Twelve Films and TV Shows You Need to Stream in March
Watch an 80s-set thriller about the origins of 'Tetris', a Beyoncé-loving must-see about toxic fandom, and the return of 'Ted Lasso', 'Succession' and 'Yellowjackets'.
March 30, 2023
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 through to old and recent favourites, here are our picks for your streaming queue in March.
BRAND NEW STUFF YOU CAN WATCH IN FULL NOW
Becky with the good hair gets a shoutout in Swarm. Facial bites do as well, complete with a Love & Basketball reference when the culprit flees. This seven-part series about a global pop sensation and her buzzing fans and stans also has its music icon unexpectedly drop a stunner of a visual album, ride a white horse, be married to a well-known rapper, become a mum to twins and see said husband fight with her sister in an elevator. Her sibling is also a singer, and plenty of folks contend she's the more interesting of the two. Still, Swarm's object of fascination — protagonist Dre's (Dominique Fishback, Judas and the Black Messiah) undying obsession — sells out tours, breaks Ticketmaster and headlines one of the biggest music festivals there is. And, while they call themselves the titular term rather than a hive, her devotees are zealous and then some, especially humming around on social media.
Donald Glover and Janine Nabers, the show's creators and past colleagues on Glover's exceptional, now-finished Atlanta — Nabers also worked on Watchmen, too — couldn't be more upfront about who they're referring to. No one says Beyoncé's name, however, but Swarm's Houston-born music megastar is the former Destiny's Child singer in everything except moniker. In case anyone watching thinks that this series is trading in coincidences and déjà vu, or just failing to be subtle when it comes to Ni'Jah (Nirine S Brown, Ruthless), the Prime Video newcomer keeps making an overt opening declaration. "This is not a work of fiction. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or events, is intentional," it announces before each episode. From there, it dives into Dre's journey as a twentysomething in 2016 who still adores her childhood idol with the same passion she did as a teen and, instalment by instalment, shows how far she's willing to go to prove it.
The greatest game in the world can't make the leap to screens like most of its counterparts, whether they involve mashing buttons, playing campaigns or attempting to sink ships. A literal adaptation of Tetris would just involve four-piece bricks falling and falling — and while that's a tense and riveting sight when you're in charge of deciding where they land, and endeavouring to fill lines to make them disappear, it's hardly riveting movie viewing. As a film, Tetris is still gripping, however, all while telling the tale behind the puzzle video game that's been a phenomenon since the 80s. Did you have your first Tetris experience on an early Game Boy? This is the story of how that happened. Starring Taron Egerton (Black Bird) as Henk Rogers, the man who secured the rights to the Russian-born title for distribution on video game consoles worldwide, it's largely a dramatised account of the fraught negotiations when the west started to realise what a hit Tetris was, Nintendo got involved, but Soviet software engineer Alexey Pajitnov had no power over what happened to his creation because that was life in the USSR.
Egerton is perfectly cast as the resourceful, charming and determined Rogers, a Dutch-born, American-raised, Japan-residing game designer who stumbles across Tetris at a tech conference while trying to sell a version of Chinese strategy game Go. First, his assistant can't stop playing it. Soon, he's seeing blocks in his dreams, as everyone does after playing (and then forever). Director Jon S Baird (Stan & Ollie) and screenwriter Noah Pink (Genius) have a games licensing battle to unpack from there, something that mightn't have been as thrilling as it proves — and certainly is no certainty on paper — in other hands. Stacking up this real-life situation's pieces involves becoming a savvy takedown of shady business deals, a compelling Russia-set spy flick and an exploration of daily existence in Soviet times, plus an upstart underdog story. And, Tetris does all that while gleefully and playfully bringing in the game's aesthetic, and blasting an appropriately synth-heavy soundtrack.
Tetris streams via Apple TV+ from Friday, March 31.
WEIRD: THE AL YANKOVIC STORY
If you've seen one music biopic, or some of the flicks that've earned actors Oscars or nominations in recent years for playing well-known rock stars — think: Bohemian Rhapsody and Elvis — then you know how this genre usually plays out. So does Weird Al Yankovic, who is strongly involved in Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, co-writing, producing and even popping up on-screen. He doesn't give himself a solemn screen tribute, though. For decades, he's found pop music rife for satirising, and now his career spent spoofing hit songs gets sent up as well. The soundtrack is already hilarious, filled as it is with everything from 'My Bologna', 'I Love Rocky Road' and 'Another One Rides the Bus' to 'Eat It', 'Like a Surgeon' and 'Amish Paradise'. The casting is brilliantly hilarious as it is hilariously brilliant, too, with Daniel Radcliffe (The Lost City) sporting a mop of curls, grasping an accordion and wearing Yankovic's Hawaiian shirts like he was born to.
