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‘Stranger Things’ vs. ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’: What will you be watching on Friday?


The upcoming Star Wars TV show pits Obi-Wan Kenobi against his nemesis Darth Vader. But that’s not the only clash of the titans coming to your screen this week. Competing streaming services Disney+ and netflix go head to head like the Obi-Wan Kenobi mini-series and stranger things season 4 both premiering on the same day: Friday, May 27.

Disney Plus hadn’t even launched when Stranger Things debuted on Netflix in July 2016. We saw the kids of Hawkins, Indiana tackle teenage angst and upside-down monsters in this monster hit. influenced by the ’80s. In contrast, Obi-Wan Kenobi sees Star Wars star Ewan McGregor pick up his lightsaber for the first time in 17 years. Ah, making decisions!

We asked CNET staffers which of these two sci-fi epics they’re most looking forward to seeing. Which one will you choose….?

Hello

While I love spending time in the neon glow of Stranger Things, I’m extremely eager to follow old Obi-Wan Kenobi on a damned idealistic crusade. Star Wars is irresistible, McGregor has only gotten better over the years since Revenge of the Sith and director Deborah Chow helmed some of The Mandalorian’s best episodes.

I’d gladly watch Obi-Wan roam around Tatooine for six episodes, but it sure looks like he’ll have to show some Imperials who’s boss. It’s gonna be epic.

–Sean Kean

Turn me upside down…again

I love Star Wars, but I’m more excited about Stranger Things. And before you boo me, let me explain. We know Obi-Wan will be fine. There is no tension, danger or mystery about what will happen to him. We already know he comes across Darth Vader aboard the Death Star, so Luke and the crew can escape. Any tension or sense of danger in Obi-Wan’s show is undermined by the fact that we know how his story unfolds.

The history of Eleven and the rest of our Hawkins gang, on the other hand, is a mystery. We can guess and speculate, but we don’t know. I want to be at least a little surprised at what happens. That’s what draws me to Stranger Things.

–Zach McAuliffe

The Stranger Things gang gets stranger in season 4.

netflix

A difficult choice

It’s a tough choice. Both appeal to my Gen-X DNA. Modern Star Wars products are so overheated and committee-designed that I can’t imagine anything surprising. From the trailers, Obi-Wan (the show) looks like The Book of Boba Fett, which looked like The Mandalorian, etc. Apparently, space is… mostly empty.

Stranger Things feels like it’s running out of ideas after the first two seasons. Sometimes it’s okay to say, “We’ve done enough, we’ve told our story, let’s go ahead.”

However, I went to the Stranger Things in-person experience in New York a few weeks ago, so maybe I’m speaking. Complaining and overanalyzing is a staple of fandom, so it’s just my way of saying I’m going to watch both.

–Dan Ackerman

A party

I’m really excited to watch both of these shows at some point, but Obi-Wan will absolutely be the first, and really for me, it depends on the timing. Stranger Things was one of the first horror-adjacent things I got to watch with my kids, one of whom is now deeply happy to sit down and enjoy all things scary. And the recent teases that this next season is going to get darker makes me really curious. But as I write this, I’m currently rechecking the pieces of my Jedi robes that I’ve spent the last month putting together for the Star Wars Celebration convention which is happening the same day as Obi’s release. -Wan. So obviously this is going to be something I’ll have to watch first to avoid any bullshit spoilers.

— Russell Holly

Help me, Obi-Wan

Ewan McGregor is Obi-Wan again.

Star Wars/Disney Plus

It’s probably sacrilege, but Stranger Things never really did anything for me. Early on, I didn’t have much of an emotional connection to those retro 1980s touchstones like The Goonies or Dungeons & Dragons. Maybe I’m missing something, but I haven’t watched it since the first season.

But Ewan McGregor with a lightsaber? It is extremely my jam. Star Wars TV shows have been a mash-up after the excellent Mandalorian and Boba Fett’s laborious book, but Obi-Wan is a character that exudes Star Wars magic on the big screen. In my mind, the franchise claims some of that energy. What if the first episodes weren’t so great? Top Gun: Maverick is in theaters this weekend, and it’s a lot of fun.

–Richard Trenholm

It attracts us!

Considering the story, I’m 100% sure that Stranger Things will be a better season of television. Other than a few failed episodes, the Duffer Brothers barely set foot in what eventually became one of the most influential television shows in the short history of streaming television. I loved Stranger Things with every fiber of my being.

But unfortunately, Star Wars is Star Wars. Like a rotting draugr, clumsily walking towards the brains, fate decreed that I must scratch myself once more at the altar of George Lucas. Like most long-term Star Wars obsessives, I have to watch this show the second it drops. Also, like most Star Wars fans, I’m duty to complain online.

I expect Obi-Wan to be underwhelming and underwhelming, but I’ll be there day one, desperately hoping to be “dazzled”.

–Marc Serrels

Fake nostalgia is better than the real thing

I’m too traumatized by the sight of Disney cannibalizing a true cultural artifact I once loved, so the nostalgic Stranger Things alternative seems like the right fit. Think about it. You get the best of both worlds: the feeling of familiarity in a precisely cut 80s period piece, without actually seeing something you loved back then turned into a hardworking cash cow that can only hiss” finish me” with a look of despair in his eyes. Happy, all of you. Just thrilled.

–Rae Hodge

The truth is often what we make of it

I don’t think there’s a bad choice here, because both of these shows seem like they’re having a good time. That said, I’m so excited about Obi-Wan, it kinda freaks me out. Star Wars stuff has been hit or miss lately, and this show is betting on one of the franchise’s best and most iconic characters. And yet, I can’t help but be excited. Ewan McGregor was the only spirited and entertaining part of the prequels – imagine what he can do with a better script and better direction. Of course, I might worry if Disney is just making this show to enjoy two generations of nostalgia, or if the Star Wars franchise is about to die. But I love Obi-Wan because he chooses to see potential in people, and that’s exactly what I’m doing with this show.

-Adam Benjamin

It’s all about strategy

I’m more of a Stranger Things person (unfortunately didn’t watch Star Wars movies growing up), but I plan to watch Obi-Wan first. Why? It’s all about strategy. Obi-Wan only presents two episodes on Friday. I’ll eat some, then I’ll head straight to Stranger Things land. Yes, I watch way too much TV.

–Jennifer Bisset

wild card…

I’m going to watch Kick Like Tayla, thank you very much. Amazon Prime in Australia delivered the best sports documentary you probably haven’t seen in the last year, called Making Their Mark. He has followed Aussie Rules football clubs through the pandemic year in 2020 and it was a revelation for a league that is usually quite reserved about what happens behind closed doors. It showed the raw, unfiltered emotion of playing at the highest level, going behind the scenes of struggling clubs and eventual champions. Oh…and there were a ton of just dinkum Aussies swearing at it all.

So I’m hyped for this follow-up, which covers women’s competition and one of its main stars, Tayla Harris, who was trolled and abused after a photo of her literally just kicking a soccer ball went viral in 2019. It will be awesome.

Stranger Things is far more exciting than Obi-Wan, however.

–Jackson Ryan

CNET

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