Albums from John Mellencamp and Killer Mike, as well as the return of Chris Hemsworth’s gun-for-hire anti-hero in Netflix’s “Extraction 2” 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 season two of “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds,” and the season seven premiere of “Outlander” that continues the story of its time-crossed lovers Jamie and Claire Fraser.
NEW MOVIES TO STREAM
— Clinical death is just a minor obstacle for Chris Hemsworth’s action hero Tyler Rake, who audiences can see again in “Extraction 2,” which arrived on Netflix on Friday. In this outing, he’s assigned the dangerous task of rescuing a Georgian gangster’s family from a prison. Director Sam Hargrave promised twice as much action and more emotion in this outing, produced again by the Russo brothers. And Hemsworth has said that they opted for practical stunts and set pieces over green-screen fakery, which could be a bit frightening filming a sequence atop a train going 40 miles per hour through the snowy Czech Republic while a helicopter hovered 23 feet in front of him flying backwards. (Read AP’s review here.)
— ”Chevalier,” a lush, dramatic biopic of an accomplished Black man in Marie Antoinette’s France who was all but erased, came and went in theaters without a lot of fanfare. But it’s now on Hulu where audiences can learn about Joseph Bologne, the Chevalier de Saint-Georges, the son of a wealthy French plantation owner and an enslaved Senegalese teenager who rose through the ranks of French society due in part to his extraordinary musical talents as a composer and a violinist. Kelvin Harrison Jr. plays the title role in the Stephen Williams-directed film, which I wrote in a review “may be more fiction than history, but it’s worthwhile with effective acting, tension (helped by Kris Bowers’ score) and a decadently beautiful production.”
— And on Disney+, a new original documentary about the late Stan Lee premieres Friday. “Stan Lee,” directed by David Gelb, promises to explore Lee’s life and cultural impact. Lee, who died in 2018 at 95, co-created an army of comic book characters including Spider-Man, the X-Men, Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, the Fantastic Four, Ant-Man and many more who have in the past 15 years become household names thanks to the popularity of Marvel films, many of which feature fun Stan Lee cameos.
NEW MUSIC TO STREAM
— John Mellencamp’s output is not slowing down. A year after releasing the album “Strictly a One-Eyed Jack,” the heartland rocker is back with “Orpheus Descending.” Many of the 11 tracks — including the anti-gun violence anthem “Hey God” and a song about the homeless crisis “The Eyes of Portland” — focus on social issues. “All of these homeless/Where do they come from?/In this land of plenty/Where nothing gets done,” sings Mellencamp, 71, on the latter track.
— Father’s Day may be around the corner, but Killer Mike is honoring his mother on his new solo album, “Michael.” The single “Motherless” has Mike rapping about his late mother, featuring R&B singer Eryn Allen Kane: ”I be missin’ huggin’ you, I miss kissin’ you/I miss all the jewels and I miss all your wisdom, too.” Another single is the Run the Jewels-like “Don’t Let the Devil,” in which he shows off his delinquent side, with the lyrics “Catch me after Sunday service disturbin’ the church’s workers.”
— Loss is also in the DNA of the new album by multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello. “The Omnichord Real Book” is an album made after she lost her parents. “This album is about the way we see old things in new ways,” Ndegeocello says. First single “Clear Water” is a soul-searching Sly Stone-inspired song featuring Jeff Parker’s bluesy guitar lines and vocals by Justin Hicks. The album was produced by Josh Johnson and also features Jason Moran, Ambrose Akinmusire, Joel Ross, Jeff Parker, Brandee Younger, Julius Rodriguez, Mark Guiliana, Cory Henry, Joan As Police Woman and Thandiswa.
— Only one band can make fonts sound cool and that’s Queens of the Stone Age, who are back with the 10-track studio album “In Times New Roman…” On the spiky, off-kilter “Emotional Sickness,” frontman Josh Homme sings “Use once and destroy/Single servings of pain/A dose of emotion sickness I just can’t shake.” But on “Carnavoyeur,” he has a smooth, distant cool: “Flying high, realize/There are no more mountains to climb.”
NEW SERIES TO STREAM
— Season two of “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” arrived on Paramount+ on Thursday. If you haven’t watched yet, the show takes place about a decade before “Star Trek: The Original Series,” so it features younger versions of some of the “Star Trek” characters viewers know and love. “Strange New Worlds” stars Anson Mount as Captain Christopher Pike when he led the USS Enterprise, with a crew that includes Ethan Peck as Spock, Rebecca Romijn as Una Chin-Riley (otherwise known as Number One), and Celia Rose Gooding as Nyota Uhura. The season one finale introduced Paul Wesley in the role of James T. Kirk and he’s back in the new season.
— Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan are star-crossed lovers in the time-traveling romance drama, “Outlander.” It begins with a British nurse named Claire visiting Scotland after World War II who accidentally falls back in time to the 18th century when Scotland and England are at war. Claire has left her husband behind in the future, and feels like she will never get back there, so she begrudgingly marries a Highland warrior named Jamie. The two end up falling in love and embark on an epic romance. Season seven, premiering Friday on Starz, take place during the American Revolution. The story is based on the book series by Diana Gabaldon.
— The new “The Wonder Years” about a middle-class Black family in Montgomery, Alabama, in the 1960s, returned for its second season Wednesday on ABC. The show is told from the point of view of 12-year-old Dean Williams (played by Elisha “EJ” Williams) with Don Cheadle narrating as the adult version of Dean. It’s already been announced that season two will feature several guest stars including Donald Faison, Bradley Whitford, Phoebe Robinson, Malcolm-Jamal Warner and Patti LaBelle.
— “Gold Rush” fan favorite Todd Hoffman is trying to turn his fortune around by rehabilitating a rundown mine in Alaska in Discovery Channel’s “Hoffman Family Gold.” In season two, Todd has a small crew to help him including his father, Jack, and son, Hunter, but even with the familial assist, it’s a major task and success is not guaranteed. On top of the pressure, Todd and Hunter are very competitive and no one pushes your buttons quite like family. “Hoffman Family Gold” season two debuts Friday.
NEW VIDEO GAMES TO PLAY
— Formula One racing has been booming in America lately, thanks in large part to the popular Netflix documentary series “Drive to Survive.” It’s gotten so big that EA Sports, which bailed out early in the century, got back on the track in 2021. The publisher is billing F1 23 as “a fresh start,” though longtime developer Codemasters is still behind the wheel. It includes 20 drivers and 10 teams from the real-life circuit, as well as a fictional story mode and a career-building “F1 World” series of races. There are also new courses in Las Vegas and Qatar, and a 35% race distance option that offers a quick challenge if you’re short on time. Get your motor running Friday on PlayStation 5/4, Xbox X/S/One and PC.