Updated: Mar 14
2020 wasn’t a great year for a lot of people. However, the long spells of isolation were a great time to binge TV shows (tv characters don’t care that you’re not wearing pants).
With so many shows vying for our attention, there are bound to be some that have slipped through the cracks. Most of the time it’s no great loss but these five shows are worth checking out.
1. Travelers (2016 – 2018, Netflix)
(c) Showcase/Netflix. Video courtesy of Netflix via Youtube.
Hundreds of years from our time, the world is in dire straits. Overpopulation, entire lives spent underground, and your standard dystopic war between two philosophically opposed sides. A small group of surviving humans discover how to transfer their consciousness back in time to the 21st century.
These travellers jump back in time into host bodies, erasing the person that was once there and assuming their identities.
These travellers have one mission – prevent their future from happening at all costs.
Not only is the show’s premise exciting and intriguing, its exceptional writing keeps the momentum going without getting too bogged down in filler. The overall narrative builds over seasons, with side stories running parallel but never interfering with the main narrative plotline.
The fact the show can keep the main story at the forefront while also allowing their characters room to grow is to be applauded.
A solid sci-fi time travel thriller.
2. Brews Brothers (2020 -, Netflix)
(c) Netflix. Video courtesy of Netflix via Youtube.
Now I imagine a lot of you reading this enjoy having a beer down at the pub with your mates. Now have you ever thought as you’ve been sitting with your mates that you’d have a good time running your own bar? Rest assured because Brews Brothers is here to dissuade you from that notion.
Wilhelm Rodman (Alan Aisenberg) is running his own brewery business in California into the ground and struggling to keep the brewery afloat. His troubles are further complicated when his pretentious brother Adam (Mike Castle) returns from odysseys abroad and turns everything upside down.
The brothers bicker and fight their way through eight episodes whilst somehow managing to keep their business running along with their former-MMA fighter bar manager and clueless bar staff.
The show’s eight episodes delight in embracing absurdity in mundane situations. The episode that stands out for me is the fourth episode “Monk Monday”. What starts as a formal blessing of the brewery spirals out into what can only be described as the greatest religious rave since the sacking of Constantinople.
With jokes that hit more than they miss and enough beer lingo to satisfy your alcoholic friend, it’s a great show to breeze through on a slow weekend.
3. Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet (2020 -, Apple Tv+)
(c) Lionsgate Television, Ubisoft Films & Television, 3 Arts Entertainment, and RCG Productions. Video courtesy of Apple via Youtube.
Ever wondered why your favourite video game developer takes ages to fix even the simplest of bugs or why their last game was all the way back in 2005? Well, keep wondering because Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet doesn’t have those answers.
What it does have is one of the stars of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Rob McElhenney), an ineffectual manager, an alcoholic award-winning sci-fi writer still trapped in the 80s, a psychotic assistant, and a dev team that spends more time goofing off than bug fixing.
However, these characters aren’t as one dimensional as I’ve made them out to be. They’re pretty well-rounded and the writers give the characters enough time to develop and interact over the show’s run.
Surprisingly, the show also devotes some effort to tackling more serious issues with a humorous twist. A particularly poignant episode explores the breakdown of the main character’s relationship juxtaposed with the success of their video game company.
The episode's final scene where the two partners run into each other and can only make small talk before only one of them is left alone to stew on their mistakes and it’s absolutely heartbreaking to watch.
Perfect for the dumpster fire that is the world at the moment.
4. Next (2020, Foxtel)
(c) Fox Entertainment, 20th Television. Video courtesy of Fox Broadcasting Company via Youtube.
I bet a lot of you have spent quite a bit of time staring into the void throughout 2020, God knows I have. However, you know what would’ve just topped off the roaring dumpster fire of 2020? Why a super-intelligent AI pulling a Skynet of course!
Those of you hoping to finally live out your wildest Terminator dreams don’t have to fret, because the latest show from Manny Coto and Fox - Next has you covered.
The series follows Paul LeBlanc, ex-CEO of tech giant Zarva and outspoken advocate against society’s dependence on technology and AI, as he joins forces with an FBI cybersecurity team to try and stop a rogue AI that Zarva created.
It’s not just the FBI and LeBlanc that are interested in the AI. Zarva’s new CEO sees the AI as the next big step in technological development while the US government sees it as a valuable defensive weapon.
The show’s gripping from the first scene with twists and turns I didn’t see coming. The acting from John Slattery especially is top-notch, mixing just the right blend of sarcasm and seriousness to keep you hooked.
The subject matter is also more relevant than ever as debates over the future and ethics of AI are being pushed to the forefront more and more.
A great sci-fi thriller to watch once you’ve lost your faith in humanity.
5. Veep (2012 – 2019, Foxtel)
(c) HBO. Video courtesy of HBO via Youtube.
At the moment, any talk of politics seems too much of a hot button issue to broach with people. It’s such a tough topic to talk to people about that it can be hard to see the lighter side of the frankly absurd political world.
Veep follows the first female Vice President Selina Myers’ (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) political career all the way from campaigning for Senate to putting out fires left by the President to inheriting the presidency and promptly running the country into the ground.
Over seven seasons, Myers ends up dragging herself and her presidential team - including her campaign manager, advisers, and staff writer – down in hilarious self-sabotaging fashion.
The writers of this show must have had their tongues in their cheeks the entire time as they take subtle (and not so subtle) jabs at politicians, lobbyists, and everyone in between. The show dissects the political world and its bizarre web of lies, backdoor deals, and contradictory political schemes and sabotage.
Check this out if you want a more entertaining president than we’ll ever get.
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