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The It List: 'CODA' finally drops, 'Superstar' remembers Whitney Houston, 'Fantasy Island' gets a reboot and the best in pop culture the week of Aug. 9, 2021

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The It List is Yahoo's weekly look at the best in pop culture, including movies, music, TV, streaming, games, books, podcasts and more. Here are our picks for Aug. 9-15, including the best deals we could find for each. (Yahoo Entertainment may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page.)

WATCH IT: Superstar spotlights the late Whitney Houston and other celebrities lost too soon

The producers of ABC’s long-running news magazine 20/20 delve into the stories of icons who died before their time: Whitney Houston, Kobe Bryant, Robin Williams and more. In the first episode, Brandy, Chaka Khan, BeBe Winans and others remember Houston, who died on Feb. 11, 2012, in her room at the Beverly Hills Hilton, just hours before her friend and mentor, Clive Davis, was scheduled to host his annual pre-Grammy Awards party. The coroner determined that the 48-year-old "I Will Always Love You" singer had accidentally drowned in her bathtub due to the effects of cocaine and heart disease. However, Superstar promises more than a rehashing of celebrities' deaths; it also celebrates what they achieved during their lives. For instance, Brandy notes that Houston "kicked down doors for every Black artist and artists in general." While those new interviews will be front and center, there will also be flashbacks from Houston's own sit-downs, including that infamous 2002 conversation with Diane Sawyer. — Raechal Shewfelt

Superstar premieres Wednesday, Aug. 11 at 10 p.m. on ABC.

WATCH IT: New management takes over TV's Fantasy Island

The trend of rebooting old TV and movie franchises continues, as Roselyn Sanchez takes on the job as manager of the mysterious island in the Pacific Ocean that was the subject of the original Fantasy Island, which aired from 1977 to 1984. Sanchez plays Elena Roarke, a relative of former manager Mr. Roarke, who was played by Ricardo Montalban in the original series. Here, just as before, guests at the lush resort find that it's a literal paradise, a place where their every fantasy is fulfilled — to mixed results. "I transform people's lives, almost always for the better," the new Roarke tells one of her clients in the trailer. Then, guest stars and real-life couple Dave and Odette Annable demonstrate just what can go wrong when they're caught in a Freaky Friday situation. — R.S.

Fantasy Island premieres Tuesday, Aug. 10 at 9 p.m. on Fox.

STREAM IT: Sundance sensation CODA ready to please crowds nationwide

How much of a hit was CODA at this year’s (virtual) Sundance Film Festival? The comedic drama won every major award at the fest, and also broke an acquisition record for its $25 million sale to Apple TV+. Writer-director Sian Heder’s unyieldingly warm-hearted, endlessly lovable remake of the French film La Famille Bélier follows the hearing, vocally talented teenage daughter (Emilia Jones) of deaf parents (Marlee Matlin and Troy Kotsur) in a working class New England fishing community who aspires to leave the family business and chase her musical dreams. With Apple+ unveiling CODA to the masses this week, it’s time everyone else can see what all the fuss is about. – Kevin Polowy

Watch CODA starting Friday, Aug. 13 on Apple TV+.

WATCH IT: John Boyega crusades against the system in Naked Singularity

John Boyega puts down the lightsabers and picks up a samurai sword in Naked Singularity, an adaptation of Sergio De La Pava award-winning novel that's part thriller and part courtroom drama with a sci-fi twist. The Star Wars star plays a disillusioned Manhattan public defender who gets involved in a high-stakes heist designed to turn the system on its head. Ready Player One's Olivia Cooke joins Boyega's scheme, as he mentally counts down to a potentially cataclysmic event that only he can see coming. This exclusive clip from the film features Boyega confiding his increasing unhappiness with the current state of his existence to pal, Bill Skarsgård... and hatching their fantastical plot to shake things up. — Ethan Alter

Naked Singularity premieres Friday, Aug. 13 in theaters and on most VOD services, including Redbox.

STREAM IT: The Tent Mender sheds light on Skid Row’s homeless population

In large metropolitan cities like Los Angeles, it’s too easy to pass by homeless encampments, momentarily feel for the afflicted, and move right on with the rest of your day. The new three-part docufiction series The Tent Mender invites viewers to immerse themselves in Skid Row, L.A.’s most well-known homeless area, for a longer, more intimate spell. Rather than explore homeless through a straightforward doc, director Laura Hand follows the eponymous fictional character (Justin Nunneley) – a recovering heroin addict sober for 15 years – to Skid Row where he interacts with real-life residents there for a humanistic look at modern-day homelessness. Check out an exclusive clip from the series above. – K.P.

The Tent Mender is now available through Amazon’s free streaming service IMDB TV.

WATCH IT: The Riverdale drama resumes

The Archie gang reunites for the back-half of Season 5. Archie (KJ Apa), Betty (Lili Reinhart), Jughead (Cole Sprouse) and Veronica (Camila Mendes) may be all grown up after a seven-year time jump earlier in the season, but they're still wrapped up in the same dark drama. For Betty, that includes hunting down another serial killer — this time, as a rogue FBI agent. Archie must once again protect the town from Veronica's dad, Hiram (Mark Consuelos, whose son Michael is portraying a younger version of his character later on). Oh, and Jughead may or may not have been kidnapped by aliens! It's a wild, wild ride — but given that the series once introduced an organ-harvesting cult, the craziness is exactly what we've signed up for. — Kaitlin Reilly

Riverdale returns Wednesday, Aug. 11 at 8 p.m. on The CW.

