I spent last week burning through The Great, Hulu’s new-ish series that has Elle Fanning playing a very fictionalized version of a young Catherine the Great. The first season is about Catherine (not yet the Great) preparing to overthrow her husband, the emperor, and take power, which is a pretty amazing conflict to center on.
The show is very reminiscent of The Favourite (it shares both a writer and a very identifiable shooting location), infusing this period drama with modern absurdity and some very over-the-top characters. Nicholas Hoult plays the amazingly pompous and bro-y emperor in a way that almost makes him feel like a tech CEO at times — at one point, he’s even wearing what looks a lot like a hoodie.
I don’t know if the show can thrive once Catherine is no longer the underdog and — spoiler alert, per Peter III’s Wikipedia page — Hoult’s levity is gone. But for now, it’s a wonderful series, and I wish there were three more seasons to speed through.
Check out 11 trailers from this week below.
Bill & Ted Face the Music
Bill & Ted are returning at long last, and the pandemic isn’t going to put a hold on our already long wait. It was announced this week that rather than being delayed, the film is going to head on-demand the same day it hits theaters (whatever theaters are open, that is). It comes out on September 1st.
Black is King
After Hamilton, Black is King is the next big reason to sign up for Disney Plus: a new visual album from Beyoncé, supposed to be tied back to her work on last year’s Lion King remake. It looks every bit as visually magnificent as the others in Beyoncé’s discography. It comes out July 31st.
His Dark Materials
I didn’t hear a ton about His Dark Materials when its first season debuted last year, but the show really looks like it’s hit a stride in this trailer for season 2. The series returns some time this fall.
Gillian Flynn is behind the adaptation of Utopia, a show about fans of a comic book digging into the surprisingly real events depicted in its stories. The show is based on a British series of the same name. John Cusack, Sasha Lane, and Rainn Wilson star in the remake. It debuts on Amazon this fall.
Don’t Look Deeper
Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke has a new sci-fi thriller about a high school student who starts to uncover lost memories that suggest she isn’t human. It comes to Quibi on July 27th.
Disclosure: Vox Media, which owns The Verge, has a deal with Quibi to produce a show, and there were early talks about a Verge show as well.
Netflix has a new documentary coming up that looks at America’s immigration system through the eyes of immigrants facing deportation and the federal agents tasked with removing them. It appears to offer a sad, difficult view into a broken and contentious system responsible for tearing families apart. The film comes out August 3rd.
Nick Frost and Simon Pegg are back together again in Truth Seekers, a new series that has them playing members of a group of clearly unprepared paranormal investigators who get tied up in some big conspiracy. The show is coming to Amazon, but it doesn’t appear to have a premiere date yet.
Bad Ideas with Adam Devine
Quibi already brought back Punk’d, and now it’s adding a Jackass-esque show that has Adam Devine messing with celebrity friends. It comes out on July 27th.
Netflix has picked up a German series about a student who starts diving into an increasingly twisted community of biohackers. I don’t know how accurate the series’ science will be, but the questionable decisions of the biohacking scene don’t seem entirely unfair. The show debuts August 20th.
Stranger Things star Joe Keery takes on a very weird role in Spree, which has him playing a twisted, fame-hungry cab driver who live streams himself torturing the riders he picks up. This film is far from the first to offer a twisted critique of social media, but it stands out by filming everything to look more or less like a YouTube video. It comes out August 14th.
Creepy stuff happening to astronauts is a classically winning recipe for a sci-fi film, and the latest to use that formula is Sputnik, which seems to be about a cosmonaut who returns to Earth with an alien parasite inside him. The film seems to start out as a thriller and eventually gets a lot more action packed. It comes out August 14th.
Correction July 25th, 12:30PM ET: Utopia is on Amazon, not HBO, as originally stated.