The new show on Netflix:
“The Chef Show” (Season 2, Vol. 1, Netflix Documentary)
Premise: Actor and director Jon Favreau hosts and directs this docu-series with chef Roy Choi, who created the Korean Mexican taco truck Kogi. The two travel to different famous food spots and make something to eat with renowned chefs.
The series is somewhat of a spinoff from Favreau’s 2014 fictional movie “Chef.” Choi served as a food consultant on that film and trained Favreau to cook for his leading role. The duo wanted to continue the relationship and got to do so with this passion project-type show.
Individual episodes don’t have many location changes and mostly take place in a kitchen as Choi, Favreau and a guest chef make a dish and talk about the craft.
Netflix descriptor: “Witty”
How it starts: The show has a brief animated opening of a food truck with the “Chef Show” logo barreling down a hilly road. Then there are establishing shots of the pots and pans in a bakery called Milk Bar. The animated truck zooms down the road a bit more before parking in a miniature model of Los Angeles, the city where this particular Milk Bar is located.
Runtime: This new batch of episodes (called Season 2, Vol. 1) runs five episodes of roughly 30 minutes.
Of note: The first episode of this new season/volume starts with chef Christina Tosi and her bakery, Milk Bar. The bakery had previously earned criticism for its popular dessert once named “Crack Pie,” given the insensitive optics of a white baker naming a dessert after a drug that ruined the lives of so many Black people amid the war on drugs.
The episode features a blackboard advertising Crack Pie in the background, although Netflix edited that blackboard out of the preview image on the homepage.
Here’s a screenshot of the show with the sign in the background:
And here’s the homepage preview with a hand-drawn birthday cake instead:
It’s not clear why the image of the blackboard got edited only on the homepage. Promotional photos also still feature the original blackboard with Crack Pie.
In early 2019, Tosi renamed the dessert “Milk Bar Pie.”
Bonus: Netflix added a full episode of the show from a previous season/volume to YouTube. This episode featured Seth Rogen as a guest.
Not a Netflix Original, but Netflix also added “The Good Place” (Season 4)
Shows from earlier in the month
“Challenger: The Final Flight” (Netflix Documentary)
Premise: This docu-series focuses on the events leading up to and the aftermath of NASA’s space shuttle Challenger disaster. The series pairs archival footage with reenactments and new interviews. The four episodes aim to answer how this happened and illustrate what was lost.
Of note: The third season of the Netflix Original series “GLOW” actually started with a plotline about the Challenger disaster if you want a more dramatized take on what the explosion meant for the country.
Netflix descriptors: “Provocative” and “investigative”
How it starts: The camera focuses on the rolling wheel of a media cart as a teacher pushes it across a beige floor. In a reenactment, the teacher turns on the 1980s-era television at the front of a classroom. The television plays a live report of the Challenger launch from Jan. 28, 1986.
The camera cuts to the back of the class to show students watching and hearing that a teacher was on board.
Runtime: Four episodes of roughly 45 minutes
Bonus: The New York Times created its own mini-doc about the disaster in 2014. That project is on YouTube.
Note: “Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous” and “Ratched” are popular enough releases to include in this list, but both earned bad reviews. Nevertheless, here are those trailers.
“Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous” (Netflix Family)
“Ratched” (Netflix Original)
“Away” (Netflix Original)
Premise: In this space drama, a team of astronauts goes on the first mission to Mars. Hilary Swank plays the protagonist, the leader of the international team of astronauts. She leaves her husband and daughter for the risky three-year voyage. The show centers on the balance between known sacrifices and unexpected existential obstacles.
Setting: Across the Earth and space in a mission to Mars.
Netflix descriptors: “Emotional” and “exciting”
How it starts: Cerebral electronic music plays over a shot of Earth in space. A giant hand in an astronaut suit reaches over the screen, and the suited fingers wrap around the globe. The camera pivots to Swank’s character in the astronaut suit, standing on the Moon. She smiles to herself and then shifts to jogging over the low gravity terrain. She reaches a ridge and the camera overlooks a lunar base.
