The most watched TV and movies of the week include predators, dreams, and glitter
So, what's everyone been watching this week? Hmmmm?
Each week, the most streamed TV shows and movies come down to a few things — sheer buzz, a big finale, smart marketing, star power, critical acclaim, or being a word-of-mouth phenomenon that leads uninterested people to finally watch it out of spite. Just to get a sense of what everyone's streaming, we've used data from streaming aggregator Reelgood, which gathers those coveted viewership numbers from hundreds of streaming services in the U.S. and UK.
Everyone's watching Prey this week, and for once we can say, yes! You should also watch it! The Predator prequel just beat Netflix's huge blockbuster fantasy series, The Sandman, for the top spot.
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.
Director Dan Trachtenberg's Predator prequel is the buzziest film of the week, 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. — Belen Edwards, Entertainment Reporter
How to watch: Prey is now streaming on Hulu in the U.S. and Disney+ in the UK.
2. The Sandman
It's one of the most anticipated shows of the year, with Neil Gaiman's The Sandman finally landing on Netflix. 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. — B.E.
How to watch: The Sandman is now streaming on Netflix.
3. Better Call Saul
Better Call Saul is about to conclude forever, with the series finale set to air Aug. 15 after six seasons. So people are naturally streaming the hell out of it before then. 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. 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+.
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. The Gray Man
It's Netflix's latest big, expensive, star-fuelled thriller from directors Anthony and Joe Russo, with Ryan Gosling starring as the titular Gray Man, super-skilled CIA operative Court Gentry/Sierra Six. He'll need the help of Agent Dani Miranda (Ana de Armas), handler Donald Fitzroy (Billy Bob Thornton), and former CIA chief Margaret Cahill (Alfre Woodard, but not enough of her) to avoid a fatal pulverising by former CIA agent Lloyd Hansen (a mustachioed Chris Evans). He's been recruited by CIA official Denny Carmichael (Regé-Jean Page) to find and destroy Gentry after he finds out some big agency secrets.
What we thought: The Gray Man is not the kind of movie that you need to see in theaters. (The Russos agree.) It's the kind of movie you can throw on while you're doing dishes or fiddling on your phone. In bursts, it's amusing. Overall, it's tiresome, lacking any emotional wallop, consistent wit, or the kind of verve that might actually make even its stolen bits sting. — Kristy Puchko, Deputy Entertainment Editor
How to watch: The Gray Man is now streaming on Netflix.
Sex and the City/Emily In Paris creator Darren Star and Modern Family/Frasier creator Jeffrey Richman teamed up to create Uncoupled, an eight-episode series about being a single gay man dating in your 40s in New York after your long-term relationship combusts. Neil Patrick Harris stars as real estate agent Michael, whose husband Colin (Tuc Watkins) suddenly walks out after 17 years. Freaking out slightly about losing the love of his life and starting to date again, Michael has to find his way through it with the help of his friends Suzanne (Tisha Campbell), Stanley (Brooks Ashmanskas), and Billy (Emerson Brooks).
How to watch: Uncoupled is now streaming on Netflix.
Before he was launched into infinity and beyond-levels of fame and made into an action figure beloved by the likes of Toy Story's Andy, Buzz Lightyear the fictional astronaut had an origin story. Chris Evans voices the iconic Disney space ranger in Lightyear, directed by Finding Dory's Angus MacLane. You'll find out more about the man who inspired the toy — and his robotic cat Sox (voiced by Peter Sohn). This is one huge cast: Keke Palmer, Uzo Aduba, Taika Waititi, Dale Soules, Bill Hader, and more.
What we thought: This spinoff pays tribute to the Buzz that's come before, with callbacks to his lines, look, gadgets, attitude, and more. And even though it walks in the shadow of the giant that is Toy Story, Lightyear manages to set its own course for fresh adventure. — K.P.
How to watch: Lightyear is now streaming on Disney+.
* Asterisks indicate the writeup is adapted from another Mashable article.