Silly, happily self-mocking, not serious for a second: that's this joke-packed flick, which isn't quite as stuffed with gags as a typical Weird Al song, but is still filled with laughs — and still immensely funny. Unsurprisingly, much of Weird: The Al Yankovic Story plays like a collection of skits and sketches, whether visiting his childhood, showing how he scored his big break or charting his fame (which is Westworld's Evan Rachel Wood as a comical Madonna comes in), but it works. Yankovic co-writes with director Eric Appel, a parody veteran thanks to NTSF:SD:SUV, and they're joyfully on the same goofy, go-for-broke wavelength. So is Radcliffe, who keeps demonstrating that he's at his best when a certain Boy Who Lived is relegated to the past, and when he's getting as ridiculous as he possibly can. Forget the wizarding franchise — he's magical when he's at his most comic, as Miracle Workers keeps proving, and now this as well.
Weird: The Al Yankovic Story streams via Paramount+.
When it comes to films about reporters trying to track down serial killers, every movie made since 2007 will always stand in Zodiac's shadow. Still, while Boston Strangler isn't directed by David Fincher, it too is incredibly well-cast — Keira Knightley, Carrie Coon, Chris Cooper, Alessandro Nivola and David Dastmalchian lead the bill — and both quickly and deeply involving. It's also a dimly lit, grimly toned procedural-based drama about good old-fashioned hard work by smart people doing their utmost to stop a spate of horrendous killings, this time the murders terrorising Greater Boston in the 60s. Spotlight comes to mind, too, thanks to the focus on journalists cracking a case. While Boston Strangler won't win the Oscar for Best Picture, it smartly ponders something crucial in this true crime-heavy era: that bleak tales such as these, like all tales, change and evolve. Indeed, while the film focuses on reporting when the killings were happening, this case still had new developments as recently as ten years ago.
Loretta McLaughlin (Knightley, Misbehaviour) is a lifestyle writer saddled with reviewing toasters and pleading with her editor Jack MacLaine (Cooper, Irresistible) for meaty work when she notices a pattern among a series of Boston deaths. On her own time, she investigates, realising that multiple women murdered by strangulation might be the work of a serial killer — and Boston Record American, her paper, breaks the story. With the more-experienced Jean Cole (Coon, The Nest), they keep covering the mounting deaths, and earning the ire of local cops even though lead detective Conley (Nivola, Amsterdam) is helpful. Suspicion settles on Albert DeSalvo (Dastmalchian, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania), but nothing is straightforward in this case. Boston Strangler, too, dives into the struggles of reporting on crimes so shocking, doing so as women often used by their publication as a readership stunt, trying to balance professional and personal commitments and, of course, battling to get to the truth — and to hold those responsible, as well as those meant to finding the culprit, to account.
Boston Strangler streams via Disney+.
DAISY JONES AND THE SIX
Before it was a ten-part Prime Video series, Daisy Jones & The Six was a book. And before Taylor Jenkins Reid's 2019 novel jumped back to the 70s rock scene with its melodramatic tale of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, Fleetwood Mac lived through, stunned and shaped the era. No matter where or when an adaptation popped up, or who took to the microphone and guitar in it, bringing Daisy Jones & The Six to the screen was always going to involve leaning into Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, John McVie, Christine McVie and company's story. Reid has said that she took loose inspiration from the band; "it's a Fleetwood Mac vibe," she's also noted. Those parallels are as obvious as a killer lyric in Daisy Jones & The Six's TV guise, in a series that's heightened, impressively cast, and well-versed in what it's tinkering with and recreating — and a show that also isn't afraid of romance and tragedy, or of characters going all-in for what and who they're passionate about.
On the page, this was an oral history. On streaming, it's framed by two-decades-later documentary interviews where key figures — Daisy Jones (Riley Keough, Zola), co-lead singer Billy Dunne (Sam Claflin, Book of Love), guitarist Eddie Roundtree (Josh Whitehouse, Valley Girl), drummer Warren Rojas (Sebastian Chacon, Emergency), bassist Chuck Loving (Jack Romano, Mank) and British keyboardist Karen Sirko (Suki Waterhouse, The Broken Hearts Gallery), plus other pivotal folks in their careers — share memories to-camera. The eponymous musicians burned bright but flamed out fast together, opening text on-screen informs the audience before anyone gets talking. A huge stadium gig at Chicago's Soldier Field late in 1977 was their last, coming at the height of their popularity after releasing hit Rumours-esque record Aurora. Viewers immediately know the ending, then, but not what leads to that fate.
