The It List: Tiger kings, old 'Friends,' amateur bakers, Jedi masters and the best in pop culture the week of March 30, 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 March 30 - April 5, 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: Tiger King is the distraction we need during the coronavirus
Looking for the kind of show you can’t pull yourself away from, the kind you’ll want to binge from start to finish in one day? Tiger King, with its wild cast of characters, led by a guy who goes by the name Joe Exotic, is it. The seven-episode series documents life in the community that keeps big cats — think tigers, not tabbies — and other wild animals for their own private zoos. While that on its own would make for a fascinating watch, Tiger King also examines lawsuits, political campaigns and an alleged murder-for-hire plot against an animal rights activist.
Besides, it’ll give you something to talk about with your friends during those FaceTime conversations, since a lot of people are already watching it. Netflix reported Friday that Joe Exotic and the gang were its most-watched show. Celebs including Chrissy Teigen, Cardi B, Jared Leto and David Spade — who’s been interviewing key players from the show — are devouring it, too. — Raechal Shewfelt
Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness is currently streaming on Netflix.
WATCH IT: The Skywalker Saga becomes complete in one very sleek box set
J.J. Abrams’s divisive saga capper Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker hits home entertainment this week, and completists will surely be adding the ninth installment to their collections. But we're also getting one of the most exciting Star Wars collections ever released on any platform. The ultra-sleek Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga box set features all nine episodes in 4K Ultra HD (or Blu-ray), and comes with digital copies and bonus feature discs for each, plus a signed letter of appreciation from Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill. At $250, it will set you back a pretty penny — but hey, if you need some justification you could always just consider it playing your part in helping stimulate the economy. — Kevin Polowy
Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga box set is exclusively for sale at Best Buy.
STREAM IT: DisneyNature’s got elephants, dolphins and Disney+, oh my!
DisneyNature kicks of Earth Month with two new animal-centric documentaries that Disney+ subscribers can beam into their living rooms starting April 3. Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex narrates Elephant, which follows a journey undertaken by a pachyderm mother and son across the Kalahari Desert. After that hot, dusty trip through the desert, cool off by taking a dip in Dolphin Reef, a coming-of-age account of a young bottlenose dolphin named Echo. Natalie Portman narrates this documentary, which makes sense because we already know how much she hates sand. — Ethan Alter
Elephant and Dolphin Reef premiere Friday, April 3 on Disney+.
WATCH IT: Kim Kardashian West takes on America's legal system
Everyone knows Kim Kardashian the reality star, but The Justice Project showcases a different side of the entertainer. Meet Kim Kardashian, aspiring lawyer. Kardashian West has been advocating for criminal justice reform for two years and she combines her two worlds this week on Oxygen. The two-hour documentary features four cases, including a sex trafficking victim and a woman who murdered the family member who molested her. Kardashian West hears from the inmates and their families while lobbying public officials for reduced sentences. "Once you hear the circumstances that led them to make those decisions, your heart would completely open up," Kardashian West told the Associated Press. "I hope that this is a step to opening up people's hearts and minds. And then hopefully they can help with changing some actual laws that really do have to be changed." — Taryn Ryder
Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project airs Sunday, April 5 on Oxygen.
WATCH IT: Take a bite out of Discovery's Shark Week in a Weekend
If you've already taken our suggestion and streamed the Jaws franchise, Discovery has more shark content for your eyeballs. While the network's annual Shark Week won't swim onto screens until later this year, they've packed an entire weekend's worth of underwater adventures into the two-day marathon, Shark Week in a Weekend. Starting April 4 at 9 a.m. and continuing until the following evening at 6 p.m., the event consists of fan-favorite episodes from Shark Week's past, as well as a replay of the network's first feature-length scripted film, Capsized: Blood in the Water starring Josh Duhamel. — E.A.
Shark Week in a Weekend premieres Saturday, April 4 at 9 a.m. on Discovery.
HEAR IT: Somebody podcast investigates mysterious murder of Chance the Rapper’s childhood friend
The new seven-part podcast Somebody chronicles Shapearl Wells’s harrowing three-year investigation, aided by a team of journalists, into the mysterious murder of her son Courtney Copeland, who was shot in the back outside a Chicago Police station in 2016. Copeland’s high school friend, Chance the Rapper, contributes the series’ theme song and is also interviewed, saying “[Courtney] was very loved by everybody. I just wish that he was respected as a human life on the level that he should have been.” — Lyndsey Parker
Somebody can be downloaded starting Tuesday, March 31 wherever you get your podcasts.
