It’s a blockbuster week for new and returning series, with sci-fi nostalgia reigning supreme with the likes of Stranger Things and Obi-Wan Kenobi. For those looking for some more low-key options, this week also sees the return of several film festival favorites to streaming. Whether you want to watch the Hawkins kids face fantastical evil or see a pre-MCU Elizabeth Olsen performance, there’s plenty to pick from.
What to watch on Netflix
It’s the beginning of the end for one of Netflix’s biggest shows of all time. Stranger Things Season 4, Volume 1 arrives on the streamer this week, picking up where it left off a full three years ago: Hopper (David Harbour) is presumed dead, Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) is powerless, and Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) has moved her family—and Eleven—out of Hawkins. The new season weaves together many different storylines, from Hopper’s Russian captivity to Eleven’s tough time in a new school—not to mention the sci-fi chaos that will inevitably fall upon all of them. Volume 1 of Stranger Things Season 4 premieres Friday, May 27th.
The Amazing Spider-Man
Is it controversial to claim that Andrew Garfield is the best Spider-Man? Perhaps, but it is a hill that this writer will die on. Luckily, The Amazing Spider-Man arrives on Netflix this week to help prove my point. Garfield is joined by Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, Peter Parker’s brainy and capable love interest, as well as a wonderfully warm Sally Field as Aunt May. Though this Spider-Man movie sees everyone’s favorite webslinger go toe-to-toe with a mutated lizard, it’s still one of the most human additions to the Spiderverse canon. The Amazing Spider-Man will be available to stream starting Wednesday, June 1st.
What to watch on Hulu
Hulu’s biographical series hot-streak continues this week with the premiere of Pistol, a six-part miniseries about the rise of the Sex Pistols. It’s backed by some massive talent, with Oscar-winner Danny Boyle directing the whole show and writer Craig Pearce (whose other new music-centered project, Elvis, is currently making the rounds at Cannes) penning it. Pistol promises to be as punk as its subjects, chronicling the youth revolution and cultural revolt of 1970s Britain by including everyone from late bassist Sid Vicious to fashion designer Vivienne Westwood. Pistol premieres Tuesday, May 31st.
Martha Marcy May Marlene
If WandaVision and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness have gotten you hooked on Elizabeth Olsen, then you should be happy to hear that her 2011 film debut is coming to streaming. Martha Marcy May Marlene is a dark thriller about a woman trying to recover after escaping from a cult. It’s a chilling, creepy movie that delves into the realities of trauma, one that more than justifies the massive career Olsen has had in the decade since. Martha Marcy May Marlene will be available to stream on Wednesday, June 1st.
What to watch on Amazon Prime
Emergency is a clever, pitch-black thriller that was a hit at Sundance earlier this year, and now it’s coming to a small screen near you. The movie centers around a Spring Break escapade gone wrong, as Black and Latino roommates Kunle, Sean, and Carlos discover a white girl passed out in their apartment. In a timely bit of social satire, they decide that they can’t go to the police and risk some racist repercussions. It’s a savvy and stirring mix of genres that manages to be ultra-relevant without beating you over the head with its messages. Emergency premieres Friday, May 27th.
What to watch on HBO Max
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Though many will debate which Wes Anderson film is the best, there is only one right answer: The Grand Budapest Hotel. This candy-colored tale covers everything from art heists to post-war blues, doomed romances to jailbreaks, and it’s utterly magical in every way. Ralph Fiennes gives a career-best performance; Adrien Brody is fantastically foul; Willem Dafoe has (almost) never been creepier. Few movies will make you cackle as hard or tear up as frequently as this one. (I’m trying not to be too biased here, but can you tell that this is my favorite movie ever?) The Grand Budapest Hotel will be available to stream starting Wednesday, June 1st.
What to watch on Disney Plus
The Star Wars universe gets another addition this week, albeit from a more familiar character than the Mandalorian. It’s been over 20 years since Ewan McGregor stepped into a galaxy far, far away, and Obi-Wan Kenobi reflects that distance. The series follows Obi-Wan in the decade after the betrayal of Anakin Skywalker-slash-Darth Vader, when he’s become a hopeless, aimless Jedi in hiding from the Sith. Hayden Christensen returns as a fully dark-sided Anakin, making for an interesting do-over of Star Wars’ much-maligned prequel series. The first two episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi premiere on Friday, May 27th.
What to Watch is a regular endorsement of movies and TV worth your streaming time.