When Australian-in-New York Liv (Celeste Barber, Seriously Red) heads home for her best friend Amy's (JJ Fong, Creamerie) 40th birthday, it's meant to be a flying Sydney visit. A food writer loving life in the Big Apple, she has a career-defining big break to get back to: being a judge on a new culinary contest TV show. But thanks to a stolen handbag, a missing green card and just the all-round chaos that is her existence, that Harbour City stay gets prolonged. With no paperwork, Liv has to jump through the American government's bureaucratic hoops again. And, her wellbeing isn't great, which means getting fit to show that she won't be a burden on the US health care system when she returns. Her mother Lorraine (Genevieve Mooy, Never Too Late) is thrilled, and her personal-trainer brother Gaz (Lachlan Buchanan, Dynasty) is about to get married to real-estate agent Dalbert (Remy Hii, Blaze) so the timing comes in handy — but Liv would rather be anywhere else and doing anything else but looking after herself.
Wellmania hits the screen from the page, adapting author and journalist Brigid Delaney's book Wellmania: Misadventures in the Search for Wellness into an eight-part dramedy — with Delaney behind the show, too, alongside The Family Law's Benjamin Law. Getting your health in order is a messy business when you've spend decades drinking, partying and never saying no to a good time; getting your life sorted, which comes with Liv's desperate quest to get back to NYC, is just as much of a shambles. There's a Fleabag-but-Australian vibe to this quickly addictive series, which might've played more like a copy of other shows even with its focus on radical wellness techniques and copious Sydney harbour shots if Barber wasn't so perfectly cast. This is a firm case of a star's online fame linking in with their on-screen work savvily, given how well-known Wellmania's lead is for satirising Instagram-inspired quests for aesthetic perfection. That's only the show's starting point, though, and Barber is just as adept at anchoring a series about discovering who you are when you're definitely no longer coming of age, and realising what's important amid all the hustle and bustle.
Wellmania streams via Netflix.
NEW AND RETURNING SHOWS TO CHECK OUT WEEK BY WEEK
It wasn't simply debuting during the pandemic's first year, in a life-changing period when everyone was doing it tough, that made Ted Lasso's first season a hit in 2020. It wasn't just the Apple TV+ sitcom's unshakeable warmth, giving its characters and viewers alike a big warm hug episode after episode, either. Both play a key part, however, because this Jason Sudeikis (Saturday Night Live)-starring soccer series is about everyone pitching in and playing a part. It's a team endeavour that champions team endeavours — hailing from a quartet of creators (Sudeikis, co-star Brendan Hunt, Detroiters' Joe Kelly and Scrubs' Bill Lawrence), boasting a killer cast in both major and supporting roles, and understanding how important it is to support one another on- and off-screen (plus in the fictional world that the show has created, and while making that realm so beloved with audiences).
Ted Lasso has always believed in the individual players as well as the team they're in, though. It is named after its eponymous American football coach-turned-inexperienced soccer manager, after all. But in building an entire sitcom around a character that started as a sketch in two popular US television ads for NBC's Premier League coverage — around two characters, because Hunt's (Bless This Mess) laconic Coach Beard began in those commercials as well — Ted Lasso has always understood that everyone is only a fraction of who they can be when they're alone. That's an idea that keeps gathering momentum in the show's long-awaited third season, which has much to engagingly dive into. It starts with Ted left solo when he desperately doesn't want to be, with AFC Richmond owner Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham, Hocus Pocus 2) desperate to beat her ex Rupert Mannion (Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Anthony Stewart Head) new team, and with the Greyhounds' former assistant Nathan 'Nate' Shelley (Nick Mohammed, Intelligence) now coaching said opposition — and with changes galore around the club.
For Shauna (Melanie Lynskey, The Last of Us), Natalie (Juliette Lewis, Welcome to Chippendales), Taissa (Tawny Cypress, Billions), Misty (Christina Ricci, Wednesday), Lottie (Simone Kessell, Muru) and Van (Lauren Ambrose, Servant), 1996 will always be the year that their plane plunged into the Canadian wilderness, stranding them for 19 tough months — as season one of 2021–2022 standout Yellowjackets grippingly established. As teenagers (as played by The Kid Detective's Sophie Nélisse, The Book of Boba Fett's Sophie Thatcher, Scream VI's Jasmin Savoy, Shameless' Samantha Hanratty, Mad Max: Fury Road's Courtney Eaton and Santa Clarita Diet's Liv Hewson), they were members of the show's titular high-school soccer squad, travelling from their New Jersey home town to Seattle for a national tournament, when the worst eventuated. Cue Lost-meets-Lord of the Flies with an Alive twist, as that first season was understandably pegged.
