It's been another fascinating week in the world of streaming. From Disney Plus joining the password crackdown trend to numerous bang average films dominating the Netflix charts, there's been plenty to talk about.
That's before we get onto the best new movies and TV shows to watch this weekend, too. Below, we've picked out seven films and series you won't watch to miss on the world's best streaming services. For the first time in a long while, there isn't anything notable releasing on Disney's two big platforms, either. Which is probably for the best, seeing as people are unhappy about the impending Disney Plus and Hulu price rises.
But we digress. From highly anticipated, fun-filled flicks to returning TV favorites, here's what you need to stream over the next few days.
Heart of Stone (Netflix)
Gal Gadot's attempts to front a new Netflix action film series starts here. Or, it would if Heart of Stone wasn't one of the most generic movies Netflix has ever made.
It sees the Israeli actor play Rachel Stone, a seemingly inexperienced MI6 technician. Stone, though, is actually a skilled secret agent for the Charter, an autonomous organization that uses cutting edge artificial intelligence (AI) – dubbed the Heart – to keep the world safe. However, when a mysterious hacker named Keya (Alia Bhatt) poses a threat to world peace by destabilizing the Charter, it's up to Stone to save the day.
Critics have slammed Heart of Stone – it's currently sitting at a meager 34% on Rotten Tomatoes – for its piecemeal plot, character development, and action. We agree with those sentiments, so don't expect to see the Gadot-starring film on our best Netflix movies list. Still, if nothing else, its exploration the benefits and dangers of AI feel pretty apt.
Heart of Stone is streamable now on Netflix.
Billions season 7 (Paramount Plus)
Showtime's most popular TV drama returns for its seventh and final season this weekend. Billions season seven aims to cap off the hugely successful series on Paramount Plus (Showtime merged with the streamer in late July) in stunning fashion. And, if the sixth season's 100% perfect Rotten Tomatoes score is to be believed, Billions' final installment may do just that.
Understandably, details about season 7's overarching plot are being kept firmly under wraps. Per a Paramount Plus press release, the only synopsis we have to go on is this: "Alliances are turned on their heads. Old wounds are weaponised. Loyalties are tested. Betrayal takes on epic proportions. Enemies become wary friends. And Bobby Axelrod returns, as the stakes grow from Wall Street to the world". Expect plenty of high-stakes drama, backstabbing, and other twists and turns to come in the final entry for one of the best Paramount Plus shows.
Billions season seven's first episode is available to stream now in the US. UK viewers can watch it on Saturday, August 12. New episodes will air weekly.
Red, White, and Royal Blue (Prime Video)
If Heart of Stone doesn't appeal to you, maybe this Prime Video original movie will instead.
Based on Casey McQuiston's best-selling gay romance novel, Red, White, and Royal Blue tells the tale of Alex Claremont-Diaz (the current US President's son) and Prince Henry, who enter a friends-with-benefits relationship, much to the eventual chagrin of America's commander-in-chief and the British Royal family.
A funny, heart-warming, and inclusive film adaptation that feels romantically steamier than Heartstopper, Netflix's hit gay rom-com series, Red, White, and Royal Blue is a triumph. Fans and critics alike have fallen head over heels for it, so make sure you stick it on your watchlist ASAP. We'll certainly be adding it to our best Prime Video movies very soon.
Red, White, and Royal Blue is available now on Amazon's main streaming service.
Netflix's latest hard-hitting drama series that's based on true events, Painkiller will surely be a hot topic of conversation at the proverbial water cooler when the new working week begins.
Taking its cues from the New Yorker article 'The Family That Built an Empire of Pain' and Barry Meier's book 'An Empire of Deceit and the Origin of America’s Opioid Epidemic', Painkiller focuses on Purdue Pharma. A pharmaceutical company that misled the public over the potency and addictiveness of its drug OxyContin, Purdue are considered to be the main culprit behind the rise of the opioid crisis in America.
With an all-star cast including Uzo Aduba, Matthew Broderick, Taylor Kitsch, and Carolina Bartczak, Painkiller has generated plenty of buzz pre-release. Will it make it onto our best Netflix shows? Time will tell, but don't be surprised if it does.
Painkiller is available to stream in full on Netflix.
Strange Planet (Apple TV Plus)
If you're after a more relaxing show to watch this weekend, this Apple TV Plus series will be up your alley.
An animated adaptation of Nathan W Pyle's massively popular webcomic, Strange Planet follows a bunch of Blue-skinned alien beings as they explore human-based pastimes, complex emotions, bemusing social conventions, and existentialism in hilarious and heartfelt fashion.
A witty, thought-provoking, and charmingly easy watch, Strange Planet is the perfect palette cleanser to shows like Painkiller. Fans of Pyle's webseries will find plenty to love, while general audiences will enjoy the show's bizarre take on humanity as a whole. Expect to see it on our best Apple TV Plus shows list in the future.
Strange Planet's first three episodes are available now. New episodes will air weekly.
We Are Newcastle United (Prime Video)
A brand-new English Premier League soccer season kicks off this weekend – so this new Prime Video docuseries is arriving at the right time.
With other Premier League club-focused, fly-on-the-wall documentaries proving popular among its userbase, including All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur and All or Nothing: Arsenal, Amazon heads to the north-east of England for its next soccer-based show. A four-part series, We Are Newcastle United will take fans inside the team's expectation-defying 2022/23 season, which saw the Magpies qualify for the UEFA Champion's League group stages for the first time since 2002/03.
Narrated by legendary Newcastle striker Alan Shearer, Barcodes fans are sure to tune in to relive their club's historic campaign.
We Are Newcastle United debuted on Prime Video on August 11. New episodes will be released every Friday until the finale on September 1.
Asteroid City (Peacock)
Despite the unexpected success of Twisted Metal and The Super Mario Bros. Movie's arrival, Peacock – NBCUniversal's streaming platform – is still struggling to match the might of Netflix and company in the streaming wars.
Still, those who subscribe to Peacock have got another fantastic movie to watch. Asteroid City, the latest whimsical film from acclaimed director Wes Anderson, has launched on the service. If you missed it in theaters earlier this year, then, you'll want to stick one of 2023's best new movies on your watchlist.
Set in a retrofuturistic version of 1955, the UFO-based comedy-drama tells the metatextual story of the fictional US town, which saw world-changing events disrupt a Junior Stargazing convention. Tom Hanks, Marvel alumnus Scarlett Johansson, Jason Schwartzman, Jeffrey Wright, Tilda Swinton, Stranger Things' Maya Hawke, Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Steve Carell, Willem Dafoe, and Adrien Brody are among its absolutely stacked A-list cast.
Asteroid City is available to stream now.
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As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.
An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.
Away from work, Tom can be found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, reading the many unread books on his shelf, staying fit at the gym, and petting every dog he comes across.
Got a scoop, interesting story, or an intriguing angle on the latest news in entertainment? Feel free to drop him a line.