Is it just me or does it seem like Netflix and Stan both dropped some great TV shows over the past few months?
I won’t deny that’s I’m a girl who is a big fan of watching a bit of telly. With winter well and truly setting in, now is the perfect excuse to have a night in. Break out the popcorn and your favourite choccies (I love a good Fantale!), grab your coziest blanket, and settle in to watch something new on your favourite TV channel or streaming service.
Here are the shows I’m unashamedly binge watching right now
The Rayburn family are pillars of the community in Islamorada in the Florida Keys, but every family has dark secrets they want to remain buried.
Bloodline follows this story, starting and often narrated by Kyle Chandler (of Friday Night Lights fame), as the oldest brother and black sheep of the family, Danny, comes home for the summer and the way their lives change forever.
The third and final season of this gripping dramatic thriller is now streaming on Netflix and I could not stop watching it!
The stunning aerial shots of the Florida Keys will have you wanting to book a flight and swap the cold Aussie winter for the idyllic white sand paradise shown in the show.
Stream the whole season on Netflix now
The Handmaid’s Tale
Quite possibly the most talked about show launching this year, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale is set in a dystopian world where a fundamentalist religious regime has taken the totalitarian rule of Gilead, what remains of the United States.
Gilead is a society where women are treated as property, stripped of their name, unable to hold a job or have their own bank account separate from a male partner. With plummeting birth rates, the women who are fertile are forced into sexual servitude to the ruling class, or those deemed worthy enough. These women are called Handmaids.
The story follows Offred (not her birth name but the name of the Commander she serves, Commander Fred Waterford – “Of Fred”), from her flashbacks to her former life and husband and daughter, to the strict rules and constant scrutiny, where saying the wrong thing or acting out of turn can lead to the harshest of punishments. I’m only a few episodes in and there are whisperings of rebellion, already.
One thing to note is that while the show is based on the book, some key character changes have been made. I won’t spoil anything but I’ve gone back to read the book before I continue watching.
Better Call Saul
From the creators of critically-acclaimed Breaking Bad, the series follows Saul Goodman in the six years before meeting Walter White. It follows Jimmy McGill, the small-time lawyer and champion for low-income earners as he becomes Saul Goodman, the flamboyant colourful lawyer representing Albuquerque’s most notorious criminals.
In contrast to Jimmy, a struggling lawyer is his brother Chuck is a partner at a prestigious law firm. But Chuck has become semi-reclusive and believes he suffers from electromagnetic hypersensitivity, which Jimmy supports him through, even when family ties are at breaking point.
I feel like sharing too much more would be spoiling the plot, so I’ll leave it there. It’s funny and heartbreaking. In a similar manner to Breaking Bad there are characters you don’t know if you should love or hate and beautifully captured cinematography of New Mexico.
I feel like Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul really put Albuquerque and New Mexico on the map for a lot of travellers. There’s something about those expansive desert landscapes that have you wanting to hit the road and explore.
Watch the whole season on Stan
Loosely based on a true story, Billions sees ambitious hedge fund manager Bobby Axelrod (Homeland‘s Damian Lewis) going head-to-head against ruthless U.S. Attorney Charles Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) on the suspicion of insider trading and bribery to aggressively grow his firm’s wealth.
On the outside, the charming, charitable Axelrod and his family have the perfect image, but they play dirty. As the sole partner surviving the September 11 attack, things don’t quite add up with and Rhoades is determined to crack the case… even if it means violating the trust of his wife – an employee of Axelrod’s hedge fund.
I won’t deny that some of the stock market terms went straight over my head, but Lewis and Giamatti’s acting is brilliant. Add a whole lot of skeletons wanting to be kept in the closet, it’s a riveting watch, if a little lengthy at 56 minutes.
Watch the whole season on Stan
Orange is the New Black
After a huge cliffhanger ending Season 4, Netflix Original favourite Orange is the New Black (OITNB) is back!
The show, based on the memoir of Piper Kerman’s book Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison and her time at a minimum-security federal prison, really evolved in Season 4 and moved away from being heavy on sharing Piper’s story, and really let the other prison inmates stories shine.
