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11 new shows and movies to watch in July 2021: The Tomorrow War, Black Widow and more

Black Widow super bowl ad still
(Image credit: Marvel Entertainment)

There are plenty of new shows and movies to watch this July across a range of streaming services. Netflix, HBO Max, Disney Plus and more have got plenty of new content to keep you entertained all summer long. 

Whatever the weather, you’ll want to find an excuse to stay in to binge some incredible summer TV. HBO Max is rebooting an old favorite as Gossip Girl returns to our screens this month, Ted Lasso season 2 kicks off on Apple TV Plus and Netflix goes weird with a new dating series Sexy Beasts.

After Hollywood was essentially put on hold last year due to the pandemic, the summer movie season returns in full force for 2021 with plenty of streaming options. There’s the first Marvel Studios movie since 2019 in the form of Black Widow, plus a sequel to classic sports movie Space Jam. Not to mention a trilogy of spooky horror films and a movie that sees Chris Pratt fighting a war in the future. 

Here’s our guide to the best new shows and movies to watch this July on Netflix, HBO Max, Disney Plus, and more. 

The best new shows and movies to watch in July 2021

Fear Street trilogy (Netflix, July 2) 

Fear Street

(Image credit: Netflix)

Netflix is taking the popular R.L. Stine books that scared you as a kid and adapting them into a series of films to terrifying you as a grown-up. Releasing as an interconnected trilogy of features, Fear Street: 1994 drops on July 2, followed by Fear Street: 1978 on July 8 and then Fear Street: 1666 concludes the collection on July 16. It’s a pretty novel idea overall. Like the books, the films will focus on a string of murders in the town of Shadyside over a period of 300 years. Expect plenty of spooky scares and gory moments; you might not want to watch these alone.  

The Tomorrow War (Amazon Prime Video, July 2) 

The Tomorrow War

(Image credit: Amazon via Facebook)

The long in development The Tomorrow War is finally getting a release this month thanks to Amazon Prime Video. Chris Pratt is swapping his Star-Lord jacket for a time travel device in this mind-bending action romp. The film sees Dan Forester (Pratt) recruited to fight in a war taking place decades in the future after time travelers come back to warn of humanity's impending defeat. J.K. Simmons also features as Dan’s estranged father. Perhaps don’t expect an instant classic here, but definitely expect a high-octane popcorn flick. 

Gossip Girl (HBO Max, July 8)  

Gossip Girl reboot on HBO Max

(Image credit: HBO Max)

Beloved teen drama series Gossip Girl is being rebooted by HBO Max this summer. Kristen Bell is confirmed to return as the all-seeing eponymous narrator but otherwise this reimagining of the show will feature an entirely fresh cast. It’s confirmed to take place in the same continuity as the original series but will follow a fresh group of privileged Manhattan-based adolescents as they hook up, find love and inevitably betray each other. The show’s creators have said the reboot will address how much “social media has changed” so expect plenty of winking references to the world of online dating and Gen Z’s obsession with becoming the next big Instagram influencer.  

Black Widow (Disney Plus, July 9)

Black Widow super bowl ad still

(Image credit: Marvel Entertainment)

After three original series, it’s finally time for the Marvel Cinematic Universe to return to the big screen. If you’d rather watch on a slightly smaller display, you can thanks to Disney Plus Premier Access. Black Widow has been long delayed since its original May 2020 release date, but early critic reviews suggest it could well be worth the wait. The first MCU film since 2019 sees Scarlett Johansson once again don the black jumpsuit of Natasha Romanov, and this time she’s got some help from her surrogate family, played by David Harbour, Rachel Weisz and Florence Pugh. 

The White Lotus (HBO Max, July 11) 

Summer TV 2021: White Lotus

(Image credit: HBO)

Mike White returns to HBO after his last series, Enlightened, was canceled in 2013 despite almost unanimous critical praise. The White Lotus is a new limited series set in a tropical resort and follows the oddball guests and even stranger employees over the course of a week. The excellent cast list includes Connie Britton, Jennifer Coolidge, Steve Zahn, Jake Lacy, Alexandra Daddario and Molly Shannon. Expect White’s signature blend of comedy and drama. This series might also fly under the radar but if you’ve got an HBO Max subscription don’t forget to give this one a chance. 

