Twelve Films and TV Shows You Need to Stream This Month
Make a couch date with the ace new addition to the 'Predator' franchise, a must-see set in a Chicago sandwich shop and a wild horror film about a talking glory hole.
August 31, 2022
Not all that long ago, the idea of getting cosy on your couch, clicking a few buttons, and having thousands of films and television shows at your fingertips seemed like something out of science fiction. Now, it's just an ordinary night — whether you're virtually gathering the gang to text along, cuddling up to your significant other or shutting the world out for some much needed me-time.
Of course, given the wealth of options to choose from, there's nothing ordinary about making a date with your chosen streaming platform. The question isn't "should I watch something?" — it's "what on earth should I choose?".
Hundreds of titles are added to Australia's online viewing services each and every month, all vying for a spot on your must-see list. And, so you don't spend 45 minutes scrolling and then being too tired to actually commit to anything, we're here to help. We've spent plenty of couch time watching our way through this month's latest batch — and, from the latest and greatest to old favourites, here are our picks for your streaming queue from August's haul of newbies.
BRAND NEW STUFF YOU CAN WATCH IN FULL RIGHT NOW
No stranger to voicing iconic lines, Arnold Schwarzenegger uttered one of his best-known phrases yet 35 years ago, in a franchise that's still going today. "If it bleeds, we can kill it" has been quoted frequently ever since — even by champion AFL coaches — and it's no spoiler to mention that it pops up again in the latest Predator film Prey. Trotting out that piece of dialogue won't surprise anyone, but this fine-tuned action-thriller should. It's one of the saga's best entries, serving up a lean, taut and thoughtful kill-or-be-killed battle set in the Comanche Nation 300 years ago. The Predator series hasn't been big on highlights over the years — Predator 2 is forgettable to put it nicely, 2010's Predators is effective, 2018's The Predator favoured its throwback vibes above all else, and the two terrible Alien vs Predator cross-over films are best left forgotten — however Prey not only breathes new life into it, but paves a welcome path for more. (Bring on a Prey sequel ASAP.)
The overall premise remains the same, with the franchise's ruthless, brutal and technologically advanced alien species using earth as its hunting ground as the series has already established — and showing zero concern about leaving a body count. Trained healer Naru (Amber Midthunder, The Ice Road) is the first to notice that something is awry this time, spotting the predator's spaceship in the sky and taking it as a sign to follow her dream to become a hunter herself. Alas, that isn't the done thing. In fact, she's spent her entire life being told that she can't be like her brother Taabe (first-timer Dakota Beavers), and should focus on her assigned role instead. Now, even with an extra-terrestrial foe wreaking havoc, she's still dismissed at every turn. Midthunder plays Naru as a fierce, determined, persistent and resourceful force to be reckoned with, while writer/director Dan Trachtenberg — co-scripting with Jack Ryan's Patrick Aison — gives all things Predator the taut focus, canny shift and fresh feel he also gave the Cloverfield saga with 10 Cloverfield Lane.
Prey streams via Disney+.
First, an important piece of advice: eating either before or while watching The Bear is highly recommended, and near close to essential. Now, two more crucial slices of wisdom: prepare to feel stressed throughout every second of this riveting, always-tense, and exceptionally written and acted culinary series, and also to want to tuck into The Original Beef of Chicagoland's famous sandwiches immediately. The eatery is purely fictional, but its signature dish looks phenomenal. Most of what's cooked up in Carmen 'Carmy' Berzatto's (Jeremy Allen White, Shameless) kitchen does. But he has taken over the family business following his brother's suicide, arriving back home after wowing the world in fine dining's top restaurants, and nothing is easy. Well, coveting The Bear's edible wares is across the show's eight-episode first season — but making them, keeping the shop afloat, coping with grief and ensuring that the diner's staff work harmoniously is a pressure cooker of chaos.
