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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. Welcome To Wrexham (FX series on Hulu)

Those two lovable scamps, Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, woke up and decided, what the heck, buying a soccer team is a great idea. They did just that, and they didn’t stop there but decided to chronicle the chaos that ensued when two guys who know nothing about owning a sports team go in to run the joint. And you thought you took up some strange pastimes during the pandemic, right? The Wrexham A.F.C. football club surely never expected this while trying to keep their own heads in the game, but their owners are nothing if not savvy in the marketing department, and the spirit of Ted Lasso looms large over this one.

TIE: 10. Elvis (Warner Bros. film on Amazon and other PVOD outlets)

This selection’s been going for months as a rare example (other than the late-breaking Pinocchio) where Tom Hanks isn’t the main (or at least a major) attraction. Hanx portrays Colonel Tom Parker, manager of Elvis Presley, in this wild fever dream of a biopic, all done up in the distinctive style of Baz Luhrmann. Austin Butler’s gained accolades for his all-out performance as the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, and given that awards season can’t resist a major transformation, look for this movie to keep grinding out discussion until the Oscars arrive.

9. Rick and Morty (Adult Swim series streaming on HBO Max & Hulu)

Creator Dan Harmon is making good on that mega-renewal that this wildly popular animated series scored a few years ago. And the good news is that making fun of multiverses feels a little exhausting right now, so the dynamic duo has a new endeavor: podcasting. This season aims to be slightly more grounded than usual, but don’t worry, there’s still out-there stuff like terrorist aliens and a synopsis that shouted, “Piss! Family! Intrigue!” So this is still the same rollicking search for adventure, but the leading pair doesn’t start out in such a great place, so we’ll see how they conquer all of that pee.

8. She-Hulk (Disney+ series)

Granted, there is a lot of Marvel going on right now, but one really should make a point to pencil in this romp through endless cameos while Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany) comes to grips with her role as the lawyer to the MCU. In the process, you can enjoy jokes about Steve Rogers’ sex life and some literal twerking from Megan Thee Stallion. What is going on over at Disney? No one knows for sure, but it’s an enjoyable journey, and this past week saw Wongers prove that he’s always welcome in any Marvel project and only makes things better.

7. Thor: Love And Thunder (Marvel Studios movie on Disney+)

Taika Waititi’s return to Asgard isn’t quite as captivating as with Thor: Ragnarok, but then again, it’s hard to recapture the Hulk Butt in a bottle. Still, there’s some Thor Butt here, and Natalie Portman’s back as Jane Foster, who is now Mighty Thor. There’s nothing like your ex-girlfriend showing up and being able to wield Mjölnir, and this is one jam-packed movie full of all the Norse references that one could desire. Valkyrie is also still a blast, too. The world needs more of her.

6. The Sandman (Netflix series)

This is one hellaciously expensive show, as Neil Gaiman recently revealed, so Netflix hasn’t announced a Season 2 renewal yet even though Morpheus and the rest of the Endless have been dominating streaming charts for weeks. While we wait for a hopeful renewal, be sure to relish that bonus episode that includes the “Calliope” yarn and the mid-season episode with Kirby Howell-Baptiste’s perfect Death. Tom Sturridge, Boyd Holbrook, Gwendoline Christie, and Patton Oswalt also lead an incredible cast.

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

Speaking of Neil Gaiman, he’s been having a blast with trolls who think that he wrote this show, but he actually had nothing to do with it. Nope, this is all the work of those writers that Jeff Bezos may or may not have locked in a room, not for sinister reasons but for secrecy. Did that really happen? No one is talking, but this show spent its budget well while bringing J.R.R. Tolkien’s fabled Second Age to the screen. We’re drowning in epic fantasy now, and you gotta love that reality.

4. Harley Quinn (HBO Max series)

The high villainous of Gotham is here with all the cuss words, and this show’s still managed to preserve its freshness and lovable take on her henchman. Also, Batman is a doofus, and the Joker is a different kind of trash than we’re used to seeing. It’s fun! And King Shark is adorable, but this season largely features Harley and Ivy doing the couple thing and freshening up Gothan and abolishing all grittiness for miles. The rest of the DC Comics adaptation realm is messy right now, other than sequels for non-DCEU movies like Joker and The Batman, but at least we know that one woman and her baseball bat can prop up the ship for the time being.

3. Top Gun: Maverick (VOD)

Tom Cruise (as our own Brian Grubb recently wrote) has been pulling out the most ridiculous and needless stops to get you to watch this movie, so if you haven’t already, get on it, pretty please. Otherwise, Tom is going to leap off a train that’s roaring off a skyscraper that’s perched atop a mountain or something. It’s all too much, and you must save Tom by enjoying this nostalgic trip into the realm of fighter jets and beach volleyball. Not only is there Maverick but also the return of the Iceman and a hefty dose of Jon Hamm. Ride into that danger zone, man.

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

No one knew whether this Game of Thrones prequel could make up for Season 8 (and the series finale) of the O.G. dragon show, but it’s off to a rousing and promising start. Matt Smith’s already winning over the masses as Daemon Targaryen, that salty rogue prince, and last week’s battle scenes were truly epic while helping to set up more Contender vs. Defenders rankings to carry us further into the inner workings of those who control the fire-breathing beasts. Speaking of which, we’re finally getting to know more dragons out of the many that we will eventually meet, and fans are really giving it up for Ceraxes and Seasmoke, without whom Daemon would no longer exist.

1. Cobra Kai (Netflix series)

This show continues to nail its nearly exclusive formula of combining nostalgia with updated sensibilities and appealing to all age groups alike. Chozen is larger than life this season, which proves that the show still has the “Eye of the Tiger.” Miyagi-do and Eagle Fang are pretty much defunct when this season begins, but you know that can’t last for long because Miyagi-do’s spirit will live forever. Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence and the rest of the adult gang are still a disaster (in the best way) while holding out karate as the most important thing in the entire universe. Thank goodness several of the teens have their heads on straight. Now if only someone could stop Terry Silver from destroying the very soul of the Karate Valley. No Mercy!