Weekend Watchlist | In Your Wildest Fantasies

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Shruti Talekar | Senior Staff Illustrator

By The Pitt News Staff

This week’s streaming recommendations explore worlds of witches, dragons, princesses and the ultimate fantasy — hanging out in a group of people without fear of COVID-19!

Kiki’s Delivery Service (HBO Max) // Charlie Taylor, Contributing Editor

Legendary director Hayao Miyazaki is the uncontested king of fantasy. Critics are probably less likely to cite “Kiki’s Delivery Service” as his masterpiece, compared to “Spirited Away,” which won numerous awards internationally, or “My Neighbor Totoro,” which has gained iconic status in global pop culture. But the film’s titular character, Kiki, has a special place in my heart.

As a young witch, Kiki must leave home for the first time at the tender age of 13, find a town in need of her services and become their resident witch. Although she’s clumsy and inexperienced, she has a big heart and quickly makes friends in the seaside town of Koriko, including the local baker, who employs her to fly around on her broomstick delivering baked goods. With breathtaking animation and a jovial soundtrack, “Kiki’s Delivery Service” will ignite even the most jaded adult’s child-like sense of wonderment. We’ve all been in Kiki’s place before — strangers in a strange land, ready for new experiences yet unsure of where we fit into the world. She’s here to remind us that it’s okay to be unsure, because learning is half the journey.

Disenchantment (Netflix) // Lucas DiBlasi, Senior Staff Writer

“The Simpsons” is nearing its 700th episode, and Fox cancelled “Futurama” for the second (and presumably final) time. While both shows still have cult-like followings across the globe, Matt Groening’s newest creation, “Disenchantment,” breathes new life into his signature animation and comedy styles.

Set in the medieval fantasy kingdom of Dreamland, “Disenchantment” follows the rebellious princess Bean, her personal demon Luci and her elf friend Elfo. Bean is set to be unhappily married to another kingdom’s prince, but he accidentally impales himself on a sword, freeing Bean to live as a mischievous princess. Luci is sent to turn Bean to evil, but ends up being more of a hilarious nuisance than a hell-bent spectre, and Elfo becomes disillusioned with his candy-making existence and leaves his homeland in search of a more fulfilling life. More so than in his other shows, there is significant plot development across the episodes, rather than within them. The fantasy genre has given Groening and his writers a new comedic avenue to experiment with, and the result is funny, comforting and well worth a binge watch. There are currently two seasons on Netflix, but a third is expected by the end of 2020.

Harry Potter (Swank) // Sarah Stager, Contributing Editor

I recently made an astonishing discovery. Pitt gives students access to an online streaming service called Swank, and among the service’s slim offerings are all eight Harry Potter movies, plus the two Fantastic Beasts movies — though, let’s be real, those movies (mostly the second one) are sad cash grabs that should never have been made. But that’s not the point. The point is that you can now have a full-on Harry Potter movie marathon without having to pay a cent. What better time to binge this nostalgic series than the fast-approaching Thanksgiving break? You can just pretend that you don’t have exams for which you ought to be studying and escape to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where studying accounts for maybe one minute of screen time total. All together, the series would take just under 20 hours to watch, so unless you like to be uncomfortable, I would recommend allocating two or more days to your marathon. Zoom with a friend! Eat some popcorn! Have a jolly old time — or as much of a jolly old time as is possible during the second wave of the pandemic.

She-Ra and the Princess of Power (Netflix) // Beatrice McDermott, Staff Writer

A reboot of the original 80’s show, “She-Ra and the Princess of Power” breathes new life into the retro characters and outdated fantasy tropes. The five-season show takes place on the magical planet Etheria, where the Princesses and Horde army have been battling for control for years. Adora, a Horde soldier, stumbles upon a magical sword in the Whispering Woods and learns that she’s destined to wield its power and transform into the mythical hero, She-Ra. 

After witnessing the Horde attack innocent villagers, Adora turns her back on the Horde and joins the Princess Rebellion, but her childhood friend, Catra, remains with the evil army and becomes obsessed with destroying She-Ra. The bitter rivalry between the two is undeniably the most entertaining part of the show. “She-Ra and the Princess of Power” also features an amazing cast — the representation of POC and LGBTQ+ characters is ground-breaking in the fantasy genre, and the friendships (shout out to the Best Friend Squad) are both heart-warming and hilarious. Plus, the bright pink and purple animation and bingeable 20-minute episodes make “She-Ra and the Princess of Power” the perfect show to use to recharge after finals.

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