That anxious mood is inescapable from the outset; the best way to start any meal is just to bite right in, and The Bear's creator Christopher Storer (who also directs five episodes, and has Ramy, Dickinson and Bo Burnham: Make Happy on his resume) takes the same approach. He also throws all of his ingredients together with precision — the balance of drama and comedy, the relentlessness that marks every second in The Original Beef's kitchen, and the non-stop mouthing off by Richie, aka Cousin, aka Carmy's brother's best friend (Ebon Moss-Bachrach, The Dropout), all included. Carmy has bills to pay, debts to settle, eerie dreams and sleepwalking episodes to navigate, new sous chef Sydney (Ayo Edebiri, Dickinson) mixing up the place and long-standing employees (such as Hap and Leonard's Lionel Boyce, In Treatment's Liza Colón-Zayas and Fargo's Edwin Lee Gibson) to keep happy. Every glimpse at the resulting hustle and bustle is as gripping as it is appetising — and yes, binging is inevitable.
The Bear streams via Disney+.
A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN
The year: 1943. The place: America. The sport: baseball. Misty faces: apparently not allowed. Yes, there's no crying in baseball, again — and yes, after proving a hit on the big screen back in 1992, A League of Their Own is back as an eight-part streaming remake with those rules about waterworks still intact. That said, in both versions, there definitely are tears in the sport. Someone proclaims there shouldn't be, although Tom Hanks doesn't do the honours the time around. And, when it arrives in Prime Video's series, that line isn't code for the entire perspective that A League of Their Own is rallying against: that the bat-swinging pastime isn't for women anyway. The new show's characters are still forced to deal with that abhorrent view, though, and the same storyline and same societal journey slides through the show's frames, too. But Broad City's Abbi Jacobson, who leads, co-writes and co-created this A League of Their Own, helps ensure that this fictional look at the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League broadens its playing field.
Obviously much is familiar about this movie-to-TV do-over, including following a small-town star catcher (Jacobson's Carson Shaw) chasing her lifelong dream while her husband serves in the Second World War, a ragtag group of other women living their fantasies as well, a world that sees them as a joke and a male manager (Nick Offerman, The Resort) who used to be a major star but is only in this gig to restart his own career. Also included here: the tale of Max Chapman (Chanté Adams, Voyagers), an immensely talented pitcher who isn't allowed to audition, let alone play, due to her race. Another warm-hearted sports comedy results — and in what proves a worthy extra innings, there's never any doubt that the new series is firmly a 2022 creation. A League of Their Own's gorgeous ladies of baseball span an impressive cast, too, with standouts D'Arcy Carden (The Good Place), Melanie Field (The Alienist) and Roberta Colindrez (Vida) hitting it out of the park.
During his seven seasons on HBO's slinky supernatural drama True Blood, and in his 223 episodes on Home and Away before that, Ryan Kwanten navigated any actor's fair share of wild scenarios — and soapy and melodramatic, obviously. In Glorious, he's firmly in out-there territory, but as a troubled man conversing about life, love, loss, loyalty, the universe, gods, men, women and plenty more in a dank and grimy rest-stop bathroom. So far, so straightforward. Unexpected connections and cathartic chats can happen in all manner of places with all manner of people, after all. But Wes, Kwanten's character, is conversing with a glory hole. There's a powerful deity behind it, but all that Glorious' protagonist and the audience see is glowing neon light emanating from the circle between cubicles, and a pulsating orb of flesh hanging below the stall walls.
Filmmaker Rebekah McKendry (Psycho Granny), plus screenwriters David Ian McKendry (All the Creatures Were Stirring), Joshua Hull (Chopping Block) and Todd Rigney (Headless), aren't shy about their Lovecraftian nods; not thinking about the sci-fi author's brand of cosmic horror and its focus on unfathomable terrors is impossible. Indeed, this'd make a fine double with Color Out of Space — a sincere compliment given that phantasmagorical delight is adapted from the author's words, while this feels like it should've been. Aided by cinematographer David Matthews (Jakob's Wife), McKendry cements the film's clear tribute via its aesthetic and atmosphere, with vibrant pink hues contrasting with the grotty bathroom, and the claustrophobic setting doing the same with the vastness emanating from Ghat, Wes' talkative new acquaintance. That JK Simmons (Spider-Man: No Way Home) lends his distinctive tones to the movie's pivotal voice does much to set the mood, understandably, but Kwanten's layered performance, a twisty narrative and an inspiredly OTT premise executed with flair also make Glorious memorable.
