yes they're still making CDs) and digital this week thanks to the folks at Verve/Ume. — K.P.
Buy Fodder on My Wings on Amazon.
WATCH IT: The so-called Oscars of Science brings together celebs and rock stars of a different sort
Tyra Banks, Allison Janney, Drew Barrymore, James Corden and many other celebs will gather to recognize achievements in science at the eighth annual Breakthrough Prize ceremony at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif. This year’s honorees are being recognized for their work photographing a black hole for the first time, finding some of the common mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative disorders — such as dementia and Alzheimer’s — and other complicated achievements that are just as life-altering. If that isn’t enough to pique your interest, perhaps you’ll be swayed by the scheduled performances of both will.i.am and Lenny Kravitz. A starry night, indeed. — R.S.
The Breakthrough Prize ceremony airs live on Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET on National Geographic. Stream it on Hulu.
HEAR IT: After a 15-year hiatus, Hootie & the Blowfish releases Imperfect Circle
Following his wildly successful foray into country music, Darius Rucker reunites his hitmaking ‘90s band for their first album in nearly 15 years — with some help from guest co-writers Ed Sheeran and Chris Stapleton. — L.P.
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