What’s new on Netflix? Hot on Hulu? Amazing on Amazon? Crossing the Streams scours the streaming services to find the best shows and specials freshly available for online viewing. You’re welcome!
THE FUNDAMENTALS OF CARING (Netflix)
Last year, Idris Elba was denied an Oscar nomination for Beasts of No Nation, perhaps in part because the film debuted simultaneously on Netflix as well as theaters. One can only hope the same fate won’t befall Paul Rudd and Craig Roberts, who give two of the year’s best performances on any size screen so far in this uproariously funny and profoundly touching dramedy from writer-director Rob Burnett (Late Show with David Letterman). Adapted from a novel by Jonathan Evison, the potentially clichéd story of a depressed, soon-to-be-divorced man (Rudd) who takes a prickly British teen (Roberts) with Muscular Dystrophy on a trip to see America’s weirdest roadside attractions balances irreverent wit with genuine sincerity. Plus, Selena Gomez works her magic as a runaway hitchhiker. If you don’t end up caring deeply for these characters, get your heart checked because you may not have one.
BOB ROSS: THE JOY OF PAINTING, SEASONS 20-25 (Hulu)
He was only 52 when he died of lymphoma on July 4, 1995, but the beloved artist Bob Ross taught America how to paint “happy little trees” and more over the course of 31 seasons of his popular PBS show. He’s only grown into a bigger cult figure in the years since his passing, and now Hulu has been rolling out his series five seasons at a time. Fun fact: Bob lost part of his left index finger when he was working for his father as a carpenter growing up, but it didn’t affect the way he painted.
DRAGONS: RACE TO THE EDGE (Netflix)
It started out as the movie How to Train Your Dragon and its sequel. Then it became the Cartoon Network series Dreamworks Dragons: Riders of Berk for two seasons. Now Netflix releases the third season of the spinoff’s spinoff, Dragons: Race to the Edge. The voice cast continues to include This is the End’s Jay Baruchel as Hiccup, Ugly Betty’s America Ferrara as Astrid, and Superbad’s Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Fishlegs. So if you’re jonesing for dragons between seasons of Game of Thrones, you know where to go.
ANNEDROIDS: SEASON 3 (Amazon)
Another kids show (that adults can also enjoy) entering its third streaming season is this live action-CGI hybrid from executive producer J.J. Abrams — you’d think that guy was busy enough with Star Wars and Star Trek! Nominated for 10 Daytime Emmys, the series follows Anne (Addison Holley) and her two human friends as they team up with their android pal, Pal (voiced by Orphan Black’s Millie Davis) and use science and math to solve real-world problems. Plus, this season Anne and Co. build a dogdroid named Fangs! Eat your heart out, Chewbacca.
VERY BRITISH PROBLEMS: SEASON 2 (Acorn TV)
No, it’s not a news special about the Brexit vote. Instead, this docu-comedy returns with such English celebs as James Corden (who shares his adolescent pubic-hair worries in “Very British Problems at School”), Doctor Who’s David Tennant, and The Office’s Catherine Tate discussing the inherent awkwardness of U.K. natives. Other topics explored are dating, friendship, and Christmas. If they thought it was uncomfortable being British before, just wait until the next meeting of the EU.
Currently Senior Articles Editor for Closer Weekly, Bruce Fretts has written for The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, TV Guide, Emmy Magazine, Fast Company, and Vulture. You can follow him on Twitter @brucefretts.