Entertainment

The 57 Best Netflix Movies to Watch Right Now

This is a list of the finest Netflix movies available right now. To keep things fresh, we've selected some of the best new releases, Netflix originals, and some of our personal favorites.

Aside from Stranger Things Season 4, Netflix has a very gloomy lineup for the next month. Why not watch a wonderful movie that you may have missed instead of sobbing into your pillow? We’ve got a slew of films lined up to fill the void, including the international smash RRR, a three-hour Indian action epic that must be seen to be believed. Our Father, a terrifying true-crime story about a fertility doctor’s efforts to conceive his patients with his own sperm, is a must-see for true-crime fans.

This is a list of the finest Netflix movies available right now. To keep things fresh, we’ve selected some of the best new releases, Netflix originals, and some of our personal favorites.

RRR

For fans of: Bromance, epics, insane action

RRR
RRR

Year: 2022
Director: S.S. Rajamouli
Stars: N.T. Rama Rao Jr., Ram Charan
Genre: Action, Epic
Rating: NR
Metacritic score: 87

As Americans, we’re pretty much just “Marvel movie, drrr drrr, Star Wars, drrr drrr,” but now’s your chance to expand your range to some quality action from international cinema. S.S. Rajamouli’s insane epic RRR is a global phenomenon, a dazzling period adventure about two real figures from India’s history who meet, form a friendship, and fight the British Raj together, and find a missing girl. With over-the-top, physics-defying action sequences, you won’t care that it runs over three hours long. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Our Father

For fans of: Terrifying stories of illegal insemination

Keith Boyle, Our Father
Keith Boyle, Our FatherNetflix

Year: 2022
Director: Lucie Jourdan
Genre: True Crime, Documentary
Rating: TV-MA
Metacritic score: 43

Ignore the low Metacritic score (The New York Times gave it an 80!) and you’ll find a horrifying story about Dr. Donald Cline, a fertility doctor who surreptitiously impregnated his patients with his own sperm. It’s hard to look away as interviews with victims and Cline’s children born from disconsent gradually show the scope of Cline’s crimes. While it does dabble in tabloid sensationalism, the facts are terrifying and the victims’ feelings keep the film centered. Plus, we all need to pay our respects to the poor actor who plays Cline in the reenactments showing him going to his office to make sperm. That guy deserves a raise. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Senior Year

For fans of: Adults in high school, comas

Rebel Wilson, Senior Year
Rebel Wilson, Senior YearBoris Martin/Netflix

Year: 2022
Director: Alex Hardcastle
Stars: Rebel Wilson, Zoe Chao, Sam Richardson, Alicia Silverstone
Genre: Comedy
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 47

Rebel Wilson is back! Did you miss her? Well, in any case, here’s a movie where she plays a cheerleader who falls into a coma for 20 years and wakes up as a 37-year-old woman, ready to finish high school. You’d think they’d let her do it online or something, but then we wouldn’t have this movie, would we? It’s not good good, but if you’re in your 30s and grew up watching movies like Bring It On and Mean Girls, you’ll get a nostalgia high from this, and maybe even laugh a few times. [Trailer]

Operation Mincemeat

For fans of: WWII history, extremely British movies

Matthew Macfadyen, Colin Firth, and Johnny Flynn, Operation Mincemeat
Matthew Macfadyen, Colin Firth, and Johnny Flynn, Operation MincemeatGiles Keyte

Year: 2022
Director: John Madden
Stars: Colin Firth, Matthew Macfadyen, Kelly Macdonald, Penelope Wilton, Johnny Flynn, Jason Isaacs
Genre: War, Drama, History
Rating: PG-13
Metacritic score: 64

On SuccessionMatthew Macfadyen does such a pitch-perfect impression of a sad Midwestern man that it’s easy to forget he’s actually British, so allow this film to be your reminder. A mustachioed Macfadyen stars alongside Colin Firth in this World War II drama based on the true story of two intelligence officers who devised an elaborate scheme to throw the Nazis off their plan to invade Sicily. Their plan involved a corpse washing up on the Spanish coast, armed with fake documents that would be intercepted by Nazi spies. I love when history’s weird. [Trailer]

Bubble 

For fans of: Attack on Titan, parkour

Bubble
BubbleNetflix

Year: 2022
Director: Tetsuro Araki
Stars: Alice Hirose, Jun Shison, Mamoru Miyano, Marina Inoue
Genre: Anime, adventure, sci-fi
Rating: n/a
Metacritic score: n/a

This visually stunning anime from Wit Studios, the house behind Attack on Titan and Ranking of Kings, among others, comes from some of anime’s biggest names in director Tetsuro Araki and screenwriter Gen Urobuchi. And the visuals had better be good, too, because the story is a bit lacking, borrowing from The Little Mermaid as a girl who can’t speak learns to navigate a new world where parkour is the main mode of getting around Tokyo. But hey, it looks cool. -Tim Surette [Trailer]

Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood 

For fans of: The good old days, childhood memories, Waking Life

Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood
Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age ChildhoodNetflix

Year: 2022
Director: Richard Linklater
Stars: Jack Black, Zachary Levi, Glen Powell
Genre: Animation, Drama, Comedy
Rating: PG-13
Metacritic score: 81

Richard Linklater returns to his animation style of choice — rotoscoping, in which film is drawn over frame-by-frame for realistic movement with a dream-like feel — that he used in Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly. This time, it’s used to tell a story about his very real childhood growing up in Houston in the late 1960s and a very unreal story about a 10-year-old boy who goes to the moon in a secret NASA program. It’s a wistful, energetic tale of childhood innocence during a period of immense change, and Linklater nails the vibe of youthful exuberance and coming-of-age. Plus, it has a fantastic soundtrack. Watch this with your parents, they’ll love it. (You will, too.) -Tim Surette [Trailer]

Windfall

For fans of: Jesse “Never Been in a Bad Movie” Plemons, psychological thrillers

Jason Segel, Lily Collins, and Jesse Plemons, Windfall
Jason Segel, Lily Collins, and Jesse Plemons, WindfallNetflix

Year: 2022
Director: Charlie McDowell
Stars: Jason Segel, Lily Collins, Jesse Plemons
Genre: Drama, Thriller, Crime
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 51

A limited but excellent cast consisting of Jason SegelLily Collins, and Jesse Plemons leads this claustrophobic single-location thriller Netflix describes as “Hitchcockian.” A rich guy (Plemons) and his wife (Collins) arrive at their vacation home while a man (Segel) is robbing it. He takes them hostage, and things get psychological. The characters don’t have names, only “CEO,” “Wife,” and “Nobody,” so you know this is a movie about ideas, man. The haves and the have-nots. Reviews range from raves to pans, so you can be assured that even if it’s not excellent, it’s at least interesting. A cast like that can elevate any script. Look at Jesse Plemons’ IMDb! The man has impeccable taste in roles. -Liam Mathews [Trailer]

The Weekend Away

For fans of: Gone girls, Gone Girl, bad vacations

Leighton Meester, The Weekend Away
Leighton Meester, The Weekend AwayIvan Šardi/Netflix

Year: 2022
Director: Kim Farrant
Stars: Leighton Meester, Christina Wolfe, Ziad Bakri
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller, Crime
Rating: PG-13
Metacritic score: 51

Is this the greatest cinematic triumph of all time? Of course not. Do I feel comfortable recommending it because I think we as a society need to celebrate Leighton Meester whenever we can? You bet. This is just the latest film in the “woman mysteriously goes missing and someone else is psychologically tortured because of it” subgenre. In it, Meester plays Beth, a new mother who gets convinced to go on a girls’ trip to Croatia. After a night of raucous partying, one of the women disappears, leaving Beth questioning everything as she tries to find out what really happened to her friend. Parts of this movie are pretty clunky, but it’s so watchable! It’s the kind of stupid that’s pretty impossible to turn off, because you just have to see what happens next. And, most importantly, Meester is just so good. Let her star in more things, Hollywood. –Allison Picurro [Trailer]

Downfall: The Case Against Boeing

For fans of: Exposing corporate greed, technical talk

Downfall: The Case Against Boeing
Downfall: The Case Against BoeingNetflix

Year: 2022
Director: Rory Kennedy
Genre: Documentary
Rating: PG-13
Metacritic score: 67

Boeing, once considered the top of the class of commercial airliners, saw two of its new 737 Max models fall out of the sky within a span of six months starting in late 2018. The cause was a faulty safety system that the pilots didn’t even known about, and Boeing went out of its way to cover it up. Rory Kennedy’s documentary looks into Boeing’s greed that cost the lives of hundreds using interviews with former employees, journalists, and politicians. It’s not a dazzling documentary, but it’s incredibly thorough and makes its case. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

The Tinder Swindler

For fans of: Dating app nightmares, con jobs

The Tinder Swindler
The Tinder SwindlerNetflix

Year: 2022
Director: Felicity Morris
Genre: Documentary
Rating: TV-MA
Metacritic score: n/a

This frightening documentary about a con man who used Tinder to — you guessed it — swindle unsuspecting ladies into handing over their credit cards and taking out loans to funnel him cash will make you want to hunt down this scumbag yourself. By putting up a front of extravagance, paid for by his current mark, this man would woo women he met on the dating app and set them up to be his next source of cash before disappearing into the internet and tropical locales where he partied his ass off on their dime. It’s not a particularly well-made documentary, but the story is riveting and the victims are rightfully treated with compassion. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

The Lost Daughter

For fans of: Olivia Colman, bad vacations, “Livin’ on a Prayer”

Dakota Johnson and Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter
Dakota Johnson and Olivia Colman, The Lost DaughterYannis Drakoulidis/Netflix

Year: 2021
Director: Maggie Gyllenhaal
Stars: Olivia Colman, Dakota Johnson
Genre: Drama
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 86

Maggie Gyllenhaal‘s directorial debut is dark, psychological goodness. In this adaptation of the Elena Ferrante novel, Olivia Colman stars as Leda, a college professor on a solo trip to Greece, where she meets and becomes obsessed with Nina (Dakota Johnson), a young, overwhelmed mother. It all quickly turns into the vacation from hell as Nina forces Leda to confront memories of her own experience as a young mother. Jessie Buckley plays the younger version of Leda in flashbacks, while Peter SarsgaardEd HarrisDagmara Dominczyk, and Paul Mescal fill out the rest of the cast. [Trailer]

Don’t Look Up

For fans of: Movie stars, righteous anger

Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence, Don't Look Up
Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence, Don’t Look UpNiko Tavernise/Netflix

Year: 2021
Director: Adam McKay
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Jonah Hill, Cate Blanchett, Meryl Street
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 49

Director Adam McKay makes climate change funny with this furious satirical comedy. Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence play astronomers who realize that an extinction-level comet is on a collision course with Earth and go on a media tour to warn humanity. But their warning is met with hostility, hysteria, or indifference by government, media, and the public. Everyone is just talking about the people who disagree with them about the comet instead of doing anything about the comet. It’s about as subtle as a comet smashing into the face of the Earth, but Adam McKay’s recent movies are given momentum by their emotion-driven political agendas. The gratuitously star-studded cast includes Jonah HillTyler PerryCate Blanchett, and Meryl Streep-Liam Mathews [Trailer]

The Hand of God

For fans of: Coming-of-age dramas, world-class directors in their prime

Filippo Scotti and Marlon Joubert, The Hand of God
Filippo Scotti and Marlon Joubert, The Hand of GodGianni Fiorito

Year: 2021
Director: Paolo Sorrentino
Stars: Betty Pedrazzi, Biagio Manna, Ciro Capano
Genre: Drama
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 76

Italian movie magician Paolo Sorrentino (The Young Pope) is in peak form with his highly personal coming-of-age drama The Hand of God, which will almost certainly be nominated in the International Feature Film category at next year’s Oscars. Set in the 1980s in Naples, Italy, The Hand of God follows a teen through the ups and downs of life, and ties it together with soccer star Diego Maradona’s infamous “hand of god” play. Though some critics note its messiness, no one can deny that it’s absolutely gorgeous. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

The Power of the Dog

For fans of: Tension, Benedict Cumberbatch being a big ol’ meanie

Kodi Smit-McPhee and Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog
Kodi Smit-McPhee and Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the DogKristy Griffin/Netflix

Year: 2021
Director: Jane Campion
Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons
Genre: Drama
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 89

Jane Campion’s first film since 2009 heads out on the range with one mean cowboy in Benedict Cumberbatch. The 1925-set Western quickly reaches a boil and holds it as a rancher (Jesse Plemons) gets a new wife (Kirsten Dunst) whom his brother (Cumberbatch) takes a strong disliking to. It’s a masterclass of simmering tension and spellbinding acting, but if you’re here for shoot ’em ups, this Western ain’t it. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Procession

For fans of: Healing, the power of art

Procession
ProcessionNetflix

Year: 2021
Director: Robert Greene
Stars: Dan Laurine, Ed Gavagan, Joe Eldred, Michael Sandridge, Mike Foreman, Tom Viviano
Genre: Documentary
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 90

Robert Greene’s gutting documentary comes to Netflix just two months after making its debut at Telluride, a quick turnaround that belies how much time went into this movie. Shot over three years, Procession focuses on six men who each suffered abuse by Catholic priests in the diocese of Kansas City, Missouri, when they were boys. Greene’s project is unique: The men, working with both Greene and a therapist who uses theater in her work, create short films about their trauma. It’s an unmissable story of how to reckon with evil. –Kelly Connolly [Trailer]

tick, tick… BOOM!

For fans of: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Broadway

Andrew Garfield, tick tick...Boom!
Andrew Garfield, tick tick…Boom!Netflix

Year: 2021
Director: Lin-Manuel Miranda
Stars: Andrew Garfield, Vanessa Hudgens, Bradley Whitford
Genre: Drama, Musical
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 74

Lin-Manuel Miranda has a type: musicals about guys who are worried their time is running out. And why mess with success? Miranda makes his directorial debut with this film adaptation, already racking up good reviews, of Rent creator Jonathan Larson’s semi-autobiographical musical. Andrew Garfield stars as the struggling playwright, who’s anxious that he hasn’t accomplished enough by his upcoming 30th birthday. (The story is made more poignant by Larson’s real-life early death at the age of 35, the night before Rent‘s off-Broadway premiere.) Garfield is a hit in this, Vanessa Hudgens is in her element, and Bradley Whitford does a rock-solid Sondheim impersonation. –Kelly Connolly [Trailer]

Red Notice

For fans of: Stars wisecrackin’, dumb action, dumber twists

Ryan Reynolds, Gal Gadot, Dwayne Johnson, Red Notice
Ryan Reynolds, Gal Gadot, Dwayne Johnson, Red NoticeNetflix

Year: 2021
Director: Lin-Manuel Miranda
Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot, Ryan Reynolds
Genre: Adventure, Action, Comedy
Rating: PG-13
Metacritic score: 37

I watched this entire movie in one sitting and I had a great time, but in no reality would I say this is a good movie. It’s one of those, y’know? It’s a film in which the stars are secured and then you write the script. Those stars happen to be Dwayne JohnsonGal Gadot, and Ryan Reynolds, some of the biggest celebrities on the planet, and the script sees them playing various combinations of FBI agents and art thieves, sometimes both! Add in a budget of about $200 million, and you’ve got yourself one of Netflix’s most popular original movies ever. This is streaming candy; they can’t all be Roma[Trailer]

7 Prisoners

For fans of: Quiet suspense, antiwork and the exploitation of the labor force, Rodrigo Santoro

Rodrigo Santoro and Christian Malheiros, 7 Prisoners
Rodrigo Santoro and Christian Malheiros, 7 PrisonersAline Arruda/Netflix

Year: 2021
Director: Alexandre Moratto
Stars: Christian Malheiros, Rodrigo Santoro
Genre: Drama
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 80

For a real eye-opening movie experience, watch the Brazilian film 7 Prisoners, a tense movie about the exploitation of desperate young men and women looking for work in South America. Rodrigo Santoro (Westworld) stars as the owner of a salvage yard who enslaves youngsters from rural Brazil who think they’re getting jobs in the big city. But the movie’s strength is how it shows how this happens from the perspective of one of the young men, who ends up working with the owner in order to ensure his survival at the cost of the others. Though heavy, director Alexandre Moratto manages to keep the tone raw and impactful rather than depressing. [Trailer]

Passing

For fans of: Where the line of racial equality blurs, gorgeous black and white photos come to life

Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson, Passing
Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson, PassingNetflix

Year: 2021
Director: Rebecca Hall
Stars: Tessa Thompson, Ruth Negga, Andre Holland
Genre: Drama
Rating: PG-13
Metacritic score: 85

Would you give up your culture if it meant you could have an easier life? That’s the question posed in this stirring film set in 1920s New York City that stars Tessa Thompson as a Black woman who runs into a childhood friend (Ruth Negga) who has been passing for a white woman, bringing up questions of racial identity and whitewashing. Shot entirely in black and white and featuring wonderful performances from Thompson, Negga, and André Holland, Passing is already generating Oscar buzz. [Trailer]

Found

For fans of: Heartfelt stories, discovering your roots and culture

Lily, Chloe, and Sadie, Found
Lily, Chloe, and Sadie, FoundNetflix

Year: 2021
Director: Amanda Lipitz
Genre: Documentary
Rating: PG
Metacritic score: 82

This documentary about three adopted Chinese high schoolers looking into their roots could also pass as a robot test, because if you aren’t moved to tears at some point, then you’re made out of tin. What makes it so effective is that it looks at adoption from every angle: the girls looking for answers and discovering their culture, their adoptive families looking to help them find their roots, the Chinese families who were forced to give up their babies under China’s one child policy, and the intrepid investigator who helps adopted children find their birth parents in China. It’s an emotional wallop. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

The Harder They Fall

For fans of: Quentin Tarantino films, Red Dead Redemption, lots of shootin

Regina King, Idris Elba, and LaKeith Stanfield, The Harder They Fall
Regina King, Idris Elba, and LaKeith Stanfield, The Harder They FallNetflix

Year: 2021
Director: Jeymes Samuel
Stars: Idris Elba, LaKeith Stanfield, Regina King, Jonathan Majors
Genre: Drama, Western
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 68

Netflix’s latest blockbuster is an action Western with a lot more style than you’re used to. Director Jeymes Samuel takes a tried-and-true cowboy premise — a gang gets together to exact revenge on the persons responsible for the deaths of loved ones — and infuses it with gorgeous violence, snappy dialogue, and a predominantly Black cast that includes Regina KingIdris ElbaLaKeith StanfieldJonathan MajorsDelroy Lindo, and Zazie Beetz. The result is a rollicking good time and one of the gosh dang coolest films of the year. [Trailer]

The Trip

For fans of: Couples therapy, violence, Noomi Rapace

Aksel Hennie and Noomi Rapace, The Trip
Aksel Hennie and Noomi Rapace, The TripNetflix

