Each week our staff of film and TV experts surveys the entertainment landscape to select the ten best new/newish shows available for you to stream at home. We put a lot of thought into our selections, and our debates on what to include and what not to include can sometimes get a little heated and feelings may get hurt, but so be it, this is an important service for you, our readers. With that said, here are our selections for this week.
10. (tie) Head of the Class (HBO Max)
Bill Lawrence hops into the sea of reboots to executive produce the return of this 1980s sitcom. Robin Givens is back as the grown-up Darlene, and the show focuses heavily upon a group of overachieving teenagers that must adapt to an unusual teacher, who wants her students to experience life and… maybe ignore their grades? Sounds like a plan. Watch it on HBO Max.
10. (tie) Maid (Netflix)
Margaret Qualley (Once Upon A Time In Hollywood) stars in this heartbreaking adaptation of Stephanie Land’s New York Times best-selling memoir, Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive. This will, clearly, be a difficult watch, but Qualley’s raw portrayal (of a woman who flees an abusive relationship to go through exceedingly difficult times to break the cycle for her daughter) yields a burgeoning star. Watch it on Netflix. Watch it on Netflix.
9. Hello, Jack: The Kindness Show (Apple TV+)
To quote Jack Nicholson’s Joker from Batman ’89, “this town needs an enema!” Especially following another snarly election season. And so, here is Jack McBrayer’s Kindness Show to be that… enema. Filled with positivity, smiles, and talking crayons, this all-ages series seems to be a completely earnest attempt at throwing a lasso around the sun to bring its warmth just a little closer. And isn’t that the perfect vehicle for McBrayer, who you know as the irrepressibly positive Kenneth The Page on 30 Rock? No. It’s not. That was the mixture of McBrayer’s sweet with Triumph The Insult Comic Dog’s salty on The Jack And Triumph Show, but this looks pretty cool, too. The world is always in need of a Mister Rogers-type. Go get ’em, Jack. Watch it on Apple TV+.
If you find yourself commiserating with Penn Badgley’s obsessive serial killer Joe Goldberg when You’s third season drops this week, don’t take it personally. Relocating to a small town and having to interact with mommy bloggers and uber-masculine tech-daddies sounds like hell, sure, but it’s what he deserves. The show’s latest installment picks up where season two left off — with Joe and his new wife Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti at her best here) moving to the suburbs and trying to curb the worst of their shared homicidal tendencies. A new baby, new romantic distractions, anti-vaxxers, feminist wine retreats, and bro trips that end rather bloody all threaten their planned quiet life. And really, no amount of couple’s therapy can save a marriage when one spouse is constantly fantasizing about murdering the other. Happily ever after just isn’t in the cards for these two — but more dead bodies piling up in their basement certainly is. Watch it on Netflix.
7. Squid Game (Netflix)
Netflix’s most popular show in, well, ever continues to burn up the discourse, and internet bandwidth all over the world. It’s been a while since we had a full-on phenomenon like this one. Get in there if you haven’t yet, or maybe get in there again if you have, if part to enjoy (?) all the class-based cynicism and murderous children’s games, and in part so you have something to talk about with your family during the quickly-approaching holiday season. Watch it on Netflix.
6. Love Life: Season 2 (HBO Max)
Love Life ended up being the HBO Max original show to launch the service, and a new anthologized story is upon us with Anna Kendrick’s Darby passing the baton to a new unlucky-in-love protagonist, Marcus, who will be portrayed by William Jackson Harper (i.e., Jacked Chidi in The Good Place). Darby’s still in the show a little bit, but she got married, so this is all about Marcus finding himself launched from a long-term relationship and into the hell hole known as the dating world. Godspeed, Marcus. Watch it on HBO Max.
5. Dexter: New Blood (Showtime)
Dexter Morgan, who’s arguably TV’s most beloved serial killer of all time (sorry, Hannibal fans), is back, baby. The new season is a bloody good time for all and works hard to erase the sins of the lumberjack past. Ghosts of the past rear their heads, and it’s going to be a trip to see how Dexter can survive having to tend to something else beyond his inner war and that dumb hurricane. Dexter’s out of his element, and it’s so much fun to watch. Watch it on Showtime.
4. Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)
It’s a mitzvah in a world like this to turn the other cheek, bite the tongue, and generally disregard the impoliteness, ridiculousness, and stupidity of others. But wow, what a lift. Perhaps that’s why it’s so freeing to see Larry David and a cavalcade of stars and familiar faces push against the minutiae of polite culture with serial honesty. Who else could reject someone’s plea to pray for a sick relative without getting stabbed or mock the fakery of gazing deeply into someone’s eyes during a toast when all you want to do is freaking eat? Larry is no hero. He’s an asshole, but he’s our asshole and he’s back for another round of Curb. Watch it on HBO.
Narcos is back once again, with stories about real-life drug cartels and the DEA agents who are after them, many of whom have pretty tremendous mustaches, including, as pictured above, Scoot McNairy. The third season of the Mexico-based spinoff picks up where season two left off, with various cartels at war and a very young El Chapo starting to make a name for himself. It’s a good time. Violent and sad and intense in parts, but still, good. Watch it on Netflix.
Big Mouth returns for a fifth season of hormone monsters, musical numbers, and talking pillows. Along with returning cast members Nick Kroll, John Mulaney, Maya Rudolph, Jason Mantzoukas, Ayo Edebiri, Jordan Peele, and Richard Kind, season five also features new characters voiced by Pamela Adlon, Keke Palmer, Kumail Nanjiani, and Chloe Fineman. Watch it on Netflix.
1. Succession (HBO Max)
Everyone’s favorite collection of monsters is back, once again, this time for a slightly delayed third season. Things left off with the Roy family in turmoil, as always, although this time from friendly fire, thanks to noted screw-up and amateur rapper Kendall making a big move. The new season should get ugly in the best possible way, so hop on board week-to-week if you’re already a fan or load up a binge and get caught up to see what everyone’s yammering about all fall. Watch it on HBO Max.