9 New Shows to Stream in July, From Thrillers and Mysteries to Anthony Hopkins as a Roman Emperor

July Streaming

Anthony Hopkins plays Emperor Vespasian – the Roman leader who ordered the building of the Colosseum as a showcase for gladiatorial combat – in the new series 'Those About To Die.' Photo: Courtesy of Amazon Prime

Ahead of the juggernaut 2024 Paris Olympics (July 26) luring TV viewers and among new seasons of returning favourites like Brighton crime series Grace (July 2 on BritBox), glamorous 1920s escape Hotel Portofino (July 28 on PBS), The Dry (July 3 on CBC Gem) and Futurama (July 12 on Disney+) several hot new series make their debuts this month. We’ve highlighted nine of our favourite below.

 

Sunny

Paging Black Mirror fans: this quirky and humorously dark sci-fi mystery adapts Colin O’Sullivan’s sci-fi mind-bender The Dark Manual and stars Rashida Jones, 48, as Suzie, an American woman living in Kyoto whose tech genius husband and son disappeared in a plane crash. In a twist on the trope of unlikely sleuthing duos, Suzie teams up with Sunny, the domestic helper robot created by her husband’s company, to investigate. The cast includes Drive My Car’s Hidetoshi Nishijima and Joanna Sotomura from Barry, but whether they can makes us less suspicious of AI remains to be seen.

Where to Watch: Streaming on AppleTV+ starting July 10 (10 episodes)

 

Sausage Party: Foodtopia

This raunchy and sweet adult animated series is the sequel to Canadian Seth Rogen’s provocative 2016 animated feature, Sausage Party (remember, the one so explicit it was heavily censored or outright banned in several countries?). The show reassembles the original voice cast of supermarket staples – Rogen, 42, Kristen Wiig, 50, Michael Cera, David Krumholtz, 46, and Edward Norton, 54 – as they attempt to build their own ideal food society. The humour remains outrageous and foul-mouthed – perfect for those who don’t find Big Mouth lewd or edgy enough.

Where to Watch: Streaming on Prime Video starting July 11 (8 episodes)

 

Exploding Kittens

The bestselling card game (the most-backed Kickstarter campaign ever) has become a feline-themed animated series produced by comedy kings Beavis and Butt-Head’s Mike Judge with his King of the Hill co-creator Greg Daniels (who also adapted the American version of The Office) and is described as “rated somewhere between The Simpsons and Deadpool.” The dulcet Welsh tones of Lucifer’s Tom Ellis, 45, are the voice of God, banished to Earth to live among humans in the body of a chunky house cat. And his Satanic nemesis Devilcat (Sasheer Zamata of SNL) lives next door. If the board game Clue can be spun into a story, why not a card game about exploding felines?

Where to Watch: Streaming on Netflix beginning July 12 

 

The Fortress  

Thanks to a niche Nordic streamer, there’s finally an exclusive Canadian premiere for this acclaimed Norwegian dystopian drama, a “big parable thriller about small-minded nationalism.” It’s 2037 and isolationist Norway has severed ties with the rest of the ravaged planet and walled itself in as an enviable, entirely self-sufficient utopia while, next door, all of Sweden is a grimy refugee camp. But when a deadly pandemic hits, the question becomes whether citizens are being kept out, or in. The all-star global cast includes Tobias Santelmann (Harry’s Hole), Eili Harboe (of Succession’s final season), Selome Emnetu (Occupied) and Russell Tovey (Years & Years, Being Human) and will bring to mind current debates around public health, Brexit, migration policies and resource depletion.

Where to Watch: Streaming on Viaplay starting July 16 (7 episodes)

 

Poly is the New Monogamy

The cultural fascination with polyamory (the practice of engaging in multiple romantic relationships at once) has yet to peak. And you’ll find more questions than answers in this engaging romp about three friends living in New York who are exploring modern-day relationships, dating culture and sex. Plus, it’s okay to call its showrunner a Canadian quintuple threat: it was created, written, directed, produced by and stars Cat Hostick (Eli Roth’s Urban Legend, Murdoch Mysteries).

Where to Watch: Streaming on Hollywood Suite starting July 17 (6 episodes)

 

Those About to Die

Fade in: Ancient Rome, where two-time Oscar winner Sir Anthony Hopkins, 86, is Emperor Vespasian, who is building the Colosseum as a showcase for gladiatorial combat. Warm up while awaiting Ridley Scott’s Gladiator 2 (due this fall) with this swords-and-sandals series, a historical drama set in the corrupt world of spectacle-driven games and restless bloodlust. And if there’s one thing creator Robert Rodat (The Patriot) and filmmaker Roland Emmerich, of Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow and Godzilla fame, know well, it’s action scale.

Where to Watch: Streaming on Prime Video starting July 18 (10 episodes)

 

Lady in the Lake

In 1966 Baltimore, Jewish housewife Maddie Schwartz (Academy Award-winner Natalie Portman) ditches her cozy family life to pursue a career as an investigative reporter, obsessed with unraveling the mystery of two unrelated homicides. One of them is Cleo Johnson (Emmy-nominated Moses Ingram, of The Queen’s Gambit), who speaks from beyond the grave; the other is an 11-year-old girl. The spellbinding noir is based on former Baltimore Sun journalist turned crime doyenne Laura Lippman’s 2019 novel (praised by Stephen King in his New York Times review) and inspired by true cases. Watch for David Corenswet (the next Superman) and period costumes by Queen & Slim’s Shiona Turini (also of Beyonce’s Renaissance).

Where to Watch: Streaming on AppleTV+ starting July 19 (7 episodes)

 

Time Bandits

Oscar-winning screenwriter Taika Waititi and Jemaine “Flight of the Conchords” Clement are among the team adapting Monty Python member Terry Gilliam’s 1981 cult classic for television. It’s a live-action fantasy adventure series for the whole family – one where comedic genius Lisa Kudrow, 60, leads the misfit group of thieves on a whimsical journey through time and space, after 11-year-old Kevin (Kal-El Tuck) discovers a time travelling portal in his bedroom. We hear it has Monty Python vibes, natch.

Where to Watch: Streaming on AppleTV+ beginning July 24 (10 episodes)

 

The Decameron

Loosely – very loosely! – inspired by Giovanni Bocaccio’s classic 14th century stories, the soapy sexy series that Netflix dubs “Love Island, but back in the day” follows a group of nobles and their servants holed up at a Tuscan villa while navigating the Black Death (the bubonic plague pandemic) circa 1348. It’s a black humour upstairs/downstairs hornier Downton Abbey with better jokes (or Blackadder, with way better production values). We’re promised topical resonance about class struggle but honestly, they had us at “You are cordially invited to a wine-soaked sex romp set in the Italian countryside.”