So, what’s everyone been watching this week? Hmmmm?
Just to get a sense of what everyone’s streaming, we’ve used data from streaming aggregator Reelgood(Opens in a new window), which gathers viewership numbers from hundreds of streaming services in the U.S. and UK. Each week, the most streamed TV shows and movies come down to a few elements — sheer buzz, a big finale, smart marketing, star power, critical acclaim, or word-of-mouth that leads uninterested people to finally watch it out of spite.
But just because a lot of people are watching something doesn’t make it…good. Here they are, the 10 most streamed TV shows and movies of the week, where to watch them, and what Mashable critics thought.
Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey in “The Last of Us.”
It’s one of the most anticipated TV series in recent memory, and with this opening week, it’s likely to be one of the biggest releases of the year (even though it’s still January). Chernobyl director Craig Mazin and The Last of Us creator Neil Druckmann bring the lauded Naughty Dog survival adventure game to the screen, with a deeply moving, stunt-packed, superbly scripted, and powerfully performed television show.
Pedro Pascal takes the lead as Joel Miller, a man living in a post-apocalyptic America in 2023 amidst a pandemic caused by the Cordyceps fungus, which turns regular humans into monsters. He’s tasked with bringing 14-year-old Ellie, played by Bella Ramsey, across the country on a mission, but there’s more than monsters that stand between them and their destination. Fans of the game will be especially thrilled to see how HBO’s The Last of Us masterfully weaves in the game’s signature mechanics, but they’ll have to keep on their toes for new inclusions, clues, and breadcrumbs. — Shannon Connellan, UK Editor
What we thought: Making a TV show that lives up to the source material is always a high bar to clear, but especially so in this case. Luckily for gamers and new viewers alike, The Last of Us leaps over it with room to spare, chasing excellence with the boundless energy of a Clicker hunting its prey. — Belen Edwards, Entertainment Reporter
2. The Pale Blue Eye
Christian Bale as Augustus Landor and Charlotte Gainsbourg as Patsy in “The Pale Blue Eye.”
Credit: Scott Garfield/Netflix
If you enjoyed all those Edgar Allan Poe references in Wednesday, this one might be for you. Based on Louis Bayard’s novel and directed by Scott Cooper, The Pale Blue Eye takes you back to West Point in 1830, where a detective, Augustus Landor (Christian Bale), is trying to solve the grisly murder of a cadet — which means Landor is inhibited by the military academy’s code of silence in his investigations. So, he recruits a young cadet disdainful of the military, the future poet icon Edgar Allan Poe (Harry Melling) to help him. The rest of the cast is worth hitting play on too: Gillian Anderson, Lucy Boynton, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Toby Jones, Harry Lawtey, Simon McBurney, Hadley Robinson, Timothy Spall, and Robert Duvall. — S.C.
Credit: Searchlight Pictures
Usually the only terrifying thing about boujie fine dining experiences is the price tag attached to them. And perhaps the occasional food item that grosses you out. Directed by Mark Mylod, The Menu puts a new spin on fear-inducing gastronomy with what appears to be a murderous chef played by a very sinister looking Ralph Fiennes, and a load of unsuspecting restaurant guests who think they’re all in for nothing more than a night of haute cuisine. Naturally, they all get more than they bargained for. And, no, we don’t mean free dessert.
Anya Taylor-Joy and Nicholas Hoult play a couple who travel to the high-end restaurant, which handily happens to be on a coastal island (handy because no one can hear you screaming, perhaps). Shocks and surprises await them, and the other guests, at their foodie retreat. Anyone fancy eating at home, this evening? And maybe forever?* — Rachel Thompson, Features Editor
What we thought: Splicing horror and comedy with skill and delight, the movie is a satire of class, privilege, and pretension that’s also at its core a supremely entertaining story. — Sam Haysom, Deputy UK Editor
How to watch: The Menu (Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab)is now streaming on HBO Max.
Netflix’s Kaleidoscope is a heist series with a twist: the series is not only out of chronological order but the streaming service itself is claiming to serve viewers “randomly” ordered episodes — except the finale. It’s not exactly as choose-your-own-adventure as Netflix’s truly interactive Black Mirror: Bandersnatch or Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. The Reverend but the playfulness here lies in what order you watch the series.
Written by Eric Garcia, Kaleidoscope hinges around one major heist by master thief Leo Pap (Giancarlo Esposito) and his team of criminals, but it spans 25 years — from 24 years before the heist to six months after it. What are we robbing? Only the most secure vault in the East Coast of the U.S., requiring not one but a flurry of jobs to pull off. And of course, the motive isn’t just about getting rich, it’s about getting even. The series, Netflix says, is “loosely inspired” by the curious case of the stock and bond certificates sitting in an underground Wall Street vault(Opens in a new window) that were reportedly damaged by flooding in Hurricane Sandy in 2012.* — S.C.
Taylor Sheridan’s western drama is into its fifth season.
With Season 5 landing in November, Kevin Costner-led Western Yellowstone certainly has plenty of material to binge. Created by Taylor Sheridan and John Lindan, the drama follows John Dutton (Costner) and his family of ranchers in Montana. The show hasn’t always been beloved by critics (the first season, in particular, got a very mixed reception(Opens in a new window)) but it is undeniably popular(Opens in a new window). — S.H.
6. Ginny and Georgia
Georgia (Brianne Howey) and Ginny (Antonia Gentry) are back.
