So here’s some bad news and some, well, slightly less bad news.
First, the bad-bad: Streaming prices are increasing almost across the board (Hulu and Apple TV+ rose in October, Disney+ will rise in December, while Netflix and Prime Video rose earlier this year), putting even more of a crunch on budget-conscious consumers.
Of course, the other money-saving solution is to double down on a churn-and-return strategy and cut down on recurring subscriptions even more.
Each month, this column offers tips on how to maximize your streaming and your budget, rating the major services as a “play,” “pause” or “stop” — similar to investment analysts’ traditional ratings of buy, hold and sell. We also pick the best content to help you make your monthly decisions.
Consumers can take full advantage of cord-cutting by churning and returning — adding and dropping streaming services each month. All it takes is good planning. Keep in mind that a billing cycle starts when you sign up, not necessarily at the beginning of the month, and keep an eye out for lower-priced tiers, limited-time discounts, free trials and cost-saving bundles. There are a lot of offers out there, but the deals don’t last forever.
Here’s a look at what’s coming to the various streaming services in November 2022, and what’s really worth the monthly subscription fee.
Netflix ($6.99 a month for basic with ads starting Nov. 3, $9.99 basic without ads, $15.49 standard without ads, $19.99 premium without ads)
Netflix has another really good month coming up.
“The Crown” (Nov. 9), returns for its fifth season, set this time in the 1990s as scandals involving Charles and Diana plaster London’s tabloids and the role of Britain’s monarchy in modern society is thrown into question. Imelda Staunton takes over the role of Queen Elizabeth, with Dominic West as Prince Charles, Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana and Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip. Controversy has already erupted over the new season, which will include Diana’s tragic death, as some have spoken out about the show’s increasingly blurry line between truth and fiction. Pryce recently told Vanity Fair, ““The vast majority of people know it’s a drama,” not a documentary. And it’s a pretty good drama.
Netflix NFLX, -0.41% hasn’t had much success developing original sitcoms, but is hoping to finally break through with “Blockbuster” (Nov. 3), a workplace comedy set at the last Blockbuster video store in America, starring network sitcom veterans Randall Park (“Fresh Off the Boat”) and Melissa Fumero (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”). There’s also “Wednesday” (Nov. 23), a horror-comedy series from Tim Burton starring Jenna Ortega as the terrifyingly snarky teen Wednesday Addams, with Catherine Zeta-Jones and Luis Guzman playing her creepy and kooky parents, Morticia and Gomez; and the third and final season of the dark comedy “Dead to Me” (Nov. 17), starring Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini, which returns after a two-and-a-half-year layoff.
On the drama side, there’s “1899” (Nov. 17), a mystery-horror series set aboard a transatlantic steamer ship at the turn of the last century, from the makers of the mind-bending German sci-fi series “Dark” — and if it’s even half as trippy and addictive, it’ll be terrific; Part 1 of the fourth season of the supernatural drama “Manifest” (Nov. 4), which Netflix rescued from NBC’s cancellation; and Season 6 of the soapy Spanish high-school drama “Elite” (Nov 18).
There’s also the timely documentary “FIFA Uncovered” (Nov. 9), digging into the scandal-plagued organization behind the World Cup; “Pepsi, Where’s My Jet” (Nov. 17), a documentary about a man who sued Pepsi in the 1980s to get a free Harrier fighter jet; the fifth installment of “The Great British Baking Show: Holidays” (Nov. 18); and the new standup comedy special from the outgoing “Daily Show” host, “Trevor Noah: I Wish You Would” (Nov. 22).
On the movie front, there’s “Enola Holmes 2” (Nov. 4), a sequel to the hit 2020 movie about Sherlock Holmes’ younger sister, played by Millie Bobby Brown (“Stranger Things”), as young detective Enola sets out to investigate her first case; “Slumberland” (Nov. 18), a comedy adventure about a young girl exploring the dreamworld, starring Mallow Barkley and Jason Mamoa; and Lindsay Lohan is back with a Christmas rom-com, “Falling for Christmas” (Nov. 10).
Who’s Netflix for? Fans of buzz-worthy original shows and movies.
