The streaming universe seems to keep topping itself.
We’ll look around and decide this is the biggest week ever … and then a bigger one arrives. Now this current one, in mid-November, feels like the biggest yet.
It peaks Thursday (Nov. 16), with the start of the final season of Netflix’s “The Crown,” one of the shows that propelled the streaming surge. That’s preceded by a couple of compelling shows — the start of “A Murder at the Top of the World,” Tuesday on Hulu, and the continuing “Buccaneers,” Wednesday on Apple. Then there’s a Friday flurry, ranging from a civil rights hero to assorted types of silliness.
The week even includes double Dianas: Emma Corrin, who received an Emmy nomination in the fourth “Crown” season, gives a richly layered performance (show here) in Hulu’s “A Murder”; Elizabeth Debicki, who has an Emmy nomination for the fifth season, is back for the sixth. Here’s a round-up:
— “Hidden Assets” (Acorn). The second season starts by sending an Irish cop to Brussels, where she clashes with an Antwerp cop. It’s a stern, solid show, but can’t match the fun of recent Acorn ones.
— “A Murder at the Top of the World” (Hulu). Here’s Corrin, far from Diana’s privileged world. She’s a hacker, 24, with hair styles and colors that propel her outsider image.
She’s also brilliant at solving crimes. Now a tech mogul (Clive Owen) has invited her to a conference at his hotel in a distant stretch of Iceland.
Naturally, there are murders. Agatha Christie started that tradition – death in distant places, with a limited number of suspects – generations ago. Rian Johnson’s “Glass Onion” gave it a high-tech tone.
Now writer-directors Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling (who also plays Owen’s genius wife) have matched the “Onion” style. Visually, this seven-parter (partially filmed in Iceland) is awesome. Storywise, it’s way too slow … or would be, if it weren’t so fascinating.
— “The Buccaneers” (Apple TV+). Last week’s three-episode deluge introduced a great character.
Nan (perfectly played by Kristine Froseth) is the younger sister of the gorgeous (and sort of shallow) Jinny. Visiting England in the 1870s, she was supposed to go unnoticed; alas, she can’t help being interesting, in her own eccentric way.
Now Theo (a rich duke) wants to marry her; Guy (titled, but broke) is in love with her. But she’s obsessed with something else: She’s learned that she’s illegitimate, which was a big deal back then. Returning to New York, she’s ready to confront the woman she always assumed was her mother (Christina Hendricks of “Mad Men”).
That obsession seems out-of-character for Nan, but we won’t complain. This eight-part series holds our attentyion, with deep characters in lush settings.
— “The Santa Clauses” (Disney+). While the three “Santa Clause” movies run incessantly on cable, Disney has added this streaming series.
It started its second season with two episodes last week, as Santa (Tim Allen) trained his son to take over the job. Now the other four episodes arrive, one per week.
— “The Crown” (Netflix). When this show began in 2016, it was a potent force for streaming in general and Netflix in particular. It won 21 Emmys (including one for best drama series) in its first four seasons and is up for six more in its fifth.
Writer-producer Peter Morgan was especially good at imagining the young Queen Elizabeth, overwhelmed by her new life at 25. Some viewers complained that the most-recent seasons were less interesting … possibly because they already knew what would happen.
But now we’re near the part Morgan wrote about so brilliantly in his movie “The Queen.” Diana is dating Dodi Fayed; Charles is with Camilla and trying to patch their image. Major events – some of them focusing on William and Harry – loom in four episodes Thursday and the final six on Dec. 14.
— “Frasier” (Paramount+). The clever reboot continues, with the seventh of 10 episodes. This is the one that finally brings back Bebe Neuwirth as Frasier’s ex-wife Lilith.
— “The Treasure of Foggy Mountain” (Peacock). The three guys who call themselves Please Don’t Destroy have made hilarious videos for “Saturday Night Live.” But can they create movie-length fun?
The answer is a clear yes and no. Often – especially when they chatter and bicker in overlapping dialog — “Treasure” is hilarious. At other times, it’s stretching way too hard to reach movie length.
Bowen Yang and Conan O’Brien both help and the story, overall, is fun. Still, you want to remind people that it would not be a felony to have a movie be less than 94 minutes.
— “Dashing Through the Snow” (Disney+). Combine this with “Santa Clauses” and Disney has an early grip on Christmas. Chris “Ludacris” Bridges plays someone who feels Santa once stole from his parents; Lil Rel Howery plays someone who may or may not be the real Santa.
— “Scott Pilgrim Takes Off” (Netflix). The reluctant teen hero has already had a movie. Now he gets an eight-part, animated series.
— “The Secret Life of Dancing Dogs” (Hulu). Yes, it’s a documentary about dogs that compete in dance competitions. And somehow, it lasts for six parts.
— “Monarch: Legacy of Monsters” (Apple TV+). The world of Godzilla and friends (or enemies) expands into a 10-part adventure. Some Americans (including Kurt Russell and John Goodman) are included in an international cast.
— “Rustin” (Netflix). Now for the opposite of the silliness above. Bayard Rustin was the man who stirred Martin Luther King and others to use passive resistance. His story is told here by George C. Wolfe, a master theater director who has five Tony awards and 17 more nominations.
And yes, there’s more. The elegant “Gilded Age” continues on Max (and HBO); “Lawmen: Bass Reeves continues on Paramount+. It’s a pretty good week.