After two blockbuster months of film and television releases in a row, February might feel like a bit of an entertainment underdog. But everyone loves an underdog, right? This month’s roundup features the return of beloved series, like “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” that battled pandemic delays to finally get made, a Madea film that almost didn’t get made, and a millennial-geared revival of the animated series “The Proud Family.”
February’s list also includes a selection of notable indie films and shows helmed by distinctive female voices, such as multi-hyphenate Pamela Aldon and the world-champion boxer Kali Reis.
‘RuPaul’s Drag Race: UK Versus the World’
With the already popular season 14 of “Drag Race” underway, RuPaul turns her attention to total world domination. “RuPaul’s Drag Race: UK Versus the World” is essentially an international “All Stars,” featuring franchise alumni from around the world, battling it out for the title of “Queen of the Mothertucking World” — not to be confused with “Queen of the Universe,” another recent addition to the RuPaul portfolio. As the name implies, the U.K. is given top billing, acting as the host nation and supplying three of the nine competing queens, in addition to half of the judging panel. The other queens, all stars in their own right, hail from the U.S., Canada, Holland and Thailand.
“RuPaul’s Drag Race: UK Versus the World” season one premieres in the U.S. on WOW Presents Plus on Feb. 1.
‘Pam & Tommy’
Well before Kim Kardashian’s sex tape launched a reality TV dynasty, an X-rated recording of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee sparked one of the internet’s first viral moments. The new series “Pam & Tommy” looks back on the scandal and the couple’s whirlwind romance. As the story goes, the “Baywatch” star (played by Lily James) and the Mötley Crüe drummer (played by Sebastian Stan) were married in 1995, after just a few days of knowing each other. The next year, a porn star turned electrician (Seth Rogan) and his lesbian-leaning, bisexual porn star wife (Taylor Schilling) stole the tape the newlyweds had recorded during their honeymoon and enlisted an industry buddy (Nick Offerman) to help distribute it. The stolen tape eventually made its way online and forever changed the adult-entertainment landscape.
“Pam & Tommy” season one premieres on Hulu on Feb. 2.
“Anne+,” a film sequel to the Dutch show of the same name, is primed to make a big splash among queer audiences when it lands on Netflix this month. Picking up where the series ended, 20-something Anne (Hanna van Vliet) has left behind the chaotic days of dating her way through Amsterdam’s queer scene and settled into a long-term relationship with her girlfriend, Sara (Jouman Fattal). She’s in the process of packing up to move with Sara to Montreal when a couple of curveballs are thrown her way. For one, Sara wants them to explore a polyamorous relationship and, for another, a nonbinary drag artist named Lou (Thorn Roos de Vries) has caught Anne’s eye.
The film reunites series creator-director team Maud Wiemeijer and Valerie Bisscheroux, who co-wrote the film with van Vliet. Those unfamiliar with their original collaboration can watch the two seasons of the show on Netflix before the film debuts.
“Anne+” will be available on Netflix on Feb. 11.
‘Catch the Fair One’
World-champion boxer Kali “KO Mequinonoag” Reis stars in the gritty sex-trafficking thriller that captured the Audience Award for best narrative feature at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival. Reis plays Kaylee Uppashaw, an Indigenous boxer whose life has taken a difficult turn following the disappearance of her younger sister, Weeta, and a career-ending injury. Kaylee — long-separated from her girlfriend and estranged from her mother — has little to lose when she gets a tip about Weeta’s whereabouts and decides to embed herself in a trafficking ring, in hopes of finding her sister.
Reis, a vocal supporter of the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls movement who co-wrote the script with director Josef Kubota Wladyka, is nominated for a Film Independent Spirit Award for best female lead for her performance.
“Catch the Fair One” premieres in theaters Feb. 11.