Year: 2021
Director: Tommy Wirkola
Stars: Aksel Hennie, Noomi Rapace
Genre: Thriller, Comedy
Rating: NR
Metacritic score: n/a

This Norwegian dark comedy follows a couple (Aksel Hennie and Noomi Rapace) who go to a remote cabin in an attempt to repair their dissolving relationship. Little do they know that they each plan to murder each other as their solution to their problems. Even littler do they know that others are out there in the wilderness to give them even more troubles. Spectacularly violent with humor as black as the night, The Trip is a trip. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Fever Dream

For fans of: Artsy films, beautiful confusion, slightly supernatural films

Dolores Fonzi and María Valverde, Fever Dream
Dolores Fonzi and María Valverde, Fever DreamDiego Araya/NETFLIX

Year: 2021
Director: Claudia Llosa
Stars: María Valverde, Dolores Fonzi
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 75

This Chilean film based on a novel by Argentine author Samantha Schwelbin dabbles in the supernatural while telling the story of a mother who realizes her friend’s young son may not be all she thinks he is. There’s some great philosophy inside — especially about how a parent protects their child from danger — but you’re more likely to come away from this wonderfully shot film peppered with a sense of imminent doom with only a hazy understanding of the open-to-interpretation storytelling as nothing is spoon-fed to the viewer. But dig a little deeper and you’ll find a chilling story of what a parent is willing do for their child. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

The Guilty

For fans of: One-man plays, Jake Gyllenhaal, thrilling phone conversations

Jake Gyllenhaal, The Guilty
Jake Gyllenhaal, The GuiltyJoe Bayler/Netflix

Year: 2021
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 63

Jake Gyllenhaal plays a cop sent to desk duty at a 9-1-1 call center and becomes embroiled in a case when a woman being held against her will calls to ask for help. An adaptation of a 2018 Danish film, The Guilty is the rare intense thriller without any of the action as it’s mostly set in the call center with Jake on the phone and only voices coming from the other end. But director Antoine Fuqua and Gyllenhaal keep things mesmerizing. –Tim Surette [Trailer | Review]

No One Gets Out Alive

For fans of: The class division, the immigrant experience, spooks

Cristina Rodlo, No One Gets Out Alive
Cristina Rodlo, No One Gets Out AliveTeddy Cavendish/Netflix

Year: 2021
Director: Santiago Menghini
Stars: Cristina Rodlo
Genre: Horror
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 43

A Latin American immigrant seeking work and housing in America shacks up in a boarding house where things aren’t not haunted, if you get my drift. It’s a great horror gem that taps into the immigrant experience and the difficulties the poor have with basic needs. –Tim Surette [Trailer | Review]

The Father Who Moves Mountains

For fans of: Cinematography, the battle between sanity and madness, fast snow & slow burns

The Father Who Moves Mountains
The Father Who Moves MountainsNetflix

Year: 2021
Director: Daniel Sandu
Stars: Adrian Titieni, Bogdan Nechifor
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Rating: TV-MA
Metacritic score: n/a

This Romanian film follows a powerful man of means desperate to find his son after he goes missing on a mountain trek. It’s not an action film, but rather a contemplative exploration of how far a man will go to save his son and at what cost to others. You’ll understand why he does what he does, but you might not like him for it. [Trailer]

Nightbooks

For fans of: Kids horror between Goosebumps and Fear Street, Krysten Ritter. hairless cats | Is it good?: It’s pretty cool for kids and tweens who can handle scares

Krysten Ritter, Nightbooks
Krysten Ritter, NightbooksChristos Kalohoridis/Netflix

Year: 2021
Director: David Yarovesky
Stars: Winslow Fegley, Lidya Jewett, Krysten Ritter
Genre: Fantasy, Horror
Rating: NR
Metacritic score: 65

This adaptation of the 2018 children’s fantasy-horror book by J.A. White is the perfect movie for the young horror fan in your life who is too old for things like Goosebumps but not quite ready for the teen-slasher gore of the Fear Street movies. It follows a young boy who is captured by a witch (a delectable Krysten Ritter) and bargains for his life by agreeing to tell her a new scary story that he writes each night. While there’s no real blood and gore, there are definitely some creepy things — Sam Raimi is a producer — that will give some young ones nightmares for weeks, so make sure your kiddo is mentally prepared before they sit down to watch this. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Worth

For fans of: Incredibly difficult questions about life, sentimental biopics, Michael Keaton

Michael Keaton and Stanley Tucci, Worth
Michael Keaton and Stanley Tucci, WorthMonika Lek/Netflix

Year: 2021
Director: Sara Colangelo
Stars: Michael Keaton, Amy Ryan
Genre: Drama, Biography
Rating: PG-13
Metacritic score: 67

Michael Keaton plays lawyer Kenneth Feinberg, who was assigned the task of formulating how money was distributed through the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund, which the government granted to families whose loved ones were killed in the 9/11 attacks. It essentially asks how much a life is worth and whether they’re all equal. Strong acting and directing overcome some pretty melodramatic moments. [Trailer]

Wind River

For fans of: Yellowstone, Marvel stars in other things, snowy shootouts

Elizabeth Olsen and Jeremy Renner, Wind River
Elizabeth Olsen and Jeremy Renner, Wind River

Year: 2017
Director: Taylor Sheridan
Stars: Elizabeth Olsen, Jeremy Renner
Genre: Action, Drama
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 73

Taylor Sheridan, who created the Paramount hit drama Yellowstone, sticks to the wilderness for this 2018 movie starring Jeremy Renner as a sharpshooting game official and Elizabeth Olsen as an FBI agent trying to solve a rape and murder on a Native American reservation in Wyoming during the winter. It’s a character-driven whodunnit in America’s untamed land. [Trailer]

The Old Ways

For fans of: Witchcraft, Latin American demonology, creepy crawlies

The Old Ways
The Old WaysNetflix

Year: 2020
Director: Christopher Alender
Stars: Brigitte Kali, Andrea Cortés
Genre: Horror
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 67

A young journalist goes deep into the jungles of Veracruz, Mexico, for a story on indigenous people who practice ancient witchcraft, only to be kidnapped by them when they believe she is possessed by a demon. It’s full of terrifying imagery, as is expected, but it’s the claustrophobia of being imprisoned that really drives the horror. On top of that, there are themes of cultural identity that take it to a smarter level than your typical horror film, and visually, it’s aces. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

The Edge of Seventeen

For fans of: Remembering how much high school sucked

Hailee Steinfeld, Edge of Seventeen
Hailee Steinfeld, Edge of SeventeenSTX Entertainment

Year: 2016
Director: Kelly Fremon Craig
Stars: Hailee Steinfeld, Haley Lu Richardson, Woody Harrelson, Kyra Sedgwick
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 77

One of the best teen comedies of the last decade, The Edge of Seventeen has everything you want in a coming-of-age movie. After finding out her best friend is hooking up with her popular older brother, awkward outsider Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) is thrown into crisis mode. Meanwhile, Nadine is navigating a strained relationship with her mother (Kyra Sedgwick) and a crush on an older boy by herself, with her only friend being her teacher, Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson), who barely tolerates her existential ramblings. It’s a funny, sweet movie that will remind you of the classics you already love, like Clueless and Mean Girls, while standing totally on its own. [Trailer]

The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf

For fans of: The Witcher, animated gore

The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf
The Witcher: Nightmare of the WolfNetflix

Year: 2021
Director: Kwang Il Han
Stars: Theo James
Genre: Fantasy, Animation
Rating: TV-MA
Metacritic score: 67

This anime Witcher prequel film follows Geralt’s mentor, Vesemir (voiced here by Theo James). The film, set several years before the events of the series, explores Vesemir’s origin story, showing him as a young lad who is only concerned with monster slaying and getting paid for monster slaying.

The Fear Street trilogy

For fans of: Gruesome horror, not wanting to wait for the sequel

Fear Street Part Two: 1978
Fear Street Part Two: 1978Netflix

Year: 2021
Director: Leigh Janiak
Stars: Kiana Madeira, Olivia Scott Welch, Fred Hechinger, Ashley Zukerman
Genre: Horror
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 67

R.L. Stine, the guy who wrote the Goosebumps books, set his sights on a slightly older crowd with his Fear Street novel series, which are now the foundation for one of Netflix’s biggest film experiments yet. The three teen-slasher horror films, which all tell the origin story of a cursed town, were each released over three consecutive Fridays in July 2021. Each film is set in a different year (1994, 1978, and 1666), culminating in a flashback to witch trials in the 1600s, and feature carryover cast members and plenty of gory deaths. Let’s just say you’ll be extra careful around a bread slicer. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Blood Red Sky

For fans of: Monstrous surprises, small-space horror

Peri Baumeister and Carl Koch, Blood Red Sky
Peri Baumeister and Carl Koch, Blood Red SkyNetflix

Year: 2021
Director: Peter Thorwarth
Stars: Carl Anton Koch, Peri Baumeister
Genre: Horror
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 43

This German-English language action-forward horror film is set on a Transatlantic flight between Berlin and New York City that is besieged by hijackers. But they don’t know that one of the passengers on board possesses supernatural powers, and will do anything to protect her young son, which sometimes means eating the bad guys. It’s a taut thriller with a paranormal twist that’s one of Netflix’s better original horror films. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Bo Burnham: Inside

For fans of: Existentialism, music

Bo Burnham: Inside
Bo Burnham: InsideNetflix

Year: 2021
Director: Bo Burnham
Stars: Bo Burnham
Genre: Comedy, Musical
Rating: TV-MA
Metacritic score: 98

Indie auteur and certified bad movie boyfriend Bo Burnham surprised his fans when he announced he had orchestrated a return to his comedic roots during the pandemic. With Inside, which Burnham wrote, directed, and edited without a crew or an audience while stuck at home, he lets out his feelings through music, delivering a setlist of very catchy, very meme-worthy songs that have titles like “White Woman’s Instagram” and “FaceTime with My Mom (Tonight).” The special gets in touch with the collective mood 2020 inspired in all of us — the anguish, the despair, the horniness. Burnham’s comedy has always touched on the existential, but he goes deeper than ever here. [Trailer]

Pray Away

For fans of: Realizing that the horrors of the past are still effecting the present

Pray Away
Pray AwayNetflix

Year: 2021
Director: Kristine Solakis
Genre: Documentary
Rating: PG-13
Metacritic score: 76

Ryan Murphy and Jason Blum executive produce this documentary about Exodus International, an Evangelical group formed in the ’70s that claims it could turn gay people straight through prayer and conversion therapy. What’s most interesting about this film is that it features interviews with ex-leaders who are now speaking out against the movement they were part of for so many years. [Trailer]

Bad Trip

For fans of: Eric Andre, the Sacha Baron Cohen effect

Eric Andre and Lil Rey Howery, Bad Trip
Eric Andre and Lil Rey Howery, Bad TripNetflix

Year: 2021
Director: Kitao Sakurai
Stars: Eric André, Lil Rel Howery
Genre: Comedy
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 61

How in the world is Bad Trip as great as it is? There is no plausible reason why a prank movie was able to feel so fresh and hilarious in the year 2021, and yet here I am, writing about the greatness of Bad Trip. It has a pretty loose plot (two listless best friends take a road trip so one can reunite with his high school crush), which is sort of unnecessary to the film’s broad comedy, but does help with providing structure and emotional beats when needed. Anyway, that’s not really why it’s on this list. Bad Trip shines thanks to its many interactions with the unsuspecting public, who have no idea they’re being filmed or that they’re part of a movie. The way the film’s stars, Eric AndreLil Rel Howery, and Tiffany Haddish, drag poor strangers into the bizarre world they’ve created and get them invested in their characters’ fictional problems (a particularly memorable scene in which Haddish recruits the patrons of a restaurant into helping her track down Andre and Howery becomes an instant classic thanks to the passionate reaction from one woman), ends up producing the best comedic moments. Clocking in under 90 minutes, Bad Trip is a quick, wholeheartedly joyful watch. [Trailer]

The Forty-Year-Old Version

For fans of: The struggles of hitting the big 4-0, the artist’s life

The Forty-Year-Old Version
The Forty-Year-Old VersionNetflix

Year: 2020
Director: Kitao Sakurai
Stars: Radha Blank
Genre: Comedy
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 80

Soon-to-be household name Radha Blank writes, directs, and stars in this poignant comedy about a playwright who is approaching her 40th birthday but still has nothing to show for it, even after winning a coveted “30 under 30” award nearly a decade before. To reinvent her life, she breaks into rapping, spitting rhymes from her unique viewpoint and fighting to stay true to her own artistic vision. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Concrete Cowboy

For fans of: Idris Elba, riding horses

Idris Elba and Caleb McLaughlin, Concrete Cowboy
Idris Elba and Caleb McLaughlin, Concrete CowboyNetflix

Year: 2021
Director: Ricky Staub
Stars: Idris Elba, Caleb McLaughlin
Genre: Drama
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 67

The era of horse girls has made its natural progression into the era of horse boys. This film, based on the real-life Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club, centers on a Detroit teen (Caleb McLaughlin) who’s sent to Philadelphia to live with his dad (Idris Elba), a cowboy who spends his time hanging out with other cowboys. It’s about fathers and sons, it’s about Black horse-riding culture, and it’s about coming of age. [Trailer]

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

For fans of: The Coen brothers, dark comedy

Tim Blake Nelson, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Tim Blake Nelson, The Ballad of Buster ScruggsNetflix

Year: 2018
Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Stars: Tim Blake Nelson, Tom Waits, James Franco
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Rating: NR
Metacritic score: 79

The Coen brothers strap on their spurs for this collection of short stories from the Wild West, all peppered with that trademark Coen absurdism made famous in their films Fargo and Raising Arizona. The stories range from a singing cowboy (Tim Blake Nelson) who’s quick on the draw to a mumbling prospector (Tom Waits) tracked down by an opportunist to an outlaw (James Franco) who’s no stranger to the gallows. It’s a gorgeous film about opportunity in a land where there’s nothing but opportunity. -Tim Surette [Trailer]

Da 5 Bloods

For fans of: Spike Lee, being reminded that war is bad

Da 5 Bloods
Da 5 BloodsNetflix

Year: 2020
Director: Spike Lee
Stars: Delroy Lindo, Clarke Peters, Isiah Whitlock, Jr., Chadwick Boseman, Norm Lewis
Genre: Drama
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 82

Spike Lee‘s latest is a sprawling drama split between two timelines: the first during the Vietnam War, where a group of Black soldiers band together, and the second during the present, where the surviving members, now aging veterans, return to the country in the hopes of recovering the remains of their fallen squad leader (Chadwick Boseman, in one of his last performances) and locating the gold they buried years ago. It’s a dazzling, stylized adventure, and the kind of movie that will make you walk away feeling like you learned something without skimping on character development. [Trailer]

My Octopus Teacher

For fans of: Unlikely friendships, cephalopods

My Octopus Teacher
My Octopus TeacherNetflix

Year: 2020
Director: James Reed and Pippa Ehrlich
Stars: Craig Foster, Tom Foster
Genre: Documentary
Rating: NR
Metacritic score: 82

This film about the intimate relationship between a man and his octopus won the Oscar for Best Documentary in 2021. Craig Foster, a diver, buddies up with an octopus in South Africa for a year, documenting her life as she sleeps, eats, and battles sharks. The whole experience teaches Foster about life and moves him to gain appreciation for humanity’s relationship with nature, as well as form a closer bond with his son. The whole thing feels a little like a more wholesome version of Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water, but I’m not here to knock anyone who dares to explore interspecies friendships. [Trailer]

The Trial of the Chicago 7

For fans of: Aaron Sorkin’s whole thing, watered down history

Trial of Chicago 7
The Trial of the Chicago 7Netflix

Year: 2020
Director: Aaron Sorkin
Stars: Sacha Baron Cohen, Eddie Redmayne, Jeremy Strong, John Carroll Lynch
Genre: Drama
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 76

In 1969, a group of anti-war activists were charged with conspiring to start a riot at the Democratic National Convention, and in 2019, Aaron Sorkin told an extremely Hollywood version of their story. Although Sorkin really simplifies a lot of the more radical politics people like Abbie Hoffman (Sacha Baron Cohen) and Jerry Rubin (Jeremy Strong) actually had, a big, showy courtroom drama — full of grandstanding and dramatic speeches and quippy dialogue — is a perfect vehicle for his style. It’s grounded by the performances of its sprawling, star-studded cast (which also includes Mark RylanceFrank Langella, and Michael Keaton) and the writing, which earned Sorkin a Best Original Screenplay nod at the Oscars, and it’ll teach you something about the injustices of the American justice system, which, spoiler, has always been pretty bad! [Trailer]

His House

For fans of: Haunted houses, immigrant horror stories

Wunmi Mosaku and Sope Dìrísù, His House
Wunmi Mosaku and Sope Dìrísù, His HouseAidan Monaghan/NETFLIX

Year: 2020
Director: Remi Weekes
Stars: Wunmi Mosaku, Sope Dirisu
Genre: Horror
Rating: TV-14
Metacritic score: 72

A refugee couple from South Sudan find their new housing in England is not what it seems in this chilling and stylish horror movie from writer-director Remi Weekes. If you love ghosts and grief but are ready for a little more intensity, His House is a must-watch; it’s a haunted house story that blends serious scares with thoughtful commentary on immigration and trauma. Plus, it’s anchored by unmissable performances from stars Wunmi Mosaku and Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù. –Kelly Connolly [Trailer]

I Am Not Your Negro

For fans of: Social justice, visual poetry, hard truths

I Am Not Your Negro
I Am Not Your NegroNetflix

Year: 2016
Director: Raoul Peck
Genre: Documentary
Rating: PG-13
Metacritic score: 95

Raoul Peck’s 2016 documentary that’s an adaptation of James Baldwin’s manuscript about racism in America through the eyes of Black people — specifically civil rights activists Martin Luther King Jr. Malcolm X, and Medgar Evans — is a visual masterpiece with a clear message: America has failed the Black community. The powerful 2016 film brims with energy through old footage of segregation and current shots of protests in the streets in the wake of police violence against minorities. It’s an essential watch to better understand America’s shameful past and present. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Roma

For fans of: Oscar winners, art films

Roma
RomaCarlos Somonte

Year: 2018
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Stars: Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira, Fernando Grediaga
Genre: Drama
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 96

Sorry Mank, you aren’t the best black-and-white film on Netflix. Not even close. Alfonso Cuaron‘s 2018 personal tale of a housekeeper in Mexico to a wealthy Mexican family won Best Foreign Film, Best Director (Cuaron), and Best Cinematography (Cuaron) at the 91st Academy Awards, but could have won tons more. It’s both quiet and epic in scope, balancing a fascinating relationship between a hard-working woman named Cleo and the family that relies on her, unforgettable shots involving hundreds of extras, and a sensitive story on life bubbling under the surface. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Homecoming: A Film By Beyoncé

For fans of: Beyoncé, of course… and who isn’t?

Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé
Homecoming: A Film by BeyoncéLarry Busacca

Year: 2019
Director: Beyoncé, Ed Burke
Stars: Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Kelly Rowland
Genre: Documentary, Music
Rating: NR
Metacritic score: 93

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Homecoming is perhaps the best, most impactful concert film of at least the past few years. This is Beyoncé at the absolute top of her game, showing not only her historic performance at Coachella 2018, but the emotionally and physically taxing preparation that led up to it. It’s just a pleasure to watch, not only because Beyoncé’s unparalleled work ethic and commitment to precision, but because of how dedicated she and her team of artists, dancers, and musicians were to making sure the performance was a celebration of Black culture. It’s called Homecoming because of the way it evokes traditions made popular by homecoming concerts at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and it’s maybe the most entertaining history lesson you’ll ever get. Also, there’s a pitch-perfect Destiny’s Child reunion. We love to see it. [Trailer]

The Half of It

For fans of: Fun spins on

Leah Lewis, Alexxis Lemire, The Half of It
Leah Lewis, Alexxis Lemire, The Half of ItKC Bailey/Netflix

Year: 2020
Director: Alice Wu
Stars: Leah Lewis, Daniel Diemer, Alexxis Lemire
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Rating: TV-14
Metacritic score: 74

Alice Wu‘s teen dramedy will surprise you in all the best ways. It starts out familiar: Outsider and introvert Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis) begrudgingly agrees to help dumb jock Paul Munsky (Daniel Diemer) woo the pretty and popular Aster Flores (Alexxis Lemire) by writing her love letters in Paul’s name, but what Paul doesn’t know is that Ellie is also in love with Aster (yes, this is more or less the premise of Cyrano de Bergerac). Of course eventually the ruse is exposed and feelings hurt and hearts mended. In the end, however, The Half of It is less a movie that cares about who ends up with who and more about Ellie finally opening herself up to the world, letting people like Paul and Aster and her very sweet dad in, and well, living. It’s a smart and heartwarming coming-of-age story (that final train scene!) that uses well-worn rom-com tropes to its advantage. -Maggie Fremont [Trailer]

The To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy

For fans of: Teen rom-coms, John Hughes references

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor, To All the Boys: Always and Forever
Noah Centineo and Lana Condor, To All the Boys: Always and ForeverNetflix

Year: 2018-2021
Director: Susan Johnson
Stars: Lana Condor, Noah Centineo, Janel Parrish, Anna Cathcart
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Rating: TV-14
Metacritic score: 64

Based on Jenny Han’s young adult trilogy, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before took the Netflix world by storm when it debuted in 2018. The teen rom-com stars Asian American actress Lana Condor as Lara Jean Covey, a hopelessly romantic high schooler who pens letters to all her crushes in order to get her abundance of emotions out. But when those love letters are mailed out to the crushes by her younger sister, she’s mortified — especially because one is delivered to her older sister’s boyfriend, Josh (Israel Broussard). To cover up her feelings for Josh, Lara Jean begins fake dating the popular and charming Peter (Noah Centineo) — another love letter recipient who wants to make his ex jealous — but old feelings die hard. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before has an inherent sweetness to it that calls back to classic ’80s films like Say Anything… or Sixteen Candles. Once you’ve finished it, check out its sequels, P.S. I Still Love You, which introduces yet another recipient of Lara Jean’s letters, and Always and Forever, the third and final film in the saga. –Kaitlin Thomas [Trailer]

Always Be My Maybe

For fans of: Keanu Reeves doing the most

Randall Park and Ali Wong, Always Be My Maybe
Randall Park and Ali Wong, Always Be My MaybeNetflix

Year: 2019
Director: Nahnatchka Khan
Stars: Ali Wong, Randall Park, Keanu Reeves
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Rating: PG-13
Metacritic score: 64

Ali Wong co-wrote this 2019 romantic comedy in which she stars as Sasha, a celebrity chef who returns home to the Bay Area to open a new restaurant and runs into her former childhood friend, Marcus (co-writer Randall Park). The romantic chemistry from their teenage years still remains, and after she breaks off her engagement to her fiancé after he delays their wedding yet again, Sasha attempts to embark on a new relationship with Marcus. However, his fears and her fame — and a great guest spot from Keanu Reeves — create obstacles that first have to be overcome before true happiness can be found. –Kaitlin Thomas [Trailer]

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

For fans of: The idiosyncrasies of Taika Waititi, unlikely friendships

Julian Dennison and Sam Neill, Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Julian Dennison and Sam Neill, Hunt for the WilderpeopleThe Orchard

Year: 2016
Director: Taika Waititi
Stars: Julian Dennison, Rachel House, Rima Te Wiata, Sam Neill
Genre: Adventure, Comedy
Rating: PG-13
Metacritic score: 81

Before he got recruited by the Marvel machine, Taika Waititi made Hunt for the Wilderpeople, an adventure dramedy about a young delinquent (Julian Dennison) and his reluctant foster dad (Sam Neill) who, after a series of mishaps and misunderstandings, become the targets of a manhunt. They go into survival mode as they hide out in the New Zealand wilderness, running into a cast of oddball characters as they evade the police. As is the case with these things, the longer they stay out on their own, the closer they get. Waititi’s signature comedic style is what makes the whole thing really shine. [Trailer]

The Irishman

For fans of: Impressive de-aging CGI, looooong movies

Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Ray Romano, The Irishman
Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Ray Romano, The IrishmanNetflix

Year: 2019
Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci
Genre: Drama
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 94

Martin Scorsese loves telling stories about almost-great men undone by their own hubris, and The Irishman is the latest example of that. A lot was made of its three-hour runtime, and its use of CGI to de-age its stars, Robert De NiroJoe Pesci, and Al Pacino, but those aren’t the only things this film has to offer. De Niro plays Frank Sheeran, the titular Irishman, who works as a hitman alongside Russell Bufalino (Pesci) and famous Teamster Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino), both of whom are tied to organized crime. It’s an epic about power and betrayal, and contains easily the best performance De Niro’s given in years. [Trailer]

Marriage Story

For fans of: Laura Dern memes, Adam Driver memes, being sad

Laura Dern and Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
Laura Dern and Scarlett Johansson, Marriage StoryWilson Webb/Netflix

Year: 2019
Director: Noah Baumbach
Stars: Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, Laura Dern, Ray Liotta
Genre: Drama
Rating: NR
Metacritic score: 94

A marriage unravels in Noah Baumbach’s latest, as Charlie (Adam Driver) and Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) try to keep themselves afloat during their divorce. Yes, there’s definitely a lot movie going on in this movie emotionally, but isn’t the most important takeaway that we got two great memes out of it? I think so. [Trailer]

Dolemite Is My Name

For fans of: Underdog stories, Eddie Murphy doing something different

Eddie Murphy, Dolemite Is My Name
Eddie Murphy, Dolemite Is My NameFrancois Duhamel/Netflix

Year: 2019
Director: Craig Brewer
Stars: Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Keegan-Michael Key
Genre: Drama, Comedy, Biography
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 76

In 1970s Los Angeles, struggling musician-comedian Rudy Ray Moore (Eddie Murphy) decides to create a raunchy alter ego named Dolemite in effort to get noticed. The movie highlights the way, through his work, Moore was able to help pioneer rap as a musical genre, provides wider commentary on the blaxploitation phenomenon, and touches on some of Murphy’s own feelings about the critics who have commented on his films. Spoiler: He doesn’t care! [Trailer]

Dick Johnson Is Dead

For fans of: Crying!

Dick Johnson Is Dead
Dick Johnson Is DeadNetflix

Year: 2020
Director: Kirsten Johnson
Stars: Dick Johnson, Kirsten Johnson
Genre: Documentary
Rating: PG-13
Metacritic score: 89

You should break out a box of tissues before checking out Kristen Johnson‘s tender documentary about her father. When we’re introduced to the 86-year-old Dick, the frightening, heartbreaking effects of his dementia are starting to show, marking what both Dick and Kristen accept to be the beginning of the end of his life. What makes this film unique is the way it blends fiction and reality: Kristen imagines ways for her dad to die that he gamely acts out, from falling down a flight of stairs to bleeding out from a head wound. The two have such an easy rapport that it’s easy to laugh at their antics one minute and be horribly upset the next when Dick describes the pain of feeling his memory slip away from him in real time. It’s a beautiful film quite unlike anything else. [Trailer]

I’m Thinking of Ending Things

For fans of: Feeling confused and vaguely unsettled

Jesse Plemons and Jessie Buckley, I'm Thinking of Ending Things
Jesse Plemons and Jessie Buckley, I’m Thinking of Ending ThingsNetflix

Year: 2020
Director: Charlie Kaufman
Stars: Jessie Buckley, Jesse Plemons, Toi Collette
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 89

It should be said straight up that I’m Thinking of Ending ThingsCharlie Kaufman‘s haunting adaptation of Iain Reid’s novel, is probably not for everyone. It’s also not the kind of movie that will tell you exactly what it’s about; it doesn’t really follows a linear, cause-and-effect plot, and the story unfolds according to dream logic. I’ll describe it in the best way I can, though: A woman (Jessie Buckley) goes on a trip with her boyfriend (Jesse Plemons) to visit his parents, all while she’s considering breaking up with him. It only gets trippier from there! The only things that are really made clear to the audience is that the woman is a wholly unreliable narrator and nothing is as it seems. If you like your movies a little out there, this one’s totally worth checking out. [Trailer]

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

For fans of: Great performances from great actors, monologues

Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black BottomNetflix

Year: 2020
Director: George C. Wolfe
Stars: Chadwick Boseman, Viola Davis, Colman Domingo
Genre: Drama, Music
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 87

Chadwick Boseman‘s final film role was in this Netflix original, which is based on the Tony-nominated August Wilson play. Viola Davis stars as Ma Rainey, a powerhouse blues singer in 1927 Chicago who holds up a recording session to butt heads with her white manager, and Boseman plays a trumpeter in the recording session angling to get a foothold in the music business. On its own, it’s a good film that has a lot to say about race and music ownership, but the performances from Davis and Boseman elevate it. [Trailer]

The 37 Best Movies on Hulu to Watch Right Now (May 2022)

This list contains two (2) Tim Roths

kc-profile-photo.jpg
Kelly Connolly 

Where my Tim Roth enthusiasts at? Our list of the best movies to watch on Hulu right now include two whole movies in which Roth plays a depressed man. Fun! Sundown, an understated drama that stars Roth as a man who leaves everyone else to deal with a family tragedy while he drinks beer on a Mexican beach, is our latest recommendation; it joins Bergman Island, in which Roth plays a man unhappily married to Vicky Krieps. More recent additions to our list include Kenneth Branagh’s murder mystery Death on the Nile, the Ben Affleck-Ana de Armas erotic thriller Deep Water, and the World War II heist movie Hell Hath No Fury.

This list isn’t just about the absolute best movies of all time that critics tell you are good; it’s about the best movies to watch on Hulu right now. That means this list will look a little different from the other ones out there, as we’re focusing on Hulu originals, new arrivals to Hulu, films that are on Hulu that aren’t anywhere else, and personal favorites.

Last updated May 17, 2022; newer additions are at the top

Sundown

For fans of: Middle-aged men ennui, Mexico, jerks

Tim Roth, Sundown
Tim Roth, Sundown

Year: 2022
Director: Michael Franco
Stars: Tim Roth, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Iazua Larios
Genre: Drama
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 70

Tim Roth is the embodiment of indifference in this mellow drama about a wealthy British man vacationing in Acapulco with his siblings when they’re suddenly called back for a family tragedy. Only he doesn’t go back, pretending he forgot his passport back at the hotel. Then he just stays in Mexico while everyone else deals with all the responsibility! Roth is excellent as a man who has completely given up in this film that’s low on plot but high on masculine malaise and shots of drinking beer on the beach. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Death on the Nile

For fans of: Big boats, old-fashioned mystery and adventure, all-star casts

Gal Gadot, Death on the Nile
Gal Gadot, Death on the NileHBO Max

Year: 2022
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Stars: Kenneth Branagh, Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Annette Bening, Jennifer Saunders, Rose Leslie
Genre: Mystery, Adventure
Rating: PG-13
Metacritic score: 52

Cruises aren’t a good idea right now, but you can still get the feelings of big-boat adventures — large terraces overlooking the water, grand ballrooms, floating reverie, MURDER — with Death on the Nile, Kenneth Branaugh’s adaptation of Agatha Christie’s famous 1937 novel. The mystery film is a whodunnit with a who’s who cast, which includes Gal Gadot, Annette Bening, Armie Hammer, and Branaugh (who does double duty as director). It’s an imperfect film, no doubt, but it has an old-fashioned sensibility to it that makes it a great escape from life’s doldrums. –Tim Surette [Trailer]     

Deep Water (2022)

For fans of: Erotic thrillers, the flash-in-the-pan coupling known as “BenAna”

Ana de Armas and Ben Affleck, Deep Water
Ana de Armas and Ben Affleck, Deep WaterClaire Folger/20th Century Studios

Director: Adrian Lyne
Stars: Ben Affleck, Ana de Armas
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 52

This is the first film from director Adrian Lyne (Fatal Attraction), one of the central figures of the erotic thriller subgenre, in 20 years. His last one was 2002’s Unfaithful, which came out right at the end of the erotic thriller’s period of commercial viability. Now that streaming is creating a demand for erotic thrillers again, Lyne is back like he never went away. Deep Water stars Ana de Armas and Gone Girl mode Ben Affleck, who started a relationship when the movie was shooting in 2019 and have since broken up, as a married couple who play twisted psychosexual mind games with each other, and then people around them start turning up dead. Uh oh! Deep Water was supposed to get a theatrical release in 2020, but now it’s going directly to Hulu with less fanfare than it deserves — though straight-to-streaming may end up being the best thing for it. It’s a trashy good time. -Liam Mathews [Trailer | Review]

Hell Hath No Fury (2021)

For fans of: WWII heist flicks, tension

Nina Bergman, Hell Hath No Fury
Nina Bergman, Hell Hath No FuryHulu

Director: Jesse V. Johnson
Stars: Nina Bergman, Daniel Bernhardt, Timothy V. Murphy
Genre: Action, War, Crime
Rating: R

This is one of those low-budget movies that are worth the bargain bin price. Action filmmaker and stuntman Jesse V. Johnson, a frequent collaborator with underground British action star Scott Adkins, helms this WWII thriller about Nazis, resistance fighters, and American soldiers hunting down rumors of buried Nazi gold in a French cemetery. It’s set almost entirely in the cemetery, and centers on a French woman (Nina Bergman) accused of being a Nazi sympathizer who might know more about the gold than anyone else. It’s not going to blow anyone away, but it’s a gritty, violent, and tense film that’s an impressive bit of atmosphere building. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

More on Hulu:

Flee (2021)

For fans of: Documentaries, animation, international film, LGBTQ+ stories of perseverance

Flee
FleeHulu

Director: Jonas Poher Rasmussen
Genre: Documentary, Animation, Biography
Rating: PG-13
Metacritic score: 91

Be more efficient with your Oscar nominee watch by checking out Flee, a triple threat that’s nominated for Best Documentary, Best Animated Feature, and Best International Feature. The gorgeous film was a top pick on many critics’ Best of 2021 lists and focuses on Amin Nawabi, who tells the story of his journey to Denmark as a child refugee from Afghanistan and the secret he kept hidden for 20 years. It’s an astounding piece of art. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Fresh (2022)

For fans of: Never dating again

Sebastian Stan, Fresh
Sebastian Stan, FreshSearchlight Pictures

Director: Mimi Cave
Stars: Daisy Edgar-Jones, Sebastian Stan
Genre: Thriller, Comedy
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 67

It’s not really a spoiler to say that this movie starts out as a romantic comedy and then turns into a horror movie a half-hour in, because that’s the whole thing of it. I just won’t tell you what happens, other than to say Sebastian Stan gets his Patrick Bateman on. Fresh is the debut film from promising director Mimi Cave, and it stars Normal People‘s Daisy Edgar-Jones as a young woman who’s sick of online dating. She meets a charming man in a grocery store, and after they quickly hit it off, she agrees to go away with him to a remote cabin for a weekend. You can guess how it goes. The cinematographer is Midsommar‘s Pawel Pogorzelski, who’s very good at shooting visually striking, gruesome horror. -Liam Mathews [Trailer

No Exit (2022)

For fans of: Paranoia, weather, parentless children

Havana Rose Liu, No Exit
Havana Rose Liu, No Exit20th Century Studios

Director: Damien Power
Stars: Havana Rose Liu, Danny Ramirez, Dennis Haysbert, David Rysdahl, Dale Dickey
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller, Horror
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 54

In this day and age of pandemic paranoia where trust in strangers is at an all-time low, we probably don’t need a movie about being stuck in a room with four people, one of whom is a suspected kidnapper, to get our suspicions elevated. But here we are with No Exit, a Hulu-exclusive movie about a troubled young woman who finds herself waiting out a snowstorm with four strangers. That’s already an inconvenience, but things go really bad when she discovers a kidnapped child in one of their cars. Early reviews are mixed, but this feels like the kind of film made for audiences looking for a thrill rather than for movie critics.  –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Titane (2021)

For fans of: Insanity with a sweet center, cars, mayhem

Agathe Rousselle, Titane
Agathe Rousselle, TitaneHulu

Director: Julia Ducournau
Stars: Agathe Rousselle, Vincent Lindon, a dope Cadillac
Genre: Body horror, Drama
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 75

Given its everything, I have no idea how Titane became the winner of the 2021 Palme d’Or, the top prize at the Cannes International Film Festival. But I’m glad it did because Titane is absolutely amazing in the most primal sense of the word. The French-Belgian film defies genre but spends lots of time in almost all of them — horror, science-fiction, drama, comedy — as it follows a model with a titanium plate in her head that she got after a car crash when she was young at car shows. From there, Titane is a riveting and savage ride as shocking as it is unpredictable (you’ll never think of airport bathroom sinks the same way again). And just when you think it’s gone entirely off the rails, it becomes an emotional and thought-provoking film about character relationships. Love it or hate it, no reaction would surprise me from this truly original and daring film. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

The King’s Man (2021)

For fans of: Spy jinx, movies that don’t require brain activity

Ralph Fiennes, The King's Man
Ralph Fiennes, The King’s ManHulu

Director: Matthew Vaughn
Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton, Rhys Ifans, Djimon Hounsou
Genre: Action-Adventure
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 44

After a promising start, The Kingsman films have gotten worse and worse, meaning that The King’s Man, the third and most recent film in the franchise, is the worst. Yet audiences still gobble them up because the movies are only here to keep you occupied for a few hours, and absolutely nothing more. This prequel gussies up the franchise by setting it around WWI as the Kingsman organization is formed after the death of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and it delivers a decent brain vacation of action and mediocre screenwriting. At the very least, watch to see Charles Dance in a comical mustache. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

