You may have read The Watercooler’s previous monthly roundups of the best new titles on Netflix and the best new titles on the rest of the major streaming services. This month, we’re doing something a little different. Read on for more about what we recommend to stream in July.
Our goal has always been to help you navigate the vast, overwhelming world of streaming so you can find the absolute best things to watch. To better achieve that goal, we’ve decided to narrow the search even tighter. Now, instead of two articles, we’ll give you one article with the seven most promising new movies and TV shows to stream this month on Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, and Hulu, and all in one place. All killer, no filler.
We’ve organized the titles by release date. You’ll find an eclectic mix of horror, action, drama, and reality/comedy. It was hard to narrow the options down to just seven, but we’re confident that you’ll find yourself obsessed with at least one of these.
Fear Street [Netflix]
Trailer | July 2, 9, and 16
Netflix is trying out a novel release strategy with this horror movie trilogy. Each chapter will be released on a successive week: Part 1: 1994 on July 2, Part 2: 1978 on July 9, and Part 3: 1666 on July 16. In this adaptation of the bestselling teen horror series by R.L. Stine, the town of Shadyside, Ohio is cursed, and every however many thousand days a bunch of teenagers get massacred. It’s happening in 1994, just like it happened in 1978. The only survivor of the 1978 killings (played by Community’s Gillian Jacobs) is trying to stop it from happening again. The only way to do it is to go back to when the curse began: 1666. That’s a very spooky year! By releasing all three movies like this, Netflix is kind of blurring the lines of how to categorize this. Is it a limited series? Is it a movie trilogy? Who cares, as long as it’s fun!
Gossip Girl [HBO Max]
Trailer | July 8
The iconic late ‘00s teen drama is back for a Gen Z revival. For the updated 2021 edition, the cast is diverse in race and sexual orientation, issues of power and privilege are at the forefront of characters’ minds in a way they weren’t in the original, and the mysterious Gossip Girl stirs up drama through an anonymous Instagram account instead of a blog. But for all the ways it’s superficially different, at its core it’s still a glossy and provocative soap opera about outrageously precocious teenagers behaving badly. You just might find yourself getting sucked into their lives of excess in spite of yourself, no matter how far from high school or the Upper East Side you might be – or even if hearing Kristen Bell’s voiceover as Gossip Girl again doesn’t give you goosebumps of nostalgia.
Black Widow [Disney+]
Trailer | July 9
Marvel’s first movie since 2019’s Spider-Man: Far From Home is the biggest movie to get direct-to-streaming release of the whole pandemic era–though it’s also getting a theatrical release and will undoubtedly become the highest-grossing movie of the pandemic era. It feels like a lot of people are planning on making this the first movie they see in a theater. But if you’re not ready for that, you can buy Black Widow< for an additional $30 on top of your existing Disney+ subscription. It’s the start of the MCU’s movie Phase Four, and is a prequel about the late Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) before she linked up with Bruce Banner and her other super-pals, dealing with some stuff left over from when she was a pretty bad person.
Gunpowder Milkshake [Netflix]
Trailer | July 14
Whether this movie ends up being good or not, it has one of the best titles of the year. I would definitely drink a Gunpowder Milkshake. It sounds sweet and dangerous. Anyway, this action movie stars Guardians of the Galaxy’s Karen Gillan as an assassin who ends up bailing on the hit Paul Giamatti hired her for and instead protects an eight-year-old girl from some very bad men. Helping her are a trio of ass-kicking women known as the Librarians (Angela Bassett, Carla Gugino, and Michelle Yeoh) and her estranged mother, who’s also an assassin, and no other than Game of Thrones’ Lena Headey. Karen Gillan told IGN it’s more like a Tarantino movie than John Wick, but I don’t believe her; it looks a lot like John Wick.
American Horror Stories [Hulu]
Trailer | July 15
Ryan Murphy’s long-running anthology series is getting an even more anthologized spinoff on FX on Hulu. Where American Horror Story tells a new story every season, American Horror Stories tells a new story every episode. Details of what those stories will be are being kept under wraps for now, but if they’re anything like American Horror Story, they’ll be tangentially inspired by true events, unpredictable, and kinda campy. This honestly seems like a great idea for AHS. The show so often has a tendency to start strong and go off the rails, so confining the stories to a single episode might keep them focused. Let’s keep it tighter than the Rubber Man’s suit!
Space Jam: A New Legacy [HBO Max]
Trailer | July 16
When the original Space Jam came out 1996, I was in first grade, and I loved basketball more than anything else in the world. So what I’m saying is I probably couldn’t recite Space Jam from memory, but if it were playing in the room I could probably say every line along with Michael Jordan and the Looney Tunes. It’s deep in my brain, God help me. So I’m excited about the sequel, which replaces Michael Jordan with LeBron James, who also probably watched Space Jam a million times when he was a kid. I have no illusions about the original Space Jam actually being a good movie, and have no expectation this one will be, either. But I’m open to being surprised by it being better than I’m expecting. LeBron James is a better actor than Michael Jordan (remember him in Trainwreck?) and the way he says “What in the Matrix hell?” in the trailer makes me laugh. Available until August 16.
Sexy Beasts [Netflix]
Trailer | July 21
All right, so this is just gonna be silly and fun. It’s a reality dating show where the contestants are dressed like animals or mythological creatures, so they can’t see what their potential suitors actually look like. And maybe it’s not exactly right to say they’re “dressed like” animals – they’re done up in elaborate, Hollywood-grade prosthetic makeup to look like a panda or a scarecrow or a weird dolphin-person or whatever. At the end, the creature doing the choosing picks which animal they’d like to see again, and they reveal their true faces to each other, like a psychedelic version of The Dating Game. Netflix is openly promoting this as The Masked Singer meets Love Is Blind, because that’s what it is. If you’ve ever wanted to see a baboon kiss a devil, this show is for you, you weirdo.