After a substantial Covid-related hiatus, “Dollface” — an ensemble comedy starring Kat Dennings, Shay Mitchell, Brenda Song and Esther Povitsky — returns for a second season. This time, it isn’t just Jules (Dennings) who is in need of a major life overhaul. As the season opens, the foursome of friends is emerging into their new post-pandemic reality, staring down a not-so-glamorous end to their 20s. Looking to shake things up, Stella (Mitchell) entertains going into business with a queer bar owner named Liv, played by none other than former late-night TV host Lilly Singh. Based on the season’s trailer, which shows the friends standing in front of a wall of strap-ons, Stella might get more than just a business partner out of the deal.
“Dollface” season two premieres on Hulu on Feb. 11.
Socialite-grifter Anna Delvey became a household name following a 2018 New York Magazine exposé, detailing how Delvey, born Anna Sorokin, conned her way into the lives and wallets of Manhattan’s wealthy elite. The new Netflix limited series “Inventing Anna,” from creator Shonda Rhimes, imagines what was going on behind the scenes of the explosive article. “Ozark” star Julia Garner, in the titular role, does her best to mimic the distinctive accent and je ne sais quoi that enabled Delvey to scam her way to infamy. And, alongside the other figures from Delvey’s inner circle, Laverne Cox plays Kacy Duke, the celebrity trainer and life coach who became embroiled in scandal after a group trip to Morocco.
“Inventing Anna” season one premieres on Netflix on Feb. 11.
‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and its ensemble cast, led by Rachel Brosnahan, are back with more bubbly misadventures scored to big band tunes. After the last season wrapped in 2019 — and the show became one of many to suffer pandemic delays — its enthusiastic fans have been clamoring for a new installment. Season three ended on an unusually sour note for the series, with Midge (Brosnahan) facing the repercussions of publicly outing the popular singer Shy Baldwin (LeRoy McClain), who was featuring her as his opening act. What she doesn’t know, yet, is that her manager, Susie (Alex Borstein), has gambled away the money Midge was counting on to buy her old apartment.
While last season’s ending sets up quite the desperate scenario, Midge appears as spirited as ever in the season four trailer, announcing to Susie that she’s done with opening acts. (You just can’t keep a good woman down, it seems.) One of the fresh faces this season is Gideon Glick (“Marriage Story”), joining the star-studded cast in a recurring role.
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” season four premieres on Amazon Prime Video on Feb. 18.
‘The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder’
The Proud family is getting a 2020s upgrade in the new revival series for Disney+. The original animated series and its spunky heroine, Penny Proud, were popular fixtures of early aughts television, so the new show has already scored high points for nostalgia among millennials, many of whom now have kids. But, to make the show more appealing to current audiences — whose preferences have dramatically evolved from the early 2000s — co-creators Bruce W. Smith and Ralph Farquhar have introduced a handful of new, queer characters. Billy Porter and Zachary Quinto voice Randall and Barry, a gay couple who are dads to Maya (Keke Palmer), an outspoken 14-year-old activist who befriends Penny. EJ Johnson, the gender-nonconforming TV personality and child of Magic Johnson, is also joining the series as Michael, a new character described as a “nonconforming trendsetter.”
“The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder” season one premieres on Disney+ on Feb. 23.
When “Killing Eve” premiered in 2018, sapphic-themed television had a different place in entertainment than it does now. Those were the days before “Dickinson” and “Euphoria,” when it was much less common to see mainstream female stars play opposite a same-sex love interest. And “Killing Eve,” despite pulling on some of the more unflattering sapphic stereotypes — like the toxic May-September romance and the predatory lesbian — did a lot to change that.
Now, the trail-blazing show is coming to an end with its fourth and final season. Eve, a British intelligence agent played by Sandra Oh, and Villanelle, a psychopathic international assassin played by Jodie Comer, are still locked in the same game of cat and mouse that they’ve been playing for years. While the two have long been dancing around taking their mutual obsession with each other further, they still haven’t consummated the relationship — despite Villanelle being a card-carrying lesbian and Eve, well, really wanting to. Fans will be rooting for the pair to finally break more than professional boundaries as the chapter finally closes on “Killing Eve.”
“Killing Eve” season four premieres in the U.S. on AMC+ on Feb. 27 and AMC the following day.
