Multiple times per 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 and ratings) 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. Under The Banner Of Heaven (FX series on Hulu)
Former Spider-Man Andrew Garfield takes a serious turn as detective Jeb Pyre, who’s tasked with investigating a double murder in Salt Lake Valley, Utah back in the 1980s. This series is based upon Jon Krakauer’s bestselling true-crime book, and poor Daisy Edgar-Jones can’t play a character (lately) who catches a break. However, Sam Worthington and Rory Culkin also step up in roles, and Pyre stumbles upon disturbing truths that could very well shake his own LDS faith while digging into the violence that transpired.
TIE: 10. Heartstopper (Netflix series)
Viewers fell in love with this story about Charlie and Nick, who are fellow students and then friends and then love interests, all while navigating life itself. As you likely remember, there’s plenty of stress that goes along with the work of self-discovery, all while friendships, family, and other influences can get in the way while vying for attention as well. In addition, there’s plenty of rugby content to enjoy.
9. Batman (Warner Bros. film on HBO Max)
Robert Pattinson’s the gritty Caped Crusader here, a move that’s been a long time coming. Don’t let that gothy eyeshadow fool you, either. This is not a pretty story, especially during the most brutal moments. Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne interacts with a whole host of gallery members here, including Zoe Kravitz’s Catwoman, Paul Dano’s The Riddler, and Colin Ferrell’s Penguin. Although we’ll see a sequel, this film stands firmly outside the DCEU, much like Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix.
8. Flight Attendant (HBO Max series)
Can Kaley Cuoco’s Cassie possibly live a less chaotic life without all that alcohol? Silly rabbit. This season, her messy life continues while quadrupling down as Cassie attempts to solve a murder case that might end up framing her. There’s not enough of Griffin Matthews’ Shane this season, but Zosia Mamet and Rosie Perez are back, and there’s a new colleague (portrayed by Mae Martin) worth noticing. You might appreciate your relatively boring life much more after seeing all the stress that’s foisted upon Cassie this season. Whew.
7. Barry (HBO series on HBO Max)
Almost all of the best shows are finally back, and that includes Bill Hader as a contract killer, a delight we haven’t seen in three years. He’s definitely the coolest assassin on TV right now (since Killing Eve came to a close), and thank goodness that Anthony Carrigan and Henry Winkler are back in the saddle, too.
6. Shining Girls (Apple TV+ series)
Elisabeth Moss cannot churn out a bad performance, although Mad Men fans were surely not surprised to see her dominate the screen in The Handmaid’s Tale. Here, she’s back in the horror realm (after The Invisible Man) in this adaptation of Lauren Beukes’ novel. Yes, there’s a lot of Stephen King flavor here, along with some Gillian Flynn, all while Moss (as a newspaper archivist) teams up with a reporter (Wagner Moura of Narcos fame) to solve a mystery as reality won’t stand still.
Chet Hanks does not look fantastic as former Desus & Mero writer Ziwe Fumudoh wields her satiric gifts and scathing judgment upon society. Other guests this season: Hannibal Buress, Mia Khalifa, Charlamagne Tha God, and Emily Ratajkowski.
4. Better Call Saul (AMC series on AMC+)
Kim Wexler’s still alive (for now), and one can choose not to worry about it, but let’s get real: fans are going to fret. However, there’s little debate that this is one of the best TV shows in recent memory, and the performances here are all superb as the spinoff churns toward the inevitable Breaking Bad timeline. Cinnabon Gene probably won’t ever be happy, but at least we’re getting some Walt and Jesse.
3. The Staircase (HBO Max series)
Colin Firth delivers a master class in this limited series that dramatizes the O.G. true crime docuseries (originally on Sundance TV) that’s considered a classic. Netflix is still the place where one can watch that entry (and its multiple updates), but Firth does well here as Michael Peterson with all his morphing aspects. Michael, of course, ended up serving hard time for the death of his wife, Kathleen, who’s fully brought to life here as a multidimensional person rather than a chalk drawing, so to speak. Sophie Turner and Parker Posey help round out the cast, and maybe we’ll see some owls before all is said and done? Put on your amateur sleuth hats and join the audience.
2. Ozark (Netflix series)
Get ready to feel shattered to some degree after finishing these episodes that bring Jason Bateman’s latest home run to a careening conclusion. It’s a savage ending for sure, and Killer Mike shows up for a cameo that helps drive home the finale episode. Ruth Langmore and the Byrde family have been through it all, sometimes apart and sometimes together, while Marty’s money laundering shenanigans will live on in infamy, even after the actual collateral damage subsides.
1. We Own This City (HBO limited series on HBO Max)
The Wire creator David Simon goes back to Baltimore in this series that digs further into the police force of Charm City. This show bases itself upon Justin Fenton’s book about Freddie Gray’s death in 2015 and all the law enforcement maneuvering that followed. Jon Bernthal (yes, the same dude who portrayed The Punisher) portrays a corrupt cop, so that’s a few worlds colliding, alright. Treat Williams plays one of many investigators who are trying to take down the bad cops, and yup, this is David Simon territory for sure, although quite different from The Wire itself.