Willow - Disney+
Picked by Digital Editor Mike Nam
Before Tolkien's classic The Lord of the Rings was adapted into a big-budget, live-action blockbuster trilogy, George Lucas and Ron Howard teamed up to bring an original high-fantasy creation to the silver screen in 1988 and despite the technical limitations of its time, Willow was a hit. Now, as '80s nostalgia continues to relentlessly overtake modern content, Warwick Davis returns as the titular wizard charged with a new quest to help a group of young adventurers save the world. The first two episodes just dropped on Disney+ and is so far a pretty rousing followup to the decades-old fantasy flick.
Wednesday - Netflix
Picked by Growth Associate Keara O’Driscoll
It's pretty black and white that Tim Burton’s Wednesday has been all of the buzz since its November 23 debut. In just a week, the show surpassed Netflix’s sweetheart Stranger Things, taking the crown for the most hours viewed. It's not a remake but a reimagining of the classic Addams Family franchise and includes some familiar faces like Catherine Zeta-Jones as Morticia Addams, Fred Armisen as Uncle Fester, and Christina Ricci, who you might remember portraying Wednesday Addams in the ‘90s box office hits The Addams Family and Addams Family Values (and we all know that I love a good ‘90s parody movie as per my Brady Bunch recommendation). Ricci portrays Marilyn Thornhill, Wednesday’s dorm’s house mother, in this new adaptation, but the star of the show is 20-year-old Disney Channel alum, Jenna Ortega, who has captured the hearts of Gen Z and just about everyone else.
The Lair - Amazon Prime Video
Picked by Cheddar Reporter Alex Vuocolo
Director Neol Marshall made his reputation with lean, mean, low-budget genre movies such as Dog Soldiers and The Descent. Then he went on to direct a series of blockbusters that reaped diminishing returns for fans, culminating in the critically-derided Hellboy reboot. His latest film, however, is thankfully a return to form. The Lair is about a British pilot who is shot down in the mountains of Afghanistan and discovers an abandoned Soviet base. I don't think it's a spoiler to tell you that the Russians hatched some truly terrifying humanoid monsters in tanks full of goop, and our pilot unwittingly unleashes them. What ensues is a satisfying, if by-the-numbers, exercise in survival horror. Here's hoping Marshall sticks to this register going forward.
If Books Could Kill - Wherever you get your podcasts
Picked by Newsletter Writer Graison Dangor
Some nonfiction books, such as Malcolm Gladwell's mega-bestseller Outliers, become so influential that their big ideas — like that it takes 10,000 hours of doing something to become an expert — become conventional wisdom. Unfortunately for conventional wisdom, some of these books, including Gladwell's, turn out to be so poorly researched that their premises can be disproven with just a few minutes of Googling. In each episode of the new podcast, If Books Could Kill, hosts Michael Hobbes and Peter Shamshiri take on a book and give it the fact-check it seemingly never got from its publisher. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good debunking and challenging some of their own assumptions.
Robocop - Tubi, Roku
Picked by Digital Editor Mike Nam
Law enforcement robots programmed to kill seemed outlandish in 1987 when Paul Verhoeven directed this hyperviolent satire of America's cultural hangups around crime and criminal justice. Anyway, it's 2022, and San Francisco has authorized a bomb-carrying police robot to use lethal force if necessary. I'll buy that for a dollar.