Black Bird to How to Build a Sex Room: the seven best shows to stream this week

Jimmy Keene is an all-American hero gone wrong. He’s a one-time football star, still possessed of good looks and cocky charm but now slinging cocaine for a living. When he’s busted and sentenced to 10 years, prison wardens notice certain skills. He gets along with everyone. He gains trust easily. This makes him useful. With his freedom on the table, will he enter a prison for the criminally insane, befriend serial killer Larry Hall (Paul Walter Hauser) and discover the locations of his victims’ bodies? Starring Taron Egerton as Keene and Ray Liotta (in his final role) as Keene’s retired cop father, this drama, based on a true story, grips from the outset as Keene comes face to face with unimaginable darkness.
Apple TV+, from Friday 8 July

An unsettling true-crime documentary, adapted from the books of investigative journalist Matt Birkbeck, about the horrifying story behind what appeared to be an innocent portrait of a father and daughter. The man in the picture was Franklin Floyd, a serial criminal with a range of identities. But what about the girl? It turned out she also had multiple pseudonyms – for reasons that were darker still. Rather than being Floyd’s daughter, she was effectively Floyd’s kidnap victim. She would later become his wife. An impossibly disturbing chain of events is told here in gruesome detail.
Netflix, from Wednesday 6 July

After an early reference to “spacious skies”, it becomes clear that this nature documentary series is going to double as a patriotic advertisement for the American tourist board. However, even if it lacks the scientific rigour of the very best natural history television, it is undeniably spectacular, thanks to sky-high production values and the remarkable raw material. From searing heat to icy cold; from desert sand to swampland; from urban sprawl to wilderness, the American landscape is astonishingly diverse: Michael B Jordan is your narrative guide to its majesty.
Disney+, from Monday 4 July

After a glut of dramas telling semi-fictionalised versions of real-life business stories, this German show feels like a fictional construct that could actually have happened. Felix (Thomas Schubert) is a hyper-ambitious programmer of a startup called Cable Cash. While his extrovert boss Magnus (Matthias Brandt) develops an absurd, larger-than-life persona to sell the conceptually sketchy company to the world, it’s up to Felix to maintain what’s increasingly a house of cards, comprising debt, regulatory malfeasance and short selling. But how long until the music stops?
Netflix, from Wednesday 6 July

“We’re about to leave high school and all we’ve got to show for it is our education.” If this wallflowers-go-wild premise sounds familiar, you’ve seen Booksmart. This comedy miniseries takes a sharp left turn from this starting point, however. As soon as Erika Vu (Lana Condor) starts living a little, she’s hit by a car and killed. Erika is now a ghost who still hangs around the same school, lusts after the same hot boys and bangs awkwardly into doors. There’s an attempt to make a point about social media, but essentially it’s a hot mess, albeit a disarmingly odd one.
Netflix, from Friday 8 July

Played out across a single night, this six-part Spanish-language thriller takes us into the brutal world of Monte Baruca psychiatric prison. At the heart of the action is Luis Callejo’s serial killer Simón Lago. Six heavily armed men have surrounded the prison with the intention of breaking him out. But are they freeing him or capturing him for their own reasons? As the clock ticks all will become clear, often in inventively violent and gory ways. Also starring Alberto Ammann (Narcos) as a conflicted and possibly compromised prison officer, it’s pulpy but intriguing.
Netflix, from Friday 8 July

Netflix doesn’t have a public service broadcasting brief, of course. But should you wish to equip your home with a sex dungeon, this series will offer plenty of useful ideas. The sprightly Melanie Rose is the interior designer bringing the gentle raunch – there’s a jaunty, end-of-the-pier air to this show, which largely deals in the most primary-coloured of erotic fantasies. Then there’s Mike, Melanie’s long-suffering handyman who is sometimes cajoled into a (fully clothed) road-testing of the new facilities. Not super sexy, then. But in its own way, quite sweet.
Netflix, from Friday 8 July

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