NOW TV may be uncharted territory for some, but Sky’s on-demand service undoubtedly holds the streaming goods. Wary of branching out from Netflix and Amazon Prime? Don’t fear: consider Empire your guide to the best TV shows, films and documentaries on offer each month, and swiftly pop the below dates into your streaming diaries.
Ballers, Season 2 – July 19
Jack of all trades, master of all, Dwayne Johnson has somehow found time in his jam-packed schedule to star in a second season of HBO’s Ballers. For those not au fait with the show, think Entourage, but for sports. Stuffed full of cameos and enough testosterone to power a small city, the show follows ex-NFL star Spencer Strasmore (Johnson) as he advises up-and-coming athletes on how to handle their money.
Vice Principals – July 19
Danny McBride and Walton Goggins are the central, battling teachers in this new HBO comedy from the creators of Eastbound & Down. Desperate to rise from veep to principal, the pair are happily prepared to take the school down with them on their respective quests for glory. With HBO’s stellar run of recent comedies (Veep and Silicon Valley for starters), you should be directing your peepers in Vice Principals’ direction as soon as the school corridors open.
Ray Donovan, Season 4 – available now
Back for a fourth season, Ray Donovan (Liev Schreiber) is so tough he’d make Ross Kemp shake in his boots. For those not up to speed, Bostonian Donovan is a fixer to LA’s rich and powerful, but can’t quite fix family problems involving his unpredictable father (Jon Voight). With Season 3 seeing – SPOILER – Ray’s stomach pumped full of lead, we predict Season 4 will be mighty, mighty explosive.
Shades Of Blue, Season 1 – July 13
Jenny swaps the Block for Brooklyn as part of a tough police cohort (led by Ray Liotta) who pack heat as well as secrets. When Lopez’s single mother is found in a compromising position, she turns FBI informant and, you guessed it, a whole lot of double-crossing and paranoia ensues. Originally onboard to simply produce, we’re rather glad you’ve returned to the small screen, J. Lo.
Spectre – July 8
Divisive theme song aside, Spectre had the grand old job of following Bond-to-beat-all-Bonds, Skyfall (plus, you know, how do you out-Adele Adele?). Andrew Scott, Léa Seydoux and Dave Bautista join series heavies Ben Whishaw, Rory Kinnear, Naomie Harris and Ralph Fiennes, with Christoph Waltz on glorious scene-chewing form as a-character-who-definitely-isn’t-Blofeld-promise. It’s worth it for those opening 10 minutes alone...
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation – July 9
Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise, in case you’ve been in an alien-induced coma for the last two decades) and co. return for another ‘impossible’ mission. When the CIA (led by Alec Baldwin) shuts down the Impossible Mission Force after Hunt and crew break protocol again, Ethan goes in search of the mysterious ‘Syndicate’ with the help of a scene-stealing Rebecca Ferguson. Film highlight? That opera house scene. Without. A. Doubt.
Ant-Man – July 22
Before that big, lovable bundle of human charisma Paul Rudd stole the show in Captain America: Civil War, he was literally stealing things in Peyton Reed’s Marvel heist movie. Out of the shrinking super-suit, Rudd’s Scott Lang is an ex-con struggling to make ends meet. But in it? Well, he’s an ex-con with a shrinking super-suit! What more could you want?! (Warning: Christophe Beck’s earworm theme tune takes roughly 3-6 months to exit your brain.)
Minions – July 30
Yes, those love ‘em or hate ‘em yellow fruit-loving weebly things finally got their own movie. Having served evil masters since time immemorial (Tyrannosaurus rex and Napoleon the Great included), Minions Stuart, Kevin and Bob go in search of a new leader. Luckily for them, they happen across the world’s first female supervillain, Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock). Not so luckily for them, she’s intent on Minion annihilation. Eek.
The Visit – available now
M. Night Shyamalan: master of the twist, in need of a recent good film. Thankfully, The Visit isn’t on The Last Airbender/After Earth side of things, being a fine return to small-scale form for the director. When a mother (Kathryn Hahn) sends her children to spend a week at their grandparents’, they decide to whip out a camcorder for a family documentary. Which, as cinema lore tells us, is a terrible idea that may or may not see them murdered. What did we learn from Signs, kids? YOU NEVER GO IN THE BASEMENT.
Everest – July 15
Man-sized tissues at the ready… Baltasar Kormákur’s harrowing tale of life and death amongst the clouds makes its way to NOW TV this month. Telling the true-life tale of Rob Hall (Jason Clarke), Beck Weathers (Josh Brolin) and their fellow climbers’ fateful mountain peak mission, Everest is both technically impressive and tastefully handled thanks to an awards-worthy cast (Knightley! Gyllenhaal! Watson! Hawkes!) and VFX supervisor Dadi Einarsson.
Crimson Peak – July 17
If your walls started bleeding, you’d run for the hills. But when Tom Hiddleston is involved, we can understand Edith Cushing’s (Mia Wasikowska) want to stay. Cushing lives out many a fantasy by marrying Hiddleston’s Thomas Sharpe: a mysterious stranger with money, a bonkers sister (film highlight Jessica Chastain) and a lot more to boot. The lack of conventional horror may not be to everyone’s taste, but this is a stunningly designed Victorian thriller from Guillermo del Toro.
Star Trek channel takeover – 18-29 July
With Star Trek Beyond out on July 22 and the franchise celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, it’s only right that Sky go all out for the occasion. An entire channel is being dedicated to the final frontier, seeing Sky Movies Greats renamed Sky Movies Star Trek, beaming up a whole lot of Trek goodness in the process. All 10 original films (that’s 1979’s Star Trek: The Movie right through to 2002’s Star Trek: Nemesis) will be available on the channel, with cult documentaries Trekkies and Trekkies 2 available on demand. As for J.J. Abrams’ reimaginings? They will be found on Sky Store.