The streaming game keeps going strong this weekend with the Delta variant heating up. Likewise, the summer temperatures mean that inside is the place to be, so your home theater will likely be calling your name while you (hopefully) get some rest and relaxation. This week, Adam Driver and Jason Momoa headline two new films, and Sandra Oh and Kate Hudson are doing the TV series thing. More of The Walking Dead is here for the binging, too, as AMC’s flagship zombie series takes its final turn.
Where can you get the most bang for your streaming buck, though? This week, we’re gonna give the top prize to Netflix and HBO Max for bringing both quality and quantity with several selections that are worth your consideration. Next up, Apple TV+ and Amazon Prime tie for second place with plenty of choice, including the aforementioned Driver film and Hudson series, along with more Ted Lasso. Disney+ also comes in with a respectable finish with the latest Marvel Cinematic Series taking an unexpected turn. Hulu, and Peacock all put up fresh programming, and there’s no freaking way that you’ll have nothing to watch. Rather, the challenge will be to narrow things down to a manageable level. Here’s the best of the new streaming selections for this weekend.
The Chair (Netflix series): Sandra Freaking Oh headlines this show about the first woman of color to become chair at a prominent university. In the process of adjusting to her job, she confronts dizzyingly high expectations while one of the university’s cornerstone programs is tanking. Jay Duplass co-stars (his character is a complete and delightful mess), and are we ready for Sandra Oh supremacy yet? This show is breezy and immensely charming effort from all parties, and Sandra Oh tells off everyone who pushes back against her bossdom. The trailer also features the latest song (aptly titled, “Oh!”) from viral punk teen stars The Linda Lindas.
Sweet Girl (Netflix film): More Jason Momoa in this world is always a wonderful thing. In this movie, however, the man who portrays Aquaman gets very serious after the death of his wife. He sets out for justice against those who he believes are responsible, and he must also protect his daughter, who’s now in harm’s way due to his mission. So, justice turns into vengeance, and the enemy here is Big Pharma, apparently. Justin Bartha, Amy Brenneman, and Isabela Merced co-star, along with Momoa’s hair.
Untold: Malice at the Palace (Netflix film) — The Wild Wild Country creators bring a fresh, five-part sports docuseries that will drop weekly. This week, Christy Martin’s plight takes center stage following her 1996 undercard fight at the Mike Tyson/Frank Bruno fight. Martin’s story is a perilous one, given that she was not only keeping her sexual orientation under wraps, but she also stood as a pay-per-view records champ in women’s boxing. Don King put her on his radar, and she also wrestled with substance abuse and domestic violence, so expect this installment to be rife with all kinds of drama, including an interview from Mike Tyson.
Memories of a Murderer: The Nilsen Tapes: (Netflix film) — This documentary shines a light on the Dennis Nilsen, who became one of Britain’s most infamous serial killers in the mid 1980s. The project gathers up over 250 hours of previously undisclosed private recordings from Nilsen himself, all found within his own personal archive. He chose his victims (young men) carefully, yet he was able to easily hide his murders for five years due to mass unemployment that sent many to London, where they found themselves without money or recourse. Not only does the film dive into the voice of Nilsen himself but also survivors, law enforcement, and bereaved families.
The Loud House Movie (Netflix film): This Nickelodeon production hops onto a voyage with the Loud family (who is clearly the biggest and the loudest family that you’ll find on TV, despite the efforts of Succession to be the baddest). Together, they’ll travel to Scotland and apparently realize that they’re actually sort-of Scottish royalty. This leads to plenty of wish fulfillment, which sounds like a wonderful escape in 2021.
Reminiscence: (Warner Bros. film on HBO Max) — Another movie meant for theaters has landed in your living room. This action thriller stars Hugh Jackman as a private investigator whose ground central happens to be people’s minds. He helps people unearth lost memories while living on the fringe of Miami society. One client becomes a dangerous obsession, and this certainly ain’t Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, although it sounds like the most unlikely reversal ever.
