Five UnmissableTelevision Shows you can Stream
The recent evolution of modern television drama owes a great deal to the internet.Streaming services have relegated problems like bad TV reception to history and recognising the importance of internet safety for children – they have also afforded parents with means of providing their children with entertainment, safe in the knowledge that they cannot access anything that they shouldn’t.
But what about the content itself?This is where streaming services really shine and what prompts audiences to reach into their wallet and who can blame them?While regular television networks continue to pigeon hole you, the streaming services divert their ever-burgeoning revenues toward programmes which take creative risks.In some instances, these risks have paid off spectacularly.Let’s take a look at a selection of the shows that make that Netflix and Amazon Prime membership worthwhile.
Better Call Saul!
Bob Odenkirk reprises his role as Saul Goodman in this prequel to Breaking Bad, which has shown no sign of wilting beneath the shadow of its brilliant parent season.Better Call Saul tells the tale of how a bright-eyed idealistic lawyer James McGill came to transform into the sleazy, underhand lawyer Saul Goodman, who we meet in Breaking Bad.
Those that haven’t yet seen Breaking Bad have a great deal to catch up on before they can appreciate this new spin-off.Those who have will doubtless yearn for more tales from the criminal underworld of Albuquerque, New Mexico – and in this regard, Better Call Saul does not disappoint.
The Man in the High Castle
Perhaps the most obscure entry to this list features its biggest name.Ridley Scott, the director of perhaps the most significant screen-adaptation of a Philip K Dick novel, Blade Runner (and its recently announced sequel) has lent his considerable reputation as executive producer to another Dick adaptation, The Man in the High Castle – a story which imagines how history might have unfolded had the Axis powers won the second world war and subsequently occupied the United States.
Owing perhaps to its controversial subject matter, the series has led a rather charmed life, being picked up and dropped by both the BBC and SyFy before finally finding a home at Amazon, who, having released a single pilot episode, have recently given the go-ahead for work on a full series.If this first episode is any measure of the quality we might expect from future episodes, then audiences are in for a treat.
This Netflix original is another example of a series which would, in all likelihood, never have been commissioned by a more traditional broadcaster.It documents the title character’s travels to Mongolia and his life under Kublai Khan.The programme credits its audience with a degree of intelligence and unapologetically deals with an area of a history unfamiliar to the west which it doesby using an almost entirely Asian cast.
While the historical accuracy of the programme is, at times, dubious (Polo was never, for example, trained by a blind Taoist monk called Hundred Eyes), its attention to detail is lush and it brings the political machinations of 13th century Mongolia to life as never before.
House of Cards
If television is to be believed, then the politics of 21st century Washington shares a great deal in common with that of 13th century Mongolia.Netflix has recently released the third instalment of its flagship drama, House of Cards, based on a British drama of the same name.In the series, Kevin Spacey plays ambitious governor Frank Underwood, whose ascent through the upper echelons of the White House has been enthralling fans since the series’ inception in 2013 – and seems likely to do so for years to come.
The final entry to our list comes from Amazon and charts a family’s coming to terms with the fact that one of their number, played by Jeffrey Tambor, has begun to openly identify as a woman.The series has been incredibly well-received – and deservedly so; while review aggregators are not always reliable indicators of a programme’s quality (or lack thereof), it’s fair to say that any production which Rotten Tomatoes lists as having a 98% approval rating, and MetaCritic describes as having achieved ‘universal acclaim’, must be doing something right.
Since its release, it has drawn respectable audiences over to Amazon and won the Golden Globe award for best television series – a first for an Amazon-backed series.Particular praise has been reserved for Tambor himself, who has picked up another Golden Globe for his troubles.