Streaming entertainment 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 raunchy comedy, a Ruth Bader Ginsburg doc, and a classic Halloween movie to kick off October.
‘Big Mouth’ season 2
Netflix’s Big Mouth, a surreal cartoon about a group of kids going through the turbulence of puberty, was a surprise hit in its first season. Their raging desires are represented by “Hormone Monsters” Maurice (Nick Kroll) and Connie (Maya Rudolph), who lead the kids to indulge themselves. The show is raunchy and outlandish, but it also uses its weird humor to earnestly convey the chaos and awkwardness of becoming a teenager. Season 2 delves even further into the adolescent mind, as the kids deal with sexual frustration, parents divorcing, and drugs. Among season 2’s new additions is the Shame Wizard (David Thewlis), a menacing figure who shows up to drive the kids to despair (but in funny ways). With an all-star cast (in addition to Kroll, Rudolph, and Thewlis, there’s Jason Mantzoukas, John Mulaney, and Jenny Slate, among others) and a willingness to demolish the boundaries of good taste, Big Mouth is a great comedy.
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‘Pushing Daisies’ seasons 1 and 2
Bryan Fuller’s Pushing Daisies was a truly singular show, a magical detective story set in a colorful world, full of oddball characters — and like many great, experimental shows, it died young. The show centers on Ned (Lee Pace), a piemaker with a strange ability: If he touches a dead person, they will come back to life, but if he touches them again, they return to death forever. Moreover, if he brings a dead person back for more than a minute, the universe will kill someone else in their place. When private investigator Emerson Cod (Chi McBride) witnesses Ned using his power, he suggests they work together: Ned will use his powers to revive murder victims long enough to ask who killed them, allowing them to solve murders and collect the reward money. Ned’s life gets even more complicated when his childhood crush, Chuck (Anna Friel), is murdered. Ned resurrects her, but because of his power, they can never touch again. Pushing Daisies is a beautiful little slice of fantasy, and although its life was cut short, it’s worth watching for the clever writing and zany characters.
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‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’
The Nightmare Before Christmas holds up as one of the greatest animated films of all time; even today, people still sing the film’s songs and buy Jack Skellington hoodies at their local mall. The film is a dark fantasy beginning in Halloween Town, a world where ghouls, werewolves, ghosts, and other creepy creatures celebrate Halloween all year. The town’s master of revels is Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon), the Pumpkin King, a slender skeleton who, despite his high status, is bored with the endless repetition of Halloween. After wandering beyond the borders of Halloween Town, Jack stumbles into a new realm, one of bright lights and good cheer: Christmas Town. Obsessed with this new holiday, Jack decides to kidnap Santa Claus and take the reins, putting a spooky twist on the Christmas festivities. With its striking character designs, stop-motion animation, and catchy soundtrack, The Nightmare Before Christmas is a timeless fairy-tale.
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‘The Man in the High Castle’ season 3
Based on the novel by Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle depicts an alternate universe in which the Axis powers won World War II, with Germany and Japan dividing the United States between them. Juliana Crain (Alexa Davalos) lives in Japanese-occupied San Francisco, and although her father was killed by the Japanese, she gets along in the new order. After she comes across a film reel depicting a world in which the Allies beat the Axis, however, she seeks the truth behind it and ends up embroiled in the resistance brewing in what was once America. The Man in the High Castle is compelling sci-fi, with a sprawling cast and an interweaving narrative.
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No judge in American history has received the kind of fervent idealizing that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has. In the age of the internet, young Americans have made a meme of Justice Ginsburg, dubbing her the Notorious RBG (an homage to rapper Biggie Smalls) to celebrate her often sharp dissents in cases, and putting her face on shirts, mugs, and other paraphernalia so that fans can celebrate her legacy on the court and the joys of consumerism at the same time. The documentary RBG, directed by Julie Cohen and Betsy West, doesn’t challenge this trend, but it does offer an informative look at Ginsburg’s most lauded contributions to the law, tracing her career from her time as a lawyer arguing cases of gender discrimination before the Supreme Court to her time ruling on cases of gender discrimination as a justice. Unfortunately, the film also buys into the pop culture iconography surrounding Ginsburg, portraying her as a radical firebrand rather than a moderate pragmatist, as her record suggests; for those who want to learn more about the Justice, however, it’s a fine starting point.
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