We try our best to open these streaming lists with a witty assessment of the latest TV trend or seasonal theme, but this weekend’s recommendations are a particularly eclectic bunch (which is, admittedly, a good thing).
Hulu’s Normal People successor, Conversations With Friends, leads the line as the arrival set to generate the most noise, but Apple TV's The Essex Serpent looks like an equally starry (if altogether different) Victorian mystery. Operation Mincemeat also comes to Netflix in the US for those in the mood for some WW2-era espionage.
Conversations With Friends (Hulu, BBC iPlayer)
Sally Rooney fans, stand up. The long-awaited adaptation of the Irish author’s debut novel comes to Hulu in the US and BBC iPlayer in the UK this Sunday.
Brought to life by the same creative team responsible for 2020’s Emmy-nominated Normal People, Conversations With Friends follows a pair of college students (Alison Oliver and Sasha Lane) who become entangled with an older married couple (Joe Alwyn and Jemima Kirke) in modern-day Dublin.
The 12-episode series looks to bear all the hallmarks of its internet-breaking predecessor, and although early reviews have been decidedly mixed, we’d wager that fans of steamy romance will still find plenty to enjoy from this one.
Available to stream on Hulu in the US and BBC iPlayer in the UK from Sunday.
Operation Mincemeat (Netflix)
Moody dramas not your thing? Operation Mincemeat, which lands on Netflix in the US this weekend, swaps cheating guys for sneaky spies.
Directed by Shakespeare in Love filmmaker John Madden, the movie tells the remarkable true story of an allied plot to thwart – using a corpse carrying false secrets – a series of formidable German defenses on the island of Sicily during WWII. It stars Colin Firth, Matthew Macfadyen, Kelly Macdonald, Mark Gatiss, Jason Isaacs and many more British acting icons.
Operation Mincemeat is still playing in UK theaters, but those on the other side of the pond can enjoy this “pleasantly modest movie” on Netflix from Friday.
Now available to stream on Netflix in the US.
The Essex Serpent (Apple TV Plus)
The second of this week’s novels-turned-premium-dramas is The Essex Serpent, an adaptation of author Sarah Perry's best-selling period thriller of the same name.
This six-episode series follows Claire Danes’ Cora Seaborne, a troubled widow who, upon moving to Victorian-era Essex to investigate reports of a mythical serpent, develops a bond with local pastor Will Ransome (played by Loki himself, Tom Hiddleston). To say more risks ruining the show’s biggest surprises, though viewers should rest assured that there’s plenty more to this unique story than meets the eye – after all, Perry’s novel sold like hotcakes for a reason.
The Essex Serpent’s first two episodes are available to stream now on Apple TV Plus, with the remaining four scheduled to arrive on a weekly basis every Friday.
Now available to stream on Apple TV Plus.
Hacks season 2 (HBO Max)
No one saw the success of Hacks coming last year. The Jean Smart-led comedy series was nominated for a whopping 13 Emmys (taking home three) and built up a loyal following of fans across its 10-episode debut run.
It won’t come as a surprise, then, to learn that the show returns for a second season on HBO Max this week. Smart once again leads the cast as Deborah Vance, an aging comedian with designs on reviving her stagnant career, though she’s joined on her misadventures this time around by Laurie Metcalf, Susie Essman and The Book of Boba Fett’s Ming-Na Wen.
The first two episodes of Hacks season 2 are available to watch on HBO’s streamer now, with the remaining six entries arriving in pairs every Thursday through June 2. UK viewers will have to wait for the series’ return to Prime Video some time later this year.
Now available to stream on HBO Max.
The Lincoln Lawyer (Netflix)
Continuing the legal adventures of author Michael Connelly’s maverick defense attorney, Mickey Haller, is new Netflix series The Lincoln Lawyer, which becomes available to stream this weekend.
Rather than remixing the same plot as the Matthew McConaughey-starring 2011 movie, though, this take on the character adapts Connelly’s second Haller novel, The Brass Verdict, and finds the titular brief called back to the courts after an old acquaintance is murdered.
In Connelly’s novels, Haller works alongside steely detective Harry Bosch, and although we don’t expect this Netflix show to exist in the same universe as Prime Video’s own wildly popular series, fans of the latter will likely find plenty of comparable drama to enjoy here.
Now available to stream Netflix.
The Kids in the Hall (Prime Video)
Beloved comedy series The Kids in the Hall (one of the most famous TV exports to emerge from Canada) returns for a long-awaited revival on Prime Video.
The kids in question are a Canadian sketch troupe, formed in 1984, comprising comedians Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney and Scott Thompson, and the show – which ran on Canada's CBC and later aired on HBO in the US – found the quintet portraying a series of brainless characters doing, well, brainless things.
Now, almost 30 years later, all five actors make a comeback in Amazon’s eight-episode special, which features a range of all-star guests including Catherine O'Hara, Fred Armisen, Pete Davidson and Eddie Izzard. If you’re in the market for some old school comedy this weekend, The Kids in the Hall is a sure winner.
Now available to stream on Prime Video.
The Time Traveler's Wife (HBO Max)
Sherlock and Doctor Who writer Steven Moffat’s take on Audrey Niffenegger's best-selling novel, The Time Traveler's Wife, hits HBO Max this weekend.
If you’re not already familiar with the story – and let’s be honest, the book’s 2009 film adaptation was far from memorable – it follows the fortunes of a married couple, Clare and Henry (played here by Rose Leslie and Theo James), who find themselves pulled apart by the latter’s uncontrollable ability to travel through time (think The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button meets About Time).
Directed in its entirety by Game of Thrones’ David Nutter, Moffat’s six-part series hasn’t gone down well with critics so far (one outlet described it as a “multiverse of badness”), but The Time Traveler's Wife nonetheless looks like a harmless way to spend your evening hours.
Now available to stream on HBO Max in the US and Sky / Now TV in the UK.