New series from the man behind “The Walking Dead” tops this week’s entertainment options.
“Invincible” Grade 3 ½ stars: Robert Kirkman’s “The Walking Dead” has been heralded by fans and critics both as a TV series and graphic novel. The only downside is that all of the accolades have overshadowed Kirkman’s “Invincible” that is as good if not better than “Dead.” Now that the comic – that ended its 15-year run in 2018 – has been made into an Amazon Prime Video series, it is time for it to get as much love.
“Invincible” is an eight-episode, hour-long, adult animated superhero show that revolves around 17-year-old Mark Grayson (voiced by Steven Yeun) who is trying to deal with being the son of a powerful superhero, Omni-Man (J.K. Simmons). Mark is trying to deal with his emerging powers at the same time he is learning some dark truths about his legacy.
Think of the series as being a blend of Spider-Man and “The Boys.” There are the elements of innocence with Mark trying to find his place in the superhero world. There are also some devastating moments within the superhero community where it is not clear where the good guys end and the bad guys start.
Kirkman has crafted a compelling story that embraces familiar tropes of superhero characters while showing no hesitance in tearing up the norm and replacing it with something very new. It is the same kind of writing that made “The Walking Dead” work.
The series features an impressive list of celebrity voices that include Sandra Oh, Seth Rogen, Gillian Jacobs, Andrew Rannells, Zazie Beetz, Mark Hamill, Walton Goggins, Jason Mantzoukas, Zachary Quinto, Mahershala Ali and Kevin Michael Richardson.
“Invincible” has just launched. If you plan to watch the series, don’t delay. The opening episode has such a massive story point that hearing it in advance would be the ultimate spoiler.
New on DVD and Blu-ray
“Soul” 3 stars: Joe Gardner (voiced by Jamie Foxx) is living a life of mediocrity. He has a decent job as a middle-school band teacher but he dreams of a life playing jazz music. That dream appears to be on the verge of becoming reality when one small misstep takes Joe from the streets of New York City to The Great Before. He was headed for the Great Beyond but got sidetracked.
Expect a lot of questions because “Soul” throws out a lot of ideas, concepts and theories. The script ends up being like a jazz composition because of those elements. There is a freeform mix of each script line that doesn’t follow any set guidelines. The final result is a work that touches our heads as much as our hearts.
“News of the World” Grade 3 stars: The venture by Tom Hanks into the wild, wild west unfolds five years after the end of the Civil War. His Capt. Jefferson Kyle Kidd has found a way to make a living traveling from town to town reading articles from local and national newspapers. He’s the 19th Century answer to cable news.
Kidd discovers, in the plains of Texas, a 10-year-old Johanna (Helena Zengel) who has been rescued after being taken by the Kiowa people six years earlier and raised as one of their own. The only way the young girl can be returned to what is left of her family is through a dangerous trip across the wilds of Texas.
It is Hanks who single-handedly lifts “News of the World” out of the shallow end of the moviemaking pool and gives the movie a depth that would have been absent without him. It can’t be said enough that Hanks is one of a very select group of actors who makes a project better just by being part of it.
“The Undoing”: Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman star in this miniseries about a man dealing with being accused of murder.
“Soulmates”: This TV series deals with the complications that come when a company guarantees they can find a person’s perfect romantic match.
“Hero Dog: The Journey Home”: Blind man is saved by his dog when they get stranded in the wilderness.
“Tell My Story”: Grieving father (Jason Reid) seeks answers after his 14-year-old son Ryan dies by suicide.
“Identifying Features”: Middle-aged Magdalena (Mercedes Hernandez) goes on a dangerous journey to find out what happened to her son.
“The Black Church: This is Our Story, This is Our Song”: PBS program that looks at the impact of black churches in America.
“Cosmoball”: Four gifted humans fight to ensure the survival of humankind.
“The Interrogation”: Commander of concentration camp is interrogated to get him to confess to war crimes.
Available on digital platforms
“Our Friend”: A man’s friendship with a family becomes vital during a health crisis. Jason Segel stars. Will be released on DVD and Blu-ray March 30.
“Donny’s Bar Mitzvah”: Sex, drugs, and a dysfunctional family create the perfect storm for Donny Drucker’s Bar Mitzvah. Look for it on Apple TV.
“Earwig and the Witch”: Earwig discovers a world of magic. Will be released on DVD and Blu-ray April 6.