Hulu offers quite a lot in February, though not a lot that's first-rate. The biggest news is its long-promised time-travel adventure 11.22.63. This month also brings the new remake of Grease, and a lot of reality TV shows — a few of them even good. No recent blockbusters in the movie category, but there are some classics from the '80s and '90s.
11.22.63: Series Premiere (Feb. 15)
11.22.63, people of a certain age will remember, is the day that John F. Kennedy was assassinated. In this time-traveling spy story, James Franco plays a schoolteacher who is somehow transported back to the time right before the assassination, and tasked with stopping it. Of course, he first has to figure out who is (or will be) behind the plot. Conspiracy theories and changing-the-past paradoxes will fly in this thriller by J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg.
Generation X: Series Premiere (Feb. 22)
This Nat Geo six-part miniseries focuses on the enigmatic generation mostly obliterated by a pop-culture obsession with millennials. This series covers Gen X's heyday in the '90s, with cultural icons like Reality Bites, as well as such later events as involvement in the 2008 presidential election. It also catches up with influential Xers like Kevin Smith, former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Nas. Christian Slater (Mr. Robot) narrates the series — naturally.
Great Human Race: Series Premiere (Feb. 9)
It's like Survivor — from a few million years ago. In this historical reality series, two experts in anthropology and survival skills recreate what our prehistoric ancestors had to do to survive (like sleeping in trees), from Africa to the Americas. Of course, these are also hip, good-looking experts: Cat Bigney, primitive skills instructor at the Boulder Outdoor Survival School, and Bill Schindler, professor of archaeology at Washington College.
Pawn Stars: Complete Season 7 & 8 (Feb. 26)
People buying and selling stuff in a Vegas pawnshop might not sound so interesting. But this long-running series (currently in Season 12) highlights the really interesting items, such as antique statues, coins, documents and weapons, that are of historical significance — if they are genuine. Each haggle between seller and buyer turns into an interesting history lesson, with specialist experts often weighing in.
Project Runway, Season 13 and Project Runway All Stars, Seasons 3 & 4 (Feb. 26)
Even if your idea of couture is jeans and a hoodie, it's hard to not get sucked into the fierce drama of seeing very talented, sleep-deprived young artists struggle to outdo each other in sometimes-ridiculous design challenges. Show master Heidi Klum is a perfect mix of warmth and Germanic iciness — encouraging the contestants but also being very clear when they flop. Make it work, or say "Auf Wiedersehen."
Workaholics: Season 6 Premiere (Feb. 4)
The only work in this show is what these three losers who are both officemates and roommates should be doing at their jobs. But there's plenty of booze- and drug-fueled misadventures, such as ill-timed acid trips, overshared sexts and the hunt for alternate sources of pee in order to pass surprise drug tests.
Movies and Specials
An Officer and a Gentleman (Feb. 1)
A rootless young man from a troubled family sees joining the Navy as the one thing that can give him direction (despite how badly his father did in the same job). Tutored alternately under a ruthless drill sergeant and a sweet factory girl, he learns to live up to the title of the film. Nothing too surprising, but Richard Gere, Debra Winger and Louis Gossett Jr. make it a winner.
Blood Simple (Feb. 1)
So many careers started with this film: the first written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, the first staring Joel's wife, Frances McDormand, and the first shot by cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld. But M. Emmet Walsh (Blade Runner) shines as the heartless killer Loren Visser in this convoluted tale of deceit and double-crossing.
Braveheart (Feb. 1)
It's not entirely accurate, but Mel Gibson's paean to medieval Scottish rebel William Wallace succeeds in bringing dusty tales of 13th century Britain vividly to life. Wallace rose from a petty nobleman to leader of the briefly successful rebellion against British rule. Despite a bit of cheesiness (like a clearly made-up love affair) Braveheart won widespread praise — as well as five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director for Gibson.
Grease: Live: Special (Feb. 1)
It's not really live by the time it gets to Hulu, but this revival of the 1970s musical about the 1950s still has that vibe, even in a recording. Young stars like Julianne Hough, Aaron Tveit, Vanessa Hudgens and Carly Rae Jepsen reinterpret this greatest generation story for millennials.
Jerry Maguire (Feb. 29)
There may be some weird things about Tom Cruise in real life, but he winds up being damn lovable in the title role of a struggling sports agent in this Cameron Crowe film. Fired from his job, Jerry hangs on with just one very trying client, wide receiver Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr., who won an Oscar for the role). Along the way, Jerry develops a relationship with single mom Dorothy (Renée Zellweger) that's more complex than in typical movie fare.
Naked Gun: From the Files of the Police Squad (Feb. 1)
Comedy was pretty goofy in the '80s — with writer-directors the Zucker Brothers and actor Leslie Nielsen the kings of goofball comedy. Nielsen (of Airplane fame) reprised his role as detective Frank Drebin from the TV show Police Squad — a dim-witted hero who still, somehow, saves the day. The biggest treat, though, was Priscilla Presley as his goofy love interest. The flick is full of cringe-worthy moments, such as the full-body condom scene gag, and the unsettling sight of O.J. Simpson in a comedic role.
The Madness of King George (Feb. 1)
Americans grow up with no sympathy for King George III of England, but this dark comedy might get them to reconsider. A few years after losing the Colonies, the monarch began losing his mind — ranging from forgetfulness to delusions and fits of foul language. His medical advisers are at a loss to figure out what ails him, subjecting him to humiliating treatments in the process of trying to help. This all leaves his monarchy ripe for a takeover. Nigel Hawthorne is fully invested as George (reprising his performance in the original play), and Helen Mirren is as compelling in this role of a queen as in all her others.