The Feast (2021)

For fans of: Slow-burn horror movies, movies in languages you don’t expect

Annes Elwy, The Feast
Annes Elwy, The FeastIFC Midnight

Director: Lee Haven Jones
Stars: Annes Elwy, Nia Roberts, Julian Lewis Jones
Genre: Horror
Rating: Not rated
Metacritic score: 68

You may have never seen a Welsh-language horror movie before, but Hulu can make your first one a good one. The Feast, which made a splash on the film festival circuit, is an ecologically minded folk horror slow-burner that takes its sweet time getting going, but is well worth it when it gets there. It’s about a strange, quiet young woman named Cadi (Annes Elwy) who’s hired to be a cater-waitress at a dinner party of the home of an exploitative politician and his stuck-up wife. They’ve forgotten their connection to the land, and Cadi is going to remind them, in very gruesome and disturbing fashion. –Liam Mathews [Trailer]

Charli XCX: Alone Together (2021)

For fans of: Reliving the pandemic, fan-artist collaborations, good music

Charli XCX: Alone Together
Charli XCX: Alone TogetherGreenwich Entertainment

Director: Bradley Bell and Pablo Jones-Soler
Stars: Charli XCX
Genre: Music, Documentary
Rating: Unrated
Metacritic score: 71

It might be a little too soon to relive early quarantine days, but it’s different when you do it through the eyes of one of our greatest (and somehow still underrated) pop stars — in this case, Charli XCX. Told largely through self-taped footage, Alone Together follows the inception, creation, and release of one of the more unique projects to come out of the pandemic: Charli’s near-perfect 2020 album How I’m Feeling Now. It’s a fascinating look at a truly collaborative process between an artist and her fans, showing how songs were written with their help over Instagram Live, and also presents a raw account of Charli’s struggles with anxiety. This is definitely a documentary primarily for the diehard fans, but even a casual listener can enjoy bearing witness to such a cool creative process. -Allison Picurro [Trailer]

Nightmare Alley (2021)

For fans of: The circus, sideshow freaks and cons, an A-list cast and A-list sets

Bradley Cooper, Nightmare Alley
Bradley Cooper, Nightmare AlleyHulu

Director: Guillermo del Toro
Stars: Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins, Ron Perlman, David Strathairn
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller, Horror, Crime
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 70

Someone somewhere is still eating popcorn they bought while watching Nightmare Alley in the theaters on its mid-December premiere night, and yet the movie is already on Hulu. That’s not a knock on the quality of Nightmare Alley, the traveling circus film noir from Guillermo del Toro; it’s more an indication of the speed of streaming. Bradley Cooper stars as a carnival worker in the 1930s and 1940s who learns to grift the rich and famous from other circus folk, and he’s joined by a stellar cast that includes Cate BlanchettRooney MaraToni ColletteWillem DafoeRichard JenkinsRon Perlman, and David Strathairn. Under del Toro’s eye, Nightmare Alley is a sight to behold, a time warp to the shady traveling sideshows and elegant art deco ballrooms of the era when everyone was working some sort of scheme. -Tim Surette [Trailer]

Bergman Island (2021)

For fans of: Dissolving marriages, filmmaking, Ingmar Bergman, vacationing in gorgeous Sweden

Tim Roth and Mia Wasikowska, Bergman Island
Tim Roth and Vicky Krieps, Bergman IslandHulu

Director: Mia Hansen-Løve
Stars: Tim Roth, Vicky Krieps, Mia Wasikowska
Genre: Drama
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 81

A filmmaking couple, played by Tim Roth and Vicky Krieps, head to the Swedish island of Fårö, the home of legendary director Ingmar Bergman, to root around for inspiration. But as they spend more time on the quaint island and their opinions of Bergman diverge, their marriage slowly falls apart. The film is like two indie movies in one, with a movie-within-a-movie playing in the middle as a visualization of the screenplay the wife is working on, and it all floats along gorgeously with the natural beauty of Fårö. -Tim Surette [Trailer]

I’m Your Man (2021)

For fans of: Black Mirror‘s “Be Right Back,” Dan Stevens speaking German

Dan Stevens and Maren Eggert, I'm Your Man
Dan Stevens and Maren Eggert, I’m Your ManHulu

Director: Maria Schrader
Stars: Dan Stevens, Maren Eggert
Genre: Sci-Fi, Comedy, Romance
Rating: Not Rated
Metacritic score: 78

This Best International Feature Film selection from Germany for the upcoming 2022 Academy Awards is a science-fiction rom-com starring Dan Stevens (Legion) as a robot built to be the perfect boyfriend. He does the rumba. Do you need any other reason to watch this? (In German, with English subtitles.) -Tim Surette [Trailer]

Pig (2021)

For fans of: Nicolas Cage as a great actor, deep sadness

Nicolas Cage, Pig
Nicolas Cage, PigDavid Reamer/NEON

Director: Michael Sarnoski
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Alex Wolff
Genre: Drama
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 82

“We don’t get a lot of things to really care about.” If that line resonates with you, you’ll want to see the indie drama Pig. Nicolas Cage stars as a onetime prominent chef from Portland who left society to go live in the Oregon woods with his beloved truffle-hunting pig. When his pig is stolen, he has to return to the city to look for one of the few things he really cares about. It’s a similar premise to John Wick, with assassin action replaced by tragicomic character study. It’s a top-tier Nicolas Cage performance, and probably his most subtle in at least 20 years. -Liam Mathews [Trailer]  

Mandibles (2020)

For fans of: The Farrelly Brothers, French comedy, absurdity

Mandibles
MandiblesMagnet Releasing

Director: Quentin Dupieux
Stars: David Marsais, Grégoire Ludig, Adèle Exarchopoulos, India Hair
Genre: Fantasy, Comedy
Rating: Not Rated
Metacritic score: 74

If you’ve ever wondered what a silly stoner comedy would be like en français, wonder no more. Mandibles, from bugged out writer-director Quentin Dupieux, is about two dumb slacker pals who find themselves in possession of a gigantic housefly. They initially plan to train the fly to rob people for them, but instead they just end up meandering around the South of France with their bristly companion having moronic misadventures. It’s a flyweight buddy comedy with a refreshing sense of creativity – you never know what’s going to happen next – that generated a lot of buzz on the film festival circuit. All right, that’s enough bug puns. Just watch it. -Liam Mathews [Trailer]

For Madmen Only (2020)

For fans of: Improv comedy, pretty much every comedian working today

For Madmen Only
For Madmen OnlyHulu

Director: Heather Ross
Stars: Ike Barinholtz, Janet Coleman, Josh Fadem, Mike Gold, Robert Dassie
Genre: Documentary
Rating: Not Rated
Metacritic score: n/a

You may not know the name Del Close, but you’re definitely a fan of his work. Close was instrumental in establishing improv comedy, and is credited by many top comedians — Bob Odenkirk, Tina Fey, John Belushi, to name a few — as their mentor, with his knowledge being passed down to today’s generation. The documentary For Madmen Only digs into Close’s legacy, including his legendary stories and mental illness. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Maybe This Year (2021)

For fans of: Football (like, to an insane degree), booing Santa Claus, throwing batteries, passion

Maybe This Year
Maybe This Year

Director: Kyle Thrash
Genre: Documentary
Rating: Not Rated
Metacritic score: n/a

Director Kyle Thrash follows fans of the Philadelphia Eagles during the team’s 2017 Super Bowl run in this character documentary. What’s the big deal about that? Have you seen fans of Philadelphia sports teams? They’re a unique type of insane. They throw batteries at opposing playersThey boo Santa ClausMaybe This Year (sometimes called Maybe Next Year) isn’t so much about football as it is a look at fandom from the perspective of one of the most die-hard fanbases in the world, like the guy who spent his life savings making a makeshift Eagles bar in his home or the self-proclaimed shy woman who calls into sports radio and screams. And you know it has a happy ending. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Jacinta (2020)

For fans of: Painful but important documentaries, stories of addictions, mother and daughter bonds

Jacinta
JacintaJessica Earnshaw/Hulu

Director: Jessica Earnshaw
Genre: Documentary
Rating: Not Rated
Metacritic score: n/a

This documentary isn’t an easy watch, but it is an essential watch. Director Jessica Earnshaw trains her cameras on three generations of a family, with the focus on young mother Jacinta, a heroin addict who is in and out of jail and desperate to reconnect with her young daughter. But Jacinta’s addiction, born from her mother’s behavior, might be too powerful for her to ever have a normal relationship with her child. There’s a lot of pain on screen here (as well as lessons to be learned), but a bittersweet ending at least avoids the worst possible scenario. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Summer of Soul (2021)

For fans of: The best musical acts of the ’60s, reclaiming history

B.B. King, Summer of Soul
B.B. King, Summer of Soul 20th Century Studios

Director: Ahmir-Khalib Thompson
Stars: B.B. King, Jesse Jackson, Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder
Genre: Documentary, Music
Rating: Not Rated
Metacritic score: 96

The same year Woodstock was held and grabbed all the headlines as the only thing that happened in music in 1969, the Harlem Cultural Festival took place, with performances by Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Sly and the Family Stone, and more. Footage of the festival never saw the light of day until the release of this film, which marks the directorial debut of musician Questlove. If you need more reason to watch it, Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) has been universally acclaimed and won the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award in the documentary category at Sundance. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Shadow in the Cloud (2020)

For fans of: Bonkers genre mash-ups, Chloë Grace Moretz

Chloë Grace Moretz, Shadow in the Cloud
Chloë Grace Moretz, Shadow in the CloudVertical Entertainment

Director: Roseanne Liang
Stars: Chloë Grace Moretz, Nick Robinson
Genre: Action, Horror, War
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 66

This movie isn’t for everyone, but if Chloë Grace Moretz fist-fighting a bat-like creature is for you, then this is definitely your kind of movie. It’s a WWII movie, a creature feature, and a female action flick all in one, as Moretz stars as a woman with secrets who catches a lift from a WWII combat plane. In addition to firing at Japanese fighter planes, the crew ends up tangling with a monster and they’re picked off one-by-one until Moretz has to save the day. These aren’t spoilers, these are just facts you know are coming. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Changing the Game (2019)

For fans of: Trans rights, emotional sports stories

Changing the Game
Changing the GameHulu

Director: Mike Barnett
Stars: Andraya Yearwood, Mack Beggs, Ngozi Nnaji, Ngozi Yarwood, Sarah Rose Huckman, Terry Miller
Genre: Documentary, Sports
Rating: Not Rated
Metacritic score: 77

One of the most talked about issues in sports today is the role of transgender athletes in athletics. The award-winning documentary Changing the Game takes a humane, honest look at the subject from the point of view of three transgender teen athletes fighting for their right to compete. The centerpiece is trans man Mack Beggs, who was given two options by his home state of Texas: wrestle as his assigned sex (female) or quit. He chose to wrestle. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

The Biggest Little Farm (2018)

For fans of: Cute animals, feeling hopeful for once, saving the world

The Biggest Little Farm
The Biggest Little FarmHulu/screengrab

Director: John Chester
Stars: John Chester, Matthew Pilachowski, Molly Chester
Genre: Documentary
Rating: Not Rated
Metacritic score: 73

The thought of watching a white couple from Los Angeles give up city life to start an organic farm sounds like a hard pass. But in the documentary The Biggest Little Farm, self-righteousness and hipster woke culture isn’t the star; nature, in all her splendid beauty, is. This stunning documentary manages to capture the power of life with incredible footage of flora and fauna. It also captures the positive impact that humans can have, for a change, as the director, John Chester, and his wife, Molly, transform neglected acreage into a thriving ecosystem where literally every animal big and small plays an important part. Even though there are some basic facts of life on full display here — animals will die — it’s a great watch for the whole family. This is one of those rare films you’ll leave feeling that you can make a difference. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Parasite (2019)

For fans of: Class conflict, conning the rich

Choi Woo-shik, Park So-dam, Song Kang-ho, and Jang Hye-jin, Parasite
Choi Woo-shik, Park So-dam, Song Kang-ho, and Jang Hye-jin, ParasiteNeon

Director: Bong Joon-ho
Stars: Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-shik, Park So-dam, Lee Jung-eun, Jang Hye-jin
Genre: Drama, Thriller, Comedy
Rating: Not Rated
Metacritic score: 96

Parasite, the 2020 winner for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, is on Hulu, so you are really running out of excuses if you haven’t seen it. Though technically not at all about any parasites, it’s the parasitic metaphor that really strikes hard as a low-income family slowly infiltrates a wealthy family, living off them like ticks on a dog. But both sides have deep, dark secrets that come to light by the movie’s totally bonkers ending. The movie’s message isn’t the only thing to watch for; Bong’s immaculate direction and cinematography are bolstered by a truly incredible performance by its ensemble cast. Don’t be that person who hasn’t seen Parasite. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn (2021)

For fans of: Startups shutting down, cults, bad business

Adam Neumann, WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn
Adam Neumann, WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion UnicornHulu

Director: Jed Rothstein
Stars: Adam Neumann
Genre: Documentary
Rating: Not Rated
Metacritic score: 61

This Hulu original documentary is best watched by knowing as little as possible about WeWork, the real estate company that provided work stations for startups and became a Wall Street juggernaut before its founder, Adam Neumann, essentially drove the company off a cliff. That’s because it probably won’t tell you anything you don’t already know, if you’ve followed the story, but even with that, it’s still astonishing to see how events unfolded as Neumann essentially built a cult and had a desire to change the world with some pretty far-out ideas, like WeGrow, a private communal school built on the same foundations of WeWork. This is a dangerous lesson in capitalism. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Minding the Gap (2018)

For fans of: Skateboarding, the bittersweet passage of time

Minding the Gap
Minding the GapHulu

Director: Bing Liu
Stars: Kiere Johnson, Zack Mulligan
Genre: Documentary
Rating: Not Rated
Metacritic score: 90

If you like your documentaries with a side of a punch in the gut, Minding the Gap will suffice! The Oscar-nominated film, from first-time director Bing Liu, follows Liu as he reconnects with two of his old skateboarding buddies while the twentysomething young men all deal with the struggles of growing up after childhoods of abuse and neglect. Archival footage is both exuberant and emotional as the trio escapes troubles through skateboarding and details the problems at home, while new footage shows how their lives have changed (or not changed) through unplanned fatherhood, new family issues, and more all-too-common obstacles. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)

For fans of: French affairs, the way Saoirse Ronan says “Women” in Little Women

Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Portrait of a Lady on FireNEON

Director: Céline Sciamma
Stars: Noémie Merlant, Adèle Haenel
Genre: Drama, History, Romance
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 95

The most romantic movie of 2019, Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a simmering love story designed to devastate and delight. Céline Sciamma directs the film, which is set in 18th century France and revolves around the affair that develops between an artist and her subject, a young aristocratic woman who is about to be married off. The chemistry between the leads, Noémie Merlant and Adèle Haenel, is a pleasure to watch in action, made all the more upsetting because of the pervasive knowledge that there’s a hard expiration date on their relationship. –Allison Picurro [Trailer]

Booksmart (2019)

For fans of: The last day of school, unrealistically cool teen parties

Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein, Booksmart
Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein, BooksmartAnnapurna/screengrab

Director: Olivia Wilde
Stars: Kaitlyn Dever, Beanie Feldstein, Billie Lourd, Skyler Gisondo, Mason Gooding, Jason Sudeikis, Lisa Kudrow, Jessica Williams
Genre: Comedy
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 84

Olivia Wilde‘s directorial debut is a good one, one of those comedies that comes out of nowhere to approach cult status and a future spot on cable TV’s weekend movie rotation. The teen comedy follows two seniors and best friends who are regarded by classmates as downers but are determined to cram four years of fun into the night before graduation so they don’t head off to college unfulfilled. It’s an R-rated teen comedy — the best kind — with the type of bawdy language that teens actually use, cameos from Jason Sudeikis, Will Forte, and Lisa Kudrow, and two fantastic performances from its leads, Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Palm Springs (2020)

For fans of: Groundhog Day, wedding shenanigans

Cristin Milioti and Andy Samberg, Palm Springs
Cristin Milioti and Andy Samberg, Palm SpringsHulu

Director: Max Barbakow
Stars: Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti, J.K. Simmons, Camila Mendes, June Squibb, Peter Gallagher, Tyler Hoechlin
Genre: Mystery, Fantasy, Comedy, Romance
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 83

The less you know about Palm Springs going into it, the better, but it’s probably no secret at this point that this delightful comedy features Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti as a pair of wedding goers who find themselves trapped in a time loop. Their performances are at once goofy and grounded, and there are plenty of surprises packed into every precious minute of this wild, incredibly fun rom-com with touches of sci-fi. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar (2021)

For fans of: Suburban Middle America accents, extreme silliness

Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumalo, Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar
Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, Barb and Star Go to Vista Del MarLionsgate

Director: Josh Greenbaum
Stars: Kristen Wiig, Annie Mumolo, Jamie Dornan
Genre: Comedy
Rating: PG-13
Metacritic score: 64

Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo play two best friends from Nebraska who go to Florida for vacation where they are over the moon about pretty much everything. It’s unabashedly silly, featuring a villain’s plot involving mosquitoes, marathon sex sessions between middle-aged people, and some incredibly coiffed hair. The excellent cast also includes Jamie Dornan, Damon Wayans Jr., and Wendi McLendon-Covey. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Nomadland (2020)

For fans of: Camper vans, using a bucket as a bathroom

Frances McDormand, Nomadland
Frances McDormand, Nomadland

Director: Chloé Zhao
Stars: Frances McDormand, David Strathairn
Genre: Drama
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 93

You have Hulu, so you may as well watch the 2021 Oscar winner for Best Picture. Frances McDormand stars in this adaptation of the 2017 book about a nomad who works odd jobs and lives out of a van as part of a lifestyle choice, bringing light to an expanding community of people breaking the mold of how we’re supposed to live. Many of those people are in the film as major characters, adding an immersive sense of authenticity. Part of that authenticity? The feeling you get wondering if you should ditch your house and hit the road to fully appreciate everything life and nature has to offer. Nomadland is a unique achievement that deserved every award it got. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Together Together (2021)

For fans of: Unlikely friendships, modern parenthood

Patti Harrison and Ed Helms, Together Together
Patti Harrison and Ed Helms, Together TogetherBleecker Street/screengrab

Director: Nikole Beckwith
Stars: Patti Harrison, Ed Helms
Genre: Comedy
Rating: Not Rated
Metacritic score: 70

I keep telling people to seek out this sweet indie, which had a theatrical release before movie theaters really opened up, and now everyone can watch it for free*! (*Well, with a Hulu subscription.) Ed Helms stars as a man who wants a baby, and Patti “I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson” Harrison plays the woman he’s chosen to be his surrogate, and it’s one of those movies where nothing really happens, but also everything happens. Helms and Harrison are great as two people who don’t really know what to do with or how to relate to each other, but who have been thrown together for the better part of a year due to their circumstances. It made me laugh, it made me cry, and I hope it does the same for you. –Allison Picurro [Trailer]

