Hailed by Don Draper himself (John Hamm stars in the series’ Christmas special) as the “Twilight Zone of the digital age,” this British import is the best thing to come across the pond since Emily Blunt. The brilliance extends from the anthology’s title, which references the blank screens we stare at all day, through each stand alone techno-paranoia episode complete with a Rod Serling-esque twist ending. Series creator Charlie Brooker describes it best, “If technology is a drug, then what, precisely, are the side-effects?” We don’t know, but consider us junkies.
What to Catch Up On: Season 1-2 (7 episodes)
Where to Binge: Netflix
What’s Next: Netflix ordered season 3 (date TBD)
The waters run deep in South Florida noir, from John Huston’s classic Key Largo starring Humphrey Bogart to author John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee dime novels (soon to be a movie with Christian Bale). Where traditional noir is affiliated with the shadows, these sun-bleached crime tales happen in plain sight. Bloodline comes from the creative team behind Damages, so you know it’s gonna be fucked up, cinematic and centered around a tragic anti-hero. In this case, it’s hard-luck Danny Rayburn (Ben Mendelsohn who was robbed of an Emmy), the black-sheep in a distinguished, yet dysfunctional family, who run a beachside hotel in the Florida Keys. Danny’s return to the fold, causes turmoil amongst the close-knit clan (played by an all-star cast that includes Kyle Chandler, Sissy Spacek, Sam Shepherd), who have their own skeletons in the closet. Bloodline, is a slow burn, not so much a “whodunnit” mystery, but more of a harsh mirror, where relatable family politics, gut-wrenching soul-searching and deep pathos force us to look at our own reflections, which is the best kind of TV.
What to Catch Up On: Season 1 (13 episodes)
Where to Binge: Netflix
What’s Next: Season 2 debuts in March 2016
Webisodes get a bad rap. They are categorized as either online step children of broadcast/cable shows (read: branded content) or amateurish web originals. For every Broad City break-out, there are hundreds of lost-in-the-streamosphere web series which we would list if we knew their names. High Maintenance is one you will be hearing a lot about as HBO has partnered with this husband and wife comedy duo (Ben Sinclair and Katja Blichfeld) to release six new episodes. Their previous shorts, which you can watch on Vimeo, where whip smart (five to 20 minute) vignettes on New Yorkers, who’re all connected by a bearded, bike-riding, anonymous weed deliveryman (played by the excellent Sinclair). This isn’t a stoner comedy, but a cross coast companion piece to the Los Angeles-set Swingers, a witty, wry warm-hearted look at a city and culture that is so on point that it makes you want to laugh and cry at the same time.
What to Catch Up On: Season 1-5 (19 episodes)
Where to Binge: Vimeo
What’s Next: Season 6 debuts on HBO, where you will also be able to watch all 19 previous episodes on HBO Go, HBO Now
Man In The High Castle
Imagine if the Allies lost World War II? No MLK “I have a dream” speech. No man on the moon. No Beiber. Okay, maybe not so bad. The alternate reality of this Philip K. Dick adaptation is an intriguing one, the victorious Axis have divided up America into the Japanese-ruled West Coast and those dastardly Nazis own everything else to the Atlantic Ocean. We see this totalitarian world through the eyes of two characters on opposite ends of the country and sides (?), who meet by the end of the ambitious pilot. Juliana is our in-over-her-head, protagonist, who crosses paths with the mysterious Joe, setting up the classic is “he a good guy or bad guy” storyline. Produced by Ridley Scott, who knows a thing or two about adapting the off-kilter worlds of Philip K. Dick, (Uh, Blade Runner), this fictionalized historical drama set in a sci-fi world, looks and feels fresh, which explains why it was the most-streamed and highest-rated pilot in Amazon history.
What to Catch Up On: Season 1 (10 episodes)
Where to Binge: Amazon
What’s Next: Season 2 is in the works
A good documentary is like a fine meal: aesthetically appealing, thrilling to the senses and nourishing for the body and soul. Thus, you can think of Chef’s Table as a Michelin three star, six-course crowd-pleaser. Show creator David Gelb uses the same dazzling Planet Earth techniques from his directorial debut, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, to present food as art and chef as artist. The half-dozen featured chefs from across the globe share their unique perspectives not on cooking, but how food can change the world, one (beautifully framed) dish at a time.
What to Catch Up On: Season 1 (six episodes)
Where to Binge: Netflix
What’s Next: Season 2 has yet to be announced