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Inside Streaming (Aug 16th, 2019)

1. Netflix announced a release date for the "To All the Boys I've Loved Before" sequel, as well as a third film wrapping up the series. The films are based on the Jenny Han trilogy of young adult books, about high school student Lara Jean and the chaos that erupts after her secret love letters are actually sent to their intended recipients. Lana Condor plays Lara Jean in the series, opposite Noah Centineo as one of the objects of her affection, Peter Kavinsky. The second film, "To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You," will hit Netflix on February 12; the third, "To All the Boys: Always and Forever, Lara Jean," is already in production. – DEADLINE

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2. FOLLOW FRIDAY: THE ULTIMATE "INSIDE STREAMING" FOLLOW LIST

Something a bit different today... Instead of encouraging you to follow one account, I'm encouraging you to follow an entire Twitter List. I'm going to compile the 100 most essential accounts that every streaming film, TV, and video fan should be following on social media, with constant updates based on great new finds and suggestions from readers like you!

I've started off the list here, filling in everyone who's ever been featured here as a Follow Friday and a few of the big streaming platforms to get it started. But I want to hear from you, the Inside Streaming readers. What do you think are some accounts that are absolutely must-followers for everyone in our little community? Hit REPLY on this very email and let me know what you think, and I'll add your suggestions to the Master List!

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3. WHAT'S NEW ON STREAMING TODAY?

MINDHUNTER: Just under two years after the first season premiered, Netflix's period thriller -- based on the true story of the FBI's entry into criminal profiling -- returns for a second season. [Netflix]

DIAGNOSIS: Netflix's new documentary series is based on the New York Times column of the same name, about the (sometimes crowdsourced) search for answers about rare and mysterious medical conditions. Dr. Lisa Sanders, the Yale University School of Medicine associate professor who writes the column, also appears in the series. [Netflix]

QB1: BEYOND THE LIGHTS: Netflix's sports documentary series -- which follows up-and-coming quarterbacks through their final high school seasons -- returns with a third batch of new episodes. Among the new season's subjects is Lance LeGendre, who signed with the Maryland Terrapins in February. [Netflix]

INVADER ZIM: ENTER THE FLORPUS: Ambitious extraterrestrial Zim, his malfunctioning robot GIR and his arch-nemesis Dib all return from the early '00s Nickelodeon series "Invader Zim" for this new animated feature. [Netflix]

SEXTUPLETS: Marlon Wayans plays six different characters in this wacky comedy about a man meeting his adult siblings for the first time. [Netflix]

SACRED GAMES: Netflix's (excellent!) first original series from India, a cop thriller based on Vikram Chandra's 2006 novel, returns for a second season.

45 RPM: Spanish drama series, set in '60s Madrid, about a love triangle that forms among the founders of a new record label. [Netflix]

APACHE: LA VIDA DE CARLOS TÉVEZ: Scripted series from Argentina dramatizing the rough and tumble early life of the soccer star. [Netflix]

BETTER THAN US: In this Russian sci-fi series -- which aired locally on state TV network C1R -- a dysfunctional family receives a service android that may have secretly developed artificial intelligence and emotions. [Netflix]

GREEN FRONTIER (FRONTERA VERDE): In this Spanish-language thriller series from Colombia, two detectives investigate a series of strange homicides that took place deep in the Amazon, and may involve a mysterious indigenous tribe. [Netflix]

THE LITTLE SWITZERLAND (LA PEQUEÑA SUIZA): In this comedy feature from Spain, residents of a small village in Basque Country discover the tomb of William Tell's son and try to get annexed by Switzerland. [Netflix]

VICTIM NUMBER 8: This mystery/crime series airs on ETB 2 in its native Spain. It centers on the police investigation into a terrorist bombing in Bilbao's Old Town. [Netflix]

SUPER MONSTERS BACK TO SCHOOL: In this new half-hour animated special, the Super Monsters welcome a new classmate named Vida. [Netflix]

JIM GAFFIGAN: QUALITY TIME: Jim Gaffigan's seventh comedy special also marks Amazon Prime's first foray into original stand-up. It was shot (by Gaffigan's wife and frequent collaborator, Jeannie Gaffigan) in March at the State Theater in Minneapolis. [Amazon Prime Video]

PHOTOGRAPH: Writer/director Ritesh Batra's romantic drama stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui as a struggling Mumbai street photographer who enlists a shy student (Sanya Malhotra) to pose as his fiancee, in an effort to please his overzealous grandmother. [Amazon Prime Video]

THE AMAZING JOHNATHAN DOCUMENTARY: This documentary about the final tour of late comedian, magician and performance artist John Edward Szeles (aka the Amazing Johnathan) takes a number of strange turns, as filmmaker Ben Berman struggles to separate fact from illusion. [Hulu]

FIND ME IN PARIS: In this fantasy drama series for teens, a Russian princess from the year 1905 finds herself trapped in the year 2018. The second season hits Hulu today. [Hulu]

GINA BRILLON: EASILY OFFENDED: The Bronx native -- a breakout star from HBO Latino's comedy series "Entre Nos" -- stars in her first solo stand-up special. [HBO]

THE RIGHTEOUS GEMSTONES: The team behind HBO's "Eastbound and Down" and "Vice Principals" -- Danny McBride, Jody Hill, and David Gordon Green -- reunite for this comedy series about a dysfunctional family of televangelists. McBride stars alongside John Goodman, Edi Patterson, and Adam DeVine. [HBO, Sunday]

BALL IN THE FAMILY: FB's reality series -- about the personal and professional lives of basketball entrepreneur LaVar Ball, his wife Tina and their sons Lonzo, LiAngelo, and LaMelo -- returns for a fifth season. [Facebook Watch, Sunday]

