The streaming gods are good to us this week: AMC+ has a brand-new feature film full of true-crime thrills, HBO premieres the much-talked-about new Princess Di documentary, and Hulu debuts the LA Lakers version of the wildly popular The Last Dance. Which means you just need to keep the AC cranked up and the microwave popcorn popping. See you on the sofa … and pass the remote!
A new, juicy, true-crime thriller for your summer nights is here!
Rogue Agent is a cunning, creepy fact-based thriller about a Ted Bundy–like serial con man. Played by the charming English actor James Norton, best known for his hot priest on PBS’s Grantchester, Robert Freegard is a sweet-faced devil — but make no mistake: He is a devil. The first bizarre act we see is Freegard’s convincing three college students that he’s an MI5 member, uprooting the trio in the middle of the night and deploying them on an undercover “mission” — really an act of kidnapping and extreme manipulation. He then seduces sharp-witted Alice Archer (ex–Bond girl Gemma Arterton). The lonely but chic-as-hell lawyer should know better but finds him irresistible enough to ignore his story’s inconsistencies, until she begins to dig into his past and gets dirt under her manicure. The true-crime tale, anchored by Norton and Arterton, is both classy and chilling on the windy road to the fiend’s comeuppance. —Thelma M. Adams
Watch it: Rogue Agent, in theaters and on AMC+
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For all you royals watchers out there …
It’s been a quarter century since Princess Diana died, but this film by Ed Perkins, the director of the brilliant documentary Tell Me Who I Am, makes her tumultuous days seem like current events by using not talking heads bloviating about her significance, but rather archival news video, interviews and amateur footage by ordinary citizens, including one who caught her getting into the limo with the drunk chauffeur the day of her death. “We really tried with this story to not include the moments that everyone has already seen many, many times over the years,” said Perkins at the film’s auspicious Sundance film fest debut.
If you loved The Last Dance, you’re going to love this new basketball docuseries
Legacy: The True Story of the LA Lakers
How did Jerry Buss turn an ordinary basketball team into a $5 billion behemoth that nabbed 11 titles, attracted hordes of celebrities and made celebs of the players? Find out in this 10-part Hulu original docuseries, a wild tale directed by Antoine Fuqua that’s at least as dramatic as his movies The Equalizer and The Magnificent Seven.
Don’t miss this: 6 Ways Magic Johnson Changed Basketball — and So Much More
Speaking of Hulu … shouldn’t you be subscribing?
It’s not just your grandkids’ TV show streaming platform any more. If you haven’t yet noticed, Hulu is streaming some of the most-talked-about TV shows of the past year, including Only Murders in the Building, The Old Man and The Bear. Check out these 20 shows on Hulu that may convince you to make room in your budget for a subscription.
Get the list: The 20 Best Shows Playing on Hulu Right Now
This got the highest test-audience score of any film MGM has made in 98 years
Thirteen Lives, PG-13
The payoff is worth the wait in Ron Howard’s 147-minute docudrama about the rescue of 12 members of a Thai boys soccer team and their coach from a flooded mountain cave — the subject of the terrific 2021 documentary called The Rescue. This movie doesn’t tell us enough about the lads (Netflix secured their story rights for a miniseries). Instead, the Amazon Prime original film hopscotches among pressured public servants, frustrated families and heroic volunteers. But Howard pulls everything together when British cave divers (Colin Farrell and Viggo Mortensen) reach the kids and an Australian colleague (Joel Edgerton) hatches bold plans for their extraction. Legions of saviors, including Thai Navy SEALS, demonstrate the right stuff in scenes that are simultaneously spooky, poignant and thrilling. —Michael Sragow
Watch it: Thirteen Lives on Amazon Prime
Your Amazon Prime watch of the week is here!
A League of Their Own
Not simply a remake of the smash 1992 comedy about the real 1943–54 All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, this series stars D’Arcy Carden in a Madonna-ish role, Melanie Field reminding you of Rosie O’Donnell (who plays a small role as a bar owner who’s a fan of the Rockford Peaches team), and Nick Offerman as a coach quite unlike Tom Hanks in the original. But there’s still no crying in baseball.
Watch it: A League of Their Own on Amazon Prime
Don’t miss this: The 23 Best Things Coming to Amazon Prime in August
Here’s your Netflix watch of the week!
Iron Chef Brazil, Season 1
The cooking competition spins off another tasty hit in a land with a whole lot of coffee.
Watch it: Iron Chef Brazil on Netflix
Don’t miss this: The 23 Best Things Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix in August
Are you hooked on Abbott Elementary yet? Meet its most grownup star!
