July has been a very welcome quiet month in streaming. This week there are a few things to look forward to, particularly the fifth onscreen adaptation of The Worst Witch, starring Bella Ramsey of Game of Thrones fame. As I wrote yesterday, there are (free!) screenings of Below the Surface, Ozark and The White Princess at ACMI this weekend, and a number of upcoming shows that we can look forward to. It’s a short one today, thanks for reading!
I made a choice a few years ago to not be political online. There are plenty of reasons for that which I won’t go into, but every once in a while I highlight shows and films on the streaming guide I think are important. This week I chose Chasing Coral which premiered at Sundance, and is about the attempt to visually capture coral bleaching, and Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty. I haven’t seen Bigelow’s films because I’m not very into war as a genre, but she’s also the only female director to have won the Oscar for Best Directing. That surprises me, but also it doesn’t. Aditi Mittal is one of the first women to perform stand-up comedy in India, another thing I didn’t know.
As for my other choices, Broad City and Game of Thrones are two of my favourite shows. Broad City deserves a highlight for that fantastic DMV episode (I renewed my licence last week, which you can now do at the post office. It’s the Australian equivalent of making an appointment), and there’s no season like GoT season. My podcasts are coming back, and I’m figuring out how to deal with this strange book/show world we live in. I’m happy that A Storm of Spoilers has a separate section for production spoilers, and stopping the podcast early is going to be an exercise in self-control. At the time I’m writing, George hasn’t followed up on this possibly fortuitous Live Journal entry, so that’s something to watch. I’m also going to be keeping an eye on any possible #BlackThorn evidence. Let me know if you find anything.
Now that we’ve reached July, the streaming is slowing down a bit. Thank goodness. I finished Better Call Saul last weekend (it was really good!), and iZombie had its third season finale on Wednesday. There are a few shows starting up, but since it’s a long weekend in the United States, most ongoing shows are taking a week off, which provides some much needed catch-up time. (American Gods, GLOW, Kimmy Schmidt and Terrace House: Aloha State to name a few). I watched the first two episodes of Gypsy, which I didn’t mind, but based on very minimal chatter I’ve seen/heard around the internet, there are a lot of problems. Since there’s less TV, it also gives me a chance to write about films I like, and I’m looking forward to that. August is already shaping up to be quite busy – Netflix and Amazon both have some big titles dropping.
(Stan is dropping the 1990 film of The Handmaid’s Tale three days before SBS drops the series.)
It’s a big week in streaming! Apparently there’s no such thing as an off-season any more. Better Call Saul just had its finale (I’m behind), and the finales of RuPaul’s Drag Race and iZombie are next week. And there are so many shows premiering! I’m very much looking forward to the new season of Younger, and all the new Diana Trout gifs. Power is a very good show that I’ll probably leave for a month (to catch up on all the other shows) before binging. As for the others…
People are raving about the new Netflix show GLOW, which I like but don’t love. Many of the critics I read watched the entire season, I just watched the first two. To be fair, I watched the first episode in April and the second this week, and I remember enjoying the first episode much more than the second. The gap could account for that. I have another four screeners I can watch, but the video quality is much better on Netflix proper, which I am paying for.
I didn’t watch much of Preacher‘s first season, but I’ve seen the first two episodes of the new season and they’re really good. For those of you who want to give it another shot, the advice I followed was to watch the premiere, the angel battle in episode 6, and the finale. The first season arguably (I haven’t seen all of it, so I can’t comment) has pacing problems, which makes sense when you find out that the events in the first season finale happened in the first issue of the comic. The second season is fun and has one of the two best uses of “Come on Eileen” in television this year (the other is Jane the Virgin, and while they are the only two instances I know of, they were both done really well). It’s still a very graphic show, which is part of what put me off season one, you just need to figure out when to cover your eyes.
I have a screener for Okja, but I haven’t watched it yet. I’ll wait until I can watch it on the TV. Snowpiercer is one of the best films I’ve seen in the past five years, and it would be great if I could see this film in cinemas, but the fact that I get to see this film at the same time as everyone else is a step in the right direction. Film distribution in Australia has a lot of problems, and I hope there’s a way that we can get both.
I wrote a full season review of Orange Is the New Black, which made me wonder whether I should highlight it on the streaming guide. I don’t want to end up repeating myself, and there are surely other Netflix properties I could promote, like Terrace House. So this post is dedicated to my beloved Terrace House: Aloha State. Part 3 drops on Tuesday, and I’m not sure when I’ll have time to watch it, but I’m glad it’s there. On Stan, there are Quentin Tarantino films and your usual feast of fast-tracked content, and Amazon Prime has a limited series about the Le Mans 24 hour car race, in which they build a car and then race it (that’s what I learned yesterday, and I’m really interested in it now).
The final season of Orphan Black premieres on Sunday, which I would be more excited for if I was up to date. I’m hoping that will happen soon, but it definitely won’t be this weekend. This weekend I’ll be at Continuum Convention in Melbourne, and if you’re interested in science fiction or even general pop culture (which is more my speed), it’s definitely worth checking out. Right now I have to catch up on as much of Twin Peaks as possible before tonight’s panel.
A year ago I wrote my first ever pre-air review for DeciderTV. It was the fourth season of OITNB, and I saw the first two episodes. This year, I was lucky enough to get screeners for the entire season, and this is what came of it. It took longer than I expected – how do you distil 13 hours of television into a few hundred words without spoiling anything? – but I’m proud of how it turned out. I really loved episode 9, which was a standout after some Netflix drag. I just read Alan Sepinwall’s review, which was a bit more critical than my own, even though I agree with most of his points. There was a bit of Netflix drag, especially in the middle, but episodes 9-13 were so good (9 is the best, and will probably be the subject of a spoiler review) that I was able to forgive the lag. Also if my writing is ever as half as good as Alan’s, I will be very happy.
Now that the Emmys consideration deadline has passed, Netflix’s first original show for June is… Flaked. I had no idea that the second season was close because I didn’t get any screeners, and I couldn’t find a single pre-air review when I was writing the guide up yesterday. I’ll be interested to see what kind of coverage it gets over the weekend. In other Netflix news, they’ve started to cancel some shows, so the next few weeks and months should be interesting. Since Netflix don’t release viewership numbers, we have no idea how these decisions are made.
Overall it’s a pretty quiet week in streaming, which is a relief. I’m behind on most of my shows. I think the only one I’m caught up on at this point is iZombie, which is so much fun. Twin Peaks is at the top of the list (I don’t think I’ve watched any since last week, which is how far behind I am), with everything else jostling for second place.