June is the kind of month that rewards a Netflix subscriber. Thor: Ragnarok and Star Wars: The Last Jedi are both going to be available, and both are great movies worth a watch while they’re around—which won’t be forever, what with Disney planning to launch its own streamer by 2019. But I digress.
Elsewhere in the streaming galaxy, Luke Cage and GLOW also return for second seasons on Netflix, while Amazon will have the best movie of 2017 available come June 3. [whispers] I’m talking about A24’s Lady Bird, starring the totally perfect, incredibly talented young thespian Saoirse Ronan, who should totally look me up if she’s ever in Brook—er, OK, we should probably just move on to our recommendations. Here are The Ringer’s top streaming picks on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime for June, as well as some random recommendations that we’re equally passionate about. Let’s get to it. — Miles Surrey
What’s New to Streaming in June
A selected list of movies and TV shows coming this month that The Ringer is very excited about.
Thor: Ragnarok (coming to Netflix on June 5)
K. Austin Collins: “Ragnarok was helmed by Hunt for the Wilderpeople director Taika Waititi, a New Zealand–born talent with an eye for oddballs. It’s the kind of superhero movie you’d want and expect from such an affectionately fun director: a trippy tour of the giddy idiosyncrasies of Thor’s universe.”
Lady Bird (coming to Amazon Prime on June 3)
Collins: “The beauty of Lady Bird isn’t in how well [director Greta] Gerwig has made a movie about herself: It’s in how thoroughly and adventurously she’s imagined the inner life, anxieties, joys, insecurities, and everyday behaviors of other people. Lady Bird is full of characters who, like our heroine, just want the best for themselves, and for others.”
GLOW Season 2 (coming to Netflix on June 29)
Alison Herman: “GLOW is a very different show from Orange Is the New Black, but its multifaceted ensemble suggests a budding [creator Jenji] Kohan signature. GLOW’s secondary players aren’t quite as fleshed out as Orange’s, nor its spotlight as evenly shared, but this series is working with fewer episodes, half the runtime, and a tone that’s far more straightforwardly comedic. Besides, there’s no reason maximal representation ought to be confined to social-issues dramas. Every genre, Kohan is saying, benefits from a diverse cast.”
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (coming to Netflix on June 26)
Collins: “The Last Jedi is a sprawling—at 152 minutes, you could say overlong, and you wouldn’t be totally wrong—tribute to the franchise’s past and future, with enough fan service and enough of the franchise’s recognizable house style to make sense as part of the greater story, but enough of [director Rian] Johnson and his collaborators’ own sense of invention to make the movie feel almost personal. All the standbys are here. We get Jedi training sessions and needlessly complex covert ops, a handsome introduction to an odd new planet (this time, it’s a monied haven for über-rich gamblers with fat jowls, big coifs, and bad attitudes), hero shots, righteous cameos, and explosions, explosions, explosions. The Last Jedi’s success is not in reinventing the wheel; it’s in revitalizing it.”
Suits Season 7 (coming to Amazon on June 18)
Juliet Litman: “I’m confident I’m not alone in my Suits convictions. If you watch a handful of episodes from any season, you’ll quickly find its pleasures are obvious and easy to digest. Suits isn’t prestige, but it is luxury television.”
Queer Eye Season 2 (coming to Netflix on June 15)
Herman: “Queer Eye wants to improve lives, not just reorder them. That might be pushing the limits of reality TV to their breaking point, but what would a show called Queer Eye be if it didn’t try to challenge our assumptions of what can or can’t be done?”
Rick and Morty Season 3 (coming to Hulu on June 23)
Herman: “For all of Rick and Morty’s proudly sophomoric fart jokes, intricate running gags, and cutting one-liners, everything, no matter how zany or absurd, is built on a far more prosaic, and far more affecting, foundation. Rick and Morty may take obvious delight in getting Werner Herzog to say ‘penis,’ but at its core, it’s the most realistic portrayal of the enduring, cyclical nature of family dysfunction you’ll find on what is still technically Cartoon Network.”
Transformers: The Last Knight (coming to Amazon and Hulu on June 16)
Collins: “Transformers: The Last Knight ... delivers on every wild promise you’d expect from the ‘The Fifth Transformers Movie,’ save probably your imminent death. Watching it is like watching a pig do pirouettes in its own shit for almost three hours — which is only semiscathing, right? A good pirouette takes skill. [Director Michael] Bay, a consummate technician, has that. And a hog in the slop is right at home amid the muck. So is Bay. He injects that love of trash into his movies — which is why, I’ve recently realized, I don’t mind watching them.”
Luke Cage Season 2 (coming to Netflix on June 22)
Justin Charity: “Luke Cage is Netflix’s third foray into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, following two seasons of Daredevil and one season of Jessica Jones, the series that introduced Cage as Jones’s romantic interest. In his own series, Cage has left Jones and the escalating mayhem of Hell’s Kitchen behind, making his way back uptown to his native Harlem. Here, Cage is a gargoyle: a passive, watchful presence whose greatest conviction is that he should maintain his anonymity. He’s gorgeous, but he’s not charismatic, nor is he a particularly uplifting superhero.”
Hellboy (coming to Hulu on June 1)
Surrey: “Hellboy gives Ron Perlman a chance to be more than just a towering figure: He is a wise-cracking, gun-toting badass in the movie, yes, but he also imbues the character with empathy and pathos as an inherent outsider. He and Hellboy are a match made in heaven.”
Some New-ish Things You Might’ve Missed
Because it’s really hard to keep up, here are a few things that have premiered somewhat recently that may be worth catching up on.
