Happy Thanksgiving Season! We’re grateful that the streaming services have been saving a lot of their big-ticket items for November, because there is an abundance of riches in the new shows and movies coming to Netflix, Amazon, and Disney+ this month.
We can’t even include all of the highly anticipated titles you can stream in November. Highlights not on this list include the blockbuster Netflix action movie Red Notice with Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot, and Ryan Reynolds (November 12); the much-anticipated live-action anime adaptation Cowboy Bebop, also on Netflix (November 19); and the Beatles limited documentary series Get Back, which is coming to Disney+ over the course of three nights from November 25 to November 27. Any of those would be a great watch.
But we target our recommendations very closely here at the Watercooler, so we have recs for shows and movies you could watch to keep up with the cultural conversation as well as hidden gems, international finds, date night and family night watches, and “palette cleansers” — what to watch to clear your head.
Here are the streaming picks we’re thankful for in November 2021.
What everyone will be talking about: The Wheel of Time [Prime Video]
Trailer | November 19
Amazon has two upcoming shows that Jeff Bezos hopes will become his company’s version of Game of Thrones or The Lord of the Rings. One is the actual Lord of the Rings prequel that’s coming out next year. The other is The Wheel of Time, an ambitious adaptation of author Robert Jordan’s fantasy series of the same name. Jordan’s series is massive, both in book sales and the sheer number of pages, so the series is a big undertaking that Amazon is putting a lot of muscle behind. The story is a standard “young people go on a quest to save the world” fantasy tale, but it’s being executed on a grand scale. Gone Girl’s Rosamund Pike is the star, the CGI looks incredible, and they built a whole medieval village for the first episode just to burn it down. The first three episodes of the eight-episode first season premiere on the 19th, with weekly releases thereafter.
Watch first/watch after: Tiger King 2/Animal [Netflix]
Trailer | November 17 / No trailer yet | November 10
The sequel to Netflix’s world-conquering docuseries Tiger King is arriving this month, giving an update on what crazy stuff has been going on with our favorite true crime characters like Carole Baskin, Jeff Lowe, and of course Joe Exotic himself since they became superstars last year. Season 2 will attempt to answer the question of whether or not Carole Baskin killed her husband. You may not want to watch Tiger King 2, but you will. Clean the taste of expired Walmart meat out of your mouth with Animal, a beautifully shot nature documentary that’s actually about the animals the Tiger King crooks profess to care about. Each episode follows a different creature – a mother lioness, a family of wild dogs, a kangaroo joey, and a young octopus – as they go about their lives, with narration from Bryan Cranston, Rashida Jones, Rebel Wilson, and Pedro Pascal.
A hidden gem: Passing [Netflix]
Trailer | November 10
It’s getting to be Oscar season, which means Netflix is starting to put up some movies for grown-ups. One of them is Passing, from writer-director Rebecca Hall. Based on a 1929 novel by Nella Larsen, Passing is the story of two Black women living in New York City during the Harlem Renaissance. Irene (Tessa Thompson) and Clare (Ruth Negga) knew each other growing up in Chicago, so Irene knows that Clare is “passing” as white, with dyed-blonde hair and a racist white husband (Alexander Skarsgård) who doesn’t realize the truth about her. As Irene and Clare’s lives get more and more entwined, Irene finds herself questioning everything she thought she knew about who she is. Passing will contend for Oscar nominations in Best Actress (Thompson), Best Supporting Actress (Negga), and Adapted Screenplay (Hall).
Date night: The Harder They Fall [Netflix]
Trailer | November 3
You may not have ever seen a Western with an all-Black cast before, and you’ve definitely never seen one with a cast this stacked before – this stylish, action-packed barnburner stars Regina King, Idris Elba, and Jonathan Majors, arguably Hollywood’s hottest rising star after his turns in Lovecraft Country and Loki. Majors plays an outlaw named Nat Love, who learns that his mortal enemy, Rufus Buck (Elba), has been sprung from prison by Trudy Smith (King), and rounds up his old gang to get revenge. It’s based on real Black historical figures from the Old West, and features a stellar supporting cast that includes LaKeith Stanfield, Zazie Beetz, and Delroy Lindo. It’s a perfect date night watch because it’ll put you in a good mood.
Family fun: Hawkeye [Disney+]
Trailer | November 24
The latest Marvel series (WandaVision came out in January, and it already feels like they’ve been around forever, doesn’t it?) is about Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), also known as Hawkeye , the Avengers’ regular guy archer, as he passes the torch to Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) a young woman with serious archery skills and big dreams of becoming a superhero. It’s Christmastime, and Barton just wants to get home to his family, but he and Bishop have to save New York City from a nefarious foe from Barton’s past. It’s Marvel’s take on the Christmas genre, and it looks like it was pitched as “Everyone’s least favorite Avenger in Die Hard meets Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.” It might be even more kid-friendly than Marvel usually is, and it’ll be great to watch with the whole family on Thanksgiving.
An international find: A Cop Movie [Netflix]
Trailer | November 5
This Mexican film uses a novel blend of documentary and narrative to give a nuanced look at life as a police officer in Mexico City. Director Alonso Ruizpalacios interviews officers Teresa and Montoya, partners on the job and in life who are known as “the love patrol,” and has actors Mónica Del Carmen and Raúl Briones reenact their stories while the officers’ voiceover plays over the scenes. It’s a cleverly immersive version of a documentary that goes deep into the contradictions and challenges of trying to be a good cop in a corrupt system.