Netflix’s Tribes of Europa has apocalyptic promise out of all the new TV
Monday early mornings for the Polygon personnel are constantly amazing, due in no little part to us having the opportunity to excitedly gab and share about all the cool things we monitored the weekend— whether it’s the current sci-fi series on Netflix, a freshly launched Korean action flick, or trying our individual anime watchlist.
And as typical, the responses vary extensively, as some individuals take a look at what’s brand-new and popular on streaming services, and some go back to previous favorites. Here are a few of the programs and motion pictures we’re taking pleasure in seeing today, and what you may delight in viewing also.
Tribes of Europa
I’m a sucker for the post-apocalypse, so seeing a new series pop up in the Netflix top 10 list meant that I had to give Tribes of Europa a try.
The German-language program takes place in the 2070s and pits several factions against each other in a vaguely feudal confrontation. The Origines live in the woods, eking out a living close to nature. The Crows are pretty cartoonishly violent, all dressed in black and huffing stimulants as they gun down anyone in their path. In between are the Atlantians, a high-tech faction whose sole representative is a wounded pilot on a secret mission to deliver a weird glowing cube somewhere.
The standout actor for me is Henriette Confurious, who plays the stalwart Liv. I’m only one episode in and things are already a bit bloody and violent for my liking. We’ll see if things veer more toward Hunger Games or the most disturbing parts of Game of Thrones over the next few episodes. —Charlie Hall
Tribes of Europa is streaming on Netflix.
And everything else we’re watching…
Last weekend, in a haze of hunger for our next WandaVision fix, my husband and I decided that watching another MCU show was the methadone we needed. So we finally started watching Agent Carter, the much-beloved two-season series that follows Captain America’s lady-love Peggy as she continues to work as a government agent in the period after he crash-lands in the Arctic and disappears. This show was surprisingly hard to find for a while — IIRC, Amazon had an exclusive license at some point, and it was only available through them and on physical media — but the advent of Disney Plus finally brought it to streaming, and we’re watching a few episodes now every week as we come down from our WandaVision haze.
As adventure-drama Agent Carter is pretty standard: Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) is running down some thieves who broke into a secret vault of dangerous inventions created by Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper), who’s been branded as a traitor to America and is now on the lam. His butler Jarvis (James D’Arcy) has been tasked with helping her out. The crime-and-terrorism business is standard procedural stuff, except … Jarvis is very happily married and Peggy’s still mourning Cap, so there’s no tedious will-they-won’t-they tension. And the post-WWII era, men are returning to work and women are being pushed out of jobs, so Peggy’s dealing with a lot of gross performative sexism at work, and having to be a super-agent by night while enduring “Handle my filing for me, doll” gibes by day.
That dynamic, her grief over Cap and reluctance to share it with others, and her guilt over a friend who dies as collateral damage to her work early on all combine to make her reluctant to trust or get close to anyone. I’m really enjoying the complexity of her character work and how unlikeable her sadness and prickliness make her, especially as counterpoint to WandaVision’s problems in bringing across grief. Oh, and not incidentally, this show is stylish as heck, and worth watching just for the costumes, sets, hairstyles, and cinematography alone. It’s a really good-looking program, doll. —Tasha Robinson
Agent Carter is streaming on Disney Plus.
Hunter x Hunter
This is literally all I have been thinking about for the past month and a half or so. My journey into anime started off slowly, but at this point I’m at full throttle and won’t be looking back any time soon. Hunter x Hunter is probably the most stereotypical shōnen anime I’ve watched thus far. As someone who prefers slice-of-life, romance, and comedy, I wasn’t sure how I’d fare with something so action-heavy. But for lack of a better description … it’s just cool. I love the characters, but I also love this wild, wacky world where people have weird, specific abilities like conjuring up an infinite vacuum cleaner and writing haikus that change objects around them. I love that the airships have little faces on them, that everyone in this world is so incredibly desensitized to violence but for the most part they’re all pretty decent people, that there is an entire video game that can only be played by people with super duper special powers. As for the characters, I’ve already written about how Kurapika and Leorio have my entire heart, but the episodes I’m watching now focus more on Gon and Killua’s special bond and man, if it ain’t endearing.
