Happy New Year! Unfortunately, January is the month where movies go to die. It’s cold, everyone is depressed because they’ve already failed their New Year’s resolutions, and the most creatively bankrupt films are dumped into a month where many won’t be going out. I’d say the pandemic would make this worse, but people might be so desperate to see something new that they’ll take the risk. (Or they would, if there were any movies to see.) For those reasons, everything here will be streaming TV shows.
First up, Netflix releases the third season of Cobra Kai on Jan. 8. Originally a YouTube Premium web series, the show is a follow up to 1984’s The Karate Kid, with rivals Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence at the center – played by Ralph Macchio and William Zabka, respectively, reprising their roles over 34 years later. The story finds them as middle-aged men, both attempting to move on from their pasts, yet unwilling to completely let go. Karate obviously makes a return here with the former students now both masters of their own dojos. Previous seasons are streaming on Netflix, so catching up before season three is easy to do. The show has a great balance between the comedy and drama of its ’80s predecessor, and the performances, especially from the two leads, are spot on. A fourth season has already been commissioned.
If watching people punch others in the face isn’t really what you’re into, Netflix also has a new crime show that’s all about gentlemen thievery. Lupin, a contemporary retelling of stories based on French detective novels and short stories by Maurice Leblanc, stars Omar Sy (Intouchables) as Assaen Diop, who inherits a book about Arsen Lupin and his many adventures. Leblanc’s stories have been adapted many times, more famously as the Japanese manga and anime series Lupin III, but this series looks to take a different approach to the source material. The trailer indicates a thought-provoking mystery with crime elements galore and fun twists along the way. It releases Jan. 8.
Finally, Disney Plus offers WandaVision. Set within the Marvel Cinematic Universe – with Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany reprising their roles as Wanda Maximoff and Vision, respectively – the series takes place after Avengers: Endgame. The miniseries appears to be about the two leads living an idyllic life in something like a sitcom full of tropes and laugh tracks. But, of course, that all comes crashing down. It will be the first Marvel property in Phase 4 of the Cinematic Universe and releases Jan. 15.
If you’re not in the mood for a series, online options of films released within the past few years are plentiful, so even though the scrolling is often daunting, finding something to sink your teeth into shouldn’t take too long. Here’s hoping 2021 has a better grip on things so film releases start to feel normal again.