This week, Zoe Williamson takes us through the shows that are making her Netflix subscription worthwhile…
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Season 11 recently hit the virtual Netflix shelves, but the seasons are so short that it’s half a day of viewing maximum. Because I look forward to each new series, my schedule is cleared for whatever day the episodes are made available. The latest season maintains the show’s irreverent wit, and also means I have an excuse to go back and watch how everything got to its current point of insanity.
Always Sunny is refreshing in its tough viewing. It’s a brave move to make sure the viewer hates every character equally. Charlie, Dee, Dennis, Mac and Frank are all awful, terrible, no-good people. If they knew you, you’d probably find yourself bankrupt and friendless within a couple of days. But, every time something untoward happens to the gang, I find myself hoping they beat whichever decent, upstanding citizen has fooled them somehow. They’re like family members you know are vile, but they once stopped someone bullying you at school. It’s impressive that 11 years after it first aired, each character gets progressively worse and major crimes are still avoided.
I’ll be completely honest – I hate zombies. They’re just an awful plot device. For some reason the latent human instinct is to eat other humans and this is something that is only sparked once we’ve experienced the inconvenience of being dead. But for iZombie, there’s a little charm; it’s self-aware and cheesy as hell.
The series actually starts with a ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’ scenario before, predictably, a segue into something pretty terrible happening (a massacre on a boat, by the way). Zombie movie references are littered throughout, with a nice nod to 28 Days Later in the pilot.
For once, there’s actually an explanation for the sudden zombie kind-of-almost outbreak. There’s a man-made drug that affects the user somehow (Maybe there’s a full explanation at the end of the first season but I haven’t got there yet). As streets are not crawling with the walking dead, the story can focus on other plotlines without the constant need for “yeah, it’s great that you’re in love, Jimmy, but Mary has just been eaten”. This show remembers to do something which is lacking from the new hits that dominate screens; it remembers to be fun.
Social media references (finding out zombie news through Facebook, everything going straight to Instagram etc) are a bit full on. We get it; we’re all zombies for technology, staring blankly at screens and letting them drain our life force. But I’m typing this while simultaneously watching YouTube, so maybe the writers have a point.
Before each season starts, there’s a slight question about whether it can maintain its levels of ridiculousness, or if the network has requested they dial it back a little. Luckily, three seasons in, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has clung onto the absurd situations which give the members of its namesake the best job ever. It’s a shame they wasted a guest appearance from Bill Hader (Really? He was in it for five minutes. What was the point?), but it was as if they used his quick departure to prove they don’t need guest stars.
Character dynamics and jokes that incorporate physical comedy with witty dialogue mean the series is always suitable for re-watching. Luckily, the first two seasons are on Netflix and all signs are good for the third following their example.
You know those shows everyone adores but you’re not quite into, convince yourself you’re wrong, then force yourself to finish? That’s Daredevil. I haven’t quite finished season two yet, but season one seemed interesting enough, even if I can’t remember a single thing that happened. The latest batch of episodes have just been the exact same fight sequence in dim light. I get that Matt Murdock is blind, but there’s really no need to give the viewer that level of empathy. Jon Bernthal’s portrayal of the Punisher is very good, though, so I’ll probably give The Punisher series that has recently been confirmed the inevitable thirteen hours it demands.