The small screen has been booming all summer long with a slew of new series, documentaries, and feature films alongside reality television shows and classic dramas and sitcoms. August is no exception, as two of the most popular streaming services, Disney+ and Hulu, will offer a range of new content to keep you busy and entertained. Between the two services, there are plenty of stories for all ages and interests. Here’s what to look for to be inspired, informed, or simply distracted.
This was announced earlier in July, and even though it’s arriving a day early of August, it’s worth including here. Black is King is being described as a visual album by Beyoncé, inspired by last year’s album The Lion King: The Gift, which she featured on and helped curate. The story takes lessons from The Lion King to real life with messages about history, identity, betrayal, loss, and love. Watch this timely tale with the whole family.
Disney continues to tell intriguing stories from their history and behind the scenes of famous works. This documentary focuses on Howard Ashman, the musical maven who created all of our favorite songs from Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, and Beauty and the Beast, among others. The film is sure to offer plenty of insight and inspiration, as well as nostalgia and likely a few tears.
Among the last of Marvel’s films to return home to the service, Ant-Man and the Wasp is one of the more fun and family-friendly offerings from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The literal and figurative smaller scale of this film, as well as the light-hearted humor, make it a welcome piece of escapism. It was also meant to be a reprieve after the events of Avengers: Infinity War. It’s also the first MCU film after far too many to feature a woman in a title role.
Disney has seemed to perfect the process of creating realistic-looking computer-generated animals on screen (The Jungle Book, The Lion King). The titular character in The One and Only Ivan is a 400-pound silverback gorilla voiced by Sam Rockwell, and he’s joined by a lonely elephant and an array of other animals trapped in a shopping mall made to entertain humans. Based on the best-selling book of the same name, the film features an impressive cast of voices, as well as Bryan Cranston as the father and master of Ivan.
Disney is bringing back together a colorful and lively cast of friends and family in Phineas and Ferb the Movie. A popular cartoon that premiered over a decade ago, the loveable characters get a sort-of big screen reunion. This all-ages fare finds our titular stepbrothers trekking across the universe to find their sister Candace after she’s abducted by aliens. For those concerned about chronology, the film takes place before the series finale but after the first standalone film, in case you’re rewatching the series and enjoy the movie to its fullest.
The first day of August is a Saturday, and it’s the perfect time to start a weekend-long marathon of Star Trek — because, why not? The original six films all arrive on Hulu, and you can join Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, and the rest of the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise for some thrilling adventures (and some, admittedly, less than thrilling adventures). While they vary in quality, they’re certainly worth watching as a whole, especially since the stories are fairly connected. And once you’re done, you can opt for the more recent trilogy starring Chris Pine, which is a remake, but also a sequel maybe — or something like that, due to parallel universes or other science fiction jargon.
The live-action adaptation of the beloved children’s animated series Dora the Explorer skews slightly older, with a teenage heroine and some adolescent humor, but the fun and exciting results are the same. This film was a box office success, featuring goofy jokes, lots of action, and positive representation starring young relative newcomers alongside Eva Longoria and Michael Peña as Dora’s parents. While some adults may lose interest, it’s a film that will capture the attention of young ones.
For something much more serious and dire, tune into the documentary Slay the Dragon. It follows the systematic and surgical campaign to politically redistrict the large parts of the country to support Republican candidates. Gerrymandering has been an issue of import for over a decade, but the documentary follows its history in the U.S. dating back to the early 19th century, tracing how it’s been used by all parties for political gain. In an election year, it’s especially timely and unnerving as well as an inspiring call to action.
For those in need of a surprising, smart, feel-good film, look no further than the 2019 indie flick The Peanut Butter Falcon. This touching and rich story follows a young man with down syndrome who escapes his assisted living home and meets an outlaw who is also on the run. The two lead performances by Zack Gottsagen and Shia LaBeouf are both impressive, but the film around it makes their adventure one worth joining.
If you’re seeking inspiration and hope in a moment of uncertainty, check out Love in the Time of Corona, a new series from Freeform that hits Hulu on August 22. The four-part dramatic miniseries follows couples in Los Angeles as they cope with a pandemic and seek out love and affection during quarantine. The series was shot in the homes of the actors, including Leslie Odom, Jr., and his wife Nicolette Robinson, and it certainly has relevance right now.