Another Round (2020)

For fans of: Mads Mikkelsen, Danish drinking culture

Mads Mikkelsen, Another Round
Mads Mikkelsen, Another RoundZentropa/screengrab

Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Stars: Mads Mikkelsen, Cassius Aasav Browning, Helene Reingaard Neumann, Lars Ranthe
Genre: Drama
Rating: Not Rated
Metacritic score: 79

Directed by Thomas VinterbergAnother Round follows four high school teachers all in the throes of mid-life crises who, desperate to find a reason to keep going on, decide to test out a psychiatrist’s theory that maintaining a certain blood alcohol content each day makes humans more content. It’s a darkly funny and deeply sad film about aging and friendship and the struggle to find fulfillment in life. The 2021 Oscar winner for Best International Film is best known for its luminous final scene, which features its star, Mads Mikkelsen, performing an exuberant dance number to a thumping Euro pop track. –Allison Picurro [Trailer]

Supernova (2020)

For fans of: Tragic love stories, Colin Firth, Stanley Tucci

Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci, Supernova
Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci, SupernovaBleecker Street/screengrab

Director: Harry Macqueen
Stars: Colin Firth, Stanley Tucci
Genre: Drama, Romance
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 73

This isn’t one of those totally sad movies or one of those totally happy movies, even though it will make you both extremely happy and sad. It’s one of those ‘tweeners about the beauty of love and life in the face of tragedy, and I’m already crying. The bittersweet story about a couple (Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci) spending some of their last days together as one of them is afflicted with early-onset dementia is a weeper, but carrying you through it will be Firth and Tucci’s excellent performances. [Trailer]

Three Identical Strangers (2018)

For fans of: Family secrets, getting your damn mind blown

Three Identical Strangers
Three Identical StrangersNEON

Director: Tim Wardle
Stars: Adrian Lichter, Andrew Lovesey, David Kellman
Genre: Documentary
Rating: PG-13
Metacritic score: 81

Every documentary that has used some variation of the selling point “a story so crazy it has to be true” needs to step aside. The truth in Three Identical Strangers is so bizarre and goes in so many directions you’d never expect that you’ll want to put a pillow on the floor for your jaw. The film follows the story of identical triplets — three gregarious New York boys — separated at birth who meet in their teenage years and become media sensations, but gets really insane when it dives into the circumstances of why they were separated. If I told you any more, I’d ruin it for you. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Possessor (2020)

For fans of: Mind trips, like seriously

Possessor
PossessorScreengrab

Director: Brandon Cronenberg
Stars: Andrea Riseborough, Sean Bean, Christopher Abbott, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Daniel Park
Genre: Sci-Fi, Thriller, Horror
Rating: Not Rated
Metacritic score: 72

I tend to stay away from movies with trailers that proclaim “from the visionary mind of [insert writer/director here],” because it’s like, get over yourself, dude, but Brandon “son of David” Cronenberg’s latest film is a doozy. The sci-fi film follows an assassin (Andrea Riseborough) who executes hits by taking control of other people’s bodies using implanted chip tech. Seems easy, right? It is, until she has trouble with her latest target (the always dying in a movie or show Sean Bean) when the body (Christopher Abbott) she takes over decides he’s not ready to give up total control. Like his dad, Brandon isn’t afraid to go cuckoo bananers with practical effects and hallucinatory montages. This is an art house freak-out film that deserves cult status. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

The Mole Agent (2020)

For fans of: Elderly spies, pure emotion

The Mole Agent
The Mole AgentCourtesy of Gravitas Ventures

Director: Maite Alberdi
Genre: Documentary
Rating: Not Rated
Metacritic score: 69

The charming Chilean documentary The Mole Agent was nominated for an Oscar in 2020, and it’s easy to see why. When a man in his 80s answers an ad from a family who believes their matriarch is being mistreated in a nursing home, he goes in undercover to report what he sees. But what he finds is a unique connection to its residents. Grab a hanky, this one will make your heart explode. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

The 30 Best Movies on HBO Max to Watch Right Now (May 2022)

We’ve gone ahead and added Judd Apatow and Michael Bonfiglio’s very well-reviewed documentary, George Carlin’s American Dream, to our recommendations of the best movies to watch on HBO Max right now. It joins a pretty eclectic list that also includes other recent additions like M. Night Shyamalan’s Old, Matt Reeves’ The Batman, and the entire Matrix film series.

A note about how this list was made: In the interest of keeping it relevant, we’re emphasizing movies recently added to HBO/HBO Max and new releases, but we’ve also made sure to add other movies we think you’ll want to know about. We’ll be updating it regularly.

Last updated May 27; newer additions are at the top

George Carlin’s American Dream

For fans of: Beloved comedians, looking at old comedy bits through a modern lens

George Carlin, George Carlin's American Dream
George Carlin, George Carlin’s American DreamGeorge Carlin’s Estate/HBO

Year: 2022
Director: Judd Apatow and Michael Bonfiglio
Stars: George Carlin, Jerry Seinfeld, Jon Stewart, Chris Rock, Patton Oswalt, Stephen Colbert, Bill Burr
Genre: Documentary
Rating: NR
Metacritic score: 86

This documentary is kind of like a long version of one of those “George Carlin predicted this!” Facebook posts your uncle is always circulating, but in a good, well-crafted way. Judd Apatow and Michael Bonfiglio‘s film looks at the life of one of the most influential comedians of all time with the goal of re-examining his jokes for our current era. It’s filled with famous talking heads from the world of comedy (Jerry SeinfeldChris RockStephen Colbert, and more) who discuss their hero at length, and uses other funny people like Gillian Jacobs and Megan Stalter to read fan letters and diary entries. Both parts clock in at an intimidating four hours, but it’s an interesting spin on the traditional famous person documentary format. [Trailer

Old

For fans of: M. Night Shyamalan, old-age makeup, bad vacations

Gael García Bernal and Vicky Krieps, Old
Gael García Bernal and Vicky Krieps, OldUniversal Pictures

Year: 2021
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Stars: Gael García Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Alex Wolff, Rufus Sewell, Eliza Scanlen, Thomasin McKenzie
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Rating: PG-13
Metacritic score: 55

You can say many things about M. Night Shyamalan, but no one could ever make the claim that he doesn’t fully commit to his ideas. Shyamalan’s latest is Old, a horror-adjacent thriller about a vacationing family who discover that the mysteriously secluded beach they’re visiting is somehow causing them to age rapidly. With no way off the beach, everyone is powerless to it: The parents, played by Gael García Bernal and Vicky Krieps, are suddenly elderly; the kids (Alex Wolff and Thomasin McKenzie) become teenagers become adults, and I won’t spoil too much, but let’s just say there’s an evil corporation involved. There’s also a supporting character named Mid-Sized Sedan. Old is the kind of gonzo, balls-to-the-wall movie we rarely get anymore, with every new occurrence more confoundingly entertaining than the last. I genuinely wish I could see Old for the first time again, and if you can suspend your disbelief a bit, you’ll have as great of a time watching it as I did. [Trailer

The Matrix film series

For fans of: Questioning reality, incredible/hilarious action set pieces, learning about the origins of redpilling

Carrie-Ann Moss and Keanu Reeves, The Matrix Resurrections
Carrie-Ann Moss and Keanu Reeves, The Matrix ResurrectionsMurray Close

Year: 1999, 2003, 2004, 2021
Director: Lana Wachowski and Lilly Wachowski
Stars: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Ann Moss, Laurence Fishburne
Genre: Sci-Fi
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 73624763

Ever heard of it? All the way back in 1999, the Wachowskis gave us The Matrix, a movie about reality being different than the reality we all think we’re living in, and now all these years later, Reddit users have turned “redpilling” into a whole men’s rights activism thing. How the world has changed! Despite all that, these movies still rule (even an OK Matrix movie is still a ton of fun to watch), with excellently choreographed fight scenes, and all of them are devoid of all the annoying quippy humor every action movie made today has. The polarizing fourth film, The Matrix Resurrections, is very, very different from the first three, but its strangeness and the fact that it exists at all make it a must-watch. [Trailer

The Batman

For fans of: Bad detective work, riddles, Nirvana

Zoë Kravitz and Robert Pattinson, The Batman
Zoë Kravitz and Robert Pattinson, The BatmanJonathan Olley/DC Comics

Year: 2022
Director: Matt Reeves
Stars: Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, Colin Farrell, John Turturro, Andy Serkis
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Drama, Mystery, Crime
Rating: PG-13
Metacritic score: 72

There seem to be two general reactions to The Batman: Either you think it’s the greatest Batman movie of all time, or you’re totally ambivalent about it. But you’ll never know until you watch it! Here, Robert Pattinson dons the big black cape and a whole Hot Topic’s worth of black eye makeup to play Bruce Wayne’s alter ego. The film follows Batman’s hunt for a killer with the peculiar quirk of leaving a trail of cryptic riddles in his wake, uncovering dark secrets about Gotham’s history of corruption along the way. Doing an incredible approximation of a New Yawk accent and wearing about 200 layers of prosthetics that rendered him wholly unrecognizable, Colin Farrell steals this movie with his performance as The Penguin, and we’ll soon get to see how he holds his own now that HBO Max went ahead and gave him his own spin-off series[Trailer]

Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off

For fans of: Tony Hawk’s Twitter account, skateboarding

Tony Hawk and Sam Jones, Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off
Tony Hawk and Sam Jones, Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall OffHBO

Year: 2022
Director: Sam Jones
Stars: Tony Hawk
Genre: Biography, Sport, Documentary
Rating: NR
Metacritic score: 74

Tony Hawk, the godfather of skateboarding and getting misrecognized in public, gets a documentary detailing the ups, downs, frontside grinds, and McTwists of his life. The film is at its best when it’s examining Hawk’s irrepressible drive to figure out a trick — his attempts at landing a 900 give Until the Wheels Fall Off its meaning and heart — and the cost of that drive in his personal life, but the basic recounts of his achievements as a young pro, which take up a good chunk of the first half, are mostly filler. The more interesting stuff happens when friends, family, and former enemies all explain why Tony is a skategod. -Tim Surette [Trailer]

Moonshot

For fans of: Perfectly entertaining rom-coms, supporting Lana Condor

Lana Condor and Cole Sprouse, Moonshot
Lana Condor and Cole Sprouse, MoonshotBob Mahoney

Year: 2022
Director: Christopher Winterbauer
Stars: Lana Condor, Cole Sprouse, Zach Braff, Michelle Buteau
Genre: Sci-Fi, Comedy, Romance
Rating: PG-13
Metacritic score: 60

Lana Condor helped reignite the romantic comedy when she starred in 2018’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before(plus its two sequels), and while Moonshot will never achieve instant classic status like TATB, it’s still worth your time. Set in a future world where Mars has been colonized by humans (stay with me), Condor and Cole Sprouse play college students who sneak aboard a rocket headed for Mars to be united with their significant others. It has a kooky premise that involves Condor and Sprouse’s characters pretending to date until they, of course, actually begin to fall for each other, and is overall just a good, fun time. Plus, it’s set in space! [Trailer Review]     

Death on the Nile

For fans of: Big boats, old-fashioned mystery and adventure, all-star casts, having enough champagne to fill the Nile

Gal Gadot, Death on the Nile
Gal Gadot, Death on the NileHBO Max

Year: 2022
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Stars: Kenneth Branagh, Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Annette Bening, Jennifer Saunders, Rose Leslie
Genre: Mystery, Adventure
Rating: PG-13
Metacritic score: 52

Cruises aren’t a good idea right now, but you can still get the feelings of big-boat adventures — large terraces overlooking the water, grand ballrooms, floating reverie, MURDER — with Death on the Nile, Kenneth Branaugh’s adaptation of Agatha Christie’s famous 1937 novel. The mystery film is a whodunnit with a who’s who cast, which includes Gal Gadot, Annette Bening, Armie Hammer, and Branaugh (who does double duty as director). It’s an imperfect film, no doubt, but it has an old-fashioned sensibility to it that makes it a great escape from life’s doldrums. –Tim Surette [Trailer]     

King Richard

For fans of: Triumphant sports stories, Venus and Serena

King Richard
King RichardWarner Bros.

Year: 2021
Director: Reinaldo Marcus Green
Stars: Will Smith, Aunjanue Ellis, Saniyya Sidney, Demi Singleton, Jon Bernthal, Tony Goldwyn
Genre: Biography, Drama, Sport
Rating: PG-13
Metacritic score: 76

Will Smith won a Best Actor Oscar in this biopic of Richard Williams, father of tennis icons Venus and Serena Williams. He portrays Richard with careful intensity in his dedication to shaping his young daughters’ commitment to the sport, doing everything in his power and going to audacious lengths to help push them forward. King Richard goes beyond the confines of a typical movie like this with its dedication to crafting some spectacular tennis scenes, as well as scene-stealing supporting performances from Saniyya Sidney as Venus; Aunjanue Ellis as the sisters’ mother, Brandy Price; and Jon Bernthal as Venus’ coach. Plus, Beyoncé wrote a power ballad for it. [Trailer]

Dune: Part One

For fans of: Sand, cinematography, remakes worth a darn

Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Javier Bardem, and Timothée Chalamet, Dune
Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Javier Bardem, and Timothée Chalamet, DuneWarner Bros.

Year: 2021
Director: Denis Villenueve
Stars: Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac
Genre: Drama, Science-Fiction
Rating: PG-13
Metacritic score: 74

Denis Villenueve’s new take on Frank Herbert’s science-fiction novel (and David Lynch’s “classic” 1984 version) is a stunning film, despite all the browns. The hard sci-fi story follows Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), a young royal, as his family is thrust into battle for a planet that is the only source for the most valuable substance in the universe, spice. But you are just watching for the giants worms, right? Dune is back on HBO Max for good after a simultaneous release in theaters and on HBO Max and a 90-day break from HBO Max to boost those box office numbers. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Drive My Car

For fans of: Oscar films, tenderness, slow burns

Hidetoshi Nishijima and Toko Miura, Drive My Car
Hidetoshi Nishijima and Toko Miura, Drive My CarJanus Films

Year: 2021
Director: Ryûsuke Hamaguchi
Stars: Hidetoshi Nishijima, Toko Miura
Genre: Drama
Rating: NR
Metacritic score: 91

Adapted from a Haruki Murakami short story, Ryûsuke Hamaguchi‘s Oscar-nominated film follows an aging, widowed actor (Hidetoshi Nishijima) who takes a job directing a stage adaptation of Uncle Vanya. He strikes up a curious bond with the young woman (Toko Miura) tasked with chauffeuring him back and forth, and begins to process his grief for his wife through their conversations. Its runtime clocks in at three hours total, but every hauntingly beautiful minute is worth it. [Trailer]

West Side Story

For fans of: Classic musicals, remakes, Spielberg

Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler, West Side Story
Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler, West Side StoryAmblin Entertainment

Year: 2021
Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Rachel Zegler, Ansel Elgort, Ariana DeBose, Rita Moreno, Mike Faist, David Alvarez
Genre: Drama, Musical
Rating: PG-13
Metacritic score: 85

Steven Spielberg‘s West Side Story is the kind of movie that makes the case that some remakes are good, actually. If you’re familiar with the Broadway musical, the 1961 film, or even just Romeo and Juliet, you already get the general idea: In 1957 New York, a young couple fall in deep, sweeping love at first sight, but their burgeoning romance fuels an all-out war between two rival gangs. Yes, Spielberg’s film has “I Feel Pretty,” “America,” and all the iconic Sondheim-Bernstein songs, but it also miraculously breathes new life into a familiar story with poignant updates (it’s kind of about gentrification now! The Sharks actually speak to each other in Spanish!) and great performances from Ariana DeBoseMike Faist, and Rita Moreno, who starred in the original movie and plays a whole new character here. It’s a true old school movie musical, the kind of big, exuberant thing that’ll make you lean back in your chair and say, “Ah, cinema.” [Trailer]

The French Dispatch

For fans of: Being twee as F, Hollywood’s coolest actors

The French Dispatch
The French Dispatch

Year: 2021
Director: Wes Anderson
Stars: Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Benicio Del Toro, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Timothée Chalamet
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 74

It’s not his best work, but Wes Anderson‘s die-hard fans won’t care. The visual director’s 2021 film follows the editor (Anderson staple Bill Murray) of an American newspaper in mid-20th century France and is divided into five vignettes in the form of stories written by his reporters. Each offers different looks and themes, and most importantly, a cast of major Hollywood talent. Owen WilsonBenicio del ToroFrances McDormandJeffrey WrightTilda SwintonTimothée Chalamet, and more were probably knocking down Anderson’s door to find out which sweaters they would be wearing in the film. -Tim Surette [Trailer]

Kimi

For fans of: Hitchcock for today’s age, staying inside, pandemic paranoia

Zoë Kravitz, KIMI
Zoë Kravitz, KIMIHBO Max

Year: 2021
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: Zoë Kravitz
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Rating: NR
Metacritic score: 78

Zoë Kravitz plays an agoraphobe who works for a tech company with its own digital personal assistant. Her job is to listen to users’ failed requests and improve the gadget’s artificial intelligence, but when she thinks she hears a murder in one of the recordings, she inadvertently gets involved in the crime. It’s a thriller in the vein of Rear Window, but better than it should be thanks to Kravitz and the eye of director Steven Soderbergh. -Tim Surette [Trailer]

Free Guy

For fans of: Video games, Ryan Reynolds

Jodie Comer and Ryan Reynolds, Free Guy
Jodie Comer and Ryan Reynolds, Free GuyAlan Markfield/20th Century Studios

Year: 2021
Director: Shawn Levy
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Taika Waititi
Genre: Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi
Rating: PG-13
Metacritic score: 62

This special effects-travaganza was one of the biggest box office hits of 2021 — a very weird year at the movies — and got unexpectedly positive reviews from critics who couldn’t help but be charmed by Ryan Reynolds, one of Hollywood’s most likable personas. Reynolds plays Guy, a non-player character in a video game who one day decides to take charge of his destiny and start doing what he feels like. This leads to him helping a gamer/computer programmer named Millie (Jodie Comer) try to take down an evil game company CEO (Taika Waititi) who stole code from her. It’s a pleasant, undemanding watch that seems more like a straight-to-streaming movie than a theatrical blockbuster. -Liam Mathews [Trailer]

The King’s Man

For fans of: Spy jinx, movies that don’t require brain activity

Ralph Fiennes, The King's Man
Ralph Fiennes, The King’s ManHulu

Year: 2021
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Matthew Goode, Djimon Hounsou
Genre: Action, Adventure
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 44

