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: Tom Hardy gets violent, and a pair of documentaries tackle two very different icons of the music world, John Coltrane and Rolling Stone.
‘Taboo’ season 1
A dark, bizarre period drama, Taboo takes place in England circa 1814, as the War of 1812 winds down. James Delaney (Tom Hardy), long believed dead, returns to England following his father’s death. Delaney inherits a stretch of land in North America, and the East India Company wants to buy it from him, but Delaney knows that with the war ending, the land’s value will jump. As Delaney tries to re-establish himself in England, the company tries to eliminate him. Little do his enemies know, Delaney’s time abroad has made him a dangerous man. Taboo is a grim, often grotesque story built around Hardy’s fiendish performance.
‘The Lego Batman Movie’
The Lego Movie, a CGI adventure set in a world made of Lego toys, proved to be a surprisingly big hit in 2014, and now that film’s breakout character, Will Arnett’s cocksure, rasping Batman, has his own stand-alone sequel. The Lego Batman Movie follows Batman as he tries to stop the latest plot by his enemy, The Joker (Zach Galifianakis), who is disappointed to learn Batman doesn’t consider him his archnemesis (or at all). The crime-fighter also has his hands full training his young ward, Dick Grayson (Michael Cera), aka, Robin. A charming, funny take on the Batman mythos, The Lego Batman Movie is great for families or adult Batman fans who are looking for a change of tone from DC’s films.
‘Lady Dynamite’ season 2
Maria Bamford’s manic, personal comedy is back for a second season that builds on the first’s strengths while ironing out its weaknesses. The shows follows Bamford (playing herself), a stand-up comedian trying to manage her bipolar disorder and get her career back on track. The show’s story takes place across multiple time periods, creating a chaotic feeling that matches the protagonist’s frantic life. Season 2 focuses on Bamford’s relationship with her boyfriend, Scott (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson), and her new show on Tesla founder Elon Musk’s new, AI-driven streaming service. Lady Dynamite is a surreal, often wacky comedy, but with some honest emotions underneath.
‘Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary’
John Coltrane was one of the biggest forces in the development of jazz, and it would be hard for a documentary to capture the mystical nature of Coltrane’s playing, but Chasing Trane does at least shed light on the life of the man himself. It does so through interviews with the people who knew him and those he influenced, as well as Coltrane himself, whose letters are narrated by Denzel Washington. Chasing Trane is a great resource for those hoping to learn about Coltrane’s life, his religious views, and his influence. And if you don’t know Coltrane, it very well may lead you to explore his music.
‘Rolling Stone: Stories from the Edge’
It’s been 50 years since the founding of Rolling Stone, and the occasion has been marked by a number of works about the magazine itself, including Joe Hagan’s incisive book Sticky Fingers and HBO’s new documentary Rolling Stone: Stories from the Edge. Rolling Stone co-founder Jann Wenner aided in the production of HBO’s documentary, so it’s not as critical as Hagan’s tell-all, but it still tells a comprehensive history, exploring the magazine’s journey from countercultural pamphlet to pillar of the media establishment. Beginning with the magazine’s wild days in the late ’60s and running up through its expansion into all areas of pop culture, including its disastrous article “A Rape on Campus,” Stories from the Edge is a detailed documentary, one that doesn’t shy away from difficult material.