5 New TV Shows to Watch This Week: From ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ to ‘Stranger Things’

·7 min read

The Force is strong with this week’s Watch List, as Obi-Wan Kenobi returns! That’s right, Ewan McGregor is back in a new Disney+ streaming series. And he’s not alone. This week’s streaming schedule also sees the long-awaited return of Netflix flagship series “Stranger Things,” plus a new Ricky Gervais special, a Ron Howard documentary and a network TV special about rescue dogs. What a week!

On with the television!

spring tv watch list premiere
spring tv watch list premiere

“Obi-Wan Kenobi”

Friday, May 27, Disney+

obi-wan-kenobi-ewan-mcgregor
Lucasfilm/Disney+

Hello there. Lucasfilm and Disney+’s third live-action “Star Wars” series (after “The Mandalorian” and its spin-off, “The Book of Boba Fett”) is really the one everyone has been waiting for. Ewan McGregor returns to the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi, a part he originated in George Lucas’ prequel films, to fill in some of the missing details from the “Star Wars” timeline. (Early promotional materials have shown Obi-Wan watching young Luke from afar and interacting with Owen Lars and Aunt Beru.) Maybe more of a shock is the fact that Hayden Christensen, who has largely been absent since the last prequel film, returns to play Anakin Skywalker / Darth Vader, who presumably is unhappy with Obi-Wan for leaving him on a lava planet all hacked up and burnt to a crisp. Given Lucasfilm’s inpenetrable force field of secrecy, we don’t know much more about “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” aside from its amazing supporting cast of unknown characters (among them: Benny Safdie, Kumail Nanjiani, O’Shea Jackson, Jr and Maya Erskine) and “The Mandalorian” favorite Deborah Chow directs all six installments. Sounds like the Force is with this one. [TRAILER]

spring tv watch list finale
spring tv watch list finale

“Saturday Night Live”

Saturday, May 21 at 11:29 p.m., NBC

SNL Finale
NBC

The NBC sketch series wraps up its 47th season with host Natasha Lyonne and Japanese Breakfast (presumably performing tracks from her critically acclaimed 2021 album “Jubilee”). Who will stop by for a cameo? What hot button topics will they cover? What characters will return for a “Weekend Update” appearance? The only way to find out is to stay up late on Saturday night. [TRAILER]

spring tv watch list movie
spring tv watch list movie

“Emergency”

Friday, May 27, Prime Video

Emergency
Amazon Studios

“Emergency” looks like a lot of socially conscious fun, like if Jordan Peele remade “Animal House.” It follows a pair of Black best friends, as their night of wild debauchery is derailed when they discover a white girl unconscious on the floor of their dorm room. From there it’s a wild ride to try and get her help and, you know, not get shot by the cops in the process. “Emergency” is based on an award-winning short film from 2018 (it took home prizes from Sundance and South by Southwest), with both director Carey Williams and writer KD Dávila returning for the feature. (Dávila won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at this year’s Sundance.) Could this be the rare festival darling that crosses over to mainstream success? Looks like it. [REVIEW]

spring tv watch list documentary
spring tv watch list documentary

“We Feed People”

Friday, May 27, Disney+

We Feed People
Disney+

Ron Howard is truly unstoppable. His latest documentary feature chronicles chef José Andrés and his nonprofit World Central Kitchen, which has changed over its 12 years in operation “from being a scrappy group of grassroots volunteers to becoming one of the most highly regarded humanitarian aid organizations in the disaster relief sector” (according to the official synopsis). Howard is just as gifted a documentarian filmmaker as he is a narrative one (his Beatles doc, “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week” is terrific), and you can’t help but feel like Howard is doing a bit of rebuilding himself. After all, his last feature was “Hillbilly Elegy,” a movie that was based on a novel by J.D. Vance, a Republican senate candidate in Ohio. Hey, whatever makes you feel better Ron. [REVIEW]

spring tv watch list re-watch
spring tv watch list re-watch

“Alias”

