across the streaming-verse

The Best of Streaming: What Should You Watch on Netflix, Hulu, and Other Sites

Photo: Lionsgate; New Line Cinema; FX

It’s wild and wooly out there in the world of streaming video. As movies and TV shows become increasingly accessible through a variety of services, it has also become increasingly difficult to keep track of what movies are available where, what is expiring when, and what is actually worth watching. So every Friday, Vulture will have a list of recommendations of movies and TV shows that are new to Netflix (as well as Hulu, Amazon, On Demand, and other streaming sites), those that are expiring, and those that you should just watch because.

* The Dead Zone
Did everyone see that new trailer for the Carrie remake starring Chloë Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore? Was anyone reminded that, once, Hollywood used to make made good movies from the horror novels of Stephen King, like the original Carrie and Misery and this 1983 film starring Christopher Walken? Well, that’s what it reminded me of! Like the book it’s based on, this film has always deserved more credit than it’s received. Walken plays Johnny Smith, a Maine schoolteacher who, after being in a coma for several years, emerges with the gift of second sight. We all make fun of Christopher Walken’s crazy Walken-ness these days, but it’s worth remembering that he used to be quite a soulful actor. There’s a mournful quality to his performance here, sad and moving in a way that most King movies aren’t. This is not a horror film in the way you might be thinking — no devils or gore or jump scares. Rather, it’s about the horror of being able to see the future and the heavy responsibility that comes with such a talent. Also, President Bartlet himself, Martin Sheen, plays a psychotic politician. And that’s delightful to watch. (Available on Netflix.)

* The Shield
Two years ago, during our Drama Derby competition, head Vulture Josh Wolk wrote, “revisiting The Shield made me want to ignore my family, sequester myself, and rewatch all 88 episodes in a row.” I’m not encouraging you to do that this weekend, but I am encouraging you to watch the first episode, which is easily one of TV’s great cop-show pilots. The show ran for seven seasons (bookending its fantastic start with an absolute whopper of a finale), and the first two are available for streaming now. (Available on Crackle.)

* The Hunger Games
You know what this movie is about. You know who’s in it. I can’t convince you to watch it if it’s not in your wheelhouse. But I just wanted you to know that it’s now streaming. So, information conveyed. (Available on Netflix.)

* The Evil Dead
Vulture’s movie critic David Edelstein asked the only appropriate question one could ask about Evil Dead, the new remake of Sam Raimi’s cheapo horror classic out this weekend — five years from now, will anyone choose to watch it over the original? The answer is obviously no, but you don’t even have to wait five years to make that decision. Do yourself a favor and just watch the 1981 film at home. (Available on Hulu.)

* Adventure Time, Robot Chicken, Children’s Hospital, Aqua Teen Hunger Force
I know you don’t normally watch Adult Swim or Cartoon Network shows. I know this. But it’s Friday night, you may or may not have a job, and you ain’t got shit to do. So watch any of the above four shows tonight before you invariably pass out at 1:30 a.m. next to your half-eaten box of rapidly congealing pizza. Don’t be ashamed. Own it. (Streaming on Netflix now here, here, here, and here.)

Best of Netflix Streaming: The Evil Dead, Shield