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20 Best TV Shows & Movies To Watch On Netflix, Hulu, & Amazon Prime During Summer 2020

Photo: David Prado Perucha / shutterstock.com  
20 Best Movies And TV Shows On Netflix, Hulu & Amazon Prime During Summer 2020

The experience of quarantine and staying home due to the virus has really brought out the entertainment hunter in all of us. And while there are some winners and some losers, there's no lack of entertainment.

If you're able to watch on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime, you've got the main trifecta of fabulous offerings.

And while there are other streaming channels that bring in even more greatness, we can find everything we need, both old and new, on the trifecta bundle.

Let's talk about variety, diversity... check, check. How about fact-based, documentary? Check, check. Dystopian fiction? Got it. Transhumanism? Got it. Horror, terror? It's there. Lock ups, tigers, jewel thieves, telenovelas, old favorite series' and new sitcoms? All the yes there is.

You want entertainment? Then pull up a remote and get you some!

What's great on TV right now? Here are the best TV shows on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime — plus, great movies of all genres.

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What to watch on Netflix

1. Unauthorized Living (Drama series, English subtitles)

This is a Spanish language dramatic series that I would beg you to watch, whether you speak Spanish or not. This series will open your mind, and the subtitles will not disturb the experience.

The actors are superb — different, fresh faces and flawless characterizations. It's a drug-related family drama that centers around Nemo Bandeiras, and his business endeavors in an idyllic Spanish town called Galicia.

The drama is so high and so relentless (it's a telenovela on steroids, for sure). Unauthorized Living, or "Living with Permission," is the ultimate violent, family-related soap opera, and each episode is exciting and beautiful to watch. Don't let the Spanish trip you up — this is a must-see series.

2. Becoming (Documentary)

While it's always good to see Michelle Obama doing just about anything, it's also good to see her navigate her life as the First Lady... and beyond.

What's notable in this show is that, while it's very clear she's a charismatic force of nature, the viewer will find themselves continuously waiting for the moments she shares with Barack.

Michelle holds up well in her own autobiographical documentary, but the more Barack in it, the better. And, honestly, there wasn't enough Barack in it!

3. The Platform (Horror/Sci-Fi movie, English subtitles)

If you're into obscure, visually-based science fiction with a touch of grey horror, you'll want to watch this extraordinarily bizarre Twilight Zone-like prison film.

This prison, however, is built vertically, and each level of the prison contains two or so prisoners that get a chance to eat the food that's distributed daily... on a platform that magically rises and falls.

The platform starts on the highest level, and the food is glorious and abundant. By the time this platform descends down all the prison levels, the food disappears, leaving less and less for the prisoners below. Throw cannibalism, murder and guilt into the mix, and you've got The Platform: one of the sickest and most entertaining horror films out there today.

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4. Into the Night (Sci-fi series)

There must be such a love for Twilight Zone-style dramas, and I'm so glad for that, because Into the Night is yet another of the TZ crazy nightmarish dramas.

It's a series that feels like one long (and great) movie about an apocalyptic scenario: The sun now kills people. This means, people have to flee from the sun.

This is fortunate for one bunch of people who have access to a commercial jet. While they take off and land again and again, trying to avoid the sunrise all over the planet, they eventually find that the gas is starting to turn bad as well and can no longer fuel the jet.

It's an end of the world tale that ends badly, but it's fun to watch. Great acting, suspenseful scenes.

5. Hannibal (Horror/drama series)

Not the Lecter you're accustomed to, if Anthony Hopkins is who you're used to seeing, when it comes to everyone's favorite psychopathic cannibal. Enter Mads Mikkelsen, who has single-handedly become the new owner of the Hannibal personality.

Possibly the most stylish and beautiful thing ever filmed for TV, thanks to David Slade and Bryan Fuller, these three seasons take on an earlier look at the Hannibal history. Before there was Clarice Starling, there was Will Graham, a Special Agent who becomes part and parcel to the alluring deeds done by Dr. Hannibal Lecter.

This show is brilliant, slick and well planned. If you're picturing gnawing on human limbs a la Walking Dead-style, you'd be dead wrong. Expect Top Chef plating in this dreadful and spectacular horror show.

6. The Great Hack (Documentary)

This is the film you're going to miss and never see, unless you make the move right now to find it on Netflix, bookmark it, and set it aside for a day where you can pay close attention.

The Great Hack is about data mining, and how we've all been basically played and fed to the social media machine, where, whether we know it or not, our privacy no longer exists, and everything we do, say, learn, eat, intend for, vote for, is no longer in our hands.