Notable cast: Josh Charles, Ato Essandoh, Mark Ivanir, Ray Panthaki, Hilary Swank and Vivian Wu
Runtime: 10 episodes of roughly 50 minutes
Bonus: Netflix has an alternate trailer series called “What the F**k Is...” for people who don’t think trailers are edgy enough. Here’s the video Netflix did for “Away.”
“Young Wallander” (Netflix Original)
Premise: In this dark crime thriller based on the fictional character Kurt Wallander, a Swedish detective investigates his first case. This show is an origin story for Wallander, while other screen adaptations of the character have focused on him as an older man.
The Wallander character comes from the mystery novels of Henning Mankell.
Setting: Contemporary Sweden
Netflix descriptors: “Exciting” and “suspenseful”
How it starts: Pulsing rock music plays while the camera speeds overhead along a road in pouring rain. The camera finds a cop car and pivots down to focus on an officer in the passenger seat ― the young Wallander.
Notable cast: Leanne Best, Ellise Chappell, Richard Dillane and Adam Pålsson
Runtime: Six episodes of roughly 50 minutes
Bonus: Here’s the trailer for the 2008 first season of the popular BBC One show “Wallander.”
All the shows that have joined Netflix this month:
- “Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices” (Netflix Family)
- “Borgen” (Seasons 1-3)
- “The Boss Baby: Get That Baby!” (Netflix Family)
- “The Promised Neverland” (Season 1)
- “Sister, Sister” (Seasons 1-6)
- “True: Friendship Day” (Netflix Family)
- “Bad Boy Billionaires: India” (Netflix Documentary)
- “Chef’s Table: BBQ” (Netflix Documentary)
- “Young Wallander” (Netflix Original)
- “Away” (Netflix Original)
- “Spirit Riding Free: Riding Academy” (Part 2, Netflix Family)
- “Record of Youth” (Netflix Original)
- “StarBeam” (Season 2, Netflix Family)
- “Get Organized with The Home Edit” (Netflix Original)
- “La Línea: Shadow of Narco” (Netflix Documentary)
- “The Gift” (Season 2, Netflix Original)
- “Greenleaf” (Season 5)
- “The Idhun Chronicles” (Netflix Anime)
- “Julie and the Phantoms” (Netflix Family)
- “The Duchess” (Netflix Original)
- “Family Business” (Season 2, Netflix Original)
- “Girlfriends” (Seasons 1-8)
- “Pokémon Journeys: The Series” (Part 2, Netflix Family)
- “America’s Book of Secrets” (Season 2)
- “Ancient Aliens” (Season 3)
- “Cold Case Files Classic” (Season 1)
- “The Curse of Oak Island” (Season 4)
- “Izzy’s Koala World” (Netflix Family)
- “Pawn Stars” (Season 2)
- “The Rap Game” (Season 2)
- “Taco Chronicles” (Volume 2, Netflix Original)
- “The Universe” (Season 2)
- “Baby” (Season 3, Netflix Original)
- “Challenger: The Final Flight” (Netflix Documentary)
- “Criminal: UK” (Season 2, Netflix Original)
- “MeatEater” (Season 9, Netflix Original)
- “Signs” (Season 2, Netflix Original)
- “Sing On!” (Netflix Original)
- “Dragon’s Dogma” (Netflix Anime)
- “The Last Word” (Netflix Original)
- “American Barbecue Showdown” (Netflix Original)
- “Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous” (Netflix Family)
- “Ratched” (Netflix Original)
- “Chico Bon Bon: Monkey with a Tool Belt” (Season 3, Netflix Family)
- “Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father” (Season 4, Netflix Original)
- “Mighty Express” (Netflix Family)
- “The Playbook” (Netflix Documentary)
- “The Chef Show” (Season 2, Netflix Documentary)
- “Country-ish” (Netflix Original)
- “A Perfect Crime” (Netflix Documentary)
- “The School Nurse Files” (Netflix Original)
- “Sneakerheads” (Netflix Original)
- “The Good Place” (Season 4)