I'm not sure what I did before the whole streaming TV revolution came along. It's the only thing I watch now when I've got time for TV, and with my device I get all the free to air channels streaming services too. I still watch Masterchef on TenPlay, Q&A on ABCiView, Prime Suspect on Plus7, & all the Nordic Noir SBS On Demand is dishing up, but now I've got a mind boggling additional trove of top quality content with Stan, Presto and Netflix. Here are two of my recent favourites from the streaming channels.
House of Cards - Netflix
If you haven’t seen this delicious piece of political fiction, you are missing out. Frank Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, is a Democrat and the house whip in the United States Congress. Frank is married to Claire Underwood, played by Robin Wright, and together they start out looking like your standard ambitious political couple trying to get ahead in Washington. But there is getting ahead, and then there is doing whatever it takes, whatever the cost, to win. It becomes apparent very quickly, that these two are short more than a few scruples, and just when you think they won’t stoop any lower; they sprint towards the 6th circle of hell.
In full flight Frank is spectacular. He never stops plotting and scheming, and is quick to take full advantage of even the most diabolical situations, usually ones he engineers for himself, and occasionally due to the inevitable fallout of his machinations.
By the end of Season 1, I loved & loathed Frank in equal measure. I couldn’t help but admire his scheming. Sure my moral compass was appalled by the fact he is a violent psychopath, but his political instinct for survival is something else. Claire is important in season 1, but does not really come into her own until Season 2. This is a show that keeps paying off as the characters reveal more of themselves. Claire is slightly better at showing glimpses of humanity, but lets be honest they are few and far between. Just when you think she is the light to Frank’s shade, she goes and does something even shadier than even he has managed.
Claire and Frank appear to be on a kamikaze mission to be at the top, & stay on top, regardless how many people they have to expend to get there. What I’m waiting to see in Season 5, due out in 2017; how long it takes before Claire attempts to throw Frank under the bus, seize power and rule without him? She is after all, the popular one in this demented duo. I held out watching this for months, but now I’m not sure why I waited.
Binge Watch Factor: Pace yourself. There are 4 whole seasons to get through!
Unreal - Stan
This is better than all the reality-dating shows you've ever watched. Way, way better. Unreal is a fictional look at what it takes to make one of those ubiquitous romance shows with all their roses, angst and ruthless competition. But here we see things from the perspective of the crew and the producers, and the lengths they go to in order to make the show a ratings winner. You won't look at those reality dating shows the same way again after seeing this gem.
Shiri Appleby, plays Rachel, an emotionally repressed pragmatist who stops at nothing to get the story, occasionally punctuated by moments of conscience. Season 1 gives you the sense that Rachel is so married to her job, that her identity would be fractured, if she could no longer plot bigger and better ways to screw over contestants in order to have the best show on TV.
Season 2 is still unfolding at the moment, and is just as enthralling as season 1. This week’s episode included a shocking twist, and I'm am hating having to wait every week for the next episode to drop.
Binge Watch Factor: Hard to resist watching an entire season in one night.