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.
Thanks to its all Latinx writers room, and all female directors, Vida’s thoughtful exploration of race, gentrification, class, and sexual identity in East L.A. is as vibrant and vital as ever. After two excellent seasons, Tanya Saracho’s series finishes strong in its final season by diving deeper into the complex lives of estranged sisters Emma and Lyn Hernandez. By lensing bittersweet stories of love, loss and family through a myriad of diverse perspectives within the LGBTQ and Latinx communities in their neighbourhood, Vida bursts with exhilarating specificity.
Mindy Kaling (The Office, The Mindy Project) is back with a charming and bright new sitcom loosely based on her own childhood. Anchored by dazzling newcomer Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Never Have I Ever is a breezy coming-of-age story about a first generation Indian-American teen growing up in suburbia. We follow her awkward sophomore year as she copes with grief over her father’s passing, juggles two cultures, and looks for a boyfriend. But beyond the hormonal hijinks, this series is anchored by authentic portrayals of poignant female friendships.
Created by Greg Daniels (The Office, Parks and Recreation), Upload is a hilarious and heartfelt sci-fi comedy that follows app developer Nathan after he is uploaded into a virtual afterlife following a car accident. However this digital reality is far from paradise because your wealth determines how idyllic heaven can be. It’s really just a means for companies to keep profiting from your consciousness as you continue making purchases after death. Deeply funny and thought-provoking, Upload explores capitalism, privacy and income inequality in the hereafter.
Rick and Morty returns from midseason hiatus to deliver the final five episodes of season four! Creators Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland prove to be an endless well of ingenuity, offering yet another batch of audaciously creative, outrageously hilarious and dizzyingly meta instalments. At its most ambitious, it continues to deconstruct genre tropes in brain-twisting ways, totally upending storytelling conventions at every turn. But despite its structural playfulness, Rick and Morty never gets lost, and never fails to deliver its deranged brand of adventure and comedy.
Speaking of Rick and Morty, its co-creator Justin Roiland is branching out with a hilarious new animated sci-fi comedy! Solar Opposites is a fresh spin on 3rd Rock From The Sun, centering on a team of aliens who escape from a dying world only to take refuge in middle America. Split on whether Earth is awesome or awful – their personality clashes, and cluelessness about the basics of human society serve as the spark for the series’ funniest beats. Solar Opposites flies with a breakneck pace, coasting on a witty mix of goofy absurdity and good-natured warmth.
One of the most creative comedies of the streaming era returns in the most playful way possible – with an interactive choose-your-own-adventure special! Taking place after its perfect series finale, Kimmy vs. the Reverend finds our candy-colored heroine getting married to a British heir, and trying to free captive girls from one of the Reverend’s undiscovered bunkers. This delightful journey weaves together multiple stories via alternate paths, leading to variations of ludicrously clever jokes and scenarios that put us square into Kimmy’s idiosyncratic yet kindhearted world.
Magic For Humans returns for a third season of unexpected sleight of hand and sly social experimentation. Still hosted by magician/comedian extraordinaire Justin Willman, this season continues to tie together the wonder of magic with the universality of being human through some mind blowing, yet very funny, illusions. From performing tricks in the buff at a nudist colony (proving he’s got nothing up his sleeve, or anywhere else) to wowing random passersby – this sketch comedy meets street magic show is an insightful, charming and fun quarantine escape.
Created by Jack Throne and directed by Damien Chazelle (Whiplash, La La Land) – The Eddy is an artful and atmospheric slice of life set in the Parisian jazz scene, shot with a gritty, handheld vérité camera style that lingers over its characters like stubborn cigarette smoke. Starring André Holland as Elliot Udo, a New York pianist who now owns a struggling jazz club in France, this 8-part limited series portrays the turbulent formation of a band, and a difficult father-daughter reunion with an abundance of style, reveling in the romanticism and pitfalls of musical passion.
VICE’s sordid pro wrestling documentary continues to explore some of the industry’s most infamous scandals for this revealing second season. Narrated by Chris Jericho, Dark Side of the Ring season two begins with a two-hour look into the case of Chris Benoit – who killed his wife and 7-year-old son before committing suicide in 2007. From there the series digs into other controversial subjects such as career of hardcore legend New Jack, the death of Jimmy Snuka’s girlfriend, the disastrous Brawl for All tournament, the tragic death of Owen Hart, among others.
The fifth and final season of Noelle Stevenson’s She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is epic. It lays out everything the show has built over several seasons on the table with purpose, giving us a season where every episode feels like a legendary showdown, only to have a bigger event take its place during the next. The princesses face all out war against Horde Prime leading to an action-packed season running at breakneck speed – rife with exciting and emotional moments. And through the struggle, it’s harder than ever to trust that kindness can overcome adversity.