The season’s brightest new comedy features a cast of mockumentary students and young teachers, but 70-year-old William Stanford Davis is the grownup star of the class. AARP talks with Davis about his most inspiring teachers, being in a band in high school, and why acting became his calling.
Get the story: William Stanford Davis of 'Abbott Elementary' Is a Class Act
Love Law & Order? Have we got a list for you!
If you’ve been part of Law & Order nation since Jerry Orbach was shaking his head at corpses on the mean streets of New York in the 1990s, we know you’ve followed the spin-offs and have watched some of them become blockbusters. But which ones are the best of the best? Our critics have ranked all seven Law & Order iterations, plus offered up the very best episode from each series to watch right now. It’s a dream come true. Check it out here: What’s the Best Law & Order Series of All Time?
Hot TV Tip of the Week
Ready to (finally!) get a handle of which streaming services you want, which ones to ditch, and which ones are – deep breath – free? We’ve got seven simple steps to taking control of your TV in all the right ways: How to (Finally!) Organize Your Streaming Services
Bonus: Want to watch more films for free? We’ve got the inside scoop: How to Get Video on Demand for Free
What is the best, most hilarious TV sitcom of all time?
CBS via Getty Images; Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images; Mitchell Haaseth/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images
Is it M*A*S*H? I Love Lucy? The Jeffersons? Since 1951, great situation comedies have been brightening our prime times, and it’s high time to name the best of the best. Our critics went through the entire history of the small screen to name the 25 all-time best sitcoms. Bonus? We ranked them! Get the whole countdown, watch hilarious video clips, and see if our list matches yours.
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The Outlaws, Season 2 (2022)
In this smart Amazon original series, Christopher Walken, Stephen Merchant and five others are criminals paying their debt to society by doing community service — but a ruthless London drug lord has other plans for them.
Watch it: The Outlaws on Amazon Prime
Reservation Dogs, Season 2
There’s a Native American renaissance of prestige TV going on, with Peacock’s Rutherford Falls, AMC+’s Dark Wind and this excellent series in its second season about Oklahoma kids scheming to escape reservation life and cope with the death of their best friend. Gary Farmer, 69 (Johnny Depp’s adviser in Dead Man), and Wes Studi, 74 (Dances With Wolves, A Love Song), play elders who address their old feud. Megan Mullally, 63 (Will & Grace), and Marc Maron, 58, guest star.
Watch it: Reservation Dogs on Hulu
The Last Movie Stars
George Clooney and Laura Linney play the voices of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in a six-part documentary about their 50-year marriage that’s directed by Ethan Hawke and produced by Martin Scorsese. It’s based on the tapes Newman recorded for his memoir (that he ended up not writing) and later burned. But the transcripts remain, and their kids convinced Hawke to hire Clooney and Linney to bring their words to life.
Watch it: The Last Movie Stars on HBO Max
Don’t miss this: 7 Things We Love About Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward
Better Call Saul, Final Season, Part 2
Guess who’s joining the cast for the grand finale of the Saul Goodman origin story, the Breaking Bad prequel that some say outdoes the first series? Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul as Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, the stars of Breaking Bad! Plus, guest star Carol Burnett, 89, in an undisclosed role. "I'm thrilled to be a part of my favorite show," says Burnett.
Watch it: Better Call Saul on AMC
Stranger Things, Season 4, Vol. 2
Why did Netflix present the two grand finale episodes of its biggest hit’s fourth season as its own “volume”? Because each episode of the sprawling story of teens battling underworld demons is long — longer than the Spielberg and Stephen King flicks to which it’s an homage. (Also, Netflix needs a hit this month since its stock crashed 70 percent.) It’s a rich mix, and Winona Ryder, 50, gives it grownup energy in her first TV role, as a mom seeking her son lost in the otherworld. She also counseled the kid cast and lectured the show’s creators on how to keep its 1980s cultural references authentic, like the 1985 Kate Bush hit Stranger Things boosted to No. 1 in 2022 (in the real world).
Watch it: Stranger Things on Netflix
Only Murders in the Building, Season 2
Steve Martin, Martin Short, Selena Gomez and Nathan Lane are back in the hit comedy about true-crime podcasters investigating a killing in their fancy Manhattan apartment building, the Arconia. Last season, they nabbed a murderer, but now they’re the suspects in the death of the Arconia’s owner (Jayne Houdyshell). A rival (Tina Fey) accuses them in her podcast, Only Murderers in the Building, and guest stars Shirley MacLaine, Andrea Martin, Amy Ryan and Amy Schumer (playing herself) complicate the plot.
