American Vandal season 2

(Welcome to Small-Screen Stream, a feature where we share the best television shows streaming and where you can watch them.)

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been spending this in-between season trying to catch up on literally everything, while also falling victim to comfortable pleasures. That means: a lot of binges of new seasons, mixed with a lot of lazy-couch viewings of old familiars. What can I say–fall is fast approaching, and with it, a desire to light a candle and take in the elements, acknowledging that prestige movie season is fast upon us, as are the holidays.

For this week’s column, you’ll find a mix of freshly released seasons of shows you might already love, some suggestions for shows that won Emmys this week, and a few old-school favorites secretly hiding in the annals of Hulu.

American Vandal, Seasons 1-2

Where To Watch: Netflix

Created By: Dan Perrault, Tony Yacenda

Starring: Tyler Alvarez, Griffin Gluck, Jimmy Tatro

I love American Vandal. It’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen, and remains one of the most impressively dedicated mockumentaries ever committed to film. The perfect first season revolves around a large-scale penis joke, and the recently released second season goes even farther – from dick jokes to poop jokes. It’s potty humor for those of us – like me – who still find that sort of thing hilarious in a primal, stupid, inexplicable way.

Family Matters, Seasons 1-9

Where To Watch: Hulu

Created By: Thomas L. Miller, Robert L. Boyett

Starring: Jaleel White, Reginald VelJohnson, Jo Marie Payton

Did you know Hulu has a ton of old TGIF sitcoms? In the interest of brevity, I’ve only named this (and one other farther down the list), but there’s a whole lineup waiting to be delved into. I grew up on Family Matters, and as long-time citizen of Chicago, the house featured in the opening credits was part of our city’s pop culture mythology. Jaleel White made a surprise appearance in this week’s Emmy awards, which triggered a mini-rewatch of the season for me.

Ozark, Seasons 1-2

Where To Watch: Netflix

Created By: Bill Dubuque, Mark Williams

Starring: Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, Sofia Hubiltz, Skylar Gaertner, Julia Garner

I’m fresh out of cares when it comes to Jason Bateman, who tried my patience after an ill-advised New York Times interview where he failed to defend his Arrested Development cast mate Jessica Walter, who admitted she was routinely emotionally abused by her onscreen husband on that show, Jeffrey Tambor. That may seem like an inconsequential thing to bring into a description of Ozark, but if you’re like me, you may have a hard time separating your consistent disappointment in good actors and creators from the disappointing names they make for themselves in the news.

I caught up on Ozark not because I felt obligated, but out of a sort of primal investment out of my enjoyment of the first season. And because, as I like to tell myself, shows and movies are not just one person’s involvement, but a great many. And the show is pretty damn good, a Midwestern Breaking Bad about a family who relocates from Chicago to the Ozarks after their patriarch’s money-laundering scheme goes wrong. The second season dropped on Netflix in late August and I’ve been making my way through it slowly. It doesn’t reach quite the same heights as the first, but the cast is still top-notch – despite my Bateman misgivings – and if you loved what came before, you’ll love its follow-up, too.

The Catch, Seasons 1-2

Where To Watch: Hulu

Created By: Kate Atkinson, Helen Gregory, Jennifer Schuur

Starring: Mireille Enos, Peter Krause

This is one of those shows I tuned into solely because I love the two leads from past performances. Enos and Krause are staples in my television-loving household, and they have fun in this show, which only lasted two seasons before it was canceled last year. I can’t exactly argue with the decision to axe it, but I’ve enjoyed the first two outings. Enos plays Alice, who runs a private investigation firm in L.A., and Krause plays her con artist fiancee. It feels like low-grade Shonda Rhimes fare, but their chemistry is great, and it bumbles along enough to earn its place as a Sunday-evening easy watch.

Atypical, Seasons 1-2

Where To Watch: Netflix

Created By: Robia Rashid

Starring: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Keir Gilchrist, Brigette Lundry,Paine, Michael Rapaport

I hadn’t heard of Atypical until Netflix recommended it, and I’m so glad it did, because this is a truly special little series, about an autistic teen named Sam Gardner (Keir Gilchrist) who is looking for love, and the family around him who struggle with finding meaning beyond his diagnosis. The show was rightfully criticized in season one for its lack of proper representation in not featuring any real-life autistic actors, but it amended that in season two. It’s always a delight to see more Jennifer Jason Leigh, who shines here as Sam’s mother, a woman trying to find her place in Sam’s life while steering her own path.

Black Sails, Seasons 1-4

Where To Watch: Hulu

Created By: Jonathan E. Steinberg, Robert Levine

Starring: Toby Stephens, Hannah New, Luke Arnold, Jessica Parker Kennedy, Tom Hopper

Several of my dearest friends have been pestering me to watch Black Sails for the last few months. Knowing that I love Game of Thrones, they promised me this was an even more assured show in a similar vein, about pirates and renegades and scoundrels; AKA my exact cup of tea. I’m very early in my Black Sails viewing party, but I’m here to report that they weren’t lying. The show lacks Thrones’ fantasy stylings, but makes up for it in gritty character work. It works as a prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson’s seminal novel Treasure Island, following characters like John Silver (Luke Arnold) and Captain Flint (Toby Stephens) as they embark on new adventures.

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