Watching: The Best Things to Watch

On Netflix, Hulu, Disney and Amazon.

By The Watching Team

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. (Note: We are approaching the end of the month, when titles sometimes fall off of streaming services. These selections below are all good through the end of June.)


Here’s one of the 50 best movies on Netflix

From left, Greta Gerwig, Elle Fanning and Annette Bening in “20th Century Women.”Gunther Gampine/A24

‘20th Century Women’

A young man’s coming of age becomes a group project when his single mother (Annette Bening) reaches out to their housemates and friends for help, resulting in a slightly more complicated education than she envisioned. This touching and personal dramedy from the writer-director Mike Mills (“Beginners”) deftly conveys the period without relying on caricature, and resists resorting to cheap villainy or soapboxing. Every character is brought to life with humor and sensitivity, and Bening’s work is among her very best. Manohla Dargis deemed it “a funny, emotionally piercing story.”


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

Louis Hofmann in “Dark.”Julia Terjung/Netflix


A bold hybrid of science-fiction, criminal procedural and domestic melodrama, the German-language series “Dark” stretches across multiple timelines — from the 1920s to the 2050s — to tell the story of how four small-town families are connected to a wave of missing-children cases. The plot is full of stunning twists, though “Dark” is more quietly contemplative than thrilling. Our critic wrote that the show “seems to have been constructed with the aid of spreadsheets, but there’s no denying its ingenuity.”


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

Harris Dickinson, center, in “Beach Rats.”Neon

‘Beach Rats’

Eliza Hittman (“Never Rarely Sometimes Always”) writes and directs the muted yet moving story of Frankie (the sublime Harris Dickinson), a sexually conflicted young man who fears his orientation is at odds with his persona and finds himself struggling to live within the lies he’s built. Hittman’s sensitive screenplay scrutinizes its subject but never judges him; her keen understanding of Frankie’s surroundings and upbringing forbids such simplicity. Performances are subtle but effective, with particular praise due to Madeline Weinstein as the girlfriend caught in his emotional crossfire.

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

A courtroom artist’s rendering of the first Central Park jogger trial.Christine Cornell, via PBS

‘The Central Park Five’

In 1989, the country was shocked by the sexual assault and near-death of a young white jogger in Central Park. Five black and Latino youths were quickly charged, tried, sentenced and imprisoned — until a serial rapist confessed over a decade later, his claim borne out by DNA evidence. This informative and infuriating documentary by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon meticulously details the charged atmosphere in which the five teenagers were accused and convicted, as well as the tremendous personal toll taken by this miscarriage of justice. Our critic called it “emotionally stirring.”

Disney Plus is full of the obvious classics. But there are also other worthwhile movies and TV shows.

A scene from the animated series “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.”Lucasfilm/Cartoon Network

'Star Wars: The Clone Wars’

Fans of the original “Star Wars” trilogy scoffed at the prequels, but for a generation of children, the prequels were their own obsession, and the animated series “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” has deepened the experience. Set between the events of “Episode II: Attack of the Clones” and “Episode III: Revenge of the Sith,” the show has filled in gaps in the mythology, turned bounty hunters and clones into real characters and added substance to the relationship between Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala. The seventh and final season, produced for Disney Plus, builds up to the Siege of Mandalore.

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