The It List: Judge Judy returns to TV, Black-led Western 'The Harder They Fall' debuts, 'Head of the Class' reboot premieres and the best in pop culture the week of Nov. 1, 2021

·15 min read

The It List is Yahoo's weekly look at the best in pop culture, including movies, music, TV, streaming, games, books, podcasts and more. Here are our picks for Nov. 1-7, including the best deals we could find for each. (Yahoo Entertainment may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page.)

STREAM IT: Judge Judy Sheindlin is back in court to dish out Judy Justice

Just a few months after signing off her CBS show, Judge Judy, Sheindlin is back to preside over more small claims — and this time she brought a whole team with her. Her granddaughter, Sarah Rose, will serve as her law clerk; Whitney Kumar takes on court stenographer duties; and Kevin Rasco fills the role of bailiff. (Her longtime former bailiff, Petri Hawkins Byrd, said he wasn’t asked to join her new production.) Of course, Sheindlin will preside over everyone. While she's referred to her new venture as "a whole different kind of court show," the first look at it features her dishing out straight talk to anyone who dares to cross her, just as audiences saw in her previous show. When someone instructs her to keep something in mind, she snaps at them, "No, I don't have to keep anything in mind. You just have to keep in mind answering my questions." — Raechal Shewfelt

Judy Justice premieres Monday, Nov. 1 on IMDb TV.

STREAM IT: Jonathan Majors headlines Black-led Western The Harder They Fall

As far as we know, a viral video making the rounds this week by popular TikTok commentator PositiveAF explaining that America’s first cowboys were Black has no marketing tie-ins to the new Netflix drama The Harder They Fall. But it’s a great precursor. The new Western from director Jeymes Samuel follows Nat Love (the red-hot Jonathan Majors), an outlaw who assembles a gang to avenge the murder of his parents — and while the story (co-written by Boaz Yakin) is heavily fictionalized, its characters are based on real, largely forgotten Black cowboys of the 19th century American west. Also a great precursor? The exclusive film clip above. — Kevin Polowy

The Harder They Fall premieres Wednesday, Nov. 3 on Netflix.

STREAM IT: Josh Hartnett is one seriously devoted son in the action drama Ida Red

Twenty years after Pearl Harbor, Josh Hartnett is experiencing a mini-Hartnettssance: The actor returned to movie screens in early 2021 in Guy Ritchie’s Wrath of Man, followed by a role in the HBO Max docuseries Exterminate All the Brutes and now he’s closing out the year with a starring role in Ida Red opposite Melissa Leo. The Oscar-winning star of The Fighter plays incarcerated crime boss Ida “Red” Walker, who is facing the unappealing fate of dying behind bars due to a debilitating illness. So she enlists her son, Wyatt (Hartnett), to spearhead a bold and not-especially-legal scheme to get her out of prison. But Wyatt has his own issues, like keeping a protective eye on his sister (Daredevil star Deborah Ann Woll) and his teenage niece (Sofia Hublitz), whose father happens to be a local cop (George Carroll) that’s all too aware of the Walker clan’s criminal history. In this exclusive clip, Hartnett tries to interest Woll in discussing family business, but she’s more focused on the problems in her own household. — Ethan Alter

Ida Red premieres Friday, Nov. 5 in theaters and on digital and on demand services, including Apple TV.

STREAM IT: Benedict Cumberbatch paints batches of cats in The Electrical Life of Louis Wain

Benedict Cumberbatch in a top hat surrounded by cats. That’s really all the intel you should need to click “play” on The Electrical Life of Louis Wain. But beyond its easy sales pitch, there’s an enticing film behind it all. The Doctor Strange actor plays the eccentric early 20th century artist best known for his fantastical feline portraits who also suffered from debilitating mental health issues. Claire Foy costars as his wife Emily Richardson-Wain in this biopic from director Will Sharpe that’s drawn early praise from critics for its whimsical, Benjamin Button-like twist on the standard biopic. Check out an exclusive clip from the film above. — K.P.

The Electrical Life of Louis Wain premieres Friday, Nov. 5 on Amazon Prime.

