We’re fully into 2022 now—it might not feel like it’s time to stop saying “Happy New Year,” but trust Larry David, it is. And now that February’s rolled around, TV is starting to heat up once again. This month brings a prestige-style look into the ’90s travails of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee; the return of HBO Max’s best sci-fi series; and a new season of Netflix’s weird, most compelling reality show. Kick back, embrace the passage of time, and check out everything that streaming has to offer this month …
What’s New to Streaming in February
A selected list of movies and TV shows coming this month that The Ringer is very excited about.
Pam & Tommy (February 2, Hulu)
Raised by Wolves, Season 2 (February 3, HBO Max)
Alison Herman: A conceptual, minimalist work of science fiction, Raised by Wolves has a predictable set of references: 2001: A Space Odyssey, with its sleek design and ominous use of artificial intelligence; and the Alien franchise, with its first two episodes directed by Ridley Scott, who also serves as executive producer. Raised by Wolves has its share of action sequences set on close-quartered spaceships, but creator Aaron Guzikowski (Prisoners, Papillon) seems more influenced by the mythological parts of Scott’s famous saga—the ones that deal with the dawn of a new civilization from the primordial ooze, or an ancestor drinking a potion, or the chest cavity of some poor human on a routine space mission. Except in Raised by Wolves, humanity isn’t at risk from some external, toothy, acid-blooded threat: It’s at war with itself.
Sweet Magnolias, Season 2 (February 3, Netflix)
Love Is Blind, Season 2 (February 11, Netflix)
Herman: When Love Is Blind launched the day before Valentine’s Day 2020, it was easy to dismiss as a gimmick: an unofficial companion piece to January hit The Circle, and another attempt by Netflix to cement its foothold in the reality TV space. But just because a show has a gimmick doesn’t mean it won’t make for entertaining television. In fact, Love Is Blind had two gimmicks, difficult to explain but irresistible to watch: First, contestants spent 16-hour days in isolated chambers known as “pods,” choosing a partner to marry without ever interacting face-to-face. Then, couples were fast-tracked from engagement to wedding ceremony in a period of weeks, hitting traditional roadblocks like family introductions and moving in while still adjusting to the physical reality of each other’s existence. And everyone knows what happens when a moving car hits a bump in the road at full speed.
Antlers (February 11, HBO Max)
Mose Bergmann: There’s something about a dirty little kid in a horror movie. The relative cleanliness and odor of an underage person in any film is not inherently linked to the movie’s overall quality, but it is a strong indicator of tone. And the Antlers trailer is close to a master class in establishing tone. In two minutes, it tells us this movie will be dark, sad, mysterious, and just a bit nasty. The audio mix especially is a highlight here, with a subtle bed of jangled police-scanner chatter blending with Indigenous chanting that creates a sense of genuine unease. Also: Scene-chewing Jesse Plemons laying out the two separate locations of the halves of a man’s body that were found, presumably ripped asunder by a Wendigo-like monster? That’s cinema, baby.
Space Force, Season 2 (February 18, Netflix)
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Season 4 (February 18, Amazon Prime)
Herman: Mid-period Maisel finally feels like a show that has matched the pace of its narrative to the pace of its dialogue. Midge has achieved sufficient velocity to carry the draggier parts of the show with her. Having learned the basics of how to work a room and bomb with dignity, Midge can move on to broadening her regional humor and introducing her headliner. Her show still has its flaws, but inertia isn’t one of them.
Free Guy (February 23, Disney+)
Ben Lindbergh: Free Guy is good. Not just good for a video game movie. Good as in no qualifiers needed, aside from the fact that we’re talking about a summer action comedy, not bait for Best Picture. Good as in certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes; good as in grade-A CinemaScore; good as in beat its box-office projections and easily led as the no. 1 earner in its opening weekend; good as in Disney has already asked for a sequel.
Snowfall, Season 5 (February 23, Hulu)
Julian Kimble: Rather than chasing ratings or acclaim, Snowfall has found a niche within a crowded TV landscape and developed a cult following by highlighting the collateral damage of something that’s shaped modern society. A narrowed focus, increased drama, and quicker pace have quietly made it one of the best shows on TV. … For years, Snowfall has been the best show you aren’t watching—now it’s blossoming into something you can’t miss.
The French Dispatch (February 25, HBO Max)
Israel Daramola: Wes Anderson’s latest film, The French Dispatch, is a love letter certainly—to journalism, to writers, to art in general and filmmaking specifically—and rather than change or adapt in the way some want to see, he gloriously doubles down on his style, making for his most maximalist, hyper-imaginative film yet. For Anderson fans and completists, The French Dispatch captures the director in peak form: inventive, lively, and clashing all numbers of styles, shots, kinetic editing, framing techniques, colors, and narration. You can feel how much fun he’s having making this movie, which is a special occurrence for a 10th outing.
Some New-ish Things You Might’ve Missed
Because it’s hard to keep up with everything, here are a few things that have premiered somewhat recently that may be worth catching up on.
Euphoria, Season 2 (HBO Max)
The Afterparty (Apple TV+)
Herman: With The Afterparty, the two-man team of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller makes a triumphant return to TV. (Though in this case, one takes the lead; Miller is the sole creator and director, while Lord is credited as an executive producer.) At a time when the concept-driven comedies that define Lord and Miller’s signature style have trouble earning a theatrical release, The Afterparty embraces the expanded canvas of an episodic series—and the beefed-up budget that comes with a massive tech company as their distributor. To start, The Afterparty seems to have a relatively simple setup; the only real hint of its ambition is the star-studded cast, a constellation of comedic heavyweights ranging from Tiffany Haddish to Sam Richardson to Ilana Glazer. It’s only once the show moves past the pilot, its longest and weakest episode, that The Afterparty reveals what it’s really up to.
Peacemaker (HBO Max)
Daniel Chin: Peacemaker, a spinoff of The Suicide Squad, doesn’t take long to reestablish its titular character and set the tone for its first season. Within the first few minutes of the series opener, John Cena’s Peacemaker, recovering in the hospital after being shot in the neck and buried beneath a building in his 2021 movie debut, laments the lacking size of his muscles in an X-ray scan, spreads rumors about Aquaman fucking fish, and unpacks his bloodied and dirtied superhero costume. With that indelicate introduction, writer-director James Gunn’s Peacemaker kicks off a new era of television for the DC Extended Universe in the most James Gunn way imaginable.
Ozark, Season 4 (Netflix)
The Book of Boba Fett (Disney+)
Miles Surrey: Sure, cantinas on Tatooine are still hosts to incredibly violent squabbles, but it’s the thought that counts. So long as Trandoshans are getting their arms chopped off in public, Tatooine will hardly be mistaken for the picturesque Naboo. But that doesn’t mean the planet isn’t capable of evolving. After years of horrible PR, The Book of Boba Fett has shown that Tatooine is more than a wretched hive of scum and villainy.
The Gilded Age (HBO Max)
Herman: The Gilded Age excels at re-creating the creature comforts of Downton Abbey. For those who want one, the show is an escapist balm, a comforting distraction from the woes of the world. The plot’s lack of urgency is a selling point in and of itself. Can Bertha get her snooty peers to come to her dinner party? Will Agnes and Ada’s niece Marian (Louisa Jacobson), an impoverished orphan from Pennsylvania, adjust to her new home? You won’t be at the edge of your seat—just deeply ensconced in your couch, perhaps sipping a cup of tea.