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Inside Streaming (Aug 30th, 2019)

Monday is Labor Day in the U.S. and the entire Inside network -- including Streaming -- will be going dark. We'll see you right back here on Tuesday with more news and updates!

1. Media Center app Plex plans to add free, ad-supported programming, as well as the ability to directly purchase subscriptions to third-party streaming services. Plex has signed a deal with Warner Bros. Domestic Television to include an undisclosed amount of the company's library on the free service. Plex's stated goal is to become a central hub for organizing all of a household's digital and streaming content in one searchable library, though there will be some kinds of content -- for example, Netflix series -- that will likely remain unavailable for the time being. CEO Keith Valory told Variety: "75-85% of the content you care about, you’ll get in one beautiful app." Plex built a user base largely through its Media Server software, allowing individuals to organize their personal, digital media libraries. This has given it a reputation, over the years, as a haven for piracy which it's likely hoping to combat. – VARIETY

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2. FOLLOW FRIDAY: @BITCHUATION (AKA STEVEN SODERBERGH)

Psst. Director Steven Soderbergh has a secret not-particularly-well-followed Twitter account that's not even officially verified. (It's him, though.) You can find him here: @bitchuation. I'm not sure what the name means.

Soderbergh sometimes tweets about what he's watching -- recently, it was "Star Wars" on TCM -- but it's just worth following for the random insights and perspective into the mind of one of the great modern American filmmakers.

Soderbergh's latest film, comedy-drama "The Laundromat," stars Meryl Streep, Antonio Banderas, and Gary Oldman. It hits theaters on September 27 and Netflix on October 18. He's also a producer on Amazon's upcoming "The Report," with Adam Driver, and will direct the film "Let Them All Talk" -- also starring Streep -- for HBO Max. Busy guy.

Here are some great Soderbergh film I'd recommend that you can stream:

"Logan Lucky" on Amazon Prime Video
"Side Effects" on Prime Video, plus Vudu and Tubi with ads
"The Informant!" on Netflix
"Magic Mike" on Netflix
"Traffic" on HBO
"Schizopolis" on The Criterion Channel

I've added @Bitchuation to our growing Inside Streaming Twitter list of notable accounts to follow. We're trying to get the list all the way up to 100 members, so hit me up with your suggestions by hitting REPLY on this email or sending me thoughts to lon@inside.com. And thanks for the feedback to our email survey, if you sent one! I'm reading through all of them and enjoying your comments, and I'll do my best to respond to as many of you as I can. - Lon

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3. WHAT'S NEW ON STREAMING TODAY?

CARNIVAL ROW: Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne star in this eight-episode fantasy-mystery series, set in a London where humans and mythological creatures co-exist. Bloom plays a detective investigating a string of murders; Delevingne is the refugee fairy warrior he loves. [Amazon Prime Video]

THE DARK CRYSTAL: AGE OF RESISTANCE: Epic fantasy series from the Jim Henson Company that serves as a prequel to the 1982 film "The Dark Crystal," the first-ever live-action movie to feature no humans on-screen. Featuring the voices of Taron Egerton, Anya Taylor-Joy, Nathalie Emmanuel, and many more. [Netflix]

STYLING HOLLYWOOD: Debut reality series about the personal and professional lives of married duo Jason Bolden and Adair Curtis, who serve as stylist and interior designer (respectively) for a host of celebrity clients. [Netflix]

THE A LIST: British teen drama series originally produced for the BBC's iPlayer platform in the UK. Lisa Ambalavanar stars as Mia, whose perfect summer away at camp is thrown off by the presence of mysterious new girl Amber (Ellie Duckles). [Netflix]

LOCKED UP (VIS A VIS): The crime drama series from Spain centers on Macarena (Maggie Civantos), a naive young woman sentenced to seven years in prison after being manipulated by her boss. The third season hits Netflix today. [Netflix]

THE GOOD BANDIT (UN BANDIDO HONRADO): This Colombian telenovela invented a brand-new genre: the "narco-comedy." Diego Vásquez stars as a repentant drug lord determined to go straight. [Netflix]

CAROLE & TUESDAY: Japanese anime series set on a futuristic, terraformed Mars where most entertainment is created by artificial intelligence. The show follows two humans -- an orphan and an heiress -- who team up to become a musical duo. [Netflix]

LA GRANDE CLASSE: French comedy feature about lifelong best friends who attend a surprisingly wild middle school reunion. [Netflix]

TRUE AND THE RAINBOW KINGDOM: WILD WILD YETIS: The latest special spun off from the animated kids' series, about eight-year-old True and her best friend, Bartleby the Cat, getting in adventures around the Rainbow Kingdom. [Netflix]

MIGHTY LITTLE BHEEM: Netflix's first animated series from India, mainly aimed at preschoolers, is actually the fourth show in an ongoing series about the character Chhota Bheem. In this version, he's a very strong and mischievous toddler. The show is returning for a second season. [Netflix]

S.W.A.T.: CBS' crime drama, starring Shemar Moore as LAPD Sargeant Daniel "Hondo" Harrelson, is based on the iconic '70s cop series. Season 2 hits Hulu today; the third season will premiere on CBS in October. [Hulu]

CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?: Director Marielle Heller's 2018 drama is based on the memoir by author Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy), describing her side career forging letters by prominent, dead writers. The film was nominated for three Oscars: one for Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty's adapted screenplay, and one each for McCarthy and co-star Richard E. Grant. [HBO, Saturday]

