Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman tear up the screen in ‘Ma Rainey's Black Bottom’

Streaming premieres this week

'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom' debuts Friday
'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom' debuts Friday Photo by David Lee for Netflix

Premieres Wednesday: The Expanse: Season 5 — In the first three of 10 new episodes, Earthers venture out beyond our solar system to seek their destiny. Careful, fellas: The last time we did that, we ended up as Molly Maids for Dr. Zaius. (Amazon Prime)

The Ripper — Not as in Jack, but as in the Yorkshire Ripper, who as seen in this four-part series terrorized 1970s England, murdering a total of 13 women. Forty years later, it's much easier to kill the British: Just give them the COVID vaccine! (Netflix)

Premieres Thursday: Homeschool Musical: Class of 2020 — Laura Benanti produced this documentary series, which shows how high-school theater students surmounted the challenges of the Year of the 'Rona. Boy, it must have sucked to have to sell that crappy intermission orange drink through Uber Eats. (HBO Max)

The Pale Door — The pitch: It's Bordello of Blood meets that lousy episode of Star Trek in which they restage the gunfight at the OK Corral. The fabled Dalton Gang invades a ghost-town brothel, only to find it's actually a witches' coven. Something like this happened to me at Wahlburgers once! (Shudder)

Sesame Street: Holiday at Hooper's — Elmo and Baby Bear raid Hooper's Store to help them celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah. Because nothing says the holidays like beef jerky from the bodega. (HBO Max)

The Stand — The second attempt at adapting Stephen King's post-apocalyptic doorstop was envisioned as a 10-episode miniseries, but had been whittled down to nine episodes by the time writing was finished. "I do not understand this concept," says Stephen King. (CBS All Access)

Premieres Friday: A Creepshow Holiday Special — Titled Shapeshifters Anonymous, the latest Creepshow movie takes us into the workings of a very special support group. And with a name like that, I'm assuming they're some sort of fat-acceptance organization. Pry my McRib from my cold, dead hands! (Shudder)

The Grand Tour Presents: A Massive Hunt — Top Gear expats Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond motor across the difficult terrain of Madagascar in search of a hidden treasure. Translation for the non-British world: "something to colonize." (Amazon Prime)

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom — The late Chadwick Boseman co-stars alongside Viola Davis in an adaptation of the August Wilson classic about blues musicians who trade stories while waiting for an afternoon recording session. Yes, they somehow got 94 minutes out of "Well, I'm broke." "Me too." (Netflix)

On Pointe — Six documentary episodes show young students at New York's School of American Ballet preparing their annual performance of The Nutcracker. In a related subplot, they learn how to fight off subway perverts by going for the crotch. (Disney+)

Premieres Tuesday: You Cannot Kill David Arquette — Following his utterly contrived, short-lived and career-killing stint as WCW Heavyweight Champion in 2000, actor David Arquette tries to make it in the sport as a legitimate wrestler. And yes, I know "legitimate wrestler" is a contradiction in terms. But these days, so is "actor David Arquette." (Hulu)

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