Entertainment July streaming guide: Mad as Hell, Stranger Things and a doco about the day the music died

July streaming guide: Mad as Hell, Stranger Things and a doco about the day the music died

Stranger Things
Oh look! The long-awaited season finale of Stranger Things is finally here. Photo: Netflix
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Just so you know, we’ve had the coldest start to winter in 30 years, and it’s time to get cracking with some serious streaming.

Please gather four things: A warm rug, your Ugg boots, pineapple pizza and a hot cuppa, and get ready to press play.

If you’re after a non-reality show, and are not invested in the new series of Stranger Things, Kung Fu Panda, or a documentary on Don McLean and the story of his song American Pie, the 15th season of comedian Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell (ABC and streaming on iview) could be just what the doctor ordered.

Shaun Micallef in 2020 with the AACTA Award for Best Comedy Entertainment Program. Photo: Getty

The New Daily caught up with Micallef and asked how he stays sane writing new material every year for his show.

Mad as Hell was nominated at this year’s Logies awards for most outstanding entertainment or comedy program (Lego Masters won) and most popular comedy.

“You’re assuming I am sane. I’m not sure that’s the case any more. I think it was around the third year of doing the show, when Tony Abbott was prime minister. Remember that? He was prime minister,” he said.

“He won an election and everything. Amazing.”

Well, Shaun, so what’s going to be different about delivery this year?

“Oh, we’ll have to scrap all the characters and bring in a whole bunch of new ones. It’s very hard, though, because everyone on the Labor frontbench seems quite reasonable.

“Even Bill Shorten has got his act together. They’ve made it very difficult for us.”

OK, Shaun, you recently despaired about not having enough material to work on under Albo, what are you going to do?

“It will take time and we will all have to be patient. It’s only been a month and a half after all. Becoming ineffective and disappointing everybody is inevitable. Particularly with Labor.

“The great thing about the LNP is that you don’t really expect them to ever do anything worthwhile (and they seldom overshoot). With Labor though, they keep dangling hope in front of us. I’m estimating it’ll take another fortnight before we start despairing and can start making some decent jokes.

“Not great for the country, but great for us.”

Thanks Shaun. We like hope.

Now over to other options!

Side benefit for season four of Stranger Things … a whole new generation of listeners are falling in love with Kate Bush. Photo: Netflix

Stranger Things 4: Volume 2 – Netflix, July 1

For all of those Upside Down fans, Volume 2 is finally here and will hit screens on Friday with the long-awaited season finale.

No spoiler alerts, but we can say time is precious in the town of Hawkins.

Raised by Refugees – Stan, July 1

No need to wait for the weekly drop, all episodes land at once.

From Kiwi comedian Pax Assadi, this series is the heartfelt comedy inspired by his formative tweenage years growing up in Auckland.

Pax, played by Kenus Binu, is a typical 12-year-old from the early 2000s, whose parents came to NZ in the late 1980s as refugees.

But a major international incident makes that very difficult.

Miss You Already – ABC iview, July 1

Not interested in AFL on Friday night? This heartwarming film features Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette and is set in London, and it’s anchored to that moment when life falls apart, the friends keep it all together.

Nude Tuesday – Stan, July 7

Described as an “absurdist comedy”, it’s about a couple who spend a week at a retreat to save their marriage.

The official synopsis reads like this: “Spoken entirely in gibberish, audiences will be able to choose their own subtitle adventure with three different versions to choose from, one of which will be subtitled by acclaimed Australian comedians Celia Pacquola (Rosehaven) and Ronny Chieng (Ronny Chieng: Speakeasy).

ghislaine maxwell
Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years in prison on June 27. Photo: Paramount+

Who is Ghislaine Maxwell? – July 8, Paramount+

An exclusive new series, and timely. This three-part docuseries tries to find the answers as to why an educated socialite heiress would prey on other women and how she became involved with convicted abuser Jeffrey Epstein for decades.

Back Roads – ABC iview, July 11

Audiences have been often mesmerised by Heather Ewart’s back-road gems, and she’s back with guest presenters to find more amazing Aussie stories and people.

The Secrets She Keeps – Paramount+, July 12

British actor and star of the award-wining drama series Downton Abbey, Laura Carmichael returns to Australian television screens for season two of the critically acclaimed six-part psychological thriller, The Secrets She Keeps.

From the outset, we know something has gone terribly wrong for Meghan (Jessica De Gouw).

An incident has taken place that will have devastating repercussions for her family and her marriage.

In maximum security prison, much-despised inmate Agatha (Carmichael) has a secret of her own, one that makes her desperate to escape to safety.

There are bone-chilling twists.

The Old Man – Disney+, July 13

Who loves a story involving the CIA and Jeff Bridges, hunting rogue fugitives and clashing with the FBI?

Rotten Tomatoes critics’ opinion is this: “The Old Man is just as intrepid and spiky – and derivative – as younger action heroes, with Bridges lending invaluable gravitas.”

Kung Fu pandas are very good company during school holidays. Photo: Netflix

Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight  – Netflix, July 14

School holidays are still going in some states, so snuggle down for some family fun with family favourite and School of Rock legend Jack Black.

This series is about a mysterious pair of weasels who set their sights on a collection of four powerful weapons, and it’s up to Po to get them back to save the world.

Miriam Margolyes: Australia Unmasked – ABC iview, July 19

Miriam Margolyes is back on the road, heading west along the bottom of Australia, to understand what the ‘fair go’ means in Australia today and how it is playing out in the diverse lives of her fellow citizens.

Persuasion – Netflix, July 22

If you idolise Jane Austen, this film is just for you!

Starring Dakota Johnson (Fifty Shades of Grey), Henry Golding and Cosmo Jarvis, the story sees Anne Elliot re-meet a dashing man of humble origins who she was persuaded not to marry.

Will she seize her second chance at true love? Only one way to find out!

Don McLean talks us through the lyrics, the politics of the day, and what the song meant to Americans growing up in the 1970s. Photo: Getty

The Day The Music Died: The Story Of Don McLean’s American Pie – Paramount+, July 22

Exclusive to Paramount, this documentary will, for the first time, share the secrets behind the song that filled American culture for decades and this year marks the 50th anniversary of American Pie.

It also highlights certain moments that are as relevant today as in 1971, when the song was released.

“So many throughout the years have asked me what certain lyrics meant or whom I was referring to, but now I finally can solve many of those mysteries,” reveals McLean, ready to tell his story.

“Everyone from Madonna to Garth Brooks to Weird Al Yankovic has recorded American Pie and made it their own. So many people have their own interpretation of the song, and I love it.”

Blown Away: Season 3 – Netflix, July 22

To all the creative geeks out there, tune in to the red hot Blown Away: Season 3.

This ground-breaking competition series returns as 10 glass artists from around the world gather in North America’s largest hot shop to push themselves to creative extremes in the quest to be named Best In Glass.

Surface – Apple TV+, July 29

Starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Morning Wars), this eight-episode thriller is about a woman who suffers a severe head injury, leaving her with extreme memory loss.

Through twists and turns and an unexpected love triangle, this sexy, elevated thriller asks: What if you woke up one day and didn’t know your own secrets?

Not Okay – Disney+, July 29

Danni Sanders (Zoey Deutch), an aimless aspiring writer with no friends, no romantic prospects and – worst of all – no followers, fakes an Instagram-friendly trip to Paris in the hopes of boosting her social media clout.

After a terrifying incident, Danni unwittingly falls into a lie bigger than she ever imagined and “returns” a hero.