STREAM IT: Remember late playwright Terrence McNally with this career retrospective
When McNally died March 24 of complications from the coronavirus, actors who had worked with him over his six decades in theater and film mourned. PBS quickly made its American Masters special recounting his impressive career — Every Act of Life, which premiered in June 2019 — available for viewers who needed a refresher on what McNally did that was so significant. And there’s a lot to recap, including his work in Tony Award-winning shows such as Master Class and Ragtime and the fact he was one of the first playwrights to explore gay characters. As actress Audra McDonald says in the doc, “He makes you laugh and cry and turn on a dime in all different areas, and I defy you to name another playwright who can do that.” — R.S.
The American Masters documentary Terrence McNally: Every Act of Life is available for streaming on the PBS website and video app through Tuesday, March 31.
HEAR IT: Sam Hunt is hard to forget
It took the “Break Up in a Small Town” country superstar five and a half years to release his second album, though he did achieve the biggest success of his career in 2017 with his between-albums crossover smash, “Body Like a Back Road.” Now with Southside, his hiatus is officially over. The album’s lead single, “Hard to Forget,” sees him reunited with hitmaker Shane McAnally, who co-wrote “Break Up” and “Back Road.” — L.P.
Download/stream Sam Hunt’s Southside on Apple Music.
STREAM IT: Netflix nails another season of the hit competitive baking series, Nailed It
Next to The Great British Baking Show, is there a competitive cooking series as joyously good-natured — and aspirational — as Netflix’s Nailed It? Nicole Byer and Jacque Torres are back to encourage amateur bakers to put their dubious skills to the test for our entertainment. But the ribbing is always gentle, and the contestants always surprise themselves… sometimes for the worse and sometimes for the better! Season 4 challenges include ice cream boom boxes and wedding day desserts, while Matt Walsh and Adam Scott are among the celebrity judges. — E.A.
New episodes of Nailed It premiere on Wednesday, April 1 on Netflix.
BUY IT: Puzzle with old Friends
They'll be here for you... in times of home confinement due to a pandemic. A new Friends jigsaw puzzle — "the one with 500 pieces" — should provide a little entertainment, whether you are self-isolating or on the frontlines and need a much-deserved mental break. Bring Rachel, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler, Ross and Monica together with this puzzle — and, even better, do it while watching old episodes of the comedy, which debuted nearly 26 years ago, in seemingly simpler times. — Suzy Byrne
The Friends jigsaw puzzle is on sale beginning Tuesday, March 31 on Amazon.
READ IT: Former Bachelor Colton Underwood kisses and tells in his new memoir
Bachelor Nation book club, assemble! Reality TV star Colton Underwood is dishing on his breakup with gymnast Aly Raisman, his current romance with Cassie Randolph and his status as the first virgin Bachelor in his new book, which also features behind-the-scenes details about what the cameras didn’t show. Bachelor fans will obsess over insider scoops on Underwood’s clashes with producers and claims that he was pressured to fake romantic interest, but the memoir also includes some heartfelt reflection on his sexuality. — Erin Donnelly
Colton Underwood’s The First Time: Finding Myself and Looking for Love on Reality TV arrives at bookstores, including Amazon, Tuesday, March 31.
STREAM IT: Heeeeere’s Johnny! The Johnny Carson Show is available to stream for the first time ever
Twenty-eight years after his retirement, and 15 years after his passing, former Tonight Show host, Johnny Carson, remains the King of Late Night. Now, those late night viewers who came of age in the era of Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert can see the foundational figure in action. On April 1, Shout Factory’s streaming service, Shout! Factory TV, will start airing collections of Carson’s best Tonight Show bits culled from his pioneering career. The first groupings include The Best of Carnac the Magnificent — the name of Carson’s psychic alter ego — as well as The Best of George Carlin, featuring some of the late comic’s best monologues, and Animal Antics, a compilation of visits from animal experts Joan Embery, Jim Fowler and their furry friends. And with 5,000 episodes to mine for material, The Johnny Carson Show will run as long as Carson’s Tonight Show career. — E.A.
The Johnny Carson Show is available to stream on Shout! Factory TV starting Wednesday, April 1.
