Netflix, Amazon Prime and more: The 10 best shows to watch in July

The best new shows to watch on Amazon Prime, Disney+, Apple TV and Netflix

Netflix

How To Change Your Mind

Tuesday, July 12th

Directed by Alison Ellwood (The Go-Gos) and presented by master documentarian Alex Gibney (Going Clear, The Inventor) How To Change Your Mind puts our relationship with psychedelics under the microscope or more importantly examines the fear surrounding drugs such as LSD and MDMA. Based on the best-selling book by journalist Michael Pollan, the four-part series explores the psychedelic renaissance of psilocybin microdosing and wellness gurus expounding the benefits of ayahuasca therapy. It also looks at how regulated use of certain psychedelics can be beneficial in treating depression, PTSD and addictive behaviour. Sure to be as controversial as it is illuminating, How To Change Your Mind is a thought-provoking work that moves beyond the tripped-out, antiquated image of these drugs into a brave new world of healthcare.

DB Cooper: Where Are You?!

Wednesday, July 13th

During the height of Mad Men finale fever among the Megan and the Manson Family theory, there was a persistent rumour that Don Draper would eventually be unmasked as the mysterious DB Cooper. You could see why this all-American, anti-hero myth would infect the minds of fans, it’s a riddle that has never been solved which, like the Zodiac killer, has created an entire industry out of the desire to capture or at least identify the suspect.

DB Cooper was the name given to an unidentified man who hijacked a flight from Portland, Oregon, in 1971. He managed to extort $200,000 in ransom and asked to be flown to Mexico City before exiting the plane by parachute over Washington; he was never located. This sensational tale has fuelled wild conspiracies and conjecture for more than 50 years with the documentary following the citizen journalists and obsessives who have continued to study the case even after the FBI officially closed the file in 2016.

Uncoupled

Friday, July 29th

Created by two TV heavy-hitters, the king of fluff Darren Star (Emily in Paris, Sex and the City) and Modern Family writer Jeffrey Richman, Uncoupled is a contemporary romcom series that follows the classic template of finding love in the Big Apple. Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) stars as Michael, a high-flying businessman whose perfect life is shattered one night when his husband of 17 years decides to leave him. Wounded and confused, Michael wanders through his world as an outsider, no longer part of a couple who were the envy of their friends. With his belief in romance and the idea of soul mates crushed, he attempts to re-enter the LGBTQ+ dating scene as a man in his 40s. Uncoupled is a voyage of self-discovery where Michael, along with help from his friends Stanley and Suzanne, begins to create a new life for himself that he never dreamt was possible.

Amazon Prime

The Terminal List

Friday, July 1st

In this latest slice of brainless, smashy-smashy American military propaganda, Chris Pratt plays Navy Seal commander James Reece whose entire platoon has been killed by an unseen terrorist enemy in a bloody ambush. Shipped home to his family, which includes wife Lauren (Riley Keough), Reece battles overwhelming PTSD which leads him to question the events of the attack. As he pieces together his story, which doesn’t match the official version of that night, he begins to suspect that there are those within the organisation that want him dead for the classic crime of “knowing too much”. Adapted from Jack Carr’s novel, it’s a fresh, steaming pile of old fashioned machismo. The Terminal List is a typical, generic Jack-Reacher-style caper but with added violence and over-the-top, flag-worshipping patriotism.

Paper Girls

Friday, July 29th

Stranger Things may be over for another season but as one 80s nostalgia-fest ends another is born, enter Amazon Prime’s Paper Girls. Comic book creator Brian K Vaughan and artist Cliff Chiang have adapted their preteen girls coming-of-age/time-travel story for TV. Set in 1988, a group of bike-riding, newspaper delivery girls start work in the early morning following Halloween and stumble across a time machine that sends them sailing into 2019, where they meet themselves 20 years on. As the past and the present collide they learn about what direction their lives have taken while their older counterparts discover hidden truths within their youthful selves. Starring Ali Wong (Always Be My Maybe) and a young, diverse ensemble cast, including Riley Lai Nelet (Altered Carbon) and Camryn Jones (Cherish the Day), with its twin timelines and tough girl attitude there are shades of the darker Yellowjackets found beneath its Day-Glo sheen.

