Tonight: Mel Brooks double feature!
Young Frankenstein & Blazing Saddles
(so good!) pic.twitter.com/7QllqGG33y
— Barry Ritholtz (@ritholtz) March 29, 2020
Of all the many things there are to complain about during this shelter-in-place pandemic, being bored should not be one of them. However, a paradox of choice potentially overwhelms viewer with a near infinite assortment of options;
I keep seeing lists of obvious shows – you probably already heard of Curb Your Enthusiasm or The Mandalorian; and let’s be blunt, all of the streaming services have godawful interfaces for content discovery.
Instead, let me steer you towards some things you might have missed. My taste straddles the interesting border between mainstream and quirky eclectic. Here are a bunch of new shows, movies and specials – I guarantee you will find something great on this list
Let’s see if we can find 10 Sci Fi/Fantasy shows you might enjoy:
The Boys (Amazon) Superheroes are real, are popular celebrities, but are heavily commodified and merchandised brand names. They are really corporate owned property and abuse their superpowers, rather than use them for good. Bloody mayhem ensues. Well-crafted, with a nasty edge, it is grisly good fun.
I Am Not Okay with This (Netflix) Does she have powers, or is she going mad? Interesting coming of age teen angst take on the subject. (We blazed through this in 2-days during a 50 hour Caribbean downpour) I am looking forward to season 2
The Lost Room (Amazon) It only runs 6 episodes, but an amazing cast — Peter Krause, Julianna Margulies and Elle Fanning – stumble onto a mystery: Krause’s daughter, Anna, has disappeared inside the Room. Give it two episodes and you will be hooked.
The Counterpart (Starz/Amazon) J. K. Simmons plays two characters: 1) Howard Silk, a middle level bureaucrat working for a Berlin-based United Nations agency, and 2) Howard Silk Prime, an accomplished clandestine agent in a parallel Earth, created by accident during an 1987 experiment by East German scientists. 2 Seasons.
BrainDead (CBS/Amazon) Overlooked during the political Summer of 2016, this is top notch political satire: alien bugs are taking over people’s brains, turning them into political extremists. Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays Laurel Healy, a documentary filmmaker who takes a job as a constituency caseworker in her brother’s Senatorial office; with Tony Shalhoub + Brooke Adams.
Electric Dreams: (Amazon) If you like Altered Carbon, or are a Philip K. Dick fan, give this series a try. All of the episodes are unrelated but have ties to PKD.
Picard: (CBS) Surprisingly good take on the Star Trek franchise (only with cursing and grit). The Federation has lost its way, infiltrated by spies, and no longer standing for what it once did. Accessible to fans and non-fans, but those who loved TNG will appreciate the depth of the canon and an update to what old characters have been up to.
Love, Death and Robots (Netflix) A series of animated shorts by various writers / directors / animators, all different in style and focus.
Mr. Robot: (USA/Amazon) Gritty thriller involving vigilante hackers fighting back against the Corporate State. Starring Rami Malek and Christian Slater.
The Good Place (NBC/Netflix) The premise: Kristen Bell arrives in the afterlife, welcomed by Ted Danson to The Good Place. She realizes she was sent there by mistake and must hide her morally reprehensible personality. The first network television show to have a philosophical soul. Worth staying with for the entire series.
Let me know if you like any of these (Hashtag #StreamThis), and if there is any demand, I will share other favorites from different genres.
UPDATE March 10, 2021:
The Magicians is intriguing — not my usual sci-fi but interesting fantasy worlds that unfold over time. Only up to season 2 so far but enjoying it – well worth exploring.
UPDATE December 2, 2020:
Travelers was a surprise find, with a great cast, and a fascinating “Reverse Terminator” storyline of future humans coming back to our era to prevent the destruction of Earth. Was sorry to see it end.
UPDATE October 10, 2020:
The Umbrella Academy starts slowly and builds. It is only 2 seasons but it is so outstanding. Great characters, wonderful story, and surprisingly, everything comes together ands makes sense in the end.
UPDATE July 2, 2020:
I talk about The Expanse so much I did not even think to include here as too obvious, but I have been a huge fan even as it has morphed
UPDATE June 2, 2020:
Finished season one of Altered Carbon and it was AMAZING..,
UPDATE May 5 , 2020:
Add Amazon Prime’s Upload to the list of good sci-fi to watch: In 2033, people can be “uploaded” into virtual reality hotels run by 6 tech firms. (Created by Greg Daniels of The Office).