Type keyword(s) to search

Features

HBO Max Tops July's Streaming Power Rankings

PLUS: More bad news for Netflix, and Disney+ goes MIA.
  • Photos: HBO Max, Prime Video.
    Photos: HBO Max, Prime Video.

    A string of well-reviewed new and returning series put Hulu atop last month's streaming power rankings, but it was HBO Max that ruled the roost this July, thanks in part to a record haul of Emmy nominations.

    A reminder: our rankings are calculated based on the following criteria: new shows (i.e. shows that premiered, or premiered new seasons), projects that were announced, and bonus points (and/or demerits) that take into account things like high-profile cancellations, awards attention, or significant good/bad buzz.

    1. HBO MAX

    Previous Rank: 7

    Premieres: A slow month for premieres across the board saw HBO Max earn relatively good marks for the new Issa Rae-produced Rap Sh!t, which was joined by returning crowdpleasers F-Boy Island and Harley Quinn. Meanwhile, Ethan Hawke's documentary The Last Movie Stars about Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward was very well received, especially among the cinephile crowd. Grade: B+

    Projects Announced: Writers Oz Rodriguez and Lemon Anderson are developing an animated series Uptown Bodega, about a woman who inherits her father’s old Bodega and tries to keep it thriving. Grade: B-

    Bonus Points/Demerits: With 140 Emmy nominations, HBO and HBO Max dominated the field. The combined entity is now poised to win all three Outstanding Series awards. So, yeah, not bad. Grade: A+

    2. Hulu

    Previous Rank: 1

    Premieres: Hulu's animated comedy Solar Opposites continues to pick up buzz as it goes along, making its Season 3 the highlight of an otherwise ho-hum month for Hulu premieres as the streamer continues to enjoy weekly Only Murders in the Building episode drops. Our reviewer called the original documentary Victoria's Secret: Angels & Demons "an incisive dissection of American corruption," but quirky rom-com Maggie hasn't made an impact, and so far the second season of American Horror Stories has been as quiet as the first. Grade: B

    Projects Announced: Hugh Jackman and Sarah Snook are set to star in the animated comedy Koala Man, about an Australian dad whose secret identity is a superhero intent on getting people to follow the rules. Grade: B

    Bonus Points/Demerits: Emmy nomination morning was huge for Hulu, which pulled in 58 nominations, doubling their previous best showing amid nods for Only Murders in the Building, Dopesick, The Dropout, and Pam & Tommy. Add to that renewal announcements for a third season of Only Murders and a second season of The Bear. Grade: A

    3. Apple TV+

    Previous Rank: 3

    Premieres: Taron Egerton and Paul Walter Hauser headlined the solid serial-killer miniseries Black Bird, while British series Trying returnedfor Season 3 and Amber Brown premieres this weekend. Grade: B-

    Projects Announced: Although no specific projects have yet been announced, an overall deal with director Mimi Leder (ER, The Leftovers) is yet another example of Apple partnering up with elite talent. Grade: B

    Bonus Points/Demerits: A good Emmys showing once again for Apple, which not only saw Ted Lasso back up last year's Emmy haul — 20 nominations, the most of any comedy — but also freshman series Severance scoring noms for Outstanding Drama and acting nods for Adam Scott, Patricia Arquette, John Turturro, and Christopher Walken. Grade: A

    4. Paramount+

    Previous Rank: 8

    Premieres: Evil continues to roll out new episodes in its third season, but no July premieres to speak of. Grade: n/a

    Projects Announced: Sarah Michelle Gellar is getting back into the monster-hunting business with the upcoming Paramount+ series Wolf Pack. Plus, the rumored Criminal Minds reboot is headed to the streamer. Grade: B

    Bonus Points/Demerits: Big Brother is back for another summer, meaning that Paramount+ is once again the go-to destination for watching those ubiquitous live feeds. The season didn't start off very strong, bu the feeds have begun hopping more recently, so that B grade gets a bump. Grade: B+

    5. Netflix

    Previous Rank: 2

    Premieres: Stranger Things continues to be a port in a storm for Netflix, with the conclusion of its fourth season arriving over July 4th weekend. Other strong programming this month included new seasons of Blown Away and Virgin River, the documentaries The Most Hated Man on the Internet and How to Build a Sex Room, and a TV series adaptation of Resident Evil. Grade: B+

    Projects Announced: A David Beckham docu-series is in the works, but the big news was that Netflix and Mo'Nique have patched over their legal battle, and the Oscar-winning comedian is getting a comedy special coming in late 2022. Grade: B+

    Bonus Points/Demerits: The bad PR kept coming for Netflix this month, including a disappointing showing at the Emmy nominations, 970,000 subscribers lost, and Rege-Jean Page declaring that Bridgerton may as well re-cast him, that's how much he's not coming back to the show. Grade: D+

    6. Amazon Prime

    Previous Rank: 6

    Premieres: The Terminal List was a critically-drubbed but starry premiere series starring Chris Pratt. Forever Summer: Hamptons is a fun docu-soap for people who miss Laguna Beach. Grade: B

    Projects Announced: It was a quiet month for Amazon as they wait for The Lord of the Rings to premiere in September. Grade: n/a

    Bonus Points/Demerits: Speaking of The Lord of the Rings, the much ballyhooed trailer for The Ring of Power got fans very excited for the prequel series. And an Emmy nomination for Lizzo's reality show Watch Out for the Big Grrrls in Reality Competition Series was a very pleasant surprise. Grade: B+

    7. Peacock

    Previous Rank: 5

    Premieres: The American version of Love Island migrated to Peacock after three underwhelming seasons on CBS. The second season of Days of Our Lives: Beyond Salem was a crowd-pleaser. And premiering just under the bell is The Resort, a comedic mystery from Sam Esmail. Grade: B-

    Projects Announced: The YA novel series Running Out of Time is in development for Peacock from the co-creator of The Vampire Diaries. And the Season 3 renewal and new cast announcement for The Real Housewives: Ultimate Girls Trip is exciting news for fans of the Potomac, Salt Lake City, and Miami franchises, all of which will be represented on UGT for the first time. Grade: B+

    Bonus Points/Demerits: A Season 2 renewal for Dr. Death isn't nearly enough to paper over another dismal Emmy nomination total for trhe streamer (three nominations total — THREE!). Grade: D+

    8. Disney+

    Previous Rank: 4

    Premieres: With Ms. Marvel concluding its season this month and new series from the Star Wars and Marvel universes arriving in August, it was a quiet month for new premieres on Disney+. Grade: n/a

    Projects Announced: The Marvel announcement at San Diego Comic-Con got the lion's share of attention for announcing two new Avengers movies, plus the trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. But it also laid out the series order for the Phase 5 series on Disney+, including Secret Invasion, Echo, a new season of Loki, Ironheart, Agatha: Coven of Chaos, and a rebooted Daredevil. Grade: B+

    Bonus Points/Demerits: The Emmy nominations were a disappointment — if an expected one — for D+ this year, with no big standard bearer like The Mandalorian or WandaVision among this year's nominees. Grade: C

    Joe Reid is the Managing Editor at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.

    TOPICS: HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, Disney+, Hulu, Netflix, Paramount+, Peacock