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 to stream on Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon, and other services.
On the list this week: A new, younger superhero squad, a former athlete grappling with the wreckage of age, and more.
‘Marvel’s Runaways’ season 1
Don’t let superhero fatigue deter you from watching the latest Marvel series, Runaways. Adapted from one of Marvel’s more oddball comics, Runaways is an exciting blend of superhero hijinks and high school soap opera. The series follows a group of teenagers who discover that their parents are all members of a supervillain cult known as The Pride. The teens also discover that they have superpowers and skills, inherited from their parents, and decide to thwart The Pride’s goals. Runaways uses the discovery of special powers and intergenerational conflict as a way to explore the thrills and pains of adolescence.
While Westerns tend to be male-dominated, the new series Godless, set in the town of La Belle in the 19th century, subverts this tradition by killing off most of the men in the beginning. Following a mining accident, La Belle is now largely run by women. The town’s recovery is interrupted by the arrival of a stranger named Roy Goode (Jack O’Connell), who takes shelter with La Belle’s outcast Alice Fletcher (Michelle Dockery). Roy is fleeing his past, specifically an outlaw named Frank Griffin (Jeff Daniels), and when that past reaches La Belle, violence comes along for the ride.
‘She’s Gotta Have It’
It’s rare to see an artist reinvent their own work, but that’s what Spike Lee is doing with this series, a reimagining of his first feature film, She’s Gotta Have It, as a 10-episode serial. The show focuses on Nola Darling (DeWanda Wise), an artist juggling three male lovers: The goofball Mars Blackmon (Anthony Ramos), charming photographer Greer Childs (Cleo Anthony), and mature Jamie Overstreet (Lyriq Bent). All three want to be the only man in Nola’s life, but the show is about her exploration of her own desires, and her attempts to build a life she finds meaning in.
‘Kong: Skull Island’
Following the successful 2014 reboot of Godzilla, Legendary continued to build its so-called “MonsterVerse” with Kong: Skull Island, another entry in the long-running King Kong movie franchise. Set in the 1970s, the film follows a group of soldiers on a mission to investigate a newly discovered island. The core members include British tracker James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston), U.S. government agent Bill Randa (John Goodman), and Army Lt. Col. Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson), as well as photojournalist Mason Weaver (Brie Larson). On the ominously named Skull Island, this band of adventurers finds monsters, the largest among them being the towering ape King Kong. Skull Island is a fun creature feature, with a distinct visual style and great performances all around.
August Wilson’s Fences is a powerful stage play about a complicated man, and director/star Denzel Washington skillfully adapts it to the big screen. Set in Pittsburgh in the 1950s, the story focuses on Troy Maxson (Washington), who was once a rising star in baseball’s Negro Leagues. Troy wasn’t able to break into Major League Baseball due to segregation, and now lives a modest life as a garbageman with his wife and son. Troy is a man dragging around a lot of resentment, which he takes out on his family by cheating on his wife and stifling his son’s attempts to pursue a career in football. Fences is an intimate study of a twisted heart, and although the transition from stage to film doesn’t necessarily enhance the story, Washington’s ferocious performance stands out as one of his best.