If midsummer movies aren’t your thing or you’d much rather binge your way through the best of your favorite provider’s July offerings, we’ve got you covered. There are stories of horror — real and imagined — several slants on music, nostalgic retellings, and a bit of comic relief. When the heat gets too much or you feel like this return to your FULL LIFE came on a little too quickly, find your comfy place and take your pick of these new series.
July 1, 2021 (Netflix)
A Swedish prince (Edvin Ryding) is sent against his will — like a commoner — to boarding school (the horror!) where he makes friends and learns about booze, just like the rest of us. So, Gossip Girl with a fancy twist? If teen angst and coming-of-age relationships are your things, this might just be your next late-night guilty pleasure.
July 7, 2021 (Disney+)
More Monsters, Inc.! Yes, please and thank you. Disney’s spinoff/sequel brings back all your favorites and hey, the city of Monstropolis is now fueled by laughter instead of screams. This first Pixar series also introduces Silicon Valley’s Ben Feldman as main character Tylor Tuskmon, who’s anxious to work with his idols, Sully and Mike.
July 8, 2021 (HBO Max)
Speaking of Gossip Girl, here’s the fancy reboot (created by the original series’ executive producer) of the CW series, still narrated by Kristen Bell and finally featuring a diversified cast …with a little more of an adult slant. With a gorgeous young cast (Emily Alyn Lind, Whitney Peak, Eli Brown, Johnathan Fernandez, Tavi Gevinson, Thomas Doherty, Adam Chanler-Berat, Zion Moreno, and Jason Gotay) and all the attitude and cattiness you’d expect, the right crowd is sure to find their way back to private school. XOXO
July 11, 2021 (HBO)
Do-it-all wizard (actor, writer, director) Mike White (Enlightened, The Good Girl, School of Rock, Chuck & Buck, Orange County) brings us a delightfully sardonic six-part miniseries about an almost-too-perfect Hawaiian resort hotel, the ridiculous, rich people who visit it, and the employees who must deal with them. With Connie Britton, Alexandria Daddario, Murray Bartlett, Jennifer Coolidge, Fred Hechinger, Molly Shannon, Natasha Rothwell, Steve Zahn, Jolene Purdy, Sydney Sweeney, and John Gries among those walking in and out its swanky doors, I’ve a feeling we’ll be snickering long after the guests have gone.
Icon: Music Through the Lens
July 11, 2021 (PBS)
Documentarian and director Dick Carruthers (Led Zeppelin: Celebration Day, The Rolling Stones: Bridges to Bremen), who’s filmed everyone from Black Sabbath to Noel Gallagher, The Killers, Keane, and Van Morrison, takes on the subject of music images, speaking with the world’s best photographers, journalists, and musicians about the art of music photography. Each episode of the six-part series covers a different aspect of the industry, revealing the huge impact iconic photos have had on individual careers and the entire music industry.
The Beast Must Die
July 12, 2021 (AMC+)
This joint BritBox/AMC+ five-part series based on the Cecil Day-Lewis novel stars Torchwood and The Good Wife‘s Cush Jumbo as a distraught mother on a mission: kill the man responsible for her pain, aka Jared Harris. I mean, these two breathtaking actors playing against each other — that’s all I need to know.
Catch and Kill: The Podcast Tapes
July 12, 2021 (HBO Max)
If you’ve listened to Ronan Farrow’s addictive and explosive podcast (companion to his best-selling book) — and you should — you’ll no doubt want to dig into this six-part expansion of his investigation into the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Featuring unseen/heard footage and audio interviews, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist takes us deeper into the process of helping to expose a despicable rapist and abuser, a process which ultimately led to Weinstein’s conviction and incarceration.
July 15, 2021 (FX on Hulu)
Stop me if you think you’ve seen this one before…wait! This is actually something new, a spinoff of Ryan Murphy’s nine-season American Horror Story: Murder House/Asylum/Coven/Freak Show/Hotel/Roanoke/Cult/Apocalypse/1984, and the upcoming Double Feature (August 2021). Instead of a season-long plot arc (I use that term loosely), Stories will feature self-contained episodes, although hours one and two appear to be related. Starring Matt Bomer, Taissa Farmiga, Evan Peters, Sierra McCormick, Kaia Gerber, and Paris Jackson, and with Murphy muse Sara Paulson in the director’s chair, this new trick is sure to be a treat. After all, as any longtime AHS fan knows, each season starts out brilliantly and devolves into a bloody mess, so a one-and-done Murphy plot seems like a great idea.