STREAM IT: British detective Dalgliesh is on the scene in new murder mystery

The character of Adam Dalgliesh, the police detective that late author P.D. James created for her series of bestselling books that were first published in the 1960s, takes to the screen again in this TV mystery. British actor Bertie Carvel, who appeared alongside Hugh Jackman in the 2012 movie Les Misérables and in numerous TV series, including The Crown and the award-winning Doctor Foster: A Woman Scorned, plays the central character in this iteration. In the first of several mysteries Dalgliesh takes on this season, he’s dispatched to a nursing school where one of the students died after a routine demonstration went terribly wrong. This exclusive clip shows Dalgliesh and his partner confronting the headmaster of the school — who's not very open to their queries — just after the tragic event occurred. — R.S.

Dalgliesh premieres Monday, Nov. 1 on Acorn TV.

STREAM IT: Head of the Class is back in session

The original version of this sitcom, which featured WKRP in Cincinnati’s Howard Hesseman as the teacher of a group of academically gifted students, never got much play in reruns. But it has been plucked out of the pile of discarded '80s comedies — it aired from 1986 to 1991 — for a reboot. And former cast member Robin Givens has returned to reprise the role of spoiled student Darlene. "She's still Darlene Merriman, but her last name has changed," Givens told Entertainment Weekly. "She's become a lawyer, she's a single mom and very close to her son and very much a mama bear. She's Darlene Merriman, all grown up. She's a perfectionist and sticking to her son like glue and trying to be the best mom she could possibly be but doesn't understand she probably should get out of the way a little bit to let him do some growing up." This time, an alum of the One Day at a Time reboot, Isabella Gomez, plays the adult pushing the students to excel not just at passing tests but at living life. — R.S.

Head of the Class premieres Thursday, Nov. 4 on HBO Max.

BUILD IT: Thwart the Wet Bandits all over again with Lego’s Home Alone set

Lego
Lego Home Alone (Photos courtesy of Lego)

Instead of watching Home Alone for the umpteenth time, this year you can actually build it, courtesy of the brickmasters at Lego. This 3,995-piece mega set recreates the McCallister’s house, loaded with movie Easter eggs — from Kevin’s preferred nutritious meals of microwavable mac and cheese and takeout pizza (keep the change, ya filthy animals) to his ingenious traps and wayward pet spider. The set also features Kevin’s treehouse (with zipline!) and the Wet Bandits plumbing truck along with five minifigs, including Macaulay Culkin’s Kevin, natch. — Marcus Errico

The Lego Home Alone set is available at Lego.com and Lego Stores.

WATCH IT: Kristen Stewart goes for (Oscar) gold in the highly-anticipated Princess Di portrait Spencer

During her lifetime, Princess Diana’s life was often compared to a fairy tale, but Pablo Larraín’s evocative new film, Spencer, approaches it as a horror film. Set over the Christmas holidays in 1991, the movie finds the royal family congregating at the Sandringham Estate for a lavishly festive celebration. But Diana (Kristen Stewart) is most definitely not feeling the holiday cheer. Larraín and screenwriter Steven Knight avoid dwelling too much on the specific behind-the-throne reasons for her unbalanced mental and emotional state, making Spencer the anti-Crown in that respect. Instead, the movie strives to depict the world through Diana’s eyes, where judgmental stares greet her every time she enters a room and rumors become currency amongst the household staff. Stewart’s rigorously dialed-in performance enhances the atmosphere of sustained tension that suffuses the film. She’s not only destined to be nominated for Best Actress at this year’s Oscars — she might also be crowned the victor. — E.A.

Spencer premieres Friday, Nov. 5 in theaters; visit Fandango for showtime and ticket information.

HEAR IT: Mamma mia! ABBA makes a return Voyage

Fans are about to gimme, gimme, gimme ABBA all their money, money, money, because the Eurovision-winning pop legends have returned with their first studio album in 40 years, Voyage — as well as plans for a virtual concert residency, starring Industrial Light & Magic-masterminded ABBA holograms (or “ABBAtars”), that will kick off next May at a custom-built arena in London. The Swedish sensations hadn’t planned to write and record an entire new album, but after they began work on this digital concert experience back in 2018, everything gelled. Voyage’s resulting lead single, “I Still Have Faith in You,” is an ode to the bond that Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad share after all these decades, with Fältskog and Lyngstad trilling in their signature heavenly harmonies: “You asked me not to leave/Well, here I am again/And I love you still.” — Lyndsey Parker

Voyage by ABBA is available Friday, Nov. 5 to download/stream on Apple Music.