Sweet Life: Los Angeles: Season 1 (HBO Max series) — The WarnerMedia streaming service is keeping up with its summer of unscripted content that also includes The Hype and FBoy Island. In particular, this show follows a group of young, Black, and ambitious mid-20 somethings while they pursue dreams. Of course, those dreams not only happen to be professional but also involve loyalty and love. The quarter-life mark is a milestone unlike any other, and in South Los Angeles, this group of long-time friends comes together for a three-episode drop, which will be followed by more episodes running through September 2.
The Hype: Season 1 (HBO Max series) — Streetwear professionals finally get a proper reality-competition show that aims to create a collision of streetwear, culture, and business. Cardi B’s judging, along with Wiz Khalifa, A$AP Ferg, Dapper Dan, and Bobby Hundreds. All involved aim to mentor the contestants while imparting their specialized visions toward the visionary contestants. From fashion to music to art to lifestyle and everywhere in between, the creativity here should be off the hook, and maybe some of that coolness will rub off on us.
The Suicide Squad (Warner Bros. film on HBO Max) — David Ayer’s 2016 Suicide Squad confined itself to a PG-13 rating, but no one expected James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad to stay with PG-13, and in fact, this R-rated (and quite good) extravaganza is releasing simultaneously on streaming and in theaters. Enjoy the “horribly beautiful” assortment of supervillains as they undertake their latest Task Force X mission, and the cast is an enormous, eclectic, and electric. Not only do we have the returning Margot Robbie (as Harley Quinn), Joel Kinnaman (as Rick Flag), Viola Davis (as Amanda Waller), and Jai Courtney (as Boomerang), but John Cena, Idris Elba, Pete Davidson, and more joined the cast. Also: Sylvester Stallone as King Shark. Sold!
FBoy Island: Season 1 (HBO Max series) — Hoo boy this show looks like one hot mess, and that might be exactly what you need during this slightly disastrous summer. Escape to a land where a dozen self-proclaimed “FBoys” compete against a dozen self-proclaimed “Nice Guys” for the affections of three ladies. Nikki Glaser hosts, and the show aims to answer the ultimate social experiment’s question, according to the synopsis: “Can FBoys truly reform or do Nice Guys always finish last?” (Well, one of the FBoys crushes a mango with his bicep in the show’s trailer, so this is entertainment.)
Annette (Amazon Prime film) — Adam Driver’s singing into a vagina for some odd reason in this movie that includes the most outlandish of setups for reasons that don’t make complete sense. Yet Driver’s stand-up comedian is accompanied by Marion Cotillard’s opera singer, and the pair falls in love before giving birth to the title character, who is gifted beyond belief with an exceptional destiny. Expect an examination of passion and fame and everything in between.
Modern Love: Season 2 (Amazon Prime series) — Who doesn’t want to watch
Jon Snow Kit Harington romance Lucy Boynton? It’s the return of the popular anthology series that found inspiration in the famed New York Times column. Relationships and connections shall happen, as well as betrayals and revelations, and the cast is chock full of talent you already know and love, including Tobias Menzies, Minnie Driver, Garrett Hedlund. All rules of love shall be henceforth broken in locales including Dublin and the whole of New York, including that Big Apple. Did I mention? Jon Snow getting randy again is not to be missed.
Truth Be Told: Season 2 (Apple TV+ series) — Octavia Spencer and Kate Hudson star in this show about a true-crime podcaster who achieves notoriety, although everything comes back to bite her in the butt after someone that she helped to convict was, well, wrongfully convicted. In this season, Spencer’s podcaster (Poppy) launches a new case that’s deeply personal, given that it involves Hudson’s media mogul (Micah), and soon enough, their friendship may be on the line, along with their reputations.