Glorious streams via Shudder.
Fantasy fans who are also TV fans, rejoice — the Game of Thrones realm is back (see below), The Lord of the Rings is about to hop over to the small screen as well, and Neil Gaiman's The Sandman has also been turned into a streaming series. With all three, one word probably comes to mind: finally. But while lovers of Westerosi power struggles and battles against Sauron have already had something to watch at least, The Sandman first played out in comic books between 1989–1996 and, despite efforts otherwise, that's where it has remained until now. Entertaining things come to those who wait, though, even if the first season of Netflix's adaption does take its time to kick into gear. Perhaps that's apt, especially given how the titular figure, the Robert Smith-esque Dream King (Tom Sturridge, Irma Vep) — who is also known as both Dream and Morpheus — spends much of the first episode. British aristocrat and occultist Roderick Burgess (Charles Dance, The King's Man) attempts to lure in Death (Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Hacks) instead, in an effort to bring his son back to life. Disappointed with obtaining the wrong captive, he imprisons Dream for more than a century.
That incarceration has consequences, with Dream's kingdom bearing the brunt, and his powers unsurprisingly suffering (yes, cue the season's main storyline). Again, The Sandman doesn't completely click from its first frame; however, while it's putting its pieces together, it cements its dark, otherworldly and suitably gothic mood — and has quite the cast to play with. Because every TV show has to have multiple links to Game of Thrones, Gwendoline Christie (Flux Gourmet) plays Lucifer, memorably so. Elsewhere, Boyd Holbrook (The Predator) swaggers around as The Corinthian, Vivienne Acheampong (The Witches) is a delight as Dream's offsider Lucienne, Jenna Coleman (The Serpent) makes the most of her gender-swapped Constantine (yes, like the Keanu Reeves-starring film) and the always-reliable David Thewlis (Landscapers) leaves an imprint as Burgess' son. And when The Sandman works, whether at a performance or an episode level or more broadly, it is indeed a fantasy aficionado's dream.
The Sandman streams via Netflix.
Hollywood couldn't have scripted the 2018 Tham Luang cave rescue better if it tried. As monopolised the news at the time and keeps fascinating filmmakers since, the situation started when 12 pre-teen and teenage soccer players and their 25-year-old coach went into the cave system in Chiang Rai Province in northern Thailand, heavy monsoonal rains caused flooding, and it was widely feared that the stranded team wouldn't be recovered. Thankfully, there was a happy ending — although it took nine days until divers even confirmed they were alive, another nine to both work out the logistics of extracting them safely and follow through, and other lives were lost in the process. The Tham Luang caves can be cavernous, but that just means more room for more water in the wet season. And saying that its tunnels are narrow and difficult to navigate, even for the best of the best below the water, is an understatement.
All of the above shines through in the rousing Thirteen Lives, a survivalist and procedural drama starring Colin Farrell (After Yang) and Viggo Mortensen (Crimes of the Future) as cave divers John Volanthen and Richard Stanton, plus Joel Edgerton (Obi-Wan Kenobi) as Australian anaesthetist Richard Harris. For viewers who've seen the two other recent movies about the same situation, stellar documentary The Rescue and subpar docudrama The Cave, the details will be familiar — and how well the film's three biggest names portray their IRL counterparts will stand out as well. Tension drips through this take on the tale, with director Ron Howard (Hillbilly Elegy) enlisting claustrophobic cinematography and sound design to edge-of-your-seat effect. That said, cataloguing an extraordinary extraction job done under dangerous circumstances is Thirteen Lives' main aim. In a film committed to letting the dramatised events themselves set the emotional tone, surveying the contributions beyond the now well-known faces, the context behind their efforts and the impact within the community — for the boys' families, and politically — also gets Howard's attention.
Thirteen Lives streams via Prime Video.
