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) Wednesday (Netflix)
Yes, Rob Zombie and Tim Burton are all up in the goth-nostalgia resurrection this fall, but while Zombie veers into wild kitsch, Burton decided to reinvent his character’s mission a bit while creating a “eight-hour Tim Burton movie.” Call it a passion project, of course, while Catherine Zeta-Jones and Luis Guzmán step in as Morticia and Gomez, respectively, and Jenna Ortega slides into view as the title character. Don’t expect a typical reboot feel. Rather, Wednesday is on some missions here, and the show justifies its existence as a separate entity.
10. (tie) Dead To Me (Netflix)
How do you end a show the “right” way? Do you try to say something profound, pay off longtime viewers with fan service, or end with a shocking twist? For Dead To Me‘s just-released final season, the answer is an emphatic yes to all of the above as creator Liz Feldman delivers a triumphant close, leaning on the otherworldly onscreen chemistry of stars Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini as they lead us through the twisty chaos of the show’s central story while dealing with heavy matters of life, family. love, and death before ending on high with a tear and a tease.
10. (tie) Slow Horses (Apple TV Plus)
The first season of this spy drama was a trip. There were twists and turns and Olivia Cooke from House of the Dragon, and at one point Gary Oldman’s character farted himself awake. It was a pretty good time, even if it got dark at times. If you worked your way through season one, it’s time to dive in again. If not, it’s a great time for a binge. You have lots of options, is the point.
9. Harry & Meghan (Netflix)
The Royal family can’t be thrilled about this docuseries that follows not too long after The Crown (fictionally) made Prince Charles look like the pettiest of future kings. This Netflix project follows up on Meghan Markle’s allegations of not-so-great treatment from the Windsors and Prince Harry’s decision to essentially put half a world between all of them. So get ready for all of the controversy to spill forth and for Piers Morgan to probably blow a few fuses in the aftermath.
8. The Witcher: Blood Origin (Netflix)
The days of a grunting, leather-clad Henry Cavill are numbered since he will depart the franchise’s building after the flagship series’ Season 3, but this limited prequel series takes things back to where it all began. Watch for the inception of the first Witcher prototype, over 1200 years Geralt’s monster-killing tour of the Continent. Michelle Yeoh portrays Scian, an elven swordmaster whose ferocious reputation may precede her, and expect plenty of swordplay and axe swinging. And Jaskier, too? I sense another banger coming.
7. Doom Patrol (HBO Max)
Brendan Fraser’s back as the eternally frustrated disembodied brain inside of a robotic body. It is his finest performance (yes yes, we know there’s Oscar chatter elsewhere), and he’s backed up by Diane Guerrero as many iterations of Crazy Jane, along with Matt Bomer as Negative Man, April Bowlby as Elasi-Girl, and Jovian Wade as Cyborg. DC’s misfit superheroes are facing what might be certain doom, but at least some of them other than Fraser’s Cliff got to have a collective orgasm already.
6. Kindred (Hulu)
Okay, here’s what we have going on: FX and Hulu have made a live-action series based on Olivia Butler’s 1979 science fiction novel, and it follows a woman who has dreams of writing and uproots her entire life to move to Los Angeles to follow that dream, and then things happen and she ends up getting ripped back and forth through time for various terrifying adventures. It’s a lot, and it’s definitely an ambitious undertaking, which is always to be applauded. Fans of Butler’s writing and science fiction and the general concept of time travel could do way worse than to give this one a shot.
5. 1923 (Paramount Plus)
As wild as it feels to say “there’s now a cowboy show that stars Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren that serves as a prequel to a massively popular Kevin Costner show where he runs a ranch and sometimes murders happen there,” that is really what is happening here. We swear. It’s going to be on television and on the internet and everything. The future is a lot weirder than any of us expected, less so in a “flying cars and robots” way than, like… this. It’s not a bad thing. Just really wild
4. Emily in Paris (Netflix)
Don’t even try to resist this series if you’re even slightly predisposed to enjoy primetime soap-opera king Darren Star’s work. This season, Emily Cooper isn’t as unsophisticated as in previous years, but she’s still less so than Sex and the City‘s Carrie Bradshaw, which says a lot. Emily’s French still isn’t great, and she’s effortlessly conquering her professional world, but the charm of this silly show cannot be denied. Her romantic attraction to Hot Chef Gabriel also isn’t great, since they’re dating other people, but I surrender to the madness anyway. Bring on the dirty-skillet controversy, please.
3. Mythic Quest (Apple TV Plus)
It’s easy to think of Mythic Quest, now in its third season, as Rob McElhenney’s “other” show, but that would be a mistake. Yes, sure, he’s best known for the incredibly long-running Always Sunny, which is fair because that show rules. But this one is great, too. It’s sweet and mean and funny and everything a workplace comedy — this time in a video game studio — should be. No television show did a better job of grasping the pandemic while it was still new and really scary, too. Do not miss this because you relegate it to second-tier Mac status. This is the good stuff, too.
2. Fleishman Is In Trouble (Hulu)
I hear what you’re thinking here. The title of this show doesn’t sound particularly fascinating. Maybe it even sounds a little bit pretentious. Yet this show’s actually a satiric little jaunt that turns marriage-divorce drama on its head. Jesse Eisenberg plays the dude whose wife, played by Claire Danes, leaves him and then quite literally leaves the building. He’s suddenly in the midst of parenting and awful dating experiences, and all of this wouldn’t be as fascinating if Eisenberg wasn’t so good at being awkward. He’s flanked by Lizzy Caplan and Adam Brody (there are worse companions out there) while trying to find his way.
1. Abbott Elementary (Hulu)
The first season of Abbott Elementary was a feel-good network sitcom that caught a massive wave of popularity and won a bunch of Emmys in a time when feel-good network sitcoms are kind of not supposed to do that. Credit for this goes to creator and star Quinta Brunson, who realized that an underfunded inner-city public school was exactly the right place to show us people with good hearts working inside a system that can be cold. Kind of like Parks and Recreation but in Philadelphia. The second season is underway and does not appear to be missing a beat. This is basically a miracle, all around.