‘Tyler Perry’s A Madea Homecoming’
Tyler Perry isn’t done with Madea, just yet. After saying goodbye to the franchise at the beginning of 2020, with “Madea’s Farewell Tour,” Perry was inspired to once again reprise the role amid the particularly humorless onset of the pandemic. In the new film, Madea welcomes her clan into town to celebrate the graduation of her great-grandson, Tim (Brandon Black). But, as is often the case, the matriarch will have to keep family drama at bay if she wants to preserve the gathering’s festive mood.
A dozen films in, “Tyler Perry’s A Madea Homecoming” is the first in the franchise to feature an openly gay character, which Perry has revealed is the source of conflict in the film. Joining Perry for this momentous event are familiar faces Tamela J. Mann, David Mann and Cassi Davis (Aunt Bam), as well as the Irish actor Brendan O’Carroll, in a guest role.
“A Madea Homecoming” premieres on Netflix on Feb. 27.
Pamela Aldon is saying goodbye to her award-winning FX comedy series “Better Things,” in its fifth and final season. In addition to running things behind the scenes, Aldon plays the semi-autobiographical character Sam Fox, a working actor and single mother who stumbles more often than she succeeds in her attempts to raise three children and stay sane. While Sam has had her ups and downs with all of the kids, some of her biggest learning experiences — and most poignant moments — have been shared with middle child Frankie (Hannah Alligood), whose gender exploration has been a central storyline in the series. Going into the final season, Frankie’s character arc is at the top of the list of things that Aldon needs to tie up to give fans a proper sendoff.
“Better Things” season five premieres on FX on Feb. 28.
In case you missed it…
Despite its sci-fi presentation, the premise behind HBO’s viral, apocalypse hit “Station Eleven,” doesn’t feel too far off from present-day reality. Based on the award-winning novel of the same name by the Canadian writer Emily St. John Mandel, the series revolves around a killer flu that wipes out most of the population. In the fallout, the few people left alive band together based on their collective interests — at first, merely for survival and later to amass power, art and other trappings of the civilized world. The main character, Kirsten (Mackenzie Davis), is just 8 when the flu hits. Twenty years later, during the show’s present day, she’s a modelesque, fierce protector who seems to have seduced most of the members of her community, in one way or another.
“Station Eleven” season one is available on HBO Max.
When childhood friends Amy (Eliza Coupe), Jodie (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Sarah (Maggie Q) lose the fourth member of their group, they band closer together — even as their lives seem to be falling apart. Sarah takes the loss particularly hard and resolves not to settle for a life of playing it safe: She quits her job as a surgeon and takes a gig bagging groceries, while she figures the rest out. On the upside, along with a lack of disposable income, she now has the mental space to start getting over her still financially dependent ex-wife.
“Pivoting” season one is available on FOX and Hulu.
Twenty-five years after the first “Scream” film, the campy horror franchise about a knife-wielding serial killer who wears an Edvard Munch-inspired mask is back for its fifth installment. The film returns to its 1996 roots as a new killer emerges in the quiet, fictional town of Woodsboro, California, and pulls the original survivors back into its murderous orbit. But this time, rather than being queer-coded, the film will celebrate its LGBTQ legacy out in the open: In anticipation of the film’s release and after decades of queer readings, “Scream” creator Kevin Williamson confirmed that the franchise’s storyline is, indeed, a metaphor for gay survival.
Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette reprise their original roles alongside “Yellowjackets” breakout star Jasmin Savoy Brown, “Better Things” actor Mikey Madison and other fresh faces.
“Scream” is available in theaters and on demand.
‘How I Met Your Father’
Nearly eight years after “How I Met Your Mother” ended its nine-season run on CBS, Hulu has debuted “How I Met Your Father,” a new sequel series set in the same universe but tackling more contemporary concerns. Hilary Duff stars as the main character, Sophie (Kim Cattrall, in the future), who is making her way in New York City with the help of a close-knit group of friends. Comedian Tien Tran (“Work in Progress”) plays Ellen, a recent divorcée who falls in with the group as she’s about to tackle the most daunting thing of all: navigating the city’s queer dating scene.
“How I Met Your Father” is available on Hulu.
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