Watch guide: Give these Quibi offerings a try
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Watch guide: Give these Quibi offerings a try

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Co-hosts Keke Palmer, center, and Joel Kim Booster, right, in Quibi's "Singled Out." (Quibi/TNS)

Just in time to save your quarantine, Quibi dropped on Monday, with an infusion of fresh content sure to wreck your weekly screen time tally. Observing that many younger consumers were taking to their phones to consume short-form content rather than long-form “TV shows” or “movies” on those old big screens, Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg pivoted to the “quick bites” model (get it? Quibi? Quick bites?). His new app/network Quibi gives six- to eight-minute shows to beloved celebrities, musicians, comedians and more to see what they might come up with.

The result is a mixed bag of what feels like a very focus-grouped array of content. There are game shows and cooking shows, “Stranger Things” rip-offs, documentaries, dramas and daily news briefs. There are dance competitions and rappers with cars and Lena Waithe and sneakers. Some of it works for “quick bite” limitations, and some of it suffers for it.

It’s interesting to note how the remakes and familiar genres generally work far better in this format. Liam Hemsworth stars in a version of “The Most Dangerous Game” with Christoph Waltz, and because this is a fable that’s been told again and again on screen for a century, it’s easy to drop right into the story. On the other hand, Sophie Turner’s drama “Survive,” about a suicidal teen in a plane crash, feels labored and claustrophobic. There are a few things that you would like to watch on a bigger screen but Quibi doesn’t allow that: This is strictly phone-only.

More familiar offerings include “Chrissy’s Court,” a version of “Judge Judy” with model and social-media star Chrissy Teigen behind the bench, which is labored even despite the brief run time, and a remake of Ashton Kutcher’s MTV prank show “Punk’d” featuring Chance the Rapper. We know the setup of “Punk’d,” so the Quibi version drills down into the best parts without all the rest of the fluff: the celebrity reactions (Adam Devine gets shockingly quiet during his pranking, while Megan Thee Stallion records the whole ordeal on her phone) and the moment of relief when the wide-smiling Chance jumps out of his hiding spot to shout, “You just got punked!” It’s like little hits of adrenaline served directly through your phone.

Quibi’s best offerings are the microdoses of controlled, personality-driven chaos, like the pleasantly bewildering remake of MTV’s dating show “Singled Out.” The show is anchored by its hosts, a charismatic one-two punch of actress Keke Palmer in the Chris Hardwick role and in a stroke of genius, comedian Joel Kim Booster taking Jenny McCarthy’s place as the singles wrangler. But potentially the best thing to come out of Quibi is “Gayme Show,” hosted by Matt Rogers and Dave Mizzoni, and based on a live comedy show the two hosted in New York and Los Angeles, where straight men compete in a series of gay culture competitions to become “Queen of the Straights.” The eight-minute episodes are dizzingly joke-packed, irreverent and laugh-out-loud funny. They serve as a true amuse bouche: It leaves you wanting more.

With a 90-day free trial, and chunks of episodes dropping weekly, Quibi is ideal for an escape to a secret spot, a respite from your quarantine mates and arguing over what movie to watch next.

But if you’re in the mood for something longer to binge, the third season of the award-winning psychodrama “Killing Eve” starts Sunday on AMC. If you have yet to catch up with the deliciously wicked series about a psychopathic assassin played by the shockingly charming Jodie Comer, start bingeing Seasons 1 and 2 on Hulu now, and you might be able to catch up by Sunday (what else are you doing?).

More devilish fun comes in the form of the irreverent Satanic Panic flick “We Summon the Darkness,” on VOD and digital platforms on Friday. Directed by Marc Meyers, this ’90s-set heavy metal horror flick could be a sister film to “The Craft,” featuring a trio of goth girls en route to a rock show, where they meet a trio of metal heads. When they all head to an after-party, things get gruesome, but “We Summon the Darkness” always keeps you guessing about where the true evil lies.

Available on Amazon Prime on Friday is France’s 2019 Foreign Language Oscar submission, “Les Misérables,” directed by Ladj Ly. No, this isn’t a remake of the Victor Hugo novel, but rather a depiction of police brutality and the riots that erupted in the housing projects in the suburbs of Paris in 2005. It’s wild, bracing film, rich with energy and immediacy, and while it was unfairly pitted against “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” in the awards race, it’s definitely worth a watch.

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