What to stream this week: Willie Nelson, Chip & Joanna Gaines, Jim Henson and Benedict Cumberbatch

Willie Nelson’s 152nd album and Benedict Cumberbatch playing a curmudgeon puppeteer in “Eric” on Netflix are some of the new television, movies, music and games headed to a device near you.

Also among the streaming offerings worth your time as selected by The Associated Press’ entertainment journalists: George Clooney’s sports drama “The Boys in the Boat,” the British musical comedy “We Are Lady Parts” returns for a second season, and home improvement gurus Chip and Joanna Gaines fix up a midcentury modern lake house on HGTV.


Jim Henson died in 1990 at the age of 53, but his Muppet creations and their rambunctious spirit have long outlived him. Ron Howard’s “Jim Henson Idea Man” (Friday, May 31, on Disney+) is an attempt to document the life and imagination behind one of the most beloved entertainers. Howard made the film with the involvement of the Henson family and use of its extensive archive

“Jim Henson: Idea Man” premieres Friday, May 31, on Disney+. Courtesy of Disney+

• George Clooney’s “The Boys in the Boat” (Tuesday on Prime Video) is an almost daringly old-fashioned sports drama that makes “Seabiscuit” look comparatively cutting edge. It tells the true-life tale of the University of Washington rowing team who in 1936 reached the Olympics in Berlin. In her review, AP National Writer Jocelyn Noveck wrote that “Clooney has gone for stirring and a bit stodgy, pleasing and a bit predictable.”

• In the Nordic Western “The Promised Land” (Thursday on Hulu), the frontier is Denmark’s remote Jutland heath, where a retired army captain (Mads Mikkelsen) travels with royal permission to cultivate a farm in 1755. His adventures, a loosely true history adapted from Ida Jessen’s 2020 bestseller “The Captain and Ann Barbara,” give Mikkelsen a sweeping backdrop for his magnetic presence.

AP Film Writer Jake Coyle


• “The Border,” Willie Nelson’s 152nd album — you read that correctly, at least, according to Texas Monthly — arrives Friday, May 31. Across the release, Nelson offers idiosyncratic interpretations of compositions from country songwriting greats: Mike Reid (“Nobody Knows Me Like You”), Rodney Crowell with Will Jennings (“Many a Long and Lonesome Highway”), and Larry Cordle with Erin Enderlin (“I Wrote This Song for You”) among them. The title track, “The Border,” is another reimagination of Crowell, a track from his 2019 album “Texas.” It’s a love letter to the Lone Star state, the kind Nelson knows better than anyone else.

• It wasn’t so long ago that every conversation about the K-pop girl group aespa focused on their digital avatars. The quartet are actually an octet, if their AI counterparts are to be counted — an inventive exercise in transmedia storytelling to match their forward-thinking pop sound. But that was then. Now the group is preparing to release their debut full-length studio album, “Armageddon.” Lead single “Supernova” samples Afrika Bambaataa ’s “Planet Rock” from 1982 and brings their electronic experiments even further into the future.

“Honeymind” by Ben Platt. Courtesy of Interscope

• Grammy-, Tony- and Emmy-winner Ben Platt brings his Broadway-sized pop to a third studio album, “Honeymind.” It’s a cheery pop-rock record (produced by Dave Cobb, known for his work with country greats Chris Stapleton, Brandi Carlile and most recently, Zayn Malik), deeply informed by his own love story and Peter Gabriel melodies. It’s an ideal record for musical theater fans looking for a change of pace.

• Tanerélle, Republic Records latest signee, is preparing to release a new EP, “Electric Honey.” The Atlanta singer-songwriter’s strength is her rich vocal tone — classic and futuristic-sounding in the same breathy delivery of her grounded R&B. She might be a new name to some, but she’s already landed some impressive co-signs in the form of A-list syncs: Her music has been used in Spike Lee’s “She’s Gotta Have It” and Issa Rae’s great HBO drama “Insecure.”

“Pepito y Paquito” by Paco de Lucía and Pepe de Lucía. Courtesy of BMG

• And now for something completely different: On Friday, May 31, BMG Records will release “Pepito y Paquito,” the earliest collection of recorded material from flamenco legends Paco de Lucía and Pepe de Lucía — restored partially by using AI technology — originally captured when they were 11 and 13 years old, respectively. (Before working under their own names, they were known as “Pepito y Paquito.”) There’s a lot to love here, but begin with “Me Falta La Resistencia,” the boys’ adaptation of the La Repompa de Málaga tango.

AP Music Writer Maria Sherman

“Fixer Upper: The Lake House” debuts June 2 on Magnolia Network, “The Life and Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson” airs June 1 and 2 on Lifetime, and “We Are Lady Parts” premieres May 30 on Peacock. Courtesy of Magnolia Network, Lifetime, Peacock


• It’s 1980s New York in the new Netflix series “Eric” and Benedict Cumberbatch plays a curmudgeon puppeteer named Vincent with a crumbling marriage. When Vincent’s son Edgar goes missing, he becomes obsessed with finishing a puppet that the boy was drawing, convinced it’s key to bringing him home. “Eric” premieres Thursday on Netflix.

• Peacock’s acclaimed British musical comedy “We Are Lady Parts” returns for a second season on Thursday. It follows the members of a female all-Muslim rock band in London. The new episodes pick up after a time jump. Lady Parts now has fans, a rival music group to compete with, and they’re gearing up to release a full album. Activist Malala Yousafzai makes a guest appearance in the new episodes.

• A new Lifetime docuseries called “The Life and Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson” shares details of her life before she and Ron Goldman were murdered outside her home, 30 years ago on June 12, 1994. Her ex-husband, O.J. Simpson, was acquitted of their murders after a lengthy trial that aired live on TV. Simpson, who died in April from cancer, always maintained his innocence. The two-part docuseries premieres June 1 and 2 on Lifetime and will stream on Both parts will be available for purchase on VOD platforms.

• Chip and Joanna Gaines get a taste of #lakelife with their latest project filmed for TV. They’re fixing up a midcentury modern lake house near Lake Waco, just in time for the 10-year anniversary of “Fixer Upper” on HGTV. “Fixer Upper: The Lakehouse” premieres Sunday, June 2, on the Magnolia Network and HGTV. It will also stream the same day on Max and Discovery+.

Alicia Rancilio

Video games

• For 25 years, Super Smash Bros. has owned its self-created category — goofy, family-friendly, multiplayer brawling — because none of Nintendo’s competitors have its deep bench of characters. Warner Bros. Games could mount a serious challenge, though, with MultiVersus. Why not team up Wonder Woman and Jason Voorhees vs. Bugs Bunny and Steven Universe? And have them fight it out in the Batcave or the throne room from “Game of Thrones”? And it’s free-to-play, although WB hopes you’ll spend cash on season passes and cosmetic upgrades. The initial roster has a couple of dozen fighters, and who knows how far WB will dig into its massive film library? Dirty Harry and The Exorcist go toe-to-toe in Casablanca? The battle begins Thursday on PlayStation 5/4, Xbox Series X/S/One and PC.

Lou Kesten

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