The most watched TV and movies of the week: Baseball, vampire hunters, and a big finale
So, what's everyone been watching this week? Hmmmm?
Just to get a sense of what everyone's streaming, we've used data from streaming aggregator Reelgood, which gathers viewership numbers from hundreds of streaming services in the U.S. and UK. Each week, the most streamed TV shows and movies come down to a few elements — sheer buzz, a big finale, smart marketing, star power, critical acclaim, or word-of-mouth that leads uninterested people to finally watch it out of spite.
Everyone's watching Netflix's huge blockbuster fantasy series, The Sandman, this week, which just dropped surprise episodes if you want even more. Some newcomers to the list are Abbi Jacobson's remake of A League of Their Own, as well as Mindy Kaling's Never Have I Ever returning from Season 3. But of course, it was the Better Call Saul finale that had everyone hooked this week.
But just because a lot of people are watching something doesn't make it...good. Here they are, the 10 most streamed TV shows and movies of the week, where to watch them, and what Mashable critics thought.
1. The Sandman
Neil Gaiman's The Sandman is dominating streaming sessions right now. The 10-episode comic adaptation from showrunner Allan Heinberg journeys through worlds, human and otherwise, primarily hinging around the exploits of Morpheus, the Dream King (Tom Sturridge). When Morpheus is captured by mortals and his sacred objects stolen, terrible things begin to happen both in our world and realms of fantasy.
But this just means we get to meet a whole range of weird and wonderful characters, from Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Death, Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer, Vivienne Acheampong as the librarian, Lucienne, Jenna Coleman as the kickass Johanna Constantine, Asim Chaudhry and Sanjeev Bhaskar as murder-bound brothers Cain and Abel, David Thewlis as the exceptionally creepy John Dee, and so many more.
What we thought: If you've been dreaming of a perfect onscreen version of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman, you're going to have to dream a bit longer, and a bit harder. Netflix's take on the brilliant comic book series has its moments of excellence, but it also suffers from uneven pacing and mountains of exposition. — Belen Edwards, Entertainment Reporter
How to watch: The Sandman is now streaming on Netflix.
Director Dan Trachtenberg's Predator prequel still has huge buzz, after hitting Hulu. Set in 1719 in the Comanche Nation, Prey is all about Naru (Amber Midthunder), a skilled warrior and hunter whose community is threatened by an advanced alien (yep) predator. So, she sets out to confront it in one hell of a showdown.
What we thought: With spectacular action, compelling characters, and an engrossing story, Prey absolutely deserves the hype that comes with a large audience. It's a crime that it isn't getting a theatrical release, but do not think for a second that this is a case of a studio dumping a mediocre film direct to streaming. — B.E.
How to watch: Prey is now streaming on Hulu in the U.S. and Disney+ in the UK.
3. Better Call Saul
Better Call Saul has concluded forever, with the series finale airing after six seasons. So people are naturally streaming the hell out of it. In Vince Gilligan's Breaking Bad prequel, Bob Odenkirk takes on the titular role of Albuquerque lawyer Jimmy McGill aka Saul Goodman, joined by the ever-talented Rhea Seehorn as dynamite lawyer Kim Wexler, Giancarlo Esposito as formidable drug distributor Gus Fring, and Jonathan Banks as everyone's favourite fixer Mike Ehrmantraut. Of course, along the way he meets Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), but you'll have to watch to find out how.
What we thought: For several key players, the stakes have never been higher. Reputations, relationships, and lives are on the line, and mounting tension in the first two episodes alone exposes seldom-seen sides of characters we thought we had all figured out. — Nicole Gallucci, former Senior Editor
How to watch: Better Call Saul is now streaming on Netflix and on AMC+.
4. A League of Their Own
It's been 30 years since A League of Their Own, starring Geena Davis and Tom Hanks, brought the story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League to the big screen. Now, Prime Video's new series takes another look at the World War II-era baseball league, this time with new characters.
Starring Abbi Jacobson, Chanté Adams, D'Arcy Carden, Nick Offerman, and more, A League of Their Own follows players in the newly formed All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. The series also promises a deeper look at these players' lives through a lens of race and sexuality, exploring Black players like Max's (Adams) fight to play and the relationships that form between members of the team.* — B.E.
How to watch: A League of Their Own is now streaming on Prime Video.
