It really is sequels-we-didn’t-know-we-needed season in Hollywood right now. The likes of The Matrix 4, Indiana Jones 5 and The Meg 2 are all in the works, not to mention Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Legally Blonde 3 and many, many more – hell, even Enchanted is getting a follow-up movie. The point being, entirely original adventures come at a premium these days, and you won’t be surprised to learn that this week’s biggest streaming arrival does little to buck the trend.
Perhaps the most uncalled-for sequel of the lot, Space Jam: A New Legacy drops on HBO Max this weekend to bring the basketball antics of Bugs Bunny and co. to a whole new audience. This time around, LeBron James is on hand to help the ‘Tune Squad’ shoot three-pointers and defeat their animated competition.
Elsewhere, though, there’s a handful of totally fresh properties coming to Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV Plus and Peacock over the next few days. Below, we round up the best of the rest – from all-female action flicks to bizarre musical parodies.
Space Jam: A New Legacy (HBO Max)
And so we begin with Space Jam 2. Arriving 25 years after the 1996 original, LeBron James stands in for Michael Jordan to lead the same cast of Looney Tunes all-stars as he plots to escape the Warner 3000 Server-Verse, a virtual multiverse ruled by Don Cheadle’s tyrannical A.I overlord.
If that sounds too bizarre to comprehend, let’s explain it more simply: an NBA legend teams up with the world’s most famous cartoons to play a high-stakes basketball game, basically. As you’d expect, animation has come a long way since the 1990s, so expect plenty of vibrant colors and slapstick chaos. A New Legacy is also awash with nods to Warner Bros’ biggest franchises – from Game of Thrones to Batman – which has led some outlets to label the movie a gratuitous marketing stunt, but we’re betting there’s at least some fun to be had here.
The sequel has been simultaneously released in theaters and on HBO Max in the US, though subscribers to the streamer’s less expensive, ad-supported tier won’t have access. Those on the $14.99 monthly tier have a 31-day window to watch it. For those in the UK, you’ll only be able to see it in theaters.
Now available to stream on HBO Max in the US, and watch in theaters in the UK
Gunpowder Milkshake (Netflix)
Can’t wait for John Wick 4? Gunpowder Milkshake may be a worthy placeholder. Karen Gillan, Lena Headey, Carla Gugino, Michelle Yeoh, Angela Bassett and Paul Giamatti star in this action flick about an all-female group of assassins on a mission to protect a young girl.
It’s an ultra-violent, tongue-in-cheek thriller set in a neon-infused universe – what’s not to like? Gunpowder Milkshake has been earning early comparisons to Kill Bill (and John Wick, obviously) and has already got the green light for a sequel.
Expect big things from this one. And lots of slow-mo. UK viewers, though, will have to wait until September 17 to watch this – it hits theaters and Sky Cinema on the same day.
Now available to stream on Netflix in the US, and releasing on Sky Cinema from September 17
American Horror Stories (Hulu)
A spin-off venture from FX’s biggest and longest-running show, American Horror Story, American Horror Stories (note the plural) arrives on Hulu as a new anthology series from super-producer Ryan Murphy.
Seven episodes will tell completely different stories, with a cast of familiar names – which includes the likes of Matt Bomer, Evan Peters, Kaia Gerber and Danny Trejo – on hand for each. Sarah Paulson also features as a director on the series.
Episodes 1 and 2 are available to stream today, with the following five dropping in weekly instalments. Incidentally, the mainline American Horror Story show also returns next month.
Disney Plus UK subscribers can watch it via Star at some point this year, but we don’t know when that’ll be.
Now available to stream on Hulu
Dr. Death (Peacock)
Based on the hit podcast, Dr. Death tells the terrifying true story of Dr. Christopher Duntsch, a young and confident spinal surgeon who left 30 of his patients injured and two dead – right under the noses of his medical colleagues.
Joshua Jackson, Alec Baldwin, Christian Slater and AnnaSophia Robb all star in this unsettling drama which was also one of the first shows ordered by Peacock when the streaming service was announced back in 2019.
Lengthy Covid-related production delays led to numerous cast and crew changes on this one, with Jackson replacing Jamie Dornan as Duntsch and Maggie Kiley stepping in for Stephen Frears, who initially signed on to direct the first two episodes.
It won’t be for the squeamish, but Dr. Death tells an important tale of systemic failings with devastating consequences.
Now available to stream on Peacock
Never Have I Ever season 2 (Netflix)
Mindy Kaling’s coming-of-age comedy-drama returns to Netflix for a second season this weekend, with protagonist Devi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) facing her first ever love triangle ahead of an impending move to India.
The show’s first season was praised as a watershed moment for South Asian representation in Hollywood and lauded for its breaking of stereotypes, so expect Never Have I Ever to continue that trend with its latest episodes.
And yes, John McEnroe is (wildly) back for narrating duties.
Now available to stream on Netflix
Fear Street Part Three: 1666 (Netflix)
Netflix’s Fear Street movie trilogy comes to a close this weekend with the arrival of Fear Street: Part 3: 1666. In this final story, proceedings head to colonial America to explore the origins (read: witch trials) of the Shadyside curse.
Based on the books by R.L. Stine (of Goosebumps fame), the series has so far been near-unanimously praised for its more adult take on the supernatural genre – and don’t expect that to change with the trilogy’s final chapter, even if the whole project hasn’t been as scary as it could’ve been.
Now available to stream on Netflix
Schmigadoon! (Apple TV Plus)
What was it we said earlier about a lack of originality? Well, Apple TV’s Schmigadoon! seems unlike anything we’ve seen (or heard) before.
Created by the writers of Despicable Me and produced by SNL’s Lorne Michaels, this six-episode musical parody series stars Cecily Strong and Keegan-Michael Key as a couple on a backpacking trip who stumble upon a town in which all of the residents believe they’re living inside a 1940s musical. Alan Cumming, Kristin Chenoweth, Fred Armisen and Jane Krakowski also star, with cameo appearances from the likes of Martin Short.
Actually, thinking about it, isn’t that basically the same plot as Netflix’s Isn’t It Romantic? Never mind.
Now available to stream on Apple TV Plus. Want some suggestions of things to watch? Check out our list of the best Apple TV Plus shows.