What to stream this week: Janelle Monáe, a Cheetos origin story, Diablo IV and ‘Avatar’

Jun 2, 2023, 12:19 PM

This combination of images shows promotional art for "Cruel Summer," a series premiering June 5, fr...

This combination of images shows promotional art for "Cruel Summer," a series premiering June 5, from left, "Avatar: The Way of Water," premiering June 7 on Disney+ and HBO Max, the final season of "Never Have I Ever," premiering June 8 on Netflix and "Flamin' Hot," a film premiering Friday, June 9 on Hulu. (Hulu/20th Century Studios/Netflix/Hulu via AP)

(Hulu/20th Century Studios/Netflix/Hulu via AP)

Albums from Janelle Monáe and Niall Horan, as well as a TV movie about a Frito-Lay janitor who claims to have invented Flamin’ Hot Cheetos are among the new television, movies, music and games headed to a device near you.

Among the offerings worth your time as selected by The Associated Press’ entertainment journalists are the streaming debut of “Avatar: The Way of Water” and the celebrity-stuffed “Stars on Mars,” where the likes of Lance Armstrong and Ariel Winter are put in a Mars simulation and presented with a series of challenges to colonize their version of the Red Planet.


— “Avatar: The Way of Water” finally washes onto streaming shores Wednesday. In her review, AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr called “The Way of Water,” “a truly dazzling cinematic experience that will have you floating on a blockbuster high.”

— reports have cast doubt on the veracity of his claims, “Flamin’ Hot” abides by the old movie maxim: Print the Frito-Legend.

— As “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” hits theaters, Disney+ is streaming all four previous “Indiana Jones” movies, plus the series “The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones.” Since May 31, subscribers have been able to watch “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” and “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.” And, yes, “Raiders” is still No. 1.

AP Film Writer Jake Coyle


— Niall Horan shows back up with “The Show,” his third solo album and first since 2020’s chart-topping “Heartbreak Weather.” A coach for “The Voice” and former member of One Direction, Horan has released two singles from the new collection — the sweeping and driving “Heaven” and the catchy “Meltdown,” a musical promise that ”when it all melts down/I’ll be there.” He’s also announced his first headlining shows in six years as well as his biggest venues to date across Europe, Oceania and North America.

— Sensuality will be on tap when Janelle Monáe releases “The Age of Pleasure,” her first album since 2018. “’Cause for your love, I’ll take my time/Just wanna feel your hips on mine,” Monáe sings in the single “Lipstick Lover.” Another offering is “Float” featuring Seun Kuti and Egypt 80, which has been used by the NBA and contains the line “It’s hard to look at my resume and not find a reason to toast.” The album packaging and fold-out sleeve contains a hidden surprise for listeners: a close-up painting of Monáe’s chest.

— It’s back to his day job for Jason Isbell. The singer-songwriter has already been the subject of the HBO documentary “Running With Our Eyes Closed” and got a role in Martin Scorsese’s movie “Death Wish,” with a partner struggling to help the other cope with their self-destructive behavior. “Who’s left to pray to/What’s the difference in breakdown and a breakthrough?” he sings.

AP Entertainment Writer Mark Kennedy


— Twelve celebrities, including former cyclist Lance Armstrong, Ariel Winter of “Modern Family” and Tom Schwartz of “Vanderpump Rules,” are put in a Mars simulation and presented with a series of challenges to colonize their version of the Red Planet. William Shatner, Captain Kirk from “Star Trek” and “Stars on Mars” debuts Monday on Fox.

— When “Cruel Summer” debuted its first season in 2021 on Freeform, it was an immediate hit for the network. Season two features a new cast and new mystery but, like its predecessor, takes place over alternate timelines. Lexi Underwood of “Little Fires Everywhere” stars alongside Sadie Stanley, and Griffin Gluck with Jessica Biel as a co-executive producer. The story is set in the Pacific Northwest against the backdrop of the Y2K time period, when the tech world feared computers and government systems would malfunction over programming when the calendar flipped to the year 2000. Fans of the Shonda Rhimes series “Private Practice” may also be tickled to see KaDee Strickland, Paul Adelstein and Gluck reunite in “Cruel Summer” after working together on the former ABC series.