Netflix‘s soapy drama Ginny and Georgia left a pretty dramatic cliffhanger at the end of its non-Gilmore Girls first season, with confessions of murder apparent and a past to keep buried. And the second season offers up more twists and turns.
Georgia (Brianne Howey) and her daughter Ginny (Antonia Gentry) are still tense even with that new understanding between them, but Max (Sara Weisglass) and Nora (Chelsea Clark) and Ginny are fighting, Ginny’s boy-next-door love Marcus (Felix Mallard) is figuring his own stuff out, while her ex Hunter (Mason Temple) is still hurt, and Ginny’s dad Zion (Nathan Mitchell) is dealing with Georgia’s engagement to Mayor Paul (Scott Porter) — and fair enough. Meanwhile, Ginny’s colleague Nick (Dan Beirne) is annoyed about that whole threat and embezzling municipal funds thing, and private investigator Cordova (Alex Mallari Jr.) is still doing his thing. But there’s some niceness in here too, with Raymond Ablack, Katie Douglas, and Tameka Griffiths returning to the show as the best characters in there. Much hugging and drinking. — S.C.
Michelle Yeoh is exhilarating in “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”
One of the absolute best movies that 2022 had to offer, Everything Everywhere All at Once boasts a little bit of everything, from a deeply poignant mother-daughter tale to a gleefully silly thread involving a quirky one-hit wonder, to a romantic scene featuring hot dog fingers and a sprawling battle involving butt plugs. It’s the weirdest, most wondrous movie on this list, awing critics and audiences alike to not only earn months-long word-of-mouth buzz and resoundingly positive reviews but also a box office record, becoming A24’s highest-grossing film to date(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window). And it could well be an oddball Oscar favorite.
Directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (aka Daniels), Everything Everywhere All at Once stars Michelle Yeoh in her most exhilarating role yet: a multiverse-hopping mom, dedicated to saving all existence but especially her on-the-edge daughter (the sensational Stephanie Hsu). Having more fun with the multiverse concept than Marvel could dare, this outrageous action-comedy giddily thrusts audiences into wild alternative worlds, brandishing unexpected weapons alongside jaw-dropping fashion and wildly captivating performances from Yeoh, Hsu, and their totally game co-stars Ke Huy Quan and Jamie Lee Curtis.
Filled with heart, humor, and absolute chaos, Everything Everywhere All at Once is not just great fun — it offers an essential catharsis for a world that is mercilessly overwhelming.* — Kristy Puchko, Film Editor
What we thought: Everything Everywhere All at Once is a tornado of a movie: dizzying, filled with turns, and peppered with eye-catching elements. Yet at the core of its frenetic swirls of allusions, action sequences, and madcap mayhem, there lies a poignant parable about this ruthlessly overwhelming age. — K.P.
While Season 1 of The White Lotus examined race and privilege (and not always effectively), the Sicily-set Season 2 looks at how wealth impacts relationships and especially sex. This new focus allows creator Mike White to lean hard into what made Season 1 so compulsively watchable: soap opera levels of mess. Questions about fidelity and the power dynamics of sex work come to light against a background of stunning frescoes and foreboding ocean waves.
Based on the season’s opening scene, we know several guests will end up drowned by the end of the series — figuring out who is half the fun. The other half of the fun comes from watching the White Lotus Resort’s rich and often insufferable guests implode in paradise. Jennifer Coolidge returns in excellent form as heiress Tanya, but the real stars of the show are the quartet of Aubrey Plaza, Will Sharpe, Meghann Fahy, and Theo James. Playing a pair of married couples, this stellar quartet brings you into a tangled bedroom farce peppered with moments of hilarity, horror, and pathos.* — B.E.
What we thought: Season 2 of Mike White’s The White Lotus swaps Hawaii for Sicily, brings in an (almost) entirely new cast of resort guests and employees, remixes its iconic theme song, and lets loose yet another tidal wave of chaos. However, despite the makeover, The White Lotus Season 2 feels very much like its predecessor — for better and for worse. — B.E.
Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell lead “The Banshees of Inesherin.”
Credit: Searchlight Pictures
Lifelong friends Pádraic (Colin Farrell) and Colm (Brendan Gleeson) sit at the core of The Banshees of Inisherin, Martin McDonagh’s celebrated comedy. Set on an island off the west coast of Ireland, the film hinges around Colm’s decision to end the friendship. As Pádraic’s sister Siobhán (Kerry Condon) and neighbour Dominic (Barry Keoghan) attempt to patch their relationship up, Colm throws down quite the ultimatum. — S.C.
What we thought: Simply put, The Banshees of Inisherin is a fucked-up kind of fun that’ll leave you chuckling, heartsick, and a wee bit anxious. Don’t miss it. — K.P.
10. Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches
Alexandra Daddario as Dr. Rowan Fielding in “Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches.”
Credit: Alfonso Bresciani/AMC
Following Interview with the Vampire, more Anne Rice spookiness is afoot with Michelle Ashford’s adaptation of the author’s trilogy, Lives of the Mayfair Witches. The eight-episode AMC series follows neurosurgeon Dr. Rowan Fielding (Alexandra Daddario), who has the experience of finding out she’s the descendant of a family of witches — and yeah, that means powers. But that’s not all she’s inherited, as a looming evil presence has hung around for generations. — S.C.
* Asterisks indicate the writeup is adapted from another Mashable article.