I don't have a huge ax to grind with Netflix, though I wasn't exactly a huge fan of The Witcher season 3 part 1. That said, I think it's worthwhile to take a moment at the beginning of every month to reconsider if you in fact actually need to pay the up to $20 monthly fee for the big red streaming machine.
Me, personally? I will keep Netflix as long as it streams I Think You Should Leave. It's utterly rewatchable, and enough on its own for me to think of Netflix as one of the best streaming services. don't think about getting rid of Netflix.
For the rest of you, though, who don't have a Netflix series you can keep coming back to? I bet you're like I was, spending a little time every so often wondering if you should just cancel Netflix and come back. It's not like people feel a need to support the company right now, especially with its password-sharing crackdown.
There's definitely other options for where you spend your money, with Hulu gaining What We Do In The Shadows season 5 and Justified: City Primeval and Max streaming The Righteous Gemstones season 3, How to With John Wilson season 3 and Harley Quinn season 4. Not to mention Disney Plus' Secret Invasion.
So, let's take a look at Netflix's July 2023 list, which I find a little underwhelming, in multiple fronts.
Netflix's July's big original shows are splits-ville
Netflix's password-sharing crackdown isn't the most annoying thing it's done, at least in my eyes. My biggest gripe with the House of 'N' would be the way it splits shows across two release points. The Witcher season 3 volume 1 (which came out on June 29) is the most recent example, as we left Geralt (Henry Cavill), Ciri (Freya Allan), Yennifer (Anya Chalotra) and Jaskier (Joey Batey) on a big cliffhanger.
The Witcher season 3 part 2 (July 27) gives us the final three episodes of Cavill's run, and it should resolve a big "wait wait?" cliffhanger. I won't spoil it here, but I'm sure that folks who binged part 1 aren't exactly thinking about canceling Netflix until this next section drops.
Similarly, surprise hit The Lincoln Lawyer's back in July for the second season of David E. Kelley's legal drama. Except we're only getting one half: The Lincoln Lawyer season 2 part 1 (July 6). Part 2 isn't due for — just like with The Witcher — another month, coming on August 3rd.
So, if you aren't desperate for Manuel Garcia-Rulfo's Mickey Haller to return, though, I could easily recommend canceling now and waiting until August when the whole batch drops. If Netflix execs are somehow reading this, I'd note that I'd be far less inclined to say this were shows to release weekly. You know, how TV used to be.
Elsewhere in Netflix's returning scripted TV shows, Korean drama DP (July 27) returns for season 2, Sintonia season 4 (July 25) and Sweet Magnolias season 3 (July 20) are all on the calendar, as is Sonic Prime season 2 (July 13).
Netflix's next reality TV and docs, examined
The likely biggest title in Netflix's unscripted lineup is Quarterback (July 12), a sports docuseries. It profiles Patrick Mahomes (the reining Super Bowl champ and MVP) of the Kansas City Chiefs, as well as Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins and Atlanta Falcons QB Marcus Mariota.
I don't think the NFL needs the boost that Formula 1 got from Drive to Survive (one of the best Netflix shows), but this series should be huge.
For those who want TV that makes them hungry? Netflix will serve up Five Star Chef (July 14), which will give one talented chef a big opportunity at one of the world's prestigious restaurants. Twelve days later, The Great British Baking Show: The Professionals (July 26) returns for its seventh season, as two dozen pastry chefs look to impress.
Netflix loves to deliver dating show doozies, so you also get Too Hot to Handle: Season 5 (July 14), set in the Caribbean, and the new series Deep Fake Love (July 6). The latter is a show with couples who will be tested using deepfake tech, as they try and win by spotting lies.
The most topical documentary coming to Netflix comes in the four-part Unknown series. Yes, Netflix actually does some weekly programming. The series will dive into a lost pyramid (July 3), a cave of bones (July 17) and cover the topic of time travel (July 24), but Killer Robots (July 10) is the edition we're betting gets the most chatter. It will explore AI's applications in the military, and how that could lead to changes in chemical weapons and decision-making.
There's also your standard list of true crime docs, such as The King Who Never Was (July 4) about the 1978 death of a German teen and The Lady of Silence: The Mataviejitas Murders (July 27). There's also Missing: The Lucie Blackman Case (July 26), which explains an international investigation.
The Deepest Breath (July 19), though, is the most intriguing looking doc on the docket, looking to explain the dangerous sport of free diving, where the deepest diver wins. From Netflix and A24 (who gave us everything from Euphoria to Past Lives), this film's focus, though, is on the heartbreaking story of Italian diver Alessia Zecchini, who sought to shatter records.
Want something more light-hearted? Well, you may get it with WHAM! (July 5), Netflix’s latest doc that gives celebs the chance to tell their own story. This time it’s George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley, whose story is told using “rare, candid and previously unheard interviews” to dive into their own personal histories and their rise to stardom. The film also looks at the internal drama in the duo, which pushed Michael to pursue his solo career.
And then there's Netflix's original and licensed movies
The most potential in Netflix's original movies for the month comes in They Cloned Tyrone (July 21) a comedic sci-fi mystery starring John Boyega, Jamie Foxx and Teyonah Parris. The trio uncover a government conspiracy that seemingly targets the Black community through food. The cast also includes Kiefer Sutherland and David Alan Grier.
Want something a bit more purely in the laughs zone? Adam Devine stars in The Out-Laws (July 17), as a bank manager on the verge who thinks his future in-laws (Pierce Brosnan and Ellen Barkin) are crooks. Does his fianceé Parker (Nina Dobrev) know? Is their marriage a scam to rob his bank?
Next, it's time to open the Bird Box again, and keep your blindfolds on, as Bird Box: Barcelona (July 14) follows father Sebastian (Mario Casas) and daughter Anna (Alejendra Howard) in that terrifying world that Sandra Bullock explored back in 2018.
Ellie Kemper's got a new Netflix project this summer: Happiness For Beginners (July 27). Helen (Kemper) is just-divorced, and trying to find something new on a camping trip with her peers. Hopefully it's more Eat Pray Love than Snowflake Mountain.
Netflix also delivers a ton of great licensed films at the start of every month, to supplement those original films, and add to the list of the best Netflix movies. This is not exactly one of those months, unless you love The Karate Kid movies (including the 2010 film), the Rush Hour trilogy and Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek: Into Darkness — which dropped on July 1.
The best of the pack, by my eye include Bridesmaids, Titanic and indie darling The Squid and the Whale (all also on July 1). Other films dropping that day include Jumanji, Jamie Foxx's Ray, Jim Carrey's Liar Liar and 2005's Pride & Prejudice starring Kiera Knightly and Matthew Macfadyen. This may be a stellar set for some, but nothing feels truly must see, especially as Bridesmaids has been hopping from service to service recently.
Outlook: So, is Netflix earning your money?
As I say with every edition of this column, your mileage will vary. Some folks will see the above documentaries and say "wait, who would even think about canceling Netflix? Others, well, they're not into The Witcher or The Lincoln Lawyer, and just wondering when the heck Stranger Things season 5 is coming (not for a while).
So, peruse the above list. Think about if the Netflix price you pay is worth these latest additions. And make your choice from there.