by SC Reviewer Shelby Larsen
As the COVID-19 pandemic shuts down most social contact venues, and perhaps twenty-four-seven news of the virus and politics get overwhelming, it’s time to look for some diversion at home.
With the advent of streaming services, there are a lot of choices. So many, in fact, that it’s hard to find things for individual tastes. So, here’s a list of series that you may or may not have heard of. Some I’ve seen and liked, some I haven’t liked but others have, some old, some new, some pay cable, some free streaming. It’s entirely my personal experience and opinions. Feel free comment, and especially to submit your suggestions to the Santiva Chronicle. We are always on the lookout for something new.
The Americans: While the premise, Soviet spies embedded in American communities, did not appeal to me, once I started (a few seasons behind most people) I was hooked. It has the best final episode of any continuing drama I’ve ever watched. Amazon Prime
Fargo: Each season is a different story, filled with the quirky and unique characters that are the Coen Brothers trademark. Roles are often played by people you would not expect but are clearly enjoying themselves. Hulu
The Crown: A decade-by-decade re-enactment of Elizabeth II reign. Is it totally accurate? The historical events are; who knows what actually went on behind the palace walls? Netflix
Outlander: The romance/historical drama of the moment. Woman is transported to the 1700’s, Scotland, France, America. Hulu or Starz
The Mandalorian: Set generations before the ubiquitous Star Wars universe, the Mandalorian really is an outer space western. Members of a certain generation (mine) will be able to easily identify most of the action sequences as being lifted from favorite western series. Disney+
Billions: Wall Street and Politics. Showtime
Comedy: a little slow in this category, since it doesn’t seem to be the newer producer’s forte, or maybe it’s just what I find funny.
But: The Show that Goes Wrong: British farcical comedy from a troupe whose theater shows have been hits. Monty Python meets Noises Off.
Purchase from Amazon Prime
The Good Place: A show about the afterlife? Or is it? Hulu/NBC.COM
Schitt’s Creek: A family in Canada. Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara are the headliners, but a very strong supporting cast, and a fanatical following. NetFlix
Curb Your Enthusiasm: Depends a lot on your tolerance for Larry David; given that, it’s funny. HBO
And, depending on your tolerance for foul language, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss in the political satire, VEEP, can make you either shake your head at its accuracy, or just laugh. HBO
Sci/Fi-ish, with a little bit of Horror:
Stranger Things. Odd doings in a small town, featuring children who never seem to go to school, or whose parents never know where they are. It didn’t sound like my thing, until my kids told me to watch it. We were hooked, early on. Netflix
Locke and Key: another series of strange events, this time in Massachusetts, similar to Stranger Things, equally engrossing and simpler background mythology. (for actual Horror genre, American Horror Story) Hulu
British Mysteries: warning, a favorite category of mine.
Foyle’s War: an absolutely excellent series about life and crime during WWII. I could also list it under drama. It’s a great watch. Acorn
Midsommer Murders: Investigations in the small county of Midsommer, England, that seems to have a disproportionate numbers of both murders and festivals. The murders are often somewhat grotesque in manner, but always solvable. IMDB
Murder in Paradise: a charming “fish out of water,” story about an English detective sent to head up a small Caribbean Island police force. The format is highly predictable, which is one of its charms. It worked for me as a just before bedtime cool-down. 2 Seasons available on Britbox. (Britbox is available for an additional $6.99 on Amazon Prime. Further seasons are available for purchase.)
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries: An Australian series, based on a popular set of books, about an independent woman in 1920’s Australia. Amazon Prime
The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: Four movie length dramas about a Victorian detective turned private inquiry agent. Done with the absolutely marvelous British ability to create a past time authentically. Amazon Prime
AND AT LAST, A FEW IN CASE YOU MISSED THESE “OLDER BUT GOODIES”
The USA Network dramas, White Collar, IMDB, and my favorite, Burn Notice. HULU
Definitely light entertainment. That’s a good thing sometimes.
Prior to Game of Thrones, HBO had an epic series, Rome, chronicling the time of the Caesars. HBO
There’s also Breaking Bad on Amazon Prime, the Sopranos on HBO, and of course Lost on HULU, if you missed those groundbreaking series. Damages, on HULU, with Glenn Close as a ruthless attorney, has many fans.
I’m sure there are many more, scattered around the plethora of media. Share your favorites with us here at the Santiva Chronicle.