So, a lot of us are going to be home for the foreseeable future, and might be looking for new things to watch. I wanted to start a thread where people can suggest things they like, where they can be found, and finally a short description of why it's worth a watch. Sell it to us, if you can. I feel like that will allow others to find new things to watch and pass the time.
So I'll start with: Letterkenny -Available for streaming: in the US on Hulu and in Canada on CraveTV. Outside of North America, I'm not sure where to find it -How long: 8 seasons consisting of six 20ish minute long episodes, along with five holiday specials -Why bother to watch it: A comedy about woke Canadian hicks in a town of 5,000, you learn to love the ensemble cast in this infinitely quotable series. Though the first season starts off a bit rough, the transition from a YouTube channel of shorts called "Letterkenny Problems" to a half-hour TV show is mostly pulled off. By season two, Letterkenny hits its stride, and from there, you're off to the races. I do recommend watching with the subtitles on if you're not familiar with Canadian slang, but soon you'll be adding random Ss to words like Squirrely Dan and telling your friends
Will come back with some movie recs, but for now . . .
HANNIBAL HANNIBAL HANNIBAL
Streaming on Prime. For those here who haven't seen or need persuading, it stayed a standard killer-of-the-week procedural with higher-than-usual gore quotient just long enough for everyone to stop watching, at which point (midway through the first season) it transformed into a homoerotic Gothic arthouse project and never looked back. It's utterly astounding that this got away with airing on a network for three seasons—it's the most deliriously, self-indulgently Aesthetic show I've ever watched besides Twin Peaks: The Return, and some of the artful violence they slip through the TV-14 rating is unbelievable. Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen give the two best lead performances I've seen on television, and Laurence Fishburne and Gillian Anderson more than match them. Season Two finale is my favorite episode of anything ever, and while they weren't planning on the show getting canceled, the series finale is still incredibly fitting as a cap.
I still haven't got around to finishing season 3, not because it wasn't good but because life happens.
That said - I'm still not over the first two seasons and I probably never will. The gore is one thing, it's visual, either you're sensitive to it or you're not, but the psychological aspect of this show is absolutely insane. It's torn my brain to shreds over and over, and transforms the visuals into an impossible window into horror, Lovecraftian horror, the horror that creeps into your soul and breaks it down.
I absolutely agree with Abbie, Hannibal is a truly unique experience but you have to be ready to handle what it's gonna throw at you, because in a way, it's actually made Hannibal Lecter alive and manipulate your mind into madness through the screen.
Btw--those of you in the US who would like a login for Shudder and/or Criterion Channel, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. As long as I have access to them I intend to operate a communist film collective until I get caught.
A couple more Canadian comedy classics for the list that I know are available online:
Corner Gas: Sitcom set in the small farming community of Dog River, Sasketchewan, following the mundane, and occasionally surreal, existence of the local residents. 6 seasons of the live action show available on youtube, and then a few seasons of the animated series that's been made for the past couple years, but tbh I've never actually watched any of it.
EDIT: Well shit. Apparently youtube nuked all the channels that had everything uploaded. As far as I know it's all up on Crave, or there are *cough* other *cough* methods.
The Red Green Show:
Red Green is the leader of a local men's lodge in rural Ontario. He also happens to have a local cable access show. The show follows Red and the other local characters of the lodge and their wacky shenanigans as they misuse duct tape in every way imagined by gods and men alike, and a few ways neither thought was possible. I mean, I'd be surprised if you haven't at least /heard/ of the Red Green Show, it's pretty much become synonymous with Duct Tape at this point. But if you've never actually seen the show, it is absolutely a Canadian classic, and 100% available for free on youtube. (It's legit too, posted by Steve Smith himself).
Personally I'd say start with season 4 after they moved networks and got a bigger budget. The early seasons are still good but definitely have a different feel to them (I mean low budget Canadian TV in the early 90's. Speaks for itself really.)
Not really a binge-y thing because I'm honestly not sure how much of thier stuff is out there these days; but some more fun Canadian Comedy while we're at it.
The Frantics were a comedy troupe that spawned out of the same era that formed The Royal Canadian Air Farce, Red Green Show and SCTV. (There's a LOT of crossover of actors between The Frantics, Red Green Show and SCTV once you start looking for them) 4 on the Floor was thier stab at a televised sketch comedy series ala Royal Canadian Air Farce, SNL or Flying Circus.
(This channel has the entire series of 13 episodes.)
They also did and still do I think from time to time, stand up live shows.
This one is bingeable. Kids in The Hall. 5 seasons of a group of Canadian 20-somethings (Dave Foley, Kevin McDonald, Bruce McCulloch, Mark McKinney, and Scott Thompson.) doing the weirdest, wildest, most out-there sketch comedy they could get away with on television in the 80's/early 90's.
and since that's probably gonna be blocked outside Canada, a VPN or other *cough* sources *cough* are available.
Scott Thompson was openly gay at the time, and a lot of their sketches involved gay characters and themes, and just generally trying to push the limits of what they could get away with, and how many homophobes they could annoy.
And since we're talking about Dave Foley, go watch NewsRadio. Personally speaking, it's one of the best sitcoms ever made.
Dave Foley plays the new news director for a New York news radio station (Hence the name. Do ya get it? Do ya?), as he tries to wrangle the out of control employees and eccentric billionaire owner. (Also stars Stephen Root, in one of my favorite roles of his. And Joe Rogan in his first acting gig, and he's fucking /hilarious/.) Also holds the unfortunate title of being the show Phil Hartman was working on when he was murdered.
I'll throw this on the stack, since it's my current obsession.
DIF'ers in the UK surely know all about this, but here in the colonies we know nothing about the goofball glory that is "Time Team". (We have a franchise version called Time Team America that airs sporadically on PBS, but most people don't know about that either.)
