This month is unusually light on marquee new streaming shows, but there are still some gems in the mix. We’ve picked out five that will be worth your time. And in an unusual twist, three of those five are on Hulu. We see you, Hulu! You’re crushing it this month! We also have the latest Marvel/Disney+ series–they’ve only been around for a few months, but they’ve completely taken over television, haven’t they?–and an international Netflix curiosity.
If you don’t feel like watching something brand new, there’s plenty of licensed stuff on the streaming services that might be new to you or worth revisiting. The most exciting arrivals are coming to Netflix on August 1, and they are the complete runs of two mid-’00s classics: Tina Fey’s rapid-fire comedy 30 Rock and the cultishly beloved high-school football drama Friday Night Lights, which is one of those shows that everyone who’s watched is always trying to get everyone else to watch. If you haven’t, why not now?
But those are old shows, and we’re here to talk about new shows. Here are the five most promising new streaming series of August 2021.
Reservation Dogs [Hulu]
Trailer | August 9
Everyone’s favorite Marvel director Taika Waititi co-wrote the first episode and executive-produces this quirky comedy from creator Sterlin Harjo. The series follows a group of four Indigenous teenagers in rural Oklahoma who do the pettiest of petty crimes in order to save money to escape to California. Along the way, they have run-ins with all the colorful characters who populate their town and maybe even learn a little bit about themselves. According to FX, every writer, director, and series regular on the show is Indigenous. It’s also the first scripted series to film an entire season in Oklahoma. Even the trailer is funny, which doesn’t happen very often. Get in on this early, because it might blow up.
What If…? [Disney+]
Trailer | August 11
After the breathless back-to-back-to-back run of WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Loki, Marvel is throwing a curveball with its latest Disney+ streaming series. What If…? is an animated series that imagines what it would be like if iconic Marvel Cinematic Universe moments happened differently. It’s a simple premise with a lot of room to play around in. We’re going to see some wild stuff, like what if Peggy Carter had taken the Super Soldier Serum instead of Steve Rogers and become Captain Britain? What if Killmonger and Tony Stark met and found they were actually maybe kindred spirits? What if there were zombies??? These are all things that could happen in the Marvel multiverse but didn’t. Or haven’t yet. Or are happening on a different timeline. You know how it goes.
Nine Perfect Strangers [Hulu]
Trailer | August 18
The latest limited series collaboration between prolific TV writer David E. Kelley and star Nicole Kidman (both of whom executive-produce) seems likely to be as much of a sensation as their previous two, Big Little Lies and The Undoing. The show is based on proven source material—the bestselling, twisty 2018 novel of the same name by Big Little Lies author Liane Moriarty—and has an unbelievably stacked cast that includes Melissa McCarthy, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Shannon, and Regina Hall, as well as rising stars like The Good Place’s Manny Jacinto and Little Fires Everywhere’s Tiffany Boone. And with its weekly release schedule, people will be talking about it for a month. Don’t miss it if you get FOMO.
Post Mortem: No One Die in Skarnes [Netflix]
Trailer | August 25
Oh god, another Norwegian zombie comedy series on Netflix? It never stops with the Norwegian zombie comedies on Netflix! Enough already, we’re drowning in them! Seriously, though, one of the best things about Netflix is the random weird international stuff you stumble across. And this seems like one of the weirdest. It’s about a woman who dies and comes back to life with an insatiable thirst for blood. Her family runs a funeral home, but the town’s low death rate is making business really difficult. Maybe she can do something about it? Judging by the trailer, it looks like it has an interesting tone that has gross, gloomy horror and goofy comedy at the same time. Scandinavians are very good at dark comedy.
Only Murders in the Building [Hulu]
Trailer | August 31
The unexpected dream team of Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez unites for this timely comedy series. They play a trio of true-crime obsessed New York City apartment neighbors who meet after there’s a gruesome death in their building. They suspect foul play, and team up to investigate, documenting each step on a podcast of their very own. Will these self-absorbed amateur sleuths stop listening to the sound of their own voices for long enough to hear what their interviewees are telling them and crack the case? Or will their show get cut short because they’re not around to finish it? The series—which Hulu doesn’t describe as a limited series, whatever that’s worth—was created by Martin and Grace and Frankie writer John Hoffman and executive-produced by This Is Us’ Dan Fogelman, and looks like a crowd-pleasing comedic whodunit. The first three episodes start streaming on Tuesday, Aug. 31, with weekly releases of the following seven after that.