The rise of streaming TV series has made us all accustomed to having new releases occurring more year-round rather than several strategic points in the year, whereas newly released movies have always been year-round. This tends to result in some months feeling very busy for new releases over others, and this month is proving to be a particularly exciting one for us on the what-to-watch radar. Here’s what our family is excited about watching this month.
WARNING: There may be some spoilers for The Mandalorian, Shadow and Bone, The Secrets of Sulphur Springs, and Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.
The Mandalorian (currently airing on Disney+)
Technically, three episodes of the newest season of The Mandalorian have already dropped, but I still feel like it has a place on this list, especially as the entire season isn’t out yet due to the way Disney+ shows don’t drop their entire seasons at once. Very few things currently streaming on TV brings me as much joy as Grogu, who is arguably fandom’s favorite space toddler. Add in the fact that Pedro Pascal has become fandom’s favorite found family dad, and we have an absolutely winning duo. Just the other day, I was telling my husband that for years Star Wars fans wanted a live-action series, but the worry was that no one would be able to afford the price tag it would take to actually make a good series—until Disney bought Lucasfilm, and suddenly the possibility was actually there. I freely admit, when I first heard that The Mandalorian was going to be a series, I associated Mandalorians with Boba Fett, who never grabbed my attention over Jedi Knights the way he did with other fans, so I came into the series skeptical about whether I’d enjoy it. Now I actually find myself excited to discover more of the history of Mandalore and what may become of it and its scattered people. I never really connected with any of the animated series, but Bo-Katan is a character I do enjoy having made the shift to live-action, especially since I recognize actress Katee Sackhoff from her Battlestar Galactica days.
Shadow and Bone (now airing on Netflix)
I really enjoyed the adaption of the first book of the Grishaverse books, especially when they found a way to work the Crows into the storyline. I won’t lie, as someone who favors rogues when playing Dungeons & Dragons and other tabletop role-playing games, the Crows were absolutely my favorite part of the first season—even if they didn’t appear in that book. The casting for the show was particularly strong for all of their leads, but it was Ben Barnes’s casting announcement as the Darkling that made me absolutely convinced that they were going to do this adaption justice. I couldn’t think of a better casting choice for someone who could walk along that charismatic line right up until you discover that he is the villain of it all. The list of villains that fans should not be obsessed with but who totally steal hearts clearly inducted a new member. The promotional posters for this new season include lots of new characters that I am absolutely excited to see, and I certainly want to see Alina’s quest to gain additional amplifiers so that she can truly stop the Darkling once and for all.
The Secrets of Sulphur Springs (March 24th on Disney Channel and Disney+)
This series that’s a little bit spooky but actually involves a lot more time travel has become one of those things that’s fun for my whole family to watch—including the middle schooler and the kiddo still in elementary school. The series follows pre-teen Griffin Campbell as his father relocates the family to Louisiana to buy the Tremont Hotel, which was once a thriving resort until the nearby springs dried up. Griffin’s dad attended a camp there as a kid where one of his friends, a girl named Savannah, disappeared never to be seen again, and rumors abound that she might haunt the hotel. Griffin befriends a local girl named Harper and they discover that through the Tremont basement is a time portal that brings them back to when Savannah disappeared. The two quickly start working to try to find out why Savannah disappeared and what became of her. Luckily, as this show is aimed at kids, Savannah’s fate turns out to be a happier ending rather than the police procedural victim-of-the-week adults are accustomed to. However, there’s still a sense that the hotel is haunted, even if it’s not by Savannah, and the second season discovers the kids investigating the past of the land the Tremont Hotel was built on and how it’s connected to Harper’s family. This new season is promising a new and scarier ghost, although thus far things haven’t been too scary for my kids. It’s a fun series that takes me back to my ghost-story-loving pre-teen days, although I feel like it’s less dark than the endings of a lot of Goosebumps books.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (March 31st from Paramount Pictures)
I still remember seeing the first attempt at a Dungeons & Dragons-based movie that tried to take itself way too seriously—when you consider that the people who were going to be most excited to see it love to sit around a table and cause ridiculous hijinks on a regular basis (or as much of a regular basis as schedules allow for). It didn’t have the budget to be a solid action film, and even Jeremy Irons as the villain couldn’t save it. From the very first trailer for Honor Among Thieves, I felt like they had finally hit all the right notes. The action and shenanigan levels made me feel like this could be a gaming session with my very own group, and it was absolutely clear that they were not taking themselves too seriously. With a cast of much more recognizable names, including Hugh Grant as a rogue (which, after years of him being a rom-com leading man, feels like such a fun switch that you pretty much have to check it out). As a player, a number of the spells and creatures featured in the released clips are easily recognizable. Right now, Dungeons & Dragons is absolutely on a popularity rise due to Stranger Things and Critical Role, and I truly believe this will give the hobby another boost including among kids. (My waitlist to run another group for kids to play at my FLGS is quickly adding up.) As players, my kids are excited to see this one too, as are a number of the kids that they game with.