What’s Popular On Streaming Now

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) 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. Top Gun: Maverick (VOD)

Tom Cruise’s need for speed will live on for infamy, and fortunately, the sequel was everything that we could have hoped for. He does go about seven extra miles, but no one can dispute that Tom was the most committed to bringing cinema back during the pandemic. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of enjoying this one, then settle in for some more beach volleyball as Maverick gets pulled back into the fold due to the Iceman. Jon Hamm and Miles Teller and Jennifer Connelly round out the cast’s new players, and together, they’ll take your breath away with this perfect blockbuster movie.

TIE: 10. The White Lotus (HBO Max series streaming on HBO Max)

This sleeper hit returns on October 30 for a second season from showrunner Mike White, so bye bye, limited series category. Jennifer Coolidge (who portrays the boozy socialite Tanya McQuoid) shall be the only returning cast member, but we’re lucky to have her be a constant in this universe. We’ll miss Sydney Sweeney’s judgmental teen, Murray Bartlett’s passive-aggressive master of ceremonies, and Alexandra Daddario’s dreadfully unhappy newlywed. Yet we’re going to soon see the eternally awkward Aubrey Plaza and Theo James on location in gorgeous Italy. Grazie!

9. The Sandman (Netflix series)

A month after release, this show’s still sitting in the Netflix TV Top 10 chart, but we still don’t know if Season 2 will happen. Apparently, some of the writing is already done, but as O.G. author Neil Gaiman explained, the show’s incredibly expensive, and Netflix is obviously watching what they’re doing with their pocketbook more these days. Still, fans of the sweeping dark fantasy comic book series can hold out hope that we’ll see more of Tom Sturridge doing everything and nothing all at once while Death does the dirty work and Gwendoline Christie portrays the most regal version of Lucifer that we’ve seen in the Gaiman universe.

8. Confess, Fletch (Paramount movie on Amazon and PVOD outlets)

Leading man Jon Hamm believed in this project so much that he gave back 60% of his salary to get the thing done. If that hasn’t convinced you to revisit this old Chevy Chase franchise, then consider that Hamm’s in rare comedic form (albeit in a much more low-key way than Chase), and Greg Mattola (Adventureland, Superbad) is in the director’s seat. The film involves stolen art and a wrongful murder accusation, and Hamm is both charming and disarming. And since there’s barely any publicity to be found for this film, you can essentially discover a hidden gem.

7. The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu series)

Boy, this show’s still as grim as they come, but Elisabeth Moss and Yvonne Strahovski are delivering performances that keep people coming back. Serena’s freshly widowed, and June’s attempting to evade consequences while also getting to know herself again. The series is also starting to wind down while GOP lawmakers and deep-red states have gone on a real tear against women’s rights, so this isn’t exactly an escapist journey but still a loyal adaptation of the spirit that the Margaret Atwood novel intended.

6. Andor (Star Wars series streaming on Disney+)

Diego Luna returns as Cassian Andor in the series that feels a little slow to start (and this will be a 24-episode season) but pays off for devotees and those who are craving a more adult show with real danger and intrigue and that doesn’t rely on the power of Baby Yoda. Instead, this is a grounded story about how Andor rises as a rebel hero, and since this is such a painstakingly laid out character study, one can imagine that it’s a very intentional move. Eventually, we’ll know Cassian Andor better than almost any other Star Wars character in existence.

5. Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power (Amazon Prime series)

This adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fabled Second Age takes us to a different type of Middle-earth than we’ve seen before onscreen, and although the anti-woke crowd isn’t thrilled, those vocal-minority trolls cannot stop a juggernaut. We’re positively soaked in epic fantasy goodness right now, and although this show is (like The Sandman) enormously expensive, we cannot imagine Amazon not shelling out the cash to continue after meticulously building a world that doesn’t resort to regurgitating the Peter Jackson movies.

4. Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story (Netflix series)

Ryan Murphy and Netflix (and Evan Peters) cannot quit their love affair, and things get seriously bloody when Peters stars as the infamous cannibalistic serial killer who carried out his shocking crimes from within his Wisconsin apartment. Perhaps people are hankering for the Halloween spirit a little earlier than usual, but an absurd number of people cannot resist watching this series. Make sure that you don’t eat too much before settling down to binge this selection, though.

3. The Crown (Netflix series)

Following Queen Elizabeth II’s recent death at age 96, people grew inspired to revisit the Netflix show that the British monarchy isn’t exactly in love with, for the most part. And that’s understandable, given that the show sh*ts all over the fairy tale, although it did pause filming out of respect for the most famous corgi owner in the world. Yet this soap operatic version still makes one feel as though they’re taking a peek behind the royal curtain, so it’s a guilty pleasure to go back to where it all began and enjoy the first few seasons with Claire Foy, Matt Smith, and Vanessa Kirby.

2. Cobra Kai (Netflix series)

There’s a butt double involved very early on in this season, but don’t let that deter you. This show’s still giving a master class in harnessing nostalgia and repackaging it for the younger generation. And you gotta love the “Eye of the Tiger” aspect of this season, too. Terry Silver is still the greatest karate supervillain, and the kids must do everything possible to stop him while the adults throw some muscle around. By the end, every character looked exhausted, but there’s always room for more.

1. House of the Dragon (HBO series on HBO Max)

The show’s switching up the actors for some major roles, so the new Rhaenyra and Alicent have arrived on the scene. Don’t worry, Matt Smith is going nowhere as Daemon, and somehow, Paddy Considine’s King Viserys I is still kicking. Things grew very tense in Episode 5, but our own Jessica Toomer is still tracking the Contender vs. Defenders as this show gives us all the fiery details of the dynasty that went all but extinct by the time Game of Thrones began. Dracarys.