The beauty of streaming means that we often power through an entire season of a show — sometimes even an entire series — more quickly than ever before. With each new week comes a new opportunity to check out a fresh series. Whether you’re in the mood to laugh, cry, be mesmerized, or be intrigued, here are some of the best new shows to stream this week.
One of the best Netflix original crime dramas to date, this series, which launched in summer 2017, made its third season available in March 2020. Like the first two, there are jaw-dropping moments and stomach-turning scenes that make you both sympathize with the Byrde family and despise them. Marty (Jason Bateman), a skilled financial advisor with a brilliant knack for laundering money, gets himself, and his family, in too deep with a Mexican drug cartel. Are they actually enjoying what they do now or leaning in because they have no other option? The family, particularly Marty’s wife Wendy (Laura Linney), teeters on the line between reluctant participant and the Heisenberg version of Walter White.
If you’re in the mood for an animated series, this one should be at the top of your list. Based on the Konami Japanese video game series of the same name, season one serves as an adaptation of the 1989 Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse and the three main characters who must defend their nation against Dracula and his evil companions. Seasons two and three delve into the 2005 entry called Castlevania: Curse of Darkness. The show premiered in summer 2017 but three seasons are now available, including the latest, which debuted in early March for a total of 22 episodes. The show has already been confirmed for renewal for a fourth season.
Ryan Murphy’s newest drama for Netflix is about the golden age of Hollywood after World War II. Aspiring actors and filmmakers will do almost anything to make their showbiz dreams come true, which speaks to the seediness and grime that Murphy often reveals on the underbelly of glamor. Murphy’s last series for Netflix, The Politician, was somewhat polarizing, so you’ll have to tune in to see how the followup goes.
It’s a quick binge of just four episodes telling the riveting story of a young girl who flees her Hasidic Jewish family and community in New York to escape to Berlin where her biological mother resides. There, she happens upon students from a music conservatory who make her yearn to pursue her passion for music and a secular life. Loosely based on Deborah Feldman’s 2012 autobiography Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots, it’s the first Netflix series to launch primarily in Yiddish (with subtitles where needed). Israeli actor Shira Haas does a wonderful job of portraying the frightened, rebellious, and curious 19-year-old runaway Esty.
After Life (2020)
In yet another hilarious Ricky Gervais project, he stars as Tony, a man who, in dealing with the death of his wife, decides he wants to punish the world. Dubbed a British black comedy, the series sees Tony try to get revenge on the cruel world as an alternative to committing suicide. Season two debuted in late April, and — spoiler alert — Tony may have turned over a new leaf. Now, instead of trying to get back at everyone and everything who wronged him, he is trying to help those who helped him through his difficult time. In addition to starring in the series, Gervais also serves as creator, producer, and director.
Dead to Me (2020)
This black comedy stars Christina Applegate as Jen, a woman who, while dealing with the grief of losing her husband in a car accident, finds a confidante in a new friend, Judy (Linda Cardellini). Judy might not exactly be who she seems, though. Secrets behind Jen’s husband’s death (and their marriage) revealed in season one lead to twists and turns you never see coming. You’ll both laugh and cringe your way through season two as both actors do a wonderful job drawing you into their markedly different yet equally compelling characters. Also, a few supporting characters have a better chance to shine.
Trial by Media (2020)
If you’re into true crime and documentaries, this show might be the perfect addition to your watch list. The six-part series features standalone episodes that each cover a memorable trial in recent history. Each one centers around how media coverage framed the case and potentially impacted the verdict or, at the very least, public sentiment. It kicks off with a murder case involving guests who appeared on The Jenny Jones Show and the media hoopla surrounding the trial, thanks to its airing on Court TV. Other trials covered in the episodes include politician Rod Blagojevich and African immigrant Amadou Diallo, who was shot 41 times by New York City police officers.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. the Reverend (2020)
In Netflix’s second interactive project — the first was Bandersnatch, an episode of Black Mirror — the atmosphere flips from dramatic horror to comedy. Offered in the “choose your own adventure” style, viewers help Kimmy make decisions as she plans her wedding to a British prince (played by Daniel Radcliffe). She gets distracted while investigating a mysterious book she finds in her childhood backpack that suggests the Reverend (Jon Hamm) may have been hiding more women in other bunkers. With all characters reprising their roles, the show features the same silly humor and deeply creative one-liners as the original series, which ended in 2019. The story can be taken in multiple directions, each one as hilarious as the next, making it the perfect lighthearted show to watch when you need a good laugh. Hint: The tone is set immediately — if you try to skip the intro, be prepared for a fun surprise.
Rolling Stone describes this drama thriller miniseries as “where tech and terror collide.” Created, written, and directed by Alex Garland, who’s known for such high-profile projects as Ex Machina and 28 Days Later, and starring Nick Offerman, it is about a computer engineer and her investigation of a quantum computing company she believes is responsible for her boyfriend’s disappearance. New episodes in the first season are streaming weekly, with eight in all. Originally picked up by FX, the series premiered on Hulu as part of the FX on Hulu initiative.
One of the new FX on Hulu specials, Dave is based on the rise to fame of rapper and comedian Dave Burd, more well-known by the stage name Lil Dicky. The series follows Dave Burd (yes, he uses his real name) in his late twenties in LA, trying to navigate the music scene while balancing his relationships, friendships, and enormous ego. He knows he’s the best rapper of all time, he just has to get his friends on board. Dave‘s a curious bio series, following a guy who is very recently famous and who got there almost exclusively on the strength of his YouTube music videos. It’s hard to tell what’s fact and fiction on this show as Burd seems completely willing to act out anything and everything that happened on his road to fame, which is part of what makes the show so fun and refreshing. It’s co-created by Burd and Jeff Schaffer, with a production team that includes the likes of Kevin Hart, Greg Mottola, Marty Bowen, and Justin Bieber’s (who makes an appearance) manager Scooter Braun.