Vince Vaughn leads what looks to be a pretty absurd and hopefully entertaining adult comedy that exists in a world where all drugs are legal for one day a year. While the film’s clear inspiration, The Purge, dealt with fear and violence, The Binge is more about antics and insecurity. The trick it will have to pull off, though, is something that many films about drinking and drugs struggle to do: make the trip as much fun for the viewer as it seems to be for the characters.
The latest iteration of James Bond, and the final time Daniel Craig would assume the role, was supposed to bow this past spring — but there are plenty other Bond films to enjoy while we await its release. Casino Royale was Craig’s first role, and this film reimagined Bond for the modern world. He’s gritty and grounded yet still stylish and suave. The first two scenes of Casino Royale are captivating, and the film rarely lets up. Hopefully it can help tide you over until No Time To Die.
Hidden Kingdoms of China
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Star Wars Galaxy's Edge: Adventure Awaits
The Peanuts Movie
UFO Europe: The Untold Stories (S1)
Muppets Now Episode 102
One Day At Disney Episode 136
Disney Family Sundays Series Finale Episode 140
Pixar In Real Life Episode 110
Alaska Animal Rescue (S1)
Ant-Man and the Wasp
India's Wild Leopards
Jungle Animal Rescue (S1)
Nature Boom Time (S1)
Sam's Zookeeper Challenge (S1)
Scuba Sam's World (S1)
Spaced Out (S1)
T.O.T.S. Calling all T.O.T.S. (S1)
The Greatest Showman
Wild Cats of India (S1)
The One and Only Ivan
Muppets Now Episode 103
One Day at Disney Episode 137
Weird But True! Episode 301
Back to the Titanic
Beauty and the Beast
Mars: One Day on the Red Planet
Muppets Now Episode 104
One Day At Disney Episode 138
Weird But True! Episode 302
Alice Through the Looking Glass
Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Candace Against the Universe
Muppets Now Episode 105
One Day At Disney Episode 139
Weird But True! Episode 303
Monchhichi: Complete Season 1B
The Pier: Complete Seasons 1 & 2
UniKitty: Complete Season 2B
3:10 to Yuma
A Good Woman
A Perfect Murder
The Brothers McMullen
Cats & Dogs
City Slickers 2: The Legend of Curly’s Gold
Death at A Funeral
Four Weddings and a Funeral
The Last Stand
Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga’Hoole
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
My Best Friend’s Wedding
My Bloody Valentine
Sleeping with the Enemy
Stanley & Iris
Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
Star Trek: Insurrection
Stuck On You
Up in the Air
Were The World Mine
Shark vs. Surfer: Special
Ordinary Love (2019)
The Real Housewives of Orange County: Complete Season 14
The New York Times Presents: This Is Dominic Fike: The Next Big Thing? (FX on Hulu Original)
Hard Night Falling
Alive And Kicking
Smile Down the Runway: Season 1, Episodes 1-12
Bernie the Dolphin 2
A Crime to Remember: Complete Season 4
Bake You Rich: Complete Season 1
Caribbean Life: Complete Season 16
Chopped: Complete Season 40 & 41
Christina On The Coast: Complete Season 1
Honeymoon Hunters: Complete Season 1
House Hunters International: Complete Season 129 – 134
Island Life: Complete Season 15
Mediterranean Life: Complete Season 1
Murder in Paradise: Complete Season 1
Naked and Afraid Complete Seasons 9 & 10
Property Brothers: Buying & Selling: Complete Season 6
Say Yes to the Dress: Complete Season 17
Sword Art Online: Alicization: Complete Season 1 (Dubbed)
Worst Bakers in America: Complete Season 1
Worst Cooks in America: Complete Season 16
Find Me In Paris: Complete Season 3 (Hulu Original)
Blindspot: Complete Season 5 (NBC)
The Roads Not Taken
Mom: Complete Season 7
Quantum of Solace
Anthony Marcusa is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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