All isn't always what it seems as Shauna and company endeavour to endure in the elements. Also, tearing into each other occurs more than just metaphorically. Plus, literally sinking one's teeth in has been teased and flirted with since episode one, too. But Yellowjackets will always be about what it means to face something so difficult that it forever colours and changes who you are — and constantly leaves a reminder of who you might've been. So, when Yellowjackets ended its first season, it was with as many questions as answers. Naturally, it starts season two in the same way. In the present, mere days have elapsed — and Shauna and her husband Jeff (Warren Kole, Shades of Blue) are trying to avoid drawing any attention over the disappearance of Shauna's artist lover Adam (Peter Gadiot, Queen of the South). Tai has been elected as a state senator, but her nocturnal activities have seen her wife Simone (Rukiya Bernard, Van Helsing) move out with their son Sammy (Aiden Stoxx, Supergirl). Thanks to purple-wearing kidnappers, Nat has been spirited off, leaving Misty desperate to find her — even enlisting fellow citizen detective Walter (Elijah Wood, Come to Daddy) to help. And, in the past, winter is setting in, making searching for food and staying warm an immense feat.
Endings have always been a part of Succession. Since it premiered in 2018, the bulk of the HBO drama's feuding figures have been waiting for a big farewell. The reason is right there in the title, because for any of the Roy clan's adult children to scale the family company's greatest heights and remain there — be it initial heir apparent Kendall (Jeremy Strong, Armageddon Time), his inappropriate photo-sending brother Roman (Kieran Culkin, No Sudden Move), their political-fixer sister Siobhan (Sarah Snook, Pieces of a Woman), or eldest sibling and now-presidential candidate Connor (Alan Ruck, The Dropout) — their father Logan's (Brian Cox, Remember Me) tenure must wrap up. He's stubborn. He's proud, too, of what he's achieved and the power it's brought. Whenever Logan has seemed nearly ready to leave the business behind, he's held on. And if he's challenged or threatened, as three seasons of the Emmy-winning series have done again and again, he shows no signs of ever letting go.
Succession has always been waiting for Logan's last stint at global media outfit Waystar RoyCo, but it's never been about finales quite the way it is in its fourth season. This time, there's a ticking clock not just for the show's characters, but for the stellar series itself. In late February, in an interview with The New Yorker a month out from season four's premiere, Succession's creator and showrunner Jesse Armstrong advised that this is its last go-around. Nothing can last forever, not even widely acclaimed hit shows that are a rarity in today's TV climate: genuine appointment-viewing. So, this one is going out at the height of its greatness — yes, its final batch of episodes begins out that strongly, complete with unhappy birthday parties, big business deals, plenty of scheming and backstabbing, and both Shiv's husband Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Macfadyen, Operation Mincemeat) and family cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun, Zola) in vintage form — which is how Logan should've always wanted to as well.
In 2019's Skint Estate, Cash Carraway told all; A memoir of poverty, motherhood and survival completes the book's full title. Penned about working-class Britain from within working-class Britain, Carraway's written jaunt through her own life steps through the reality of being a single mum without a permanent place to live, of struggling to get by at every second, and of being around the system since she was a teenager. It examines alcoholism, loneliness, mental illness and domestic violence, too, plus refuges, working at peep shows, getting groceries from food banks and hopping between whatever temporary accommodation is available. Rain Dogs isn't a direct adaptation. It doesn't purport to bring Carraway's experiences to the screen exactly as they happened, or with slavish fidelity to the specific details. But this HBO and BBC eight-parter remains not only raw, rich, honest and authentic but lived in, as it tells the same story with candour, humour, warmth and poignancy.
Slipping into Carraway's fictionalised shoes is Daisy May Cooper — and she's outstanding. Her on-screen resume includes Avenue 5 and Am I Being Unreasonable?, as well as being a team captain on the latest iteration of Britain's Spicks and Specks-inspiring Never Mind the Buzzcocks, but she's a force to be reckoned with as aspiring writer and mum (to Iris, played by debutant Fleur Tashjian) Costello Jones. When Rain Dogs begins, it's with an eviction. Cooper lives and breathes determination as Costello then scrambles to find somewhere for her and Iris to stay next. But this isn't just their tale, with the pair's lives intersecting with the privileged but self-destructive Selby (Jack Farthing, Spencer), who completes their unconventional and dysfunctional family but tussles with his mental health. Including Costello's best friend Gloria (Ronke Adekoluejo, Alex Rider), plus ailing artist Lenny (The Young Ones legend Adrian Edmondson), this is a clear-eyed look at chasing a place to belong — and it's stunning.
