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New Releases Round-up 5/15 – 5/21

Title: Twin Peaks (season 3)

Network: Showtime

26 years after an untimely cancellation, David Lynch’s cult phenomenon is making a return on premium cable, reuniting just about every inhabitant of the titular Pacific Northwest logging town you can remember, with a sizable group of noteworthy new additions to the cast to boot. The almost three-year-long road from announcement of the 18-episode revival to the imminent premiere has been shrouded in immense secrecy, with a slew of cast members stating in interviews that they have absolutely no idea what the new season is about. Returning lead Kyle MacLachlan is reportedly the only actor attached to have been given a full script for the season. The Showtime network is positioning the season as a return of the series that gave birth to “prestige TV,” and while it is true that the modern obsession with suspiciously-dead young women in serialized drama (seen in shows like The Killing, and Bloodline, aped perfectly in the “Dead Girl Town” skits on Kroll Show) can be traced back to Peaks, the series at the time was more than anything David Lynch’s off-putting riff on daytime soap operas, fully entrenched in the traditions of TV programs of that era. No show produced in the “golden age” of TV since has had a brain like Lynch at the helm, and with the filmmaker having directed all 18 upcoming episodes, we’ll likely see that this new show is much more concerned with the presentation of his warped vision than with cementing any kind of “prestige” status for the series. Premieres Sunday, May 21st.

Title: Alien: Covenant

Director: Ridley Scott

Distributor: 20th Century Fox

Because film executives are evidently convinced that no horror movie has ever benefitted from a sense of mystery or unknowingness, the quest to explain everything once left unexplained (and therefore scary) about Alien continues with Alien: Covenant, the sequel to the series’ first prequel from 2012 Prometheus. Ridley Scott is returning again to direct this entry, coming off another foray into space with 2015’s The Martian, a reasonably entertaining and light sci-fi adventure that was remarkable for the sake of being one of the few movies from the director since Blade Runner in 1982 that could be reasonably called great. Denis Villeneuve, one of the most promising directors working today, has been given the reins to the sequel to THAT film (Blade Runner 2049, coming in October), a move that one wishes could have been duplicated for one of these new Alien films. Nevertheless, Scott appears to be soldiering on with the franchise, telling USA Today that he’s “not letting it go this time.” Michael Fassbender returns to the cast, with Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, and Demian Bichir rounding out the new additions to the ensemble. In Theaters Thursday, May 18th.

Title: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (season 3)

Platform: Netflix

The third season of Netflix’s comedy series returns this week for another 13 episodes of humorous re-adjustment to modern living for the titular cult escapee. The show, from the creative team of Tina Fey and Robert Carlock that produced the beloved 30 Rock on NBC (the same network that passed on the first season of Kimmy Schmidt), has proven to be equally adept at absurdist/non-sequitur humor (Fred Armisen returns this season as Robert Durst, yes THAT Robert Durst) and dealing with issues of trauma and otherness. It’s a sitcom in the classic breed that treats its characters as affectionately as its comic detours, and with a cast of recurring and guest stars that continues to impress and aid it’s already masterful comic ensemble of Ellie Kemper, Tituss Burgess, Carol Kane and Jane Krakowski, this newest season is looking to be another great run for the series. All episodes available Friday, May 19th.