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.
Do we really need another Batman movie? In the last 20 years, we’ve seen “Catwoman,” “Batman Begins,” “The Dark Knight,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” “Batman v. Superman,” “Justice League,” “Suicide Squad,” and “The Lego Batman Movie” — not to mention a standalone “Joker” film in which the shadow of Bruce Wayne looms large. And yet there’s something to be said for watching Robert Pattinson (“Twilight”) take his turn as the Caped Crusader, alongside a brand-new Riddler (Paul Dano, “There Will Be Blood”), Catwoman (Zoe Kravitz, “Mad Max: Fury Road”), Commissioner Gordon (Jeffrey Wright, “Westworld”), and many more Gotham City repertory players. Every Batman film reflects the world in which it is made, and director Matt Reeves (“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” finds a way to tell the same old story in a bracingly contemporary fashion.
How to watch: “The Batman” is streaming on HBO Max.
Paul Giamatti and director Alexander Payne recently finished filming “The Holdovers” in Massachusetts, with the prep school drama serving as the pair’s first collaboration since the Oscar-winning “Sideways.” While we wait for “The Holdovers” to make its planned 2023 debut, why not uncork a bottle and settle in with this 2004 buddy comedy, which chronicles a wine country road trip shared by two friends (Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church). As the late Roger Ebert put it in his four-star review of the film, “what happens during the seven days adds up to the best human comedy of the year — comedy, because it is funny, and human, because it is surprisingly moving.”
How to watch: “Sideways” is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Director Pablo Larrain didn’t find quite as much awards season success with “Spencer” as he did with “Jackie,” his previous historic biopic starring Natalie Portman as Jackie O. But Kristen Stewart (“Twilight”) managed to land a fully deserved Best Actress Oscar nomination as Princess Diana, completely nailing the late princess’s dialect and mannerisms in a film that puts her as front and center as the real-life royal was to the British public.
How to watch: “Spencer” is streaming on Hulu.
We will warn upfront that “Titane” is not for everyone. A provocative body horror film, “Titane” begins with a young girl who is fitted with a titanium plate in her skull after a car crash. Soon afterward, she shuns her parents and begins to display a bizarre connection to a car. Saying anything more runs the risk of spoiling the film, but rest assured that Julia Ducournau, who won the director’s prize at the Cannes Film Festival for the film, has created a movie unlike any you’ve seen before, and one you won’t soon forget.
How to watch: “Titane” is streaming on Hulu.
Early reviews for the long-awaited sequel “Top Gun: Maverick” have been overwhelmingly positive ahead of its May 27 release, so now is the perfect time to revisit the preening, macho flyboys at the center of Tony Scott’s 1986 original. Little matters about the plot of this Navy-centric action drama: Drinking in the vibes of Maverick (Tom Cruise), Goose (Anthony Edwards), Iceman (Val Kilmer), and a dozen other similarly nicknamed officers rolling planes, schmoozing dames, and cracking wise is entertainment enough.
How to watch: “Top Gun” is streaming on Netflix.
“Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives.”
Netflix has mastered the true crime genre, captivating audiences with colorful characters and shameless grifters in the likes of “Tiger King” and “Fyre.” Chris Smith, who had a hand in making both of the aforementioned Netflix hits, is back with “Bad Vegan,” a four-part documentary about superstar NYC restaurateur Sarma Melngailis, whose conman husband led her to ruin. Smith is strategic in structuring the story, painting Melngailis as a sympathetic figure even while daring you to wonder just how foolish she had to be to believe that her husband needed stolen millions to make their dog immortal, among other absurd requests.
How to watch: “Bad Vegan” is streaming on Netflix.
“The Kids in the Hall”
It’s been almost three decades since influential sketch group The Kids in the Hall’s eponymous show left the airwaves, but classic skits and catchphrases from the show’s five seasons have endured among comedy nerds to this day. Now, Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney, and Scott Thompson are back with an eight-episode revival on Amazon Prime, and despite the lengthy layoff, the quintet have once again produced a show that is deeply satirical and most importantly, outrageously funny. Or you could go watch that movie about that newspaper tycoon with Orson Welles — what was it called again?
How to watch: “The Kids in the Hall” is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Marvel has found a way to ensnare even the most stubborn holdouts to its utter cultural takeover with “Moon Knight,” casting Oscar Isaac (“Ex Machina”) as a little-known 1970s superhero who suffers from dissociative identity disorder. The show hopsbetween America, England, and ancient Egypt leaves him at the mercy of villains played by the great F. Murray Abraham (“Amadeus”) and Ethan Hawke (“Training Day”).
How to watch: “Moon Knight” is streaming on Disney Plus.
After a stellar first season that was received warmly by critics and audiences, the second season of Natasha Lyonne’s time-looping comedy “Russian Doll” seems to have missed the cultural zeitgeist this time around, quickly falling out of Netflix’s top 10 only days after its debut in April. Consider this an impassioned plea to tune back in, as it would be a shame if the second season of the show — co-created by Lyonne, Leslye Headland, and Burlington native Amy Poehler — is its last.
How to watch: “Russian Doll” is streaming on Netflix.
“The Time Traveler’s Wife”
Speaking of time loops, HBO is unveiling a major time travel series this weekend with the TV adaptation of “The Time Traveler’s Wife,” based on the beloved 2003 debut novel by Audrey Niffenegger and the 2009 film adaptation of the same name. This time around, Rose Leslie (“Game of Thrones”) plays Clare, who must find a way to stay bonded to her husband, Henry (Theo James, “Divergent”) as she meets him at different ages and stages in his life, building a multi-generational narrative that is equal parts mind-bending and endearing.
How to watch: “The Time Traveler’s Wife” debuts May 15, and will be streaming on HBO Max.
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