After a promising start, The Kingsman films have gotten worse and worse, meaning that The King’s Man, the third and most recent film in the franchise, is the worst. Yet audiences still gobble them up because the movies are only here to keep you occupied for a couple hours, and absolutely nothing more. This prequel gussies up the franchise by setting it around WWI as the Kingsman organization is formed after the death of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and it delivers a decent brain vacation of action and mediocre screenwriting. At the very least, watch to see Charles Dance in a comical mustache. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Nobody

For fans of: Bob Odenkirk, regular guys as badass guys

Bob Odenkirk, Nobody
Bob Odenkirk, Nobody

Year: 2021
Director: Ilya Naishuller
Stars: Bob Odenkirk, Connie Nielsen, Christopher Lloyd
Genre: Action, Thriller
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 64

You know Bob Odenkirk from his role as the sniveling, conniving criminal lawyer Saul Goodman from Breaking Bad or Better Call Saul, so one thing you’d never expect him to be is an action hero. But in the John Wick-esque thriller Nobody, Odenkirk gets serious, going from mild-mannered family man to ass-kicking machine when his house is robbed. It’s a fun movie loaded with violence that proves Odenkirk is a bonafide star who can do more than grovel or con his way out of a situation. -Tim Surette [Trailer]

Nightmare Alley

For fans of: The circus, sideshow freaks and cons, an A-list cast and A-list sets

Bradley Cooper, Nightmare Alley
Bradley Cooper, Nightmare AlleyHulu

Year: 2021
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Stars: Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe
Genre: Drama
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 70

Someone somewhere is still eating popcorn they bought while watching Nightmare Alley in the theaters on its mid-December premiere night and yet the movie is already on Hulu. That’s not a knock on the quality of Nightmare Alley, the traveling circus film noir from Guillermo del Toro, it’s more an indication of the speed of streaming. Bradley Cooper stars as a carnival worker in the 1930s and 1940s who learns to grift the rich and famous from other circus folk, and he’s joined by a stellar cast that includes Cate BlanchettRooney MaraToni ColletteWillem DafoeRichard JenkinsRon Perlman, and David Straitharn. Under del Toro’s eye, Nightmare Alley is a sight to behold, a time warp to the shady traveling sideshows and elegant art deco ballrooms of the era when everyone was working some sort of scheme. -Tim Surette [Trailer]

The Fallout

For fans of: High school, trauma bonding, indie film

Jenna Ortega and Maddie Ziegler, The Fallout
Jenna Ortega and Maddie Ziegler, The FalloutHBO Max

Year: 2021
Director: Megan Park
Stars: Jenna Ortega, Maddie Ziegler
Genre: Drama
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 84

This is one of those indies that people who are super into film festivals have been talking about for months, and now the rest of us finally get to see it. It’s about two high school girls — played by Jenna Ortega and Maddie Ziegler — who strike up a bond after surviving a school shooting. The movie is more of an empathetic look at their responses to it than it is about the actual tragedy, which is a refreshing change of pace from movies like this, which typically try to turn their characters into inspiring symbols of resilience. The Fallout is more interested in exploring how these kids get through the day after witnessing something unthinkable. Shailene Woodley and Julie Bowen co-star. [Trailer]

The Last Duel

For fans of: Matt ‘n Ben, medieval times, seeing the same story told several different times

Matt Damon and Adam Driver, The Last Duel
Matt Damon and Adam Driver, The Last Duel20th Century Studios

Year: 2021
Director: Ridley Scott
Stars: Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Jodie Comer, Ben Affleck
Genre: Drama, Action
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 67

You might’ve missed The Last Duel when it was released in theaters, but it’s actually the better — and much more subtle — of Ridley Scott’s two 2021 films (apologies to House of Gucci). Set in medieval France, it’s based on the true story of the last trial by combat, which takes place when a knight, Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon), challenges a squire, Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver), to a duel after Jean’s wife (Jodie Comer) accuses Jacques of raping her. The movie is divided into three parts, showing how each character interprets the events of the film differently. Damon and Ben Affleck co-wrote the film with Nicole Holofcener, and Affleck totally steals the movie in a supporting role as the flamboyant Count Pierre d’Alençon. [Trailer]

The Eyes of Tammy Faye

For fans of: Uncanny prosthetics, biopics, Jesus

Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye
Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy FayeSearchlight Pictures

Year: 2021
Director: Michael Showalter
Stars: Jessica Chastain, Andrew Garfield, Cherry Jones, Vincent D’Onofrio
Genre: Drama, Biopic
Rating: PG-13
Metacritic score: 55

Jessica Chastain lights up what could’ve otherwise been a by-the-books biopic of one of the most famous televangelists of all time, Tammy Faye Bakker. It follows the rise and fall of Tammy Faye and her husband, Jim (Andrew Garfield), through the ’70s as they created an enormously popular religious broadcast network that was eventually destroyed by a host of scandals. As Bakker, Chastain wears some crazy prosthetics and some even crazier makeup, but she also finds the human being in there that made Bakker such a fascinating cultural figure. [Trailer

Listening to Kenny G

For fans of: Saxophone music, seeing divisive icons in a new light

Kenny G, Listening to Kenny G
Kenny G, Listening to Kenny GHBO

Year: 2021
Director: Penny Lane
Stars: Kenny G
Genre: Documentary
Rating: NR
Metacritic score: 81

Maybe the words “Kenny” and “G” send chills down your spine, unearthing deep-seated trauma from that time you got stuck in an elevator. That notion isn’t ignored in this fun documentary about the curly-locked saxophonist, which not only looks at the legend himself, but also his polarizing position among musicians and normal folk alike. Director Penny Lane uses Kenny G as a jumping-off point for questions about taste, making this more than just a typical music documentary. –Tim Surette [Trailer

DMX: Don’t Try to Understand

For fans of: Intimate looks at the inner lives of celebrities

DMX: Don't Try to Understand
DMX: Don’t Try to UnderstandHBO

Year: 2021
Director: Christopher Frierson
Stars: DMX
Genre: Documentary
Rating: NR
Metacritic score: 91

It’s easy to be skeptical of documentaries about deceased celebrities, especially ones who were as beloved and influential as Earl “DMX” Simmons, but this one stands apart for the fact that the late rapper was actually involved. It follows a year in DMX’s life, beginning in early 2019 as he rebuilds his life and career after serving a 12-month sentence in prison. The film contains interviews with DMX and gives a look into his private life, all while examining the impact he had on culture. There’s no way to watch a film like this without mourning the artist at its center who died too soon, but it’s a must-watch for anyone who wants to learn more about the person DMX was behind the music. [Trailer

The Suicide Squad

For fans of: Re-do movies, blood, antiheroes

The Suicide Squad
The Suicide SquadWarner Bros.

Year: 2021
Director: James Gunn
Stars: Idris Elba, John Cena, Margot Robbie, Viola Davis, Joel Kinnaman
Genre: Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 72

Not to be confused with 2016’s Suicide Squad (there’s no “the” in that one, get it?), James Gunn directs

Spirited Away

For fans of: Gorgeous animation, enchanting stories

191016-spirited-away.jpg
Spirited AwayStudio Ghibli

Year: 2002
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Stars: Hidetoshi Nishijima, Toko Miura
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Animation
Rating: PG
Metacritic score: 96

One of the coolest things about HBO Max is that it’s home to the Studio Ghibli collection, putting Hayao Miyazaki’s greatest films in one place. Spirited Away is probably his most famous one, having won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. It came out in 2001, and all these years later, it remains a stunningly animated, wholly moving film, following a little girl named Chihiro whose parents are turned into pigs by a witch, forcing her to enter the witch’s treacherous, mysterious world as she tries to find a way to free her parents. It’s an absolutely magical experience, and the perfect gateway to Miyazaki’s work. [Trailer

For fans of: Insane people, Italians

Cher and Nicolas Cage, Moonstruck
Cher and Nicolas Cage, MoonstruckSunset Boulevard, Corbis via Getty Images

Year: 1987
Director: Norman Jewison
Stars: Cher, Nicolas Cage, Danny Aiello
Genre: Drama, Comedy, Romance
Rating: PG
Metacritic score: 83

HBO Max has a great Turner Classic Movies catalog, and Moonstruck is just one of many selections to choose from — but personally, I’d say it’s one of the best. The 1987 rom-com stars Cher as Loretta Castorini, a disillusioned widow who falls in love with her new fiancé’s estranged and erratic brother, Ronnie (Nicolas Cage). Not a single character in this movie acts like a person you’d ever run into in real life, but they’re all operating on the same level of craziness, which is what makes it all work so well. It’s funny and shamelessly goofy, completed by Cher and Cage’s crackling chemistry. [Trailer

Zack Snyder’s Justice League

For fans of: Acts of fan service, superhero team-ups, long movies made longer

Henry Cavill, Jason Mamoa, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Ben Affleck, and Ray Fisher, Zack Snyder's Justice League
Henry Cavill, Jason Mamoa, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Ben Affleck, and Ray Fisher, Zack Snyder’s Justice LeagueHBO Max

Year: 2021
Director: Zack Snyder
Stars: Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Jared Leto, Jason Momoa
Genre: Drama, Action
Rating: NR
Metacritic score: 54

What else is there to say about Zack Snyder’s Justice League? Much like the original 2017 non-Snyder cut, this Justice League follows a team of superheroes, comprised of Batman (Ben Affleck), Superman (Henry Cavill), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), The Flash (Ezra Miller), and Cyborg (Ray Fisher), as they attempt to save the world from a powerful supervillain, but this version has new scenes and world-building elements that Joss Whedon’s version did not. It’s also much longer, clocking in at just over four hours.

Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street

For fans of: The wholesome art of kids’ TV, Elmo and friends

Jim Henson, Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street
Jim Henson, Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame StreetSesame Workshop/HBO

Year: 2021
Director: Marilyn Agrelo
Genre: Documentary
Rating: PG
Metacritic score: 82

I can’t think of a more wholesome time than watching a documentary about how Sesame Street came to be. Back in the ’60s, a group of geniuses had the radical idea to make kids’ programming educational, which of course ended up becoming one of the most successful and influential TV series of all time. It’s fun to see people like Jim Henson and Frank Oz when they were young and totally uncertain about the gamble they were making on this show about friendly puppets. [Trailer

The Lord of the Rings trilogy

For fans of: Epic fantasies, friendship, dangerous jewelry

Viggo Mortensen, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Viggo Mortensen, Lord of the Rings: The Two TowersWarner Bros.

Year: 2001, 2002, 2003
Director: Peter Jackson
Stars: Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Viggo Mortensen, Andy Serkis, Liv Tyler
Genre: Drama, Fantasy
Rating: PG-13
Metacritic score: 928794

If HBO Max only had the extended editions of the Lord of the Rings trilogy I would still confidently call it the best streaming service out there. Luckily, it has a lot more stuff than that (clearly), but that doesn’t make it any less exciting that we LOTR fans can watch the full versions of Peter Jackson’s sprawling, visually stunning adventure series whenever we want. Even if you haven’t seen them, you’re probably familiar with the general plot: Frodo (Elijah Wood), a hobbit, goes on a quest to destroy the extraordinarily powerful One Ring and the dark lord who made it. Each extended installment clocks in at well over three hours, but HBO Max also has the regular theatrical cuts (which, admittedly, are all about three hours) if you’re more of a casual fan. There’s no wrong way to watch LOTR[Trailer
Malignant

For fans of: Movies that feel like fever dreams

Annabelle Wallis, Malignant
Annabelle Wallis, MalignantWarner Bros.

Year: 2021
Director: James Wan
Stars: Annabelle Wallis, Maddie Hasson, George Young
Genre: Horror
Rating: R
Metacritic score: 51

HBO Max has a big selection of horror movies that includes things like The Shining and the Conjuring series, but I’m choosing to highlight James Wan’s frankly batty Malignant to represent them all. It’s an audacious, wholly original thrill ride about a woman (Annabelle Wallis) who keeps having visions of people being killed, only to realize the murders are actually happening in real life. I won’t spoil anything, but when she eventually learns who the murderer is, it results in one of the wildest horror-action showcases you’ll likely ever see. Malignant is a cult classic in the making, and it deserves our respect.

Pride & Prejudice

For fans of: Tom Wambsgans, English countrysides, repressed people

Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen, Pride & Prejudice
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen, Pride & PrejudiceFocus Features

Year: 2005
Director: Joe Wright
Stars: Kiera Knightley, Matthew Macfadyen
Genre: Drama, Romance
Rating: PG
Metacritic score: 82

Before he was TV’s saddest manMatthew Macfadyen starred in the best Jane Austen film adaptation of all time. (Yeah, I said it! I’m not afraid!) Joe Wright directs this version of the classic story, where the headstrong Elizabeth Bennett (Keira Knightley) meets Mr. Darcy (Macfadyen), whose deep-set emotional repression complicates their fledgling connection. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen Tom Wambsgans flex his hand. Is Pride & Prejudice mostly a story about a bunch of people going to each other’s houses? Absolutely. Is that part of what makes it so good? Duh. [Trailer

There’s Stranger Things 4, and then theres’s everything else

Stranger Things is finally back for Season 4! There’s not really anything else to watch on Netflix right now, you know? It’s Netflix’s biggest show of the year, and one of the biggest TV releases of 2022 overall. The only things that could touch it are House of the Dragon and Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings. Binge the first seven episodes this week. If you’re one of the two dozen people in America not into Stranger Things, you could check out some of the other recent additions to the list, like slick legal drama The Lincoln Lawyer or moving docuseries Love on the Spectrum U.S.

A note about how this list was made: In the interest of keeping it relevant, we’re emphasizing new releases, shows recently added to Netflix, and Netflix originals, but we’ve also made sure to add the shows we personally can’t stop recommending to our friends. We’ll be updating it regularly.

Last updated May 27; newer additions are at the top

Stranger Things

For fans of: The ’80s, shows that make you believe in the power of TV as a medium
Number of seasons: 4

Priah Ferguson, Gaten Matarazzo, and Caleb McLaughlin, Stranger Things
Priah Ferguson, Gaten Matarazzo, and Caleb McLaughlin, Stranger ThingsNetflix

Stranger Things, definitely Netflix’s most popular show and probably its best, is back for Season 4 after a three-year break. The first seven episodes of the season are on now, with the final two coming July 1. The episode lengths are  supersized, averaging around 75 minutes this season, which means there’s some bloat. This is the fourth-best season of Stranger Things so far. Still, less-good Stranger Things is still better than most things, so it’s a must-watch. -Liam Mathews [Review | Trailer]

Love on the Spectrum U.S.

For fans of: Love, tender documentaries
Number of seasons: 1

Love on the Spectrum U.S.
Love on the Spectrum U.S.Netflix

An American edition of the Australian reality documentary series following the dating lives of people on the autism spectrum. Like the original, the U.S. version is empathetic and deeply moving as it follows these lovable young people on their journeys to find love. -Liam Mathews [Trailer]

The Lincoln Lawyer

For fans of: Legal dramas, David E. Kelley, dramas that aren’t too dramatic
Number of seasons: 1

Manuel Garcia-Rulfo and Jazz Raycole, The Lincoln Lawyer
Manuel Garcia-Rulfo and Jazz Raycole, The Lincoln LawyerLara Solanki/Netflix

Netflix doesn’t do a lot of network-style dramas (yet), so this legal drama from prolific writer-producer David E. Kelley stands out. Long before he became the Big Little Lies guy, Kelley dominated the lawyers-on-TV space with L.A. LawThe PracticeAlly McBeal, and Boston Legal, among others. This is his return to the genre. The Lincoln Lawyer is based on a bestselling novel series by Michael Connelly, who also created Det. Harry Bosch, and follows Mickey Haller (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), a Los Angeles defense attorney who doesn’t like defending people who are guilty but does like using his Lincoln Navigator as his office. He was previously played by Matthew McConaughey in the well-liked 2011 movie of the same name. -Liam Mathews [Trailer]

More recommendations:

Outlander

For fans of: Sex, time travel, history
Number of seasons: 5

Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan, Outlander
Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan, OutlanderStarz

Depending on who you ask, Outlander is either the sexiest show on TV, or it’s a historical drama with a touch of sci-fi. Or maybe it’s both! Based on the book series by Diana Gabaldon, Outlander revolves around Claire (Caitriona Balfe), a married World War II nurse who, during a trip with her husband (Tobias Menzies), mysteriously time travels back to 1743. Thrown into the past and desperate to get home, Claire finds herself embroiled in a Scottish uprising while slowly but surely falling in love with a young warrior named Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan). If you’re looking for something that will give you an occasionally accurate history lesson and get you invested in a sweeping romance that spans centuries, Outlander is the show for you. The show is currently between its sixth and seventh seasons on Starz, but Season 5 was only recently added to Netflix. [Trailer]

Clark

For fans of: The Skarsgårds, insanity, antiheroes
Number of seasons: 1

Bill Skarsgård, Clark
Bill Skarsgård, ClarkNikola Predovic / Netflix

This miniseries about the life of Swedish bank robber and folk hero Clark Olofsson is best described as pure, uncut, European insanity. It‘s Bill Skarsgård stars as the charming rascal who was supposedly so beloved that he was the origin of the term “Stockholm Syndrome” from hostages he took during heists, and the film takes stories — both real and tall tales — from Olofsson’s own biography to spin a tale of a dashing wild man you can’t help root for. Director Jonas Åkerlund gives Clark the appropriate unhinged energy it needs, with quick cuts, animated sequences, and diverse cinematographic techniques to match its star’s freneticism. Get ready for a wild ride. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Meltdown: Three Mile Island

For fans of: Classic sitcom feels, female friendships, odd couples
Number of seasons: 1

Meltdown: Three Mile Island
Meltdown: Three Mile IslandNetflix

Nothing is immune from becoming a Netflix true crime docuseries, including the worst nuclear accident in American history. Meltdown: Three Mile Island, which seems like Netflix’s attempt to get its own version of HBO’s Chernobyl (but without Jared Harris), goes behind the 1979 disaster at Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island, where a reactor went into partial meltdown. The four-part documentary features interviews with insiders like the chief engineer and whistleblower, Richard Parks, as well as people from the surrounding community, who dig into the controversies and ongoing impact of the disaster. –Kelly Connolly [Trailer]

Ozark

For fans of: Crime thrillers, saying “Oh s—!” at something shocking at least once an episode, the color blue
Number of seasons: 4

Jason Bateman, Ozark
Jason Bateman, OzarkNetflix

This is it. WIll Mardy Byrde (Jason Bateman) die? Will Wendy Byrde (Laura Linney) die? Will Ruth (Julia Garner) die? Will Charlotte (Sofia Hublitz) die? Will Jonah (Skylar Gaertner) write algorithms to make him the leader of the next generation of money laundering professionals and then get caught and thrown in while collar prison? That’s all anyone wants to know as Ozark comes to a close after four seasons. With the bad guys closing in, all we know is someone is going to die. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Grace and Frankie

