Each week, we bring you our editor-curated “watch list,” filled with all the quirky hidden gems, salacious reality stars, comedy geniuses, and award-worthy newcomers that have us binge-watching and setting our DVRs. We hope this weekly list will help broaden your viewing horizons and fill you with escapist joy. Happy watching!
This week is all about playing catch-up before the great new fall TV shows begin in September—plus one film we can’t wait to watch as soon as it hits theaters this Friday.
If you’re a foodie, tune into Netflix’s top-notch documentary series, Cooked. It’s the perfect way to get your taste buds primed for the premiere of the new Chef’s Table: France on Netflix on Sept. 2. If you’re into smart, off-beat comedies, dive into Hulu’s Casual and discover why our editors are obsessed with every aspect of the show, from its soundtrack to its stars. For those who can’t get enough drama, and still believe reality TV is a legit way to meet a mate, it’s time to place your bets on whose Bachelor in Paradise story will end in engagement. If kingpin drama is more your style, watch or re-watch season one of Narcos ahead of its season 2 premiere on Friday to make sure you’re in the loop.
And if you want to see true chemistry, put down the remote, silence your phone, and take a seat in your nearest theater. The eagerly anticipated, romantic period drama The Light Between Oceans premieres this Friday, Sept. 2, and it stars one of our favorite real-life couples, Alicia Vikander and Michael Fassbender. If this film doesn’t tug on your heartstrings, nothing will.
“Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows that my obsession with Hulu’s new dramedy Casual isn’t exactly discreet. But if you haven’t already seen Jason Reitman’s small-screen tour de force, I urge you to block out an afternoon and visit hulu.com IMMEDIATELY. The show, which stars Michaela Watkins as a freshly divorced single mom living with her codependent brother (the ruggedly handsome Tommy Dewey) and her sexually adventurous daughter (Tara Lynne Barr), is both hilarious and endearingly sweet, so it’s not surprising that it scooped up a Golden Globe nomination. Oh, and the soundtrack is on point—seriously, I Shazam almost every song from the closing credits. I missed the season finale last Monday night due to circumstances beyond my control, so I'll be playing catch-up this week.” —Claire Stern, associate editor
“If you’re a fan of Netflix’s other stellar food show, Chef’s Table, I’m positive you’ll find Cooked equally fascinating. Admittedly, I love cooking shows to begin with—from Top Chef to old school, public access Julia Child. But even if you’re not on the Food Network bandwagon, you’ll be captivated by the social, cultural, and historical aspects of Cooked. The four-part docu-series from author Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma) and Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney (Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine) explores the origins of cooking through the basic elements of fire, water, air, and earth. It spans the globe to explore lost traditions and discover the reasons cooking is so fundamentally important to modern society. If you eat, you should watch this series. Trust me, you’ll be digging up those old family recipes by the end. Bonus: It’s a great way to gear up for the new season of Chef’s Table: France which will premiere Sept. 2—I will definitely be filling you in on it next week.” Streaming on Netflix. —Angela Salazar, senior editor
3. Bachelor in Paradise
“We are very proud members of Bachelor Nation here at InStyle’s Los Angeles office. Our work days begin with in-depth discussions after every episode and, thanks to the dramatic nature of the show, we are never disappointed. The current Bachelor spinoff, Bachelor in Paradise, features past contestants who move into a house together on the beach in Mexico—literally paradise—hoping to find true love. The third season has been filled with girlfriend-stealing drama, more tears than ever (we’re looking at you, Ashley I.), and who can forget The Chad (check out our interview with him here). This season will also reportedly end with multiple engagements, so we’re making bets on who will get whom’s final rose, and how long they will actually last.” Catch Bachelor in Paradise on Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. —Tessa Trudeau, editorial assistant
“I seriously can't wait for the second season of this show! I love a good drug cartel drama, a la Blow or Scarface, so when I initially heard about this Netflix series, I was immediately intrigued. Season one did not disappoint as it delved into the origin story of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar (played by Wagner Moura), the formation of the Medellín Cartel, and the flood of cocaine that poured into Miami, in a way that felt methodical and accurate, but was also super entertaining. The characters, all based on real people, don’t come across cheesy or over-acted, and that’s tough to achieve. The first season was pretty dense (So. Many. Subtitles.), so I’ll be re-watching it ahead of the Season 2 premiere on Friday." Stream both seasons on Netflix (Season 2 becomes available on Friday, Sept. 2). —Courtney Higgs, editorial assistant
5. The Light Between Oceans
“This Friday, I’m grabbing my popcorn and heading to the movie theater to see The Light Between Oceans, written and directed by Derek Cianfrance. Alicia Vikander and Michael Fassbender star in the epic period piece about a lighthouse keeper and his wife, who, after experiencing a traumatic loss, rescue a baby girl who washes up on shore aboard a rowboat. When they decide to adopt the baby as their own, drama ensues. Not only am I looking forward to the real-life couple’s on-screen chemistry, I can’t wait to see the heart-wrenching story unfold.” The Light Between Oceans premieres in theaters Friday, Sept. 2. —Janelle Grodsky, associate editor