Play, pause or stop? Play. When it’s at the top of its game, as it is again this month, Netflix is a must-have, at whatever price tier.
Disney+ ($7.99 a month)
The TV world has been abuzz about prequels for the past few months, but it’s all about sequels in November for Disney+.
The biggest of the bunch is “Willow” (Nov. 30), a follow-up series to the cult-favorite 1988 fantasy movie of the same name. The magical adventure is set 20 years after the events of the film, and Warwick Davis returns as farmer-turned-sorcerer Willow Ufgood, who leads an unlikely group of heroes on a quest to save their world. It should be fun for the whole family.
Disney DIS, +1.45% also has “Disenchanted” (Nov. 18), a sequel to the 2007 hit movie “Enchanted.” The musical fantasy is set 10 years the happily-ever-after ending, with Giselle (Amy Adams) questioning her happiness and inadvertently setting her two worlds askew. Patrick Dempsey, James Marsden and Maya Rudolph co-star. And then there’s “The Santa Clauses” (Nov. 16), as Tim Allen reprises his role of Santa Claus, who’s now facing retirement and looking for a replacement, in a new miniseries spinoff of the family-movie trilogy.
Also of note: “The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special” (Nov. 25), as Star-Lord and the gang kidnap Kevin Bacon; the live performance “Elton John: Live from Dodger Stadium” (Nov. 20), the pop icon’s final show in North America; and weekly episodes of “Dancing With the Stars” (season finale Nov. 21), the “Star Wars” prequel “Andor” (season finale Nov. 23) and “The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers” (season finale Nov. 30).
And heads up: Prices for the ad-free tier will jump to $10.99 a month in December, after Disney+ launches its ad-supported tier for $7.99 a month.
Who’s Disney+ for? Families with kids, hardcore “Star Wars” and Marvel fans. For people not in those groups, Disney’s library can be lacking.
Play, pause or stop? Play. There’s something for everyone in the household — even grumps who aren’t “Star Wars” fans can get into “Andor,” which absolutely works as a dark, gripping, spy thriller. Meanwhile, fans are realizing it just might be the best “Star Wars” series or movie ever made.
HBO Max ($9.99 a month with ads, or $14.99 without ads)
HBO Max is bringing back “The Sex Lives of College Girls” (Nov. 17) for its second season. Created by Mindy Kaling and Justin Noble (who also teamed on Netflix’s “Never Have I Ever”), the ensemble comedy about four college roommates picks up right after Thanksgiving break, with the girls organizing a “sex-positive” male strip show. It’s sharp, funny, and less cringey than its title suggests.
Then there’s “A Christmas Story Christmas” (Nov. 17), a nostalgic sequel to the 1983 classic, starring Peter Billingsley as a grown-up Ralphie who returns to his hometown to try to give his kids a perfect Christmas. It’s risky reviving such a beloved movie, and this could either be wonderful or terrible, there’s really no middle ground.
HBO Max also has a slew of documentaries, including “Love, Lizzo” (Nov. 24), about the pop superstar’s inspiring life story; “Shaq” (Nov. 23), a four-part docuseries chronicling the rise to superstardom of NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal; “Low Country: The Murdaugh Dynasty” (Nov. 3), a true-crime series about a South Carolina lawyer’s scandalous fall; and “Say Hey, Willie Mays!” (Nov. 8), a film exploring the life, career and social impact of the greatest baseball player who ever played the game.
And every week brings new episodes of Season 2 of the very dark vacation comedy “The White Lotus,” Season 3 of “Pennyworth: The Origin of Batman’s Butler” and Season 2 of the cult documentary “The Vow.”
Who’s HBO Max for? HBO fans and movie lovers.
Play, pause or stop? Pause and think it over. “The White Lotus” and “The Sex Lives of College Girls” are both worth watching, but beyond that it’s kinda “meh” this month. And Max is too pricey for “meh.”
Amazon Prime Video ($14.99 a month)
Amazon AMZN, -6.80% is bringing the star power in November, starting with the Western drama series “The English” (Nov. 11), starring Emily Blunt as an aristocratic Englishwoman who teams with a Pawnee scout (Chaske Spencer) on a mission to cross the violent 1890s American frontier. It looks stylish and bloody — and promising.
