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.
10: TIE. The Diplomat (Netflix series)
Keri Russell is no longer an anxiety-provoking spy, but she’s following a similar theme as within her old FX stomping grounds. Here, she leads a completely complicated life as a career-consumed diplomat in a challenging marriage. This is a solid followup for the audience that fondly watched The Americans and also happens to dig recent mainstream-friendly binging selections in the same realm. I’m talking about Netflix’s Night Agent, yes, but also Amazon’s Jack Ryan. This one fits right in and ushers in all the nostalgia that comes with Russell’s extensive TV past.
TIE: 10. Cocaine Bear (Universal Pictures film streaming on Peacock)
A bear. A bunch of cocaine. That’s all you really need to know here, but wait, there’s more. Margo Martindale, Ray Liotta, Keri Russell, Alden Ehrenreich, Christian Convery all must tangle within this wild caper, and Elizabeth Banks presides above all. She dared to make this gloriously absurd movie that actually exists and is based on an unlikely yet real-life story that wasn’t fun in real life, but the movie is a blast. You gotta watch it.
9. Ghosted (Apple TV+ film)
There might be too many pretty people in this movie, but oh well. There’s also nothing supernatural here, and the “ghosted” of the title refers to how Ana de Armas’ character simply stops responding to sad Chris Evans’ texts after a wonderfully romantic beginning. At it turns out, she’s a butt-kicking CIA agent, and soon enough, the wannabe loverboy goes where he shouldn’t go. (Spoiler alert: there are some cameos that Marvel fans will adore.)
8. Beef (Netflix series)
Ali Wong and Steven Yeun made what will probably be one of the best shows of the year when all is said and done. Given that this is A24, that’s not entirely surprising, but man, what a gleefully stressful ride. Those words actually do fit together here, believe it or not, and although the show’s stars did recently walk into some controversy, the production itself remains worth of your attention. Don’t give in to road rage, and don’t eat suspicious berries, and also, let things go before they ruin your lives. Watching this happen to fictional characters, however, is a whole other matter.
7. Hunger (Netflix film)
Fans of The Menu foodie-fueled debauchery should dig in here as soon as possible, and those who grew addicted to the The Bear‘s intensity should cherish this new entry, too. On that latter note, Hunger‘s central chef/mentor type could remind you of Joel McHale’s brief, derision-filled cameo, given that Carmy has a few things in common with a 20s-something woman who breaks away from her family’s restaurant (in Bankok) to toil under the tutelage of an infamous bad boy who rules the fine dining world.
6. Dave (FX series on Hulu)
Dave Burd, Good Sport that he is, circled back to bring us more of the best show that has been underneath your nose for all this time. Season Three begins when meta-rapper Lil Dicky (who is based upon Burd’s real-life experiences) embarks upon his first cross-country tour. What ensues is an array of awkwardness and second-hand embarrassment that somehow still charms the pants off its audience. This show is not only funny and insightful but also sweet as hell while taking an alternate route towards exploring American culture in the oddest of ways.
5. The Snowman (Universal Pictures film streaming on Netflix)
No one knows why this infamously horrible movie recently enjoyed an inexplicable burst in viewership on Netflix. Easily, this is the worst Michael Fassbender-starring film in his career, and it’s not even worth watching from a novelty standpoint (witness the film’s 6% critical and 18% audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes). Also, the director has gone on record saying that he realized not all of the intended story was shot once the production entered the editing phase. Even that hasn’t stopped the masses from deciding to punish themselves, so maybe there’s something that we don’t know.
4. The Night Agent (Netflix series)
This show won’t quit, which proves that there’s always room for meat-and-potatoes espionage stories (like Amazon Prime Video’s Jack Ryan and the Paramount’s Rabbit Hole) in this streaming world. Billions of minutes of this series have been streamed thus far with Season 2 already in the works and the show swiftly becoming one of the most popular Netflix series in the streamer’s history. The show’s first season is an easily digestible ride that goes down smooth and stars a cast (led by Gabriel Basso) that’s also easy on the eyes while the target audience awaits the next Mission: Impossible in theaters.
3. Mrs. Davis (Peacock series)
GLOW standout Betty Gilpin is teaming up with TV king Damon Lindelof in this seriously terrific show about a nun who fights an almighty algorithm. What’s not to enjoy about that, especially since it delivers upon a truly nutso premise? Gilpin plays Simone, not to be confused with the title character of the AI, and Margo Martindale co-stars as a booze-loving nun. If there’s anything that Damon Lindelof has taught us in his post-Lost days, you never know precisely what to expect from his projects. Never forget Lube Man.
2. Barry (HBO series streaming on HBO Max)
Bill Hader’s assassin/actor character is back for one last job, sort of. This is Hader’s final season, and our own Brian Grubb writes that he puts on a performance for the ages. The show gets seriously bleak this season, but fortunately, the silliness is still alive, along with Anthony Carrigan as the eternally-disguised Noho Hank and Henry Winker as Gene. So many shows are ending this year, and this is one of the better and more beloved ones.
1. Succession (HBO series streaming on HBO Max)
The debate between underlined and crossed out still occupies the minds of viewers, but Kendall Roy has apparently decided to forge ahead like he’s a Killer. Tom, however, is probably f*cked, and our own Brian Grubb has continued to duly nail these characters to the report-card wall each week. Only a handful of episodes remain, and I’m actually worried about Shiv at this point. Not only did she take a fall that could come back, but Tom has conflict-of-interested all the good divorce lawyers, and she was reminded last week of her place in the horrible-people family. Her spiral has commenced.