Tom’s Guide is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Here’s why you can trust us.
A deep dive into which streaming services are worth the cost this month
We cancel streaming services all the time, as it’s a perfectly easy way to find more room in your budget for the month. Earlier this year, I canceled Netflix and came back months later. It’s called ‘churn’ and it works for our bottom lines (the services hate it, as you might expect).
But at a moment when Disney Plus and Hulu price hikes are on their way this fall, it’s hard to feel like we should be loyal to these streaming services. Your priority, like ours, is likely making sure you don’t miss new episodes of your favorite shows — or a new series that is now your new fave.
That’s why we’re taking a deep dive into what the best streaming services are offering in September 2022 and giving our recommendation for the streamer(s) to cut.
As we do every month, we’re breaking down what’s new on Netflix, HBO Max, Apple TV Plus, Hulu and Disney Plus. We won’t get into the stuff they already have, as it’s impossible to guess what you have (and have not) already watched.
Peacock and Paramount Plus are rising streaming services, but not for consideration for this list as they’re just not as widespread. We’re also skipping Amazon Prime Video, because it’s less of a standalone service than a Prime membership perk.
Apple TV Plus is built around the idea that you will get a modest amount of quality content for $4.99 / £4.99 / AU$7.99 per month (opens in new tab). Yes, it’s the same price as Peacock and Paramount Plus, which offer actual back catalogues, but Apple has a better track record at originals than either of those two.
For example, I recently finally got into For All Mankind, which I now love. Also, TG global editor in chief Mark Spoonauer found his favorite show of the year on Apple TV Plus. But what is Apple offering this month?
First up is Life by Ella (Sept. 2) a promising young-adult comedy series about the titular Ella (Lily Brooks), a 13-year-old who’s just beaten cancer and is finally living like a kid. There’s a charm to the below trailer, enough so that I want to check it out — even though I wasn’t interested before.
Apple TV Plus’ animated musical sitcom is back with Central Park season 3 (September 9), and they have familiar and unfamiliar problems alike. Bitsy (Stanley Tucci) is still trying to buy New York’s iconic park, while park ranger Owen (Leslie Odom Jr.), who lives in the park (in a house, mind you) with his family, is trying to stop her with a PR blitz. They’ll both be looking to convince the new major played by Sam Richardson (The Afterparty) who is seemingly easily swayed.
Next, Gutsy (September 9) sees Hillary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton as you’ve never seen then before: interviewers. The world-famous mother-daughter duo is traveling to interview women who they believe are inspirational. Included in the roster are Megan Thee Stallion, Dr. Jane Goodall, Gloria Steinem, Wanda Sykes and Kim Kardashian.
Producer Oprah Winfrey teams with Apple TV Plus again to deliver Sidney (September 23), a documentary that puts a spotlight on the more-than-deserving life of Sidney Poitier. So, for any who don’t know about how Poitier made a name for himself in Hollywood by getting roles that Black actors weren’t getting, mark your calendars accordingly. Interviews with Poitier are included in the film, and his story is also told by Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, Barbra Streisand, Spike Lee, Robert Redford and Lenny Kravitz.
Last up, Zac Efron stars as Chickie in the Vietnam War film The Greatest Beer Run Ever (September 30). After Chickie hears a convincing speech from a bartender (Bill Murray), he decides he wants to help the war effort in a very unusual way: bringing the soldiers some good-ol’-fashioned American brewskis. Of course, his friends in the field don’t take kindly to his odd show of support. Actually based on a true story.
My recommendation: Every title in Apple’s latest slate won’t be for everyone, but this slate offers something for everyone for around the same price as a latte.
Those of you in the millions who have been tuning into House of the Dragon (September 4, 11, 18 and 25) may skip past this section, but I’d suggest you stick around. While this column is meant to help people with their budget, it’s not-so-secretly about helping you figure out how to make the most of your streaming services.
And this matters especially for anyone who isn’t feeling like House of the Dragon isn’t appointment TV, it doesn’t end until October 23rd. So, you could easily cancel now and then come back in October and binge the whole thing, if you don’t have water-cooler conversations to worry about. If you find the series a little boring at the moment, know that a mid-season time jump is going to switch the actresses playing Rhaenyra Targaryen (from Milly Alcock to Emma D’Arcy) and Alicent Hightower (from Emily Carey to Olivia Cooke) — which may be the moment where the show flips a switch and becomes much more interesting.
We’ve named HBO Max as the best streaming service, and that’s why this hurts me the most. Right now, aside from House of the Dragon (or #HotD, as it’s called on Twitter), there’s only one strong show that keeps me interested in HBO Max — and it’s about to be over for the year. Yes, Harley Quinn season 3 ends on September 15, giving some of us a reason to jump off HBO Max. Especially when its somewhat steep price ($15 for a regular subscription, $10 for ad-free) is more than others. But what else is HBO Max offering?
Well, HBO Max begins September with a swivel, as Baz Luhrman’s Elvis (September 2) arrives to bring Austin Butler’s amazing performance as The King of Rock n Roll to streaming. Also, at the end of the month, a bunch of Discovery Plus-flavored content arrives from Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Network, including the five season Fixer Upper library.
