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The Ringer Guide to Streaming Over the Thanksgiving Holiday

A helpful list of movies and TV shows to watch on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime when you’re too full to do anything else

Collage of movie and TV characters Netflix/Amazon Studios/NBC/CW/Ringer illustration

Here’s the thing about Thanksgiving: It’s a sneaky-good holiday to start binge-watching something. After you’ve devoured your weight in turkey and stuffing—and perhaps nodded along patiently as your aunt asks why you’re still single—you won’t feel like doing much of anything that requires moving around. So what better way to spend the long weekend than curled up in your bedroom queuing up something along with that second slice of pumpkin pie?

To help you wade through the many bingeing options, here is The Ringer’s guide to streaming over the Thanksgiving holiday—featuring a collection of recent shows and films that may be worth checking out, as well as some staffers’ Thanksgiving-themed recommendations if you’re really feeling the Turkey Day spirit.

Some Newish Things You Might’ve Missed

Because it’s hard to keep up with everything, here are a few things that have premiered somewhat recently that may be worth catching up on.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Netflix)

Adam Nayman: The surface appeal of the [Coen brothers’] latest plunge into Wild West iconography following Raising Arizona, No Country for Old Men, and True Grit lies in its impeccable visualization of turn-of-the-century dime-store novels. Boasting pristine digital cinematography by Bruno Delbonnel and superb production design by Jess Gonchor, it’s a gorgeous piece of craftsmanship, even calling attention to its own aesthetic perfection through the framing device of an old-fashioned picture book whose dusty pages are punctuated by saturated color plates.

Homecoming (Amazon Prime)

Alison Herman: The bulk of [director Sam Esmail]’s contributions are in realizing Homecoming’s eerie, unsettling tone into a visual aesthetic. As with Mr. Robot, the result is heavily stylized, filled with split screens, overhead shots, and a constant accompaniment in an intricately composed composite of nail-biting scores. This unmissable guiding hand can prove a mixed blessing, overwhelming the action in a way that distracts from its emotion. On the whole, however, Esmail succeeds in distinguishing this new Homecoming from its first incarnation by adding a dimension that podcasting, for all its innovations, has yet to re-create.

Narcos Season 4 (on Netflix)

Miles Surrey: The narrative never drags, even as it bounces between the perspectives of the DEA and the cartel. For the first time in the show’s history, Narcos achieves parity between the two sides of its story, and equally enticing halves make a undeniably satisfying whole.

Outlaw King (on Netflix)

Sean Fennessey: The movie was trimmed down to two hours and one minute. And Outlaw King, with its misty visions of the Scottish highlands, ominous castles, raging battle sequences, and candlelit boudoir scenes featuring a full-frontal [Chris] Pine, is the kind of movie you’d like to see on a big screen.

The Other Side of the Wind (on Netflix)

Lindsay Zoladz: The Other Side of the Wind is a movie made by a male genius, poking fun at the mythic bombast of male genius, while simultaneously honoring it not just by the means of its production (of many examples: [Orson Welles] pushed the crew to work such long hours that his cameraman collapsed from exhaustion) but its insistence that the dynamics of male genius are interesting enough upon which to base a two-hour psychodrama. And into this fraught and hungover Hollywood moment it comes, thanks to a company whose very existence was unfathomable at the time of Welles’s 1985 death: Netflix.

Patriot Season 2 (on Amazon Prime)

Claire McNear: Patriot is really, incredibly, ecstatically messed up. The show takes a spy drama and runs it through a filter of Veep-style oh-god-are-they-really … ? humor and the weirdo tenderness of—I’m dead serious—Amélie. Its closest recent comparison might be Killing Eve, at least from a murder-as-camp perspective. The show is the brainchild of Steve Conrad, whose previous credits include the gloriously bleak The Weather Man and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and, yeah, that’s about where the pulse sits.

Daredevil Season 3 (on Netflix)

Tirhakah Love: Whippin’ and flippin’ the time-tested ingredients of Frank Miller’s iconic tales, The Man Without Fear and Born Again—not to mention a story line seemingly scooped straight from The Sopranos’ cutting-room floor—Season 3 bubbles with a refreshing mixture of lucidity and excitement. The guts and gall of Miller’s work bleeds into [showrunner Erik Oleson]’s episodes: Thrilling, substantive fight scenes are packed with their own micro-narratives; side characters like Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) are gifted the full-episode treatment to refine their previously muddied backstories; and Wilson Fisk’s (Vincent D’Onofrio) gripping transformation into New York’s “Kingpin” of crime is a feast for the eyes and mind. Suffice to say, this season of Daredevil is fire.

Bonus Thanksgiving Watching

An assortment of programming—some Thanksgiving-themed stuff included—that Ringer staffers will be enthusiastically watching over the long Turkey Day weekend.

