Analysis: Let the ‘Harry Potter’ reunion usher in a magical year


Let’s not jinx it.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t hope for the best — while enjoying some of the better content offerings along the way.

‘Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts’ special

(From left) Rupert Grint, Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe of the "Harry Potter" cast reunite.

How has it been two decades since Harry Potter and the gang came into our lives on the big screen?

They have gotten the band back together to celebrate that occasion, and the rest of us get to enjoy it.

Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson reunited near London to talk about playing the magical childhood roles that made them international stars.

The anniversary Hogwarts special airs New Year’s Day on HBO Max. (CNN and HBO are both part of WarnerMedia.)

‘The Book of Boba Fett’

(From left) Temuera Morrison as Boba Fett and Ming-Na Wen as Fennec Shand star in "The Book of Boba Fett."

“Star Wars” is the gift that keeps on giving.

This particular present was teased in a surprise end-credit sequence following the season two finale of “The Mandalorian,” and viewers have been waiting ever since.

This series finds legendary bounty hunter Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) and mercenary Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) “navigating the galaxy’s underworld when they return to the sands of Tatooine to stake their claim on the territory once ruled by Jabba the Hutt and his crime syndicate.”

It’s streaming on Disney+.

‘Cobra Kai’ Season 4

(From left) Ralph Macchio as Daniel LaRusso and William Zabka as Johnny Lawrence form an uneasy alliance in "Cobra Kai."

Netflix has a certified cultlike hit on its hands.

“Cobra Kai” has introduced younger fans to the characters from the “Karate Kid” film franchise, with new drama and action.

The new season comes out kicking on the streaming service Friday.

Two things to listen to

Singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, known as Selena, rides in a carriage during a performance at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo at the Houston Astrodome, February 26, 1995.

Tejano music star Selena died in 1995 at the age of 23, but the fascination about her has never stopped.

Superfan Maria Garcia hosts the podcast “Anything for Selena,” which pays homage to the slain singer and explores Garcia’s connection to the celebrated Mexican American icon.

It’s available where podcasts are streamed.

Britney Spears shares plenty of messages with her followers on her Instagram account.
Another singer who has continued to captivate us is Britney Spears, and this year gave us a lot to talk about.
“Toxic: The Britney Spears Story” not only helps to lay it all out, but it actually sparked the renewed interest in the star’s legal conservatorship.
Comedians Tess Barker and Babs Gray started with the “Britney’s Gram” podcast. It eventually morphed into “Toxic” — and is pretty much your one stop for all things leading up to the happy victory for Spears in her case this year.

One thing to talk about

Hugh Jackman (left) paid an emotional tribute to Broadway understudies after Kathy Voytko (right) filled in on short notice in a performance of "The Music Man."

Hugh Jackman had the right idea.

The star of the forthcoming Broadway revival of “The Music Man” recently paid tribute to understudies as the people who have kept the shows going.

So allow me a minute to also praise those teachers, frontline workers, drivers, food service employees, warehouse workers and the many others who have continued working throughout the pandemic that has dragged on longer than any of us could have imagined.

And to quote Jackman when he announced that he, too, had become among those with a breakthrough case of Covid-19, “stay safe, be healthy, be kind.”

Something to sip on

National treasure and longtime actor Betty White died at age 99.

We should all learn from the life of Betty White.

The legendary star died on New Year’s Eve, just weeks before her 100th birthday, but she left us with an amazing body of work and plenty of wisdom.
The former Golden Girl attributed her longevity to a practice we would all benefit from: “Always find the positive” in life, White said.

In these times when “being positive” has taken on a negative connotation (I’m not even playing with words here), I think we should grab hold of the purity of the original meaning and bring it into 2022.

Thank you, Ms. White, for the advice, the laughs and for being one of our brightest stars to ever shine in Hollywood.

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