It’s been a pretty big week at Decider. Co-founder and editor Kevin Perry decided to leave the site to focus on other things. I owe a lot to Kevin, since he offered me the opportunity to write the streaming guides. Kevin and Steve have been great at letting me experiment with the format and highlight ridiculous things I’ll never watch, like The Ant Bully, as well as write a tribute to EMMY WINNER (yay!!!!!) Laura Dern. How great is Laura Dern? This might be one of the highest ratio of highlights to list guides I’ve written in a while. I was going to do five, but the last batch of Terrace House episodes drop on Tuesday, and I have to do right by Guy and Niki. I’m currently watching The Good Place and Parks and Recreation, so my viewing schedule is pretty busy right now, but I need to get ready for the return of all my favourite shows. It’s going to be a busy time.
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.
This is possibly the most difficult streaming guide I’ve had to write in a long time. And it’s not just because there’s a Home and Away special dropping on Presto five days before the service shuts down (it will still be available on other Foxtel streaming platforms after the end of January). Home and Away was difficult because I have no idea who any of the characters are. Slightly easier but still a challenge was Terrace House Aloha State, simply because it’s really difficult to describe Terrace House. Just look at these good good boys and girls though. Maybe I should make Terrace House Tuesday a thing.
Something I didn’t get a chance to highlight based on my own restrictions of the piece is Cristela Alonzo’s standup special Lower Classy. Good news! It’s finally past 12am PST, so it has dropped on Netflix. In this special, Cristela muses on boy bands, border walls and the immigrant experience.
The last thing I’m excited about this week is WGN’s Underground, which I’ve heard of but know little about. When I saw the cast list, I recognised Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Christopher Meloni’s names, but no one else. Then I learned that Aldis Hodge – that’s right, Alec Hardisan himself – is the lead on this show, and I’m stuck. That’s a lot of content on Tuesday. I checked out the synopsis for The Cake Eaters, but it wasn’t a documentary about baked goods, so I’m not particularly interested. Until next week, when I’ll be trying to fit a few things in.
I have a notebook where I jot down ideas, and I couldn’t bring myself to write a Top 10 list this year. I don’t even think I have a favourite show at the moment. I still haven’t figured out whether or not I liked what Westworld was doing outside of Thandie Newton. I didn’t know exactly what the parameters were, so I ended up choosing one best and one worst. Because I write the streaming guide every week, I get to highlight a lot of shows I love, and I definitely wanted to write about something I hadn’t already done previously.
I could have (and have previously) written hundreds of words on Jane the Virgin, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend or Younger, but I wanted to pick something that a lot of people hadn’t heard of. I discovered Terrace House thanks to the Rose Buddies podcast, which I wrote about yesterday, and it’s absolutely delightful. It’s a Japanese reality show about share housing, which doesn’t sound compelling, but it’s the most heartwarming show I’ve watched in a long time. The cast is a constantly changing group of young people who are working to achieve their dreams, and they’re incredibly supportive. Some people succeed and others don’t, but they’re all fundamentally good people, so you want to see them succeed.
There is a lot of television out there, and I don’t have time to watch all of it because it’s not something I do full time. So when it comes to worst show of the year, I just tend to avoid things that get bad reviews from critics I trust. I ended up going with Netflix’s Flaked, because I couldn’t get past the first episode. Other things I could have gone with were shows that ended up being disappointing, including The Good Wife finale or the second season of UnREAL.
The other writers at Decider have some great suggestions, which are worth checking out. I didn’t choose to highlight any local content, but I think we all know how much I love The Great Australian Bake Off. The Family Law was great this year, as were Janet King, Upper Middle Bogan and Rosehaven. So much good good television, so I hope you find something you like. Also there’s a new season of Terrace House dropping on Netflix this month. You don’t need to have watched previous seasons to enjoy it, but you should catch up anyway.