What to Watch If You’re Craving Interfamilial Drama: How is this not-particularly-celebrated, turn-of-the-century family soap opera a Thanksgiving show? Well, Everwood, streaming on CW Seed, is about family, and the awkward tensions between and within generations—people who live together learning to like and even love one another. Plus, it’s set in a small Colorado town so there are lots of sweaters and scarves, which makes it feel very Thanksgiving-y. It’s also perfect middlebrow TV: charming without being particularly clever, moving without being manipulative. Think Friday Night Lights without the football and bad accents, or Gilmore Girls without Amy Sherman-Palladino’s smug classism. Watch Everwood alone and it’s bingeable background noise. Watch it with others and it’s a conversation-starter on everything from parenting techniques to music to medical ethics. —Michael Baumann

What to Watch If You Want a Quick, but Entertaining, Viewing Commitment: This month, everybody’s favorite GIF-sharing platform held a film festival that had one simple rule: Every submission could be no longer than 18 seconds long. Giphy fielded hundreds of entries from the weirdest, most creative animators, artists, and filmmakers on the internet and ended up with a delightful collection of clips that were hilarious, sad, profound, pleasing, and—above all else—mesmerizing. Committing to a movie or an episode of television in a house full of family members can sometimes be difficult when you have snot-covered 5-year-olds squealing in the background. So if you want something quick and delightful to digest with a fellow overwhelmed relative, crack open your laptop and spend some time browsing the finalists. My personal favorites include: Baby Influencer by Steph Davidson, Murder Time by Tea Ho, and Slippy Slap by Nicky Rojo. —Alyssa Bereznak

What to Watch If Thanksgiving Day Football Isn’t Intense Enough: Thanksgiving isn’t just synonymous with turkey, pumpkin pie, stuffing, and awkward political conversations with relatives: Every year, it’s also a Thursday jam-packed with tasty NFL matchups. But if you’ve soured on the league but still want the base thrills of watching something intense on Turkey Day, Netflix has you covered. The streamer recently added The Raid: Redemption, which is hands-down one of the wildest action movies of this century. The Raid strips almost all narrative pretext in favor of 100 minutes of pure chaos, as Indonesian special forces raid a large apartment complex composed of local gangsters for … some reason. It doesn’t matter. Whereas some action films have a definitive set piece (see: the John Wick nightclub shoot-out or Atomic Blonde’s stairwell fight), The Raid is all set piece, starting in seventh gear and never taking its foot off the gas. —Surrey

What to Watch If You Want a Thanksgiving-Themed Episode of a Sitcom Classic (Part 1): Friends always made a point to play up its holiday episodes, which makes for a fun pacing exercise upon a Netflix rewatch—seeing the titular friends transition from Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Year’s season after season. All the holiday episodes are fun in different ways, but my favorites have always been the Thanksgiving ones, and my favorite of those favorites is Season 8’s “The One With the Rumor.” You may remember this more clearly as The One Where Brad Pitt Guest-Stars, Looks Incredibly Attractive As He Smolders at Then–IRL Wife Jennifer Aniston, and Eventually Everyone’s High School Secrets Are Revealed. It’s a perfect episode if you want to work off some of those turkey calories by full-belly-laughing for 22 minutes. —Megan Schuster

What to Watch If You Want a Thanksgiving-Themed Episode of a Sitcom Classic (Part 2): Revisiting The Office’s “Dinner Party” on Netflix over Thanksgiving is necessary. It’s comfort before the comfort food, a reassurance on Thanksgiving that your family dinner could be so much worse. The Office takes all the awkward, inevitable interactions that will happen at family dinner tables nationwide and makes those moments even more excruciating. Even though the episode isn’t set during Thanksgiving, it covers most of the holiday’s bases: There’s a new significant other introduced (Dwight brings his former babysitter as his date), cringey pet names (Michael and Jan call each other “babe” at the end of every sentence, where a period should be), ill-conceived excuses to leave the party early (Jim says his entire apartment flooded), and intracouple passive aggression (Michael and Jan again). You’ll shudder watching it, but you’ll take solace as well. No matter how many times your grandma asks when you’re getting married or matter how antiquated your uncle’s political views, at least you’re not in Michael’s condo, getting pitched to invest in Jan’s candle startup. Right, babe? —Haley O’Shaughnessy

What to Watch If You Want to See Two Handsome Men Named Matthew Drink Fancy Wine: Did you know that the two most charming U.K.-based Matthews—Matthew Goode and Matthew Rhys—have a reality show about how they like to drink wine? Well, they do! The docuseries The Wine Show, originally on ITV and now streaming on Hulu, is a feast for the eyes (handsome men romping around Italy) and surprisingly informative about the region’s history. It’s an ideal streaming choice for sitting around in a post-turkey stupor, especially if you have access to a nice merlot. —Kate Knibbs

What to Watch If Your Overly Full, Italian Family Still Wants to Think About Italian Food: My family dedicates courses of Thanksgiving dinner to eating cold cuts and pasta. It’s certainly not necessary, and it certainly accelerates the onset of the gluttony-induced pain that defines the end of a Thanksgiving meal. But that’s just the way it goes, and you don’t really complain about it (until it’s too late), because salami and spaghetti are delicious. After this unreasonable Italian feast, my Italian family then likes to sit down and watch a movie about … Italian food. Big Night (available to stream on Amazon Prime) is a movie about two brothers (Stanley Tucci and Tony Shalhoub) in 1950s New Jersey who cook up a giant, delicious feast in a last-ditch effort to save their restaurant. The meal they prepare is extraordinary and absurd in scale, defined by the centerpiece course of timpano, a lasagna-on-steroids Italian dish that got its name because it looks like a freaking kettle drum. It should be criminal to eat a ton of food and then watch a movie that is about a ton of food, but Big Night is whimsical, heartwarming, and endearingly simple and low-budget. It might remind you too much of the number of calories you’ve just ingested, but it’ll also remind you of the real reason you sat down for Thanksgiving dinner: family. —Andrew Gruttadaro