I haven’t been discussing a lot of what I watch on TV and streaming of late, other than Grace & Frankie. I’d actually been coming to most of them so late that I didn’t see the point. But there are a few that have stood out and I figured I’d just collect them in one place.
Garfunkle & Oats: Originally on IFC, but brought to Netflix. Absolutely NSFW and fun. Micucci and Lindholme built a series around their titular comedy duo to give us a peek at what a life in stand-up is like… well, sort of. Mostly it is the two of them trying to make it through life and writing some of the cleverest and funniest songs I’ve heard in comedy for a long while. They really manage to get you to not only like them, but to wonder what it might be like to have them as friends.
Scrotal Recall: Another Netflix arrival and yes, really, I was just as shocked. What should have been a horrible premise and collection of characters is actually engaging and interesting. Flynn, as a romantic lost in the hell of failed relationships… and having to let them know of his STD, and Ings as his rakish best-bud make a great duo. Add Thomas (Misfits) to the mix and you get some interesting relationships and tension a la Rachel and Ross in Friends… just a bit more adult in content.
Marvel’s Daredevil: I’m very late to the party on this one. It starts dark and goes darker, but somehow remains engaging without feeling overly maudlin or hopeless. Goddard, who got his real launch in the writer’s room with Whedon, has continued to prove his ability since. Cox, in the lead, is an unexpectedly good choice. He is neither physically what I’d expect nor playing it as I expected, but it works and works well. And D’Onofrio (The Judge) as his arch enemy is brilliant as the intensely controlled and terrifying Fisk. They built the series to last and I am looking forward to its next installment of episodes.
Residue: A slow-building, edgy science-fiction horror series. The main cast is strong, led best by Tena (The Ambassadors) and Rheon (Viscious) with reasonable support from Draven (Billy Elliot). It is definitely dark and, at times, violent and most certainly not complete. The 3 episodes released on Netflix already were intended as an extended pilot. Whether it spawns new 10 episode series or not was still not decided when I wrote up this post. If you like BBC genre shows like Ultraviolet, this is probably for you.
Black Mirror: Twilight Zone without boundaries is about as close as I could come on this one. A willingness to posit situations and examine ideas that most shows would simply avoid. But it is done with great sincerity, despite the shock value. You can’t watch the plots without considering the choices you might have made or that the others have. And the casts are an impressive list of talent. It isn’t an easy watch, but so far, rather worth the time and clenching.
iZombie: Probably the best new show to hit and stick on broadcast TV this past season (in this case on the CW). Thomas and Ruggiero’s new series captures the sense of their Veronica Mars but in a whole new way. Solid stories, great dialogue, and characters keep it going. The premise is open ended as long as the uber-arc doesn’t get too silly. In less competent hands, this would have been utter junk. McIver, in the lead, is incredible. She isn’t new to the field, but she is sure to make her mark as a strong female lead regardless of the fate of this series after its sophomore bow next year (and I was shocked that one of the shows I really liked was renewed rather than cancelled like the rest).