Atlanta to Stranger Things: The seven best shows to stream this week | Television & radio

Choice of the week

Atlanta

Donald Glover as Earn Marks in Atlanta. Photo: Coco Olakunle/FX

Atlanta has never been a conventional show. The brutality of the opening episode of the third season is as breathtaking as it is mind-boggling. Showrunner and star Donald Glover’s Earn doesn’t show up until the very end – don’t worry, he and his burgeoning hip-hop empire are at the back and center of episode two – but most of the opener is devoted to a dark comic (but mostly just dark) sequence about the upbringing of a hyperactive African-American child Loquareeous (Christopher Farrar). It’s a story of racism so grand and imperceptible it’s almost tide. Surprisingly good on its own, it sets the tone for a season that’s tighter and more abstract than before.
Disney+, from Wednesday 29 June


Queer As Folk

Devin Way as Brodiein Queer as Folk.
Devin Way as Brodiein Queer as Folk. Photo: Pauw

Relaunching a show as loved and important as this Russell T Davies classic is risky. The unashamed way the original series portrayed gay lives meant it had a subversive, even political advantage in 1999. In contrast, the early stages of this New Orleans reboot seem a little thin and over-stylized. Until a brutal nightclub event reminds us that, despite all the relative mainstreaming of LGBTQ+ life, visceral homophobia remains an obvious danger. It’s a starkly effective way to get caught up in the affairs of a fine ensemble led by the free-spirited Brodie (Devin Way).
StarzPlay, from Friday 1 July


Only murders in the building

From left to right: Martin Short as Oliver, Steve Martin Charles and Selena Gomez as Mabel in Only Murders in the Building.
From left to right: Martin Short as Oliver, Steve Martin Charles and Selena Gomez as Mabel in Only Murders in the Building. Photo: HBO

This wildly entertaining comedy created by Steve Martin and John Hoffman about three New York neighbors who start a true-crime podcast returns for a second series. In a sharply satirical turn, the true crime has invaded their detached enjoyment of the genre. Charles (Martin), Oliver (Martin Short), and Mabel (Selena Gomez) are themselves fully involved in the death of their building’s board chairman, Bunny Folger, and of course there’s now a true crime podcast about them too. Deftly played, wonderfully meta and wonderfully crazy.
Disney+, from Tuesday 28 June


The Upshaws

From left: Jermelle Simon as Bernard, Diamond Lyons as Kelvin, Khali Spraggins as Aaliyah, Wanda Sykes as Lucretia, Journey Christine as Maya, Kim Fields as Regina in The Upshaws.
From left: Jermelle Simon as Bernard, Diamond Lyons as Kelvin, Khali Spraggins as Aaliyah, Wanda Sykes as Lucretia, Journey Christine as Maya, Kim Fields as Regina in the Upshaws. Photo: Lisa Rose/Netflix

At first glance, this isn’t the most original family sitcom ever made: the spendthrift dad Bennie (Mike Epps), the long-suffering mom Regina (Kim Fields), and the constantly eye-rolling kids feel very familiar. There are a few notable features, however: First, that the family is working-class African-Americans, and also that they are not as traditionally nuclear as they seem. As we rejoin them for season two, Bennie is back in the doghouse, trying to convince Regina and her terrifying sister Lucretia (Wanda Sykes) that he’s not a complete failure.
Netflix, from Wednesday 29 June


Hybrid!!

Hybrid!!
Hybrid!! Photo: Netflix

The original manga version of this 80s comic book classic is exactly what the Stranger Things Hellfire Club gang would have enjoyed in their basement. Modern civilization has collapsed and Tia Noto Yoko, the daughter of a Great Priest, must face the Dark Rebel Army that plans to bring Anthrasax, the god of destruction, back to life. As you might have guessed, it’s a gloriously overwrought and selfless affair, brimming with spells, wizards and dark energy, relentlessly soundtracked by heavy pounding and devil horns-aloft metal.
Netflix, from Thursday 30 June


Weird stuff

Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven in Stranger Things.
Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven in Stranger Things. Photo: Netflix

Can Vecna ​​Be Stopped? What new horrors could come from the Upside Down? How much more Kate Bush will we be treated to? Many questions remain if this sci-fi epic returns. The run times are also increasingly monumental – these two episodes clock in at nearly four hours. Still, the show’s strength is its ability to blend the parallel world horror of the premise with the more mundane strangeness of teenage life, so expect at least as much focus on Eleven’s relationship with Mike.
Netflix, from Friday 1 July


The terminal list

Chris Pratt as James Reece in the terminal list.
Chris Pratt as James Reece in the terminal list. Photo: Amazon Prime Video

“My timeline is completely blurry. But they knew we were coming.” Chris Pratt stars in this tense, twisting new drama about James Reece, a Navy Seal whose platoon has been ambushed on a covert mission. It’s an equal thriller and evocation of PTSD and trauma recovery. Reece is sure there must have been some betrayal, but he’s also too confused and damaged to unravel — or even trust completely — his own memories of the incident, but even being paranoid doesn’t mean that that no one is after you…
Amazon Prime Video, starting Friday, July 1

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