15 Shows That Make Quibi Worth Checking Out
Quibi, the newest streaming service with the most curious name, is finally here. After you read up on what exactly it is and how it works, and check out Quibi's sweet deal, you'll want to know what shows Quibi is offering up at launch. Among the whopping 50 original series are serious documentaries like I Promise, about the public school LeBron James founded in Ohio, goofy mockumentaries like Nikki Fre$h, about Nicole Richie's quest to become a wellness rap icon, and "movies in chapters," aka feature-length movies broken up into 10-minute chunks, like the thriller Survive starring Sophie Turner.
OK, are you ready? Are you ready for some Quibi? Let's dive in. Here are the 15 highest profile shows available at launch, a list of 10 other shows available now, and some notable programming in the pipeline.
Who's involved: Chrissy Teigen and various family members, including mom Vilailuck Teigen and husband John Legend
What it's about: It's like The People's Court or Judge Judy but with Chrissy Teigen instead.
Why it's worth checking out: The clever premise of "what if you translated Teigen's endlessly compelling online persona into a court show format?" doesn't always work, in part because the show can't quite capture its host's goofy delights, but the episodes are very short and easy to bolt down in procrastinary bursts.
Who's it for: Chrissy Teigen completists. -- Esther Zuckerman
Who's involved: hosted by Tituss Burgess; celebrity judges include Antoni Porowski and Dan Levy
What it's about: Chefs from all over must recreate a meal using only what they can taste of the food being literally shot into their expectant faces.
Why it's worth checking out: With the madcap energy of a Japanese game show, Dismantled is maybe the weirdest cooking show out there -- and even though a whole season of episodes exist, we're still not sure if it's not just a joke.
Who's it for: People who like to watch other people lick food off their shoes. -- Emma Stefansky
Who's involved: Narrated by Reese Witherspoon
What it's about: Nature -- but also feminism.
Why it's worth checking out: Watching this, I thought, This has to be one of the more deranged Quibi concepts. Reese Witherspoon narrates a nature docuseries about female creatures. Sounds normal enough, right? Well, the mini docs are bookended by monologues from Reese Witherspoon that try to parallel the animals' experiences to those of actual human women. "Have you every thought about what total female power would look like?" Witherspoon asks at the outset of one episode. She's talking about an ant.
Who it's for: Fans of Legally Blonde and David Attenborough. -- EZ
Who's involved: Will Forte, Kaitlin Olson
What it's about: In this "movie in chapters," a married couple, looking to win a contest that promises to make them home-renovation TV hosts, buys a one-story fixer-upper and gets mixed up with the cartel.
Why it's worth checking out: As wannabe reality stars Cricket and Jann Melfi, Olson and Forte are playing broad, goofy characters that let them each act arrogant, persecuted, and outraged. While the plot mechanics of the show are little convoluted -- the drug aspect doesn't really kick in until the third chapter -- the performances are obnoxious in a way that still allows for a bit of sympathy amidst all the pettiness and lunacy. Like many comedies, it could find its footing and turn into a reliably funny story once it finishes setting up its high-concept premise.
Who's it for: Hate-watchers of HGTV and your friend who already binged the latest It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia season. -- Dan Jackson
Who's involved: hosted by Matt Rogers and Dave Mizzoni, and featuring a bunch of other comedians
What it's about: A game show in which two straight comedian contestants compete to be crowned "gay as fuck" and the "queen of the straights."
Why it's worth checking out: Rogers and Mizzoni were doing "Gayme Show" live before Quibi came along, and you can tell they've perfected the bit. The points are arbitrary and the segments involve guessing a celebrity based on their "essence" and making an entrance. It's all very funny.
Who's it for: Fans of Joel Kim Booster, Bowen Yang, Nicole Byer, Patti Harrison, and Ilana Glazer. -- EZ
Gone Mental With Lior
Who's involved: hosted by mentalist Lior Suchard, with guests Ben Stiller, Ludacris, Rob Gronkowski, and James Corden
What it's about: Mentalist Lior Suchard messes with the minds of a bunch of celebs, performing crazy tricks that make them question the nature of reality.
Why it's worth checking out: If you're into mentalism and magicians and watching guys perform mind tricks on people, this show is a fun one, but it's also worth watching just to see Ludacris act genuinely distraught whenever Lior succeeds at one of his tricks.
