It’s officially mid-summer—the tide of spring television has slacked, and television’s weirder offerings are landing on streamers like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max. Oh, and before we forget: stranger things is also back to complete its fourth part. Turn up the air conditioning and check out the most interesting things – new and old – coming to stream this month…
Streaming news in July
A curated list of movies and TV shows coming out this month The ringtone is very excited.
stranger thingsSeason 4: Volume 2 (July 1, Netflix)
Miles Surrey: After a three-year layoff exacerbated by the pandemic stranger things is finally back in our lives. For Netflix, which could really use a win after its streaming era’s worst setbacks, the series couldn’t have come back at a better time. And in a way it’s like stranger things never left: ’80s nostalgia is still going strong, Hawkins remains a ridiculously dangerous place to live, and the kids (er, teenagers) continue to relate to Upside Down supernatural beings through the prism of Dungeons & Dragons. (Let’s hear it for Vecna.) But four seasons in, stranger things has also evolved: the latest installment expands the scope well beyond Hawkins, introduces the series’ most compelling villain yet, and features special effects to rival blockbusters.
Last night in Soho (July 1, HBO Max)
House Gucci (July 2, Amazon Prime)
Adam Nayman: To get straight to the point, as Maurizio’s hapless and fashion-challenged cousin Paolo — a black sheep in need of a shear, a double for Fredo Corleone — Jared Leto is so outrageously over the top that he’s erasing the binary between good and bad acting. He either deserves an Oscar or should be sent to The Hague. Bulbous and pockmarked, sinewy and bald, staring at his co-stars from under layers of prosthetics, Leto gives himself up: In a family steeped in a certain tailored elegance, Paolo wears his failures on his sleeve . “He’s an idiot, but he’s my idiot,” explains his long-suffering father, Aldo (Al Pacino), who seems disappointed that he hasn’t passed on his own wolfish brilliance. The relationship’s balance of desperation and pathos is promising, but any real emotion vanishes when Leto delivers his dialogue in a lilting singsong tone – which he does the entire time. That’s not just a fake Italian accent — it’s like a meta comment on fake Italian accents. “I’ll fly up like a dove,” Paolo crows at one point and of course also is funny. However, the question of whether the joke lies with the character, the actor or the audience is an open one.
Below deck MediterraneanSeason 7 (Peacock)
Tuca & BertiSeason 3 (July 11, HBO Max)
Alison Herman: In many ways, the show is the same: it remains the distinctive vision of creator Lisa Hanawalt, the illustrator and comic artist who spent seven seasons building the world of BoJack Horseman. BoJack was produced by Hanawalt’s childhood friend Raphael Bob-Waksberg (now Executive Producer at Tuca & Berti) and was inspired by Hanawalt’s signature aesthetic: anthropomorphic animals that walk, talk, and have human-like existential crises. But for fans of Hanawalt’s solo work – collected in such volumes as Hot Dog Taste Test and Coyote dog girl—Tuca & Berti is an unfiltered expression of Hanawalt’s work. The show follows the adventures of its title characters, two bird best friends in their 30s: Tuca (Tiffany Haddish), a brash and feisty toucan who has never sobered up, and Bertie (Ali Wong), a neurotic songbird with a passion for baking , who lives with her boyfriend Speckle (Steven Yeun).
What we do in the shadowsSeason 4 (July 12, Hulu)
surrey: What we do in the shadows is a brilliant work of stupid art. Based on the 2014 mockumentary film of the same name created by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, the series follows the day-to-day struggles of a group of vampires living under one roof on Staten Island. As vampires Nandor, Nadja and Laszlo – all centuries old – struggle to navigate modern life, what the series comes closest to having as an overarching storyline is Nandor’s human confidante Guillermo (essentially a personal assistant) who is a vampire wants to become while also reckoning with the fact that he is a descendant of Van Helsing. (He’s learned that staking vampires is as natural for him as it is for Michael Jordan to hold grudges.)
Virgin RiverSSeason 4 (July 20, Netflix)
Rap Sh!t (July 21, HBO Max)
The gray man (July 22, Netflix)
surrey: The gray man— featuring a CIA agent (Ryan Gosling) gone rogue to stage a showdown with another agent (Chris Evans) hunting him — has been hyped as a potential franchise starter for Netflix, with a blockbuster scale, which is compared to James Bond. Given how well the Russo brothers have done with the MCU, Netflix is certainly hoping for another audience spectacle to fall comfortably in their wheelhouse. (Gosling is also an intriguing cast, as he’s one of the few remaining A-listers in Hollywood who hasn’t starred in a superhero film.)
Some new things you may have missed
Since it’s hard to keep up with everything, here are some things that premiered relatively recently that might be worth catching up on.
The bear (hulu)
Karl Holmes: The bear know what it is. That shouldn’t be enough to laud a show as one of the best of the year in our current content, Ragnarök, but the bar is so low it deserves a basement. Instead of 60 minutes of prestige TV padding, The bear settles and thrives within the 30 minute format. Instead of making cliche jokes about cooks spitting on food, The bear finds humor in the much more tense terrain of interpersonal trauma. Each member of the cast, whether with the seething misery of Jeremy Allen White’s Carmy or the raw charisma of Ebon Moss-Bachrach’s Richie, does just enough to shine without distracting from the ensemble… Anytime The bear about to make the easier, more anticipated decision, it veers into something more interesting—even if imperfect.
The old man (hulu)
Mrs Miracle (Disney+)
Daniel Chin: Mrs Miracle provides an interesting contrast moon knight, the Oscar Isaac-led series that marked Marvel Studios’ first attempt to introduce a new title character to their own Disney+ show. Not only is Mrs Miracle much lighter in tone, but it’s also so loaded with MCU references that even its credits sequence features a Trust a Bro Moving Company truck hawk eyewhereas moon knight gave way to only a few minor references to the MCU throughout the season. The new series offers enough references to captivate frequent MCU viewers through fanservice alone… However, all Avengers fanfare can only take on a new character so far, and Mrs Miracle Soon begins to build a standalone story as she explores the obstacles Kamala faces as she tries to balance her life at home and school with newfound skills unlocked by the mysterious bracelet she receives from the attic of the family.
Umbrella AcademySeason 3 (Netflix)
western worldSeason 4 (HBO Max)
Her husband: Over three seasons western world has repeatedly built up a series of seismic reversals. First, the “hosts” of the eponymous theme park became more sentient; then they turned on their flesh-and-blood guests; Eventually, they escaped altogether – they brought the robotic revolution to the real world and upped the ante accordingly. Last season even ended up killing off a main character, a commitment its creators stuck to. every time western world teases the audience with a journey into uncharted territory.