The Disney-fueled ESPN+/Disney+/Hulu triple pack might be the biggest power play in the streaming wars yet. The late-2019 bundling of these services offers three huge entertainment libraries, a staggering array of choices that’s mostly good at making it impossible to choose. Don’t sweat it. Here are 10 rock-solid picks culled from all three services, with something for any mood.
Unless noted otherwise, most of these are available on Hulu, the service with the largest and most varied library.
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We’ve rounded up our favorite and most-used games, apps, and entertainment. Check out our app picks for iPhones, Android phones, PCs and Macs; our favorite mobile games from Apple Arcade and Google Play Pass; and our top choices for gaming PCs, the PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and VR. We’ve also listed our favorite streaming shows on Disney+, Hulu, ESPN and Netflix, some great sci-fi books, and exciting new podcasts. (Note: pricing was accurate at the time of publishing, but may change.)
One of the unfortunate things about The Office’s second life as a streaming mega-hit is how many of its great successors aren’t really getting much attention at all, despite being readily available to stream. Superstore is probably the best of these, marrying The Office’s humane comedy wrung from the soul-crushing drudgery of menial work with a topicality it never really attempted. In following the trials and tribulations of employees working the floors of big-box department store Cloud9, Superstore finds ways to explore issues like unionization and immigration with a deft, funny touch and a genuinely likable cast of characters.
Support the Girls
Support the Girls follows Lisa, a shift manager at Double Whammies, a Hooters-esque sports bar, over the course of one day. Any given day at her job is a trying one, this one particularly so. A man tried to rob the place and is stuck in a vent. The cable isn’t working. There’s a competitor opening nearby. All of that piles on top of the regular mishaps that can occur in a given day — inappropriate customers, naive new hires, and the personal problems (Lisa’s as well as her staff’s) that can spill over into the workplace and amplify everything else. Support the Girls is a small marvel of a movie, one that cares deeply about the people most films do not.
If Beale Street Could Talk
Director Barry Jenkins’ follow-up to Moonlight and based on the James Baldwin novel of the same name, If Beale Street Could Talk is a love story about Clementine and Alonzo, lifelong friends who fall for each other, only to be separated when Alonzo is arrested by a racist cop. Despite these tragic circumstances, Beale Street is possessed with a complete and moving feeling of hope. With gorgeous cinematography, affecting performances, and one of the best scores in recent memory, If Beale Street Could Talk is a high water mark for cinematic beauty.
The Beach Bum
Look: Moondog is a bad person. Matthew McConaughey’s burnout poet at the heart of The Beach Bum is an unrepentant hedonist who should probably not be allowed to participate in society. Yet I love that dude, and everyone in The Beach Bum. Harmony Korine’s first film since 2012’s brilliantly transgressive Spring Breakers is surprising in its affection, even as it flirts with depravity. It’s a movie that genuinely loves its characters, especially when they’re ridiculous. Come for the ultimate Florida Keys hangout film, stay for the incredible scenes with Snoop Dogg and Martin Lawrence.
Sorry to Bother You
A work of protest in the guise of absurdist satire, Sorry to Bother You is agitprop first, and movie second — luckily, it’s extremely good at both. A story about a struggling black call center employee who suddenly finds meteoric success when he adopts a “white” voice, Sorry to Bother You quickly becomes much more. What starts as a withering roast of race in America quickly escalates to a searing and surreal indictment of capitalism, with unforgettably strange performances from Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, and Armie Hammer.
Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin
It’s impressive how effective Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin is. Across six episodes a little over an hour each, The Origin introduces viewers to one of the most iconic and sprawling anime franchises in existence while also telling a compelling, nuanced war story with an astonishingly fleshed-out protagonist. A sweeping story about the life of Casval Rem Deikun, the boy who would become one of the most important (and fan-favorite) characters in the original ’70s anime, The Origin is a show that emphasizes people over the cool robots they pilot, and doesn’t sacrifice ideas in the service of spectacle.
Shows about murderers and the people obsessed with catching them are a television staple, but you’ve never seen one quite like this. Killing Eve follows Sandra Oh’s Eve Polastri, a counter-terrorist agent recruited to hunt for the international assassin known only as Villanelle, played unforgettably by Jodie Comer. What sets Killing Eve apart from other shows of its ilk is its unapologetic focus on femininity and wit, crafting a thriller where men are mostly inconsequential, and a plot delivered with the rhythms of a brutally efficient comedy.
Set in a near-future stretch of Midwestern farmland that isn’t terribly dissimilar from the present, Fast Color follows Ruth, a woman with inexplicable supernatural powers that causes earthquakes whenever she has a seizure. The geological impact of her power makes her a target for government scientists who want to capture and study her, and a close call leads her to hide out with her mother and daughter — who also have powers. An understated family drama with superpowers, Fast Color is a refreshing reminder that there are still new ways to tell superhero stories.
O.J: Made In America (ESPN+)
At 467 minutes, this multi-part documentary is definitely longer than The Irishman, but even more engrossing. O.J.: Made In America is a comprehensive look at the career and trial of O.J. Simpson and the country around him, using Simpson as a lens through which to examine American culture. Outside of straight-up sports coverage, it’s maybe the best thing you can watch on ESPN+, and a good excuse to launch right into the network’s 30 for 30 collection of documentaries.
The Muppets (Disney+)
People should resent Disney more for keeping the Muppets locked away somewhere, only letting them out to shill for Facebook cameras. The Muppets is proof positive that Disney owning Jim Henson’s most famous creations can still lead to great movies starring the best puppets in show business. A love letter to the Muppets, the film follows Gary (played by Jason Segel, human Muppet) and his brother Walter (actual Muppet) on a journey to bring the Muppets out of retirement. Few things on Disney+ are this much of a joy to watch, and if enough people watch it, maybe Disney will finally make all of The Muppet Show available to stream.
Bonus: The Mandalorian (Disney +)
If you have a Disney+ subscription, odds are The Mandalorian is the reason why. But if not, let us assure you: it’s good. First name Baby, last name Yoda, get on board the hype train, choo choo.
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