There is currently no shortage of reasons to stay inside and click through some of your favorite streaming options, from comedic classics to reality TV so enticing you’ll even put down your phone. Offerings like Office Space and School of Rock are available to tickle your funny bone, while shows like The Circle and Outer Banks are here to let you know it’s OK to set your brain on low-power mode for a few episodes at a time. If you’re looking for something that requires a bit more attentional investment, HBO Max’s Reminiscence and Prime Video’s Annette mix the interesting with the bizarre. Check out everything that’s new on Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, and more below ...
What’s New to Streaming in September
A selected list of movies and TV shows coming this month that The Ringer is very excited about.
Do the Right Thing (September 1, Netflix)
Lex Pryor: What the initial criticism of Do the Right Thing did not account for, and what makes the film so vital in times like these, is that people do not flood the streets because of a single provocation. Do the Right Thing is not a call for rebellion, it is an examination of why rebellions occur in the first place. The film is as much about the community on screen, and how its members relate to and care for one another, as it is about violence or rage.
School of Rock (September 1, Netflix)
Andrew Gruttadaro: Besides being about a guy who commits identity fraud and child abduction, it’s also a delightful movie about kids finding their voices featuring Jack Black at his most tolerable.
Office Space (September 1, Hulu)
Jake Kring-Schreifels: The comedy, at first a box office flop, took on cult classic status by holding up a mirror to the depressing, cynical, and occasionally farcical nature of the modern office. The premise, about a software company employee who stops caring about his soul-sucking job, provided catharsis for many who also felt trapped by micromanaging bosses and offered an antidote to their 9-to-5 monotony.
What We Do in the Shadows, Season 3 (September 3, Hulu)
Michael Tedder: Absurdity—and making that absurdity look completely natural, even if you’re afraid of heights—is the whole point of the FX series What We Do in the Shadows. ... It doesn’t have much to say about The Way We Live Now, but it does have helpful advice for how to triumph in a werewolf duel and throw a proper orgy, which is more than enough. By dryly presenting the lives of immortal creatures who have no business being in this century, no modicum of self-awareness, no ability to pronounce the word “Manhattan” correctly, and no inclination to tame their all-consuming appetites, it generates more convulsive laughter than any comedy on television.
La La Land (September 8, Hulu)
K. Austin Collins: [Damien] Chazelle doesn’t quite have a knack for granular detail, but his stars do. His talent is for writing archetypes that his actors can fill in, not for pushing those archetypes to the kinds of delightful extremes that musicals are known for. His movie has charm, at least, if nothing else. And as an attempt to pay homage to a vanishing world, La La Land is as dutiful as it is endearing — sweet, if a little sour, too.
The Circle, Season 3 (September 8, Netflix)
Shea Serrano: Part of what makes The Circle so great is how despite early assumptions that a show like this would lean into the loneliness heavy internet users might feel has been baked into their bones, it somehow does the opposite. Once the novelty wears off several episodes in, everything and everyone begins to feel ultra humanized.
Mad Max: Fury Road (September 9, HBO Max)
Love, Simon (September 15, Hulu)
Collins: I’m here to tell you that it’s just that basic kind of movie: deliberately non-tragic, scrupulously nonviolent, but notably focused nevertheless on the drama of everyday closeted life for Simon, for whom things get especially sticky when a kid named Martin finds his messages to Blue and blackmails Simon into setting him up with a girl he likes. It’s a premise that understands one of the key takeaways of the closet, which is that sexuality is a valuable piece of intel. It’s also a nice springboard for a few valuable life lessons about friendship and integrity, a handful of strong performances (particularly from the sturdy [Nick] Robinson and his friends), and some clever writing, which strings us along on Simon’s fantasies about Blue’s identity.
Nailed It! Season 6 (September 15, Netflix)
Alison Herman: With its bright colors and irrepressible exuberance, Nailed It! is extremely American, give or take a French judge. Otherwise, as others have noted, Nailed It! and [The Great British Bake-Off] are about as similar in appeal as they can be without triggering the cynicism of a more literal-minded tribute like Flower Fight. Amateurism isn’t just part of the sell here; it’s the entire point. The average contestant on Nailed It! is more, or rather less, than a non-professional baker—they’re not a baker at all, but they’re game to tackle projects that require a PhD in fondant.
