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.
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10. 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.
9. Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Disney Plus)
The animated series that focuses on a crew of mutated clone troopers doing missions after the events of the Clone Wars returns for a second season. If you need your Star Wars fix before The Mandolorian returns or just want to see a cartoon about mercenaries, this might be just the thing for you.
8. Copenhagen Cowboy (Netflix)
Nicolas Winding Refn, the director who brought Drive and Too Old to Die Young to audiences around the world, is back once again, this time on Netflix, with a Danish-language series about a renegade seeking vengeance against her nemesis in a semi-fictional and partially supernatural version of Copenhagen. That… might sound like a lot. But the John Wick franchise started with a dude’s dog dying and that dude is still on a worldwide revenge tour three movies later. Dip your toe in and see how it feels. Vengeance is a universal language.
7. 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.
6. Mayor of Kingstown (Paramount Plus)
Jeremy Renner’s had a tough time of things in real life, but he’s still part of the Taylor Sheridan universe. The Yellowstone king co-created this show with Hugh Dillon, and the story follows Dillon’s observations from his formative years near Ontario’s Kingston Penitentiary. Renner is the figurative “mayor” of the title, meaning that he’s the sales dude who negotiates deals between inmates and law enforcement. Renner truly hits a higher gear crime drama mode.
5. That ’90s Show (Netflix)
Red and Kitty are back, along with some of the other regulars from That ’70s Show, in a new series that zips 20 years into the future and over to Netflix. There’s a grandkid involved now. Everything is very… what’s a good ’90s word to describe it all… tubular? Rad? It’s strange. But it could be a lot of fun. If nothing else it’s a double dose of nostalgia — a show from the ’90s that now takes place in the ’90s — for people on the hunt for that. Worth a shot.
4. The 1619 Project (Hulu)
This series, hosted by Nikole Hannah-Jones, takes the ball the New York Times starting rolling with its groundbreaking series on slavery in America and picks it up and keeps going. Each episode of the limited series is adapted from one of the essays, and attempts to present a view of America filtered through the lenses of race and contributions made by Black American. It’s not a light watch, but it is riveting and important. You need those too, sometimes.
3. Shrinking (Apple TV Plus)
The mental health and comedy crossover of Ted Lasso was apparent in the show’s second season as Ted’s coping mechanisms started to falter, pushing him to get some help. Shrinking, which comes from the minds of Lasso producer Bill Lawrence and Lasso writer/co-star Brett Goldstein (as well as series star Jason Segel) begins in a similar place with its main character, played by Segel, realizing that his strategies aren’t working when it comes to managing grief, having a relationship with his daughter, and helping the patients who come to him for help as their therapist. What follows is an odyssey of personal rediscovery with plenty of awkward moments, incremental improvements, and a whole lot of charming grouchiness from Harrison Ford as a begrudging mentor type.
2. The Last of Us (HBO Max)
One of the most popular video games of all-time comes to HBO as a television series, with Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal leading the cast on a post-apocalyptic trek through a harsh landscape filled with horrors. The reviews are really good. HBO gave it the primo Sunday night slot it reserved for shows like Game of Thrones and Succession. It’s led by Craig Mazin, who also produced Chernobyl, another gripping watch about the potential end of the world. There is a lot to be excited about here. Dive in so you know what your cool friends are talking about.
1. Poker Face (Peacock)
Rian Johnson and Natasha Lyonne have combined their powers to give us a gift that keeps on giving with a case-of-the-week style detective show featuring a hyper-observant and very idiosyncratic lead. Played by Lyonne, Charlie Cale just happens to be on the lam and on a roll when it comes to stumbling into other people’s very bad days. Part Columbo with dashes of Highway To Heaven and Psych, Poker Face is a true slice of comfort food, smart, funny, and distinctive.