High Fidelity (2020)
This TV series adaptation of Nick Hornby’s novel of the same name has a lot to live up to with the iconic 2000 romantic comedy-drama film having been a commercial and critical success. This version stars Zoe Kravitz as a record store owner who is obsessed with pop culture and music. The first season of 10 episodes received solid reviews, with the RottenTomatoes critical consensus stating that while it “skips the occasional beat,” the “fresh take on a familiar track is as witty as it is emotionally charged, giving the charming and curmudgeonly Zoe Kravitz plenty of room to shine.” Fun fact: Kravitz’s mother, Lisa Bonet, appeared in the original movie.
Mrs. America (2020)
This political drama about the passing of the Equal Rights Amendment has a star-studded cast that includes Cate Blanchett, Rose Byrne, Uzo Aduba, Margo Martindale, and Sarah Paulson. The miniseries is just three episodes long but delves into the history of this movement and the views of women in the ’70s, from a conservative who was against the ratification to second-wave feminists. After less than of week of streaming, the show already has an impressive 95% approval rating on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, with critics raving about the performance of Blanchett as Phyllis Schlafly, the conservative leader of the backlash against equal rights.
CBS All Access
Star Trek: Picard (2020)
This is a must-watch for any Star Trek fan, representing the return of the character of Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart). The eighth series in the franchise, it is set 20 years after Star Trek: Nemesis as Picard, now retired, has been deeply troubled by the death of his friend Data and the destruction of Romulus. Episodes streamed weekly from January 23 through March 26 with all 10 now available to stream. Two more seasons have already been confirmed. And while the show has been criticized for a slower pace than Star Trek fans might expect, Stewart’s performance has, not surprisingly, been lauded.
Fans waited almost two years for a new season of this enthralling science-fiction Western about a fictional adult amusement park where people can go to fulfill their every desire. The park is run by “hosts,” eerily human-like A.I.s that you’d never be able to tell apart from a human aside from the fact that they keep coming back every time they die. Based on the 1973 Michael Crichton film, the series is far more modern and detailed in the portrayal of these hosts who begin to remember and “feel” and the real people who are tasked with running the place behind the scenes.
The Mandalorian (2019)
Star Wars fans fell in love with the show, and particularly the character of “Baby Yoda.” The space Western series created by Jon Favreau is the first live action series in the iconic franchise. It is set five years after Return of the Jedi and 25 years prior to The Force Awakens. The main character is Din Djarin, a Mandalorian bounty hunter who is trying to reach the New Republic. Season one contains eight episodes, and if production remains on track, a second season is set to premiere in October 2020.
Tales from the Loop (2020)
Craving sci-fi? Check out this sci-fi drama that is based on the art book by Swedish artist Simon Stalenhag. The Loop is a machine built to unlock and explore the mysteries of the universe, and the mind-bending series looks at the adventures of the people who live above it. The content of the series, which includes eight episodes in the first season, is based on Stalenhag’s many paintings. While critics suggest that the show moves a bit too slowly, it has been praised for being able to transpose Stalenhag’s paintings into moving art and providing “a welcome dose of warmth and humanity with its sci-fi.”
The year is 2033 and humans near death can “upload” their consciousness to virtual reality hotels that serve as personalized afterlives for the guests. When LA party-boy and coder Nathan’s (Robbie Amell) self-driving car crashes with him in it, his girlfriend uploads him to the luxurious Lakeview VR. There, he meets Nora (Andy Allo), a customer service agent who is very much alive, living in Brooklyn. But her digital form is there in Lakeview to onboard Nathan and help him cope with this new (virtual) reality. Unfortunately, Nathan’s new afterlife may be going a little better than Nora’s real life.
Considered to be one of the most underrated shows of the early ’00s, this J.J. Abrams action thriller aired on ABC for five seasons from 2001 to 2006, all of which are now available for streaming. It starred now-movie-star Jennifer Garner as Sydney Bristow, a CIA double agent pretending to be an operative for a worldwide criminal organization. As the series title implies, throughout the episodes and seasons, she takes on many different aliases as she attempts to hide her true identity. The series, which also starred Bradley Cooper, Victor Garber, Balthazar Getty, and Melissa George, has appeared on many “best of TV” show lists.
The Morning Show (2019)
The star-studded cast including Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carell fueled initial curiosity about this show, but the topical and powerful storyline and great acting make it a worthwhile watch. Mitch Kessler (Carell) is abruptly fired from his position as co-anchor of a popular breakfast news show, leaving his long-time on-screen partner, Alex Levy (Aniston), distraught. As everyone deals with the fallout and a shameful culture of secrecy and cover-ups is brought to light, a bright and cynical local news reporter, Bradley Jackson (Witherspoon), gets caught up in the drama.
Defending Jacob (2020)
Chris Evans makes the switch to the small screen in this crime drama that sees the murder in a town tear a family apart. Based on the William Landay novel of the same name, Evans plays Andy, a father whose 14-year-old son Jacob is accused of murdering a fellow student. He and his wife Laurie (Michelle Dockery) must work to try and clear his name, but evidence continues to mount. Metacritic reviews show generally favorable reviews, not surprising given the stellar cast that also includes Cherry Jones and J.K. Simmons.
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