READ IT: Fantastic Four: Panel by Panel revisits the Marvel Universe’s Big Bang

Images from
Images from Fantastic Four No. 1: Panel by Panel (Images: © 2021 Marvel, courtesy of Abrams Books)

This is where it all began. While Stan Lee and Jack Kirby had worked on comics for years prior, and characters like Captain America dated back decades, Marvel inarguably became Marvel with the premiere issue of Fantastic Four in 1961. Now meet Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Girl, the Thing and the Human Torch, a squabbling quartet defined by dysfunction, as well as the nefarious Mole Man and his malevolent monstrosities, all over again. Abrams’s essential new 60th anniversary book breaks down that seminal issue in exhaustive detail, from blown-up images of each panel to historical art and outlines to page-by-page expert commentary to a complete reprint of the comic — ads and all. It’s a first-rate salute to Marvel’s first family. — M.E.

Fantastic Four No. 1: Panel by Panel is available at booksellers everywhere.

STREAM IT: Hailee Steinfeld enjoys one more round of wild nights in the third and final season of Dickinson

Hailee Steinfield will officially enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe when the Disney+ Hawkeye series premieres over the Thanksgiving holidays. But before then, the actress and singer will wrap up her time in the Poetry Cinematic Universe as Dickinson airs wraps up its three-season Apple TV+ run. And Alena Smith’s delightfully anachronistic re-telling of Emily Dickinson’s life and times goes out the way it came in: as one of the streaming service’s very best shows. The Civil War is in full swing as Season 3 begins, and vision-prone Emily has repeated hallucinations of herself fighting on the battlefield. Meanwhile, her bickering family is also wrestling with life during wartime, which only heightens the already-high levels of tension in the household. But don’t worry: there’s still plenty of humor — and terrific music cues — as Steinfeld prepares to put down her pen. — E.A.

Dickinson Season 3 premieres Friday, Nov. 5 on Apple TV+.

PLAY IT: The Crane Kick meets Turtle Power with the TMNT vs. Cobra Kai collection from Playmates Toys

Playmates's TMNT vs. Cobra Kai collection brings together two classic '80s franchises (Photo: Playmates Toys)
Playmates's TMNT vs. Cobra Kai collection brings together two classic '80s franchises. (Photo: Playmates Toys)

Who’s the better sensei: Mr. Miyagi or Master Splinter? Time to finally settle that age-old playground debate with Playmate Toys’s high-kicking Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles vs. Cobra Kai collection. The eight-figure line allows for such rousing interspecies martial arts match-ups as party dude Michelangelo going up against crane kicker Daniel LaRusso and tech-savvy Donatello facing off against tech-novice Johnny Lawrence. Meanwhile, hotheads Raphael and John Kreese work out their aggression in the dojo, and Leonardo and Miguel Diaz demonstrate what makes them rocksteady (not to be confused with Rocksteady) team leaders. It’s truly the best nostalgia toy line around, and nothing’s gonna ever keep it down. — E.A.

Playmates’s TMNT vs. Cobra Kai action figure sets are available at Best Buy.

HEAR IT: Give thanks for Diana Ross

The iconic diva’s 25th album is her first studio LP in 15 years, and first album of original material since 1999. Recorded at her home studio during the pandemic lockdown of 2020, Thank You features collaborations with Spike Stent (Madonna, Beyoncé, Björk, Lady Gaga), Amy Wadge (Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud”), Tayla Parx (Khalid, Ariana Grande, Panic! at the Disco), Jimmy Napes (Sam Smith, Alicia Keys, Mary J. Blige) and, perhaps most notably, of-the-moment producer Jack Antonoff, the go-to guy for Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey and Lorde. Nine of the album’s 13 tracks were co-written by Ross. — L.P.

Thank You by Diana Ross is available Friday, Nov. 5 to download/stream on Apple Music.