For fans of: Classic sitcom feels, female friendships, odd couples
Number of seasons: 7

Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie
Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, Grace and FrankieMelissa Moseley/Netflix

Netflix’s longest-running original (it premiered in 2015 and is ending with 94 episodes, more than any other scripted Netflix series), Grace and Frankie follows the two titular women, played by Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, as they embark on new lives when their husbands come out as gay and partner up together. There’s an Odd Couple vibe as Grace (Fonda) is a no-nonsense cosmetics mogul and Frankie (Tomlin) is a hippie artist, which only cements their friendship beyond the sitcom-setup bond. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Heartstopper

For fans of: LGBTQ+ romances, comics come to life
Number of seasons: 1

Kit Connor and Joe Locke, Heartstopper
Kit Connor and Joe Locke, HeartstopperNetflix

This cute and gentle British teen drama is based on a webcomic-turned-graphic novel that’s beloved by fans of romantic coming-of-age stories. Heartstopper follows Charlie Spring (Joe Locke), an openly gay secondary school student who develops an unlikely friendship with Nick (Kit Connor), a jock with a kind heart who invites Charlie to join the rugby team. And their friendship just might be developing into something more. It’s a sweet little show that keeps some comic book-inspired stylistic flourishes. Fans of the comic, and teen drama in general, will love it. -Liam Mathews [Trailer]

Russian Doll

For fans of: Time loops, time travel, Natasha Lyonne
Number of seasons: 2

Natasha Lyonne, Russian Doll
Natasha Lyonne, Russian DollNetflix

The best show of early 2019 is back for a second season. Season 1 ended so perfectly and with such finality that it would have been a great limited series, but co-creator-star Natasha Lyonne had an idea for more. Season 2 is set four years after Manhattanites Nadia (Lyonne) and Alan (Charlie Barnett) escaped from their death-loop, and now they’re on a new sci-fi sadcom adventure where they encounter a time portal accessible via the 6 train that leads to a fate even worse than endless death: becoming your own mother. Season 2 doesn’t have the freshness of Season 1, but it’s still as fun as a comedy about generational trauma can be. –Liam Mathews [Trailer]

Our Great National Parks

For fans of: Nature, listening to Barack Obama talk about lemurs
Number of seasons: 1

Barack Obama, Our Great National Parks
Barack Obama, Our Great National ParksNetflix

Barack Obama executive-produces and narrates this nature docuseries from the makers of Blue Planet II, taking viewers on a tour of national parks all over the world, including in countries with personal significance to him, Indonesia and Kenya. If you’ve ever wanted to hear a former President talk about sloths, this is for you. It would be great if he opened his narration by saying, “Let me be clear, I love parks.” –Liam Mathews [Trailer]

Elite

For fans of: Melodrama, melodrama, melodrama
Number of seasons: 5

Elite
EliteManuel Fernandez-Valdes

Elite, the Spanish-language series about three working-class friends who enroll in a luxe private school, is the ideal mix of unhinged camp and actual high-stakes drama. The show centers around the inevitable culture clash between the new kids and their exorbitantly wealthy classmates, but there’s also a murder mystery woven throughout the plot. A lot of teen shows these take themselves incredibly seriously, and while Elite deals with its share of socially relevant topics like homophobia and religion, it leans hard into its chaotic roots, and that makes it all the more watchable. Season 5 was released on Netflix in April, and a sixth season is coming. –Kelly Connolly [Trailer]

The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On

For fans of: Messy drama, partner swaps, the idea of marriage
Number of seasons: 1

The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On
The Ultimatum: Marry or Move OnNetflix

Maybe the best way to fix your relationship isn’t to try out a relationship with someone else, but maybe it is! I’m no relationship expert, but Nick and Vanessa Lachey think they are, so in the show they host they take couples that have different readiness levels for marriage and have them try out what marriage is like… with other people feeling the same way. Then after a few weeks they test-run marriage with their original partners. What can go wrong? This show is stupid on so many levels but that’s why we’re watching it. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Old Enough

For fans of: Japanese television, responsible kids and irresponsible children
Number of seasons: 1

Old Enough
Old EnoughNetflix

Netflix’s plan to go fully global continues with this acquisition of the Japanese reality TV show Old Enough, which — and I can’t believe I’m saying this — follows Japanese children as they attempt to run errands by themselves. I just watched a boy who wasn’t even three years old walk to the local market to buy curry and flowers for his mother. Yes, this involved crossing busy streets. Yes, I was watching behind my fingers. Yes, the kid made it home safe. But I almost had a heart attack watching this adorable little show. Episodes clock in at around 10 minutes, so it’s a nice little diversion or conversation starter. –Tim Surette

Bridgerton

For fans of: Romance, string covers of pop songs
Number of seasons: 2

Will Tilston, Florence Emilia Hunt, Ruby Stokes, Luke Thompson, Jonathan Bailey, and Phoebe Dyvenor, Bridgerton
Will Tilston, Florence Emilia Hunt, Ruby Stokes, Luke Thompson, Jonathan Bailey, and Phoebe Dyvenor, BridgertonLiam Daniel/Netflix

Netflix’s megahit offers two full seasons of Regency-era romance, gossip, and gowns, given the golden touch by producer Shonda Rhimes. The 1800s London-set drama is told in season-long chapters, each covering a romance of one of the high society Bridgerton siblings, with Season 1 following Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor) and her coupling with the reluctant duke Simon (Regé-Jean Page), as well as their steamy on-screen sexploits that gave the show much of its popularity. Season 2 moves on to Anthony (Jonathan Bailey) and the woman he cautiously falls for, Kate (Simone Ashley), and while there’s less doin’ it, the push-and-pull romance is a blast to watch. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Human Resources

For fans of: Big Mouth, throwing up a little in your mouth while also laughing
Number of seasons: 1

Human Resources
Human ResourcesNetflix

The hormone monsters and various other imaginary creatures that give Big Mouth‘s horny teens their unwavering sex drive, pubic hair, and crippling depression get their own show in this spin-off that’s more of a workplace comedy than its source, but is still full of the disgusting, bodily fluid humor that makes Big Mouth so unique. It has a great voice cast, with Maria Bamford, Aidy Bryant, Chris O’Dowd, Randall Park, and more joining franchise vets Maya Rudolph, Nick Kroll, and others. -Tim Surette [Trailer]

Top Boy

For fans of: UK hip-hop music and culture, narco-dramas
Number of seasons: 3 on Netflix, 4 total

Ashley Walters, Top Boy
Ashley Walters, Top BoyChris Harris

This East London and Jamaica-set crime drama returns for its fourth season in 11 years (they make TV at a different pace across the pond) and first since 2019. This season, crime boss Dushane (Ashley Walters) is trying to keep a tight hold on his empire, which includes making Jamie (Micheal Ward), who once came gunning for him, work for him. Meanwhile, Dushane’s former partner Sully (Kane Robinson) is trying to get out of the game, but it’s not easy, especially with the trouble his young relative Pebbles (The Falcon and the Winter Soldier star Erin Kellyman) brings his way when she comes to him for help. Top Boy is a gritty and engrossing crime thriller, and it’s great that it’s back. -Liam Mathews [Trailer]

Servant of the People

For fans of: Ukraine
Number of seasons: 1

Volodymyr Zelensky, Servant of the People
Volodymyr Zelensky, Servant of the PeopleNetflix

Before he was the president of Ukraine and became a worldwide icon for bravery as he led his people against a Russian invasion, Volodymyr Zelensky was a TV star in the Ukrainian sitcom Servant of the People. Ironically, he played a teacher who becomes the Ukrainian president when a political rant of his went viral. Netflix is carrying the first season of the show, which is part family comedy and part political satire. –Tim Surette

Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives.

For fans of: True crime, the process of brainwashing, lasagna with cucumber instead of pasta
Number of seasons: 1

Sarma Melngailis, Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives.
Sarma Melngailis, Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives.Netflix

Netflix dips back into the true-crime pool with this four-episode story about Sarma Melngailis, a vegan chef in New York City whose successful career was done in by a toxic relationship with a secretive man, resulting in the two of them going on the lam with hundreds of thousands of dollars owed to investors and employees. Director Chris Smith (Tiger King) uses interviews with Sarma, her employees, and Sarma’s inner circle to paint a frightening picture of how gaslighting and brainwashing work. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

The Last Kingdom

For fans of: Vikings, Vikings, bloody epics
Number of seasons: 5

The Last Kingdom
The Last KingdomNetflix

The fifth and final chapter of The Last Kingdom continues the story of Uhtred of Bebbanburg (Alexander Dreymon), a warrior who was born a Saxon but raised as a Dane when the two groups were at war. Sure, Vikings was succeeded by the spin-off Vikings: Valhalla, but The Last Kingdom was here all along for all your bloody battle needs. –Allison Picurro [Trailer]

Vikings: Valhalla

For fans of: Pillaging, plundering, family drama
Number of seasons: 1

Leo Suter, Vikings: Valhalla
Leo Suter, Vikings: ValhallaBernard Walsh/Netflix

About a year after the end of Vikings, History’s cult favorite action-packed historical drama, the Norsemen and Norsewomen have returned for Vikings: Valhalla, a sequel series that covers the next epoch of the Viking reign. Valhalla is set a century after the original show, and follows Leif Erikson’s (Sam Corlett) journey as he becomes the first European to set foot on North America alongside his sister Freydis (Frida Gustavsson), as well as Harald Hardrada (Leo Suter), who tried and failed to claim the English throne. So yes, this show is building toward the end of the Viking age. If you liked the clanging swords and sexy bearded warriors of the original Vikings, you’ll definitely want to check this out, because it’s more of that. -Liam Mathews [Trailer

jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy

For fans of: Ye, Yeezy, Yeezus, The Louis Vuitton Don, Pablo, etc.
Number of seasons: 1 (three-part limited series)

jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy
jeen-yuhs: A Kanye TrilogyNetflix

This is the Kanye West documentary you’ve been waiting for, and you don’t have to wait in line with the sneakerheads all night to get it. The three-part film jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy, directed by Clarence “Coodie” Simmons and Chike Ozah and filmed over two decades, charts Ye’s career, life, and astronomical ascent since the turn of the millennium. Everything is on the table, presidential campaign included. Reviews for Act 1 (Vision), which premiered at Sundance, make this one sound as watchable as you’d expect. –Kelly Connolly [Trailer

Inventing Anna

For fans of: Grifters, the exceptional acting talents of Julia Garner
Number of seasons: 1 (Limited series)

Julia Garner, Inventing Anna
Julia Garner, Inventing AnnaNetflix

This limited series is the first show superproducer Shonda Rhimes has created since Scandal, and the true story that got her to open up Final Draft again is a doozy. It’s the only-in-America-and-New-York-City-specifically saga of Anna Delvey, played by Ozark‘s Julia Garner, a wealthy German socialite who took New York society by storm in the mid-2010s — only it turned out she wasn’t wealthy or even technically German. She was a Russia-born con artist named Anna Sorokin who scammed various people and institutions out of hundreds of thousands of dollars thanks to her nearly supernatural self-confidence. She became famous thanks to a bombshell New York Magazine story, the writing of which drives the plot of Inventing Anna, as journalist Vivian Kent (Anna Chlumsky) tries to answer the question, “Who is Anna Delvey?” -Liam Mathews [Trailer Review

Love Is Blind

For fans of: Human drama, utter emotional chaos
Number of seasons: 2

Love Is Blind
Love Is BlindNetflix

The reality dating sensation that was the biggest show in America right before the pandemic started is finally back for a second season. The premise now is the same as it was then: A bunch of single people are sequestered in a house where they meet potential romantic partners. They get to know each other while talking for hours in pods where they can’t see each other. Some of them get engaged, and then we follow them as they try to make it work outside of the pods and prepare for their weddings. It drops in batches of episodes over the course of a few weeks, each covering a different part of the process. It’s a fascinating social experiment with jaw-dropping surprises and wild characters (I will never forget Jessica from Season 1, who gave her dog wine on-camera). -Liam Mathews [Trailer]

Murderville

For fans of: Actors trying not to laugh and failing, peak Will Arnett, improv cops!
Number of seasons: 1

Will Arnett, Murderville
Will Arnett, MurdervilleDarren Michaels/Netflix

There’s something infectiously funny about watching someone trying not to laugh and failing miserably, and there’s plenty of that in the new series Murderville, a half-scripted, half-improvised comedy in which Will Arnett plays detective Terry Seattle. His partner? A new celebrity guest each episode. The catch? Everyone has a script of what’s going to happen except the guest. Based on the British series Murder in Successville, the six-episode series doesn’t always work, but when it does, it’s pretty amazing. A lot of that depends on who the guest is, so if you want a taste of the best episodes, watch the ones with Conan O’Brien, Kumail Nanjiani, and Sharon Stone. Just know that Terry’s story about finding the murderer of his partner (played by a portrait of Jennifer Aniston) is serialized, so to get the full effect, watch them all in order. -Tim Surette [Trailer]

All of Us Are Dead

For fans of: Korean zombie shows, Korean high school shows, both mixed up in a fun way
Number of seasons: 1

Yoon Chan-young, All of Us Are Dead
Yoon Chan-young, All of Us Are DeadYang Hae-sung/Netflix

Some of South Korea’s biggest global hits have been stories about the undead (yes, we’re talking about Train to Busan and Kingdom), and Netflix’s All of Us Are Dead could easily become the next. The jolting thriller about a zombie virus outbreak at a high school follows students as they desperately fight against flesh-eating monsters — some of whom had been their human friends just minutes before. Starring Yoon Chan-young, Park Ji-hu, Park Solomon, Cho Yi-hyun, and Squid Game‘s Lee Yoo-mi, the series based on the webtoon Now at Our School is a fresh take on the zombie genre with its centering of teen characters and its setting that transforms ordinary classrooms into vicious battlegrounds. As the virus spreads beyond the walls of the school, the show’s exploration of themes including the corruption of authority and the abuse of power also becomes increasingly apparent. -Kat Moon [Trailer]

Cheer

For fans of: Sports docuseries, watching the human body do unreal things, facing controversy head-on
Number of seasons: 2

Cheer
CheerNetflix

Producer Greg Whiteley is one of TV’s Midases, a man whose golden touch makes hits out of any sports docuseries he creates (see: Last Chance ULast Chance U: Basketball). But Cheer, which follows college cheerleading powerhouse Navarro College, might be his best. Following a Season 1 that won three Emmys, Cheer returns for Season 2 with its world upside-down and dealing with celebrity, both the good and bad. Season 2 also deals with controversy — Season 1 star Jerry Harris was charged with sexual abuse of a minor and child pornography — head-on, in addition to coronavirus and the brutal winter storms that hit Texas last winter. But the heart of the season is still the competition, which is magnified as cameras also follow Navarro’s rivals Trinity Valley and the collision course of both teams in Daytona. -Tim Surette [Trailer]

Cobra Kai

For fans of: The Karate Kid, the ’80s, the Valley
Number of seasons: 4

Ralph Macchio and William Zabka, Cobra Kai
Ralph Macchio and William Zabka, Cobra KaiNetflix

It’s hard to believe that a series following the lives of Johnny (William Zabka) and Daniel (Ralph Macchio) from The Karate Kid would be as good as Cobra Kai is, but there’s some sort of indescribable magic going on that makes it work. Following up on Johnny in present day, Cobra Kai wonders what would happen if his rivalry with Daniel continued into their adult lives, culminating in them creating their own karate dojos where a new generation of martial artists fight for respect, rumble with their parents, and get into love triangles. The show’s self-awareness holds everything together, but it’s the twisting (albeit predictable) plot that makes it so bingeable. In Season 4, a new enemy appears, but is it enough to put a pause on Johnny and Daniel’s rivalry? -Tim Surette [Trailer]

Emily in Paris

For fans of: Stereotypes, “fashion,” rom-coms, brand engagement
Number of seasons: 2

Lucien Laviscount and Lily Collins, Emily in Paris
Lucien Laviscount and Lily Collins, Emily in ParisStéphanie Branchu/Netflix

Emily in Paris (and you gotta say it like it rhymes), who haunts the dreams of actual Parisians, is back on the streets of Paris like some kind of colorfully dressed cryptid. The new episodes kick off where Season 1 left off, with the titular American in Paris getting herself into a love triangle after sleeping with Gabriel (Lucas Bravo), which puts her in a tight spot with Camille (Camille Razat). Mon dieu! She’s also wearing a checkered bucket hat in the trailer. Hard to tell which sin is worse. –Kelly Connolly  [Trailer]

The Witcher

For fans of: Henry Cavill, serious fantasy
Number of seasons: 2

Henry Cavill, The Witcher
Henry Cavill, The WitcherJay Maidment/Netflix

It’s been two long years since Netflix released The Witcher Season 1, but Season 2 of the fantasy hit is well worth the wait. Henry Cavill returns as Geralt of Rivia, the world-weary slayer of monsters who is tasked by destiny with protecting the magical Crown Princess Ciri (Freya Allan) from many different pursuers who all want her for their own nefarious ends. Season 2 is told in a linear fashion, which makes it easier to follow than Season 1, which had a timeline so complicated there are jokes about it in Season 2. But it’s still a hardcore fantasy show that will satisfy the nerdiest fans of Andrzej Sapkowski’s multimedia franchise. This season, Geralt battles numerous elaborate CGI monsters, but his greatest foe is the plot-Liam Mathews [Trailer]

Selling Tampa

For fans of: Selling Sunset, but Florida style
Number of seasons: 1

Selling Tampa
Selling TampaMalcolm Jackson/Netflix

The selling point (sorry) of Selling Tampa is that it’s a Selling Sunset spin-off, but as a Floridian, what interests me is how they’re going to sell Tampa. The new reality series follows a team of real estate agents at an all-female, Black-owned agency in Tampa, Florida, as they sell off luxury waterfront real estate and presumably don’t hang out at the mall where I got my back-to-school clothes. This is the second reality series about Tampa in as many months, following Amazon’s show about Tampa’s lesbian scene, Tampa Baes. What was it Andy Warhol said? In the future every metropolitan area will get its 15 minutes of fame in a pair of streaming reality series. Looking forward to Selling Buffalo. –Kelly Connolly [Trailer]

Money Heist

For fans of: Snappy shows that were meant for bingeing, twisty action, finding out who lives and who dies
Number of Seasons: 3

Jaime Lorente, Belen Cuesta, and Ursula Corbero, Money Heist
Jaime Lorente, Belen Cuesta, and Ursula Corbero, Money HeistTamara Arranz/Netflix

Netflix recently announced that 97 percent of its American subscribers have watched an international (non-English language) series on its service, and I’m willing to bet 97 percent of those people were watching Money Heist, Álex Pina’s Spanish bank heist series. Pina’s preference for style and mystery over everything else is all over Money Heist, making it highly bingeable and perfect for the Netflix formula. Action! Drama! Skin! More action! The final episodes of the series are out now. -Tim Surette [Trailer]

