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Best new shows and movies to stream: ‘Room 104,’ German thriller ‘Beat,’ and more

Will Nicol
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Streaming entertainment is bigger than ever, and with so many streaming services adding new shows and movies every week, it can be nearly impossible to sort through the good and the bad. If you need something to watch and don’t want to wade through the digital muck that washes up on the internet’s shores, follow our picks below for the best new shows and movies to stream on Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon, and other services.

On the list this week: A violent German thriller, a brutal war film, and the return of Room 104.

‘Beat’ season 1

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Berlin’s club scene is infamous, a teeming den of hedonism beneath the venerable city. For those who haven’t journeyed down into the pulsing underworld of Berlin nightlife, Amazon’s new series Beat offers a glimpse, as well as a healthy dose of espionage. The show follows a club promoter named Beat (Jannis Niewöhner) whose insider status makes him attractive to a European intelligence agency. They recruit Beat to be their man on the inside of the club scene, and he soon discovers that he is tangled up in some very dangerous affairs. Fair warning: Beat is not for the squeamish. It’s a violent, thrumming phantasmagoria.

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Amazon Prime

‘Outlaw King’

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David Mackenzie’s new film Outlaw King reunites the director with Chris Pine (they previously worked together on the excellent crime drama Hell or High Water) for a historical epic, one in which men trudge through mud and viscera in pursuit of victory. The film takes place in Scotland, around the time Mel Gibson’s Braveheart ended. The English have forced the Scottish to submit to their authority, but nobleman Robert the Bruce (Pine) and his allies resent their yoke. Robert lays claim to the crown of Scotland, and works, battle by battle, to unite the country under his rule and push back the English. Outlaw King dedicates some time to exploring Robert as a person, particularly through his marriage to Elizabeth de Burgh (Florence Pugh), but it is largely about the battles, as the camera wades through the muck as men fight and die for the fate of Scotland.

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‘Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy’

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In the pages of comedy history, the early aughts were the reign of Will Ferrell. Each year brought a new vehicle for Ferrell, whose outlandish, immediately recognizable persona was usually more important than the movie around him. The best of Ferrell’s outings in this era was Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, which also launched the directing career of Adam McKay (The Big Short). Set in the ‘70s, the film follows Ron Burgundy (Ferrell), beloved anchorman on San Diego’s local news station. Burgundy and his friends — reporter Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), sports reporter Champ Kind (David Koechner), and weatherman Brick Tamland (Steve Carell) — live every day like it’s a frat party, but when the station hires a new reporter, Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate), who draws in bigger ratings than Burgundy, he must confront the possibility of encroaching irrelevance.

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‘Married… with Children’ seasons 1-11

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If you’re in need of a classic sitcom that you can binge for weeks, you could always try Married… with Children, a show that sparked a lot of controversy in its day for its lewd, crass subject matter — and although the show may not hold up as well to modern eyes, it’s a fascinating window into the attitudes of its era. The show followed a dysfunctional family, the Bundys: Al (Ed O’Neill), a former high school football captain turned bitter shoe salesman; his materialistic wife, Peggy (Katey Sagal); their daughter, Kelly (Christina Applegate); and lecherous son, Bud (David Faustino). The show mined its humor from its cynical, burned-out protagonist — and a lot of sex jokes — and although the characters are a miserable, despicable lot, it has its charms.

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‘Room 104’ season 2 premiere

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Jay and Mark Duplass launched Room 104 with a simple premise: Every episode would take place in the same hotel room, with new characters swinging through carrying their own problems and neuroses. That limited garden is fertile ground, however, with each episode varying wildly in terms of tone and concept. Season 1 got awfully weird, and season 2 looks to be even more adventurous — an early episode features stoically menacing actor Michael Shannon rapping. Like any anthology, the episodes may vary in quality, but at least its creators never play things safe.

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