Watching: The Best Things to Stream

On Netflix, Amazon and Disney+

By The Watching Team

The weekend is here. It’s here! Regardless of what streaming service you subscribe to, we want to help. We’ve gone through Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ to find the best titles on each service.

Here’s one of the 50 best movies on Netflix

Emayatzy Corinealdi in «Middle of Nowhere,» a film directed by Ava DuVernay.African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement

‘Middle of Nowhere’

Ava DuVernay won the directing award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival for this sensitive, thoughtful and moving drama. Our critic Manohla Dargis noted, “she wants you to look, really look, at her characters,” seeing past the clichés and assumptions of so many other movies, as she tells the story of Ruby (Emayatzy Corinealdi), a young nurse whose husband (Omari Hardwick) is in prison. Ruby dutifully visits, and keeps a candle burning at home, but when a kind bus driver (David Oyelowo) takes a shine to her, she begins to question her choices and allegiances. Corinealdi is a marvelous presence, playing the role with empathy and complexity, and the considerable charisma of Oyelowo — who would team up again with DuVernay for “Selma” — makes her dilemma all the more difficult.


Here is one of the best TV shows on Netflix

A scene from “City of Ghosts.”Netflix

‘City of Ghosts’

Most TV series aimed at young children tend to be repetitive and remedial, designed to teach a few simple lessons while keeping the little ones engaged. But there’s much more going on in “City of Ghosts,” a show that offers a relaxed and informative tour through the history and culture of Los Angeles. Created by Elizabeth Ito (a veteran of TV animation who previously worked on “Phineas and Ferb” and “Adventure Time”), “City of Ghosts” is about a team of elementary school-aged paranormal investigators who interview friendly ghosts and the people they haunt. The visually striking blend of photographs and drawings — coupled with the use of real, off-the-cuff audio interviews — gives this delightful cartoon the feel of a documentary.


Have a Hulu subscription? It’s a lot to wade through. We can help!

Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers and Loretta Swit in “M*A*S*H.”CBS


Robert Altman’s hit 1970 antiwar comedy didn’t seem like a slam-dunk for television adaptation, thanks to its raw style and bawdy humor. The series creator and TV comedy veteran Larry Gelbart sanded away most of those edges, yet found a way to ground the show in the horrors of war while keeping the laughs digestible. Much of that was because of the chemistry and camaraderie of the flawless cast — particularly Alan Alda’s brilliantly realized characterization of “Hawkeye” Pierce, the unflappable wiseguy who found, over the course of the show’s 11 seasons, that there were some things even he couldn’t manage to make light of.


Amazon Prime Video doesn’t make it easy to find stuff. Luckily, we have done the work for you.

Juno Temple, left, and Kathryn Hahn in “Afternoon Delight.”Film Arcade

‘Afternoon Delight’

This “meticulously acted” serio-comic drama was the feature filmmaking debut of Joey Soloway (credited as Jill Soloway), the creator of “Transparent” and “I Love Dick.” Kathryn Hahn (amazing in “WandaVision”) is astonishing in the leading role, clearly conveying her dissatisfied housewife’s longings and nerves but keeping her intentions enigmatic, and Juno Temple is electrifying as a young woman who’s learned how to use her sexuality as a weapon without fully considering the carnage left in its wake. Their byplay is vibrant, and it gets messy in fascinating ways; this is a sly, smart sex comedy that plumbs unexpected depths of sadness and despair.

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Disney+ is full of older classics. But there are a lot of newer things to watch as well.

A scene from “The Emperor’s New Groove.”Disney

‘The Emperor’s New Groove’

Because of a troubled production and disappointing returns, “The Emperor’s New Groove” was considered a rare misstep in the Disney animation renaissance of the ’90s and early ’00s. But this fleet, anarchic, hilarious buddy comedy about a self-absorbed king turned llama (David Spade) and a humble peasant (John Goodman) is a chance to see what Disney animators could do if they were allowed to channel the manic energy of their Warner Brothers peers. Our critic admired its “cheeky effervescence and spunk.”

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