Disney+

Captive Audience

Wednesday, July 6th

Captive Audience is a documentary that attempts to knit together the story of the kidnapping of Steven Stayner in 1972 and the fictionalised version of this remarkable tale that gripped America, the 1989 miniseries I Know My First Name Is Steven. It’s a harrowing documentary about the Stayner family members’ lives, the intrusive press attention Steven received, the effect this publicity had on the family, the life of his older brother Cary and how fact and fiction blurred through the success of the 1989 serial. Director Jessica Dimmock interviews Stayner’s mother Kay, his daughter Ashley as well as actors Corin Nemec, who played Steven, and Todd Eric Andrews who played Cary. It examines the reshaping of truth through the lens of entertainment as recordings of writers’ room meetings are heard where Steven’s story is manipulated for the screen. The actors read through old dialogue as Dimmock unpicks news footage mixing it with the drama to queasy effect. Captive Audience is an infinity mirror of a documentary, asking the viewer to contend with their thirst for disturbing stories and the creation of interpretations of these stories for entertainment purposes as the camera is once again pointed at this unfortunate family.

Under the Banner of Heaven

Wednesday, July 27th

In possibly his most interesting and challenging role since playing tormented journalist Eddie Dunford in 2009′s Red Riding, Andrew Garfield stars as a devout detective whose faith is rocked by the brutal murders of young mother Brenda Lafferty (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and her baby daughter, Erica. The Lafferty family who are respected members of the fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints close ranks, basking in the familiar code of silence practised by religious institutions, leaving Detective Pyre (Garfield) and his partner, sceptical outsider Bill Taba (Gil Birmingham), trying to unravel the case unaided. As their hunt leads them into examining Mormon beliefs, Pyre must come to terms with probing the bleak underbelly of his religion.

Told through flashbacks, alternate perspectives and different timelines, Under the Banner of Heaven is not just a religious flecked police procedural but also a study of women’s lives within this strict, conservative faith. Writer Dustin Lance Black (whose family were Mormons) uses this true story to illuminate modern America’s over-reliance on the fables of religion and interpretations of ancient texts to subjugate people and impose dubious morals on the lives of others. Dark, disquieting and ambitious, it’s a drama that tries to unpack the certain cognitive dissonance of faith and its place in society.

Apple TV

Black Bird

Friday, July 8th

Boasting an all-star cast of Taron Egerton, Greg Kinnear and the late Ray Liotta with Mystic River writer Dennis Lehane serving as showrunner, Black Bird is the another prestige offering from Apple TV+. Inspired by James Keene’s true-crime memoir, In With the Devil, it is the story of Keene (Edgerton), a football hero turned criminal who during his stint behind bars makes a deal to enter a maximum-security prison and befriend a suspected serial killer. If Keene elicits a confession from the unnervingly gentle Larry Hall (Paul Walter Hauser) he will walk free. The series weaves a neurotic narrative blending the fantasies and lies of Hall with supposed facts which are also shaped by Keene’s longing to be released, wherein lies the truth? Gritty, graphic and with the distinct eeriness of True Detective’s first season, it’s a compelling, chilling addition to the crime serial genre.

Surface

Friday, July 29th

A twisty, psychological thriller with stylistic nods to films such as What Lies Beneath and Sleeping With The Enemy, Surface stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw (The Morning Show, Black Mirror) as Sophie, a woman who apparently attempted suicide by jumping off a boat. Suffering from amnesia and struggling to come to terms with her actions, she undergoes gruelling counselling sessions and regression therapy to attempt to reclaim her memories. What she uncovers are distressing feelings about her seemingly ideal marriage to husband James (Oliver Jackson Jones) and a sense that the truth about that day was meant to be buried in the recesses of her mind. Touching on weighty themes such as gaslighting, mental health issues and coercive control, it’s a provocative drama with a glossy veneer in the mould of Big Little Lies; it’s no surprise that it’s produced by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine company. Written by Veronica West (High Fidelity, Ugly Betty) and helmed by I May Destroy You director Sam Miller, Surface is stuffed full of talent intent on subverting a familiar story into something distinctive.

NOW

The Baby

Thursday, July 7th

This pitch-black comedy from the producers of Chernobyl and Landscapers mixes the British folk horror strangeness of Ben Wheatley’s Sightseers and the body horror paranoia of the Polanski classic Rosemary’s Baby with a dash of the evil high jinks of The Omen thrown in too. A jarring, surreal look at motherhood, the story centres around child-free Natasha (Michelle DeSwarte), who in her late 30s has witnessed the dissemination of her friend group due to their various pregnancies. Feeling abandoned and misunderstood, she embarks on a solo trip to the seaside where one night a baby literally falls into her arms. Confused and frightened by this new presence in her life, who also worryingly seems to have demonic superpowers, Natasha’s concerns are dismissed by her yummy-mummy friend group who are lost under the influence of the cult of children. A clever commentary on the pressures on young women to start a family and the thankless task of being a mother, The Baby delivers a darkly comic surprise.