Meanwhile, James Corden and Sally Hawkins star in “Mammals” (Nov. 11), a dark comedy series about modern marriage; pop star-turned-actor Harry Styles stars in “My Policeman” (Nov. 4), a drama about forbidden romance that’s getting very “meh” reviews in its theatrical release; and Kristen Bell, Ben Platt and Allison Janney star in “The People We Hate at the Wedding” (Nov. 18), a raunchy comedy set at a dysfunctional family wedding.
There’s also NFL Thursday Night Football every week, and new episodes of the intriguing sci-fi drama “The Peripheral,” which is giving very “Westworld”-but-slightly-less-confusing vibes.
Who’s Amazon Prime Video for? Movie lovers, TV-series fans who value quality over quantity.
Play, pause or stop? Pause. There’s good stuff here, but nothing that feels must-see.
Paramount+ ($4.99 a month with ads but not live CBS, $9.99 without ads)
Taylor Sheridan (“Yellowstone,” “1883,” “Mayor of Kingstown”) has another new series: “Tulsa King” (Nov. 13), starring Sylvester Stallone as a former New York mafia capo who gets freed from prison after 25 years and settles in Tulsa, Okla., to build a criminal empire of his own. Showrunner Terence Winter (“The Sopranos,” “Boardwalk Empire”) knows a thing or two about mob shows, and this one could be good.
Paramount+ also has the spinoff series “Criminal Minds: Evolution” (Nov. 24), about an elite team of FBI profilers unraveling a network of serial killers; the family movie “Fantasy Football” (Nov. 25), about a girl who can magically control how her NFL-player dad performs on the field; and the series finale of “The Good Fight” (Nov. 10), which its creators promise will be “cataclysmic.”
There’s also the Thanksgiving Day Parade (Nov. 24) and a ton of live sports, including college football on Saturdays, NFL football on Sundays (and Thanksgiving Day), and group-stage matches for UEFA’s Champions and Europe leagues.
Who’s Paramount+ for? Gen X cord-cutters who miss live sports and familiar Paramount Global PARA, +3.37% broadcast and cable shows.
Play, pause or stop? Pause. Besides its solid live-sports lineup, it’s a good time to catch up and binge “The Good Fight,” and “Tulsa King” could be worth a watch too.
Hulu ($7.99 a month with ads, or $14.99 with no ads)
Hulu has a couple of interesting offerings in November, but nothing that screams must-see. Yet, at least.
FX’s “Fleishman Is in Trouble” (Nov. 17) stars Jesse Eisenberg as a newly divorced dad whose promiscuous dive into app-based dating is disrupted when his ex-wife disappears and leaves him with their kids. Claire Danes, Lizzy Caplan and Adam Brody co-star in the eight-episode drama, which is based on Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s best-selling novel.
There’s also “Welcome to Chippendales” (Nov. 22), a true-crime series starring Kumail Nanjiani as the immigrant founder of the 1980s male-stripper franchise, which chronicles his business empire’s rise and fall amid a blizzard of sex, drugs and violence.
Meanwhile, Adam McKay (“The Big Short”) and Billy Corben (“Cocaine Cowboys”) have the documentary “God Forbid: The Sex Scandal That Brought Down a Dynasty” (Nov. 1), about the private life of Christian televangelist and former Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. and his very public downfall.
There are also the final two episodes of “Atlanta” (series finale Nov. 10), whose fourth season has returned to brilliance after an underwhelming Season 3 over the summer, and new episodes every week of ABC’s “Abbott Elementary.”
Who’s Hulu for? TV lovers. There’s a deep library for those who want older TV series and next-day streaming of many current network and cable shows.
Play, pause or stop? Stop. While you won’t regret paying for Hulu if you already do, there’s not a lot to lure new subscribers this month.
Apple TV+ ($6.99 a month)
Apple TV+ is too inconsistent to be worth the $2-a-month price hike that was just announced, so it’s best to strategically plan when to stream — wait until a good series or two are completed, for example, and binge them all in a month, then cancel. Repeat as needed.
