Welcome to the latest chapter of StreamChat, where we talk about what we’ve been streaming at home recently. If you’d seen any of our Quaranstream Diary posts, then it’s a similar format, but renamed now that lockdown is easing. Have anything you’d recommend we watch, based on any of the shows in this post? Feel free to get in touch and let us know!
Special – Season 1 (Netflix)
Clare: Written by and starring Ryan O’Connell, the show is based on his memoir as a gay man living with cerebral palsy. It manages to be a balance of self deprecating humour, heartfelt intimacy and zany LA culture. It’s at it’s best when it’s focussing on Ryan’s struggle for adult independence and it handles the topic of sex skilfully. We often say we want to see more diversity in mainstream media and Special hits that spot. Rather than being a sad tale of a disabled man wanting more, it’s an honest look at his wins, his failures and his nasty habits. Season 1 is on Netflix and a second season is on the way.
Stateless – Season 1 (Netflix)
Lee: Stateless is a six-part Australian drama, executive produced by, and starring, Cate Blanchett. After adding it to my Netflix watchlist, I completely forgot what it was all about, so when it eventually came to watching the first episode, I had absolutely no idea where it was all headed. And that first episode certainly doesn’t help either – following four different storylines and covering various characters and timelines. It’s only when those stories converge at the end of the episode, at a detention centre for asylum seekers, that the show really settles in. The main focus of Stateless is on Sofie Werner (Yvonne Strahovski), an Australian flight attendant, who has had a troubled time recently, involved for a while with some kind of empowerment/dance group (more of a cult, run by the delightfully menacing Dominic West and Cate Blanchett), before arriving at the detention centre with our other characters. Missing information as to how Sofie ended up posing as a German immigrant is drip-fed to us throughout the season, while we continue following those other storylines introduced in episode 1 – an Afghan family of refugees, detention centre worker Cam (Jai Courtney) and immigration official Clare (Asher Keddie). Inspired by true events, I found a lot to like about Stateless.
Back to Life – Season 1 (BBC iPlayer)
Clare: For some reason in my mind I had imagined Back to Life was a zombie comedy. It’s not, but lead Miri may as well have returned from the dead as she returns to her old town after an 18 year prison sentence. Co-written and starring Daisy Haggard, I know her only as the ‘ew’ colleague in Extras but she holds the show up with her portrayal of Miri. She did something bad, she did her time, can’t everyone else just move on? It’s a dark comedy and sometimes the humour can feel lacking, but by the 3rd episode you’ll realise you really care for all the characters. The first season is available on BBC iPlayer and Haggard is currently writing the second season, which can’t come soon enough.
Central Park – Season 1 (Apple TV)
Lee: Central Park is from Bob’s Burgers creator Loren Bouchard, along with Nora Smith and Josh Gad. Gad appears in the show as Birdie, a Central Park busker who also narrates the story for us. The show revolves around the Tillerman family, who live in the caretaker’s house within Central Park, with dad Owen working as the parks caretaker. There’s a villain to the story too – billionaire Bitsy Brandenham (Stanley Tucci), who has her eye on taking over the park. Central Park is billed as a musical animated comedy, but from the few episodes I’ve seen so far, I’d say it’s the musical aspect that works best. Each episode features a number of powerful, well written and, at times, very catchy songs and every time Josh Gad gets to sing one of them, I just can’t help but get a smile on my face and think of Olaf…
Buffaloed (Sky GO/NowTV/Available to rent & buy)
Clare: Freshly released from prison, a young woman becomes a debt collector in a desperate bid to escape her own money problems. With anyone but Zoey Deutch in the lead role this film could have been a complete bore. It’s an odd film that doesn’t quite work, but Deutch continues to show she is one of the most versatile young performers in Hollywood. Roles like this show just how much she can carry on her own. Plus, bonus Judy Greer content.