The streaming game’s blockbuster-like nature reaches new heights this weekend as our home-theater situations will get a real workout. Do you want to know where you’ll find the best bang for your buck among the streaming services? This week, there’s really not much of a contest, given that James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad relaunch will make its late arrival not only in theaters but on HBO Max. With the Delta variant running wild out there, this movie couldn’t be more welcome in living rooms. HBO Max has multiple other fresh offerings onboard as well, so time there will be invested well, especially since the Leto Joker won’t rain on anyone’s “damaged” parade.
However, rest assured that supervillains aren’t the only thing on the menu. Apple TV has an endearing new series starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt with more Ted Lasso on tap, too. Netflix has some brand new docuseries and an animated movie featuring Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Disney has some new series episodes and (in case you missed it) the Jungle Cruise movie. Amazon Prime has A24’s Val Kilmer documentary, and Peacock has a new Kevin Hart show. Don’t count out Paramount or AMC ’s newest options, either. This weekend is stuffed full of streaming content for everyone.
The Suicide Squad (Warner Bros. film on HBO Max) — David Ayer’s 2016 Suicide Squad confined itself to a PG-13 rating, but no one expected James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad to stay with PG-13, and in fact, this R-rated (and quite good) extravaganza is releasing simultaneously on streaming and in theaters. Enjoy the “horribly beautiful” assortment of supervillains as they undertake their latest Task Force X mission, and the cast is an enormous, eclectic, and electric. Not only do we have the returning Margot Robbie (as Harley Quinn), Joel Kinnaman (as Rick Flag), Viola Davis (as Amanda Waller), and Jai Courtney (as Boomerang), but John Cena, Idris Elba, Pete Davidson, and more joined the cast. Also: Sylvester Stallone as King Shark. Sold!
Woodstock 99: Peace, Love, and Rage (HBO film on HBO Max) — All was not what it seems for this three-day music festival that was meant to revive the countercultural idealism of its 1969 predecessor. Well, things weren’t “peace and love” in 1999, but rather, a total disaster by most standards. Mosh pits, blazing heat, a distinct lack of sanitation, and an absence of free water led to riots and looting, all of which were not deterred by the scant security measures. Decades later, this documentary looks back upon a pivotal moment when rose-tinted nostalgia evaporated under the hard truths exposed by this mismanaged festival. All pre-Fyre Festival!
Tig Notaro: Drawn (HBO special on HBO Max) — On the heels of the “hot Tig” role in Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead, quadruple threat (comedian, writer, actor and director) Tig Notaro pulls off an innovative first. That feat would be the first-ever entirely animated stand-up comedy special, in which you’ll witness an hour of pure genius. Several artistic styles will mesh with Notaro’s voice and storytelling style, and expect anecdotes about Dolly Parton and Jenny Slate, along with other fearless touches.
Gossip Girl: Season 1 premiere (HBO Max series) — The original CW series helped to launch the careers of Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, Sebastian Stan, and Penn Badgley (and the latter is now portraying an amped-up version of the same character on Netflix’s You). HBO Max is now ready to welcome another crop of mostly unknown faces playing wealthy, privileged teens who find themselves socially surveilled and at the mercy of the “Gossip Girl” narrator, who’s still voiced by Kristen Bell.
FBoy Island: Season 1 (HBO Max series) — Hoo boy this show looks like one hot mess, and that might be exactly what you need during this slightly disastrous summer. Escape to a land where a dozen self-proclaimed “FBoys” compete against a dozen self-proclaimed “Nice Guys” for the affections of three ladies. Nikki Glaser hosts, and the show aims to answer the ultimate social experiment’s question, according to the synopsis: “Can FBoys truly reform or do Nice Guys always finish last?” (Well, one of the FBoys crushes a mango with his bicep in the show’s trailer, so this is entertainment.)
Mr. Corman: Season 1 (Apple TV series) — Joseph Gordon-Levitt has proven himself to choose his roles carefully after stepping away from blockbuster-land, and that makes his choice, in general, worth watching. In this series, he plays a public-school high school teaser who’s in the midst of an existential crisis. Granted, the word “existential” might make some eyes glaze over with assumptions that this show will contain a lot of naval gazing. However, Gordon-Levitt’s character is fueled by “a sinking suspicion that he sucks as a person.” That’s not only darkly funny but shows that there’s plenty of juice to mine from seemingly mundane life concerns and the fear, which many of us share, that we’ll all feel like impostors while pretending to grow up.
