Watching: The Very Best Things

On Netflix, Disney+ and Hulu

By The Watching Team

The weekend is here. Do you need a break from all the TV you’re watching during the week? Are you looking for a Saturday night movie? Regardless of what streaming service you subscribe to, we’re here to help. We’ve gone through Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ to find the best movies and TV shows on each service.


Here’s one of the 50 best movies on Netflix

Jake Gyllenhaal in “Nightcrawler.”Open Road Films


Jake Gyllenhaal is unnerving and absorbing as a modern-day “Taxi Driver” in what A.O. Scott called “a modest and effectively executed urban thriller.” Slithering through the Los Angeles nightscape, armed with an HD video camera and a questionable sense of ethics, Gyllenhaal’s Louis Bloom will go anywhere for the story — and if he can’t find one, he’ll engineer one. The writer and director Dan Gilroy immerses the viewer in this sticky subset of crime journalism and bracingly dramatizes the ease with which this literal ambulance chaser traverses the bridge into mainstream media. Anchoring these increasingly relevant questions is a gripping performance by Gyllenhaal, who stares this savvy climber right in the eyes and reveals the horrifying hollowness behind them.


Here is one of the best TV shows on Netflix.

Rita Moreno, center, in “One Day at a Time.”Nicole Wilder/Pop TV

‘One Day at a Time’

This reimagining of the producer Norman Lear’s long-running 1970s and ’80s sitcom is true to the spirit of Lear’s socially conscious kind of television. The new series’s working-class Cuban-American family has feisty — and funny — discussions around their Los Angeles apartment about ethnicity, politics, religion, work-life balance and gender. The live-audience sitcom format allows the actors to carry on conversations at length, like in live theater. The show “radiates delight,” our critic wrote. Netflix canceled the show in 2019, but Pop revived it and will present a new season in March 2020.


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

From left, Donald Glover, Brian Tyree Henry and Lakeith Stanfield in “Atlanta.”Guy D'Alema/FX


In a scant two seasons, Donald Glover’s FX comedy/drama has established itself as a true force in modern television — thoughtful, peculiar, cinematic, relentlessly entertaining. Glover (who also created the show, and frequently writes and directs) stars as Earn, a small-timer with big dreams who takes the reins of his cousin’s burgeoning hip-hop career, with mixed results. The supporting cast is topnotch, with Brian Tyree Henry, Lakeith Stanfield and Zazie Beetz as nuanced characters interpreted with fierce precision, but the show is most dazzling for its tonal improvisations; it feels like Glover and company can go anywhere, at any time, and the results are exhilarating.

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

Shahab Hosseini, left, and Taraneh Alidoosti in “The Salesman.”Cohen Media Group

‘The Salesman’

Asghar Farhadi writes and directs this lucid and contemplative morality play, in which a married couple must grapple with the fallout of an assault on the wife in their home, particularly when the husband’s desire for vengeance surpasses her own. Farhadi’s brilliance at capturing the complexities of his native Iran’s culture is as astonishing as ever — particularly when coupled with insights into victimhood, justice, poverty and intimacy that know no borders. A.O. Scott praised the picture’s “rich and resonant ideas.”

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

Beyoncé, center, in “Black Is King.”Travis Matthews

‘Black Is King’

The album “The Lion King: The Gift” was produced and curated by Beyoncé as an accompaniment to the photorealistic remake of “The Lion King,” but it dwarfed the film in ambition, using it as a jumping-off point for themes of Black power, ancestry and womanhood. Much like her groundbreaking visual album “Lemonade,” “Black Is King” is an arresting smorgasbord of music, fashion, choreography and eye-popping color, with the writer-director-performer serving as the ringmaster for other visual artists and musicians. Our critic Wesley Morris wrote, “Beauty is a reason this film exists.”

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