Black Mirror - Season 3
Black Mirror has made the move to Netflix in sumptuous, unsettling style. Not only has the platform given Charlie Brooker and his team the freedom to tell more stories (this run has six episodes rather than the usual three) and let each one run without ad breaks for as long as it needs to, it's also given them a budget big enough to expand the scale, scope and special effects. The feature-length final episode, Hated in the Nation, is a perfect case in point.
What hasn't changed is the overall theme. Each episode may tell a standalone story, but they're all connected by the threads of modern humanity's relationship with technology, the internet and social media.
Make no mistake, this is unnerving stuff, enhanced by the fact that the stories are generally set in a very near future that's all too recognisable. But fear not, the trademark blacker than black humour has also been retained, so you'll guffaw almost as much as you'll squirm. This is must-see television for anyone who's obsessed with tech.
If you’re a fan of Christopher Guest you’ll know exactly what to expect here - a gentle mockumentary centred around the oddball enthusiasts of a marginal hobby. This time, as the title suggests, it’s sports mascots in the spotlight, with the annual Golden Fluffy Awards bringing together the finest mascots from across the globe.
It’s really formulaic stuff that generally delivers titters of amusement rather than belly laughs, but there are some stand-out performances. Chris O’Dowd as “the bad boy of mascotery”, Silicone Valley’s Zach Woods as the henpecked half of a husband and wife mascot team, and Jane Lynch as a snobby judge and ex-mascot all make it well worth sitting through the film’s flatter sections.
If there were a graph that showed the tension levels of the tensest moment in the tensest thrillers in history, Homeland’s producers would have taken it, twisted it into an infinitesimally thin rope and used it to whip Stressed Eric’s pulsing temple vein until it popped.
Homeland is tense. It begins as the story of the relationship between a CIA operative and a long-imprisoned ex-Marine, finally liberated from al-Qaeda and returned to America as a war hero – a hero with an abundance of devastating secrets. But moves beyond their relationship in later seasons, the fifth of which has now hit Netflix.
It’s packed with award-winning performances, believably flawed characters, just enough politics and more twists than a box of Curly-Wurlys. It loses its way in the middle seasons, occasionally skirting utter daftness, but it’s always compulsive and entertaining – and more recent stuff is back on form. To watch it is to learn to trust no-one, question everything and definitely not pursue a career as a spy. No fun at all, as it turns out.
The lavish production that is The Crown is an inside look into how Queen Elizabeth II rose to power. Not just a story of how she naturally inherited the throne at age 25, the Netflix original also examines the inner struggles and strength of Her Majesty - her relationships with Prince Philip and her sister, her handling of authority and the political issues that come with the job.
Plus it's always nice to escape from the reality of the world's current political situation. Do not despair at the end of it, the series is expected to run for another five seasons.
Words by Elissa Loi
Fast forward to the future where the reign of Trump has faded into a blot on the history of the world and the galaxy has been completely colonized, it turns out that the universe has bigger problems. Based on the book series of the same name, a galactic detective discovers that there's more to the case of a missing woman, more specifically, a plot that could unravel the very fabric of humanity.
And by the time you're done with this, the second season of the sci-fi thriller will be premiering in February of next year for your future binge-watching.