WATCH IT: The Academy of Country Music comes to your living room
The ACM Awards, which were originally supposed to air Sunday, April 5, have been postponed till September due to coronavirus concerns — but you can still get your super country fix that night. In that awards show’s original 8 p.m. timeslot, CBS will now air ACM Presents: Our Country, a new two-hour special hosted by Gayle King and featuring at-home acoustic performances by Kelsea Ballerini, Dierks Bentley, Kane Brown and John Legend, Luke Bryan, Brandi Carlile, Eric Church, Luke Combs, Sheryl Crow, Florida Georgia Line, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley & Darius Rucker, Thomas Rhett, Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani, Shania Twain, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban and many more. Additionally, the special will honor country legend Kenny Rogers, who passed away on March 20. — L.P.
ACM Presents: Our Country airs Sunday, April 5 at 8 p.m. on CBS.
HEAR IT: Ashley McBryde is really going somewhere
The Arkansas honky-tonk queen — who earned ACM New Female Artist of the Year, CMA New Artist of the Year and CMT Breakout Artist of the Year honors for her clearly incorrectly titled 2018 debut album, Girl Going Nowhere — brings her blend of rock ‘n’ roll outlaw attitude with new traditionalist country on her much-anticipated sophomore effort, Never Will. — L.P.
Download/stream Ashley McBryde’s Never Will on Apple Music.
WATCH IT: Therapy With Pami is a dose of ridiculousness
If you only have a few minutes a day to laugh, between those at-home workouts and giving the kids their at-home lessons, the new YouTube series Therapy With Pami is a great option. Bite-sized episodes, which clock in at about three minutes each, are depicted as the recorded counseling sessions of a woman named Pami. The self-described socialite and reality TV star sought someone to talk to about her breakup with her seventh husband, a pop star, after the 14th person told her she needed help. Star Kaitlin Huwe, who created the main character in the Groundlings, developed the show with Stephanie Erb, who plays her doctor, through improv while they were working on a play together. — R.S.
Therapy With Pami is available on YouTube.
STREAM IT: Kino Marquee brings the art house to your house
With multiplexes closed due to the coronavirus, Hollywood has been making recent blockbusters like The Invisible Man and Birds of Prey available on digital streaming services. Now, the independent distributor, Kino Lorber, is trying to do the same thing for art house fare… and help actual art house theaters in the process. Kino Marquee allows fans of indie and foreign cinema to rent new titles like the acclaimed Portuguese feature, Bacurau, and Ken Loach’s Sorry to Bother You with part of that fee benefitting the independent theater of their choice. Among the 150 participating theaters are Manhattan’s Film at Lincoln Center, the Austin Film Society and Nashville’s Belcourt Theater. And if you’d like to explore Kino’s extensive back catalogue, be sure to check out the company’s streaming service, Kino Now. — E.A.
Visit Kino Lorber for information on participating theaters in the Kino Marquee program.
BUY IT: Collect all of Funko’s 40th anniversary Empire Strikes Back Funko Pops, you must
This May, The Empire Strikes Back celebrates 40 years as the best Star Wars movie… and one of the best sequels ever made. Back in January, Funko unveiled a line of anniversary Pop figures hitting shelves in April that are now available for pre-order, including Han Solo in his Carbonite-popsicle state, a helmet-less Darth Vader in his meditation chamber and Luke carrying Yoda during his Dagobah training. And starting in May, Funko will unveil a combinable series of Pops that recreates the Battle at Echo Base. Available exclusively at Amazon, the tableau starts with a rampaging Wampa, with new figures released every other month. Complete the set, you should. — E.A.
Pre-order the Battle at Echo Base diorama and other Empire Strikes Back Funko Pops at Amazon.
HEAR IT: Thundercat conjures a not-so-quiet storm
IT IS WHAT IT IS. APRIL 3rd pic.twitter.com/TXokoVcYFh
— ashy daddy (@Thundercat) January 15, 2020
The funktronica maestro, who’s jammed with everyone from Kendrick Lamar to the Doobie Brothers’s Michael McDonald, is here with your home-party soundtrack, It Is What It Is, featuring guests Childish Gambino, Lil B, Kamasi Washington, Ty Dolla $ign and Flying Lotus. What it is is great! — L.P.
Download/stream Thundercat’s It Is What It Is on Apple Music.