If you really want to understand what lemmings we humans really are, and how manipulated we are, check out this movie, which is factual and filmed as a documentary.

If you've ever wondered what was going on with Facebook and data mining, this movie answers all your questions, and not one single answer is one you will like.

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What to watch on Amazon Prime

7. Homecoming (Sci-fi series)

The first season, with Julia Roberts, sets up the second season, starring Janelle Monáe, and this, too, is one of those series that you have to be in quarantine to actually get around to seeing. And it's worth it.

If you love the idea of soldiers being used as guinea pigs for extreme chemical experiments, then this is for you. Homecoming is one enormous Black Mirror episode, except it has nothing to do with Black Mirror.

Homecoming has got some incredible performances in it, too, like the top official and government bully played by Joan Cusack. Janelle is great, and so is her supporting cast. Cheers to the dystopian concoction of poison and drama!

8. Hunters (Drama series)

Nazi hunters gather together to defeat vile, putrid, ugly modern nazi filth... and it's fun! Loads of twists, turns and surprises in this one, and all of it headed up by Al Pacino, who plays the patriarchal figure and lead Nazi hunter.

This, to me, is the performance of his lifetime, and yes, you should see this for him, as he's so excellent. If you're cruising for a Nazi bruisin', then grab the popcorn and settle into for a season of unending thrills and historical awesomeness.

Nazis getting killed by the descendants of tortured Jews? Count me in. This one is a serious vengeance and retribution fantasy.

9. Upload (Comedy series)

Not only was this good, it was hilarious, excellent, well done, and absolutely leaves you wanting more.

What's the plot? You're dead and off to heaven, and heaven is now a place you can design and upload yourself to, after you've bit the bullet. At first, it seems like a tedious idea — getting everything you want in heaven — but wow, are there side plots that really get interesting.

So, we have a little bit of romantic comedy in there, some fun tech thrills, and a bit of human tragedy. Put them all together and somehow, we get Upload, a very funny show that promises a second season.

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10. The Goldfinch (Drama movie)

It has Nicole Kidman in it, and that automatically implies that it's got to have something good about it, right? Well, it does.

This is a story about deep guilt and survival. It's about being young, in an explosion that leaves many dead (in a museum), about stealing one of the paintings during the incident, and about how that move could effect you for the rest of your life.

Sound dull? Well, it's not. It's convoluted and packed with great, awful, characters. Kidman is at her chafed-skin and red-eyed best as the mom who tries to help, but truly, this is an ensemble work, and each actor in it is both original and... insane.

11. Joker (Drama movie)

What can I say? It's free and it's on Prime, so if you were one of those who refused to see this brilliant star of a movie in the theaters, give it a private viewing, and please do hate it, if you must.

What is Joker? It's a story about mental illness gone ignored, gone violent. As Arthur Dent writes in his mental health journal, "The worst part about having a mental illness is people expect you to behave as if you don't." That's the movie in a nutshell.

While this is definitely a Batman movie, there are only a few references to the Batman story. This story is pure Joker; the tale of a working clown entertainer with serious mental illness, who has been abandoned by society, experiences zero compassion, and falls into a fantasy world that manifests as violence and mania.

12. The Hunt (Horror/drama movie)

Much like The Purge, this too sets the audience up for an Agatha Christie-style ride of "who's going to get killed off next?"

The Hunt is sinisterly "of the times." Frail white pride is confronted in this movie, as are all the luxuries and privileges that have become our normal way of being. This movie basically says, "If you have enough money, you can get yourself an entire farm filled with human victims, ready to be picked off at your will, if you're violent and sick enough to make it happen. And they love to 'make it happen' here."

The Hunt is one of those movies where you realize just how sick human beings are. While it's a total fantasy, every bit of it is possible and probable. It's scary, dramatic and suspenseful.

13. The Invisible Man (Drama/horror movie)

There's one reason I decided to see this, because after watching The Handmaid's Tale, I'm basically signed on to see anything Elizabeth Moss does for the rest of her life. While she's really good in this, the entire story is off.

It's not the Claude Raines version by any means — this Invisible Man is about a jealous, raging, possessive maniac of a husband, who also happens to be a mad tech scientist who develops a suit that renders him invisible, which gives him the opportunity to toss his wife around, terrorize her, and give her ample reason for revenge.

I found this movie to be just another way to watch women being abused, so, in the long run, even though I was dazzled with cool CGI, I walked away from the film feeling it was just another day in the "how to beat women up" category. Liz, I'll see you again, in something better and more meaningful.

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What to watch on Hulu

14. What We Do in the Shadows (Comedy series)

Jump right to the series and skip the movie. This is the smash hit comedy series you had no idea was this funny.