CODA (Apple TV+ movie) — This Sundance-awarded film (of four awards, including the Directing Award, the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize) from Vendome Pictures touches down on your streaming devices. The story follows a teenager named Ruby, who happens to be the only member of a deaf family who’s able to hear. She’s not only involved with all of the usual teenage concerns but also interpreting duties for her parents and the family business. When she joins her school’s choir, things get rough after she blossoms and finds herself with a difficult choice: keep meeting all of those family obligations, or strike out on her own venture.
Ted Lasso: Season 2 (Apple TV+ series) — First thing’s first: Everyone who’s caught a glimpse of this Bill Lawrence co-created and developed series loves it. That’s a notable feat, considering that star Jason Sudeikis first portrayed the title character way back in 2013 for NBC Sports’ promos for Premier League coverage. Fast forward to the fresh hell that was 2020, and the show surfaced as one of the year’s lone bright spots. Ted Lasso is somehow both relentlessly and charmingly cheery, although there’s always the spectre of Led Tasso to consider.
What If…? (Disney+ series) — We’re in the multiverse after Loki‘s season finale. The MCU promises to show us a wealth of scenarios that stand separate from the existing canon (thus far). Agent Carter already took the serum and became Captain Carter, and this week, T’Challa takes on the Star Lord mantle with some unanticipated circumstances for a notorious villain. Yes, Chadwick Boseman voiced the character one final time, so it’s time to let the tears and appreciation roll.
Short Circuit: Season 2 (Disney+ series) — Nope, this show still has nothing to do with that 1980s movie starring Steve Guttenberg. Rather, this show follows Walt Disney Animation Studios employees who can pitch and create their own original short films. The series aims to highlight risk-taking approaches and stories that might otherwise never see a greenlight.
The Walking Dead: Season 11A (AMC series) — This zombie-apocalypse universe’s flagship series returns for one final rodeo with two spinoffs still in motion, so it’s time to wrap this puppy up before the various shows’ timelines begin to intersect. Negan’s no longer the show’s villain, Alpha’s been vanquished, and Carol’s about to split from the group. When one really thinks about all the careers that this show has bolstered (Steven Yeun, Dania Guerra, Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, and so on), it’s impressive that Norman Reedus has stuck it out for the long haul, so Daryl and Carol must end this show by literally riding off into the sunset by motorcycle. We’ll accept nothing else.
Ultra City Smiths: Season 1 (AMC+ series) — Fans of Robot Chicken will undoubtedly want to check out this stop-motion animated selection from Stoopid Buddy Stoodios and showrunner Steve Conrad. Expect very adult-oriented humor and the voices of Kristen Bell, Dax Shepard, Alia Shawkat, Tim Meadows, John C. Reilly, Bebe Neuwirth, Jason Mantzoukas, and Damon Herriman.
Reservation Dogs: (Season 1) — Taika Waititi’s FX on Hulu followup to What We Do in the Shadows brings us a comedy series that’s co-written by Native American filmmaker Sterlin Harjo. Yes, the lead quartet in this show rocks suits that look strikingly similar to the characters of Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs, yet they’re four Indigenous teens who want to commit crime and simply can’t pull it off. The show was shot in and near Okmulgee, Oklahoma, and these teens hope to make it all the way to California. The cast and crew come from indigenous communities, from where Harjo and Waititi are aiming their storytelling styles as well.
Nine Perfect Strangers: Nicole Kidman’s one of several A-listers who’ve made themselves at home on the so-called “small screen” in recent years, and after a few Emmys and a Golden Globe for Big Little Lies and a Globe nomination for The Undoing, she’s not done yet. She portrays a wellness guru that might remind you of certain celebrities who shill bizarre products and claim that they’ll change your life with a dash of snake oil. Yes, the Paddington villain is here to shake up your little world again.
Hart to Heart: Season 1 (Peacock series) — Kevin Hart’s doing celebrity interviews with a twist, and that twist is wine. The result, hopefully, will be unfiltered conversation with actors, musicians, and other such influential people. Will things get a little bit messy, perhaps? With any luck, yes, as we hear about these A-listers’ journey to to their current statures, along with an obligatory discussion about obstacles with a dash of humor.