The Morning Show, Season 2 (September 17, Apple TV+)
Herman: The Morning Show was the first of Apple’s marquee projects to be announced in the windup to its new TV+ streaming service, and it’s easy to see why Tim Cook and Co. would view the project as an ideal beachhead in the ever-escalating war for eyeballs. Reese Witherspoon is building on the star-producer streak she perfected with Big Little Lies, the obvious precedent for both The Morning Show and an entire wave of celebrity-anchored series. Jennifer Aniston is making a splash in her first regular-series role since Friends, a potential demotion eased by both TV’s cultural ascendance and a reported $20 million paycheck. Steve Carell provides both comic bona fides and just the right level of celebrity: enough to further The Morning Show’s aura of star power, but not enough to erode the impression that this is Aniston and Witherspoon’s show.
Sex Education, Season 3 (September 17, Netflix)
Herman: A show like Sex Education could never get made in America. A portrait of the sex lives of teenagers that’s both graphically detailed and earnestly empathetic? We’re far too puritanical, too shame-bound, too easily titillated for such a delicate balancing act to stand a chance. Thank goodness, then, that one side effect of the global reach of certain streaming services is to render the distinction between U.S. and international TV moot. Netflix’s latest drama is set in the United Kingdom, but its winning combination of emotion and candor is available to all.
Promising Young Woman (September 25, HBO Max)
Carrie Wittmer: Promising Young Woman is a visual feast that clashes (in a good way) with the harsh realities of being a woman. Every woman knows a nice guy who at some point revealed himself to not be so nice; a guy who they idealized the way we idealize Seth Cohen, Schmidt, Bash, and the sensitive director of Eighth Grade. These are the nice guys who are our friends, our partners, our family, our coworkers: the kind of men who we think we know until the moment we don’t.
Some New-ish 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.
Annette (Prime Video)
Adam Nayman: Annette runs almost two and a half hours and feels longer; it doesn’t have Holy Motors’ fast-twitch momentum. But [Adam] Driver carries this strange, ungainly allegory about art, fame, and love on his back and straight upward like the proverbial 800-pound gorilla. King Kong ain’t got shit on him.
Reminiscence (HBO Max)
Surrey: Moving away from Westworld’s philosophical ponderings on determinism, Reminiscence explores the landscape of the mind. What separates it from a movie like Inception is that [Lisa] Joy’s film is concerned with memories rather than dreams. In Reminiscence’s dystopian future, climate change has ravaged coastal cities, and it’s so unbearably hot during the day that citizens typically work and socialize during the evening. With the present so bleak, people look for comfort in the past through a machine called the Reminiscence. Once attached to the Reminiscence in a water tank, similar to the Precogs in Minority Report, a person can re-live their old memories with an eerie authenticity that feels like it’s unfolding in the present. In essence, nostalgia has become a more literal product.
Jungle Cruise (Disney+)
Nayman: … Jungle Cruise is aiming for the kind of broad, crowd-pleasing tone that Stephen Sommers achieved in 1999’s The Mummy (the franchise that turned [Dwayne] Johnson into a movie star in the first place). What made The Mummy enjoyable was a dopey charm distinct from actual stupidity, and which had a lot to do with the performances of Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz. Johnson and [Emily] Blunt have a similar dynamic: her graceful slapstick physicality bounces humorously off his granite-like presence, as do her deadpan line readings. The back-and-forth banter isn’t at the level of The African Queen but the rhythm they work up isn’t too bad, and it suits [Jaume] Collet-Serra’s on-the-fly sensibility—his gift for keeping even the most clichéd material moving fluidly from left-to-right.
What If…? (Disney+)
Outer Banks (Netflix)
Gruttadaro: Season 2 of Outer Banks definitely doesn’t try to recover from the events of its predecessor—the first four episodes of the season barely allow you to catch your breath. Slowly but surely, however, the show finds its groove once again and lets more of those winning, tiny details creep into frame. While still remaining completely batshit—this season includes hijackings, fake deaths, mythical shrouds, and even more of Denmark Tanney’s treasure—Outer Banks once again presents a world that is both bewildering and beguiling.