Three options in the streaming world for Friday viewing
Here are a few viewing options for Friday:
“Wu Assassins,” streaming, Netflix
Martial arts, mystical prophecies, and Asian street food make for a surprisingly tasty combination platter in “Wu Assassins,” Netflix’s new action-fantasy series, which debuted its 10-episode first season Thursday. Three episodes in (all those sent to critics), the story — about a San Francisco chef tasked with saving Chinatown from nefarious super-criminals — isn’t reinventing the wheel. But it does effectively showcase lead Iko Uwais, the Indonesian superstar best known for dispatching armies of enemies in “The Raid” and its equally acclaimed sequel. As his fighting style collides with kung fu, krav maga, and others — often in brawls so carefully choreographed they play like bone-crunching ballets — “Wu” coasts on the same, all-important rule of cool every Hollywood action franchise save the “John Wick” movies (with whom this series shares actor Mark Dacasos) seems to have forgotten.
“Free Meek,” streaming, Amazon Prime
If we didn’t better know Robert Rihmeek Williams as musician Meek Mill, it’s tough to imagine the Philadelphia native’s protracted legal nightmare making international headlines. That’s a bitter pill to swallow, the first of many in this five-part, Jay Z-produced miniseries, which charts the now 32-year-old rapper’s harrowing journey through the American criminal justice system, which began when he was convicted of drug and gun possession at 19. The documentary is forthright about aiming to defend Meek. And it’s impressively clear-eyed about the bigger picture: how disproportionately the criminal justice system penalizes young black men who, like Meek, become ensnared in a vicious arrest-prison-probation cycle and, unlike him, lack the considerable resources required to break free.
“Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling,” streaming, Netflix
Reviving “Rocko’s Modern Life,” Nickelodeon’s wacky cartoon satire from the ’90s, may be one of Netflix’s weirdest decisions yet. But this 45-minute special will likely be welcomed with open arms by fans of the show, which blended anti-capitalist messaging with loopily surreal animation. The titular wallaby returns to Earth after touring the galaxy for 20 years; a storyline involving a transgender character will find Rocko and his squad reuniting with Rachel Bighead, creator of Rocko’s favorite TV show, who went by Ralph back in the ’90s.