The It List: Chris Hemsworth's thriller 'Extraction' is a must-see, 'Will & Grace' and 'Homeland' air series finale episodes, Hasbro launches new 'Mulan' toys and the best in pop culture the week of April 20, 2020
The It List is Yahoo’s weekly look at the best in pop culture, including movies, music, TV, streaming, games, books, podcasts and more. During the coronavirus pandemic, when most of us are staying at home, we’re going to spotlight things you can enjoy from your couch, whether solo or in small groups, and leave out the rest. With that in mind, here are our picks for April 20-26, including the best deals we could find for each. (Yahoo Entertainment may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page.)
STREAM IT: Chris Hemsworth tries to rescue kidnapped teen in gritty thriller Extraction
Like last fall's 21 Bridges starring Chadwick Boseman, the new action thriller Extraction finds an Avenger re-teaming with top MCU directing tandem Joe and Anthony Russo, who serve as executive producers under their ABGO banner. Chris Hemsworth trades in the hammer for a whole lot of ammo as a mercenary hired to, well, "extract" the 16-year-old son of a South Asian drug kingpin who's been kidnapped by his rival. "That kid is a walking corpse, and there's no way to protect him," a confidant played by David Harbour tells him. "The best thing you could do for that kid would be to put a bullet in his brain." (Hopper would not approve, Mr. Harbour.) Hemsworth's Tyler Rake (mercenary name... nailed!) will have none of that, though, in a gritty bullet-ridden thriller that's like a real-world spin on the plot of The Mandalorian. Sure, the kid isn't as cute as Baby Yoda, but he deserves to be saved. — Kevin Polowy
Extraction premieres Friday, April 24 on Netflix.
STREAM IT: Reading time with Michelle Obama
Thanks, Mrs. Obama! The former first lady is helping exhausted parents everywhere get a little work done on Mondays by hosting a virtual story time for kids. The mom of two selected the popular book The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson for her April 20 debut, which will stream purple prickles, poisonous warts and all. The series will run every Monday through May 11, and give parents, who are cooped up with their kids at home and juggling a million things a minute, to breathe. — Suzy Byrne
Mondays With Michelle Obama! streams Mondays at 12 p.m. on PBS KIDS’s Facebook, YouTube channel and Penguin Random House’s Facebook.
STREAM IT: Sundance premiere Selah and the Spades has teen smarts and thrills in… spades
Its buzz wasn't necessarily among the loudest at January's Sundance Film Festival, but the teen drama Selah and the Spades quietly earned stellar reviews (it stands at 86 percent approval on Rotten Tomatoes) and a streaming deal with Amazon, with a planned television series to follow. Part Gossip Girl, part Skulls, but still an original nonetheless, Tayarisha Poe's directorial debut follows a graduating boarding school Queen Bee (Lovie Simone) who lures a sophomore (Celeste O'Connor) into carrying on her "legacy" at the elite institution, which is run by five factions. You can get a look at how the factions operate in the exclusive clip above. — K.P.
Selah and the Spades is currently streaming on Amazon.
STREAM IT: Chris Evans and Michelle Dockery have a real problem child in Defending Jacob
Former Captain America Chris Evans leaves his superhero gear behind to play a superdad in the new Apple TV+ series, Defending Jacob. Well… a superdad in his own mind anyway. Evans’s Andy Barber is a successful lawyer who nevertheless feels personally distanced from his wife, Laurie (Michelle Dockery), and their son, Jacob (Jaeden Martell). That distance grows when Jacob becomes the prime suspect in the murder of a classmate, and his parents mount a public defense even as they wrestle with private doubts. Based on William Landay’s 2012 bestseller, the series also stars Cherry Jones, Betty Gabriel and the Marvel universe’s best newsman, J.K. Simmons. — Ethan Alter
Defending Jacob premieres Friday, April 24 on Apple TV+.
STREAM IT: Hood stoner classic Friday turns 25
"It's Friday, you ain't got no job, and you ain't got s*** to do!" It's been 25 years since Smokey (Chris Tucker) first tried to corrupt Craig (Ice Cube) with a little taste of the sticky icky in the F. Gary Gray-directed Friday (co-written by Ice Cube and DJ Pooh). And the film remains just as hilarious, vibrant and irreverent today — if not even moreso. (Sadly there are a rising number of Americans who can relate to the no job/no s*** to do lines right now, especially.) The film also featured some serious star-making turns, not to mention memorable performances from late legends Bernie Mac and John Witherspoon. Tucker went on to major fame for a different kind of buddy comedy with the Rush Hour series, and Cube, who already proved his acting chops in Boyz N the Hood, saw his onscreen career blow up to the point where he was making family road trip movies. — K.P.
Friday, which celebrates its 25th anniversary on Sunday, April 26, is available to stream on Amazon.