Who's it for: Anyone into mentalism or fun magic tricks, or anyone into watching famous people say "Whoooooa." -- ES
Who's involved: hosted by Will Arnett, created by Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj writer Scott Vrooman
What it's about: A jokey clip show reliving embarrassing pop-culture moments we'd prefer to forget.
Why it's worth checking out: A Quibi-approved length of 10 minutes (or less) is actually the perfect length to go back in time and recall strange phenomena from the '80s and '90s that don't deserve to be remembered. Arnett brings in famous friends, like Patton Oswalt and Game of Thrones' John Bradley to help litigate.
Who's it for: Pop-culture ephemeralists and people who can tolerate Tosh.0. -- Leanne Butkovic
Most Dangerous Game
Who's involved: Liam Hemsworth, Christoph Waltz
What it's about: In this "movie in chapters," a down-on-his-luck real estate developer agrees to be hunted for sport in the streets of Detroit to gain financial support for his wife and unborn child.
Why it's worth checking out: A modern update of Richard Connell's famous short story, this movie-in-chapters has an impressive cast and a cliffhanger-heavy plot courtesy of veteran TV writer Nick Santora (CBS' Scorpion). For an action thriller, the first four chapters are frustratingly light on visceral excitement or tick-tock suspense, spending far too much time setting up the rather bland personal backstory of the protagonist (Hemsworth), but it's fun to see Waltz ham it up and the story finally kicks into high gear at the end of the fourth episode.
Who's it for: People who already watched The Hunt and want a less politically loaded take on a similar premise. -- DJ
Murder House Flip
Who's involved: hosted by designers Mikel Welch and Joelle Uzyel; created by CSI producer Josh Berman, Penny Dreadful producer Chris King, and forensic author Katherine Ramsland
What it's about: Kitschy HGTV-style home improvement series on properties where people have literally been murdered.
Why it's worth checking out: A premise so insane that it should really sell itself, Murder House Flip is an inspired mash-up of home renovation shows and true crime. No matter how prepared you think you are for it, the silly reality tone it takes while walking across a backyard where seven dead bodies were buried and realizing the space's charming potential must be experienced to be believed that it's not merely a fever dream.
Who's it for: People who semi-ironically love Property Brothers, Fixer Upper, Love It or List It, and Ghost Hunters. -- LB
Who's involved: Nicole Richie and other famous people including dad Lionel Richie
What it's about: In this mockumentary series, Nicole Richie tries to transform herself into Nikki Fre$h a "trap icon," who raps about vegetables and wellness.
Why it's worth checking out: Look, Quibi is packed with celebrity vanity projects, but most aren't as funny or as self aware as this one from Nicole Richie, which mocks the wellness industrial complex. If you watched the dearly departed Tina Fey sitcom Great News, you know that Richie's comedic talents are underrated and they are put to great use here as she tries to peddle "crystal granola." Also, each episode comes with a full on music video. Topics vary from parenting to bees.
Who's it for:The Simple Life devotees, obviously, but also the supporters of Great News. -- EZ
Who's involved: hosted by Chance the Rapper
What it's about: Chance the Rapper pranking his famous friends.
Why it's worth checking out: The spirit of MTV's Punk'd is alive and well on Quibi. In keeping with the same level of delightfully batshit setups that Ashton Kutcher & Co. produced back in the day, this reboot, hosted by Chance the Rapper, tricks Megan Thee Stallion, Sabrina Carpenter, and Liza Koshy.
Who's it for: People who love watching celebrities freak out and/or elaborate pranks. -- LB
Who's involved: cohosted by Keke Palmer and Joel Kim Booster
What it's about: This is a resurrection of MTV's long-gone blind speed dating show that was hosted by Jenny McCarthy and Chris Hardwick.
Why it's worth checking out: A single person sits in the hot seat answering a series of questions with their back to a pool of potential daters who move into the "friend zone" if their answers don't align. The zany energy of Hustlers' Keke Palmer and comedian Joel Kim Booster in front of a live studio audience brings the rapid-fire question session to life.
Who's it for: Fans of dating shows with absolutely no romantic payoff. -- LB
Who's involved: Sophie Turner, Corey Hawkins
What it's about: In this "movie in chapters," two young people are the only survivors of a plane crash on a snowy mountaintop and must work together to survive the wilderness and get home.
Why it's worth checking out: If you can get used to the small segments, Survive is a pretty compelling tale of what it means to want to live when all hope seems lost. (It's worth mentioning that Turner's character is a former resident of a mental institution who plans to attempt suicide at the beginning of the show; each episode ends with links to a suicide hotline.)