— Netflix’s “Never Have I Ever” drops its fourth and final season on Thursday. The series stars Maitreyi Ramakrishnan in a coming-of-age story about an Indian American high school teen coping with the sudden death of her father, first loves and lusts, friendship, and self-identity. Even better, it’s narrated by John McEnroe. In season four, Ramakrishnan’s Devi is in her senior year of high school and getting ready to go to college. The show, co-created by Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher is whip smart (as is Kaling’s trademark), up to date on pop culture, funny and touching.

Alicia Rancilio


— Fans of Blizzard Entertainment’s Diablo series have been to hell and back waiting for a new chapter — the last one came out more than a decade ago — but Diablo IV has finally arrived. The conflict between the High Heavens and the Burning Hells is still raging, and some knuckleheads have decided now would be a good time to reawaken the superpowerful demon queen Lilith. Your character — rogue, sorcerer, necromancer, barbarian or druid — has the thankless job of trying to prevent Lilith from wreaking too much havoc in the mortal plane called Sanctuary. Blizzard has turned Sanctuary into a sprawling open world with a beefy solo campaign, plenty of side missions, player vs. player arenas and the promise of many quests to come. The war resumes Tuesday on PC, Xbox X/S/One and PlayStation 5/4, although early access has already opened for deluxe and ultimate edition buyers.

— Sweden’s Frictional Games has been building an eerie alternate world since 2010, when it launched the surprise indie hit Amnesia: The Dark Descent. The nightmare continues in Amnesia: The Bunker, in which battle-scarred World War I soldier Henri Clement finds himself trapped underground with a beast that may be even more dangerous than the chaos ravaging the surface. Frictional says the bunker is more expansive than previous Amnesia settings, and Henri can at least fight back with his revolver — though ammunition may be hard to come by. The horror sets in Tuesday on PC, Xbox X/S/One and PlayStation 5/4.

Lou Kesten


Catch up on AP’s entertainment coverage here:


Associated Press

Russia accuses US of promoting ties between Israel and Arabs before Israeli-Palestinian peace deal

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Russia accused the United States on Wednesday of promoting Israel’s normalization of relations with Arab nations and circumventing the Arab Peace Initiative launched by Saudi Arabia in 2002, which calls for a settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before any diplomatic recognition of Israel. The statement by Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia […]

5 days ago

Associated Press

Winner of $1.6 billion Mega Millions jackpot claims prize in Florida

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — The winner of the $1.6 billion Mega Millions jackpot in August has come forward to claim the prize, officials said Wednesday. Under a new Florida law, the winner’s name remains anonymous for 90 days from the date the prize was claimed, which was on Sept. 25, lottery officials said in […]

5 days ago

Hudson, 7, left, Callahan, 13, middle, and Keegan Pruente, 10, right, stand outside their school on...

Associated Press

More schools are adopting 4-day weeks. For parents, the challenge is day 5

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) — It’s a Monday in September, but with schools closed, the three children in the Pruente household have nowhere to be. Callahan, 13, contorts herself into a backbend as 7-year-old Hudson fiddles with a balloon and 10-year-old Keegan plays the piano. Like a growing number of students around the U.S, the Pruente […]

7 days ago

A sign marks a roadside rest stop that has been made to look like the historic security gate that a...

Associated Press

Birthplace of the atomic bomb braces for its biggest mission since the top-secret Manhattan Project

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (AP) — Los Alamos was the perfect spot for the U.S. government’s top-secret Manhattan Project. Almost overnight, the ranching enclave on a remote plateau in northern New Mexico was transformed into a makeshift home for scientists, engineers and young soldiers racing to develop the world’s first atomic bomb. Dirt roads were hastily […]

9 days ago

Associated Press

Correction: High Speed Rail-Florida story

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — In a story published Sept. 22, 2023, about the start of high-speed passenger train service between Miami and Orlando, The Associated Press erroneously referred to someone struck and killed by a Brightline train. The victim was a pedestrian, not a passenger.

10 days ago

FILE - Confetti flies as Dearborn mayor candidate Abdullah Hammoud prepares to speak to supporters ...

Associated Press

Census shows 3.5 million Middle Eastern residents in US, Venezuelans fastest growing Hispanic group

The United States had 3.5 million residents who identify as Middle Eastern or North African, Venezuelans were the fastest-growing Hispanic group last decade and Chinese and Asian Indians were the two largest Asian groups, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The most detailed race and ethnicity data to date from the 2020 census was released […]

11 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

What to stream this week: Janelle Monáe, a Cheetos origin story, Diablo IV and ‘Avatar’