Though the song is nearly 30 years old, Bruce Springsteen’s “57 Channels (And Nothin’ On)” encapsulates the struggle viewers face today. With hundreds of cable channels, dozens of streaming services, and countless on-demand titles, trying to decide what to watch can feel like an endless ordeal.
That’s where we come in. Each month, Boston.com recommends 10 must-watch movies and TV shows available on streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+, HBO Max, and more.
Many recommendations are for new shows, while others are for under-the-radar releases you might have missed, or classics that are about to depart a streaming service at the end of the month.
Have a new favorite movie or show you think we should know about? Let us know in the comments, or email me at [email protected]. Looking for even more great streaming options? Check out our watchlists from March, February and January.
With news of Marblehead native Rob Delaney joining the cast of upcoming Showtime series “The Man Who Fell to Earth” (not to mention his recent role in Warners Bros’ live-action “Tom & Jerry” movie), now is a good time to check out his dramedy “Catastrophe,” whether as a rewatch or for the very first time. The show begins with American businessman Rob (Delaney) having a one-night stand with a Irish woman played by Sharon Horgan, and the unexpected pregnancy (and birth) that follows. The chemistry between the pair builds as the seasons progress, and the emotions they share — both good and bad — are undeniably authentic. Bonus: You’ll get to see the late Carrie Fisher playing Rob’s mother.
How to watch: “Catastrophe” is streaming on Amazon Prime.
“City On a Hill”
Season two of the Boston-set ‘90s crime drama “City On a Hill” still centers around the rivalry between loose cannon FBI agent Jackie Rohr (Kevin Bacon) and hard-charging assistant district attorney Decourcy Ward (Aldis Hodge, “Hidden Figures”). But the Showtime series’ focus has shifted slightly from the Charlestown armored car robber gang featured in season one to a Roxbury housing project. When an 11-year-old girl is killed by a stray bullet during a gunfight between rival gangs, some of the neighborhood’s most powerful figures redouble their efforts to bring change to the city.
How to watch: “City On a Hill” is streaming on Hulu with a Showtime add-on subscription.
Along with “Minari,” “The Father” is the last of this year’s Best Picture Oscar nominees to be available to watch at home, and the family drama starring two Oscar winners in Anthony Hopkins (“The Silence of the Lambs”) and Olivia Colman (“The Favourite”) is well worth the wait. Based on the 2012 play “La Pere,” the film follows the relationship of father Anthony (Hopkins) and daughter Joy (Colman), and the struggles they both face as Anthony battles aging after moving in with Joy.
“Formula 1: Drive to Survive”
Boston may be a sports town, but Formula 1 racing is not one of the competitions most residents closely follow — the closest the city got was the canceled Boston Grand Prix, a proposed IndyCar event in the Seaport that ended in lawsuits and fraud charges. That being said, the Netflix series “Formula 1: Drive to Survive” lays bare how difficult the sport can be, and gives viewers a window into the high-stakes drama brewing between teams like Red Bull Racing and Mercedes.
How to watch: “Formula 1: Drive to Survive” is streaming on Netflix.
“Godzilla vs. Kong”
Before we go any further, ask yourself this: Do you want to watch a movie where King Kong journeys to the center of the Earth (which is hollow) to retrieve an ancient axe (which has nuclear capabilities) to fight Godzilla (who is basically one giant nuclear furnace)? If the answer is no, steer clear of “Godzilla vs. Kong,” which ratchets the comedy of its gigantic action setpieces to new levels in the fourth entry of Warner Bros’ Monsterverse. The cast is stacked with fantastic actors like Brian Tyree Henry (“Atlanta”) and Millie Bobby Brown (“Stranger Things”), but the only stars that matter are 80 feet tall, and they give it their all.
Fans of “Minari” were upset at Golden Globes voters earlier this year when the Hollywood Foreign Press Association nominated the film in the best Foreign Film category, even though it was produced by an American studio, written and directed by an American, and set in America. The Academy didn’t make the same mistake, nominating “Minari” for six awards including Best Picture. Loosely based on writer/director Lee Isaac Chung’s upbringing, “Minari” follows a family of first-generation South Korean immigrants as they try to make a living in rural Arkansas.
“On the Rocks”
Despite being shut out of the Oscar field and receiving a lone Golden Globe nod, there’s a lot to like about “On the Rocks,” starting with the familial chemistry between Rashida Jones (“Parks & Recreation”) and Bill Murray (“Groundhog Day”), who reteams with “Lost in Translation” director Sofia Coppola. Laura (Jones) is stuck in a rut, and begins to suspect her husband Dean (Marlon Wayans, “Requiem for a Dream”) is being unfaithful. When Laura confides in her playboy father Felix (Murray), the pair team up to begin investigating, rebuilding a long-chilly relationship along the way.
How to watch: “On the Rocks” is streaming on Apple TV+.
“The Handmaid’s Tale”
Before season 4 of the award-winning dystopian drama premieres on Hulu April 28, now is a good time to catch up on the Margaret Atwood adaptation. In the Puritanical near-future New England society known as Gilead, women are second-class citizens, largely reserved for slavery and breeding. The show has progressed beyond the original 1985 novel at this point, with Offred (Elisabeth Moss, “Mad Men”) on the run in the newest season.
How to watch: “The Handmaid’s Tale” is now streaming on Hulu.
“This Is a Robbery: The World’s Biggest Art Heist”
While the story of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist is well-known in the Boston area, the theft will soon become familiar to a worldwide audience thanks to “This Is a Robbery: The World’s Biggest Art Heist,” a new Netflix docuseries that debuted earlier this week on the streaming platform. Directed by Colin Barnicle, “This Is a Robbery” is an episodic look at the entire saga, jumping back and forth through time to offer up theories, identify suspects, and even show up at the courthouse as one of the heist’s suspects walks out of jail more than a decade earlier than expected. Long-time Globe readers will run into familiar names and faces while watching: Executive produced by Boston Globe Media Partners CEO Linda Pizzuti Henry, “This Is a Robbery” features interviews with Globe columnist Kevin Cullen, Globe reporter Shelley Murphy, and former Globe Spotlight reporter Stephen Kurkjian, who wrote an in-depth book on the heist.
How to watch: “This Is a Robbery: The World’s Biggest Art Heist” is streaming on Netflix.
The true crime genre has seen an explosion in popularity on streaming platforms, with viewers eager to consume documentaries that allow them to gather clues, solve a mystery, or see an injustice reversed. In the Oscar-nominated documentary “Time,” which is streaming on Amazon Prime, viewers get none of those beat-by-beat endorphin rushes. Instead, the story follows Sibil “Fox” Rich, a woman who has spent the last two decades attempting to free her husband Rob from a 60-year prison sentence in Louisiana while raising their six children. Through repeated shots of Fox’s daily calls to prison officials and 20 years of home video footage of the couple’s children growing up, viewers gain an intimate understanding of what has been lost, and the titanic effort it takes to never give up hope.
How to watch: “Time” is streaming on Amazon Prime.
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