Winter is coming, but here’s what’s hot on streaming services in April – CNET


Jane Krakowski, Tituss Burgess and Ellie Kemper


School holidays, autumn weather, the Anzac Day long weekend — there are plenty of reasons to stay in and stream your entertainment in April, and the streaming services are delivering.

Source: Winter is coming, but here’s what’s hot on streaming services in April – CNET

As usual, I’m going to highlight the things that I think are worth consuming in April, but click on the link for the new list. Just a note: due to time differences, season 6 of Game of Thrones airs on Mondays on Foxtel, and this year it premieres on ANZAC Day! How will it go? Which will get more views, the football or Game of Thrones? (I know it’ll be the football, but I can dream, right?) I’ve updated this to include dates.

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2016 Golden Globe Predictions: Television


I’m going to miss these guys. Image courtesy of HFPA.

The Golden Globes is the first big awards ceremony to kick off the awards season when it comes to film. The problem here is that approximately 1% of the films that have been nominated have been released in Australia. Last year I used a randomiser to predict the film winners, but this year I’m going to leave my film predictions for the Oscars. There are still distribution issues with television in Australia, but it’s slowly getting better, and I think I’ve seen most of the nominated shows that I actually want to watch. It’s been a good year in television, and I like the complete unpredictability of the Hollywood Foreign Press, so every prediction I make will be worth a grain of salt.

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Top 10 television shows for 2015

Mad Men 2015

It’s December, and the thing the internet loves the most at this time of year is the end-of-year Best Of list, so they can disagree with them. This is my first time writing such a list, and it’s difficult. I thought about writing a separate list for Australian shows, but I don’t want to ghettoise them, so they’re in here too. There are things that aren’t on here because I don’t watch them (The Walking Dead, Hannibal) or haven’t had time to catch up (Transparent, The Leftovers, Parks and Recreation), so just know I haven’t forgotten them. I didn’t forget anything, there’s a reason I left it off. Fargo isn’t on here because while I thought it was very good, I didn’t love it – although Kirsten Dunst did give one of the best performances of the year. My favourite show of the year has the top spot, everything else is in alphabetical order. Hopefully the shows I’ve collected here are a good range of the different things I’m enjoying right now. Writing a Top 10 list is hard, and while I’m only super passionate about half to two-thirds of the shows on this list, they’re all here for a reason. I’ve written about all of these shows previously, so there’s just going to be a paragraph about why each one is there, with some links to some things I’ve written. My only warning is that if you watch the “Best episodes” of the show, you will be spoiled for some plot developments.

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Emmy 2015 Reactions: There’s a lot to be happy about.

The huge success story of the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards is HBO, nearly sweeping the drama, comedy and limited series categories, with a few exceptions. Aside from that however, this is the least angry I’ve been watching the Emmys, and that’s because the majority of the awards felt deserved, even when they went to people who had won them previously. I was happy about results and disappointed about others, but this year the majority of the awards felt right, and there weren’t any odd tributes to the year 1963. I’m writing this on the fly, so I’ll see how this goes, I have no idea what happens next. I will put my predictions tallies up at the end of the post though.

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The Americans, Season 3 Episode 13: “March 8, 1983”

I can’t keep doing this. Buying back my life. – Nina

I try not to read reviews before I write my own, but I needed a bit of time to absorb everything that happened in “March 8, 1983”. A lot happens, but at the same time, not much happens at all. Erik Adams pointed out in his review that the show focuses on how Phillip, Elizabeth, Stan and Paige all need to grow up, which is just what Gabriel told Phillip. One of the best things that The Americans did this season was focus on Phillip’s emotional state, as all the lies he told to people he cared about – Paige, Martha and Kimmy – took their toll. Yousaf asks him if it was worth it, and Phillip starts to give the speech he gives to most people, but then he just admits the truth: “I feel shit all the time”. It doesn’t matter when it started – when he found out he had to recruit Paige, when he stuffed Annaliese into a suitcase, or when he took his wig off for Martha. The cumulative effects of the various missions are taking their emotional toll on everyone, except perhaps Elizabeth, who sees her mother for the very last time.

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Guardians of the Galaxy cured my Bradley Cooper-itis

Nothing goes over my head. My reflexes are too fast, I would catch it.

There are so many things to love about Guardians of the Galaxy, last year’s hit summer blockbuster. One of them is Groot. Another is the complete literalism of many of the Galaxy’s inhabitants. Then there’s the music. Most importantly however, this movie cured me of my Bradley Cooper Issues. The first time I saw this film my issues with the very fine actor had nothing to do with Alias, but mainly his character in American Hustle. Then I saw Alias and Will Tippin was SO ANNOYING in the first season. I respect Bradley Cooper as an actor, it’s just the way he plays those whiny characters really gets to me. I was given permission to take over the television tonight because the outcome of the football match had been decided before it started. That meant that I could watch Guardians of the Galaxy for the third time. Bradley Cooper was great in American Sniper, but I would have liked it even more if he was nominated for an Academy Award for his work as Rocket the Raccoon.

