Watching: The Best Things to Stream

On Netflix, Amazon and Disney+

By The Watching Team

The weekend is here. It’s here! Regardless of what streaming service you subscribe to, we want to help. We’ve gone through Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ to find the best titles on each service.

Here’s one of the 50 best movies on Netflix

From left, Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Timberlake in “The Social Network” (2010).Merrick Morton/Columbia Pictures

‘The Social Network’

The unlikely marriage of the screwball-inspired screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and the chilly visual stylist David Fincher birthed one of the finest works of both their careers, a “fleet, weirdly funny, exhilarating, alarming and fictionalized” account of the early days of Facebook and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg (brought to hard-edge, sneering life by Jesse Eisenberg). Sorkin’s ingenious, Oscar-winning script spins the Facebook origin story as a Silicon Valley “Citizen Kane,” dazzlingly hopscotching through flashbacks and framing devices. But the ruthlessness of Fincher’s cleareyed direction is what brings the picture together, presciently framing Zuckerberg as the media mogul of the future — and hinting at the trouble that entails.


Here is one of the best TV shows on Netflix

From left, Casey Wilson, Zachary Knighton, Damon Kyle Wayans Jr., Eliza Coupe and Adam Pally in “Happy Endings.”Richard Foreman/ABC

‘Happy Endings’

Although it ran for only three seasons — a total of 57 episodes — the sitcom “Happy Endings” is still often mentioned whenever TV buffs talk about shows canceled too soon. Why do people love it so much? Give some credit to a charming core cast (Eliza Coupe, Adam Pally, Elisha Cuthbert, Damon Wayans Jr., Casey Wilson and Zachary Knighton), playing young adults who struggle with maintaining mature relationships and meaningful careers. Credit also the riotously funny scripts. Our critic wrote, “The writers layer jokes on jokes on jokes, many of which coil in on themselves to hit three or four consecutive punch lines, pop culture references, or clever bits of wordplay.”


Have a Hulu subscription? It’s a lot to wade through. We can help!

Linda Cardellini and Jason Segel in “Freaks and Geeks.”Chris Haston/NBC

‘Freaks and Geeks’

A pre-“Knocked Up” Judd Apatow and a pre-“Bridesmaids” Paul Feig teamed up for this cult hit comedy-drama, which looks back at high school life circa 1980 through the eyes of Lindsay Weir (Linda Cardellini), a math wiz who falls in with the slacker “freaks,” and her brother Sam (John Frances Daly), a perpetually picked-on “geek.” High school nostalgia is nothing new, but Feig, Apatow and their writers approach those years with a verisimilitude that frequently feels like an open wound, finding the quiet truth in these comic situations, and only then going for the laugh, almost as an afterthought. Bonus: a cast of future stars in their early years, including Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jason Segel, Busy Philipps, Sam Levine, Ben Foster, Lizzy Caplan and Martin Starr.


Amazon Prime Video doesn’t make it easy to find stuff. Luckily, we have done the work for you.

Kumail Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan in “The Big Sick” (2017).Sarah Shatz/Lionsgate

‘The Big Sick’

Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani based their first screenplay on their own, unconventional love story — a courtship that was paused, then oddly amplified by an unexpected illness and a medically induced coma. This isn’t typical rom-com fodder, but it’s written and played with such honesty and heart that it somehow lands. Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan (standing in for Gordon) generate easy, lived-in chemistry and a rooting interest in the relationship, while a second-act appearance by Holly Hunter and Ray Romano as her parents creates a prickly tension that gives way to hard-won affection. Our critic deemed it “a joyous, generous-hearted romantic comedy.”

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Disney+ is full of older classics. But there are a lot of newer things to watch as well.

Moana (voiced by Auli’i Cravalho) and Maui (voiced by Dwayne Johnson) in “Moana” (2016).Disney


Disney has spent decades laboring over the creation of more strong-willed heroines, but few have embarked on a mission as consequential as Moana, who travels the seas to save her Polynesian village from environmental ruin. Her adventures are rendered in pleasingly lush ocean blues, and Dwayne Johnson has a fun role as the egotistic demigod Maui. But the true star of “Moana” is the songs, which range from the soaring (“How Far I’ll Go”) to the silly (“You’re Welcome”) to the Bowie-esque (“Shiny”). A.O. Scott wrote that they “anchor the film’s cheery globalism in a specific South Pacific milieu.”

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