Who's it for: Survivalists and Game of Thrones fans who are wondering what Sansa Stark's ben up to. -- ES
Thanks a Million
Who's involved: Jennifer Lopez, Kevin Hart, Nick Jonas, and other famous people
What it's about: Famous people give away $100,000 to someone who has touched their lives, but the catch is the recipient has to give half away to another person and then that person also has to give half away.
Why it's worth checking out: Easily one of the most cynical Quibi shows disguised as inspirational programming, Thanks a Million is a way for celebs to do the bare minimum while getting a ton of credit for being altruistic. Watching people get a generous gift only to be told they have to give some of it away is gross.
Who's it for: Obsessive viewers of daytime TV. -- EZ
When the Streetlights Go On
Who's involved: Queen Latifah, Mark Duplass, Tony Hale, Chosen Jacobs, and a ton of other rising stars
What it's about: In this "movie in chapters," a town's popular girl and the high school teacher with whom she's having an affair get murdered in 1995 and an investigation ensues.
Why it's worth checking out:When the Streetlights Go On was a hot script from two graduates of the AFI Conservatory that landed on the Blacklist but couldn't get funded. Now it gets adapted for Quibi's abbreviated format. The cast, including It's Chosen Jacobs, is strong, and it's got a compelling or lurid cliffhanger. Sometimes you just... wish you were watching a movie, though.
Who's it for: Fans of Stand By Me for the Stephen King references, and by the transitive property, even though there's nothing supernatural involved, fans of Stranger Things. -- EZ
Other reality shows and docuseries available at launch:
Run This City
Shape of Pasta
Chef Evan Funke in Italy
Skrrt with Offset
You Ain’t Got These
QUIBI SHOWS IN PRODUCTION
The first show Quibi announced right out of the gate demands to be viewed in the perfect atmosphere. The spooky Steven Spielberg-penned series will consist of 10 to 12 short episodes that the viewer can only watch when it's dark out.
Vikings creator Michael Hirst has put together a short-form series about the "wild life" of Charlemagne, emperor of the Romans who united Eastern and Western Europe in the Early Middle Ages.
First developed as a regular-length TV show and then as a film before coming a Quibi series, Dummy is a buddy comedy following a young woman (Anna Kendrick) and her boyfriend's blow-up sex doll.
Elba vs. Block
Premieres April 13
Actor, DJ, and now stunt driver? Idris Elba can do it all, and now he's dipping a toe into the world of rally driving, competing in events like the Wall of Death and something called the Flaming Obstacle Course.
AnnaSophia Robb stars in a horror series about a woman who gets pregnant but finds herself dealing with increasingly bizarre side effects. American Psycho's Mary Harron will direct.
50 States of Fright
Spider-Man and Evil Dead director Sam Raimi is producing a horror anthology about urban legends inspired by the folklore of different states.
Guillermo del Toro zombie project
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
A modern reboot of the 2003 rom-com starring Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson as an ad executive and an online columnist who need to prove they can be monogamous.
The Last American Vampire
Hopping onto the female-detectives-paired-with-nonhuman-trickster-entities bandwagon (Sleepy Hollow, Lucifer, Castle, etc.), Quibi has greenlit a series about a female FBI agent partnered with a 500-year-old vampire to solve crimes.
Legends of the Hidden Temple
Nickelodeon's classic game show series will return in short-form, with a bigger set and bigger challenges for adult contestants this time around. Olmec will return, but the show is ditching a warehouse set for an actual jungle.
Styled after Midsomer Murders and Miss Marple, this murder mystery series takes place in the town of New Woodstream, inviting special guests to get killed off each episode while a plucky detective (star and co-writer Paula Pell) tries to find out why there are so many murders in such a small, quaint town. The show will feature appearances by Patton Oswalt, Jack McBrayer, D’Arcy Carden, Tina Fey, Andy Samberg, and Wanda Sykes, to name a few.
Clueless's Amy Heckerling directs a musical comedy starring Darren Criss and John Stamos, a satire about the writers behind famous songs.
Crawl's Alexandre Aja directs an adaptation of a Japanese manga series from horror master Junji Ito, that starts out as a horrific murder mystery after a girl is murdered and her body begins appearing in little bits all over a small town.
Wolves and Villagers
Blumhouse's Jason Blum (Get Out, Paranormal Activity) produces a series described by producer Jeffrey Katzenberg as "Fatal Attraction 2.0," starring Naomi Watts.
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