Tune In or Turn Off: What to Watch in July 2021

The best and worst of what's streaming, including 'Fear Street,' 'Ted Lasso,' 'I Think You Should Leave' and more

BY Alex Hudson and Allie GregoryPublished Jul 16, 2021

Theatres and drive-ins across the country are gradually starting to open back up again — but even if it is possible to watch something on the big screen, the vast majority of our summer viewing is going to take place in the comfort of our own homes.

So what should you check out across the various streaming services this month? We've got a very mixed bag of what to watch and what to skip in this month's Tune In or Turn Off, including the weirdest sketch show on television, some flaming hot reality trash, and a trilogy of slashers that will define our summer viewing.

Tune In: Fear Street Trilogy

It's officially the summer of Fear Street. This slasher trilogy, based on R.L. Stine's young adult novels, is way scarier than the novels you read as a preteen, thanks to some genuinely creepy baddies and bloody-as-hell death scenes. A little bit Stranger Things and a little bit Scream, all three instalments — 1994, 1978 and 1666 — deliver scares with a dash of nostalgia.

Turn Off: Good on Paper

Iliza Shlesinger doesn't so much overlook red flags as ignore the obvious truth that's beating her over the head. Good on Paper is based on true events, but the whole thing feels awkward and implausible.

Tune In: I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson, Season 2

Tim Robinson's surreal sketches will have you shaking your head at the sheer strangeness of it all — but the real fun of I Think You Should Leave actually comes after you watch it, when you cry-laugh with your friends while talking about eating a hot dog out of your sleeve or blurting out "jizz" during a ghost tour. 

Turn Off: Monsters at Work

Have you watched Monsters, Inc.? If so, then you've already seen a better version of this lightweight animated series, which brings us back to the Laugh Floor but without any funny jokes, interesting characters or new twists on the familiar concept. It stars Ben Feldman of Superstore — which, incidentally, is a better workplace comedy than this.

Tune In: Summer of Soul (...or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)

Having been a standout on the festival circuit, Questlove's riveting documentary about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival finally shines a light on this forgotten moment in music history, featuring stunning performances from Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Gladys Knight and many more. Even more crucially, it's a potent political snapshot of a key moment in Black American political history.

Tune In: Ted Lasso, Season 2
(Apple TV+)

The second season of Ted Lasso still isn't funny, exactly, but it's so good-natured that it's a total pleasure to watch. Jason Sudeikis returns as the titular American football coach turned English football coach, and every episode is bursting with corny puns and quaint observations about cultural differences between the U.S. and Britain. The whole thing feels like it belongs to an alternate reality where people are actually nice to each other.

Turn Off: Too Hot to Handle, Season 2

Listen: watching trash reality TV can be therapeutic, but there's a fine line between brainless fun and shameless Netflix fodder. You've come to the wrong place if you arrived at the second season of Too Hot to Handle expecting loveable characters — instead, we get a males-only "workshop" where the dudes go around in a circle saying goodbye to their naughty penises, ushering in their "maturity" by pledging to strict monogamy or something. We won't shame you for tuning in on a rainy day, but be forewarned: you aren't going to enrich your life with what you find.

Tune In: The Tomorrow War
(Amazon Prime)

Is The Tomorrow War good? Well, not exactly — the pro-military message falls flat, and Chris Pratt's family drama is smothered in cloying cheese. But if you have a Michael Bay-shaped hole in your life, this alien invasion epic will fill the void perfectly with its grandiose alien battles and solid comic relief.

Tune In: The White Lotus

HBO's Hawaiian hotel drama finds a gaggle of ultra-rich Karen-esque hotel guests in the throes of their own personal shit — cancer concerns, a deceased mother, mismatched newlyweds — taking part in class warfare against the hotel's eager but rightfully distracted staff. The early moments of this dark comedy series skewer the very wealthy while setting the scene for something more sinister.

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