WATCH IT: Will & Grace bids the airwaves farewell once again
When it premiered in 1998 — the same year that Matthew Shepard was gay bashed to death in Laramie, Wyo. and just two years after the Defense of Marriage Act was signed into law — this primetime series was nothing short of groundbreaking for LGBT culture. It broke ratings, elicited critical acclaim, earned 18 Primetime Emmy Awards and taught mainstream America about that most important type of love: between gay men and straight women. Even now, the show stands up to the test of time, with Will and Grace and Jack and Karen as lovable and frustrating and poignant as they were when they first came into everyone's lives. It's why they were brought back, thrilling hardcore fans, with the 2017 revival that's lasted three seasons, set to end once and for all (we think) on Thursday. — Beth Greenfield
The Will & Grace series finale airs Thursday, April 23 at 9 p.m. on NBC.
STREAM IT: You don’t have to fight for your right to watch Beastie Boys Story on Apple TV+
Straight outta Brooklyn, it’s the Beastie Boys Story — a history of New York City’s sleepless frat-rap group as told by its two surviving members and directed by frequent collaborator, Spike Jonze. Taking the stage in front of a live audience at Brooklyn’s Kings Theater last year, Michael Diamond and Adam Horovitz a.k.a. Mike D and Ad-Rock, look back over the group’s long, strange career with the help of home movies, archival video and, of course, plenty of needle drops. They also own up to some of their mistakes, most notably ditching one of the group’s founding female members, Kate Schellenbach. Throughout the show, the duo take care to center the narrative around the musicianship and accomplishments of their third cohort, Adam “MCA” Yauch, who died of parotid cancer in 2012. “After 35 years of friendship, I never knew what he was going to do or say next,” Horovitz says in tribute to Yauch. “He was a living contradiction of people’s ideas of how or what you’re supposed to be or do.” Originally set to play in IMAX theaters ahead of its streaming run, the 2-hour documentary will now debut on Apple TV+ this week. Make sure to play it loud. — E.A.
Beastie Boys Story premieres Friday, April 24 on Apple TV+.
STREAM IT: Circus of Books presents a heartbreaking and funny true story
Documentarian Rachel Mason’s subject is an unexpected one: her parents, who spent more than 35 years at the helm of a gay porn store in West Hollywood, Calif. They called it Circus of Books, which conveniently allowed them to tell people, including their religious school-attending children, simply that they ran a bookstore. The business became a beloved meeting place for the gay community, during the years that included the worst of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The Ryan Murphy-produced movie also explores why Mason’s mom, Karen, reacted negatively when her own son came out of the closet. — Raechal Shewfelt
Circus of Books premieres Wednesday, April 22 on Netflix.
WATCH IT: Carrie Mathison and Saul Berenson bid adieu in Homeland series finale
The award-winning drama concludes Sunday night after eight seasons, and all eyes will be on how Claire Danes’s character goes out. Will she be a hero? A traitor? Or something in the middle, a la Nicholas Brody? Find out the mercurial CIA operative's fate when it all comes to an end. — Taryn Ryder
The Homeland series finale airs Sunday, April 26 at 9 p.m. on Showtime.
WATCH IT: Better Call Saul wraps up its penultimate season... but hopefully not Kim Wexler’s life
The show may be called Better Call Saul, but when there’s a serious crisis the person you really want to call is Kim Wexler. Rhea Seehorn’s ace legal eagle has been the secret weapon of Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould’s prequel series for the past five seasons, but her time in Albuquerque may be drawing to a close. At least, that’s what we’re afraid of after the penultimate episode of the show’s penultimate season, which ended with Kim giving a barnstormer of a speech to drug kingpin Lalo that almost certainly saved the life of her not-so-better half, Jimmy McGill. Heading into the finale, her fate could hang in the balance as we already know that she’s not around for the impending events of Breaking Bad. (Until Gilligan shows us otherwise, we’re choosing to believe she’s alive and well in a different city.) Other lingering questions include whether we’ll get another Hank Schrader cameo and what the next chapter in the BB universe will be after Better Call Saul hangs up on us following Season 6. — E.A.
The Better Call Saul Season 5 finale airs Monday, April 20 at 9 p.m. on AMC.
BUY IT: Hasbro’s line of Mulan toys will tide you over until the film’s release
Disney’s much-anticipated Mulan has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but you can still prepare for the live action adaptation of the animated favorite with Hasbro’s collection of tie-in toys. Currently available at major retailers like Amazon, Target and Walmart, the toy line’s star attraction is a fashion doll based on the title character, played by Liu Yifei. The fully articulated figure is available individually or as part of two different sets: the “Two Reflections,” which includes both her elegant and warrior garb, and a 2-pack that comes with Gong Li’s villainous witch, Xianniang. There’s also a “Warrior Moves” action figure modeled after the animated version of the character voiced by Ming-Na Wen. And for backyard playtime, take aim at your reflection with a Nerf bow-and-arrow set that comes with eight special darts. — E.A.
Hasbro’s Mulan toys are available at Amazon, Target and Walmart.
WATCH IT: American Idol goes home
Kieran, dim the lights — the lights in the American Idol contestants’ and judges’ houses, that is. After much speculation, it has been confirmed that this Idol season will go on — from home, starting April 26. Ryan Seacrest, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie will be participate from their respective L.A. living rooms; Luke Bryan and Bobby Bones will be social-distancing from Nashville; and the top 20 will compete in quarantine for America’s votes. How will this work? Even the producers don’t seem to know yet… but it might be just the feel-good fare the nation needs right now. — Lyndsey Parker
American Idol returns Sunday, April 26 at 8 p.m. on ABC.