Hard Knock Wife (on Netflix)
Herman: “Hard Knock Wife, released Sunday, is a spiritual sequel to Baby Cobra, the specials bound together as dispatches from two transitional stages in [comedian Ali] Wong’s life: the latter marriage and maturity, the former starting a family. That these life events are at once broadly universal and rarely discussed in stand-up comedy, least of all from a woman’s point of view, helps explain Wong’s status as one of the medium’s most undeniable rising stars.”
Bobby Kennedy for President (on Netflix)
Kate Knibbs: “Despite the jagged edges and a tone bordering on the hagiographic, Bobby Kennedy for President offers a succinct look at a process which seems rare if not critically endangered in American politics: an already-powerful, middle-aged politician who appears to be genuinely changing his ideological allegiance through speaking with citizens.”
The Rachel Divide (on Netflix)
Charity: “Through all the controversy surrounding [Rachel] Dolezal and ‘transracial,’ the bewildering term that she coined, Dolezal has struggled to articulate how, exactly, she came to see herself as black, and what she thinks blackness necessarily entails. Fortunately, The Rachel Divide interrogates Dolezal’s assumptions at great length; directed by Laura Brownson, the documentary is nearly two hours long. Unfortunately, Dolezal’s assumptions prove arrogant, crude, and incomplete.”
The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2 (on Hulu)
Herman: “The Handmaid’s Tale may be pivoting away from the fist-pumping that felt so at odds with its basic premise, yet in the process, the show inadvertently reveals why it was necessary in the first place. When Handmaid’s isn’t forecasting a brighter outcome that doesn’t make sense, it’s mired in a dire situation that’s increasingly difficult to watch. Hope wasn’t a viable roadmap for a multiyear series, but neither is hopelessness.”
A random collection of movies and TV shows that are a little more off the beaten path, for when you’re in a certain kind of mood.
What to Watch If You Thought Atomic Blonde Wasn’t Hard-core Enough: I wager most people have some kind of threshold for unrepentant gore and violence, but at least South Korean director Jung Byung-gil’s The Villainess is generous enough to set expectations from the onset. The opening sequence—a stylized first-person massacre of a ton of gangsters that evokes Hardcore Henry—is nastier than anything from Atomic Blonde, Kill Bill, Nikita, and, dare I say, my beloved John Wick. If you can stomach it, however, The Villainess is an absolute blast. If you’ve ever wanted to see sword fighting via motorcycles on a Korean expressway, this is your chance, and it’s as glorious as it sounds. Watch The Villainess on Hulu, but preferably not too close to bedtime, because your adrenaline will be through the roof. — Surrey
What to Watch If You Need to Remind Yourself It’s Great You’re No Longer a Teen: Dude has a good cast (Lucy Hale, Awkwafina, the always-perfect Michaela Watkins), an enjoyably sun-drenched SoCal setting, and a just-compelling-enough-to-keep-it-streaming plot (high school seniors struggle with graduation and grief). But its real selling point for me was how grateful it made me to be an Old. The amount of weed smoked, emotional breakdowns navigated, and going-out-shirts worn left me warm with gratitude that my teen years were behind me. This is an anti-FOMO movie, one that will grant anyone over 22 an invaluable gift: an appreciation for aging. Watch it on Netflix. — Knibbs
What to Watch If You Want Closure for One of Netflix’s Greatest Shows: After a crushing early cancellation in June 2017, fans of Netflix’s wacky sci-fi series Sense8 joined together to tweet incessantly at the streaming platform until it was revived for one feature-length finale episode. I was not one of those tweeting fans, and I’m so grateful for everyone else’s commitment to annoying Netflix into submission. Sense8, in all its joyful, inclusive, often confounding glory, is one of the best original series Netflix has ever made. By giving it a Serenity-style finale, Netflix tied things up in a perfect bow and ensured that fans will continue to discover and enjoy the show for years to come. The finale doesn’t hit Netflix until June 8—to pass the time, I recommend you join me in rewatching the party montages from Season 2. — Kate Halliwell
What to Watch If You Hate Commitment and Like Chicago: Anthology series are great for people who don’t have time to watch a ton of TV; you can catch an episode here and there without feeling like you need to remember character names or plot points. Easy is a Joe Swanberg anthology series that takes place in Chicago, and its first two seasons are available on Netflix. Each episode focuses on a different set of characters and a central theme; there’s one called “Open Marriage” and another called “Baby Steps.” A few episodes tie in with each other, but not in a largely significant way. It’s great and, well, easy. Plus, it also features appearances from the likes of Zazie Beetz, Dave Franco, and Marc Maron, which is a bonus. — Virali Dave
What to Watch If “Making a Murderer, but Not HD” Is Your Vibe: In 2001, Michael Peterson called 911 in a panic—he had found his wife, Kathleen, at the bottom of the stairs in their Durham, North Carolina, home, unconscious, and bleeding profusely. By the time EMTs arrived at the house, Kathleen was dead. It wasn’t long after that that police began to question Michael’s story—the staircase seemed too small for a fatal fall, let alone one that would cause such blood loss, and even more disconcerting, Kathleen had seven lacerations on the top and back of her head. Soon enough, Michael Peterson was arrested and charged with the murder of his wife.
The Staircase, directed by Academy Award winner Jean-Xavier de Lestrade (Murder on a Sunday Morning) and originally released in 2004, follows Peterson and his family with incredible intimacy from Michael’s arrest to his trial. It is both an unsettling story about a family and its odd, potentially murderous patriarch and a courtroom drama with an onslaught of unbelievable, Law & Order–style twists. It’s also amazing to watch as a pioneer of the true crime genre, made a full decade before pop culture would be swept up by Serial, The Jinx, and Making a Murderer. Now The Staircase is coming to Netflix, with three new episodes that cover Peterson’s story in the years after Lestrade stopped filming. Watch the first episode for the novelty—after that a binge will be inevitable. — Andrew Gruttadaro