Time Team aired in the UK for 20 years and every episode is exactly the same - a team of archaeologists (and Tony the "presenter", whose purpose is to pester the actual archaeologists about what they're doing) spend three days digging up somebody's turnip field or rose garden and discover a Roman villa or a Bronze Age graveyard or sometimes both. This show proves beyond any doubt that the entire UK is just human bones and pottery shards covered with two inches of topsoil.
The show's secret weapon is Phil Harding, who can get legit misty over a flint shard and then explain why, in the most spectacular accent in television history. (Supposedly it's a Wiltshire accent but I say Phil is clearly a Hobbit who came here to learn our ways.)
Another fave of mine is John Gater the nerdly "geo-phys" guy who generates spectacular target maps with ground-penetrating radar and then takes endless shit from the rest of the team when they invariably find nothing there.
Anyway, there's an (apparently) official YouTube channel that posts an old episode once a week, plus lots of non-official uploads online that I guess are a-ok with the Time Team folk as well. It IS a reality show at its core, so take it all with a grain of stone-ground Celtic salt. But with 20 seasons of this thing (plus a couple dozen "Time Team specials"), if this is your kinda thing at all, there's enough here to get you through two apocalypses.
SO. FARSCAPE. Let me tell you a little something about the best sci-fi show ever made.
One part Jim Henson company puppets. One part early ought's sci-fi television. A big ol' heaping spoonful of batshit crazy. Equal measures Ben Browder and Claudia Black. Sprinkle in some of the craziest, coolest, and most unique character concepts and storylines. Mix thoroughly, add some hallucinogenics, and hey presto you've got yourself a Farscape.
The short pitch: John Crichton, an astronaut (Ben Browder) is developing new experimental spaceship for NASA when he is unceremoniously swallowed by a wormhole, thrown halfway across the galaxy where he immediately accidentally kills the brother of an insane military captain of a human adjacent species and crash lands into a living ship full of alien prisoners of the militaristic human adjacent species, who are all in the middle of a prison escape. One of which is a living plant, another is basically a toad. And that's basically the first 5 minutes of the pilot.
Farscape has a special place in my heart for a lot of reasons but for the most part it's because it's one of the few sci-fi shows that is able to go to those truly /weird/ bits of sci-fi. Those ideas where you're watching a usual primetime sci-fi show and go "Oh man wouldn't it be awesome if X thing happened. yeah, but they'd never do it."? Farscape is the show that does those ideas. And executes them with an intelligence, humour, and heart, while still making everything feel alien, that almost no sci-fi I've ever seen has managed to pull off. For example, Moya, the living ship.... this beautiful creature:
Is a cool concept, and in most sci-fi shows a living ship would show up, and it'd be a thing for an episode, and everyone would move on with thier lives. But no Farscape makes her a real character in the show, she has emoitions, and feelings, and desires of her own. There are entire episodes, hell, arcs, that revolve around her relationship with different members of the crew. And so not only did they go to the effort of making the living ship a real fleshed out character, they added Pilot, this lovely fellow:
Who was genetically grafted into her to act as a user interface. But he's not just that, he is connected to her, physically, mentally, emotionally, they share the wants and desires, and goals, they are two characters that have been together, quite literally, since they were both children. And that gets /explored/ a /lot/ what other show is gonna have that sort of depth with the environment and an 8 foot tall puppet? And make it work, so damn, well.
There's another one I really want to talk about but I won't because it's major spoilers, and well, I'm not a monster.
I wasn't kidding when I said I consider this the best sci-fi show ever made, it manages to be absolutely batshit insane, and yet heartfelt, and honest to it's characters, and will make you feel things you didn't know you could feel, and then you blink and for a moment remember you're looking at a 6 foot tall hunk of silicone.
It is, for me at least, one of the prime examples of how you put characters, and their stories up front and centre, so even when the universe they're living in and the things happening to them are completely ridiculous, and even when the character is the craziest alien design you've ever seen, it still works, because you care about the character and who they are (god guy or bad guy, they're all fantastic). And because of that, they can get away with the /most/ ridiculous concepts, and it still works because you've bought into these characters and you care about what happens to them.
(THAT SAID. It's still an early ought's sci-fi show so it has it's moments of groan worthy cheese from time to time. Closest I can compare it to is like, season 3 or 4 SG-1 after they got out of their really awkward phase but before everything was super polished. But it get's out of it's awkward phase pretty quick and into the really juicy stuff.)
It's all available on Prime, and if you're anything like me, it'll change your life. Or at the very least how you look at story telling in a syndicated television format. And what more can you ask out of life, really?
(And I'm just gonna leave you with this moment, in case you arn't already sold...
Yeah, there's an episode that's like 40% Looney Toons, and it's /amazing/ and makes PERFECT sense in context.)
1) Imma check out It's Such a Beautiful Day 2) Imma check out Farscape 3) (yes Saniss Imma check out The Expanse) 4) Imma plug something a bit more mindless:
Tiny House Nation on Netflix. It's literally every other house-building show, but the builds are all custom tiny houses with clever solutions for space-problems that are hella fun to watch come together. And with all the "Hey I'm stuck inside" stuff going on right now, the show makes you drool over small spaces in a way you never thought possible. And the two hosts are just ridiculous goofballs of personality who rib on each other the whole time. 40-minute episodes, I love it.
4:44 – Last Day on Earth, in which Willem Dafoe and his partner quietly wait for the world to end in 24 hours' time, is available to rent on Amazon Prime for like four bucks. I've recommended it on here before, but this Letterboxd review sums up why it's perfect quarantine viewing better than I ever could: