So, what’s everyone been watching this week? Hmmmm?
Each week, the most streamed TV shows and movies come down to a few things — sheer buzz, a big finale, smart marketing, star power, critical acclaim, or being a word-of-mouth phenomenon that leads uninterested people to finally watch it out of spite. Just to get a sense of what everyone’s streaming, we’ve used data from streaming aggregator Reelgood, which gathers those coveted viewership numbers from hundreds of streaming services in the U.S. and UK.
This week, Netflix’s big pricey blockbuster The Gray Man is still dominating your screens, but at the end of the top 10 it’s all about ❤️🔥ROMANCE❤️🔥. Seriously, once you’re through the action at the top of this list, it’s one rom-com after another romance drama.
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.
1. The Gray Man
It’s Netflix’s latest big, expensive, star-fuelled thriller from directors Anthony and Joe Russo, with Ryan Gosling starring as the titular Gray Man, super-skilled CIA operative Court Gentry/Sierra Six. He’ll need the help of Agent Dani Miranda (Ana de Armas) to avoid a pulverising by now the target of former CIA agent Lloyd Hansen (a mustachioed Chris Evans), recruited to find and destroy Gentry after he finds out some big agency secrets. Joining the party is Regé-Jean Page, Billy Bob Thornton, Jessica Henwick, Dhanush, Wagner Moura, and Alfre Woodard (but not enough of her). — Shannon Connellan, UK Editor
What we thought: The Gray Man is not the kind of movie that you need to see in theaters. (The Russos agree.) It’s the kind of movie you can throw on while you’re doing dishes or fiddling on your phone. In bursts, it’s amusing. Overall, it’s tiresome, lacking any emotional wallop, consistent wit, or the kind of verve that might actually make even its stolen bits sting. — Kristy Puchko, Deputy Entertainment Editor
If you missed Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk), you’re clearly not alone. The Breaking Bad prequel, now in its sixth and final season, remains one of the most-watched shows of the week. Odenkirk, Rhea Seehorn, Giancarlo Esposito, and Jonathan Banks remain excellent, as do the rest of the cast. But be warned: there are some episodes you can’t come back from. * — Belen Edwards, Entertainment Reporter.
What we thought: For several key players, the stakes have never been higher. Reputations, relationships, and lives are on the line, and mounting tension in the first two episodes alone exposes seldom-seen sides of characters we thought we had all figured out. —Nicole Gallucci, former Senior Editor
3. Black Bird
Taron Egerton leads Apple TV+’s crime thriller Black Bird as Jimmy Keene, the son of a cop and a high school football champ, who finds himself sentenced to 10 years in prison. He’s given an option instead of serving his time, to go undercover and befriend possible serial killer Larry Hall (Paul Walter Hauser) to get a confession. But it’ll prove more complicated than Jimmy’s ready for. — S.C.
4. Not Okay
Zoey Deutch leads this Hulu original movie as Danni Sanders, an aspiring writer and hopeful influencer who fakes a trip to Paris on Instagram to boost followers. Unfortunately, a major incident happens in the city, so her trip carries more weight (and a bigger lie) than she expected. Amid the facade, Danni meets Rowan (Mia Isaac), a campaigner who has survived a school shooting, and her instant big-time crush Colin (Dylan O’Brien). But how long can she keep the ruse going? The internet, sadly, loves a public shaming, and Danni could lose it all. — S.C.
5. Paper Girls
Everyone loves a time travel show right now, from The Umbrella Academy to Loki to Dark and beyond. Same goes for shows set in the ’80s — let’s see: Stranger Things, GLOW, The Haunting of Bly Manor. Throw them together and you’ve got Paper Girls, a time-travelling mystery series that we’re absolutely onboard with. We loved it so much on release it was our Watch of the Week last week.
Based on the comics by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang, the series follows newspaper deliverers KJ (Fina Strazza), Erin (Riley Lai Nelet), Mac (Sofia Rosinsky), and Tiffany (Camryn Jones). It’s 1988 in Cleveland, Ohio, the day after Halloween, and the friends accidentally find themselves beamed forward to 2019 — where their adult selves are too (including Ali Wong as grown-up Erin). They’ve gotta save the world, of course, but they’ve got to outrun the militant faction of time-travellers known as the Old Watch, who have outlawed time travel. — S.C.
What we thought: This is a show with an enormous heart, and a beautiful setting for exploring the tension coiled tight inside that moment when childhood is over and adolescence hasn’t quite started. — Caitlin Welsh, Australia Editor.
6. Purple Hearts
Based on Tess Wakefield’s book of the same name, Netflix romance drama Purple Hearts could have you wallowing in a big messy sob (or not, who knows what tips you over the edge?). The film stars Sofia Carson as in-debt singer-songwriter Cassie, who agrees to marry soon-to-be-deployed marine Luke (Nicholas Galitzine) for mutual military benefits. But is it really just a marriage of convenience? Tragedy ahead might change minds. — S.C.
7. Virgin River
Virgin River Season 4 just landed on Netflix, so the numbers shot up for this small town romance drama series. The show hinges on Mel Monroe (Alexandra Breckenridge), a midwife/nurse who moves to Virgin River, California to outrun painful memories and find…yes, it’s love, you saw it coming. — S.C.
8. Honor Society
Mare of Easttown‘s Angourie Rice and Stranger Things‘ Gaten Matarazzo team up in new Paramount+ rom-com Honor Society, about an ambitious high school senior with her sights set on the Ivy League. Rice plays Honor, who needs to take out her competition to get that sweet, sweet recommendation from her guidance counselor. But alas, she’s developing feelings for Michael (Matarazzo), her biggest academic rival. — S.C.
9. The Old Man
Based on Thomas Perry’s thriller novel of the same name, Jeff Bridges leads this one as Dan Chase, an ex-CIA agent whose live off-grid is interrupted by an assassin. To find them, the FBI’s assistant director for counterintelligence Harold Harper (John Lithgow) calls Chase back into the job, working with rising FBI star Angela Adams (Alia Shawkat) and CIA special agent Raymond Waters (E.J. Bonilla). But special ops agent Julian Carson (Gbenga Akinnagbe) is also pursuing Chase. Amy Brenneman also stars as Zoe McDonald, who Chase rents a room from while on the case. — S.C.
10. The Sea Beast
Big Hero 6 director Chris Williams sets sail on a new offering with his animated feature for Netflix. Set within an action-filled world full of monsters and monster hunters, the film follows hunter Jacob Holland (voiced by Karl Urban) as he tracks down the most daunting sea beast. The hunter is accompanied by Captain Crow (voiced by Jared Harris) and his first mate Sarah Sharpe (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) as they embark on a quest through magical waters. — Meera Navlakha, Culture Reporter
What we thought: [One] of the greatest things about The Sea Beast is how candidly it deals with its message: Just because you were raised to believe something doesn’t mean it’s right. If you’re willing to open your mind and listen to others, you could learn something that will shift your outlook for the better. It’s a great moral, and an important one, made all the better by the fact that it’s delivered alongside epic tall ship battles and gorgeous ocean views. Trust me when I say this is an adventure you’ll want to watch. — B.E.
* Asterisks indicate the writeup is adapted from another Mashable article.