Here’s a collection curated by The Associated Press’ entertainment journalists of what’s arriving on TV, streaming services and music platforms this week.
— The Ryan Reynolds action comedy “Free Guy,” one of the few big-budget original movies to come out in theaters last year, arrives Wednesday on Disney+ as well as on HBO Max. And in Shawn Levy's genially self-aware film, which racked up $331 million at the box office, originality is very much at the heart of a story about a nonplayer videogame character (Reynolds) who breaks free of his coding. While “Free Guy” cribs heavily from movies before it, it derives plenty of agreeable charm from its star, and a number of entertaining co-stars — among them Jodie Comer, Taika Waititi, Lil Rel Howery and Channing Tatum. Naturally, a sequel is in development, which Reynolds announced wryly with the hashtag "#irony."
— Some movies first produced under 20th Century Fox have gone straight to the streaming platform of the Walt Disney Co., which bought the studio in 2019. But the streaming paths of other releases have been harder to track due to some earlier rights agreements. Wes Anderson's anthology film “The French Dispatch," from Fox's renamed specialty label Searchlight Pictures, debuts Friday on Warner Bros.' streamer, HBO Max. Anderson's ode to the New Yorker features a star-studded ensemble including Benicio del Toro, Léa Seydoux, Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, Jeffrey Wright and Bill Murray. In her review, AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr called it “a highly enjoyable, sophisticated and experimental ode to the romantic, and fictionalized idea, of the midcentury heyday of magazines.”
— After 11 previous installments, Tyler Perry's gun-totting grandmother Madea has uprooted to Netflix. In “A Madea Homecoming,” which debuts Friday, Perry brings his long-running character out from retirement, following 2019’s “Madea’s Family Funeral." It's a new streaming home for Madea, who Perry first introduced on stage in 1999. Since 2005's “Diary of a Mad Black Woman,” the Madea movies have grossed more than $550 million at the box office.
— AP Film Writer Jake Coyle
— Tears for Fears — the duo of Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith, who ruled the airwaves in the 1980s with "Everybody Wants to Rule the World” and “Shout” — return with new material Friday after a longish break. How long? Try 17 years. “The Tipping Point” is a 10-track set that combines their trademark pop writing with thoughtful lyrics. The new songs include “Break the Man,” a celebration of women and a call to end patriarchy, and the rocking “My Demons,” an examination of violent extremism. The title track is a heart-wrenching song about watching a loved one drift into dementia, inspired sadly by the experience of Orzabal’s first wife.
— Punk-pop with plenty of eyeliner roars back with a new album from Avril Lavigne. The “Complicated” and “Sk8er Boi” singer offers up ”Love Sux" on Friday, a 12-track set that includes contributions from Machine Gun Kelly, blackbear and Mark Hoppus. It's Lavigne's seventh studio album and marks the first new music to be released from the star since 2019. The first single is “Bite Me,” which features Travis Barker on drums. She newly signed to DTA Records and he's the label head.
— AP Entertainment Writer Mark Kennedy
— Turns out NBC’s “Law & Order,” which aired from 1990 to 2010, was just taking a breather and is back for its 21st season with longtime cast member Sam Waterston as New York D.A. Jack McCoy. Anthony Anderson’s police Det. Kevin Barnard, who came aboard in the show’s latter years, is paired with newcomer Jeffrey Donovan’s Det. Frank Cosgrove. Others joining producer Dick Wolf’s new iteration, debuting 8 p.m. EST Thursday, are Camryn Manheim, Hugh Dancy and Odelya Halevi. Might crossovers with “Law & Order” spinoffs “Special Victims Unit” and “Organized Crime” happen? Anything is possible in the L&O universe, says showrunner Rick Eid.
— It’s common knowledge that Vikings are indomitable, and that’s certainly true on TV. Netflix’s “Vikings: Valhalla,” rising in the wake of the “Vikings” series, is set 100 years later, in the 11th century. The drama is populated by characters based on historical figures, including explorer Leif Eriksson (Sam Corlett), his sister Freydis Eriksdotter (Frida Gustavsson) and Nordic royal Harald Sigurdsson (Leo Suter). Expect action aplenty, including clashes between the Vikings and English and within the ranks of the Norse people themselves over dueling Christian and pagan beliefs. The eight-episode series debuts Friday.
— The perils of Silicon Valley and moxie are on display in “Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber,” debuting 10 p.m. EST Sunday on Showtime. The show dramatizes the business relationship of driven Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick and Texas venture capitalist and mentor Bill Gurley. The seven-episode first season, based on Mike Isaac’s best-selling book of the same name, stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Kalanick, Kyle Chandler as Gurley and Uma Thurman as Arianna Huffington, co-founder of The Huffington Post and former Uber board member. The cast also includes Kerry Bishé and Elisabeth Shue.
— AP Television Writer Lynn Elber
Catch up on AP’s entertainment coverage here: https://apnews.com/apf-entertainment.