Hidden Gems - Digital Treasures, August 2016
These days we have access to so many amazing digital TV offerings, whether paid for like Netflix, Amazon Prime or NowTV; or free or advertising supported like BBC player, All 4 or the recently relaunched ITV Hub. With so much choice it can be hard to decide between all the offerings, there's sadly no cross-platform search or recommendation engine. So, here at The Digital Fix we've decided to unearth some of hidden gems of the streaming TV world, for your viewing pleasure. Every month we'll pick out the best, or most interesting, from what's new, old or obscure.
Stranger Things is one of those rare shows that emerges out of nothingness, blazes past our ignorance of it and settles itself into our minds as a must-watch. A 80's period drama, a supernatural love letter to the Spielbergian kids movies of the 80s, and with only Winona Ryder in the star billing, this has been an unexpected success. But it's been a success that's been deserved, the show is excellent; one of those circumstances where we demand more than the eight episodes there are, but also applaud the 'just right' length of the season. And rest assured, it's already been renewed for a new season.
For fans, the news that Gilmore Girls is being revived as a limited series on Netflix was more than welcome. But for those not already converted or curious to see what the fuss is about, the rest of the show is also available there. It's witty TV and worth investigating, if for nothing else than to see Melissa McCarthy in an early role.
Oscar-nominated director Jason Reitman, best known for smart, satirical movies about glib, disillusioned characters, like Juno and Up in the Air, is the director and showrunner of Casual, a smart, sex-positive, bittersweet sitcom. Valerie (Michaela Watkins), a 39-year-old psychologist who has recently discovered that her longtime husband is carrying on an affair with a 20-something woman; Alex, Valerie’s younger brother and best friend, a mildly depressive commitment-phobe who has made a minor fortune as the cofounder of a dubiously effective, Tinder-like dating app; and Laura (Tara Lynne Barr), Valerie’s precocious teenage daughter. It's witty, well put together and feels incredibly fresh.
Forget Bridget Jones' Diary, you need this instead. Fleabag is rude, sexy, irreverent and hilarious. Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s bleak comedy started life as an Edinburgh Fringe Festival play, before being picked up by the BBC, and adapted by the writer and actress into a TV show filled with comedy cameos. Narrated throughout, the show provokes endless, semi-guilty, surprise laughs.