Online streaming is bigger than ever, and with so many streaming services adding new shows and movies every week, it can be nearly impossible to sort through the good and the bad. If you need something to watch and don’t want to wade through the digital muck that washes up on the internet’s shores, follow our picks below for the best new shows and movies worth a watch.
On the list this week: The return of Arrow, the end of Comedy Bang! Bang!, and David Lynch’s (arguably) best film.
Arrow season 5
For a long time, Green Arrow, aka Oliver McQueen, was one of the more obscure DC superheroes, a roguish vigilante who dressed like Robin Hood and drifted on the periphery of the Justice League. Thankfully, the show Arrow puts Ollie front and center in an action-packed drama that may be the best superhero show on TV. Arrow follows McQueen (Stephen Amell), son of a wealthy family who ends up stranded on a mysterious island for years. Returning to his hometown of Starling City, a changed Ollie strives to wipe out corruption by donning a cowl and hunting down criminals. Arrow is a pulpy thriller that’s more down to earth than some of the other popular superhero shows on the air.
Black-ish season 3
Sitcoms have never truly gone away, but the genre has nevertheless had a minor renaissance lately, with a variety of shows that approach the format in new ways. Black-ish, from showrunner Kenya Barris, is a single-camera sitcom focusing on an upper-middle class African-American family, the Johnsons. The show’s ostensible protagonist is father Andre “Dre” Johnson (Anthony Anderson), an ad executive who worries that his children, who are growing up in the suburbs, will lack a connection to the culture he grew up with. Black-ish explores issues of race and identity in modern America, deftly balancing social commentary with humor.
Comedy Bang! Bang! season 5, part 2
After five seasons, the televised spinoff of Scott Aukerman’s long-running podcast Comedy Bang! Bang! has drawn to a close. While that may be sad, the show’s final run of episodes, featuring some of the most bizarre skits in the show’s history, is worth it. Comedy Bang! Bang! is a sketch comedy show in which host Aukerman and bandleader Weird Al Yankovic (who took over for Watts) produce a late-night talk show, complete with celebrity guests. The show often veers into outlandish scenarios involving ghosts, time travel, and musical theater. For those who enjoy zany humor, Comedy Bang! Bang! is a must-watch.
After years of zombie and torture porn flicks, the horror genre has made a recovery thanks to a number of well-made, tension-laced films. One of the most successful of these is James Wan’s The Conjuring, loosely based on the careers of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. After a creepy intro involving a possessed doll, Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) get word of a haunting in Rhode Island. What awaits them is a case involving satanic rituals, a witch’s ghost, and the creepiest games of hide-and-seek ever. Although the plot is nothing new for horror fans, Wan brings a master’s touch to the filmmaking, using crafty camerawork and practical effects to raise the tension before cutting loose with well-timed jump scares. The Conjuring may not reinvent the haunted house genre, but it gives it a ghastly new coat of paint.
People could argue for years about which David Lynch film is his best, and they each have their merits, but one certainly couldn’t go wrong picking Blue Velvet, Lynch’s nightmarish take on noir. The film begins with Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan) moving back to his hometown from college to help his father run the family business. Walking through a vacant lot one day, he finds a severed ear in the grass. Jeffrey decides to investigate the mystery of the ear, enlisting high schooler Sandy Williams (Laura Dern) to help him. The search leads Jeffrey to an enigmatic lounge singer named Dorothy (Isabella Rossellini) and depraved criminal Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper). The film employs surreal, often disturbing imagery that blurs the lines between what is real and not. However, unlike some of Lynch’s more contentious works, Blue Velvet never drifts too far from the plot.