F Is for Family

For fans of: Screaming, dads
Number of seasons: 5

F Is for Family
F Is for FamilyNetflix

In this case, F is not just for “family” or Frank’s favorite word; F is also for “final season,” as one of Netflix’s better animated adult shows calls it a series after five seasons of cursing, screaming, and broken dreams. Frank Murphy (Bill Burr) is a man whose life didn’t quite turn out as he had hoped, and as he strives to be a different father to his kids than his strict dad was with him, he finds himself becoming more like his old man than he’s comfortable with. There’s a lot of Northeast, blue-collar, mid-’70s energy in F Is for Family — it’s amazing Frank hasn’t committed homicides or had one too many arteries explode — but that just makes the well-earned heartfelt moments hit that much harder. Say goodbye to one of the best opening credits sequences out there. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Hellbound

For fans of: Incorrectly calling something the next Squid Game, religious chaos
Number of seasons: 1

Hellbound
HellboundJung Jaegu/Netflix

Yeon Sang-ho is building a name for himself as a creative force out of Korea, following his zombie films Train to Busan and its wacky sequel Peninsula. He directs his first television series with Hellbound, an adaptation of his webtoon Hell, which wades in the murky waters of religion and faith as creatures appear on Earth to drag people to hell after a prophecy from an angel. But Hellbound approaches the subject of sin and paying for those sins through several characters, such as a police detective and a cult leader. The special effects may be a little iffy, but the brutality and philosophy are real. [Trailer]

Arcane

For fans of: League of Legends (or not, it doesn’t matter!), dope animation
Number of seasons: 1

Arcane
ArcaneNetflix

The popular PC video game League of Legends has officially crossed mediums. Arcane adds life to two the game’s playable characters, Jinx (voiced by Ella Purnell) and Vi (voiced by Hailee Steinfeld), by digging into their backstories as petty thieves in the underworld city of Zaun and the tech-heavy city above it, Piltover. Arcane could have taken the easy route and thrown out a cookie-cutter TV adaptation with empty characters and showy action sequences, but instead it has crafted a show with great characters, a deep story, and beautiful motion-capture animation that pops off the screen. You don’t need to know a thing about League of Legends or be a fan of anime to enjoy this. [Trailer]

Narcos: Mexico

For fans of: Crime dramas, cartel violence, drugs
Number of seasons: 3

Scoot McNairy and Eric Etebari, Narcos: Mexico
Scoot McNairy and Eric Etebari, Narcos: MexicoJuan Rosas/Netflix

The third and final season of the spin-off that we didn’t know we needed continues on without its big bad Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo (Diego Luna) after his arrest in the Season 2 finale, but that just means there’s more chaos to be had in the ruckus to become the new Mexican drug kingpin. Expect lots of violence, obviously. [Trailer]

Colin in Black & White

For fans of: Social justice, doing the right thing, youth sports
Number of seasons: 1

Colin Kaepernick, Colin in Black and White
Colin Kaepernick, Colin in Black & WhiteNetflix

Colin Kaepernick went from being known as a fleet-footed NFL quarterback to an activist with just one move: kneeling for the National Anthem to protest racial injustice and police brutality. In this six-episode limited series, Kaepernick and director Ava DuVernay give Kaepernick a space to tell his story, which he does through monologues, reenactments, and a comedy-drama about his childhood as a Black kid with dreams of being a quarterback who was adopted into a white family. It’s a bizarre mix that admittedly takes a bit to get used to, but it’s all tied together through Kaepernick’s bold truths and sincerity. Bonus: His parents are played by Mary-Louise Parker and Nick Offerman, and young Colin is played by the very charming Jaden Michael[Trailer]

Maya and the Three

For fans of: Cool Mesoamerican art style, Raya and the Last Dragon, dazzling visuals
Number of seasons: 1

Maya and the Three
Maya and the ThreeNetflix

Maya and the Three — from The Book of Life creator Jorge R. Gutierrez — may just be the coolest looking thing on Netflix. The kids nine-episode miniseries celebrates pre-colonial Mexican culture with panache, dressing its characters in ceremonial headdresses, warpaint, and detailed costumes that pop off the screen as the magical characters scale enormous Aztec-influenced edifices and soar over the picturesque beauty of Central America. There’s a story, too: A 15-year-old warrior princess named Maya (voiced by Zoe Saldana) goes on a quest to stop the gods of the underworld from destroying humanity, and while that sounds serious, Maya and the Three is packed with humor for all ages. This isn’t just one of Netflix’s best kids shows, it’s one of Netflix’s best shows, period. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

You

For fans of: Creepy dudes, voiceover, problem after problem
Number of seasons: 3

Victoria Pedretti and Penn Badgley, You
Victoria Pedretti and Penn Badgley, YouJohn P. Fleenor/Netflix

Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgely) is back — or was he always right behind you this whole time? — for the third season of Netflix’s creepy stalker drama, except this time he may not be the one to go to extreme lengths to get what he wants. Now in California and married (!!) to Love (Victoria Pedretti), Joe is raising his son in a chill suburb and everything is going great. OK, not really, because Joe’s gotta Joe and he develops an unhealthy obsession with his new neighbor. But will Love let him do his thing? [Trailer]

The Baby-Sitters Club

For fans of: Warmth and wholesomeness, tween girl drama
Number of seasons: 2

Vivian Watson and Anais Lee, The Baby-Sitters Club
Vivian Watson and Anais Lee, The Baby-Sitters ClubNetflix

There’s a tween girl inside all of us who just wants to watch a charming show about young girls trying to start a baby-sitting business. Embrace your inner Emily or Jayden or Madison and watch The Baby-Sitters Club, a true safe space in a world that wants to keep you down. Season 2 adds a few more members to the club, but the care to flesh out all its characters is still there. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

On My Block

For fans of: Coming-of-age stories with a real perspective, having great taste
Number of seasons: 4

Jason Genao, Brett Gray, Diego Tinoco, and Sierra Capri, On My Block
Jason Genao, Brett Gray, Diego Tinoco, and Sierra Capri, On My BlockKevin Estrada/Netflix

On My Block is back for its fourth and final season. In its last batch of episodes, the teen comedy-drama explains how Monse (Sierra Capri), Jamal (Brett Gray), Cesar (Diego Tinco), Ruby (Jason Genao), and Jasmine (Jessica Marie Garcia) fell out and exactly what went down in the two-year time jump revealed at the end of Season 3. It’s senior year, so the teens are faced with decisions about college and what a post-Freeridge life will look like for each of them as they try to outrun the sins of their past and just have a good time at prom. It’s as funny and emotional as ever. –Megan Vick [Trailer]

Maid

For fans of: The struggle, female empowerment, making bad decisions and then good decisions, the Pacific Northwest
Number of seasons: 1

Margaret Qualley, Maid
Margaret Qualley, MaidRicardo Hubbs/Netflix

You won’t often end an episode of Maid — adapted from Stephanie Land’s memoir Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay and a Mother’s Will to Survive — feeling overjoyed with the world, because the miniseries isn’t afraid to focus on the difficulties single mothers escaping abusive relationships face. But stick around and you’ll be inspired by the perseverance of Alex (Margaret Qualley in a star-making performance) as she becomes a housecleaner in Washington to make ends barely meet. Even though it’s a little longer than it needs to be, you won’t complain as long as Qualley is on the screen. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Midnight Mass

For fans of: Stephen King, The Haunting of Hill House, cerebral horror
Number of seasons: 1

Hamish Linklater, Midnight Mass
Hamish Linklater, Midnight MassNetflix

After The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor, creator Mike Flanagan is sticking with what he does best with another winning horror miniseries, only this time he’s passing on the haunted house and going for a whole haunted island. The seven-episode series takes place in a fishing community 30 miles off the mainland and puts religion in the spotlight when a charismatic new priest (Hamish Linklater) arrives on the island with promises to lead his growing flock to salvation. As you can guess, it doesn’t quite work out that way. Telling you any more would be a disservice to the storytelling. –Tim Surette [Trailer | Review]

Squid Game

For fans of: Twisted tales of cruelty, extremely violent kids’ games
Number of seasons: 1

Squid Game
Squid GameYoungkyu Park/Netflix

Who remembers playing childhood games for fun on the playground? Who remembers playing them FOR YOUR LIFE? The unexpected hit Korean drama Squid Game is more the latter, as a group of people in bad need of money are taken in by a secret organization that has them play games — like Red Light, Green Light — for money. The catch? They lose, they die. Violently. What separates this from something like Saw is the humanity given to the characters. You’ll care about some of these people… and then they will die. –Tim Surette [Trailer | More shows like Squid Game]

Dear White People

For fans of: Comedies with bite
Number of seasons: 4

Logan Browning, Dear White People
Logan Browning, Dear White PeopleLara Solanki/Netflix

Dear White People is back for one last semester, and although the wait has been excruciatingly long, it’s going out with a bang. The final season is 100 times more musical, with the students of Winchester deciding to put on a variety show that celebrates Black culture. There are performances of songs we already like, like Montell Jordan’s ’90s classic “This Is How We Do It,” and big showy dance numbers, and also the inevitable moments where all the characters have to reckon with the fact that they’re about to be thrust into the world of adulthood. [Trailer]

Sex Education

For fans of: Kids discovering themselves, Gillian Anderson
Number of seasons: 3

Asa Butterfield and Emma Mackey, Sex Education
Asa Butterfield and Emma Mackey, Sex EducationNetflix

There are so many coming-of-age television series out there, but few are as brazenly honest and endearing as this oneThe comedy, now in its third season, is a raunchy-on-the-outside and sweet-on-the-inside charmer about a teen boy who inadvertently becomes his school’s go-to sex therapist. The series explores teen sexuality in a refreshingly non-judgemental, authentic way, and it posits that whether you’re the most popular kid in school or the outcast eating lunch alone, there’s a universal and terrifying confusion in growing up that can be made more manageable by a supportive community and communication. Plus, Gillian Anderson co-stars as Otis’ eccentric divorcée mom, who is an actual sex therapist and has a house full of phallic statues, which is just a lot of fun. [Trailer]

Lucifer

For fans of: The devil, hell puns
Number of seasons: 6

Tom Ellis, Lucifer
Tom Ellis, LuciferNetflix

Procedural fans know that anyone can become an unlikely police consultant, including, in this case, the literal devil. Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis), who’s abandoned hell to become a nightclub owner in Los Angeles, partners up with L.A.P.D. detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German) to solve crime — stranger things have happened, maybe? — while sorting out his otherworldly daddy issues. On top of being a fun show with a steamy will they/won’t they couple, Lucifer is also a clever spin on redemption stories. –Kelly Connolly [Trailer]

The Chair

For fans of: Sandra Oh, the pains of academia
Number of seasons: 1

Sandra Oh and Jay Duplass, The Chair
Sandra Oh and Jay Duplass, The ChairEliza Morse / Netflix

Sandra Oh is starring in another TV show, which means everything is once again right with the world. Oh plays Dr. Ji-Yoon Kim, the newest (and first woman) Chair of the embattled English department at a swanky university. She navigates both professional and personal struggles, and crushes on a professor played by Jay Duplass, which is very relatable.

Never Have I Ever

For fans of: Teen romance, Mindy Kaling, the omniscient voice of John McEnroe
Number of seasons: 2 (renewed for Season 3, date TBD)

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Never Have I Ever
Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Never Have I EverIsabella B. Vosmikova/Netflix

Mindy Kaling‘s warm, wickedly funny spin on a classic high school comedy stars newcomer Maitreyi Ramakrishnan as Devi Vishwakumar, a high achiever desperate to reinvent herself after the sudden death of her father (Sendhil Ramamurthy, joining the ranks of TV’s hot dads even in flashbacks). As she navigates a love triangle and denies the depth of her grief, short-tempered Devi’s inner life is narrated, hilariously, by tennis legend John McEnroeNever Have I Ever is Kaling’s best show yet, a charming Indian-American coming-of-age story that’s both personal and absurd. Who knew we all needed to hear John McEnroe say “thirst trap”? –Kelly Connolly [Trailer]

Lupin

For fans of: Committing crimes with style, heists
Number of seasons: 1 (divided into two parts, with a third on the way)

Antoine Gouy and Omar Sy, Lupin
Antoine Gouy and Omar Sy, LupinNetflix

Omar Sy stars as Assane Diop, a man who is essentially a French Bruce Wayne if Batman was more of a cat burglar than dark knight. Inspired by the classic French character Arsène Lupin, known as the “gentleman burglar,” Diop starts the series off trying to steal a valuable necklace from the Louvre with a grand heist as part of a revenge plot against the wealthy family responsible for the death of his father several years prior. Sy is a charming dude, and the heists and trickery are fun, complicated acts, performed under the guise of being the good guy. It may not be the greatest show Netflix ever put out, but it is a very entertaining distraction that’s easy to get through. -Tim Surette [Trailer]

Virgin River

For fans of: Hallmarkian romance, heartwarming tearjerkers
Number of seasons: 3

Alexandra Breckenridge and Martin Henderson, Virgin River
Alexandra Breckenridge and Martin Henderson, Virgin RiverNetflix

Do you like it your TV to feel like one long Hallmark movie? If that’s the case, you should know that few other shows are currently doing that better than Virgin River. In this adaptation of the novels by Robyn Carr, Alexandra Breckenridge stars as Mel, a nurse practitioner from Los Angeles who, after having her heart broken one too many times, starts a new life in a remote Northern California town. As these things go, she quickly meets Jack (Martin Henderson), a bartender who makes her want to love again. This show really has everything: long lost twin brothers, bombshell pregnancies, and main characters getting shot by mysterious gunmen. [Trailer]

High on the Hog: How African American Culture Transformed America

For fans of: Getting a history lesson while your stomach growls
Number of seasons: 1 (four hour-long episodes)

Stephen Satterfield and Dr. Jessica B. Harris, High on the Hog: How African American Culture Transformed America
Stephen Satterfield and Dr. Jessica B. Harris, High on the Hog: How African American Culture Transformed AmericaNetflix

Netflix has a large catalog of food shows, but none quite like High on the Hog. Hosted by Stephen Satterfield, the four-part docuseries is about Satterfield’s journey to learn about the storied history of African American cuisine. He learns about the contributions Black people have made to food, and how much of an influence food from the past has on the food we eat now, including the origins of okra, dishes created by Thomas Jefferson and George Washington’s enslaved chefs, and how mac and cheese came to be. The show is infectiously joyful, and has a lovely “discover your roots” spirit. Fair warning, though: You’re going to be starving after each episode. [Trailer]

Black Summer

For fans of: Intense no-cut actions sequences, life and death situations
Number of seasons: 2

Christine Lee, Jaime King, and Justin Chu Gary, Black Summer
Christine Lee, Jaime King, and Justin Chu Gary, Black SummerNetflix

Not all zombie shows are built the same, and this spiritual spin-off of the goofy Z Nation focuses on the gritty life-or-death situation of a small group of people trying to survive a zombie apocalypse. It’s intentionally minimal on plot (and at times dialogue), letting the action — frequently told in long takes with no cuts and some athletic cameramen — tell the story. For my money, it’s the best zombie show on TV. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Breaking Bad

For fans of: Great TV, great acting, great cinematography, great writing, great everything
Number of seasons: 5

Bryan Cranston and Giancarlo Esposito, Breaking Bad
Bryan Cranston and Giancarlo Esposito, Breaking BadUrsula Coyote/AMC

Well, it’s perhaps the greatest television show ever made, so yeah, you should watch it. Bryan Cranston stars as antihero Walter White, a mild-mannered high school chemistry teacher who begins cooking meth to pay for his cancer treatments and finds that he really, really likes it. It won 16 Primetime Emmy Awards, including two for Best Drama Series in 2013 and 2014. Some will say the first season is only OK, but those people are morons. While you’re at it, watch the spin-off, Better Call Saul, which is also on Netflix. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson

For fans of: Chaos, having good car ideas, wet steaks, weak coffins, fart toilets, complex patterns on shirts
Number of seasons: 2

Tim Robinson, I Think You Should Leave
Tim Robinson, I Think You Should LeaveNetflix

Sometimes what you want is to see your id, your most base animal instincts, the unhinged thoughts you definitely have but rarely voice, reflected on screen. You may or may not remember Tim Robinson from his time on Saturday Night Live; honestly, they didn’t really know what to do with him over there, and in retrospect it’s clear that what he needed was something of his own where he could really let his freak flag fly. That’s I Think You Should Leave in a nutshell! It’s a madcap rollercoaster of a sketch series that features Robinson playing a host of weirdo characters with big personalities and strong convictions about things that don’t really matter, such as his highly memeable hot dog mascot who refuses to admit he was the one who crashed his car into a storefront. Like anything that’s really, truly hilarious, it’s sort of impossible to describe. You just have to watch it to understand. [Trailer]

Last Chance U&Last Chance U: Basketball

For fans of: Inspiring sports stories
Number of seasons: 5 seasons of Last Chance U and 1 season of Last Chance U: Basketball

Last Chance U
Last Chance UNetflix

One of TV’s best sports docuseries, every season of Last Chance U follows a different junior college football program across the U.S. It focuses on the students — many of whom are highly touted as players, but deal with challenges on and off the field — as they attempt to keep up their performance both on the team and in the classroom in order to remain eligible. The show gives unique access to the host of issues student athletes face, and goes deep into the ambition many of the players have to move into Division 1 football programs. Its spinoff, Last Chance U: Basketball, is just as good, with its first season spotlighting the East Los Angeles College Huskies as they try to turn their fortunes around with a roster made up of kids who failed to live up to expectations at higher division programs because of various factors. The sport is different, but the emotional impact remains the same as their coach pushes them to be the best players and people they can be. [Trailer]

Master of None

For fans of: When comedians enter their serious auteur era
Number of seasons: 3

Lena Waithe and Naomi Ackie, Master of None
Lena Waithe and Naomi Ackie, Master of NoneNetflix

When Master of None first premiered in 2015, the series became a reset for co-creator and star Aziz Ansari‘s career, who up until that point had mostly been known for his role as the guy on Parks and Recreation who gave us “treat yo’ self.” Ansari played Dev, a New York actor struggling with the personal and the professional, and the show was pretty universally acclaimed, especially in its triumphant second season, which brought black-and-white cinematography, references to French New Wave, and a beautiful, Golden Globe-winning episode about Dev’s friend Denise’s (Lena Waithe) coming out. It was in between Season 2 and its surprise Season 3 that sexual misconduct allegations against Ansari were made public, and when the show eventually did return after a long hiatus, it shifted the focus from Dev to Denise, exploring her relationship with her wife Alicia (Naomi Ackie). The good news is that it stayed fascinating throughout, wrestling with the characters’ flaws and exploring regret and loss in an entirely human way. [Trailer]

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