Every single week, our TV and film experts will list the most important ten streaming selections for you to pop into your queues. We’re not strictly operating upon reviews or accrued streaming clicks (although yes, we’ve scoured the streaming site charts) but, instead, upon those selections that are really worth noticing amid the churning sea of content. There’s a lot out there, after all, and your time is valuable.
TIE: 10. Avatar (20th Century Fox/Disney movie streaming on Amazon and VOD)
The sequel has already racked up over a billion dollars at the global box office. I’m both pleased (because the box office needs help) and surprised (same reason) that this has happened, and if you’re down to get down with the Na’vi some more, the original movie will take you back to a more innocent time at theaters. Perhaps this edition won’t make you sh*t your pants like the sequel meant to do, but James Cameron is still “king of the world,” as Leonardo DiCaprio once shouted from within a massive water tank.
TIE: 10. The Recruit (Netflix series)
Noah Centineo is probably ready to shake his notoriety as one of the Internet’s Boyfriends, and this espionage-loaded show might do the trick, even the Netflix audience is probably tuning in because of that sweet romcom trilogy that he did. He portrays a fresh-faced CIA lawyer who (as is the case in all these stories) ends up being pulled into a web of international intrigue. Bourne Identity director Doug Liman also directed the pilot, and Centineo gets to stretch his action legs.
9. The Witcher: Blood Origin (Netflix series)
This prequel series should have been the toast of Christmas-New Year’s week, but that hasn’t turned out as planned. Franchise completists will want to watch, even though this show’s admittedly a meandering mess, even as the first Witcher prototype emerges, and we receive some background lore on the Elven golden age. A few pluses do exist: this won’t swallow up too much of your time since it’s only four episodes long, and at least we get some Jaskier, although not nearly enough of him.
8. Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan (Amazon Prime series)
John Krasinski recently stepped behind the camera with great success for the A Quiet Place sequel, but that doesn’t mean that he’s abandoned acting. Rather, his espionage-heavy turn as the CIA’s finest continues to drive a heavy audience with one more season in the cards. This time around, Tom Clancy fans should enjoy our protagonist following up on his Venezuela stint by running from the Russians. If there’s ever a time that we needed more Russian-villain content, it’s now.
7. Fleishman Is In Trouble (FX series on Hulu)
The season finale delivers a pretty good punch to the gut while wrapping up what, exactly, is going on with Rachel after a tour de force performance from Claire Danes. As a bonus, Jesse Eisenberg’s Toby takes on more dimension before the story ends, and god only knows if Lizzy Caplan’s Libby will get her sh*t together. Author Taffy Brodesser-Akner (who adapted her own novel) did the tough job of adding and subtracting elements to fit the TV medium, and this is so much more than a sad-marriage story or (as the first few episodes suggested) an Eisenberg-as-Hot-Single-Dad show.
6. 1923 (Paramount+ series)
The cowboys, they cannot be stopped and are taking over TV, courtesy of Taylor Sheridan’s Yellowstone universe. In this latest prequel, Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren play early Duttons who are dancing through a whole array of historical difficulties. That includes the Great Depression and Prohibition, and then on a more individual level, they must defend their ranch and preserve their legacy for posterity. This franchise can’t seem to miss, so expect plenty more of the Western resurrection.
5. Bullet Train (Sony movie streaming on non-basic Netflix and VOD)
The streaming audience cannot resist clicking “play” on a good, old fashioned Brad Pitt actioner. He’s accompanied by Joey King and Aaron Taylor-Johnson in this story about five assassins on (as the title suggests) a train to Kyoto. These hired guns figure out that their missions might be more related than they’d like, for comfort’s sake, and that should clue you in to this not being a remake of the 1975 Japanese film of the same name. Co-stars include Bad Bunny, Sandra Bullock, Michael Shannon.
4. Alice In Borderland (Netflix series)
In a post-Squid Game TV landscape, one had best not sleep on dystopian Asian Netflix series, and this show now arrives for a second season. The story bases itself upon a popular survival manga book series and follows a gamer who wanders out into parallel, ghost town version of Tokyo. There are games with the highest of stakes to be fought, and mysteries compound atop each other while they hope to find their way back to reality, if that even exists anymore.
3. Emily In Paris (Netflix series)
Lily Collin’s blissfully non-French speaking protagonist persists with audience success, and I think (at this point) her French class may have helped? She continues to inexplicably charm Europe, including Hot Chef Gabriel, and that love triangle gets truly nuts this season. It’s hard to resist or even deny enjoying this show, which is really a stress-free sugar cookie, and everyone could use a treat like that on occasion.
2. Violent Night (Universal Pictures film on VOD)
David Harbour’s Santa one-ups the bad-boy version from Billy Bob Thornton in Bad Santa here. The film arrives courtesy from producers of John Wick, Deadpool 2, and Nobody, so you know that you’re in for a wild ride, and Santa has no patience for mercenaries that decide to ruin one family’s Christmas Eve. Don’t f*ck with St. Nick, y’all, and if you’re itching for another fix of Edi Patterson (while we’re in between Righteous Gemstones seasons), there’s yet another reason to give this a whirl.
1. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (Netflix film)
Daniel Craig is having the time of his career as Benoit Blanc, and he and Rian Johnson pick right up to deliver another hit. Another stellar cast — including Janelle Monáe, Dave Bautista, Edward Norton, Kate Hudson, Kathryn Hahn — pick up as potential murdermakers, and there’s an endless buffet of cameos (including Hugh Grant) up for grabs. The film runs long (over 2 hours), but you’ll barely mind, especially since you’ll be watching at home. You’ll also get to see one of TV’s greatest murder detectives make an appearance. It’s a near-perfect followup film, and there’s another one coming.