With everyone home for summer, streaming services have ramped up the original programming to give everyone something to watch. We’ve got cartoons for kids like Home and cartoons for grown-ups like Bojack Horseman, new dramas starring movie stars and shows returning stronger than ever. Here’s what’s on Netflix and Hulu in July.
Bojack Horseman Season 3 – Premieres July 22 on Netflix
Bojack Horseman is my favorite show on Netflix. This animated comedy really gets me. It’s a Hollywood spoof in a world where anthropomorphic animals are celebrities. So half the characters are real celebrities like character actress Margot Martindale, and the other half are animalized versions like Maggot Gyllenhaal. Cameron Crow is an actual Crow.
Season two of Bojack Horseman got intense. It left off with Diane (Alison Brie) finally coming clean to Mr. Peanutbutter (Paul F. Tompkins) that she had not gone away on a peace mission. It’s a good step, but clearly a lot of personal work still needs to be done. Bojack Horseman (Will Arnett) is nominated for awards for his role as Secretariat, which was actually completed with a computer generated Bojack. Princess Carolyn (Amy Sedaris) resigned herself to being alone.
Yeah, Bojack Horseman has a way of getting really serious and making you feel for talking animals. But you don’t need to sell me on Bojack Horseman season three. I’ll be there for as many seasons as they’ll make.
Stranger Things – Premieres July 15 on Netflix
Winona Ryder starring in a TV series? Yes, please. Winona Ryder in a TV series set in the ‘80s? Hell yeah! Ryder returns to the decade that made her famous, but in a serious dramatic role. She plays the mother of a missing boy, whose disappearance becomes a supernatural mystery complete with evil government agents pursuing the town children!
Ryder is perfect for a TV comeback. She has continued to work in films, but usually relegated to supporting roles like Black Swan, Star Trek and Homefront, or little seen indie films like the underrated Experimenter and the hilarious The Ten. We want to see her in the center of the drama again and Netflix is giving her the chance.
Word Party – Premieres July 8 On Netflix
The Jim Henson company is still creating new, imaginative programming to teach young viewers developmental skills while they are entertained. Kids can still watch new episodes of Sesame Street on HBO, while Netflix premieres Word Party this month.
As the title suggests, the aim of Word Party is to build childrens’ vocabulary. Young viewers will teach the cast of baby animals new words with songs and dances. See where this is going? It’s the viewers who actually learn the new words. Another advancement for Henson Studios will be the use of digital puppets instead of traditional hand manipulated ones.
Home: Adventures With Tip and Oh – Premieres July 29 On Netflix
The hit Dreamworks movie Home is the latest to get its own series, along with Kung Fu Panda and Dragons. They will have to do it without the voices of Jim Parsons and Rihanna though. Those two are understandably busy, so Mark Whitten and Rachel Crow will keep Oh and Tip alive. Home is in good company with lots of TV spinoffs from animated movies where the skilled voice cast recreates movie magic on a weekly bases, or in this case streaming all at once!
Jim Jefferies: FreeDumb – On Netflix July 1
Australian bad boy comedian Jim Jefferies opens with Bill Cosby jokes. His routine becomes even funnier after the Australian press lambasted him for doing it. The set becomes about the art of comedy and he has a point. His delivery makes it clear that he’s joking, but if a critic transcribes it, it would sound horrible. We know sarcasm doesn’t translate in print.
Jefferies also riffs on misogyny, as is a recurring theme of his comedy. He is taboo and some material on the anti-vaccination movement might be too sensitive for any parents going through scrutiny over their decisions themselves, but man, is it biting. Jefferies gets all the way to Trump and Muslims before he’s done in a special that, at 90 minutes, gives you 50% more comedy than his Netflix colleagues.
Marco Polo Season 2 – On Netflix July 1
Neflix’s historical drama is loaded with action and fight scenes. The action promises to get even more intense with the addition of Michelle Yeoh to the cast. For fans of Hong Kong martial arts, we’ve long loved Yeoh as the star of Royal Warriors, Wing Chun, The Heroic Trio and Supercop. To American audiences she may be best known from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Tomorrow Never Dies and the drama Memoirs of a Geisha.
Series creator John Fusco is a huge martial arts aficionado too. He wrote the Jackie Chan/Jet Li film The Forbidden Kingdom, and he’s infused the historical fact of Marco Polo with the legends of martial arts lore.
Tallulah – Premieres July 29 on Netflix
I saw this movie at Sundance and it is a powerful story about doing the wrong thing for the right reasons. Ellen Page IS Tallulah, a homeless girl who takes a job as a nanny and kidnaps the baby from her train wreck mother. That drama can be hard to take for many reasons, for mothers of newborns or people sympathetic to homelessness. Tallulah was a strong debut from writer/director Sian Heder and I’m glad everyone will get a chance to see it on Netflix.
Difficult People Season 2 – Premieres July 12 On Hulu
Hulu is gaining some traction with original series. 11.22.63 and The Path were hits, and now they’re enjoying a few sophomore seasons. Difficult People returns with Julie Klausner and Billy Eichner as two New York comics who haven’t become as successful as Billy Eichner and Julie Klausner yet.
Season two boasts impressive guest stars like Tina Fey, Nathan Lane, Julianne Moore, Debbie Harry, Amy Sedaris, Joel McHale, Megan Hilty, John Mullaney, Sandra Bernhard, Mark Consuelos, Fred Armisen and Method Man. That slate is worthy enough to make me tune in and see how they got so many big names popping in. A couple Real Housewives of New York will appear too.