5. Thirteen Lives
It seems a lifetime ago when the world clung to their newsfeeds awaiting news of 12 boys and their coach, trapped in the flooded Tham Luang caves in Thailand after a storm. In 2018, the rescue mission to bring them all back alive and well — two kilometres into the cave, through a labyrinth of flooded tunnels — captivated the world.
While there's an excellent documentary about it from E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin called The Rescue, Ron Howard takes it into motion picture realms with Thirteen Lives. Viggo Mortensen, Colin Farrell, and Joel Edgerton star as the heroic cave divers: Rick Stanton, John Volanthen, and Harry Harris.
How to watch: Thirteen Lives is now streaming on Prime Video.
Yes, the Uncharted movie has finally hit Netflix, with Tom Holland swinging into action as treasure hunter Nathan Drake from Naughty Dog's beloved adventure game series. The movie functions like an origin story for Drake's friendship with Victor "Sully" Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg). They're on the hunt for an ancient artifact — as Uncharted narratives always go — but they're not the only ones: they'll need to outrun master schemer Santiago Moncada (Antonio Banderas), ruthless mercenary Braddock (Tati Gabrielle), and treasure hunter Chloe Frazer (Sophia Ali).
What we thought: It's easy to be dubious of a video game movie adaptation, considering their shaky history. But Uncharted is alright. It's far from perfect, but still a good time at the movies with Tom Holland. — Adam Rosenberg, Senior Entertainment Writer and Editor
How to watch: Uncharted is now streaming on Netflix.
7. Only Murders in the Building
Well, things didn't work out quite like they thought for our three podcasting heroes at the end of Season 1 of Only Murders in the Building, and Season 2 plunges them into a whole new mystery at the Arconia.
Martin Short, Steve Martin, and Selena Gomez are back as Mabel Mora, Charles-Haden Savage, and Oliver Putnam, three true crime podcast superfans and residents at a fancy Upper West Side apartment who become entangled in each other's lives after murder becomes afoot in the building. In Season 2, Cara Delevingne joins the cast as artist and gallerist Alice, and Amy Schumer (as herself) moves into Sting's apartment. There are some big questions this time around: Who is Glitter Guy? And why is everyone always wearing sweaters?
What we thought: Only Murders feels fundamentally messier in Season 2. We're learning more about the OMITB hosts; we're learning about their various neighbors; and we're getting to know a number of new arrivals alongside the rest. It's great stuff from a people perspective. But too often, that character-forward approach leaves the mystery, and by extension the whodunit puzzle we try to solve at home, to languish. — B.E.
How to watch: Only Murders in the Building is now streaming on Hulu in the U.S. and Disney+ in the UK.
8. Black Bird
Doing deals for information is a risky business in prison, as shown by Taron Egerton in Apple TV+'s crime thriller Black Bird. The Rocketman star leads the series as Jimmy Keene, the son of a cop and a high school football champ, who finds himself sentenced to 10 years in prison. He's given an option instead of serving his time, to go undercover and befriend possible serial killer Larry Hall (Paul Walter Hauser) to get a confession. But it'll prove more complicated than Jimmy's ready for.
How to watch: Black Bird is now streaming on Apple TV+.
9. Day Shift
Vampires did not see Jamie Foxx coming in Day Shift, a new action thriller from John Wick alumni director J.J. Perry and producer Chad Stahelski. Foxx plays Bud Jablonski, who uses a pool cleaning job to cover up the fact that he's part of an international union of vampire hunters — two of which are played by Snoop Dogg and Dave Franco. if you're looking for a big action movie with vampires and big names, give it a spin.
How to watch: Day Shift is now streaming on Netflix.
10. Never Have I Ever
Created by Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher, this smart, sweet coming-of-age story is among the most fulfilling Netflix binges around. Lead Maitreyi Ramakrishnan will steal your heart as Devi Vishwakumar, an Indian-American high school sophomore reeling from the loss of her father the year before — but with big plans for a future as vibrant and fearless as she. Culturally important as it is authentic, Never Have I Ever serves not only as a critical step for representation but also as a dreamy teen rom-com you'll adore.* - Alison Foreman, former Entertainment Reporter
What we thought (of Season 3): At times, the show could have slowed its pace. Yet, the writers and cast have a wondrous, fresh approach to each circumstance, uplifting the series. Never Have I Ever remains unapologetically true to itself and its foundation, growing up and making us fall more in love with it. — Meera Navlakha, Culture Reporter
How to watch: Never Have I Ever is now streaming on Netflix.
* Asterisks indicate the writeup is adapted from another Mashable article.