RETURNING GEMS WITH FULL NEW SEASONS TO BINGE
Justin Roiland has one of the most recognisable voices on television right now, especially if you're a Rick and Morty fan. While you're watching Solar Opposites, though, you won't just be thinking about that beloved animated hit and its schwifty dimension-hopping antics — or even counting down the days till it returns, which is soon, while dipping whichever food you like in Szechuan sauce. You'll be too busy laughing, getting drawn into this also-Roiland co-created gem, and trying not to miss anything in its joke-a-second comic onslaught. Solar Opposites and Rick and Morty share more than a little in common, of course, including aliens, strangeness descending upon a suburban family, sci-fi antics, a raucous sense of humour and the fact that literally anything can happen. But while Rick and Morty is basically the new, far-more-anarchic Back to the Future, Solar Opposites has big Third Rock From the Sun vibes — and Futurama, too, if instead of jumping to the year 3000, it followed a ragtag group of extra-terrestrials residing on earth.
Roiland voices Korvo Solar-Opposites, the team leader on a mission to terraform this blue marble to replace his exploded Planet Shlorp. But first, his family is trying to make the best of life right here exactly as it is — well, with plenty of science-fiction gadgetry to keep things interesting. Hijinks ensue, involving Korvo, his partner Terry (Thomas Middleditch, Silicon Valley), and the younger Yumyulack (Sean Giambrone, The Goldbergs) and Jesse (stand-up comedian Mary Mack), as well as their cute alien infant Pupa. There's also Aisha (Tiffany Haddish, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent), the artificial intelligence onboard their spaceship, plus a wall filled with shrunk-down people (thanks to those sci-fi toys) who've started their own society in Yumyulack and Jesse's bedroom. Now three seasons in, Solar Opposites has perfected the ideal balance between fish-out-of-water alien shenanigans and those increasingly poignant miniature human interludes (complete with Mad Men's Christina Hendricks and This Is Us' Sterling K Brown helping voice the latter) — and it's just as ace as Roiland's better-known hit.
Solar Opposites streams via Disney+.
You don't need to have children of your own, plan to soon or ever think you will to keenly relate to Breeders. Now in its third season, the British comedy about a London family understands one inescapable truth about life: that chaos is an unavoidable constant, and much of that chaos springs from people being people. Based on an idea by star Martin Freeman (and partly derived from his own experiences), this series explores that notion in a microcosm, and without the rosy hues that usually tint sitcoms about parenting. Indeed, you could be forgiven for thinking that the Sherlock, The Hobbit, Fargo and The Office actor has been through more than a few ups and downs as a father — and he will have, because everyone who has kids does — due to Breeders' refreshing frankness. His character's frustrations, and his inability to remain calm while facing mayhem, mess, mania and everything in-between, also proves not just welcomely honest and hilarious, but vicariously cathartic.
That often-anguished man is Paul Worsley, dad to Luke (Alex Eastwood, Creeped Out) and Ava (Eve Prenelle, To Olivia) — and partner to Ally (Daisy Haggard, Back to Life). No, none of those relationships are perfect. The same applies to his status as a son to the set-in-their-ways Jim (Alun Armstrong, Sherwood) and Jackie (Joanna Bacon, Benediction), with Breeders examining family ties in multiple directions. The chaos deepens each season, with this batch of episodes opening with Paul staying elsewhere because his presence, and his quick-to-anger temper, are exacerbating Luke's anxiety. Rippling consequences spread throughout the characteristically astute, smartly written, well-performed and cannily amusing new season, as Paul makes a new friend (Sally Phillips, How to Please a Woman), but doesn't tell Ally; the latter adjusts to his absence; Ava tussles with faith, friends and her future; and Jim and Jackie show that even lifetime-long relationships still have their secrets and struggles.
Breeders streams via Disney+.
