If January was a little slow, February has caught up big time, offering a number of high-profile titles fans are absolutely clamoring for. The top three choices this month are all new interpretations of things we’ve seen before — FX’s Shogun, Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Prime Video’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith — and while we’d all probably like to see more original programming, these three titles in particular look good enough to silence the naysayers. Then we have the return of both popular Star Wars animated series The Bad Batch and Paramount+’s video game adaptation Halo.
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#1 on Facebook and Instagram, #2 on X (tie)
Premieres: Tuesday, February 27
FX has been working on a new adaptation of James Clavell’s 1975 novel of the same name — which has already seen a fairly iconic miniseries adaptation in 1980 — for about 11 years, and while that may not be common knowledge, it has to be a relief that anticipation for it is sky high. Cosmo Jarvis (Lady Macbeth) plays John Blackthorne, an English sailor who finds himself in the service of a Japanese feudal lord after a shipwreck; acclaimed actor Hiroyuki Sanada takes on the role of of that feudal lord, Yoshii Toranaga, which was played in the 1980 series by legendary screen icon Toshiro Mifune, while Anna Sawai (Monarch: Legacy of Monsters) plays Lady Mariko, the translator assigned to Blackthorne to help him learn the culture. The series looks violent, epic in scope, and impeccably photographed, so it’s no wonder it rose to the top of the list.
How to Watch: FX, Hulu
#1 on X, #2 on Facebook and Instagram
Premieres: Thursday, February 22
M. Night Shyamalan’s live-action adaptation of the beloved Nickelodeon animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of contemporary cinema’s most famous cautionary tales, rejected wholesale by fans of the show and people who generally enjoy, you know, well-made movies. So it is with some trepidation and much anticipation that we all look forward to Netflix’s new live-action adaptation, which is appropriately also a TV series and hopefully a more faithful rendering of the story.
How to Watch: Netflix
#2 on X (tie), #3 on Instagram, #4 on Facebook
Premieres: Friday, February 1
Speaking of new versions of things, we’re also getting an update of the film that, if nothing else, birthed the power couple we know as “Brangelina.” While the 2005 films starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie centered on a married couple who were both unaware of each other’s clandestine spy activities, this new Prime Video series stars Donald Glover (who also co-created the show) and Maya Erskine (PEN15, Blue Eye Samurai) as two strangers who willingly sign up to play a married couple for a shadowy agency. The series has already gotten high praise from critics, and fans of Glover’s Atlanta will be happy to know that producer Francesca Sloane and director Hiro Murai are also along for the ride.
How to Watch: Prime Video
#4 on Instagram and X
Premieres: Wednesday, February 21
The Star Wars universe always has several plates spinning, and while we await live-action offerings like Skeleton Crew, The Acolyte, and of course season 2 of Andor, we have the reliably solid The Bad Batch, which drops its third season Disney+ this month. This spin-off of The Clone Wars follows a band of clone trooper mercenaries on the run from the Empire, and the third season focuses on their efforts to reunite with Omega (voiced by Michelle Ang). Though the drop-off after the top three entries on this list was rather large, this series remains a fan favorite.
How to Watch: Disney+
#3 on Facebook
Premieres: Thursday, February 8
Finally, we have the sophomore season of Paramount+’s live-action adaptation of the popular video game series Halo, following the exploits of Pablo Schreiber’s Master Chief and his AI sidekick (sort of) Cortana, voiced by Jen Taylor. The first season earned a decent but somewhat lukewarm reception, with critics citing glimpses of higher potential, and so far it looks like season 2 has corrected course admirably, so here’s hoping fans of the games are a bit more satisfied with the end product.
How to Watch: Paramount+
Thumbnail image by Kurt Iswarienko/©FX