Best TV/Movies to Stream in July: ‘Stranger Things 3,’ ‘Veronica Mars’ 3.0
From the return of two flagship Netflix shows to another misadventure with your favorite wisecracking twentysomething SoCal gumshoe
So what can you enjoy from the temperature-controlled sanctuary of the living room? Streaming-service subscribers who can’t take the heat (literally) can check out a cult sensation’s (second) second coming, a revival of a rom-com classic and a violent elbow to superhero TVs ribs. Plus Netflix trots out one of big blockbuster shows — welcome back, Stranger Things! — and says goodbye to one of its first huge hits. Here’s what coming streaming-wise for July. (For other TV options, go here.)
Another Life (Netflix, July 25th)
When an alien artifact crash-lands on Earth, an exploratory committee gets launched into deepest space to ascertain the origins of this enigmatic object. The crew of the Salvare, led by their valiant captain (Battlestar Galactica‘s Katee Sackhoff) may have a traitor in their midst, however, not to mention additional threats from the hostile forces they encounter along the way. Netflix has been keeping intriguingly tight-lipped about this sci-fi project. Whether this is the next Stranger Things-level hit or simply this year’s Altered Carbon remains to be seen.
The Boys (Amazon Prime, July 26th)
If you’ve had it with the boy scouts of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you may want to check out this this adaptation of Garth “Preacher” Ennis’s gleefully profane comics series set in a world beset by corrupt a-hole superheroes. Our last line of defense against Earth’s last line of defense is “The Boys,” a group of vigilantes led by the gruff Billy Bate (Karl Urban) who are hellbent taking down the capes-and-tights set with equally underhanded, dishonest, and occasionally gruesome methods. “Truth, justice and the American Way” this ain’t.
Four Weddings and a Funeral (Hulu, July 31st)
Rom-com connoisseur Mindy Kaling takes one of the genre’s classics — the 1994 charmer pairing Andie MacDowell with a stammering Hugh Grant — and filters it through a fresh cultural perspective. The 10-episode limited series is fueled by the chemistry between Pakistani-British banker named Kash (Nikesh Patel) and African-American political attaché named Maya (Game of Thrones alum Nathalie Emmanuel) after they have a chance encounter at London’s Heathrow airport. They navigate tangled relationships and headaches at work over the course of one jam-packed social season during which they can’t stop running into one another. Bring on the meet-cutes!
Frankenstein’s Monster’s Monster, Frankenstein (Netflix, July 16th)
For those viewers in need of additional David Harbour content after mainlining the new season of Stranger Things (see below), Netflix has graciously prepared this one-off special with a bizarre, highly conceptual hook. The mockumentary purports to collect footage from a televised stage play mounted by Harbour’s own father, a novel take on the age-old tale of man’s scientific hubris. Except that the actor portrays his own pops, with a lineup of familiar faces (including Alfred Molina and Kate Berlant) filling out the regional company’s cast list. Look, it can’t be as bad as Hellboy, so….
Harlots, Season 3 (Hulu, July 10th)
The balance of power radically shifted as the second season of this prestige drama set during King George III’s reign came to a close. High-power brothel madams Margaret (Samantha Morton) and Lydia (Lesley Manville) were each taken out of the game — the former’s been sent to America and the latter’s remanded to a mental asylum. Now Margaret’s daughter Charlotte (Jessica Brown-Findlay) and new competitors the Pincher brothers (Alfie Allen and Ash Hunter), self-styled pimps, will attempt to fill in the leadership vaccum. Expect skin and sin in equal measure.
Human Discoveries (Facebook, July 16th)
Facebook’s had trouble getting a slice of the streaming-entertainment pie; perhaps the sheer star power of their latest animated release will be enough for everyone to take notice. A stacked voice cast including Zac Efron, Anna Kendrick, Jillian Bell, Lisa Kudrow, Paul Scheer and Lamorne Morris imagines scenes from the beginning of time, as our species’ ancestors first conceive of society’s building blocks. Once they get the hang of fire and the wheel, things take a turn for the hilariously absurd as they come up with other concepts like art, racism, alcohol, and monogamy. (That last one turns out to be a particularly tough sell.)
Orange Is the New Black: The Final Season (Netflix, July 26th)
Goodbye, women of Litchfield Penitentiary. Goodbye, Piper (Taylor Schilling), you have served your time and must readjust to life on the outside. Goodbye, Taystee (Danielle Brooks), we hope you acclimate to your status as scapegoat for the recent riot. Goodbye, Suzanne (Uzo Abuda), Nicky (Natasha Lyonne) and Alex (Laura Prepon), try to stay on the straight and narrow while incarcerated. The groundbreaking prison saga will end as it began, with women of every stripe just trying to survive in a world stacked against them.
Point Blank (Netflix, July 12th)
A French action smash gets a down-and-dirty American remake. Anthony Mackie is Paul, a regular Joe at a loss for what to do after corrupt police abduct his wife. Frank Grillo is Abe, the expert crook that Paul has been tasked with springing from a heavily guarded medical facility. They make a clean break, but the situation goes belly-up, forcing the men to form an uneasy alliance. Testosterone-charged one-liners, permanent five o’clock shadow, the delicate tinkle of spent casings tumbling onto cement — it’s got all the essential ingredients for a good pulp potboiler.
Stranger Things, Season 3 (Netflix, July 4th)
Hawkins, Indiana has entered the summer of ’85, and there’s a brand-spankin’-new shopping mall in town. This also means our now-teenage gang will face off against a new form of surreal malevolence, while grown-ups Joyce (Winona Ryder) and Jim (David Harbour) fret and keep the town safe, respectively. The forces of nostalgia will be stronger than ever, with scrunchies, boomboxes, and the occasional Rubik’s Cube transporting viewers back to the Reagans years. Something wicked (and very growl-y) this way comes. The trailer seems nice ‘n’ ominous. We’ll see if the third time’s still the charm.
Veronica Mars (Hulu, July 26th)
The willpower of this cult object’s widespread, dedicated fandom knows no bounds: “Marshmallows” (hey, it’s better than “Mars-heads”) first manifested a movie spinoff into existence to right the original series’ unceremonious cancellation after three seasons — and now they’re getting an eight-episode reunion season featuring all the key personnel. Kristen Bell reprises the title role as a plucky SoCal detective, right as someone’s picking off spring breakers in her beachfront town of Neptune. Veronica and her dad (Enrico Colantoni) uncover a Chinatown-sized conspiracy and, we’re guessing, the chance to crack wise under pressure.