NEW AND RETURNING SHOWS TO CHECK OUT WEEK BY WEEK
Bad Sisters begins on the day of an Irish funeral, farewelling John Paul Williams (Claes Bang, The Northman) — after his widow, Grace (Anne-Marie Duff, Sex Education), makes sure that the corpse's erection won't be noticed first. He's long been nicknamed 'The Prick' anyway, with his four sisters-in-law all thoroughly unimpressed about the toxic way he treated his wife. In flashbacks, they joke about saving her by getting murderous, and exactly why is made plain as well. Bonded by more than blood after their parents died, the Garvey girls are used to sticking together, with the eldest, Eva (Sharon Horgan, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent), stepping in as the maternal influence over Grace, Ursula (Eva Birthistle, The Last Kingdom), Bibi (Sarah Greene, Normal People) and Becka (Eve Hewson, Behind Her Eyes). She's fierce about it, too, as characters played by the Catastrophe and This Way Up star tend to be. When a guest offers condolences at John Paul's wake, Eva's response is "I'm just glad the suffering's over" — and when she's then asked if he was ill, she replies with a blunt and loaded "no".
If this scenario sounds familiar, that's because Belgian TV's Clan got there first back in 2012, which means that Bad Sisters joins the ever-growing list of series that largely exist to make the leap into English. That isn't a criticism of the end result here, though, which proves itself a winner early. Also part of both shows: two insurance agents, aka half-brothers Thomas (Brian Gleeson, Death of a Ladies' Man) and Matthew Claffin (Daryl McCormack, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande) here. Their family-run outfit is meant to pay out on John Paul's life insurance policy, but it's a hefty amount of cash and will bankrupt the firm, which is why Thomas starts asking questions. It seems an obvious setup, but this is a series with both bite and warmth. Brought to the screen by Horgan, Bad Sisters finds both the pitch-black comedy and the drama in its whole 'offing your arsehole brother-in-law' premise, and the tension and banter as well — and the sense of sorority between its quintet of main ladies, too.
Bad Sisters streams via Apple TV+.
One of the best new TV shows of 2021 is back for a second season — and it quickly proves one of the best returning shows of 2022, too. That series: the gloriously heartfelt and perceptive Reservation Dogs, which may riff on a Quentin Tarantino movie with its moniker, and also started with a heist when it first hit the screen, but proves dedicated to diving deep into what it's like to be an Indigenous North American teenager today. Bear (D'Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai, Beans), Elora (Devery Jacobs, Rutherford Falls), Willie Jack (Paulina Alexis, Ghostbusters: Afterlife) and Cheese (debutant Lane Factor) are those restless Oklahoma adolescents, and they've shared a California dream since the show began. But when the first season wrapped up with a tornado, as well as a figurative storm of hard truths and buried feelings, the gang's relocation fantasy didn't play out as expected. The lure of family and culture remained strong, as did holding onto a past that's brought happiness as well as pain (getting a fresh start after losing a friend is a big motivation for their escape plan). That said, Elora still attempts to go anyway.
In season two, the more things change, the more they stay the same — until they don't. For Bear, Willie Jack and Cheese, staying on the reservation requires facing life on the reservation. For Elora, being on the road with enemy-turned-travelling companion Jackie (Elva Guerra, Dark Winds) gets tumultuous. Made with such an evident commitment to minutiae, and to feeling lived-in at every moments, Reservation Dogs spins both its episodic stories and its long-running coming-of-age arcs, themes and emotions into something wonderful again and again. Co-creator/executive producer/writer Sterlin Harjo (Mekko) deserves all the kudos that can be showered his way, and so does Taika Waititi as one of the series' fellow creators, executive producers and writers. There are many reasons to be thankful for the New Zealand filmmaker as his resume keeps attesting (including fellow recent sitcom Our Flag Means Death); however, using his fame to help bring this insightful gift into the world is one of them.
Reservation Dogs streams via Binge.
