For millions of Netflix users, the question of what to stream this weekend will have a simple, two-word answer: Stranger Things, the coming-of-age drama that’s grown to become one of the biggest originals in Netflix history. Of course, there’s also plenty more to add to your watch lists besides Netflix’s returning hit. Like a new Star Wars standalone series from Disney+. An origin story series about the Sex Pistols coming to Hulu. And lots more.
What you’ll find below are recommendations for some of the best titles coming to HBO Max, Disney+, and Hulu, in addition to Netflix. As well as Prime Video, which is debuting a Sundance entry this weekend.
The long-awaited return of Stranger Things couldn’t come at a more opportune moment for Netflix. The streamer, in case you haven’t noticed, is very much in the doldrums right now, thanks to its subscriber base cratering and the implementation of a painful round of layoffs. Not mention the fact that Netflix is grudgingly preparing to embark on a password-sharing crackdown. Later this year, it’s also launching an ad-supported subscription tier. To capture more badly-needed revenue, of course.
The previous season of Stranger Things is currently one of the streamer’s biggest English-language titles of all time (behind only Seasons 1 and 2 of Bridgerton). Almost every single news article and review about the debut of Stranger Things Season 4, Part 1, will allude to or describe outright the Demogorgon’s worth of troubles that Netflix is facing at the moment. The point being — one of Netflix’s defining series has been away for so long that this is a very different Netflix it’s returning to.
It’s also a very different show, for that matter, that’s coming back. In Season 4, the gang from Hawkins is separated for the first time. They’re navigating the growing pains of high school years. The new season also has more of a horror vibe than ever. And the episodes this time are longer than ever. In fact, the last half of the season, debuting on July 1, consists of merely two episodes, the second of which has a runtime of two hours and 30 minutes.
Netflix has done as much as anyone to hasten the demise of appointment TV. For one weekend, at least, that will change. Millions of Stranger Things fans will press play more or less together — to get their first taste of the beginning of the end.
Stranger Things Season 4, Part 1, debuts on Netflix on May 27.
Another hotly anticipated Disney+ release hits the streamer this weekend. It’s Obi-Wan Kenobi, the latest addition to the sprawling Star Wars cannon that includes the original movies, prequels, sequels, and spin-offs. Plus series like Disney+’s first true breakout hit, The Mandalorian.
This new Ewan McGregor-led Star Wars series is focused on the Jedi master who tried to train Anakin Skywalker (aka Darth Vader) and who was a mentor to young Luke Skywalker.
Admittedly, it can be a little complicated keeping track of the Star Wars timeline. So here’s what you need to know for Obi-Wan Kenobi. According to Disney+, the show is set around a decade after the events depicted in the film Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Which also means this show takes place before the events of the original Star Wars movie trilogy.
In Obi-Wan Kenobi, young Luke is around 10 years old. His father Anakin, meanwhile, is several years into wearing the mantle of Darth Vader.
Obi-Wan Kenobi debuts on Disney+ on May 27.
Director Daniel Roher’s documentary about Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny plays out like something that could have come from the pen of spy genre master John le Carre. It also works as a sort of prequel to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It was originally set to debut on CNN+, but the abrupt collapse of CNN’s short-lived streaming service meant that, for many streaming audiences, the film’s debut May 26 on HBO Max will be their first chance to see it.
Navalny is one of the only people known to have survived a Kremlin-backed poisoning attempt that made use of the nerve agent Novichok. While recuperating in Germany, he teamed up with a Bellingcat sleuth to identify, prank call, and humiliate the members of the Russian hit team that tried to kill him. The film’s denouement tracks Navalny as he decides to do an unexpected thing, one that guarantees certain imprisonment. He opts to fly back home to Russia to continue his fight against Putin and corruption.
Watch the movie anyway, though, in spite of Putin’s goons throwing Navalny in jail. Watch it, if for no other reason than to be inspired to take up a fight against impossible odds.
Navalny debuts on HBO Max on May 26.
In case you missed this latest installment in the very much non-Potter-focused spinoff of the Harry Potter film franchise during its theatrical run, fear not. It debuts on HBO Max on Memorial Day. From the movie’s official synopsis: “Professor Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) knows the powerful dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen) is moving to seize control of the wizarding world.
“Unable to stop him alone, he entrusts Magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) to lead an intrepid team of wizards, witches and one brave Muggle baker on a dangerous mission, where they encounter old and new beasts and clash with Grindelwald’s growing legion of followers.”
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore debuts on HBO Max on May 30.
The punk band whose manic singer once insisted to everyone about the Queen of England that “she ain’t no human being” gets the Danny Boyle treatment in his FX series that will be available to stream on Hulu. “Come see us play — we’re awful” lead singer Jonny Rotten, played here by Anson Boon, proudly sneers in the trailer. Watch the formation of one of the most iconic punk rock bands of all time, as they herald Anarchy in the UK.
All episodes of Pistol will be available to stream on Hulu on May 31.
Amazon Studios’ latest release which premiered at Sundance this year comes to Prime Video this weekend. The official synopsis: “A group of young black and Latino men come home to their worst nightmare: An unconscious white girl in their apartment.”
Emergency will be available on Prime Video starting May 27.
A fan-favorite character from the Canadian comedy Letterkenny that enjoys something of a cult following is getting a spinoff show. Shoresy is set to debut this weekend on Hulu. In the new series, Shoresy finally shows his face and moves from the town of Letterkenny to Sudbury. That’s where he’ll work to try to turn around a low-ranked hockey club.
Shoresy debuts on Hulu on May 27.
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