This month shows like Obi Wan-Kenobi, Stranger Things, and films like Chip N’ Dale: Rescue Rangers hit us hard with feelings of nostalgia.
By: Josh Terry
There’s something about Spring that’s super nostalgic. You feel like the winter’s thaw is breaking, the sun is finally back out, and temperatures are rising to a more welcome peak. It reminds you of Spring Break vacations and school being out. It honestly might be the best time of the year. But if it’s not just the weather and changing seasons bringing up these old memories, the many shows and films that hit streaming this month definitely will. From another Star Wars franchise in Obi-Wan Kenobi to a Chip N’ Dale: Rescue Rangers reboot, a TV show based on a docuseries about a 2004 true crime in The Staircase, and the ‘80s throwbacks of Stranger Things, there’s a lot to look back on. Below, see the shows we liked and Reelgood users couldn’t stop talking about.
1. Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers (Film, Disney+)
A live-action and CGI remake of a popular animated kids’ show from 1989 has become a surprise success story in 2022. Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers, which stars John Mulaney as Chip and Andy Samberg as Dale, has a whopping 80 percent Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While no one is counting, that’s likely the highest ranking on that website for a CGI chipmunk movie of all time. Writing in Vulture, film critic Alison Willmore, says in a positive review, “Chip ’n Dale: Rescue Rangers has more in common with Who Framed Roger Rabbit than it does the series with which it shares a name.” The film manages to make fun of the entertainment industry’s never-ending nostalgia factory while being one of the better examples of it.
2. The Circle Season 4 (TV Series, Netflix)
Netflix’s reality TV and social experiment venture The Circle felt like one of the first pandemic-induced discoveries. Back in 2020, viewers spent time social distancing and watching contestants move to an apartment building and social distance themselves: catfishing their neighbors in an attempt to become the highest-rated apartment-dweller in the building. Now, in what’s going to alter your sense of time: The Circle is on its fourth season. In this installation, the prize money has increased from $100,000 to $150,000. Inflation has even come for reality television.
3. Conversations With Friends (TV Series, Hulu)
Sally Rooney is dominating not only the tote bags and bookshelves of millennials worldwide with three best-selling novels in Normal People, Conversations with Friends, and Beautiful World, Where Are You? but also heartfelt Hulu adaptations of these books. 2020 featured the steamy Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones-starring take on Normal People and this year marks the streaming debut of Rooney’s first novel Conversations With Friends. Like the book, the show follows two Irish friends and exes as they become emotionally and romantically entangled with an older couple. While Washington Post TV critic Inkoo Kang wasn’t a fan of the way the series translated Rooney’s interior and reflective novel into 12 drawn-out episodes, she did write, “At least it’s nice to look at.”
4. The Essex Serpent (Limited Series, Apple TV+)
A marquee casting of Tom Hiddleston and Claire Danes is the big draw for this Apple TV+ period drama. Part monster series, part small-town horror, the show is set in a Victorian-era English village where a mythical creature has allegedly returned and it is murdering townspeople. However, some townsfolk don’t believe the monster is real. Considering how in television monsters are almost always real, it’s likely that it’ll turn out less than ideal for the skeptics sooner rather than later. Between this, Severance, and Pachinko, Apple TV+ has really debuted an impressive 2022 slate.
5. Hacks (TV Series, HBO Max)
The onscreen chemistry between Jean Smart and Hannah Einbender carried the first season of HBO’s Hacks. Smart, who plays the uber-successful but losing relevance comedian Deborah Vance, and Einbender who stars as Ava, her writing partner: a woke millennial whose sense of humor couldn’t be further from Vance’s old school routines, made for a heartfelt show and an oddball friendship. This season deals with the fallout of Ava’s public betrayal of Deborah as well as the ways friendships can unravel.
6. The Lost City (Film, Paramount+)
Listen, this is a romantic-action-comedy starring Channing Tatum and Sandra Bullock which also features Daniel Radcliffe playing a bad guy and a hilarious cameo from Brad Pitt. This is the sort of combo that makes movie studios salivate which is why it’s the tenth-highest grossing film of the year, netting almost $180 million at the box office. Now that it’s on Paramount+ you can watch Bullock, who plays a romance novelist who must escape the billionaire bad guy and find the mythical city from her work that’s actually real. It’s a perfect, if slightly off-color, romp.
7. Obi-Wan Kenobi (Limited Series, Disney+)
Ewan McGregor reprises his most famous role 23 years after he first donned a rattail hairstyle and a Jedi tunic for The Phantom Menace. Set a decade after Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader and killed most of the Jedi (apologies for Revenge of the Sith spoilers), Kenobi follows its titular defeated hero as he hides and escapes Empire fighters in Tatooine. The show also features the return of Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader. McGregor was one of the brightest spots of the George Lucas-directed prequels so this series will be a welcome addition to a packed summer lineup.
8. Senior Year (Film, Netflix)
This Rebel Wilson-starring comedy follows a woman who wakes up from a 20-year-long coma and has to go finish out her senior year of high school. What could go wrong? From seeing friends move on with their lives, to handling the cultural differences between 2002 and 2022, there’s a whole lot of growth and fish-out-of-water hijinks Wilson’s character must deal with over the course of this near-two-hour comedy. While reviews were more critical than say, The Lost City, the LA Times’ Noel Murray wrote, “Senior Year is not an ambitious movie, but it’s mostly a sweet one, and frequently funny.”
9. The Staircase (TV Series, HBO Max)
If the title The Staircase reminds you of a true-crime documentary that made its streaming debut in 2018 on Netflix, don’t worry, it should. This is the HBO TV mini-series that’s based on the 2004 documentary about the Michael Petersen murder case. Starring Colin Firth as Petersen, a writer who would later be convicted (he pled guilty without ever admitting guilt) of killing his wife Kathleen (Toni Collette), the HBO show boasts gripping performances that bring this gruesome and twist-laden real-life crime into vivid focus. So far, the reviews have been pretty stellar: It’s currently got a 95 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and NPR critic Linda Holmes praised the acting as well as its visuals, writing, “The filmmaking itself is exceptional.”
10. Stranger Things Season 4a (TV Series, Netflix)
It’s been six years since the Stranger Things kids first discovered something otherworldly and terrifying happening in the fictional Hawkins, Indiana. Now, in the penultimate season, in which Netflix reportedly spent around $30 million per episode, the Stranger Things kids are no longer kids but high schoolers who have to deal with growing up, and being separated from each other (El, Will, and Mrs. Byers have moved to California), and the eventual reappearance of a scary bad guy. Like previous seasons, expect ample ‘80s pop culture references and several scenes of campy horror. Another batch of Stranger Things episodes will hit Netflix on July 1.