Ted Lasso: Season 2 (Apple TV series) — First thing’s first: Everyone who’s caught a glimpse of this Bill Lawrence co-created and developed series loves it. That’s a notable feat, considering that star Jason Sudeikis first portrayed the title character way back in 2013 for NBC Sports’ promos for Premier League coverage. Fast forward to the fresh hell that was 2020, and the show surfaced as one of the year’s lone bright spots. Ted Lasso is somehow both relentlessly and charmingly cheery, although the last season finale showed the team losing against Manchester City, which spelled bad news, since the team can no longer hang in English Premier League games. We’ll see how they can turn themselves around, and while considering that possibility, it’s best to remember that Ted Lasso (and Walt Whitman) once said, “Be curious, not judgmental.”
Watch the Sound with Mark Ronson: Season 1 (Apple TV series) — The legendary producer and DJ pulls back the curtain on stories of music creation, which can be good, bad, and ugly regarding how far creators will go to nail the perfect sound. In addition, Ronson shines a light on artistry and technology’s intersection, and expect guests.
Jungle Cruise: (Disney film on Disney ) — Emily Blunt might be the star of the summer (after A Quiet Place 2‘s success) if this long-awaited potential blockbuster’s a hit, and the excellent news is that you can watch it in theaters or your living room. She punches The Rock in this movie, and he plays the shipper who’s attempting to guide her down the river through life-threatening obstacles. This movie’s based upon a Disney theme park ride, so expect plenty of ridiculousness including Jesse Plemons firing a torpedo at the duo after brandishing a German accent and Paul Giamatti with a pretty bird.
Short Circuit: Season 2 (Disney series) — Nope, this show still has nothing to do with that 1980s movie starring Steve Guttenberg. Rather, this show follows Walt Disney Animation Studios employees who can pitch and create their own original short films. The series aims to highlight risk-taking approaches and stories that might otherwise never see a greenlight.
Turning The Tables With Robin Roberts: Season 1 (Disney series) — The host jokingly described this as a “tea party,” but really, it’s a gathering of groundbreaking women throughout the entertainment industry. Those ladies include Jamie Lee Curtis and Tig Notaro, along with several other guests who present their own incredible journeys and reveal how they found true purpose. The series aims for authenticity and vulnerability as these women reveal what led them to evolve and expand their careers.
The Wonderful World Of Mickey Mouse: Batch 2 (Disney series) — The Sensational Six (Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy, and Pluto) return for more adventures that traverse locations and time periods with special guests, so tuck in and relax with some retro entertainment.
Vivo (Netflix film) — Netflix and Sony Pictures Animation paired up with a dream-team of filmmakers for a musical adventure that would be amiss if it didn’t star and feature new songs from Lin-Manuel Miranda. He portrays a one-of-kind kinkajou (a “honey bear” of the rainforest), who dreams of delivering a heart-shattering song to the long-lost love of his owner. Oscar nominee Kirk DeMicco (The Croods) is in the director’s seat with a co-directing assist from Brandon Jeffords (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2). The film also features the voices of Zoe Saldana, Michael Rooker, Brian Tyree Henry, Nicole Byer, and more. Ultimately, it’s a story about the universal languages of love and music and finding family in unexpected places.
Cocaine Cowboys: The Kings of Miami: Season 1 (Netflix series) — There’s so much blow in this trailer, which gives the documentary treatment to the excess-filled life of two childhood pals who transformed into powerful Miami drug kingpins over the course of decades. There’s a tiger and bullfighting and speedboats and money flying everywhere, it’s no wonder why “Los Muchachos” were so darn popular. They were also slippery fellows, due to their world-champ powerboat-racing status. A $2 billion empire eventually came crumbling down, but not without a valiant fight from the duo and the prosecutors.