And it actually is a decent month for Apple. Its second-best comedy, “Mythic Quest” Nov. 11), returns for its third season, with Ian (Rob McElhenny) and Poppy (Charlotte Nicdao) gearing up for war against their old videogame company. With a perfect blend of humor and heart, it’s one of the best workplace comedies on TV.
Meanwhile, Season 2 of “The Mosquito Coast” (Nov. 4) finds the fugitive Fox family finally hiding out in Central America, after a tedious premise-pilot of a first season that wasted good actors (Justin Theroux and Melissa George) and beautiful cinematography with nonsensical plot twists, while the action series “Echo 3” (Nov. 23) stars Luke Evans and Michiel Huisman as former soldiers trying to rescue a kidnapped scientist in the jungles of South America.
Apple AAPL, +7.56% also has a pair of high-profile original movies: “Causeway” (Nov. 3), starring Jennifer Lawrence as a former soldier struggling to adjust to civilian life in New Orleans, co-starring Brian Tyree Henry, and “Spirited” (Nov. 18), a musical twist on “A Christmas Carol” told from the ghosts’ point of view, starring Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell.
Who’s Apple TV+ for? It offers a little something for everyone, but not necessarily enough for anyone — although it’s getting there.
Play, pause or stop? Stop. There’s just not enough to justify a month-to-month subscription. December is a better bet, with “Mythic Quest” and a new season of “Slow Horses” running concurrently.
Peacock (free basic level, Premium for $4.99 a month with ads, or $9.99 a month with no ads)
The World Cup from Qatar (Nov. 20-Dec. 18) will be broadcast on Fox and FS1, so cord-cutters are out of luck, unless you subscribe to a live-streaming service like Hulu Live or YouTube TV. However, Peacock will stream every match in Spanish, which could be a decent Plan B for soccer fans.
And that “it’ll-do-but-it’s-not-exactly-what-I’m-looking-for” description is the running theme for Peacock. November will bring a handful of originals that are unlikely to move the needle, subscriber-wise: There’s the musical-comedy spinoff series “Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin” (Nov. 23), starring Adam Devine; “The Calling” (Nov. 10), a crime drama about a religious cop, from David E. Kelley and Barry Levinson; the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (Nov. 24); and the streaming debut of Jordan Poole’s sci-fi/horror hit “Nope” (Nov. 18).
Sports-wise, Peacock has the National Dog Show (hey, it’s a competition!) on Nov. 24, NFL Sunday Night Football every weekend, a full slate of English Premier League matches through Nov. 13, and a ton of golf and winter sports.
Who’s Peacock for? If you have a Comcast CMCSA, -0.06% or Cox cable subscription, you likely have free access to the Premium tier (with ads) — though reportedly not for much longer. The free tier is almost worthless, but the recent addition of next-day streaming of NBC and Bravo shows (like “Saturday Night Live” and “Real Housewives”) bolsters the case for paying for a subscription. Still, Peacock is still not really necessary unless you need it for sports.
Play, pause or stop? Stop. There’s not a lot that’s particularly enticing right now, even on the sports side.
Discovery+ ($4.99 a month with ads, or $6.99 with no ads)
More of the same in November for Discovery+, which is a feature, not a bug. Highlights include the vegan cook-and-chat show “Mary McCartney Serves It Up” (Nov. 1); “Tut’s Lost City Revealed” (Nov. 3), about a 3,000-year-old Egyptian city recently discovered by archaeologists; “Vardy vs Rooney: The Wagatha Trial” (Nov. 19), the inside story of the tabloid-fodder “Wagatha” scandal between the wives of English soccer stars; and Season 2 of the excellent CNN food series “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy” (Nov. 30). Full disclosure: There are also a handful of sappy holiday movies guest-starring some HGTV and Food Network stars, but they look terrible and I expect better from you, a discerning reader/viewer.
Who’s Discovery+ for? Cord-cutters who miss their unscripted TV or who are really, really into “90 Day Fiancé.”
Play, pause or stop? Stop. Discovery+ is still fantastic for background TV, but it’s not worth the cost. Still, it should add value when the reconfigured Warner Bros. Discovery WBD, +3.68% combines it with HBO Max next summer.