What to Stream: ‘Bling Empire,’ ‘Essex Serpent,’ ‘Operation Mincemeat’

The biggest new TV series and movies to stream this weekend include Season 2 of Netflix’s reality show ”Bling Empire”

The dog days of summer are fast approaching, and we can think of much worse ways to pass the time than settling in to enjoy a binge streaming session. Which, thanks to a bevy of new series and movies coming this weekend, the major TV platforms are apparently more than happy to help facilitate.

Below, we’ve included some of the biggest titles hitting all of your favorite streamers over the next few days. And the mix includes something for everyone — historical drama, reality TV, a horror title for those of you who don’t mind a good scare, we’ve got it all and more in our latest roundup of what to check out this weekend.

Bling Empire

Game shows and reality series have been multiplying in a big way of late on Netflix. You could make a case that they’re doing so at the expense of higher quality streaming fare on the platform. But, then again, what else has Netflix spent the last decade doing if not trying to figure out how to addict streaming customers? Some of us want Ozark and The Crown. Other people want to yell at the TV screen as game show contestants guess whether that object that looks like a shoe is really made of cake.

Add to that pile of reality content on Netflix a new season of Bling Empire, which debuts this weekend. Netflix puts this show in its “docu-soap” category, along the lines of Selling Sunset. They generally revolve around lots of drama, plus Kardashian-esque wealth porn and the lifestyles of the 1 percenters. “Los Angeles’s beloved uber-rich Asians are back with even more luxury, glamor and crazy,” Netflix teases about Season 2 of Bling Empire.
Season 2 of Bling Empire debuts on Netflix May 13.

The Time Traveler’s Wife

Audrey Niffenegger’s best-selling novel The Time Traveler’s Wife gave readers an unforgettable story that put them through an emotional ringer. Same with the 2009 movie based on the novel, starring Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana. So there’s no reason to think this HBO Max series offering another interpretation of the story will be any different. Especially with the caliber of the cast involved, which includes Rose Leslie and Theo James.

This is basically a boy-meets-girl love story, with the element of time travel added to the mix. Such that, well, it actually turns into more of a girl meets her time traveling future husband, grows up, and meets a future version of her husband-to-be who doesn’t recognize this version of her yet sort of thing. This 6-episode HBO Max series, by the way, is executive produced by writer Steven Moffat, who crafted some of the most beloved and emotional episodes of the BBC’s Doctor Who.
The Time Traveler’s Wife premieres May 15 on HBO and HBO Max.

The Essex Serpent

Following a string of highly polished, critically acclaimed prestige dramas in recent weeks — Severance, Pachinko, and the debut last weekend of Tehran’s sophomore season — Apple TV+’s next big-name series is at hand. Set in the late 19th century, The Essex Serpent follows a London widow named Cora (played by Claire Danes) who relocates to Essex, drawn there to look into reports about a mythical serpent. There, she links up with a local pastor (played by Tom Hiddleston) and the two form a bond built on science and skepticism.

Until tragedy strikes, and locals reach for the easiest culprit to blame — the woman who came here to investigate the serpent in the first place.
The Essex Serpent debuts on Apple TV+ on May 13.

Operation Mincemeat

Netflix’s new WWII drama with the fanciful-sounding name is loaded with high-profile British acting talent (like Colin Firth, who plays intelligence officer Ewen Montagu) and tells a story about a side of the conflict that doesn’t always make it into school history books.

Long story short, to counter the overwhelming resources and military might of the German army, Britain launched a secretive initiative that went in the opposite direction — essentially, using creative deception operations as a kind of force multiplier. Fun fact: One of Britain’s intelligence officers who concocted daring and sometimes completely implausible schemes during the war? One Ian Fleming, who after the war let the wild idea side of his brain run wild again for his series of novels about … well, surely we don’t need to finish that sentence.

At any rate, that’s the (real-life) territory that Netflix’s Operation Mincemeat plows. There really was an Operation Mincemeat. And it involved British officials wanting to feed the Germans bad intelligence in order to protect an Allied invasion force. The plan? The British simply stuffed the proof of the bad intelligence into the pockets of a dead man. And then, they let him wash ashore. At which point, the idea was for the Germans to just … find him, rummage through its pockets, and then it’s game over. Simple, right?
Operation Mincemeat is now streaming on Netflix.

Couples Therapy

This unscripted Showtime series brings us into psychologist Dr. Orna Guralnik’s Brooklyn office, where she conducts therapy sessions with four new couples. She helps them work through, the network explains, “their most intimate issues, confronting what’s brought them to a crossroads along with relatable stories and moments of profound revelation.”
Couples Therapy Season 3 debuts on Showtime on May 13.


For a video on demand treat for cinephiles, director M. Night Shyamalan 2021 horror thriller Old hits HBO Max on May 13. In this one, which produced quite a divided reaction among audiences, a family goes on vacation to a secluded beach. And they soon come to realize something horrifying. While there, they seem to be aging rapidly. So much so, that their whole life is now being compressed into a single day.
Old arrives on HBO Max on May 13.

Conversations with Friends

The new Hulu series Conversations with Friends, adapted from author Sally Rooney’s novel of the same name, follows 21-year-old college student Frances. As, according to the streamer’s official description, she “navigates a series of relationships that force her to confront her own vulnerabilities” for the first time in her life. The cast includes Alison Oliver, Joe Alwyn, Sasha Lane, and Jemima Kirke.
Conversations with Friends debuts on Hulu on May 15.

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