The Weekend Series: five binge-worthy shows to queue up this month
With the hubbub surrounding this year’s Oscar season, it’s easy to forget that some incredible television exists. We’re not talking about Married at First Sight (but we’re also not knocking that perfectly addictive drama-fest) – we’re talking about the five must-watch television shows of 2019. We’ve curated a list of episodical entertainment that is available to binge now, or will be soon. Superheroes, angels and demons, prison escapes, and dark comedies – what’s not to like?
If you ever wished Groundhog Day could get a savvy modern-day reinterpretation, then you’ll love Russian Doll. The show, co-created by Natasha Lyonne (who also stars), Leslye Headland, and Amy Poehler is a tale of an irreverent protagonist grappling with the fact that she is living the same 24 hours over and over again. The key difference between Groundhog Day and Russian Doll is that Lyonne’s Nadia Vulvokov’s day resets when she dies, which seems to be unavoidable. Over and over again, Nadia wakes up and celebrates her 36th birthday until she is inevitably hit by a cab, chokes on a chicken bone, falls down some stairs or is blown up in a gas explosion. Over eight episodes Nadia attempts to unravel the cause of her otherworldly predicament. This conceptually adventurous series is earning rave reviews, with viewers around the globe falling head over heels for Natasha Lyonne’s hilariously caustic performance. You can binge Russian Doll now on Netflix.
Escape at Dannemora
The next show on our list is one that is based on a true story. In 2015, two convicted murderers broke out of Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York. A female prison employee, who had fostered romantic links to both men prior to their getaway, reportedly aided the two felons in their daring escape. This sordid tale forms the basis of Escape at Dannemora – a limited series directed by comedian-turned-filmmaker Ben Stiller. The seven-episode series features an all-star cast that adds weight to the production, including Benicio del Toro, Paul Dano and Patricia Arquette. Escape at Dannemora debuted on Showtime in November 2018, and has gone on to earn acclaim at the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards and Directors Guild of America Awards. You can watch all episodes of Escape at Dannemora exclusively on Stan.
Image: Vanity Fair
The Umbrella Academy
If you had an emo phase between 2003 and 2013, there’s a good chance you know who Gerard Way is. The lead singer of My Chemical Romance was the poster boy for eyeliner and pop-punk anthems, but he’s much more than just a musician. In 2007 Way started writing the comic-book series The Umbrella Academy – a story about a dysfunctional family of superheroes. The series earned a cult following, and in 2017 it was announced that Netflix has commissioned a live-action adaptation of the series. Ellen Page, Tom Hopper, Robert Sheehan, Emmy Raver-Lampman, David Castañeda and Aidan Gallagher will portray the mysterious Hargreeves family, who must reunite to prevent the apocalypse. Season one of The Umbrella Academy is dropping imminently on Netflix on Friday February 15.
Since wrapping up the Harry Potter series, Daniel Radcliffe has become one of Hollywood’s most flexible actors. He’s performed a sentient corpse in Swiss Army Man, Allen Ginsberg in Kill Your Darlings and an accused murderer with devilish horns in, well, Horns. The star’s latest role is that of Craig, an overworked angel that handles all of humanity’s prayers. The show (based on Simon Rich’s novel What in God’s Name) finds Heaven in a state of disarray, as God (played by Steve Buscemi) has chosen to focus on his favourite hobbies instead of monitoring the state of Earth. It’s up to Craig and a motley team of heaven’s low-level workers to ensure prayers are answered before the crisis gets out of hand. Miracle Workers is posting new episodes weekly on Stan.
Image: Who Australia
One of the biggest team ups in literary history was undoubtedly Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s collaborative effort Good Omens. Unbelievably witty and effortlessly readable, the story of the coming of the end times has amassed a huge cult following that grows as more and more readers encounter the novel. It was only a matter of time before Good Omens received the television treatment, and now we’re close to seeing the final product. The comedic apocalyptic miniseries (written and overseen by Nail Gaiman himself) features an all-star cast of British and American stars, including Martin Sheen and David Tennant as the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley respectively, plus Jon Hamm, Jack Whitehall, Miranda Richardson, Nick Offerman and Frances McDormand. Good Omens will be released later in the year through Amazon Prime.
Image: TV Insider