STREAM IT: Single Mother by Choice is an intimate portrait of a pandemic pregnancy

Selina Ringel, the writer, producer and star of the new HBO Max movie Single Mother by Choice has found it "incredibly difficult" to describe her new film, because it's a fictional take on the very real story of her pregnancy in a shaky, sometimes scary 2020 world. "This is actually something that has never been done," Ringel tells Yahoo Entertainment. "You see pregnant women being pregnant in documentaries and you see pregnant women in films but there has never been a film that tracks the pregnancy from conception to delivery telling a fictional story in real time." The trailer for Single Mom by Choice — something Ringel had planned to be, until she met her husband — has been "getting a lot of heat," she says. "I'm seeing incredibly angry people who are mad at my character because they think it's me, and they talk about how awful my child will turn out since I have made this decision, and then you have all these brave women and men responding back and telling their personal stories and explaining why being a Single Mother by Choice is actually a super empowered decision and nothing like a broken home. It's been really interesting to see people have such strong opinions around it, but it makes it clearer that this story needs to be out there and told." — R.S.

Single Mother by Choice premieres Tuesday, Nov. 2 on HBO Max.

BUY IT: Get virtual cooking and science lessons with MasterChef Junior and Bill Nye VR kits

Abacus's new MasterChef Junior-branded VR kit (Photo: Abacus Brands)
Abacus's new MasterChef Junior-branded VR kit. (Photo: Abacus Brands)

Pandemic concerns might still be keeping families from pursuing out-of-the-house activities like cooking classes and planetarium visits. Fortunately, Abacus Brands has virtual opportunities for you and your kids to make learning fun with VR-enabled kits featuring Bill Nye the Science Guy and MasterChef Junior recipes. Nye’s space-themed kit comes with a number of out of this world experiments that you can try at home, plus virtual tours of the galaxy. The MasterChef Junior kit includes the tools to whip up 30 different meals — including lasagna and herb-crusted lamb — and the opportunity to virtually visit the show’s kitchen. Download the relevant app to your smartphone and attach it to the included VR headset to get out of the house… without getting out of the house. — E.A.

MasterChef Junior and Bill Nye VR sets are available on Amazon.

READ IT: Michael Imperioli and Steve Schirripa share Sopranos stories in the oral history Woke Up This Morning

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 02: Steve Schirripa and Michael Imperioli attend the 2019 Garden Of Laughs Comedy Benefit at Madison Square Garden on April 02, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
Steve Schirripa and Michael Imperioli at Madison Square Garden on April 2, 2019 in New York City. (Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

The Sopranos may be over twenty years old, but judging by HBO Max streaming numbers, the show's more popular than ever. And all those new viewers aren’t just watching David Chase’s revolutionary mob drama — they’re also listening to cast members Michael Imperioli and Steve Schirripa chat about The Sopranos week in and week out on their chart-topping podcast, Talking Sopranos. Now, the duo is getting the cast and crew on the record in the oral history, Woke Up This Morning, which spans the entire 1999-2007 run, plus the recent prequel film, The Many Saints of Newark. Imperioli and Schirripa get Edie Falco, Lorraine Bracco and Robert Iler to open up about how they were cast on the series, and the various highs and lows they experienced on and off set. The authors also have an extended sit-down with Chase, who describes his sometimes-fraught relationship with dearly departed star James Gandolfini, and reveals he hasn’t watched the entire show since it aired. Maybe this book will inspire him to chow down on a Sopranos binge. — E.A.

Woke Up This Morning releases Tuesday, Nov. 2 at most major booksellers, including Amazon.

HEAR IT: Oh, brothers! Hanson returns with some new tricks

Exactly 25 (yes, that’s right, twenty-five) years after they MMMbopped their way to the top, the all-grown-up, proudly indie sibling trio releases their seventh studio album, Against the World. The ambitious project, which was recorded at Muscle Shoals’s legendary Fame Studios and rolled out via several monthly singles earlier this year, puts a modern twist on the brothers’ lifelong love of American rock 'n' soul. One track, “Don't Ever Change,” boasts Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen on lead guitar — a seeming loving nod to middle brother Taylor Hanson’s Cheap Trick-associated powerpop band Tinted Windows, which featured the late Adam Schlesinger. — L.P.

Against the World by Hanson is available Friday, Nov. 5 to download/stream on Amazon.

— Video produced by Anne Lilburn and edited by Jimmie Rhee

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