Its ‘that time’ of year again and hopefully most of you have settled into and are starting to feel that Christmas spirit. It is also that time for some overdue rest and indulgence of good food, good wine and cheer. Here are my top four picks of TV series available on Netflix for you to indulge yourselves in over the festive period.
This well-crafted take on the dark side of celebrity created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg allows us to descend upon BoJack (Will Arnett) a washed up TV actor in the form of a horse, the star of a popular 90s T.V show (a parody of its kind) entitled “Horsin Around” an unconventional feel good family, that comprises of BoJack and three orphans. Set in present time in Hollywood, Bo Jack lives in the hills and has what seems to be a drink problem, he has another problem (or rather pretends he has) in his uninvited lodger Todd Chavez (Aaron Paul) a dopey, nice guy but albeit hanger on, who came to a house party thrown by BoJack a few years and never left. Unable to write his autobiography, in the hopes of reviving his now dimmed spotlight, BoJack is pressured into hiring ghostwriter Diane Nguyen (Alison Brie) who appears less than impressed with this faded star. Add frenemie sitcom rival and incredibly popular actor Mr Peanutbutter (Paul F Tompkins) a Labrador and BoJack’s on/off girlfriend Princess Carolyn (Amy Sedaris) a Persian cat, who is also BoJacks agent, this show is sure to amuse those with a dark sense of humour and appreciation for all things slightly off-beat.
Overall rating ****
This is one of those shows that, on paper, you really shouldn’t like any of the characters…..but actually……you really, really do. That is the genius of Mitchell Hurwitz, the creator and one of the writers of this show, an exaggerated version of his own family. So let’s take a look at them, The Bluths an incredibly wealthy, incredibly dysfunctional family who live in Orange County. The family headed by George Bluth (Jeffrey Tambor) who also plays his free loving, dope smoking, twin brother Oscar, George is a man with weakened principles, his wife Lucille, who is fabulous and an alcoholic (a fabulous alcoholic) she is not particularly to close to any of her children, with the exception of her youngest, the socially awkward Buster (Tony Hale) who she is uncomfortably close with and whom still lives at home. It is up to Buster’s older brother, the seemingly doo-gooder Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman) to take over the running their father’s real estate company, after he is landed in jail for committing a white collar crime. Micheal and his son George Michael (Michael Cera) move into one of the model homes and are shortly joined by Lindsay, a Paris Hilton esque type character, wife to closeted gay Tobias Funke, a discredited physcahiartits turned actor, or extra and their attention starved, attention seeking daughter Maeby (Alia Shawkat). The eldest of the Bluths, Job (Will Arnett) a failing magician, failing ladies man and all round failure attempts to challenge Micheal consistently, to win the approval of his father. This is a laugh out loud comedy, with incredible twists and turns, a “behind the scenes” style show, narrated beautifully by Ron Howard and with actors including Ben Stiller, Charlize Theron AND Liza Minelli, this is one to keep you endlessly entertained.
Overall rating *****
The Oh So Serious
Betrayal. Bondage. Butchery. Created by Blake Masters, Botherhood is home to the Caffee’s an all to good working class, Irish family in Rhode Island. This drama is, for all intents and purposes, a pseudo Greek tragedy about two brothers, the unstable ex-con Michael Caffee (Jason Isaacs) and the equally corrupt politician Tommy Caffee (Jason Clarke) fighting for the love of their manipulative and needy mother Rose (Fionnula Flanagan) who is fiercely protective over her brood but does nothing to repair the damage in the relationship between the pair. Tommy is part of the Rhode Island House of Representatives and running for re-election. The timely, or untimely release of his brother Michael from jail, proves to cause Tommy no end of problems. Tommy’s wife, Eileen (Annabeth Gish) has her own share of problems, the couple are very much estranged in her eyes and due to having no support, finds herself ending up in compromising situations. Everybody has their secrets and this gritty tale of power, greed, deception and loyalty will keep you hooked from beginning to end. Word of warning, not for the squeamish.
Overall rating *****
The Downright Yee-Haw
Developed by Graham Yost, based on Elmore Leonard’s novels Pronto, Riding the Gap and the short story Fire in the Hole. Justified is centred on our hero and heart throb Deputy Marshall Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) who is transferred back to his home town of Harland (think deep, deep South) in what feels like a massive backwards move for the Deputy. Now having to deal with criminal he knows intimately, including his own father, Arlo (Raymond J Barry), Raylan’s toughest time is against former friend, now nemesis and king amongst thieves Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) who is also in cahoots with Raylan’s own father. Blood runs as deep as the history of the people of this town and things are done very much ‘their way.’ Raylan reconnects with now married, ex-wife Winona (Natalie Zea) hoping very much to rekindle the flame, the pair have an intense relationship and their story is played out to the fullest. Each season see’s Raylan take on a different set of bad guys, with every storyline as gripping as the last, with recurring characters throughout. The writing is tight and solid, you are addicted from the off and it doesn’t disappoint. There are five seasons in all (season 6 is due for release in the US in January next year) Neflix has up to season 4 available currently.
Overall rating *****