Television

Obi-Wan Kenobi now streaming on Disney Plus (Starring Ewan McGregor)

OBI-WAN KENOBI

  • By KENNE HOFFMAN
  • Photo Courtesy of DISNEY+

Disney+ has launched the next of its limited series in the Star Wars franchise. Obi-Wan follows in the footsteps of the highly successful The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett. The first two episodes of the six-part limited series dropped on May 25 (to coincide with the release date of Star Wars: IV: A New Hope in 1977). Fans of the franchise are hooked and excited for more. Once again, show runner Joby Harold and director Deborah Chow incorporate the revolutionary new surround green screen technology first used by John Favreau and Dave Filoni in The Mandalorian. If you haven’t already watched the bonus footage with Favreau and the episodes’ directors demonstrating the ground-breaking filming methods, go check it out. 

Obi-Wan stars Ewan McGregor reprising his role from episodes 1–3 from 1999–2005. The series will follow the popular Jedi Knight 10 years after the events of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. Hayden Christensen reprises his role as super villain Darth Vader. Obi-Wan is the story of the Jedi Master who survived Order 66, and now lives in exile on planet Tatooine watching over young Luke Skywalker. While this show has only completed six episodes, at the Star Wars Celebration Convention in Anaheim recently, the creators and McGregor teased that more episodes may follow (as long as there is a compelling story to tell). We’ll have to wait and see!

Streaming on Disney+, click here.

The Staircase now streaming on HBO Max (Starring Colin Firth and Toni Collette)

THE STAIRCASE

  • By PAIGE PETRONE
  • Photo Courtesy of HBO MAX

The Staircase is a real-life murder mystery about a woman who had been drinking, falls down a flight of stairs, and dies. Her husband, Michael Peterson, is then accused of murder. Her body has all kinds of bruises and indications of strangling that just don’t add up. The intense, brutal scenes of the night and crime in question are chilling and told by this so-called adoring family — a family that seems to be tight. Oh, but what a tangled web it is! The Staircase, now streaming on HBO Max, has many twists and turns (no puns intended)! It almost has you rooting for Peterson … but hold on a second. Oh my gosh! I feel bad for his kids. The blended family back story also seems disturbing. Well, at least to me it does.

Did Peterson actually push his wife down the stairs? I’m still not 100% sure … I think I’ve formed my own opinion but I’m going to keep it to myself. There are lots of holes in his story of what happened, as shown in flashbacks throughout the series. You will have to watch and decide.

The incredible cast includes Colin Firth (Michael Peterson), Toni Collette (Kathleen Peterson), Michael Stuhlbarg (David Rudolf), Parker Posey (Freda Black), Dane DeHaan (Clayton Peterson), Patrick Schwarzenegger (Todd Peterson), and Sophie Turner (Margaret Ratliff).

Now streaming, click here.

Outer Range Season 2 now streaming on Prime (Starring Josh Brolin)

OUTER RANGE

  • By NINA SVENTITSKY
  • Photo Courtesy of PRIME VIDEO

Poor Josh Brolin. Not only is his ranch in Wyoming hanging on by a cow or two, he has a black hole on the edge of his land filled with swirling bits of the universe. He manages to keep it quiet for a few episodes but soon we’re drawn to flashbacks and some of his secrets are revealed. Westerns are in high demand on TV, as is sci-fi, and Amazon Prime’s Outer Range satisfies fans of both. The story is a strong one and typical of westerns in that Brolin’s character (Royal Abbott) has a neighbor who has always coveted his ranch. Add out of control sons in each family and you’ve got a lot of fighting, truck action, and mysterious drawings creating a lot of disruption in the surrounding areas of this wild and beautiful country. The narrative is good enough to provide classic story tools — family feuds, a disappearing daughter-in-law, a few murders, a lone sheriff who can’t get any answers, and a lot of family relationship drama. The sub-plots keep you going and of course you will want to learn the truth about the hole and what it means to Royal. The performances by Josh Brolin (in his first TV series in 20 years), Imogen Poots, Lili Taylor, and Will Patton are outstanding. I finished Outer Range over a weekend! Recommended for teens and up.

Now streaming, click here.

Under the Banner of Heaven now streaming on HULU (Starring Gil Birmingham and Andrew Garfield)

UNDER THE BANNER OF HEAVEN

  • By NINA SVENTITSKY
  • Photo Courtesy of HULU

Andrew Garfield delivers another stellar performance in Under the Banner of Heaven. He’s a Mormon police detective in this expert adaptation of Jon Krakauer’s book about the murder of a Mormon mother and her baby in 1984. We learn about both the crime and the history of the Mormon church through revelations learned by Garfield’s character as he comes to terms with the bloody foundations of his church. His modern, somewhat naive Mormonism and love for his family seem at odds with what he uncovers in the investigation, including a splinter family sect of brothers adopting the old ways of the original religion, from polygamy to blood atonement for sins (aimed at wayward wives). The practice of embuing sainthood upon flawed men to mask their desires was allowed and encouraged by the church, never protecting the weak and preyed upon — which makes Detective Jeb Pyre doubt himself and his role in this closed society. Garfield is so talented … he uses quiet softness to cover his inner turmoil, which breaks him mid-series. The story is compelling and shocking because it is hard to comprehend the hubris of men who believe themselves to be above any law — man’s or God’s — and the willful protection of evil by the church is mind-boggling. The cast includes Sam Worthington, Wyatt Russell, and Gil Birmingham as Pyre’s detective partner. This is addictive, adult viewing. Definitely recommended!

Now streaming, click here.