Watch it: Only Murders in the Building on Hulu
Money Heist: Korea — Joint Economic Area
In the Korean version of Netflix’s popular Spanish action show about criminals recruited by “the Professor” (in this case, Oldboy‘s Yoo Ji-tae, 46) to rob big money from the national mint, North and South Korea are not at war, and everybody’s out for cash — including BTS, who play packed shows up north.
Don’t miss this: Korean Shows Are Ruling TV Right Now, and Here’s What to Watch
The Upshaws (Season 2)
Wanda Sykes waxes sardonic as the big sister of an Indianapolis woman (Kim Fields) married to a car mechanic (Mike Epps) who could use some improvement, she thinks.
Watch it: The Upshaws on Netflix
The Old Man
In his first lead TV role, Jeff Bridges, 72, plays a CIA agent who went off the grid after Russia’s 1980s Afghanistan invasion and is now being sought by his old partner (John Lithgow, 76). “Our chickens have come home to roost — the consequences of our earlier behavior,” says Bridges, who’s glad to be back at work after an almost two-year battle with cancer and COVID. “I feel terrific!”
Watch it: The Old Man on FX and Hulu
The Lincoln Lawyer
Matthew McConaughey gave his career a big boost with the 2011 movie adapted from Michael Connelly’s first best-selling novel about Mickey Haller, a clever Los Angeles lawyer whose office is his car. Now überproducer David E. Kelley (The Practice, Big Little Lies, L.A. Law) makes a series from the second Haller novel, starring Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, who’s less flashy but grows on you. Neve Campbell is good as his first ex-wife and Becki Newton is bubbly as his second ex-wife, helping him get his career back on track. It’s not quite as rich as the other new Connelly show Bosch: Legacy, but it’s a solid courtroom drama/detective show — the closest thing streaming has to Law & Order.
Watch it: The Lincoln Lawyer on Netflix
Don’t miss this: Inside the Criminal Mind of Michael Connelly
The seven-season Amazon hit series Bosch gets a spinoff on Freevee (which used to be IMDb TV), this one with ads so it’s free to watch. It’s pretty much an eighth season of the original, only now irritable, admirable Harry Bosch (Titus Welliver, 60) has quit LAPD to be a PI, and he has a new tech sidekick named Mo (Stephen Chang), who’s like James Bond’s Q, except that Bond understands Q’s gizmos and Bosch is a luddite. His doting daughter Maddie (Madison Lintz) is an LAPD rookie cop, and Bosch’s frienemy, lawyer Honey “Money” Chandler (Mimi Rogers, 66), is now his ally. Legendary William Devane, 82, plays a zillionaire client who wants Bosch to find the lost love of his youth.
Watch it: Bosch: Legacy on Freevee
Hacks, Season 2
Could the 2022 Hacks possibly be as clever, funny and touching as its triumphant, Emmy-gobbling first season? Yes! Seasoned Vegas standup Deborah (Jean Smart, 70) and her entitled young cowriter Ava (Hannah Einbinder) go on the road in an RV for a comedy tour. Their inseparable bickering only bonds them ever more tightly — but Ava gets plastered and trashes her boss in emails she wishes she could unsend. New this season: guest stars Laurie Metcalf, 66, and Margaret Cho, 53.
Watch it: Hacks on HBO Max
DON’T MISS THIS: Getting Smart: Jean Smart shares her secrets
Barry, Season 3
(HBO, HBO Max)
A promising student (Bill Hader) of a passionate acting teacher (Henry Winkler) keeps trying to leave his former profession as an assassin but keeps getting dragged back. It makes for a tough balancing act when he lands a part on a hot TV show. In Season 3, the comic drama gets as dark and morally knotty as Better Call Saul. Like Bob Odenkirk’s Saul, Hader’s Barry proves that an SNL funnyman can turn out to be one of the great dramatic actors on TV.
Liked Gary Oldman in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy? Try him as a flatulent, irascible master spy now reduced to leading a team of the biggest losers in British intelligence, investigating a white nationalist kidnapping. Kristin Scott Thomas plays a nasty MI5 official.
Watch it: Slow Horses on Apple TV+
Netflix’s Black Lives Matter Collection
Netflix unveils a useful, intelligently curated menu of 48 or so top titles including When They See Us, Moonlight, Malcolm X and the current must-see, Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods (which could win star Delroy Lindo the Oscar he’s deserved for some time, and maybe the Emmy, too).
Watch it: Netflix
Tim Appelo covers entertainment and is the film and TV critic for AARP. Previously, he was the entertainment editor at Amazon, video critic at Entertainment Weekly, and a critic and writer for The Hollywood Reporter, People, MTV, The Village Voice and LA Weekly.