My weekly recommendations are back, baby! Just like my Stream On feature from last year (all 19 editions available here), every Wednesday I’ll put up some suggestions of TV & Films you may be missing on your various streaming services.
The Newsreader (BBC iPlayer: 6 X 50 mins)
Set in Melbourne in 1986, The Newsreader follows a daily news team through their trials & tribulations – both professional and personal. The sets & costumes are so evocative, the storylines so well rendered but it’s the cast that are standout. Anna Torv (Fringe, Mindhunter) plays the station figurehead, a ‘difficult’ woman who wants to cover real news. Sam Reid (The Limehouse Golem and the upcoming tv adaption of Interview With the Vampire) is the up-and-comer desperate to break through. Covering the AIDS crisis, Chernobyl, Halley’s Comet and the Challenger space shuttle explosion – The Newsreader is a compelling drama series grounded in reality.
What this if you like: The Newsroom (2012), Please Like Me (2013)
The Resort (Sky/Now: currently airing season 1, 4 x 30 mins aired already, 4 left of season 1)
A bitterly frustrated couple go on vacation to celebrate their ten-year anniversary. Neither Emma (Cristin Milioti – Palm Springs, HIMYM) or Noah (William Jackson Harper – The Good Place, Love Life season two) seem able to acknowledge to each other just how unhappy they are. When Emma falls off a quad bike during a day trip, she finds an abandoned and extremely outdated mobile phone. Intrigued by the mystery, she discovers it belongs to Sam (Skyler Gisondo – Booksmart, The Righteous Gemstones) who disappeared from the resort fifteen years prior. Emma & Noah decide to solve the case together which may just force them to answer some far bigger questions along the way. Part comedy, part love story, part thriller and part sci-fi tinge – this is exactly what you might expect from the writer of the wonderful Palm Springs.
What this if you like: The White Lotus (2021-), Palm Springs (2020)
Trainwreck: Woodstock ’99 (Netflix: 3 x 45 mins)
The 1969 Woodstock Music and Art Fair was a coming together of likeminded souls, spirits joined in a search for peace, harmony, and good vibes. To commemorate its 30 year anniversary, the organisers decided to throw Woodstock ’99 in an act of celebration. As you probably guess from the title, it didn’t go well. Each of the three episodes focuses chronologically on a separate day of the festival – Friday, Saturday and Sunday – whilst also intercutting the now with some past decisions that emphasises the hubris and obviousness to the awfulness to come. This one really needs to be seen and talked about, particularly when it comes to accountability of mob mentality and the pervasive nature of sexual assault at music festivals.
What this if you like: Fyre (2019), Keep Sweet: Pray & Obey (2022)
Instant Hotel (Netflix: 15 x 45 mins)
This Australian series may just be the greatest example of perfect reality tv. Using all the formats and formulas you know and love, this show manages to be the pinnacle of how it’s done. Five couples tour the country visiting each other’s ‘Instant Hotels’ (think Air BnBs). As you’d expect, there’s personality clashes galore and all manner of surprises along the way. Chuck in the various glamourous, and not so glamourous settings, you’re in for a treat.
What this if you like: Selling Sunset (2019-), Four In A Bed (2010-)
The Broken Hearts Gallery (2020: Netflix: 108 mins)
Lucy (Geraldine Viswanathan – Blockers, Miracle Workers) is devastated after her boyfriend breaks up with her. But when she meets Nick (Dacre Montgomery – Stranger Things, Elvis), a hotelier, she decides to create a gallery where people can leave memorabilia from their past relationships. Funny, charming and a total joy.