A new month brings new stuff to binge on all of your favorite streaming platforms. We have picks for the best new movies and shows to stream in October for a number of different scenarios, whether you’re looking for something to watch on a date night, with the whole family, or to talk about around the proverbial watercooler (which nowadays is probably Slack, Twitter, or in a group text with your friends and coworkers).
These shows and movies are streaming in October 2021 on Netflix, HBO Max, or Disney+, and will be coming out throughout the month. We’re pretty certain that you’ll find something you love on this list. It’s unusually heavy on movies this month, but what can we say, the streaming movies that are coming out seem more appealing than the shows over the next few weeks.
There are some great returning shows coming out this month that we couldn’t fit into this roundup, so before we get to the list, let’s give an honorable mention to the fourth and final season of Netflix’s delightful young adult dramedy On My Block, which debuts on October 4; the fifth and final season of HBO’s groundbreaking comedy Insecure, which stars on October 24; and the second season of HBO Max’s romantic comedy anthology Love Life, which stars The Good Place’s William Jackson Harper and premieres October 28.
On with the picks!
What Everyone Will Be Talking About: The Many Saints of Newark [HBO Max]
Trailer | October 1
The long-awaited The Sopranos prequel film is finally in theaters and on HBO Max. The movie is set in the titular New Jersey city in the ‘60s and ‘70s, back when Tony Soprano was a kid and the mafia was still thriving. The late James Gandolfini’s son Michael plays a teenaged Tony, but don’t go into this expecting it to be Tony’s story. The main character is actually Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola), the father of Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli). Dickie was frequently mentioned on The Sopranos but never seen, because he was already dead by the time the show started. But there will be plenty of other treats for Sopranos fans, like the return of Tony’s miserable mother Livia, who in a perfect piece of casting is now played by the great Vera Farmiga. And here’s a fun fact: Ray Liotta is in the movie as Dickie’s father, which makes him the 28th Sopranos actor to previously appear in another classic mob story, Goodfellas.
Watch first/watch after: Dune/Dune [HBO Max]
“The visionary director’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s epic sci-fi novel is ambitious and visually stunning but struggles under the weight of its massive plot” is a sentence that could apply to both major adaptations of Dune, either David Lynch’s 1984 version or Denis Villeneuve’s much-anticipated new version. HBO Max is giving fans the opportunity to watch both adaptations on the same streaming service, which should make comparing and contrasting them unusually easy. That’s admittedly a lot of Dune–both movies are well over two hours long–but how often do you get to watch two different great directors tell their versions of the same story? It’s worth watching them both close together for that, so what works and what doesn’t is fresh in your mind. And if you haven’t seen the first Dune, you’ll need to in order to have an opinion about who is the superior Paul Atreides, Kyle MacLachlan or Timothée Chalamet.
A hidden gem: 15 Minutes of Shame [HBO Max]
Trailer | October 7
This documentary about public shaming comes from producer Monica Lewinsky, who knows a thing or two about being publicly shamed. It’s against “cancel culture,” where private citizens get publicly shamed, harassed online, have their personal information exposed, etc., but it attempts to look at the issue with some nuance, acknowledging that sometimes shame can be an effective way to hold people accountable. The most important thing the doc gets into are the business incentives for inciting outrage in social media users and TV viewers. It might not be anything you haven’t heard before, but it’s an interesting look at a social problem people are guilty of across the political spectrum, left, right, and center.
Date night: You Season 3 [Netflix]
Trailer | October 15
The addictively fun psychological thriller series You is back for its third season, and the twists are as jaw-droppingly WTF as ever. This season, psycho killer Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) and his wife Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti)–who’s also a killer, but psycho in a different way–have moved to Northern California in search of a peaceful environment in which to raise their new baby. But they can’t stop being who they are, so the lies–and bodies–start piling up very quickly. This is a great date night show because it’s funny and sexy and scary and will make you talk about Joe and Love like they’re a couple you know whose messed-up lives you can’t stop gossiping about. You might feel compelled to watch the whole season in one night.
Family fun: Muppets Haunted Mansion [Disney+]
Trailer | October 8
Everyone knows A Muppet Christmas Carol is the greatest Christmas movie ever made. So it stands to reason that Muppets Haunted Mansion–the first Muppet movie produced for Disney+–will be the best Halloween movie ever made. We’re kidding, but this is still worth watching, because the Muppets have a proven track record of providing hilarious fun for the whole family. Gonzo, Kermit, Fozzie, and the rest of the gang will all be there, along with human guests including Will Arnett, Taraji P. Henson, John Stamos, and many, many more.
An international find: Love Is Blind: Brazil [Netflix]
Trailer | October 6
Love Is Blind, Netflix’s riveting relationship reality show, is one of the streaming service’s most successful unscripted series. It hit #1 on Netflix’s Daily Top 10 chart and was nominated for the Outstanding Structured Reality Series Emmy. It’s an exceptional reality show format, both for its gimmick–people get engaged after getting to know each other over the course of several days without seeing each other’s faces–and the way it follows the couples as they try to make their relationships work in the real world. We’re still waiting for a second season of the original American version (although Netflix did release a three-episode “After the Alter” special this past July), but in the meantime, there’s a Brazilian version coming this month, which will surely deliver the drama and romance Love Is Blind fans desire–with some sexy accents to boot.