WATCH IT: Stargirl and Titans return for new seasons of comic book-based adventures

DC sees Marvel's new What If...? animated series and raises them with the highly-anticipated returns of two popular comic book shows. Season 2 of Stargirl reassembles the all-new Justice Society of America — led by high school superhero, Courtney Whitmore (Brec Bassinger) to fight a variety of fresh threats, including the supervillain Eclipso. "From the very beginning, Courtney is looking for villains and looking for trouble, because she just loves being a superhero so freaking much," Bassinger teased of her character's between-seasons evolution during a recent press event. 

In contrast, the stern costumed characters on Titans don't seem to enjoy superheroing as much... but that doesn't stop them from suiting up anyway. Season 3 of the ensemble series moves the action to Gotham City, where Nightwing (Brenton Thwaites) has to pick up the pieces after the apparent death of Batman's replacement Robin, and Starfire (Anna Diop) confronts her equally-powerful — and very estranged — sister, Blackfire (Damaris Lewis). Joining the fray this season are popular Bat Family characters Barbara Gordon (Savannah Welch) and Tim Drake (Jay Lycurgo), who is poised to become the latest live-action Robin. — E.A.

Stargirl premieres Tuesday, Aug. 10 at 8 p.m. on The CW; Titans premieres Thursday, Aug. 12 on HBO Max.

HEAR IT: The Killers excel under Pressure

In mid-2020, the Killers released their Imploding the Mirage album and, thanks to COVID, were unable to tour behind it. Stuck at home, frontman Brandon Flowers found himself reflecting on the past — specifically his upbringing in remote Nephi, Utah. And the result is a new Killers record, Pressure Machine. A Steinbeckian concept album of story-songs about small-town life, touching on opioid crisis, mental illness, poverty, domestic abuse, homophobia and teen suicide, it’s a heavy listen — but one that is ultimately about redemption and hope. Guests on the record include Joe Pug, Sara Watkins and Phoebe Bridgers, while original Killers guitarist, Dave Keuning, returns to the lineup as well. — Lyndsey Parker

Pressure Machine by the Killers is available Friday, Aug. 13 to download/stream on Apple Music.

WATCH IT: Ryan Reynolds is a background player-turned-hero in fun-filled Free Guy

In discussing Free Guy, Ryan Reynolds has said he hasn’t been as excited about it as anything he’s done since Deadpool. It’s easy to see why. The action-comedy in which he stars as an NPC (non-player character) who becomes sentient to the fact that he can be a hero in his an ultra-violent video game is highly entertaining high-concept fun from start to finish. It has shades of films like Groundhog Day, The Truman Show and Her (while Reynolds seems to be doing his own spin on Will Ferrell’s Elf), a stellar supporting cast that includes Jodie Comer, Lil Rel Howery, Joe Keery and Utkarsh Ambudkar, and some Easter Egg surprises that will have the theater cheering. – K.P.

Free Guy opens in theaters Aug. 13. Get tickets from Fandango.

HEAR IT: Dan + Shay are in a very Good mood

Good Things, the fourth studio album by country-pop duo Dan + Shay, of course features their triple-platinum crossover smash with Justin Bieber, "10,000 Hours," but there are more pop powerhouses who contribute to the LP, including, Julia Michaels, Shawn Mendes, and Macklemore cohort Ryan Lewis. Dan + Shay promise fans this will be their best album yet. "I've never been more excited about anything in my life," Dan Smyers declared on Instagram, while Shay Mooney added, "Sometimes I scream in the shower when I think about how excited I am."

Good Things by Dan + Shay is available Friday, Aug. 13 to download/stream on Apple Music.

READ IT: Michael Keaton's Dark Knight returns in Batman '89

<em>Batman '89</em> revives the Michael Keaton version of Batman (Photo: DC ComicsA)
Batman '89 revives the Michael Keaton version of Batman (Photo: DC ComicsA)

In a casting coup that made international headlines, the makers of the upcoming Flash movie somehow convinced Michael Keaton to head back to the Batcave for the first time since 1992. Before Keaton's Dark Knight returns in 2022, DC Comics continues his adventures via the new Batman '89 comic series, written by Sam Hamm who penned the screenplay for Tim Burton's franchise-launching blockbuster. This new yarn finds Batman caught in a grudge match with the Joker, even as his vigilante activities make him the target of Gotham's stalwart D.A., Harvey Dent. Let's all get nuts and celebrate the long-awaited return of the one true big-screen Batman. (Sorry Batfleck.) — E.A.

BUY IT: Bring some of TV's best comedies to your tabletop with all-new board games

Things... Schitt&#39;s Creek Edition (Photo: PlayMonster)
Things... Schitt's Creek Edition (Photo: PlayMonster)

Don't just binge your favorite television comedies — make them part of your next game night. PlayMonster leads off the plethora of TV-based games with a special Schitt's Creek edition of the popular Things... party game. Jot down your own response to a Rose family topic and then guess which of your pals is a David and which is a Moira. Then, moving from Schitt's Creek to New York, you can get a Clue with a Brooklyn Nine-Nine-themed version of the classic mystery game. Explore various rooms in the precinct in a competition to be crowned the unit's Most Amazing Detective/Genius. Meanwhile, Curb Your Enthusiasm's Larry David certainly fancies himself an amazing genius — and a new party game based on the long-running HBO series allows players to become the "ultimate Larry" by inventing hilariously uncomfortable explanations for all kinds of dicey social situations. Do we even have to tell you that it's pretty, pretty great? — E.A.

Things... Schitt's Creek Edition is available at Target; Clue: Brooklyn Nine-Nine is available at The Op; Curb Your Enthusiasm is available on Amazon.

—Video produced by Anne Lilburn and edited by Jimmie Rhee