Ever feel like there’s too much to watch, and you don’t know where to start? Well don’t worry. Our Film & TV editor Hidzir Junaini will be rounding up only the very best things to hit your screens at the end of every month! Skip the mediocre and delve right into the good stuff.


Television:

Unorthodox

Based on Deborah Feldman’s 2012 memoir, Unorthodox is a riveting Yiddish miniseries about religious rebellion and rebirth. Lead actress Shira Haas is phenomenal as a young Jewish woman who runs away from the Hasidic Satmar sect of Williamsburg, to find a secular life in Berlin. Part transformational drama and part escape thriller, Unorthodox balances a nuanced emotional tapestry of a woman battling to think for herself, and her family who feel betrayed. This series movingly captures the pain and power of leaving a strict religious community behind.

Watch on: Netflix

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Insecure

Past seasons of Issa Rae’s brilliant comedy about the black millennial experience have explored the challenges of lost jobs and romantic relationships – but this one focuses on that frustration on an unravelling friendship. The heart of Insecure has always been the bond between Issa and Molly, and season four organically rips it apart when the pair give up on repairing wounds that have long been building. Despite still being consistently hilarious, this show’s dramatic strengths are at its peak here, playing out aggravations in realistic ways that few sitcoms ever achieve.

Watch on: HBO

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Feel Good

Created, written by and starring comedian Mae Martin, this sharply observed and emotionally complex British dramedy is a lot like Fleabag by way of Master of None. Feel Good follows Mae, a Canadian stand-up comic and recovering drug addict barely making ends meet in London. She falls in love with an English teacher named George who has never dated a woman before. Their meet-cute and romance unfurls quickly – but this painfully honest and darkly funny series is all about delving into the messy aftermath of a rom-com whirlwind. Read our full review here

Watch on: Netflix

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Brockmire

Who knew a low-key comedy about a disgraced baseball announcer would end up dealing with a dystopian future curveball in its final inning? The fourth and concluding season of Brockmire skips ahead to 2030, into an apocalyptic world plagued by climate change, conflict, disease and food shortages. However, Brockmire himself is doing pretty well, now that he’s overcome his alcoholism and self-loathing. In this hilarious new season, our filthily acerbic lead unexpectedly finds himself as a father, and the new baseball commissioner, tasked with reviving a dead sport.

Watch on: IFC

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Giri / Haji

This masterful cross-continental thriller follows Tokyo detective Kenzo Mori as he heads to London to search for his missing younger brother, who may be linked to the death of a Yakuza boss. Part Japanese gangster flick and part English cop show, Giri / Haji (which translates as Duty / Shame) is full of unexpected twists, not just in its story but in its form. It’s dark and violent at times, but also funny and full of heart. Artfully stylistic and narratively ambitious, this brother vs brother story weaves a tangled web of hurt and healing that’s as exciting as it is satisfying.

Watch on: Netflix

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Run

Who hasn’t fantasized about leaving it all behind? No time to pack, no time to think, just go. That’s the premise of this new series from Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Vicky Jones (the stage director of Fleabag). Merritt Wever and Domhnall Gleeson are electric as a pair of college exes who, 17 years later, make good on a promise that if one texted “Run” and the other responded in kind, they would do just that. But as they go on their cross-country escapist fantasy, they come to realise that their consequences they’re running away from aren’t easily left behind.

Watch on: HBO

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Mrs. America

Set in 1970s America, this exceptional miniseries focuses on the debate over the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), meant to put women on the same legal footing as men. Starring Cate Blanchett as conservative anti-feminist activist Phyllis Schlafley, Mrs. America traces her mobilization of housewives against the ERA out of a belief that women’s liberation would dismantle traditional family values. Beyond being a great period exploration of this ideological schism, Mrs. America also presents a nuanced look at the female vanguards on both sides.

Watch on: Hulu

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The Innocence Files

The Innocence Files details the tireless work of The Innocence Project, a nonprofit organization with the goal of exonerating wrongfully imprisoned people primarily through the use of DNA evidence, and striving for criminal justice reform. Equally moving, informative, and infuriating, this true crime series goes beyond sensationalism and shock to paint a comprehensive portrait of America’s justice system’s failures. From unreliable eyewitness testimony to police corruption to misapplied science – this is an eye-opening look at how easily innocent people end up in jail.

Watch on: Netflix

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Tales From The Loop

Based on the moody sci-fi paintings of Simon Stålenhag, this melancholy anthology frames poignant human stories through the Swedish artist’s vision of rustic landscapes filled with retro-futuristic technology, discarded machinery, and brutalist architecture. Focusing on the people who live in a town above The Loop, a mysterious machine that makes the impossible possible, this series uses trippy sci-fi concepts to explore emotional truths of its human subjects. Featuring tales of yearning, grief, loss and parenthood – The Loop is as soulful as it is beautiful.

Watch on: Amazon Prime

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The Midnight Gospel

Coming to you from Adventure Time creator Pendleton Ward and Duncan Trussell of the Duncan Trussell Family Hour podcast – this fantastic new animated series follows spacecaster Clancy as he traverses the multiverse, interviewing gamut of multidimensional beings (ranging including tiny clown creatures, to a catlike ruler sitting on a throne, to a severed head making out with a woman). This glorious, hilarious and delirious series combines the zany imagination of Ward’s old show with more adult-oriented comedy to create a surrealist technicolor delight!

