We picked through the latest additions to the ol’ Netflix to bring you the best of the bunch.
Possibly the roughest, nastiest light Canada’s ever been seen in. Frontier stars Dothraki hunk Jason Momoa as a brutally effective outlaw bent on breaking up the fur trade monopoly held by the Hudson’s Bay Company (which still exists, and today owns Saks Fifth Ave) in 17th century Canada, competing against English, Scottish and French thugs in fur coats.
The costumes are fantastic — everyone seems to be wearing three or four beaver furs, with old-school blades tucked into their waistcoat holsters — and the action is breakneck, with a pretty enlightened representation of how commercial operators interacted with indigenous people.
This ultra-stylish, critically-acclaimed new teen drama puts a dark, creepy, Twin Peaks-y spin on the classic Archie Comics universe, opening with a mysterious tragedy and mining the menacing undertones of 50s high school Americana stylings, where the jock in the baseball jacket is invariably up to no good and the cheerleaders will probably kill.
It’s way more sexed up than the comics ever were, the sly cultural allusions come thick and fast, and the dialogue can be utterly savage.
The cast is insane: ripped Kiwi actor KJ Apa plays Archie, with a six pack. 90s TV stars Luke Perry (Beverly Hills 90210) and Madchen Amick (Twin Peaks) make appearances, and Disney heartthrob Cole Sprouse, the natural inheritor of Perry’s cool-guy mantle, plays Jughead (his crown’s now a beanie). From the producer who rebooted DC Comics’ Arrow and Supergirl for TV.
While visiting the girl he fancies (Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams), a dweeby, permanently anorak-clad London schoolboy gets involved in a shooting and winds up with a fragment of his cellphone embedded in his brain. This causes him to experience initially disorienting, inside-The-Matrix cascading data visualisations, endows him with the ability to hear nearby voice calls, and lets him commune with modems. Basically, he has acquired superpowers — he has the internet in his head — and now he just needs to use them to avenge himself on his dirtbag attackers, and fight street gangs along the way.
It sounds a bit silly, and it is, but I can also think of at least three knucklehead mates who would happily watch this in a heartbeat. Strangely, the fact that it takes itself so seriously makes iBoy all the more fun to watch.
Stranger Things fans thirsty for more fantasy-tinged intrigue have been lapping up this bingeable drama about a disappeared young woman who resurfaces seven years later. She bears mysterious scars, her impaired sight has been restored and she now calls herself “The OA”. WTF? Questions abound, and as the mystery unravels over eight episodes, there are some major surprises, spawning panting Reddit threads devoted to piecing buried clues together, and culminating in a controversial finale.
The series was written by Brit Marling (who plays The OA) and Zal Batmanglij, both former dumpster-diving freegans who met at Georgetown University and went on to make a couple of brainy, eerie feature films together, before this series, which critics have both heralded as “unclassifiable...astounding and brilliant” and dismissed as “beautiful bullshit”.