WATCH IT: Critically-acclaimed Vida returns for its final season
The Hernandez sisters are back for the third and final season of the Starz drama Vida, which was the winner of last year's GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comedy Series. After burying their mother, struggling to keep their East L.A. family-owned bar in business and dealing with the complexities of gentrification, the third season opens with Emma and Lyn discovering their father is alive. Series creator Tanya Saracho directed the six-episode finale season and called the ending bittersweet. She penned a letter thanking fans and supporters of the Latinx series, "I’d be lying if I said I’m not sad about not getting back into that magical writers’ room to keep crafting our story. But after all, I got to tell the exact story I wanted to tell, exactly how I wanted to tell it, and that is rare in this industry." — Gisselle Bances
Vida Season 3 premieres Sunday, April 26 at 9 p.m. on Starz.
HEAR IT: Spend some time Locked Together with Audible’s new quarantine podcast featuring popular comedy duos
Absence makes the heart grow fonder. That’s one of the takeaways from Audible’s new podcast series, Locked Together, in which much-loved comedy duos reconnect from separate spaces during the coronavirus quarantine. The pairings include Cornetto Trilogy partners, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost; Catastrophe masterminds Sharon Hogan and Rob Delaney; and the absolutely fabulous Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French. Available to download for free with an Amazon or Audible subscription, Locked Together reveals how these funny people are keeping busy during a serious time and also provides some much-needed laughs. — E.A.
Locked Together is available on Amazon and Audible.
WATCH IT: Drag Race gets a celebrity makeover
A Hollywood update of sorts of that old Logo show Drag U, on Secret Celebrity Drag Race, RuPaul’s Drag Race fan-favorite alumni Alyssa Edwards, Bob the Drag Queen, Kim Chi, Monét X Change, Monique Heart, Nina West, Trinity the Tuck, Trixie Mattel and Miss Vanjie give mystery celebrities fabulous head-to-toe drag makeovers. Will we see Harry Styles, who once said he’d love to guest on this spinoff, in a pair high heels and a pussycat wig? You betta watch. — L.P.
RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race premieres Friday, April 24 at 9:30 p.m. on Vh1.
READ IT: Jonathan Van Ness’s Peanut Goes for the Gold is the picture of cuteness
The Queer Eye star is celebrating his first picture book for children just when all of us — particularly parents with little ones — need enertainment most. This animal-inspired tale is the story of a young guinea pig becoming a rhythmic gymnast, hence the gold. “I want kids to learn about celebrating themselves and their individuality, and Peanut Goes for the Gold was inspired by just that,” Van Ness explained on Instagram. He’s pledged to donate a portion of proceeds from the book to No Kid Hungry, a campaign to ensure that children have continued access to three healthy meals a day, even as schools are closed during the coronavirus crisis. — R.S.
Peanut Goes for the Gold is available at Amazon.
HEAR IT: Lucinda Williams is good for the soul
On her 14th album, Good Souls Better Angels, the Americana goddess and three-time Grammy-winner reunites with producer Ray Kennedy, with whom she last worked on her 1998 breakthrough album, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road. Led by the anti-Trump single “Man Without a Soul,” the LP ditches Williams’s typical personal storytelling for social commentary, without sacrificing her trademark wit. Other standout tracks tackle topics like domestic abuse ("Wakin' Up”), the perils of social media ("Shadows & Doubts") and outrage fatigue ("Bad News Blues"). — L.P.
Download/stream on Apple Music.
STREAM IT: After Life’s second season gets its wings
If you only know Ricky Gervais from his skewering of celebrities during award shows, you might be pleasantly surprised by his raw (but, of course, deeply cynical) portrayal of a man grieving the loss of his wife from cancer. Though embittered by grief and left cold by therapy and platitudes, Gervais’s small-town newspaperman and atheist Tony begins to find purpose with the help of some unlikely friends (his postman, a local sex worker turned housecleaner, a fellow widow). Season 2 also teases a potential romance with his father’s caretaker, played by Ashley Jensen, whom Gervais enthusiasts will know all too well as his sidekick from the much-missed, critically acclaimed series Extras. Dark comedy has never been more sentimental — or moving. — Erin Donnelly
After Life Season 2 premieres Friday, April 24 on Netflix.
READ IT: Discover new stories from A Wrinkle in Time author Madeleine L’Engle
Since the author of the beloved children’s series died in 2007, it’s a real treat for readers to get more of her prose — and that’s what’s happening, after a granddaughter of L’Engle discovered his collection of 18 stories. In the Moment of Tenderness, L’Engle describes her childhood in New York, her experiences as a mother and the creation of her iconic stories. L’Engle penned most of the collection in the ‘40s and ‘50s, just before her most famous book was published in 1962, and some of these stories have never been published. The book jacket promises the kind of works that L’Engle readers know and love: “From realism to science-fiction to fantasy, there is something for everyone in this magical collection.” — R.S.
Moment of Tenderness is available Tuesday, April 21 on Amazon.
— Video produced by Gisselle Bances