How, oh how, did we ever live in the land before Netflix? Thankfully, those dark days are over, and now we can tune in and bliss out for hours on end. We’ve all been jonesing for our next big fix after tearing through season three of Orange Is the New Black and committing to a third (or fourth) re-watch of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Thankfully, July has a bounteous bevy of new flicks and shows perfect for a mid-summer’s binge. Get the popcorn ready and beat the heat with our top picks for the month ahead.
1. What Happened, Miss Simone? Using newfound footage from the life of the preternaturally talented Nina Simone, this documentary offers deep glimpses into the troubled and talented soul of one of the 20th century’s greatest musicians. Through interviews, live performances and more, the doc walks us through not just the fascinating creative and commercial sides of her musical career, but her civil rights activism and personal struggles too. (Photo via Netflix)
2. Derek, Seasons One and Two: Love him or hate him, Ricky Gervais has done the unexpected and given us a heaping helping of sincerity in this British dramedy, made possible through a collaboration between Netflix and the UK’s Channel 4. Follow the titular character, played (not to mention written, directed and produced) by Gervais, through his days as a caretaker at an English nursing home. You’ll fall in love with a critically divisive show that, at its heart, is all about the power of kindness. (Photo via Derek Productions)
3. Austin to Boston: Laying waste to the assumption that life on the road as a touring musician is glamorous and carefree, this film follows four musical acts — Ben Howard, Nathaniel Rateliff, The Staves and Bears Den — from a SXSW gig through a series of shows on the road between Austin and Boston. The film chronicles a “modern tour, done the old-fashioned way” via “five old VW camper vans, four bands, three thousand miles, two weeks and one gloriously backwards tour.” Think of it as Almost Famous in real life, with much humbler transportation. (Photo via Communion Music)
4. An Honest Liar: Learn all about the life and times of world-renowned magician and escape artist James “The Amazing” Randi in this documentary, out on July 1, including his public outing of con artists the world over, from psychics and gurus to faith healers and even some of his very own students. (Photo via Left Turn Films)
5. Bad Ink: Season Two: If you can’t get enough of this train wreck of an A&E show — or, rather, the train wreck of its constant parade of tattoos gone wrong and in serious need of a fix — then July 14 is the day for you. That’s when the second season of the cult hit begins streaming on Netflix, as viewers follow two Las Vegas tattoo artists in charge of righting an endless stream of wrongs. What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but sometimes, Sin-City-related regrets need a super quick fix. (Photo via Sharp Entertainment)
6. Tig: Giving new meaning to the word “inspiration,” comedian Tig Notaro has been through a few things, to put it lightly. This documentary looks at the year in which she was hit with the one-two punch of losing her mother and being diagnosed with cancer. Fierce, funny and fearlessly straightforward, Tig offers a glimpse into her life with her usual next-level sense of humor in this much-anticipated doc, out July 17. (Photo via Beachside Films)
7. BoJack Horseman, Season Two: This darkly humorous series got off to a slow start in its first season, but managed to pick up steam by the last few episodes, causing critics to hail it as one of the best shows of 2014. It’s back again for a second installment on July 17, so you can learn all about the next chapter in the life and times of the fictitious ’90s-sitcom-horse-turned-cynic. (Yes, it’s as weird as it sounds.) (Photo via Tornante Company)
8. Glee, Season Six: Any Glee fans in the house? You know who you are, you harmonizing cornballs, you. And we’re not judging you! In fact, we just might tune in to the sixth and final season of America’s favorite ongoing high school musical ourselves. This season, Rachel comes home to find the arts program eliminated, while Blaine and Kurt’s relationship seems to have reached the end of the road. Will it all get resolved? Will anyone sing a Burt Bacharach song, or four, by the time the final curtain falls? Warm up those pipes and be sure to request a hall pass before you tune in to find out on July 18. (Photo via Ryan Murphy Productions)
9. Teacher of the Year: Folks in need of a Key & Peele fix can get it — well, half of one, anyway — with this comedy starring Keegan Michael Key as a high school principal. Out on July 23, it brings the low-budget LOLs as a Teacher of the Year recipient gets a job offer and has to decide whether to stay or go. (Photo via Lower Merion Films)
10. Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp: If you haven’t had the pleasure of watching the original Wet Hot American Summer, do yourself a favor and check out the 2001 cult gem. Then, move on to its prequel, which comes out as a series of Netflix Original episodes on July 31, to find out the backstory of the Camp Firewood kids. The original movie starred a then-unknown Amy Poehler and Bradley Cooper alongside Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Paul Rudd and a host of other comedians, and they’re all back again for more. We Parks & Rec addicts will take our hit of Poehler any way we can get it, so the countdown begins now. (Photo via Netflix)
What are you excited to watch in January? Share in the comments below!