What to watch this weekend: And just like that, ‘Sex and the City’ is back

Plus new Philly sitcom 'Abbott Elementary' and 'Diff'rent Strokes' starring... Kevin Hart?
Sarah Jessica Parker attends HBO Max's premiere of "And Just Like That" at Museum of Modern Art on December 08, 2021 in New York City.
Sarah Jessica Parker attends HBO Max's premiere of "And Just Like That" at Museum of Modern Art on December 08, 2021 in New York City. Photo credit Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images
By , KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Can you believe just a year ago, “Inception” director Christopher Nolan called HBO Max the “worst streaming service?”

To be fair, he was angry that HBO parent WarnerMedia announced they would release all of their 2020 blockbusters straight to the service, but he wasn’t entirely wrong. The streamer was a mess, with a broken, glitchy app and a scattershot offering of original content.

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As we approach the end of 2021, HBO Max’s audacious “Project Popcorn” gambit has paid off. With an improved app and a slate of can’t-miss movies and shows, the platform heads into its biggest month yet — and with ‘Dune’ and ‘The Sopranos’ movie in the rear-view, that’s saying something.

So let’s get started with the return of one of HBO’s most popular shows of all time. Never let it be said they were ever afraid of a little ‘Sex.’

And Just Like That…

“Sex and the City” was one of the most successful shows HBO ever aired, so it’s not surprising to see them return to the well once again with a new sequel series, “And Just Like That.” Most of the original cast returns, with the exception of notable holdout Kim Cattrall.

Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) and Charlotte (Kristin Davis) are still living in New York, dealing with the changing world in their own inimitable style. Chris Noth returns as Mr. Big, while Nicole Ari Parker and Sara Ramirez join the cast. It’s a big event, one we probably don’t need to convince you to watch if you’re already a fan. First two episodes currently streaming on HBO Max. New episodes every Thursday.

Abbott Elementary

West Philadelphia native Quinta Brunson created and stars in this new sitcom about the eclectic personalities at a Philly public school. Sheryl Lee Ralph and Tyler James Williams co-star.

While we’re definitely excited about more Philly representation on network television, we’re also happy to see Brunson anchor a series. She was excellent on HBO’s “A Black Lady Sketch Show.” We’re excited to see her break out here. First episode currently streaming on Hulu. New episodes air Tuesdays on ABC, then stream the next day on Hulu.

Nicole Byer: BBW (Big Beautiful Weirdo)

Another Black comedian we’re excited about is “Nailed It” and “Wipeout” host Nicole Byer, whose sunny disposition and cracker-jack delivery always make us smile whenever she pops up.

In her stand up, however, that bubbly personality is often a weapon, disarming audiences that don’t expect frank material about sex, dating, body positivity and race, among other topics. “BBW” delivers that, in addition to Byer’s observations on the pandemic and the absurdity of the American healthcare system. Byer’s our kind of weirdo, and we’re happy for an unfiltered burst from her. Currently streaming on Netflix.

Saturday Morning All Star Hits!

Another one of our favorite weirdos is “Saturday Night Live” cast member Kyle Mooney. Mooney has become a staple of the show’s “ten-to-one” slot, i.e. the often strange last sketch of the week. Fortunately for us, Netflix has given him an outlet for his ideas that are even too strange for SNL.

Case in point, “Saturday Morning All Star Hits,” which looks equal parts hysterical and horrifying. It’s a spoof of ‘80s and ‘90s kids shows like “Denver the Last Dinosaur,” “Care Bears,” “ThunderCats” and “Club Mario,” through a whacked-out lens.

We’re big fans of Mooney at What to Watch HQ, especially of his delightfully weird 2017 film “Brigsby Bear,” so we’re eager to see what he’s serving up on Netflix. Premieres Friday on Netflix.

The Unforgivable

Sandra Bullock stars in this Netflix film as a woman released from prison after serving 20 years for murder. While she tries to navigate a different world and find her long-lost sister, the victim’s family comes after her, unable to let things go.

The trailer purports to ask some pointed questions about our justice system, but also shows Bullock with her capital “A” acting hat on, alongside some heavy-hitters in Vincent D’Onofrio, Viola Davis and Jon Bernthal. Expect a rough, intense drama. Premieres Friday on Netflix.

The Expanse: Season Six

Just as the final book of the “Expanse” series hits store shelves, the final season of the television adaptation premieres on Prime Video. Earth and Mars are at war with the asteroid belt’s Free Navy, and the crew of the gunship Rocinante must decide where their loyalties lie.

Expect the critically acclaimed sci-fi drama to deliver lots of action and political intrigue as it speeds to a close. Premieres Friday on Prime Video.

Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas

Fans of the cancelled NBC series “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” are getting a gift this holiday season.

The Roku Channel has revived the show for a TV movie, reworked from story ideas for what would have been its third season. “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” followed a young woman who could hear people’s deepest thoughts through song. “Christmas” follows Zoey and her family as they get through their first Christmas without the family patriarch. Big emotions — and big musical numbers — ensue. Currently streaming on the Roku Channel.

Live in Front of a Studio Audience: The Facts of Life and Diff’rent Strokes

If you missed ABC’s latest live reenactment of classic sitcoms, then you can catch the replay on Hulu. Kevin Hart as Arnold is worth the price of admission by itself.

But if that’s not enough to hook you, I’ve got four more words: Kathyrn Hahn as Jo. Currently streaming on Hulu.

Snoopy Presents: For Auld Lang Syne

It’s a new Peanuts holiday special, Charlie Brown! Linus and Lucy try to throw the best New Year’s party ever while Charlie Brown struggles to accomplish just one of his resolutions. Good grief! Premieres Friday on Apple TV+.

Nightmare Alley

With a glossy, big-budget reimagining of the same source novel directed by Guillermo del Toro soon to arrive, now’s a good time to revisit this gem. “Nightmare Alley” was a similarly splashy project for its time, but shocked post-WWII audiences with an unabashed sexuality and similarly unapologetic cynicism.

Matinee idol Tyrone Power trades on his swashbuckling stardom to play seedy charlatan Stan Carlisle, an aspiring carnival mentalist whose ambition threatens to destroy him and just about everyone he encounters. Power’s performance is acidic and thrilling, but it’s Helen Walker as Lilith Ritter who really turns the picture on its head as a conniving psychiatrist who turns the tables on Stan.

Bradley Cooper and Cate Blanchett will tackle those roles in the new movie, but before you see that one, check out the 1947 version first, also starring Joan Blondell and Coleen Gray. It’s a bracing bruiser of a movie, and a justifiable classic. Currently streaming on the Criterion Channel.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images