Gunpowder Milkshake (Netflix, July 14) 

Gunpowder Milkshake

(Image credit: StudioCanal)

Being touted as almost a female led John Wick, Gunpowder Milkshake sees Karen Gillan and Lena Headey play an estranged mother-daughter pair, who both happen to be international assassins. After a high-stakes mission goes wrong putting a young child in danger, Gillan and Headey need to put their differences aside and team up with a couple more butt-kicking women in order to take down a ruthless crime lord played by Paul Giamatti. Gunpowder Milkshake looks could be one of the summer’s biggest surprise hits.  

Space Jam: A New Legacy (HBO Max, July 16)   

Space Jam 2 release date

(Image credit: Entertainment Weekly/WB)

The calls for a sequel to 1996’s Space Jam may not have been especially loud but we’re getting one anyway. Sport icon Michael Jordan will return in a smaller role, but the focus this time is on LeBron James who must lead a team of toons to victory in a high-stakes game of basketball. This hybrid of live-action and animation also features classic Looney Tunes characters including Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. Space Jam: A New Legacy is sure to be one of the silliest movies of the summer, but it might just be one of the most enjoyable as well.  

Sexy Beasts (Netflix, July 21) 

Sexy Beasts

(Image credit: Netflix)

Billed by Netflix as “the strangest blind date ever," Sexy Beasts looks like a cross-over between Love is Blind and The Masked Singer. It’s a dating series in which hopeful singles put on elaborate animal-themed costumes to obscure their appearances before meeting a potential partner. The series aims to prove if beauty really is skin deep, or if you can grow a connection with someone without even seeing their face. Of course, most viewers will probably just watch for the slightly unnerving prosthetics and the ridiculousness of the core concept.   

Ted Lasso (Apple TV Plus, July 23) 

Ted Lasso

(Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

The most big-hearted show on television returns for another season this July. Ted Lasso is back, and his boundless optimism is likely to be tested now that his team, AFC Richmond, has been dumped out of the Premier League. New relationships may also be formed as team owner Rebecca Welton is rumored to have a new beau. Though we’re hoping some of the old pairings like Roy and Keely can weather any sophomore storms. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Ted Lasso season 2 is likely to be a highlight of this summer’s TV schedule.   

Jungle Cruise (Disney Plus Premier Access, July 30) 

Jungle Cruise

(Image credit: Disney)

Another Disney feature based on an amusement park ride, Jungle Cruise is scheduled to hit theatres and Disney Plus Premier Access on July 30. The adventure flick stars Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt as a pair of intrepid explorers on a quest through the jungle to find the Tree of Life. Jesse Plemons will play a German aristocrat who is trying to find the tree for himself. Expect Disney’s classic formula of family-friendly fun with plenty of big set-piece moments, and likely a heartwarming conclusion.  

The Pursuit of Love (Amazon Prime Video, July 30) 

The Pursuit of Love

(Image credit: BBC)

Based on the groundbreaking 1945 novel of the same name, The Pursuit of Love is a sensual drama set between the first and second World Wars. It follows two cousins in an upper-class family as they attempt to navigate heartbreaks and growing pains. The three-part series boasts an impressive cast list with Lilly James, Emily Beecham, Dominic West, Andrew Scott, and Emily Mortimer all involved. The Pursuit of Love debuted on the BBC back in May to strong reviews, US audiences can finally enjoy it at the end of the month when it hits Prime Video.  

  • More: Summer TV 2021 must-watch list: Loki, Ted Lasso, Gossip Girl and more

Rory is a staff writer at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics including tech news, deals, gaming, streaming and more. When he’s not writing hot takes on the latest gaming hardware and streaming shows, he can be found watching a borderline unhealthy amount of movies and being thoroughly disappointed by his terrible football team.