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4. An employee from the Old Navy location in Center City, Philadelphia, claims the company bused in white employees to appear in a Season 4 episode of Netflix's "Queer Eye." Old Navy staffer Monae Alvarado posted on Facebook that her store employs "nothing but people of color," who were asked to clean up the store prior to the August 21 "Queer Eye" taping, but were then replaced on camera by white employees from neighboring locations in West Chester, Mount Pocono, and Deptford, New Jersey. In a statement to People, Old Navy acknowledged that the company "worked with additional employees in the area to help ensure the store ran seamlessly for customers," but insisted that "these individuals are reflective of our diverse employee population." Netflix told Newsweek that it had not been informed about any such plans by Old Navy and that it coordinated the shoot along with a black store manager. – PEOPLE

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5. FICTIONAL FRIDAY: "LODGE 49" ON HULU

AMC's "Lodge 49" comes from creator and head writer Jim Gavin, who's a total novice to television, as far as I can tell. He's a prose writer from Los Angeles best known for short stories, some of which have run in The New Yorker and some of which were collected in a volume called "Middle Men."

His series definitely has a fiction writer's touch. It's extraordinarily patient, perfectly content to drop small hints and move on, and give just a whiff of an expansive mythology before proceeding with the main story. It's also focused much more on exploring its characters and their world than any kind of forward momentum or dramatic incident. Most TV shows try to grab you with an exciting, eventful, climactic pilot, letting you know this narrative is going to be an unpredictable thrill ride. But "Lodge 49" is more about seducing you into the show's delicately observant, laid-back, SoCal-inspired pacing. In the first few episodes, the only event that could truly be considered eventful -- or climactic -- concerns the health of an old man. And he's fine.

"Lodge 49" largely concerns a former pool cleaner and surfer dude from Long Beach named Dud (Wyatt Russell, yes, the son of Kurt and Goldie Hawn) who's been through a rough year where he's experienced a lot of loss. A confluence of unexpected events leads him to the fraternal Order of the Lynx, essentially a social club with a bar attached and a strange origin story concerning alchemy and a buried, golden book. (It's not lost on the show that, just like the not-secret secret society itself, the viewer gets hooked in by the promise of larger secrets yet to be revealed.) A dreamer, Dud becomes convinced that this place -- which includes a number of characters whose lives the show will go on to explore -- will help to heal him and set him on the right path.

It's not easy to do "whimsy" in a sustained way like this, on episodic television. There's a delicate balance between being off-beat or quirky and just navel-gazing or self-satisfied. But "Lodge 49" manages to be both dryly absurd, but also extraordinarily down to earth and relatable, full of people who are "everyday" in a way that's not often permitted for television characters. A major sub-plot, for example, concerns Lodge member Ernie Fontaine's (Brent Jennings) job as a plumbing salesman, and the series isn't afraid to really dig into the details of his work and his concerns. (It doesn't hurt that the great Brian Doyle Murray plays his puzzle-obsessed boss.) Russell, Jennings and the rest of the crack ensemble dive into the strange, off-kilter universe. It all feels real to them -- the cocktail of ancient mysticism and bingo night -- so we accept it.

The first season of "Lodge 49" is streaming right now on Hulu. Season 2 is airing now on AMC.

THE BASICS

Title: "Lodge 49"
Where to Watch: Hulu
Episodes: 10 (1 season on Hulu)
Running time: 45-53 minutes each
Genre: Comedy-drama

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6. Netflix released a full trailer for "The I-Land," a thriller series about young people who are kidnapped and marooned on a mysterious island. Netflix previously uploaded a teaser for the series -- which stars Kate Bosworth and Alex Pettyfer -- mocking the iconic "Fyre Festival" promo video. The first season arrives on September 12. – IO9

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7. The second season of Hulu's Stephen King-inspired horror anthology series "Castle Rock" will debut on October 23. Each season of the series is set in the author's favorite fictional Maine town and relates an original story based on various King books and writings. Tim Robbins will appear as a recurring King character, crime family boss Reginald "Pop" Merrill; Lizzy Caplan will play troubled nurse Annie Wilkes from "Misery," a role made famous by Kathy Bates in Rob Reiner's 1990 film adaptation. (Bates won an Academy Award for the performance.) Season 2 will consist of 10 episodes. – ENGADGET

["Misery," which is, in my humble opinion, one of the very best horror films of the '90s, is streaming for free, with ads, on Vudu. - Lon]

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8. Netflix will develop a drama series based on New York Times writer Amy Chozick’s best-seller "Chasing Hillary." Though the book followed the entirety of Hillary Clinton's 2016 race for the presidency, the series will focus on one individual chapter -- "The Girls on the Bus" -- about the friendship that formed between four female journalists on the campaign trail. An unnamed source told Variety that the series will not focus on Clinton herself. "Vampire Diaries" co-creator Julie Plec will write and executive produce the series. (Choznick is also on board as an EP.) Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter -- who produce many of The CW's superhero and comic book-inspired series -- are also on board as producers. – VARIETY

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9. HBO has made its Labor Day weekend premieres -- including new episodes of "Succession," "Ballers" and "The Righteous Gemstones" -- available to stream early.

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10. Alex Jones' controversial far-right political channel Infowars briefly returned to YouTube on Thursday before once more being removed.

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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

Editor: David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology)

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