July 16, 2021 (Disney+)
Disneyphiles, this one’s especially for you! From Jungle Cruise to Space Mountain to It’s a Small World, check out this new series full of information about your favorite rides. The ten-parter is narrated by Paget Brewster and takes viewers on a magical tour behind the scenes of developing Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, The Haunted Mansion, and all the park castles. If you can’t go in person, at least get up close and personal on TV–and bonus, the kids can watch free!
July 16, 2021 (Hulu)
If music docuseries are your jam, here’s another for the record (okay, I’ll stop now). Longtime producer, co-founder of Def-Jam, and former president of Columbia Records Rick Rubin sits down with Sir Paul McCartney to talk about his fifty-plus year career, both as a solo artist and with The Beatles and Wings.
July 16, 2021 (Apple TV+)
Either a dream or a nightmare, depending on your opinion of musical theater –and also on your love for Keegan-Michael Key (one may have to override the other). Key and SNL favorite Cecily Strong play a couple trapped in a (literal) musical town where they must stay until they …find true love. Okay, this is definitely a nightmare. Regardless, the real-world talent is utterly overwhelming: Alan Cumming, Kristin Chenoweth, Fred Armisen, Aaron Tveit, Ariana DeBose, Ann Harada, Jaime Camil, and Dove Cameron — Jane Krakowski and Martin Short guest star — and all the songs (and the series) are written by Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio (Despicable Me 3, The Secret Life of Pets, Hop, Horton Hears a Who, The Lorax). I hate it! I love it! I am so confused!
July 21, 2021 (Disney+)
Grab the kids (and the pets!) and plant your butts for this updated take on the 1989 Tom Hanks standard. Josh Peck (The Wackness, Mean Streak) plays Scott Turner Jr., a detective following in his father’s shoes, all the way down to (Spoiler?) inheriting dear old dad’s second dog, who’s also exactly like his namesake. If you don’t know what any of that means, settle in and watch a lovable, semi-destructive yet helpful sidekick play ride-along with his new dad. Lyndsey Fonseca, Vanessa Lengies, Anthony Ruivivar, Reginald VelJohnson, and Sheila Kelley round out the cast, but we all know the five French Mastiffs playing Hooch — Mya, Cyd, Obi, Hammer, and Arni — are the big-name talent here.
July 18, 2021 (Showtime)
The fabulous Harriet Walter (Succession, The Crown, Killing Eve) heads up this Australian black comedy about Edie, a woman who wants to die and *can’t* since her palliative care doctor/daughter kidnapped her and planted her in a nearby retirement community. Add a few unruly teenage grandkids and some nosy neighbors with booze, and let the hijinks ensue! The ensemble cast includes Frances O’Connor, Robyn Nevin, Noni Hazlehurst, Luke Arnold, and Morgan Davies.
July 30, 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Let your jaw drop as I rattle off the fantastically talented and gorgeous people you’re about to watch play out this adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s best-selling novel: Emily Mortimer, Lily James, Andrew Scott, Emily Beecham, Dominic West, Dolly Wells, Beattie Edmondson, Assaad Bouab, Aki Omoshaybi, Shazad Latif, Will Keen, and Freddie Fox. If, somehow, they aren’t enough (I’d watch them all recite the dictionary), imagine a lovely English manor circa 1920s and two close cousins who long to fall in love. There’ll be parties, fabulous clothes, flirting, decadence, and wicked wit. What more could you want in an episodic escape?
July 30, 2021 (Apple TV+)
This third-of-the-month music documentary series focuses on the production side and technology, aka the future of music. With artists ranging from Gary Numan to Dave Grohl to Paul McCartney (again!) and Questlove (again!), DJ and producer Mark Ronson explores the ever-changing way sound is manipulated using all manner of machines to create stuff we love to listen to.