Top Secret UFO Projects: Declassified: Season 1 (Netflix docuseries) — UFOs are so hot right now, and Netflix is taking a crack at a docuseries ahead of J.J. Abrams’ Showtime series. Things might be coming to a head (as far as public interest goes) after the U.S. government’s so-called comprehensive report on Unidentified Flying Objects revealed zilch. This Netflix original series promises a “factual” approach to dig into the latest information and possible proof that would expose government projects that may have covered up extraterrestrial visits to Earth. The trailer looks fascinating, so here’s to hoping that the show delivers some fresh insight.
Cooking With Paris: Season 1 (Netflix series) — If you wanted to watch a cooking show with not-so-wonderful cooking, then you’re in luck. Paris Hilton can’t cook too well, and she doesn’t pretend otherwise, but she has friends who can cook, so she’s aiming to brave the kitchen to screw everything up. Also, she’ll go grocery shopping, so hmm.
Shiny_Flakes: The Teenage Drug Lord (Netflix film) — You’ve probably heard of Netflix’s German series, How To Sell Drugs Online (Fast), and here’s a documentary that delivers the inspiration. A German teenager, Maximilian Schmidt (who went by the “Shiny Flakes” nickhame) got busted in 2015 running several million euros worth of illicit substances out of his family home. This turned out to be an international drug empire, and most of the money’s still missing.
Outer Banks: Season 2 (Netflix series) — This is not your typical teen drama. Last season delivered loads of intrigue and flat-out woo-woo revelations following a hurricane and buried treasure and class warfare between different factions in an overall well-to-do community. There are Kooks and Pogues, and the power’s gone for the entirety of the summer, which sounds miserable, but the mysteries won’t stop, including the whereabouts of John B.’s dad. And oh yes, there’s so much soapiness to the characters’ dynamics that you might lose your footing while slipping towards that sunken treasure.
Val (A24 movie on Amazon Prime) — Yep, a Val Kilmer documentary surfaced from the indie studio behind Uncut Gems, Midsommar, Ladybird, and The VVitch. That’s news in and of itself, but now, the atypical doc has arrived to celebrate the Top Gun and Batman actor. The mercurial man’s life and craft will take center stage, since he recorded hours of home-footage (like Soleil Moon Frye did, only with more aviator sunglasses) while filming his most iconic roles and being, you know, Val.
Hart to Heart: Season 1 (Peacock series) — Kevin Hart’s doing celebrity interviews with a twist, and that twist is wine. The result, hopefully, will be unfiltered conversation with actors, musicians, and other such influential people. Will things get a little bit messy, perhaps? With any luck, yes, as we hear about these A-listers’ journey to to their current statures, along with an obligatory discussion about obstacles with a dash of humor.
Behind The Music: Season 1 (Paramount series) — This revival brings back the Emmy-nominated docuseries that was once so popular on VH1 and will not be updated for a new generation. Of course, one should expect the older generations of music to be showcased here because, let’s face it, music can be considered ageless. The profiled artists this season include Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin, LL Cool J, and Huey Lewis, and one can expect plenty of “vault” episodes that have bene remastered and updated with fresh interviews. MTV Entertainment co-produces this series, which only streams here.
The Walking Dead: Origins (AMC limited series) — This batch of episodes will bridge the gap between zombie-apocalypse-laden seasons with the origin stories of Daryl, Carol, Maggie, and Negan. Expect a lot of interwoven clips (along with cast interviews and narration) to remind everyone of these characters’ most pivotal moments as their stories head into the final season.
Ultra City Smiths: Season 1 (AMC series) — Fans of Robot Chicken will undoubtedly want to check out this stop-motion animated selection from Stoopid Buddy Stoodios and showrunner Steve Conrad. Expect very adult-oriented humor and the voices of Kristen Bell, Dax Shepard, Alia Shawkat, Tim Meadows, John C. Reilly, Bebe Neuwirth, Jason Mantzoukas, and Damon Herriman.
The Beast Must Die: (AMC series on AMC ) — Jared Harris and Cush Jumbo star in this revenge-thriller series that has already been renewed for a second season. The story’s based on Nicholas Blake’s 1938 novel and revolves around a mother who’s hell-bent upon avenging her son’s death, all while a PTSD-afflicted detective’s working the case. It’s an enormously chaotic show, but it’s so crushingly executed that you’d be gripping your seat arms if you watched it in a theater.