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4. The fifth season of the period British crime series "Peaky Blinders" will debut on Netflix on October 4. The show airs on the BBC in the UK, where the new season will premiere on August 25. It's been about two years since the premiere of the acclaimed fourth season, which was the show's highest-rated to date and picked up the BAFTA for Best Drama Series. The six-episode fifth season kicks off with the Wall Street crash of 1929. While the show has not been formally renewed for a Season 6, creator Steven Knight told Deadline that he's already writing the next batch of episodes. – DEADLINE

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FICTIONAL FRIDAY: "WU ASSASSINS" ON NETFLIX

Netflix's new martial arts-heavy fantasy-action series "Wu Assassins" draws heavy inspiration from over-the-top Hong Kong action flicks and anime, and should be approached in the same spirit. Though the show at times resembles US crime dramas -- like the Marvel adaptations that until recently dotted Netflix's line-up -- its heart really isn't into the gritty gangland tropes that largely define the genre.

Yes, there are cruel underworld kingpins and daring undercover cops, brutal Triad enforcers and chop shops where secret arms deals go down. By the end of the first episode, we're treated to some execution-style murders in a shipping container. But there's really very little about "Wu Assassins" that feels true-to-life or grounded. This is a pure flight-of-fancy, a live-action cartoon that gives several very talented martial artists and fight choreographers a chance to shine. On that level, I found it largely entertaining.

Iko Uwais (best known for "The Raid" films) stars as Kai Jin, a food truck chef in San Francisco with dreams of opening his own restaurant. He was raised by the pompous and casually cruel Triad boss Uncle Six (Byron Mann) but has spurned him as an adult, rejecting him and the criminal life. That is until he's suddenly possessed by the spirits of 1,000 dead monks and appointed the Earth's new Wu Assassin. You see, the Wu are five people -- criminals, in our own time -- who each have the supernatural ability to control one of five elements: fire, water, metal, wood, and Earth. (This is a weird way to divide up elements, right? Shouldn't "air" be in there somewhere?) And now, unsuspecting Kai is the only one who can stop them.

A LOT of thought has clearly been invested in building out the mythology and the world of "Wu Assassins." It's an original concept by the show's co-creator, John Wirth (who previously served as showrunner on AMC's railroad drama "Hell on Wheels"), but there's SO MUCH backstory here, it feels like it could've been inspired by an anime or manga series. There are realms that exist outside of the flow of time, beings from other dimensions who help Kai to train, rules and rituals and prophecies and on and on. I preferred this material to the more generic "tough guys shouting at one another that they want their money" scenes but it still feels like probably more detail than we really needed (and stretches the effects budget about as far as it could possibly go). As with a lot of action-oriented Netflix series, "Wu Assassins" can feel like a great 5 or 6-episode limited series padded out into a full TV season.

But all of this is secondary to the main appeal of the show: the fights. There are at least one or two really savage, bone-crunching showdowns per episode, and they're shot (by a variety of directors) in long takes, with graceful camera movements that really showcase the physicality and performances. For all of the show's faults, it needed to get the martial arts right, and it did.

THE BASICS

Title: "Wu Assassins"
Where to Watch: Netflix
Episodes: 10 (1 season)
Running time: 45-55 minutes each
Genre: Fantasy-action

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6. Aubrey Plaza will star in the comedy film "Hope" for Netflix. New Zealand filmmakers Jackie van Beek and Madeleine Sami will direct the film, which is currently being scripted by "Legally Blonde" and "10 Things I Hate About You" writers Karen McCullah & Kirsten “Kiwi” Smith. Van Beek and Sami previously helmed the comedy "The Breaker Upperers," which debuted at SXSW in March of 2018. – DEADLINE

[I have not yet seen "The Breaker Upperers," about two women who start a business that aids couples in breaking up, but it's available to stream on Netflix if you're curious. - Lon]

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7. "Raising Dion," a new Netflix sci-fi family drama series, will debut on October 4. Alisha Wainwright plays a single mother who finds that her son, Dion, has developed supernatural abilities. Michael B. Jordan will appear as the boy's late father, while Jason Ritter plays a family friend who helps them keep their secret. The series is based on a comic book by Dennis Liu; "Falling Skies" and "UnReal" vet Carol Barbee will serve as showrunner. – DEADLINE

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8. Netflix ordered an animated action-comedy series for adults about Elvis Presley working as a covert government agent. "Agent King" was co-created by Presley's widow, Priscilla, and John Eddie, and will be produced by Sony Animation. "Archer" writer Mike Arnold will serve as showrunner, while John Varvatos will design Elvis' outfits for the series and serve as a consulting producer. The series takes place in an alternate reality where Elvis keeps up appearances as The King of Rock 'n' Roll during the day, but by night, works as a spy protecting America from all manner of dark and shadowy threats. – VARIETY

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9. If you want a "Mindhunter" refresher course before jumping into Season 2 (forgivable, as it's been 2 years since the first season premiered), our very own Inside Media writer Eve Batey put together this very thorough synopsis for Primetimer. 

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10. According to CBS News, about 20 percent of US funeral homes now offer live-streamed memorial services to family members who can't make it to the ceremony.

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Lon Harris is the writer and editor of Inside Streaming, and was the very first person to ever write an Inside newsletter. He lives in Los Angeles, California, and also writes about TV and film for Fandom, Screen Junkies, Rotten Tomatoes, Gamma Ray and others. He competes on The Movie Trivia Schmoedown as "The Professor." You can follow him on Twitter @lons

Edited by Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside).

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