Finally, just remember one thing: Bungee gum has the properties of both rubber and gum. —Petrana Radulovic
Hunter x Hunter is streaming on Netflix and Crunchyroll.
Justified Season 2
I’ve spent the last couple weeks catching up with Justified, a show I’ve always liked but never committed to seeing through. How silly I was. Season 2 of Justified, which I finished tearing through this weekend, is where the show leaps from uncommonly good cop show to Kentucky Shakespeare, a stunning rumination on generational cycles of violence and exploitation. It’s got all the intrigue of a good crime story, but with the added nasty, venomous bite of it all unfolding in a town where everyone knows your name, and your daddy’s too. —Joshua Rivera
Justified is streaming on Hulu.
Some Like It Hot
Last week (or maybe it was the week before — time is meltier than ever) a New York Times reporter became the main character of Twitter for declaring that they broke their personal rule to never watch black-and-white motion pictures because I guess black-and-white movies were rough-around-the-edges and out-of-step with the contemporary conception of drama and, well, that just wasn’t their jam. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, of course, but after catching Billy Wilder’s 1959 comedy Some Like It Hot this weekend, all I could think is “c’mon!”
A kind of proto-Sister Act, Some Like It Hot finds two jazz musicians (played by legends Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon) on the run after witnessing a mafia hit job during a speakeasy raid. To avert the gangsters, the pair disguise themselves in dresses and join an all-female band. Both befriend and swoon over the group’s ukulele player Sugar Kane (Marilyn Monroe). Musical numbers and plenty of hijinks ensue. Pushing the buttons of censorship at the time — even the idea of cross-dressing was seen with a raised eyebrow in the 1950s — the movie crackles with Wilder’s patented dialogue, while Curtis and Lemon have a field day figuring out how to “play” women. The madcap energy is right up there with Bridesmaids or 30 Rock, and it’s a shame to imagine that it’s black-and-white veneer would keep people away. —Matt Patches
Some Like It Hot is streaming on Tubi and Pluto TV.
Over the past few weeks, I and others have come to know Sundays as Stationery Sundays, thanks to a string of stationery and journaling-themed Twitch streams broadcast throughout the day. This weekend was no different. By the time Sunday morning hit, I had gathered all my stationery and letter writing supplies, ready to set up shop alongside a group of others — some broadcasting live on Twitch, others journaling along quietly in the chat. First, I tuned into April Wu of The Stationery Cafe podcast, then Miranda Sanchez from IGN, both unboxing a glorious amount of new stationery goodies. Afterwards, I watched Lillian Arrigoni work on a bullet journal.
It’s been so nice to watch, journal, and draw alongside others with the same hobby as me. It’s a really soothing way to spend a Sunday. —Nicole Carpenter
You, too, can delight in Stationery Sundays each week on Twitch.
This weekend I sat down to watch Choi Jaehoon’s The Swordsman (which just released on VOD this weekend) and was thoroughly entertained. Jang-Hyuk’s performance as the blind former royal bodyguard-turned-vengeful swordsman Tae-yul was as captivating as Won-ho Son’s deft cinematography, and Joe Taslim of The Raid and The Night Comes For Us fame’s turn as the devious antagonist Lord Gurutai is another terrific performance in the star’s exemplar career. The action is fast and frenzied, but don’t come in expecting Wuxia balletics or excessive gore. If you’re looking for duration-piece martial arts drama with engrossing performances and pulse-pounding swordplay, it’s definitely worth a watch. —Toussaint Egan
The Swordsman is readily available to rent on digital, $4.99 Amazon on Apple; $3.99 on Vudu.
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Jobber Wiki author Frank Long included to this report.