Later in the month, Los Espookys season 2 (September 16) finds the surreal bilingual comedy return to HBO Max. The series has followed a group of horror-loving friends who make money off of bringing horror to clients’ lives. Off the air for three years, Los Espookys returns with a haunting happening to one of their own: Renaldo (Bernardo Velasco) is being followed by a murdered beauty pageant queen’s ghost. His uncle Tico (co-creator Fred Armisen) tells him he needs to intimidate the corse of this queen to survive.
You know all that talk that HBO Max and parent company Warner Bros. Discovery are done with children’s programming? Don’t tell that to the talking autos in Secret Origins of the Batwheels (September 17), a half-hour special that provides the backstory for the Batwheels series that starts this fall.
HBO’s film Escape from Kabul (September 21) tells the story of the U.S.’ withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan in August 2021. It includes “never-before-seen archival footage from those on the ground at the airport,” as well as exclusive interviews with those who lived there throughout the period, U.S. Marines and Taliban commanders and fighters. After that, the four-part docuseries Hostages (September 28) dives into the Iran Hostage Crisis of 1979, as well as looking at its consequences.
Also coming this month is The Hype season 2 (September 22), where aspiring streetwear designers look to impress host Speedy Morman and judges Offset, Bephie Birkett and Marni Senofonte.
My recommendation: Unless you’ve looked for residence inside of House of the Dragon, this feels like the time to take a break from House Max. I’d drop out right after Harley Quinn season 3 ends.
With Stranger Things on another long-term between-seasons hiatus and The Sandman at rest, some may be itching to get out, especially after Netflix’s early 2022 price hike. Anyone annoyed about Resident Evil’s cancelation is also probably annoyed. So, how will the big red streaming machine try and keep folks around in September 2022?
Well, the tradition of Netflix’s new arrivals for the start of the month (September 1) range from classics such as A Clockwork Orange, Clueless and Scarface to … the Austin Powers trilogy, three Resident Evil films and Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2. There are also two high-profile titles that have TBA release dates: Cyberpunk: Edgerunners (which looks cool and futuristic, and hopefully ditches the bugginess of Cyberpunk 2077) and The Great British Baking Show: Collection 10.
Parents everywhere are probably loathing CoComelon season 6 (September 5) as the brightly-colored musically-flavored returns. In animation news that older viewers may find exciting, Natasha Allegri’s Bee and PuppyCat season 2 (September 6) is finally hitting Netflix.
Love pizza? Who doesn’t. And Netflix’s Chef’s Table: Pizza (September 7) looks like the kind of show you shouldn’t watch on an empty stomach.
The big new release of the month, though, is Cobra Kai season 5 (September 9). This time Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) isn’t just focused on taking down Terry Silver and the Cobra Kai dojo. He, along the likes of former enemy Chozen (Yuji Okumoto) also have to deal with Karate Kid Part III’s villain, Mike Barnes (Sean Kanan). Meanwhile, Johnny (William Zabka) is astray, as the valley’s worst rideshare driver, and winds up traveling to Mexico to find Miguel.
Netflix is also still delivering the comedy, with new special from Jo Koy (September 13), Patton Oswalt (September 20) and Nick Kroll (September 27), whose special Little Big Boy is his first with Netflix. Floor is Lava season 3 (September 30) should also make a splash.
Expect a lot of chatter over Blonde (September 28) the adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates’ novel about Marilyn Monroe. Ana de Armas stars.
My recommendation: Unless you know the difference between the Cobra Kai dojo and the Miyagi-Do dojo? You can save up to $19.99 this month.
Hulu (starting at $6.99 per month (opens in new tab)) will cost more following an October price hike, but the green house of streams looks to benefit from the new TV season starting the prior month. So, we will note that some of these shows will also be available on broadcast or cable TV channels, below. While most of the below is currently-airing TV, Hulu is also getting a relatively-recent movie release, as The Last Duel (September 14), which is getting a second consideration online after its ad campaign didn’t really work.
Hulu starts off the month, though, with its original series Wedding Season (September 8). Debuting all at once, this series finds Stefan (Gavin Drea) and Katie (Rosa Salazar) meet and fall for each other at a wedding, and begin an affair as Katie’s already with-fiancé. And, then, after Stefan objects at Katie’s wedding, a shocking amount of murders take place at that wedding. And everyone thinks someone else did it.
Fox’s new series Monarch (September 12) is a view at the country-western landscape by way of Succession, as the successful Romans family is full of secrets. Susan Sarandon stars as Dottie Cantrell Roman, the matriarch who is near the end of her career. And her children? Well, much like the Roys, nobody is sure if any stack up.
The biggest Hulu series, though, The Handmaid’s Tale season 5 (September 15). Fresh off of leading the downfall of Commander Fred Waterford last season June Osbourne (Elizabeth Moss) is now being seen as the villain by some. And June’s ready to admit she enjoyed what she did, too. Waterford’s widow Serena (Yvonne Strahovski) is focused on stopping June, and she’s trying to figure out who she shouldn’t trust inside her own empire. Two episodes debut in this premiere.
