Plus Christmas Comes Early in This Week’s Streaming Recs
Hi there! The new season of The Crown has us thinking about the secrets that picture-perfect families keep—whether they be royal figureheads, or ordinary people whose lives seem a little too Instagram-worthy to be real. No need to go out and spy on your neighbors (then you would be the one with something to hide), instead, this week’s recs have all the intrigue, but none of the fallout of real-world gossip mongering.
The Story Imelda Staunton takes over for Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II for the latest iteration of Netflix’s hit drama series. This season fast forwards to the 1990s, a tumultuous period for England’s royal House of Windsor that includes the shocking death of Princess Diana.
The Commitment 10 Episodes +/- 60 Minutes Per Episode
The Elevator Pitch The Queen of England’s “annus horribilis,” revisited.
The Winner Longtime fans who feel like members of the royal family.
Whet your appetite for royal romance and palace intrigue with these series based on the lives of real-life European monarchs:
This German-language series follows the whirlwind courtship and royal marriage that led rebellious Bavarian princess Elisabeth von Wittelsbach (known to her friends as “Sisi”) to become the Empress of Austria in 1854.
Adapted from Octavia E. Butler’s celebrated novel by writer and showrunner Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, the FX series centers on Dana James (Mallori Johnson), a young Black woman and aspiring writer who finds herself being violently pulled back and forth in time. All episodes begin streaming Tuesday, Dec. 13 on Hulu.
Ever since there have been cozy suburban enclaves, movies have explored their dark sides. Whether they take their inspiration from sci-fi, film noir, or black comedy (or perhaps a little of all three), these movies have one rule: behind the picket fence, there’s always sinister secrets.
The Popular The real drama of Olivia Wilde’s sophomore feature Don’t Worry Darling may have been behind the scenes. But beyond the secret salad dressings and possible spit takes lies a bizarre, sci-fi-influenced tale straight out of the Twilight Zone. At the beginning of the movie, newlyweds Alice (Florence Pugh) and Jack (Harry Styles) move into the experimental desert community of Victory, a place that seems like it’s too perfect to be real—which means it most definitely is. Haven’t seen it yet? Don’t Worry Darling is now streaming on HBO Max. If you have, find out Why Don’t Worry Darling Is Actually Great on a Rewatch.
The Overlooked 3 more movies that scratch the underbelly of suburban life:
Nicole Kidman stars in this 2004 remake of the iconic 1975 suburban thriller (also available to stream free on Tubi), about a burned-out reality producer whose attempt to start fresh in the Connecticut suburbs soon takes an ominous turn.
A David Lynch classic, starring Kyle MacLachlan and Laura Dern as clean-cut youngsters who stumble into a dangerous subculture in a small town. You’ll never forget Isabella Rosselini, who co-stars as a kinky lounge singer.
Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots play a young couple anxious to settle down together, but Irish director Lorcan Finnegan’s sci-fi thriller takes the feeling of being trapped in a routine suburban existence to surreal, horrific extremes.
Lindsay Lohan is back in the acting game, playing a hotel heiress who bonks her head in a skiing accident and lands in the arms of a hunky blue-collar lodge owner in the Netflix holiday rom-com Falling for Christmas, which premieres tomorrow. Part of the appeal of these movies is their delicious silliness, but some holiday rom-coms transcend the formula and deliver something that’s not just fun, but actually good.
Director Clea DuVall pulled from her own life for this groundbreaking queer rom-com about a photographer (Kristen Stewart) whose girlfriend Harper (Mackenzie Davis) invites her home for Christmas, with one catch—Harper’s conservative parents don’t know she’s gay.
Queen Latifah stars in this life-affirming flick set around Christmas, as a driven businesswoman who checks into a swanky hotel and vows to live her last few weeks to their fullest after being diagnosed with a brain tumor.
Rom-com queen Nancy Meyers gathers a stellar ensemble of actors—Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, and Jack Black—in a picturesque cottage in the English countryside for this feel-good Christmas romantic comedy par excellence.
Love Hard is a knowing, tongue-in-cheek holiday movie that’s made for fans of the genre, starring Nina Dobrev as an L.A.-based newspaper columnist who decides to surprise her online boyfriend with a visit, only to discover that she’s been catfished.
Superstar David Beckham returns to his East London roots on the feel-good reality series Save Our Squad, as he coaches a struggling crew of young athletes in hopes of turning the team's fortunes around.
Kicking off 11 days before the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the Netflix docuseries FIFA Uncovered exposes the history of criminal corruption behind soccer’s, or football’s (for our international readers), biggest governing body.
Set during the events of Disney’s 2016 animated hit Zootopia, this short-form series expands the universe of the movie by telling the stories of some of its most intriguing background characters, like arctic fox Fru Fru and Flash the sloth.