‘Penny Dreadful’ Seasons 1-3 (September 16)
Tony-winning playwright and Oscar-nominated screenwriter John Logan created this ingenious Showtime series, mixing a savory stew of Victorian-era monsters, mythology and literary flourishes. Eva Green is a marvel – scary, funny, entertaining – as a monster hunter whose late 19th century London adventures intersect with the worlds of “Dracula”, “Frankenstein”, “The Picture of Dorian Gray” and âDr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,â as well as various gunslingers, werewolves and alienists. Those familiar with the characters and the books they inhabit will eagerly devour the references and intersections, but even beginners can easily find out. ‘hang on to the dark humor, complex narratives and hearty gore of the series.
“The Grand Master” (September 26)
The general public who discovered charismatic Hong Kong actor Tony Leung Chiu-wai through Marvel’s âShang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Ringsâ would be wise to stand in line for this 2013 martial arts drama, the one of the actor’s many collaborations with the dazzling director Wong Kar-wai. Leung plays Ip Man, master of the South Chinese kung fu style known as Wing Chun, who trained a young Bruce Lee. But Wong’s film is less of a biopic and more of a Lee-style adventure filled with surprisingly photographed combat sequences and action sets. Netflix is ââshowing the US version of the film, which is shorter and simpler but less impressive. Yet even in this truncated form, “The Grandmaster” is a heartbreaking experience.
“Air Force One” (September 30)
“Get off my plane!” Harrison Ford growled in that 1997 action extravaganza which, in layman’s terms, is “Die Hard” on the President’s plane. Ford plays President James Marshall, who is en route from Moscow to the White House when a group of terrorists hijack Air Force One, taking his family and staff hostage. But Marshall is a combat veteran and decides to back up his âno-deal with terroristsâ rhetoric with action. Director Wolfgang Petersen knows how to direct claustrophobic action (his groundbreaking film was âDas Bootâ), and Ford is a solid anchor, retaining his credibility even in the dumbest moments of the script. Gary Oldman, meanwhile, is having a blast, chewing through many landscapes as the leader of the hijackers.
‘Evil’ Season 1 (September 30)
With the second season of this supernatural drama migrating from CBS to Paramount +, it’s no surprise that the first year is leaving Netflix to join it. Katja Herbers, Mike Colter and Aasif Mandvi play the role of three “assessors” for the Roman Catholic Church, almost like a team of Ghostbusters for goods, sent to determine the validity of such encounters. But âEvilâ isn’t just another âExorcistâ scam; he has an elegant pedigree, drawn from the pens of Robert and Michelle King, the team behind “The Good Wife” and “The Good Fight”. He’s uplifted by his unusually intelligent dialogue and sharp characterizations – and so it delivers the goods of the genre.
‘Kung Fu Panda’ (September 30)
It’s forgivable to assume that this family favorite in 2008 was DreamWorks’ seamless attempt to recreate the success of “Shrek”: a potentially franchise-launched computer animated film, rich in pop culture references and built around the personality of a comic book superstar. And these assumptions are not wrong. But “Kung Fu Panda” is pleasant despite its unmistakable formula, especially because of the incalculable charisma of its star, Jack Black; he is at the same time funny, cuddly, sympathetic and inspiring like a panda subject to the slapsticks which must fulfill his destiny as a âdragon warriorâ. (The first suite is also leaving Netflix on September 30.)