When Better Call Saul finished its six-season run in 2022, it was the end of an era. Not only did one of the absolute best TV shows of the past decade and the whole 21st century so far wrap up, but the Breaking Bad universe with it for now. And, it meant that the wonderful Bob Odenkirk was no longer on our screens regularly. Thankfully, with the arrival of Lucky Hank, the latter was only a short-lived state of affairs. This dramedy — because everything is a dramedy at the moment — hails from The Office actor/co-writer Paul Lieberstein, adapts Richard Russo's 1997 novel Straight Man, and casts its Undone and Nobody star as a Pennsylvanian college professor. The eponymous Hank Devereaux Jr inhabits a whirlwind of chaos, including underfunding at his university in general, unhappy colleagues in the English department he chairs, students challenging him, a wife that's tiring of academic life and the fact that he's only penned one book thanks to a hefty bout of writers' block.
If some of the above sounds familiar, that's because The Chair flicked through similar territory in 2021 — also engagingly, and with Sandra Oh at its centre. Like that series, Lucky Hank thrives through its excellent lead casting, with watching Odenkirk still one of the easiest things in the world no matter what he's in. He has excellent company, including Lieberstein's The Office co-star Oscar Nuñez as Railton College dean, Mireille Enos (Hanna) as his wife, and Diedrich Bader (Shazam! Fury of the Gods) as a friend and co-worker. As a guest star, one and only Twin Peaks legend Kyle MacLachlan is also among the cast. Odenkirk wears middle-aged malaise so devastatingly well, though, which made Better Call Saul one of the best tragedies there is, and helps Lucky Hank prove as thoughtful as it is charming. There's depth to Hank's experiences, too, with Russo's tome based on his own time teaching at several colleges.
Lucky Hank streams via Stan.
A RECENT CLASSIC MOVIE YOU NEED TO CATCH UP WITH
BODIES BODIES BODIES
The internet couldn't have stacked Bodies Bodies Bodies better if it tried, not that that's how the slasher-whodunnit-comedy came about. Pete Davidson (The Suicide Squad) waves a machete around, and his big dick energy, while literally boasting about how he looks like he fucks. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan Oscar-nominee Maria Bakalova plays the cautious outsider among rich-kid college grads, who plan to ride out a big storm with drinks and drugs (and drama) in one of their parents' mansions. The Hunger Games and The Hate U Give alum Amandla Stenberg leads the show as the gang's black sheep, turning up unannounced to zero fanfare from her supposed besties, while the rest of the cast spans Shiva Baby's Rachel Sennott, Generation's Chase Sui Wonders and Industry's Myha'la Herrold, plus Pushing Daisies and The Hobbit favourite Lee Pace as a two-decades-older interloper. And the Agatha Christie-but-Gen Z screenplay? It's drawn from a spec script by Kristen Roupenian, the writer of 2017 viral New Yorker short story Cat Person.
All of the above is a lot. Bodies Bodies Bodies is a lot — 100-percent on purpose. It's a puzzle about a party game, as savage a hangout film as they come, and a satire about Gen Z, for starters. It carves into toxic friendships, ignored class clashes, self-obsessed obliviousness, passive aggression and playing the victim. It skewers today's always-online world and the fact that everyone has a podcast — and lets psychological warfare and paranoia simmer, fester and explode. Want more? It serves up another reminder after The Resort, Palm Springs and co that kicking back isn't always cocktails and carefree days. It's an eat-the-rich affair alongside Squid Game and The White Lotus. Swirling that all together like its characters' self-medicating diets, this wildly entertaining horror flick is a phenomenal calling card for debut screenwriter Sarah DeLappe and Dutch filmmaker Halina Reijn (Instinct), too — and it's hilarious, ridiculous, brutal and satisfying. Forgetting how it ends is also utterly impossible.
Need a few more streaming recommendations? Check out our picks from January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November and December 2022, and January and February 2023.
You can also check out our list of standout must-stream 2022 shows as well — and our best 15 new shows of last year, top 15 returning shows over the same period, 15 shows you might've missed and best 15 straight-to-streaming movies of 2022.
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