March is a good month for documentary fans: No less than four intriguing new nonfiction projects go online, spanning such eclectic subjects as an Oregon commune, the cuteness of penguins, the vibrant world of hip-ho, and the ongoing public crisis in Flint. Plus Netflix is raising the curtain on the latest vehicle for the Workaholics boys and a new chapter for Marvel’s toughest gumshoe, while Hulu goes sci-fi and Crackle gets in the game with an antihero drama for the Breaking Bad set. Here's what you'll be streaming this month. (Our standard TV choices for March can be found here.)
Flint Town (Netflix, Mar. 2nd)
Once a booming center of industry and stronghold of the middle class, the Michigan city of Flint now serves as a microcosm for America’s institutional ills. And since the town's water supply was changed to the Flint River in 2014, lead contamination has deprived the people of easy access to a basic human necessity. This documentary series attempts to form a panoramic portrait of a city in flux, giving a voice to locals from all walks of life. Some see a powder keg; others, a resilient community waiting for a comeback. Everyone, however, shares in pride for their home.
Game Over, Man! (Netflix, Mar. 23rd)
Workaholics man-boys Anders Holm, Blake Anderson and Adam DeVine are making a career pivot. This feature-length comedy relocates them from a faceless corporate workplace to a grand hotel – but don’t worry, they’re still the same weed-addled slackers you know and love. They pay bills as custodial staff while waiting for their video game to get picked up – then they're wealthy benefactor gets caught up in a hostage situation and the guys’ only logical course of action is to take up arms against the attackers themselves. If John McClane had been a total nimrod and was multiplied by three, Die Hard would looked something like this.
Hard Sun (Hulu, Mar. 7th)
A cosmic event on a cataclysmic scale will take place in approximately five years, and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. So the scene is set for this sci-fi-inflected crime procedural, in which two British detectives (Jim Sturgess and Agyness Deyn) inadvertently land themselves squarely in "knows too much" territory, all while hustling to evade Big Brother and warn their loved ones of the impending doom. This coproduction with the BBC offers a genuinely novel take on the apocalypse. Start building your bunker today!
Jessica Jones, Season 2 (Netflix, Mar. 8th)
Lock up your liquor cabinets, the hard-drinkin’-est P.I. in New York is back on the clock. The indestructible Jessica Jones has resumed her quest to purge Brooklyn of the criminal element, and in the sophomore run of her Marvel/Netflix show, she's not taking any prisoners. The conclusion of last season and the demise of her lifelong nemesis Kilgrave left the lady a bit rattled, and her court-mandated anger management classes could be going better. Plus a new villain is rising, and sometimes lover Luke Cage is allegedly dropping by to help.
March of the Penguins 2 (Hulu, Mar. 23rd)
At long last, the most lovable critters in Antarctica are back! Morgan Freeman once again lends his dulcet tones to an enjoyable study of the noble penguin's triumphs and tribulations, following the birds from birth through maturation and on to mating. Filmmaking technology has progressed in leaps and bounds since the original doc dropped in 2005, and this film takes full advantage of it for some breathtaking underwater slow-mo. Don’t worry about the outside world harshing your mellow, either – any mentions of global warming or other threats to the fowl's natural habitat have been omitted.
The Oath (Crackle, Mar. 8th)
From executive producer Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson – and what a beautiful phrase that is – comes a new cop drama grittier than coarsely graded sandpaper. Welcome to the clandestine world of police gangs, tightly-knit cells of corrupt officers who keep one another safe from the gangsters out for their blood and the boy scouts at Internal Affairs. Death magnet Sean Bean stars as the top dog in one of the most ruthless outfits, with True Blood’s Ryan Kwanten and Cory Hardrict portraying his crooked proteges. Creator Joe Halpin worked for years as a Sheriff’s Deputy for the LAPD, including an extended stint working undercover. Think Michael Mann, but on the small screen.
On My Block (Netflix, Mar. 16th)
Between the pop quizzes, surprise acne flare-ups, unrequited crushes and roving packs of bullies, high school is just the worst. But for the kids growing up in the hardscrabble neighborhoods of South Central Los Angeles, that's only half of it. This new coming-of-age comedy from Awkward. creator Lauren Iungerich and the writers of Tupac biopic All Eyez on Me checks all the usual boxes of teen mortification, then layers regionally specific hazards on top of them. An ensemble of fresh black and Latino faces fill out a cast of friends dealing with homework and first kisses while trying not to get caught in the crossfire between law enforcement and the city's gang culture.
Rapture (Netflix, Mar. 30th)
This documentary series from Mass Appeal's Sacha Jenkins attempts to formulate a State of the Union for the rap game through eight profiles of essential artists – a lineup including Nas, master producer Just Blaze, tastemaker goofball 2 Chainz and blog favorite G-Eazy. In candid interviews, the pros talk process, industry matters and what role they play in an era when the overlap between music and politics is broader than ever. And no self-respecting hip-hop breakdown would be complete without a bit of stunting, so expect a glimpse into the lifestyle of the rich and reckless. (2 Chainz’s sunglasses are worth more than your car.)
Roxanne Roxanne (Netflix, Mar. 23rd)
Before Nicki, before Cardi, there was Roxanne Shanté. The Queens rap legend ran the game in the Eighties, elbowing her way into the boys’ club with headstrong lyricism and an aggressive flow. This biopic taps newcomer Chanté Adams (who won the Special Jury Award for Breakout Performance at the film's Sundance premiere) to portray the ferocious queen MC during the so-called "Roxanne Wars," in which she beefed with fellow rhyme-spitter The Real Roxanne. All this plus a welcome supporting performance from the Internet’s crush Mahershala Ali.
Wild Wild Country (Netflix, Mar. 16th)
Sleepy, conservative and wholesome, the rural community of Antelope, Oregon couldn’t have been more ordinary. Until, that is, the guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh came to town in 1981. The Indian emigre had designated a sprawling ranch property in the city limits as the site for a planned utopian society where his followers could farm, worship and live in untainted harmony. Soon, unusual culture clash broke out between locales and what may or may not be a creepy cult – which this docuseries drops you right into the middle of.