Times are tough. The cost of living crisis is deepening and we’re all being choosier than ever about how we spend our money, and that particularly applies to streaming services.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, when the options to spend money at the bar or to watch your favorite team play were gone, it probably didn’t matter that you’d committed an extra $20 a month to streaming services. After all, it’s not like you were sacrificing a fancy meal in a restaurant or the chance of a trip. But now, we’ve all got tough choices to make.
Streaming services like Netflix and Hulu offer a degree of flexibility that most other services do not. Unless you’ve paid upfront for a year’s worth of streaming, you’re free to cancel and restart your membership whenever you like. Often, the streamers will try to win you back with special rejoining offers too, so being agile with your subscriptions can really pay off.
Now, traditionally, summer tends to be quiet for prestige TV – everyone’s taking a break, the movie theaters are full of blockbusters, and the long summer days just aren’t conducive to binge-watching. So, July is an ideal time to cut down on your streaming spending.
But you’ll still need something to keep you entertained. To help you out, and potentially save some cash, we’ve had a look at what shows and movies are coming to all the big streamers in July and rated whether they’re worth keeping or canceling. We’ll start with the big daddy…
Netflix has a very, very busy July coming up and its executives clearly regard a summer break as optional.
It kicks off the month with the epic finale of Stranger Things' fourth season, with two feature-length episodes debuting on July 1. Animated adventure The Sea Beast is out on July 8, with the much-anticipated reboot of Resident Evil coming on July 14. There's a big starry one-two punch on successive Fridays in mid-July. First, the Dakota Johnson and Henry Golding-led, Fleabag-aping, new take on Jane Austen's classic Persuasion arrives on July 15. Then, one week later, on July 22, the streaming service's hugely expensive action-thriller The Gray Man drops.
The Gray Man follows Ryan Gosling's CIA agent Court Gentry – aka Sierra Six, a highly-skilled, agency-sanctioned operative, who suddenly finds himself on the wrong side of the CIA and on the run. Gentry must try to stay one step ahead of Chris Evans' former CIA cohort Lloyd Hansen, who hunts Sierra Six in a globe-trotting adventure that's sure to test the allegiances of everyone involved. The trailer looks spectacular and full of top-drawer action.
On July 20, there's also the return of the soapy drama Virgin River. And Netflix rounds off the month with Uncoupled, a quirky new comedy-drama led by Neil Patrick Harris out on July 29.
Cancel or keep?
Between Stranger Things, The Gray Man, Persuasion and Resident Evil, Netflix has a strong July lined up. We'd keep your subscription, or get one if you haven't already.
Hulu's big debut is Only Murders In The Building, which returns with the first two episodes on June 28 and then new episodes once a week until August 23.
Action-comedy The Princess, which stars Joey King as a strong-willed princess who refuses to wed the cruel sociopath she is betrothed to and instead chooses violence, arrives on July 1 and looks like a lot of fun. The second season of horror anthology spin-off American Horror Stories drops on July 21.
Its new offerings include Maggie, a sparky comedy starring The Mindy Project's Rebecca Rittenhouse as a psychic suddenly given a glimpse of her own future. It starts on July 6, along with the fifth season of Grown-Ish.
Finally, season 4 of the brilliant vampire comedy What We Do In The Shadows kicks off on July 13, when you'll get the first two episodes followed by a weekly release.
Cancel or keep?
Cancel. If you can avoid spoilers, come back in August or September when you can watch Only Murders In The Building, Maggie, and What We Do In The Shadows in one big binge.
July is a very quiet month for HBO Max. The big debut is Westworld, which starts on June 28 and will run weekly throughout July and August.
The only big premieres July can call its own are the Pretty Little Liars spin-off Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin and kooky Kiwi comedy Wellington Paranormal, which both come out on July 28.
Cancel or keep?
Unless you're a Westworld devotee, cancel it. Come back in August to watch Industry and House of the Dragon, which both debut that month. You can catch up on Westworld then.
Prime Video kicks off July with Chris Pratt's chest-beating new military drama, The Terminal List.
Pratt plays James Reece, a much-feared Navy SEAL who sees his entire platoon ambushed while on a covert mission.
Returning home to his family with hazy memories of the ambush and questions about his culpability, Reese soon discovers dark forces working against him, endangering not only his life but the lives of those he loves. Things will get violent.
Starring alongside Pratt is Constance Wu, Friday Night Lights alumni Taylor Kitsch, and indie star Riley Keough.
Prime Video isn't the most prolific streamer, but it ends the month strong with the big-budget Paper Girls, an adaptation of Brian K. Vaughn's comic series.
Set in 1988, the show follows four young girls who, while out delivering papers the morning after Halloween, become caught in a conflict between warring factions of time-travelers...
Cancel or keep?
Prime Video is a bit of a special case as Amazon has its tentacles in so many of us, and the streaming service might be more of an add-on in order to get Amazon deliveries in under 24 hours. But, if you can, cancel it and come back in September for Lord Of The Rings.
Apple TV Plus
Apple TV Plus is having a stellar year and that continues in July.
Stylish drama Physical, sci-fi behemoth For All Mankind, and Maya Rudolph's sassy comedy Loot will all continue during July. There are some great debuts too.
Black Bird, starring Taron Egerton and the late, great Ray Liotta, and written by crime maestro Dennis Lehane debuts on July 8. Egerton plays James Keene, a drug dealer who is given the chance to win his freedom if he enters a maximum-security prison for the criminally insane to solicit a confession from an alleged serial killer.
The third season of Trying, Apple's delightful comedy about two wannabe parents and their quest to have children, comes on July 22. This is followed by Surface on July 29. This is a hotly-tipped psychological thriller miniseries that stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Sophie, a young woman who is trying to piece together her memories leading up to a suicide attempt.
Cancel or keep?
Keep. Apple TV Plus is low-cost and the most consistent in terms of quality of all the streaming services in 2022.
A complicated answer for those in the UK as Disney Plus also offers the best of Hulu, so subscribers will get The Princess, Only Murders In The Building and Maggie too.
For those in the US, aside from the last two episodes of Ms Marvel, it's pretty slim pickings in July. There's no new Marvel or Star Wars content, just a few documentaries, one of which, America the Beautiful, looks lovely and has Michael B. Jordan talking about America's greatest animals.
Cancel or keep?
If you're in the UK, keep it. US users should cancel and come back in August for She-Hulk.
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Tom Goodwyn was formerly TechRadar's Senior Entertainment Editor. He's now a freelancer writing about TV shows, documentaries and movies across streaming services, theaters and beyond. Based in East London, he loves nothing more than spending all day in a movie theater, well, he did before he had two small children…