Each week our staff of film and TV experts surveys the entertainment landscape to select the ten best new/newish shows available for you to stream at home. We put a lot of thought into our selections, and our debates on what to include and what not to include can sometimes get a little heated and feelings may get hurt, but so be it, this is an important service for you, our readers. With that said, here are our selections for this week.
1. Mythic Quest (Apple TV+)
Well, guess what: Mythic Quest is back. The Apple series from Always Sunny creator Rob Mcelhenney dropped a new special on April 16 (a bookend to its previous pandemic-themed masterpiece) and now it’s back for a full second season. Mythic Quest is so good. It’s warm and funny and mean and touching all at once, and so much more than it is if you think it is “a show about video games.” The cast is stacked and the inter-office intrigue only builds from the already excellent first season. Get in there. Do it. Watch it on Apple TV+.
2. Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Disney+)
It’s not a requirement to have seen The Clone Wars to enjoy The Bad Batch. All you need to know before watching the Disney+ animated series is that it’s about a group of clone troopers with genetic mutations with cool-ass names like “Wrecker” and “Hunter,” and it takes place between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. Now have fun and may the force… you know the rest. Watch it on Disney+ starting May 7.
3. The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
We know what you’re thinking. Why in the hell would I want to watch a show about a dystopia populated with theocratic supremacists who view women as breeding machines in 2021? And we get it. We do. But here’s the thing: season four of The Handmaid’s Tale is kick-ass. Like, there’s literal ass-kicking going on — and rebellions and revolutions and some major character twists you won’t see coming. Things are changing in Gilead when the new season launches, and Elisabeth Moss’s June is fueling most of that metamorphosis. Watch for her … and for Bradley Whitford’s beard. Watch it on Hulu.
4. Shadow and Bone (Netflix)
Need a little fantasy to shut down reality for a while? You’re in luck. Based upon Leigh Bardugo’s bestselling Grishaverse novels, this show follows dark forces that move against an orphan mapmaker, whose power might be the key to transforming a war-torn world. The good news is that you really don’t need to know the books to enjoy the first season of this show, although a taste for steampunk would help. Watch it on Netflix.
Netflix will up its anime game with this dazzling series from Japanese animation studio MAPPA. LaKeith Stanfield voices a character that’s based upon the real-life first African samurai, who struggles to leave his ronin past behind while living the quiet life in a war-torn, feudal village. You know how that’s gonna go, right? He’s gotta pick up that sword again to fight dark magic, robots, and a damn werewolf. It’s cool, and so is the score from Flying Lotus. Here, creator/director/producer LeSean Thomas builds upon his proven track record (The Boondocks, Cannon Buster, and Black Dynamite) of interweaving anime and Black culture. Watch it on Netflix.
6. Sons Of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness (Netflix)
As long as the true-crime train keeps chugging along, we’ll keep diving down murderous rabbit holes about cults and serial killers and satanic cabals. And we’ll do it while actively ignoring why we find these damn docuseries so entertaining (and what that says about us). So go ahead, binge this rather impressive investigative look at a crime spree that captivated the country in the 70s, one that was never truly solved – at least, not to journalist Maury Terry’s satisfaction. After watching this, you’ll probably have your doubts too. Watch it on Netflix.
7. The Nevers (HBO)
This Joss Whedon-created show offers an intriguing setup about a group of “orphans” (almost exclusively women) who find themselves “gifted” with supernaturally-powered abilities. Although there’s far too many plotlines (and some plot holes), there’s also a fair amount of butt-kicking, and the atmosphere is killer. The embattled Buffy and Firefly creator officially exited the series last year, but you won’t be able to forget his presence. Whether that hurts or helps the show remains to be seen. Watch it on HBO.
8. Jupiter’ s Legacy (Netflix)
Kick-Ass and Kingsman creator Mark Millar is to thank for this series starring a heavily bearded Josh Duhamel as The Utopian. He’s the head of a superhero family that’s hoping to pass the torch to a new generation, but (no real surprise) things aren’t going smoothly on that note. Yes, this description does evoke shades of Robert Kirkman’s Invincible (currently running on Amazon), but the vibe is less R-rated yet entertaining on its own merits. Much of the fun here involves this family’s twists on ethics. Watch it on Netflix.
9. That Damn Michael Che (HBO Max)
With That Damn Michael Che, the SNL Weekend Update anchor is stepping into his own six-episode sketch series for HBO Max, digging into issues like profiling, healthcare, and anti-maskers with some nuance while throwing elbows at the powerful, hypocritical, and plain dumb. Produced by Lorne Michaels, the show will also feature cameos from other cast members like Cecily Strong, but don’t mistake this as some kind of spinoff or compare it to the 46 seasons old iconic series. Don’t compare it to anything, just let Che expand on the kind of pointed cultural criticism he’s become known for. Watch it on HBO Max starting May 7.
10. (tie) Girls5Eva (Peacock)
The thing about Girls5Eva is that there’s almost too must talent involved to ignore. The series, about a girl group from the 1990s that gets a second chance at stardom, is produced by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock. It stars Busy Philipps and Sara Bareilles and Renee Elise Goldsberry and Paula Pell. If these are names that mean something to you (and if you’ve been a fan of comedy over the last 10-15 years, they probably do), then you’re already in. Good. Sometimes things are that easy. Watch it on Peacock starting May 7.
10. (tie) Invincible (Amazon Prime)
This animated romp will please both fans of The Boys and The Walking Dead, and the latter reference has everything to do with the source material penned by Robert Kirkman. Invincible is an ultraviolent deconstruction of the superhero, and yes, we’ve seen plenty of dismantling already, but this story has heart. Stephen Yeun makes a fantastic leading man here, and the cast (J.K. Simmons, Sandra Oh, Seth Rogen, Walton Goggins, Jason Mantzoukas, Zazie Beetz, Zachary Quinto, Mark Hamill, and several TWD names) is ridiculously good. Watch it on Amazon.