The five-part documentary series looks into the cases of kidnapping and murder of at least 30 African-American children in Atlanta between 1979 and 1981 that were recently reopened in 2019 (and dramatized in the second season of Mindhunter). You might walk away from this series thinking that the case was correctly solved, or you might walk away thinking it was merely closed to stop a race war from destroying the city. Either way, this paints a comprehensive and sobering picture of why this heartbreaking story remains such a painful part of Atlanta’s history.
Documentarian Kitty Green directs her first narrative feature here, and her unsensationalized nonfiction roots are put to great use in crafting this spare but searing look at the unchecked appetites of a man in power. The Assistant never mentions Harvey Weinstein by name, instead choosing to shed light on the people around him who learn to tolerate and accommodate his behavior. The phenomenal Julia Garner (Ozark) stars as our entry-level proxy into this shameful machine, allowing us to understand her bottom-rung struggle, while making her complicity clear.
Faced with an unintended pregnancy, Autumn and her cousin Skylar embark on a fraught journey from rural Pennsylvania across state lines to New York City to procure an abortion. Directed by Eliza Hittman, Never Rarely Sometimes Always is a quietly devastating gem that portrays the number of hoops women have to jump through in order to have autonomy. Told without melodrama or much dialogue, this exceptionally naturalistic film transcends polemics to tell a pair of powerfully tender and emotionally precise character studies. Read our full review.
Spaceship Earth is a distinctive and poignant documentary detailing the stranger-than-fiction adventure of eight visionaries, who in 1991, spent two years quarantined inside of a replica of Earth’s ecosystem called Biosphere 2. The experiment was a global phenomenon, chronicling daily existence in the face of life threatening ecological disaster and a growing criticism that it was nothing more than a cult. The bizarre story is both a cautionary tale and a hopeful lesson of how a small group of idealistic dreamers on the fringe could potentially reimagine a new world.
For 35-plus years, the gay porn shop Circus of Books gave L.A.’s LGBT+ community a space to socialize and celebrate without judgment. Unbeknownst to customers, the store was owned by Karen and Barry Mason, a straight couple with three children who went to religious school. This enthralling documentary, directed by their daughter Rachel Mason, explores the rise and fall of one of the most unusual Mom and Pop shops in America. Weaving through their contradictory work and home life, Mason pays a moving tribute to her parents and their place in gay history.
Detailing the real-life embezzlement scandal of a Long Island educator, Hugh Jackman stars as Frank Tassone – an inspiring school superintendent who elevated the Roslyn District to unprecedented prestige. That was until a student reporter digs into expense reports and discovers that Tassone had been stealing millions of dollars. Jackman turns in one of his most intelligent and complicated performances here, ably balancing Tassone’s charisma and genuine commitment to providing quality education, alongside his hidden vanity and greedy self-interest.
Following a shy, Chinese-American, straight-A student who finds herself helping the school jock woo the girl they both secretly love – The Half of It is a breezy, endearing and heartfelt charmer. As the two develop a close relationship of their own in the process, a complicated love triangle begins to form. This film is such a smart riff on the erudite epistolary of Cyrano de Bergerac that celebrates friendship and self-acceptance over romance. It’s no wonder that Alice Wu’s queer rom-com so effortlessly folds highbrow aims into an classically accessible coming-of-age story.
The vampires of Bit have one rule above any other: No turning boys. You can eat them and leave them drained, but under no circumstance do you make them vampire, because history has proven that they cannot be trusted with power. Following a transgender teen girl (a terrific performance by Supergirl’s Nicole Maine) on vacation in L.A. who falls in with (and fights to survive) this nest of queer feminist vampires, this low-budget indie feels like a breath of fresh air for the genre. Bit excels as a radically punk and ambitiously progressive spin on The Lost Boys.
This is certainly one of the strangest films you’ll ever see. Butt Boy follows Chip, a man with a fetish for sticking things up his butt. More than a sexual urge, it turns out to be an actual superpower! As his obsession escalates, he turns to kidnapping kids and stuffing them up his bum. Enter grizzled Detective Fox, the man in-charge of the missing persons case. And thus begins the craziest cat-and-mouse chases in cinematic history. While obviously an absurdist comedy, the magic of Butt Boy is that it’s played as seriously as a David Fincher crime film.
Apokolips War marks the epic conclusion of DC’s shared animated movie universe – and it easily outdoes Avengers: Endgame in size and scope. This grand finale centres on a ruined Earth following Superman’s failed attempt to stop Darkseid in a catastrophic war. With most superheroes annihilated or enslaved, the remaining survivors, led by Constantine, must band together to take a final stand against the tyrant in order to save the universe. Packed full of genuinely shocking moments and breathtaking battles, this is a film every DC fan will revel in.