Three vampire housemates are followed around by a camera crew, who document the lives and times of these three, and their pals, and familiars, and a host of odd others. Talking dolls, talking goats, vampires "out on the town" having fun... in Staten Island.

Not only are these three (Nadja, Laszlo and Nandor) all played by talented comedians, they're all extremely attractive in their own right. And that's always a good thing when you have ancient vampire action going on.

Skip the blood and go right to the laughs. You won't find much gore on this show, but the facial expressions alone (hello, Nadja) are enough to hospitalize you from laughing.

15. Little Fires Everywhere (Drama series)

Reese Witherspoon is one of the leads here, along with the intensely profound Kerry Washington.

This is a tale about subtleties, white priviledge, black oppression and the roles we play in life to do what's needed. It's a story of underlying resentment and the desire to burn it all down.

These two women are at the center, and all other players support their particular plot line. And if Title Sequences and credits could win an award, this one gets them all, as the opening sequence — everything going up in slow motion flames — is, bar none, one of the best ever made.

16. Parasite (Drama movie, English subtitles)

I can't even begin to push hard enough how you need to see this film. Forget the subtitles! If you don't speak Korean, then deal with it; we can't all claim that we aren't able to deal with subtitles.

Now, having said that, see this film. Like, now. It's a dark comedy about a poor family of con artists that take over a rich family's world, by infiltrating as workers who help the family out. It's a gritty and disgusting world that our friends, the "parasites," come from.

But this family is special: they are so able to get in character for their grifter roles that everyone falls for them. It's a story about families and how they stick together and survive through every imaginable form of dysfunctionality.

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17. Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell (Comedy series)

The movie channels don't have fresh new entertainment, because the pandemic has made it so that nothing new is being made, hence, nothing new can come out. So, in an attempt to feed the hungry mobs, they bring out the real crap — like this comedy series, for example.

I honestly thought it was going to suck right from the start, but the sucking really doesn't start until about the 5th episode, then it's a downslide into boring; however, the first five episodes are hilarious.

It's stupid, clever, and filled with dumb jokes that will split your sides. And the real "bonus" is, if you're a person who likes devil things, you'll get plenty of devils and Hellscape imaginings in this one.

18. Into the Dark (Horror series)

There are several full-length episodes of Into the Dark, and each episode is its own separate story of horror. Notable tales are: "Down," "A Nasty Piece of Work," and "Pure," though each one is worth a watch.

If you're a fan of The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, or any of the shows that deliver short movie-like episodes of horror and strange fiction, this will catch your interest. Most of the tales are silly and not scary, but that shouldn't deter you. 

If you can stand any of these little films, then go out of your way to see "Nasty Piece of Work." It's so dark and dastardly, and well acted by top notch veterans, like Julian Sands. "Nasty" is so nasty. You'll love it... and remember it, too.

What to watch on other platforms

19. Dispatches From Elsewhere (Drama series, on AMC)

Magic! If you've ever wondered about what makes a show "magic," you need to get involved in Dispatches from Elsewhere. There's nothing like this on TV, nor has there ever been.

Based on a real life art "experiment," several people are invited on a wild goose chase that eventually exposes all of their vulnerabilities, and makes each character grow. It's mysterious and alluring, and the cast is made up of wonderful actors, including Sally Field, Andre Benjamin, Richard E. Grant, Jason Segel, and Eve Lindley.

This show is a rich fantasy, intentionally designed to look cheap and handmaid, and filled with the things in our minds that make life beautiful, interesting and worthy.

20. The Twilight Zone (Sci-fi series, on CBS All Access)

The new Jordan Peele is out, and while I, personally, didn't find it as breathtaking as the first season, it's damned good and sticks to its original TZ attitude.

I'm still trying to find old Twilight Zone plot lines in this second season, and while Peele does make good references to the original tales, he's gone off on his own original tangent — all good, all interesting. Still, his new TZ isn't quite as homey as it used to be.

He takes on new themes — like body jumping and thought sharing — and while these themes are great for folks like me who eat up anything sci-fi, he's gone forth on a new direction. I admire the heck out of Jordan Peele, but this second season is more along the lines of Weird Tales, rather than classic Zone.

Still, in all, I will watch each one, faithfully.

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Dori Hartley is a portrait artist, essayist and a journalist. She's been published in The Huffington Post, ParentDish, The Daily Beast, Psychology Today, XOJane, MyDaily and The Stir. Her art books ‘Beauty’, ‘Antler Velvet’, and 'Mads Mikkelsen: Portraits of the Actor' are all available on Amazon.