Movie Guru: There’s something for everyone premiering on streaming platforms this weekend
There’s more to streaming services than just movies.
Several new seasons of online-only TV shows are premiering Jan. 15 on a variety of platforms, from spy escapades to superhero strangeness to comedic fantasy. Some are just starting and let you jump in right away, while others have a handful of seasons available to let you sink your teeth into. Whether you’re looking for something adventurous, silly, or a little bit strange, there’s something out there for you.
Carmen Sandiego (Netflix)
Yes, it’s animated. Yes, it’s loosely based on a computer game series that ended up spawning a game show in the 90s. None of that should stop you from watching “Carmen Sandiego,” which has evolved into one of the best spy/thief adventures out today.
For those who haven’t yet met the newest incarnation of the character, this Carmen is a thief who was raised by a shadowy cabal of thieves. Realizing that they had darker plans than she ever realized, she broke away and has since been stealing back everything they stole while trying to figure out a way to defeat them. Add in her mysterious past, a healthy dose of found family in her crew of not-so-criminals, and several different investigators who could turn into enemies or allies at the drop of a hat, and you have a show that will sweep away fans of all ages.
The first of the small-screen Marvel Universe spinoffs, “WandaVision” is being promoted as a comedy parodying classic television shows. The show, that premieres the first two episodes of its first season this Friday, does indeed have a lot of that. They are pitch-perfect recreations, and there are elements of several other shows in following episodes.
But there’s a dark secret underneath the show, and anyone who watched “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame” will know enough about the characters to be able to guess it pretty quick. That means people who aren’t familiar with the characters will probably be able to best appreciate the mystery, though there are plenty of Easter Eggs for fans interested in the heartbreaking undertone.
If you’re a fan of “Futurama,” you might want to give Matt Groening’s “Disenchantment” a try. This one takes fantasy instead of science fiction for a spin, but it has the same mix of sitcom ridiculousness and occasionally deeper serialized plotline. Reviewers tend to argue over whether the show gives too much attention to one side or the other, with no one seemingly able to agree which side is getting the emphasis, so it’s best to let yourself enjoy both.
The main protagonist is a princess named Bean, which is a refreshing twist on Groenig’s previous work, and the upcoming season 3 (or season 2 part 1, depending on who you talk to) focuses more on her than ever.
Though this one isn’t animated, this series is definitely best suited for those looking for kid-friendly entertainment. The show, whose second season is premiering this Friday, involves kids who help protect a group of stranded aliens from a group of shady scientist types. The kids are all orphans/foster kids and the aliens are all the last of their kind, so there’s a strong mix of found-family tropes and environmentalist messages. It might not have adults, but it’s sweet and emotional with a solid dose of science fiction.
Jenniffer Wardell is an award-winning movie critic and member of the Denver Film Critics Society. Find her on Twitter at @wardellwriter or drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.