HOUSE OF THE DRAGON
In its very first moments, House of the Dragon's opening episode delivers exactly what its name promises: here be dragons indeed. Within ten minutes, the Iron Throne, that sprawling metal seat that all of Westeros loves fighting about, also makes its initial appearance. By the time the 20-minute mark arrives, bloody violence of the appendage-, limb- and head-lopping kind fills the show's frames as well. And, before the debut instalment of this Game of Thrones prequel about House Targaryen's history even hits its halfway mark, a brothel scene with nudity and sex is sighted, too. Between all of the above, the usual GoT family dramas, squabbles over successors and power struggles pop up. Of course they do. House of the Dragon was always going to check all of the above boxes. None of this can constitute spoilers, either, because none of it can come as a surprise. Game of Thrones' fame and influence have become that pervasive, as have its hallmarks and trademarks. Everyone knows what GoT is known for, even if you've somehow never seen this page-to-screen franchise yet or read the George RR Martin-penned books that it's based on.
After green-lighting a different prequel to pilot stage, scrapping it, then picking this one to run with instead — and also making plans to bring novella series Tales of Dunk and Egg to TV, working on an animated GoT show, exploring other potential prequels and forging ahead a Jon Snow-focused sequel series — House of the Dragon is the first Game of Thrones successor to arrive in streaming queues, and it doesn't mess with a formula that HBO doesn't consider broken. Its focus: the Targaryen crew 172 years before the birth of Daenerys and her whole dragon-flying, nephew-dating, power-seeking story. Cue silky silver locks aplenty, including cascading from King Viserys I's (Paddy Considine, The Third Day) head as he takes to the Iron Throne over his cousin Princess Rhaenys (Eve Best, Nurse Jackie). She had a better claim to the spiky chair, but gets passed over because she's a woman. Years later, the same scenario springs up over whether the king's dragon-riding daughter Princess Rhaenyra (Upright's Milly Alcock, then Mothering Sunday's Emma D'Arcy) becomes his heir, or the future son he's desperate to have, or his headstrong and shady younger brother Prince Daemon (Matt Smith, Morbius).
SHE-HULK: ATTORNEY AT LAW
What do 90s lawyer comedies, recent TV sensations, Captain America's sex life and the fact that it isn't easy being green all have in common? The Marvel Cinematic Universe's latest streaming series. What gives Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) a worthy comic showcase, sees Marvel's ever-sprawling franchise make a rare admission that The Incredible Hulk exists, and gifts Sorcerer Supreme Wong (Benedict Wong, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness) a hilarious new buddy dynamic, too? Yes, the MCU's likeable She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, which proves savvy, self-aware, silly and satirical all at once. What refuses take itself too seriously, knows it's in busy territory, and winkingly responds to the world that's helped it even come to fruition? This Kat Coiro (Marry Me) and Anu Valia (And Just Like That...)-directed show, too, which just keeps ticking a long list of boxes. She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is astute and amusing, skewers popular culture's obsession with superheroes, and unpacks the way society treats women — superpowered and otherwise. And where its immediate small-screen predecessor, Ms Marvel, loved the MCU more than its audience ever will, this playful sitcom about Marvel's emerald-hued lawyer sees plenty about the ever-expanding on-screen saga to parody.
Jennifer Walters (Maslany) starts out the show as a Deputy District Attorney — and also a hulk. In flashbacks, head writer Jessica Gao (Rick and Morty) gets the obvious question out of the way, aka "how did Jen end up aping Bruce Banner?". In that jump backwards, Jen heads on a road trip with her cousin (Mark Ruffalo, Dark Waters), ends up in a car accident, gets splashed with his gamma-radiated blood and wakes up sharing his traits. Smart Hulk hops into action, training Jen in the ways of being giant and grass-coloured whenever her emotions bubble up, although that's what being a woman today entails anyway. With new powers comes an upended life, however, as well as a new job juggling cases covering everything from Emil Blonsky/the Abomination's (Tim Roth, Sundown) past misdeeds to Asgardian elves and wily magicians. This series has as much in common with Ally McBeal and Fleabag as it does with its fellow spandex-clad cohort, and it's all the better for it, striking an entertaining, perceptive and well-cast balance between the obligatory caped crusader nods and spinning a lawyer comedy about a caped crusader.
You can also check out our running list of standout must-stream 2022 shows so far as well — and our best 15 new shows from the first half of this year, top 15 returning shows and best 15 straight-to-streaming movies.
Top image: Photo by David Bukach. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.
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