Watch on: Netflix

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What We Do In The Shadows

Spun-off from Taika Waititi’s mockumentary, the first season of What We Do In The Shadows was a charmingly low-stakes, deadpan horror-comedy about a quartet of vampire housemates in Staten Island. Thankfully, season two remains a silly pleasure! When not concerned with the banalities of modern undead life, this season focuses on Guillermo’s turmoil after discovering that he’s descended from Van Helsing, introduces a terrible new familiar played by Haley Joel Osment, and hilariously explores our vampires’ relationships with other supernatural creatures.

Watch on: FX

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Kim’s Convenience

Kim’s Convenience has been a success in Canada since it began (first as a play), but thanks to Netflix, the acclaimed Canadian sitcom has become a worldwide sensation. Now in its fourth season, this immensely funny show about an immigrant Korean family and their convenience store seems to have hit its stride. Breezily enjoyable for it’s comedy about generational gaps and tradition, and sneakily smart when it mines humour from social issues, Kim’s Convenience draws laughs through the family’s interactions with each other, and their diverse community.

Watch on: Netflix

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Westworld

This complex and cerebral narrative about autonomy and automatons reboots itself for its third season, as the show leaves Westworld for the real world. Having escaped in season two, we now follow Dolores in neon-lit near-future L.A., as she seeks to overthrow the corporations running this tech dystopia. Meanwhile, Maeve finds herself in the employ of a billionaire looking to stop Dolores’ revolution. Although still built upon mystery, existential quandaries and intricate narratives, season three thrives through more linear storytelling and stunning action sequences.

Watch on: HBO

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Killing Eve

Killing Eve’s third season remains engrossing, surprising, and strangely funny – but it’s also casually brutal, something that continues to give the series its edge. New showrunner Suzanne Heathcote takes the reins for the latest chapter on the unique relationship between beleaguered agent Eve Polastri and flamboyant assassin Villanelle. While they’re kept on seperate paths this season as Villanelle is confronted by her past and Eve is stranded in personal wilderness – their obsessive, pyschosexual cat-and-mouse dynamic remains the beating heart of black comedy. 

Watch on: BBC

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The Last Dance

Focusing on the 1997–98 Chicago Bulls championship run and Michael Jordan’s final season with the team, this outstanding 10-part documentary series is a must watch for any basketball fan. Featuring never-before-seen footage, The Last Dance presents an in-depth look at the famed dynasty’s final hurrah. Besides capturing a candid portrait of Jordan himself during the tail-end of his prime, this ESPN production also includes extensive profiles of key teammates such as Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and Steve Kerr, alongside head coach Phil Jackson.

Watch on: Netflix

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Movies:

Beastie Boys Story

Ch-check it out! Spike Jonze has made a live documentary about Beastie Boys, charting the iconic group’s rise to fame, their fall, and the legacy that they left behind. Unlike typical music documentaries – Jonze takes a unique approach by bringing members Mike Diamond and Adam Horovitz onstage to tell their own story to a live audience, as the film cuts between footage of the band’s heyday. From peaks such as becoming Billboard’s best selling rap group, to lows like the tragic passing of Adam Yauch – this is a candidly insightful look at the band’s storied history.

Watch on: Apple TV+

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Tigertail

Writer-director Alan Yang (Master of None, Parks & Recreation, Little America) makes his feature directorial debut with this gorgeous and graceful transgenerational, transcontinental story. Tigertail is an elegiac portrait of the life of a Taiwanese immigrant in America who seeks to reconcile his past and build a better future for himself. Filled with unspoken regret and ending with shared catharsis, this stirring meditation on sacrifice traces how a once romantic dreamer slowly transforms into a cynical shell after years of monotonous work and a loveless marriage.

Watch on: Netflix

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Swallow

As provocative and uncomfortable as it is beautifully shot, Swallow follows a housewife named Hunter with a rare disorder called pica, which compels her to eat small inedible objects like marbles, thumbtacks and even dirt. Despite her seemingly perfect life – Ken doll husband, a luxurious home, and a baby on the way – Hunter feels trapped. Pushed by domestic ennui, the realisation that her body is no longer her own, and a desire to punish herself, Hunter’s grasp for some small shred of personal agency drives this twisted, self-destructive psychological study.

Watch on: VOD

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The Last Black Man in San Francisco

Part autobiographical narrative (based on the lives of filmmakers Jimmie Fails and Joe Talbot), and part surreal fairy tale – this film is a strikingly evocative tone poem about the notion of friendship, home and black masculinity. The laconic, lyrical story follows a fictional version of Jimmie Fails (and his best friend Mont), as he tries to reclaim an old Victorian house built by his grandfather. Visually, sonically and thematically – this is a wistful and whimsical exploration of how a city or person can be defined by legacy, or changed either due to gentrification or growth.

Watch on: VOD

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After Truth: Disinformation and the Cost of Fake News

This absorbing and impressively researched documentary directed by Andrew Rossi conspiracy theories and false news stories ranging from disinformation during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, to “Pizzagate”, to even the Jade Helm conspiracy. Investigating the insidious and interlocking ways that fake news has seduced many into disconnecting from reality. It’s riveting and unsettling to see After Truth deconstruct the slimy motives behind fabricated narratives, and how it’s snowballed into a cesspool of paranoia that’s destabilizing democracy around the world.

Watch on: HBO

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