Disney+

Alias
ABC

On National Streaming Day (Friday, May 20), Disney+ added something unexpected to its catalog – all of “Alias,” J.J. Abrams’ whip-smart spy series that originally ran for over 100 episodes from 2001 to 2006. Jennifer Garner stars as a college student who works for a secret government organization called SD-6; when she tells her fiancé about her job, he’s murdered. It’s then revealed that SD-6 isn’t actually part of the CIA, it’s an evil shadow organization. Now she is working for the CIA, still employed by SD-6 and juggling multiple identities along with the other complicated aspects of being a woman in her early twenties. What made “Alias” so fun, though, was its constantly evolving and downright labyrinthine mythology, which included machines built by a Nostradamus-type madman, technology run amok and Bradley Cooper as an amiable roommate. While the quality started to dip in later seasons as Abrams’ attention was diverted to lost and directing “Mission: Impossible 3,” it was still a hoot, through and through. If you need a single episode to hook you, look no further than “Phase One,” the post-Super Bowl episodes written by Abrams and directed by Jack Bender, that is one of the single most fun hours of television in this new prestige era. [WATCH]

spring tv watch list best of rest
spring tv watch list best of rest

“Prehistoric Planet”

Monday, May 23, Apple TV+

“Prehistoric Planet” is built around an idea so delicious and simple that you might be legally required to watch it – this co-production of BBC and visual effects company MPC imagines what a prehistoric world full of dinosaurs, weird mammals and things swimming around the ocean, would actually look and feel like. And what’s more, the series is narrated by David Attenborough, whose “Planet Earth” series became the highwater mark for these kind of natural history projects. The animation looks absolutely stunning. Think of it as a science-based companion to “Jurassic World: Dominion” (out in theaters next month). [TRAILER]

“Ricky Gervais: SuperNature”

Tuesday, May 24, Netflix

What will Ricky say this time? Comedian, “The Office” creator and Golden Globes provocateur Gervais tackles just how super our natural world really is. If you’ve seen one of Gervais’ stand-up specials, you know what you’re going to get. At the very least, this should be worth a few chuckles while folding your laundry. [CLIP]

“American Rescue Dog Show”

Wednesday, May 25 at 9 p.m., ABC

This might be the television event of the year. Hosted by “Holey Moley” stars Rob Riggle and Joe Tessitore and featuring a panel of celebrity judges including Paula Abdul, Leslie Jordan and Yvette Nicole Brown, this is a celebration of rescue dogs, oddball mutts and everything in between. (The commercial highlights senior dogs, special needs and, of course, puppies.) Not only will this potentially kill you by the dangerously high levels of adorableness, but it should do a lot of great work for the #AdoptDontShop movement. Hopefully this special is a foster fail and it ends up becoming its own series. (It’ll stream the next day on Hulu.) [TRAILER]

“Marvel Assembled: Moon Knight”

Wednesday, May 23, Disney+

Part of the ongoing series of specials that takes you behind the scenes of your favorite Marvel Studios movies and streaming series, the latest installment takes a look at recent Disney+ offering “Moon Knight.” This should be fascinating considering the technical and logistical obstacles built into “Moon Knight” (multiple Oscar Isaacs, giant Egyptian gods, etc.) Also, more “Moon Knight” is always a good thing. [INTERVIEW]

“Stranger Things”

Friday, May 27, Netflix

The kids from Hawkins are back. Nearly three years after the last season of “Stranger Things” dropped, the fourth season arrives. And it’s a doozy. Following three separate storylines – one following Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and Mike (Noah Schnapp) as they adjust to their new life in a sunny California suburb; another tracking the rest of the kids in Hawkins as they face down a new and fearsome supernatural force from the Upside Down; and the third following Joyce (Winona Ryder) and Murray (Brett Gelman) as they attempt to rescue Hopper (David Harbour) from a snowy Russian prison. What’s more, these are giant episodes, nearly all of them feature-length, with the season split into two parts. The first seven episodes will be available today; the next two (including the two-and-a-half-hour finale) debuting in early July. [INTERVIEW]

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