From Parasite to Never Have I Ever, here are 5 Asian-centered titles to stream this month
Many of us have been glued to our screens lately, due to the quarantine, and I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen a heavy increase in the amount of Asian-American and Asian-centered content recently. Yes, I want to melt my brain by rewatching Tiger King, but I also want to catch shows and movies that center different voices. Asian representation is always important, but now that we’re heading into Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, it’s even more relevant.
Whether it’s new or just new to streamers, there’s a title for every audience member: Check out Kim’s Convenience or Mindy Kaling’s new series Never Have I Ever for the laughs, Parasite and other Bong Joon Ho movies for the social commentary, or the upcoming film The Half of It if you’re in the mood for a fresh rom-com. Here are some of EW’s picks below:
Kim’s Convenience season 4
Released April 1 on Netflix
We’ve gotten to know the hilarious Kim family throughout three seasons: airhead jock Jung (Simu Liu), his photographer sister Janet (Andrea Bang), and their strict but loving parents, Umma (Jean Yoon) and Appa (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee). They may all be totally different, but the Kims all have one thing in common: they’re terrible communicators.
This means although Jung has made strides, like locking down a girlfriend and working on his strained relationship with Appa, season 4 will still have all the hilarious misadventures we’re used to from the Korean-Canadian clan. The stakes might be low — there’s a whole plotline about boy band moves vs. Scottish highland dancing — but the laughs, like always, are high.
Parasite and more Bong Joon Ho films
Released April 8 on Hulu
If you didn’t catch the Oscar-winning film in theaters, you can now watch Bong's Parasite on Hulu. And make it the main event of any movie marathons you’re planning, because the masterpiece demands your full attention. To borrow a phrase from Saturday Night Live’s Stefon, this movie has everything: smart humor, an insane plot, plus scathing criticism of capitalism.
And after your mind’s been blown and you can’t get enough of the South Korean filmmaker, watch his other brilliant features on the streamer. Whether you want to screen the dark comedy Barking Dogs Never Bite, the drama Mother, or the horror film The Host, there’s a Bong movie out there for every cinephile.
Premiered April 10 on Netflix
Parks & Recreation scribe Alan Yang stepped away from comedy to write and direct this moving, sprawling immigrant drama based on his father’s life. We see a charming, vivacious Taiwanese young man achieve his dream of going to America, but it comes at the cost of leaving the love of his life behind. Tigertail is beautifully shot, boasting a quietly powerful performance from lead Tzi-Ma, and as Yang told EW, it’s a one-of-a-kind story featuring two countries and three different languages.
“It's about the journey from Asia to America, so you can talk about all these Taiwanese directors," Yang said. “But they never directed a movie where the main character goes to America halfway through, and then a lot of the movie's in English after that. That movie doesn't exist and it didn't really exist until now.”
Never Have I Ever
Premiered April 27 on Netflix
From creators Kaling and Lang Fisher comes a fresh coming-of-age story centered around Indian-American teen Devi Vishwakumar (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan). In the 10-episode series, Devi has to navigate what “normal” means for a girl who’s juggling two cultures, coping with the death of her father, and — because she's a teenager — “ready to bone” her crush, Paxton (Darren Barnet).
Social media is already falling in love with the series for its honest portrayal of adolescence and Ramakrishnan’s comedy chops. EW’s Kristen Baldwin also praised the show as a “smart, sweet teen romp.”
“Never Have I Ever anchors its hormonal hijinks in authentic, poignant female friendships. Devi’s friends are more than sidekicks: Fabiola (Lee Rodriguez) is a robotics whiz coming to terms with her sexuality, and drama-club president Eleanor (Ramona Young) has her own family issues to deal with,” she wrote. “Though Devi’s obsession with Paxton sometimes makes her a bad friend, Kaling and Lang always lead their heroine back to the BFFs who love her. … And even when Devi is a bit of a jerk, she’s still a goddamn delight.”
Also, tennis legend John McEnroe narrates the series, which sounds like it wouldn’t work but it totally does.
The Half of It
Premiering on Netflix May 1
Netflix has been killing the rom-com game with offerings like the To All the Boys I've Loved Before film series, Always Be My Maybe, and Someone Great — and The Half of It already looks to be another winner. Fans are certainly amped up to see this fresh take on a teen love story — the trailer has amassed more than five million views since it dropped April 9.
Leah Lewis stars as Ellie Chu, an introverted overachiever in a small, conservative town who earns extra cash writing papers for her classmates. When jock Paul (Daniel Diemer) turns to her for help writing love letters to popular girl Aster (Alexxis Lemire), Ellie and Paul strike up an unlikely friendship — but only Ellie knows that they’ve both fallen for the same girl.
It’s not often we see LGBTQ rom-coms, and one starring Asian Americans feels even rarer. And better yet, The Half of It also looks to share a deeper message.
“Part of the joy is that you can go on that journey looking for your other half, but the point isn’t the finding, the point is that journey will help you learn more about yourself,” writer and director Alice Wu told EW.
Bonus: Avatar: The Last Airbender
While its creators and most of its voice cast weren’t Asian, Avatar: The Last Airbender was heavily influenced by Chinese martial arts and Asian mythology, along with Inuit cultures. Plus, I'll use any excuse to rewatch the iconic animated series.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender animated series is finally coming back to Netflix
- Mindy Kaling's Never Have I Ever is a smart, sweet teen romp: Review
- See exclusive trailer for Netflix's upcoming teen rom-com The Half of It
- Parks and Rec writer Alan Yang says his film Tigertail is different from anything you've seen