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Mad Men’s final season helps me come to terms with The Graduate

I started watching The Graduate last weekend, and because my internet connection was acting up, I didn’t even get up to the part where Benjamin was sleeping with Mrs Robinson. I watched the rest of the film on Tuesday, after Mad Men’s stunning penultimate episode, “The Milk and Honey Route”, because the joke where the college boys tell the doctor that Betty’s name is “Mrs Robinson” reminded me that I was half an hour into the film. I didn’t like The Graduate very much; it was beautifully directed, but I couldn’t see past the fact that Ben was clearly stalking Elaine. Then after I started doing some research into The Graduate, I realised that the Mrs Robinson joke in “The Milk and Honey Route” wasn’t just a reference to The Graduate, but a tribute.

After I finished The Graduate, I did a lot of reading online to try and understand why people loved this movie so much. I felt like the problems I had with the film meant that I was watching it wrong, but I’ve just come to terms that, as my mum said, it was a film very much of its time. 2017 will be the 50 year anniversary of The Graduate’s theatrical release, and a lot has changed in 50 years. What we know from history, and the popular culture that depicts that history is that the 1960s were an era of social change: women were allowed to go to college, and children had more freedom of their careers – they didn’t have to do what their parents expected of them. The changing times mean that it’s “okay” for Elaine to run away with Benjamin after she marries another man against her will; what she’s doing is making a choice for herself and defying her parents’ expectations. When I read online (and I didn’t make note of any of the websites I visited) that the Robinsons and the Braddocks were very much people of the 1950s, everything clicked into place. Elaine and Benjamin’s parents were Don and Betty Draper, who look even more out of place than they did in the late 60s, as Mad Men enters the year 1970.

For any Mad Men fan, Tom and Lorenzo’s “Mad Style” recaps are required reading. They analyse the costuming in each episode of the show and identify motifs that reflect character traits and themes of the show. In their recap for “Severance”, the eighth episode of its seventh season, they highlighted how Don Draper was a man out of time. Despite having some blue shirts as well as white ones, he’s dressing the way he did ten years ago, and compared to Roger, Pete and Stan, looks very old-fashioned. In the “Mad Style” for “The Milk and Honey Route”, there is understandably a focus on Betty as a woman who has finally come to terms with her own death, but Tom and Lorenzo show that there’s more to it. Betty is a woman who likes to look pretty, and she’s flattered by the Mrs Robinson comments she was getting from boys 20 years younger than her. She knows she’s much older than them, and she’s glad they can still see she’s attractive.

Betty has been a problematic character throughout Mad Men’s run, but the more I thought about it, the Mrs Robinson comparison makes sense. When Betty was suffering from depression and anxiety after her mother died, Don sent her to a psychiatrist who said that her problems merely amounted to boredom. The reason that Mrs Robinson started her affair with Benjamin Braddock is because she was bored. The reason that Benjamin decided to go along with it is because it he had no idea what to do with his life and it was a way to pass the time. He also knew his parents wouldn’t approve. In “Lost Horizon”, Betty Hofstadt-Draper-Francis is finally happy, which we all should have seen as a sign of her impending doom, but Mad Men is one of those shows that doesn’t follow conventional television tropes. Just think of when Cyrus and James made up in season 3 of Scandal, or when Will and Alicia had a truce of sorts in “Dramatics, Your Honor”. Neither of those things ended well.

The other more obvious parallel to The Graduate is Glen Bishop’s infatuation with Betty. As we see in “The Forecast”, Glen has had a thing for Betty for ten years (it’s been so long since I’ve watched Season One that I only have the vaguest memories of Betty babysitting Glen), and as he ships out to Vietnam, he wants to consummate that lust. But Betty stops him; she’s flattered that he wants her, but she’s married. This is different to whatever went on with Mrs Robinson, who was so bored with her life that she ruined her marriage to bed a college graduate. Betty is finally growing up, and has taken a lesson from Sally, and “marches to the beat of her own drum”. Like Benjamin and Elaine, Betty is defying what is expected of her in the final season of Mad Men. She’s come to peace that the lung cancer is going to kill her. People expect her to get treatment and fight her disease, but she’s not going to do that. Her husband expects her to stay at home, but Betty goes to class – it’s what she wants to do, and that’s what’s most important.

I still have my issues with The Graduate, but through my reading about both the film and Mad Men, I’ve come to understand why it’s considered a classic. It’s also an incredibly influential film that helped me understand Betty, which is something I never would have expected.

Other thoughts:

  • I didn’t write much about the film because I didn’t have much to say that hasn’t already been said. The Benjamin stalker plot really bothered me though.
  • One of the best things I found online about The Graduate was this podcast on classic films, which went through the themes and motifs used in the film.
  • The last ten seconds of The Graduate are fantastic. It’s a realisation that two young people may have just made a huge mistake, and at the same time a recognition that the lives of these characters goes on after the end of the film.