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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 previous editions of our must-see list here.
What do you get when you combine the absurd, trope-heavy comedy stylings of The Lonely Island paired with a beloved Disney franchise? In the case of “Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers,” you get the closest thing to a modern-day “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” that the House of Mouse would be willing to greenlight. In this winking satire, John Mulaney and Andy Samberg play Chip and Dale, a formerly dynamic duo who have since separated after Dale ruined their iconic TV show by pursuing his own projects. But when fellow Rescue Ranger Monterey Jack (Eric Bana) goes missing, the pair must dust off their magnifying glasses and get on the case.
How to watch: “Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers” is streaming on Disney+.
If you’ve already worn yourself out after a full month of Pride parties, settle in for this contemporary “Pride and Prejudice” adaptation set on the gay-friendly haven of Fire Island. In the Elizabeth Bennett role, Joel Kim Booster plays Noah, the clever matchmaker who attempts to play Cupid for his group of friends, particularly Howie (“SNL” star Bowen Yang) and Charlie (James Scully, “Heathers”). “Fire Island” may be based on a pre-Victorian novel, but like Netflix’s “Bridgerton,” there’s way more explicit sex and bawdy humor than Jane Austen could’ve ever dreamed up. Austen purists may blanch, but “Fire Island” is a raucously fun time for everyone else.
How to watch: “Fire Island” is streaming on Hulu.
Every time Adam Sandler stars in a movie that isn’t a dumb comedy starring all of his friends, the longtime New Hampshire resident offers superlative performances, in the likes of “Uncut Gems” and “Punch-Drunk Love.” In this inspirational sports drama, Sandler is dialed in again, playing Stanley Sugerman, a struggling basketball scout who thinks he may have discovered a diamond in the rough in Spanish hoops player Bo Cruz (real-life NBA player Juancho Hernangómez). Stanley puts everything on the line to get Bo a shot in the NBA, straining relationships with his colleagues and family — particularly his wife, Teresa (Queen Latifah) — in the process.
How to watch: “Hustle” is streaming on Netflix.
Based on a true story first broken by The Boston Globe, “Jerry & Marge Go Large” chronicles the journey of two Michigan retirees who discovered a flaw in a pair of lottery games, scoring tens of millions of dollars in winnings for them and their friends in the process. Unlike the rigged McDonalds Monopoly game that was the subject of a recent HBO Max documentary, most of what married couple Jerry Selbee (Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad”) and Marge Selbee (Annette Bening, “American Beauty”) did was perfectly legal. Watching the story of two retirees who drove 12 hours from Michigan to exploit a mathematical loophole in Massachusetts’ now-discontinued Cash WinFall game is a slam-dunk premise, and thankfully the talent of its two stars adds to the proceedings.
How to watch: “Jerry & Marge Go Large” is streaming on Paramount+.
Saturday marks the 40th anniversary of John Carpenter’s (“Halloween”) landmark horror movie “The Thing,” a pioneering effort in practical effects and a star-making vehicle for longtime Carpenter collaborator Kurt Russell (“Tombstone”). A group of researchers in Antarctica are fighting cabin fever when their base is infiltrated by The Thing, an unfrozen alien that can mimic the appearance of any living creature. Carpenter’s film perfectly captures the paranoia of Americans facing the run-up of the early Cold War era and the initial spread of AIDS, which translates surprisingly well to the current climate of fear we’re living in.
How to watch: “The Thing” is streaming on Peacock.
That Bill Hader never won an Emmy for his work on “Saturday Night Live” is a shame. That he has won two for the first two seasons of HBO’s dark comedy “Barry” is a vindication of the comedian’s talents. Even with a three-year gap between seasons, “Barry” has kept its fastball, delving deeper into the psyche of Hader’s hitman-turned-thespian and refusing to shy away from the darkness that defines the show.
How to watch: “Barry” is streaming on HBO Max.
If you’re a fan of superheroes but have a bit of a Marvel hangover, try out “The Boys” on Amazon Prime. Created by Eric Kripke (“Supernatural”), the series follows a world in which an elite team of vigilantes needs to reign in superpowered people who abuse their abilities. That said, members of “The Seven” are no angels themselves, prone to extreme narcissism and serving a corporation that suppresses its own heinous crimes. Season 3, in particular, has been a rude awakening for a section of fans who have only just now realized that one of the main characters is both a) a terrible person, and b) an explicit and unflattering analogue for a certain boastful former world leader.
How to watch: “The Boys” is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Sitcoms tend to take a few episodes (or sometimes even a full season) to find their footing, with even classics like “The Simpsons,” “Seinfeld,” “The Office,” and “Parks and Recreation” featuring forgettable first seasons. With that in mind, while the new Apple TV+ comedy “Loot” isn’t fully formed, the early episodes offer a lot of promise, particularly due to its protagonist played by Maya Rudolph (“Saturday Night Live”). Rudolph basically plays a fictional MacKenzie Scott (neé Bezos), an ultra-wealthy recent divorceé struggling to reacclimate to normal life and figure out how to use the $87 billion she gets from her cheating tech CEO husband (Adam Scott, “Severance”). Co-created by former “Parks & Rec” writers Alan Yang and Matt Hubbard and featuring a winning supporting cast that includes Ron Funches (“Undateable”), Joel Kim Booster (“Fire Island”), and Boston native Nat Faxon (“The Way Way Back”), “Loot” is already a charmer, and feels like it will be firing on all cylinders by the end of its freshman outing.
How to watch: “Loot” is streaming on Apple TV+.
Most Marvel movies and shows are now mega-budget vehicles tied to the biggest stars Hollywood has to offer. So it’s a bit strange — and undeniably refreshing — to watch “Ms. Marvel,” a new Disney+ series anchored by the charisma of actress Iman Vellani in her first-ever on-screen performance. Vellani plays Kamala Khan, a 16-year-old vlogger and Marvel superfan who wages battle against her strict parents to let her go to a comic-con. Kamala eventually finds her way there, and completes her cosplay outfit with an old family bangle that has hidden powers, transforming her from Captain Marvel superfan into Ms. Marvel herself. While only a few episodes in, “Ms. Marvel” feels like it’s telling a whole new story in the MCU.
How to watch: “Ms. Marvel” is streaming on Disney+.
In a showbiz career that spans more than 70 years, Oscar winner Jeff Bridges (“The Big Lebowski”) has never once been a regular on a TV series. That all changes with “The Old Man,” a new FX action/spy thriller that puts Bridges front and center. A former CIA agent who has spent a lifetime on the run after going rogue, Bridges plays the fittingly-named Dan Chase with a world-weariness, even though he can still kick the ass of guys half his age. While the show veers headlong into cliches a little too often, Bridges is magnetic in the lead role, and his chemistry with Zoe (Amy Brenneman, “The Leftovers”) is tender and charming. Toss in a couple of dogged feds played by John Lithgow (“3rd Rock From The Sun”) and Alia Shawkat (“Arrested Development”), and you’ve got all the ingredients for a fun season on the run.
How to watch: “The Old Man” is streaming on Hulu, with new episodes airing Thursdays at 10 ET on FX.
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