Unlike other seasons, the whole of Season 5 takes place over just three days focusing on a riot which consumes the prison after an inmate was unjustly killed and living conditions deteriorate for inmates after the prison is privatized.
With Netflix axing many fan favourite shows, don’t fear: OITNB has been renewed for a sixth and seventh season! A good thing because viewers are left with another almighty cliffhanger!
Stream now on Netflix
Gone are the innocent characters you know from the famous Archie comic strips and instead comes a dark, brooding teen drama.
I was a little hesitant about watching Riverdale, such is the success of the squeaky clean comic series that has run in papers for years, I couldn’t imagine how they’d translate Archie, Betty, Veronica and Jughead’s good hearted humour to TV. They didn’t even try.
Not everything is as it seems under Riverdale’s wholesome fascade, and it’s this drama that will have you watching it week after week.
The show was such a success that Season 2 has already been put into production, with rumours suggesting that the season may air later this year, instead of the one year cycle most Netflix series’ follows.
Watch the whole season on Netflix
RuPaul’s Drag Race
With the exception of The Block (a renovation TV show on Ch9) and MasterChef Australia, I rarely watch reality TV. I just don’t get it. But when I need something light-hearted, glittery and freaking hilarious, Mama Ru brings the goods!
An American reality series, RuPaul’s Drag Race sees a group of talented drag queens strutting their stuff (and tight as tucks!) competing for the titles of America’s Next Drag Superstar and a $100,000 cash prize.
Each episode consists of a mini challenge, a maxi challenge to test the Queens, and the final catwalk where RuPaul will be telling one contestant to “Sashay away”.
I really can’t put my finger on what it is that makes me like this show this much – it’s a mix of the passion, fashion (and faux pax) and sassy attitudes, but it’s safe to say I’ll be tuning in again next season after my favourite Queen won the crown this season. Who was it? You’ll have to watch to find out!
Full season now streaming on Stan
Based on the life of Dr. Phil McGaw’s early career (that’s Dr. Phil to the daytime telly aficionados!), Bull follows the story of Dr. Jason Bull, the cocky and perceptive founder of a Trial Analysis Corporation which employs high-tech data to help their clients win in court.
I’m going to be frank: it’s a pretty similar format in every episode which means this is not a series you should binge watch. That said, for its 9 pm – 10 pm slot on a Sunday, it’s easy watching before bedtime.
That said, Michael Weatherly (who played Anthony DiNozzo on JAG and NCIS) brings the charm and cocky attitude which lifts the series.
Currently on Channel 10’s TenPlay
Catching up/Looking forward to:
Masterchef Australia: I love the Australian format of the show on Channel 10 and while this season’s contestants aren’t my favourite, it does inspire me to try something new in the kitchen (and I can attest that Matt Preston is the nicest guy you’ll ever meet in real life!)
A few weeks ago they were road tripping to some of the most iconic areas of Victoria with Heston Blumenthal and taking inspiration from the salt flats to the painted silos in the state’s wheat belt. Seriously amazing locations & inspiring food!!
The Block: this is one of the few reality TV shows I really like and try to watch every season. The new season of this renovation show. This season teams will be renovating a whole STREET of relocated houses in Elsternwick, just around the corner from me!
The new season began filming in April and should be airing on Channel 9 in the next few weeks!
House of Cards: I managed to watch the whole season on Netflix in less than a week (the perks of being at home with the fly?!). While it wasn’t my favourite season, it still kept me gripped with which way the plot was going to twist.
Glow: launched on Netflix last week, the comedy-drama GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling) is a flashback to the 80’s and delves into the spandex-clad world of women’s wrestling. I can’t wait to delve in!
Hamish and Andy’s True Stories: The famous Australian radio duo is back on the small screen, this time bringing the best unbelievable true stories to life with a cast of great Aussie actors.
Personally, while I love their long-running radio show (ending this year!) I find their Gap Year series to be a bit hard to watch. After putting off watching True Stories, I finally caught an episode last week and, while a still on the gimmicky side, the short 30minute story is light hearted and funny – just the thing to get me over the midweek hump! It sounds like audiences have been eating it up because Channel 9 has put a call out or more stories, leading me to believe a second season may be in the works!
Let me know in the comments