Best new stuff on Net­flix and Ama­zon

Here’s our favourite screen dates for the next month

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - NEWS -

Sum­mer­time is tra­di­tion­ally a bar­ren waste­land for orig­i­nal pro­gram­ming, with all the best new shows stored up for win­ter hiber­na­tion. Sum­mer is usu­ally re­served for re­peats, sport and un­re­mark­able fluff sneaked in from the grave­yard shift while every­one is on hol­i­day. But stream­ing ser­vices and on­de­mand view­ing means new pro­gram­ming doesn’t have to take a siesta in the sum­mer. With Net­flix and Ama­zon Prime there’s a clutch of binge wor­thy shows ready to res­cue view­ers from this nor­mally bleak pe­riod so you don’t end up ac­ci­den­tally get­ting sucked into 15 episodes of Su­per­vet and dis­solve into a gi­ant tear as a budgie from Brad­ford gets its wing re­stored us­ing a tiny match­stick crutch.

THE LAST TY­COON Ama­zon Prime, July 28th

If you’re crav­ing some glam­ourous, ridicu­lous soapy bit of non­sense, Ama­zon Prime have you cov­ered with this ritzy drama. It’s based on F Scott Fitzger­ald’s un­fin­ished novel set in 1930s Hol­ly­wood where the in­flu­ence of der Führer and the Nazi regime is be­com­ing more prevalent. Toothy movie pro­ducer Mon­roe Stahr (Matt Bomer) bat­tles against grow­ing cul­tural col­lu­sion and work­place con­flict with craggy old Kelsey Gram­mar (chew­ing ev­ery bit of avail­able scenery) as stu­dio ex­ec­u­tive Pat Brady. Lily Collins and her mag­nif­i­cent eye­brows fea­ture as the chirpy star­let turned first-time pro­ducer along with doe-eyed Ir­ish ac­tress Do­minique McEl­lig­ott.

More of a pot-boiler then a fine-boned cere­bral puz­zle, it’s the type of show where char­ac­ters make half so­lil­o­quies and grand pro­nounce­ments at the drop of a top hat, if they’re not speak­ing out of the cigar-plugged side of their mouths like would-be Marx Broth­ers. It may be over the top but the sump­tu­ous sets and styling some­what make up for its overblown sen­si­bil­i­ties and com­i­cally overt sym­bol­ism. It’s a wel­come, pleas­ing di­ver­sion from the more cel­e­brated over plot­ted, brood­ing shows of this era of so-called “pres­tige” TV.


Pos­si­bly the most in­trigu­ing prospect in this sum­mer of stream­ing is the Net­flix movie The In­cred­i­ble Jes­sica James. It stars Daily Show cor­re­spon­dent Jes­sica Wil­liams as a young New York City play­wright who is at­tempt­ing to re­align her­self af­ter a bad breakup and ends up stum­bling into a po­ten­tial new re­la­tion­ship with sparky older man app de­signer Chris O’Dowd.

Wil­liams’s char­ac­ter is a crush-wor­thy mod­ern rom-com hero­ine, bluntly telling her blind date about her ro­man­tic tur­moil and bring­ing a hand­writ­ten anti-pa­tri­archy book­let to a baby shower to a sea of piti­fully blank faces. There is no out­ward flir­ta­tious cutesi­ness or stut­ter­ing An­nie Hall quirk­i­ness about her. In­stead she brims with with self-con­fi­dence and snaps at O’Dowd’s char­ac­ter’s pro­fes­sion of af­fec­tion for her, by telling him that she knows she’s “frig­gin’ dope”. She of­fers a fresh­ness and ex­u­ber­ance in line with the ex­cit­ing new breed of re­lat­able, flawed but fierce rom-com leads such as Jenny Slate, Aziz An­sari, Issa Rae and the much-ma­ligned Lena Dun­ham.

WET HOT AMER­I­CAN SUM­MER: 10 YEARS LATER Net­flix, Au­gust 4th

Wet Hot Amer­i­can Sum­mer started life as a cult cu­rio in 2001 with an in­cred­i­ble en­sem­ble cast: El­iz­a­beth Banks, Amy Poehler, Molly Shan­non, Paul Rudd and a pre-mega star­dom Bradley Cooper among a slew of other comedic ace faces.

A par­ody of the all-Amer­i­can teen stoner sex- romps, crit­ics mauled it upon its ini­tial re­lease. But it picked up an un­der­ground au­di­ence as well as plenty of celebrity fans. This in­spired Net­flix to make a pre­quel in 2015 – Wet Hot Amer­i­can Sum­mer: First Day of Camp. It brought the orig­i­nal cast back to­gether but with a lu­di­crous twist – they were play­ing even younger ver­sions of their for­mer char­ac­ters. (The stel­lar cast was also ex­panded to in­clude Chris Pine, Ja­son Schwartz­man, John Hamm and Kris­ten Wiig.)

Most will re­turn for this new se­ries set in 1991 with the mis­fit group re­unit­ing for a Camp Fire­wood 10-year re­union but the thread­bare plot isn’t re­ally the point. Much like your av­er­age Will Fer­rell ve­hi­cle, the show is all about the quotable set-pieces, which in­clude Paul Rudd stomp­ing about ha­rass­ing teens in a full lux­u­ri­ous hair-metal wig, Schwartz­man twirling around to the sounds on his Sony Walk­man dressed head to toe in day­glo, and Kris­ten Wiig giv­ing a full un­hinged Bar­bie doll per­for­mance. Some­times you get the im­pres­sion that the cast may be hav­ing a bet­ter time than the au­di­encem but it’s still an en­joy­ably brain­less, mid­night snack of a show.

DIS­JOINTED Net­flix, Au­gust 25th

Chuck Lorre’s highly an­tic­i­pated stoner sit­com Dis­jointed stars the for­mi­da­ble Kathy Bates, who plays Ruth, a tou­sle-haired Janis Jo­plin-es­que pro­pri­etor of a Los An­ge­les cannabis dis­pen­sary. The se­ries fol­lows her, and her en­tre­pre­neur­ial son and a trio of “bud­ten­ders” as they nav­i­gate the brave new world of le­gal and medic­i­nal mar­i­juana use. This is Lorre’s first part­ner­ship with Net­flix. hav­ing all but re­vived net­work sit­coms with his critic-proof smash hits Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang The­ory and Mike & Molly.

Jes­sica Wil­liams aka The In­cred­i­ble Jes­sica James

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