Watching: The Best Things to Stream

On Disney+, Netflix and Amazon Prime.

By The Watching Team

The weekend is upon us! (Though what is time these days, really?) Are you looking for a Saturday night movie? A show that will consume your entire weekend? Regardless of what streaming service you subscribe to, we’re here to help. We’ve gone through Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and Disney Plus to find the best movies and TV shows on each service.


Here’s one of the 50 best movies on Netflix

Alfred Molina and Salma Hayek in “Frida.”Peter Sorel/Miramax Films


Salma Hayek spent the better part of a decade fighting for the opportunity to play the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, and it’s easy to see why: It’s a rich, earthy role, filled with tragedy, heartbreak and passion, and Hayek plays it to the hilt. (She was nominated for an Oscar.) Kahlo’s was no ordinary life, and, luckily, “Frida” is no ordinary biopic – the director is the groundbreaking stage artist Julie Taymor, who adds enough flashes of surrealism and bursts of theatricality to shake up the conventions of the biographical drama. In those moments, A.O. Scott wrote, “it honors the artist’s brave, anarchic spirit.”


Want a more immersive experience? Here is one of the best TV shows on Netflix.

Rachel Bloom, center foreground, in “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.”Scott Everett White/CW

‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’

The musical-theater loving comic actress Rachel Bloom was a creator of and stars in this colorful dramedy, playing Rebecca Bunch, a depressed lawyer who gives up a promising career to move to the hometown of a man she briefly dated as a teenager. With its catchy songs (many of which were written or co-written by the Fountains of Wayne singer-songwriter Adam Schlesinger, who died in April) and its frank conversations about mental health, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” has an expressive, openhearted style, rooted in the creators’ compassion for flawed people. Our critic wrote, “The series is committed to the idea that every character can carry a story line, any person can be more than they appear.”


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

Billy Bob Thornton in “Fargo.”Chris Large/FX


Noah Hawley’s television adaptation of the Coen Brothers’ 1996 Oscar winner sounded like a sure-fire failure. After all, how could anyone but the Coens manage to recreate and recapture their oddball worldview and idiosyncratic characters? Yet Hawley’s series, a seasonal anthology — each year telling a new quirky crime story, in a different time period—- succeeds by taking the entire Coen canon as inspiration (one of the show’s many pleasures is spotting the connections to all of their films) and telling stories that fit snugly into that same, cockeyed universe. Our critics called its first season “oddly winning,” Season 2 “sublime,” and Season 3 “an expertly made meta-concoction.”

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

Jake Gyllenhaal in “Zodiac.”Merrick Morton/Paramount Pictures


Director David Fincher’s breakthrough film was the serial-killer thriller “Seven,” but he had no intention of repeating himself with this 2007 mystery. Because the real-life Zodiac killer was never apprehended or tried for his crime, Fincher sidestepped the big payoff of most true crime stories, crafting instead a film that focuses on the kind of obsessiveness it takes to follow that trail, year after year, without a satisfactory conclusion. Our critic called it “at once sprawling and tightly constructed, opaque and meticulously detailed.” (Zodiac is also available to watch on Netflix.)

Disney Plus is full of the obvious classic movies. But there are lots of great TV shows too, like this one

A scene from “Phineas and Ferb.”Disney

‘Phineas and Ferb’

“There’s 104 days of summer vacation,” starts the theme song to this endlessly clever animated series, and two stepbrothers — the motor-mouthed Phineas and the deadpan Ferb — fill that time with crazy backyard inventions and globetrotting standoffs against their nemesis, Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz … all while their sister tries desperately to tell on them. Meanwhile, their pet platypus, Perry, has a double life as a spy. “Phineas and Ferb” is an ideal gateway for younger children into fast-paced, absurdist comedy. Our critic wrote, “‘Phineas’ spoofs everything, but with such skill that it seems smart, not cheap.”

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