Atlanta season 4 (September 16) will deliver two of this final run when it debuts on Hulu the day after the episodes appear on FX. This arc looks to be more focused on Earn, Al, Van and Darius, following season 3’s erratic focus on both the group and the side-stories. Al is dealing with the increased annoyances of success, while Earn is spending more time with Van and their child Lottie. As for Darius? He’s seeing things.
Tired of reboots? Well, Hulu’s new Reboot (September 20) is mining laughter from the entire premise. As a studio looks to reunite the sitcom Step Right Up, its original stars (played by Keegan-Michael Key, Judy Greer and Johnny Knoxville) are all not really quite ready to return to their old spotlight. And the year of Paul Reiser (last seen in Stranger Things 4 and The Boys season 3) continues, as he plays the showrunner for the original series who isn’t excited to return to a modern and diverse writer’s room.
If I had to pick a favorite show coming to Hulu, though, it would be the ABC series Abbott Elementary season 2 (September 22). The mockumentary about the dysfunctional teachers at an underfunded Philadelphia elementary school is returning for more, and we’ve been told to expect big cameos, especially in the first episode.
Then, the hits keep coming with The Kardashians season 2 (September 22). Kim K says she’s found even more of her confidence than ever. Interestingly, though, Pete Davidson is nowhere to be seen, giving credence to recent rumors that Kim was not happy during that relationship.
Lastly, Ramy season 3 (September 30) arrives at the end of the month, continuing the series loosely based on the life of creator Ramy Youssef. Last season ended with Ramy confession his unfaithful behavior to his new bride, who left him.
My recommendation: Keep it. Hulu is buttering us up for its upcoming price hike with a month nobody can miss.
I don’t know whether you’re loving She-Hulk (September 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29), but if you’re not into that, then Disney Plus has big titles from across its purview to keep you subscribed.
It all starts on Disney Plus Day (September 8), when Thor: Love and Thunder hits Disney Plus and the sing-along versions of Frozen and Frozen 2 arrive the same day.
Disney Plus Day also delivers Disney’s new Pinocchio. Check out the below trailer to see Tom Hanks as Gepetto and Joseph Gordon-Levitt voicing Jiminy Cricket. The cast is filled out with Cynthia Erivo as the Blue Fairy, Keegan-Michael Key as “Honest” John and Lorraine Bracco as new character Sofia the Seagull.
Mija (September 16), is that rare Disney Plus original that has nothing to do with existing Disney-owned characters. From the Disney Original Documentary team, Mija shows the story of Doris Muñoz and Jacks Haupt, a pair of daughters from a family of undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. from Mexico. The film shows their attempts to get a career in the music industry, and the struggles along the way.
Love Dancing with the Stars? Then you can’t go without Disney Plus this year. Dancing with the Stars season 31 (September 19, live at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT)
Lastly, we’ve got the (slightly delayed) debut of Andor, the Star Wars series that’s a prequel to Rogue One. It starts five years before that film’s events, and will show us both how Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) became the man he was in that film, and how the rebellion against the Galactic Empire began. Forest Whitaker is back as Saw Gerrera, as is Genevieve O’Reilly (reprising the role of Mon Mothma). Stellan Skarsgård and Fiona Shaw are also in the series.
My recommendation: Disney Plus has enough to keep Marvel and Star Wars fans and everybody else.
Going back to school and coming back from vacations are two moments when you might start thinking where you can save. Not only may your trips have had unexpected expenses, but back to school supplies and text books are never as cheap as you’d like. If you’re looking to cut costs, I think you can get away with cancelling two streaming services: Netflix and HBO Max.
Yes, I know HBO Max’s September lineup is bolstered by House of the Dragon. But since the first half of that season will be followed by a jump cut that forces them to change two key actresses, waiting til October to binge the rest isn’t a bad idea. Also, yeah, Netflix? Apologies to the Cobra Kai crowd, but unless you like that show or are a huge Marilyn Monroe fan, Netflix’s September lineup feels dry.
As for Disney Plus, She-Hulk continues but they’ve got so much more: Thor: Love and Thunder comes home, the Pinocchio film, the sing-along Frozens, Andor and Dancing with the Stars? Lastly, don’t even come for Hulu: not only does it have a strong originals lineup with The Kardashians, Wedding Season, The Handmaid’s Tale season 5 and Reboot, but they’ve also got the day-after releases of Monarch, Abbott Elementary and Atlanta.
As always, folks, your mileage may vary. These are just my suggestions. Just make sure you’re making the most of the services you’re paying for.
Read next: you should forget Marvel as there are Disney Plus movies you should really watch, and here are the 7 best new movies to stream this week on Netflix, Disney Plus and more (Sept. 4-11).
Henry is a senior editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom’s Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He’s also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.
Get instant access to breaking news, the hottest reviews, great deals and helpful tips.
Thank you for signing up to Tom’s Guide. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.
Tom’s Guide is part of Future US Inc, an international media group and leading digital publisher. Visit our corporate site (opens in new tab).
© Future US, Inc. Full 7th Floor, 130 West 42nd Street, New York, NY 10036.