Category Archives: Featured

7 Binge Worthy TV Shows: What to Watch When the Olympics Are On

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Broad City’s  Abbi and Ilana offer a new level of friendship goals.

If you’re like me, your’e dreading the impending barrage of Rio Olympics television coverage and what it will do to the other free-to-air networks.  Seven have already announced all of their FTA and digital channels will be non stop Olympics, Channel nine will probably opt for Big Bang Theory repeats and Network Ten…well they’ll do want they want and continue with their standard schedule.

So then we find ourselves aimlessly channel surfing trying to find something to watch in between episodes of The Bachelor Australia hoping to find a gem we’ve not yet seen.  This is where the following list of recommended shows to binge during the Rio Olympics will hopefully come in handy.

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Schitt’s Creek  /  Seasons 1 and 2  / Comedy  /  2015 – 

Now currently on hiatus after two seasons (season three is currently filming) Schitt’s Creek has a familiar premise of the fish out of water scenario where the fish is the ultra wealthy Rose family and the water being an unscrupulous business manager that left them with nothing but a small middle of nowhere town (and the Roses new home) named Schitts Creek that Rose patriarch Johnny (Eugene Levy) purchased as a gag gift for his son David (Daniel Levy).  Forced to forgo all their luxuries, the Rose’s must endure life as they never knew it until Johnny is able to sell the town to nab back some much needed dollars.

Why you should binge: Comedy legends Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara back on screen together for starters!  Plus it’s funny, heart warming and very ship-worthy, you’ll fall in love with “is he or isn’t he” David and his spoiled sister Alexis (Annie Murphy) will either make you uber jealous or scratch your head in wonderment.

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Robert Durst, star of The Jinx

The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst /  Season 1  /  Documentary  /  2015

With the popularity of Making a Murder being so overwhelming, many people might be looking for something just as absurd and something just as intriguing.  The Jinx delves into the mystery surrounding the 1982 disappearance of Durst’s first wife Kathy along with the murder of his best friend Susan Berman and neighbor Morris Black.  The six part documentary series is told from Durst’s point of view and you’ll be left gobsmacked when things start to unravel and truth’s start to come out.

Why you should binge: It’s like the opposite of Making a Murderer where we all (for the most part) assume Steven Avery’s innocence but are left fuming at the US justice system but here, Dursts’ guilt is obvious right from the go but the police can’t seem to nab him.  it’s an incredibly powerful look into how power, money and influence can keep things hidden.

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The Tanner’s are back!

Fuller House  /  Season 1  /  Comedy  /  2016 –

Sure there’s some nostalgia that surrounds this updated version of 80’s sitcom Full House that those not yet to watch may think be corny, but in fact, Fuller House is such an easy show to watch, you’ll make your way through all 13 episodes in a breeze.  DJ Tanner (Candice Cameron) is back along with younger sister Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin) and best friend Kimmy Gibbler (Andrea Barber) who all join together to live in the house they grew up in.  If Carly Rae Jepsen’s updated theme song doesn’t get you, then seeing the return of the old Tanner family (minus the Olsen twins as Michelle) will.

Why you should binge: It’s a very easy show to settle into, doesn’t take itself serious and throws uber shade at the missing Olsen twins plus who didn’t love Full House?!  It was staple viewing growing up in the 80’s!

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Richie and Patrick’s relationship take center stage in Looking

Looking  /  Seasons 1 and 2 + finale movie  /  Drama  /  2015-2016

I’ll be very blunt, the first season of gay themed drama Looking killed me.  It frustrated me with its slowness and un-eventfulness but Looking’s slow paced look at the lives of three gay men living in San Francisco is worthy of a binge session.  Patrick (Jonathan Groff) has a stable work life but can’t get his romantic life on track, Dom (Murray Bartlett) is trying to clasp onto his youth with younger men and casual work while Augustin (Frankie J Alvarez) is a struggling artist with a drug addiction that’s spiraling out of control.

Why you should binge: It’s probably one of the more honest looks at the daily lives of gay men than we’ve ever seen to date and the acting by the leads – especially Groff – is understated and genuine.  Once you move onto season two, the pace picks up nicely from season one and finishes off with the recent Looking: The Movie.

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Real life and on-screen best friends Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair

Playing House  /  Seasons 1 and 2  /  Comedy  /  2014 –

Maggie (Lennon Parham) is heavily pregnant, had just thrown her husband out for cheating and best friend Emma (Jessica St. Clair) ditches her job in Hong Kong to move in and support her.  This hilarious look at what best friends will and can do for each other is honest and real and funny.  As best friends off screen, Parham and St. Clair bounce off one another with such ease one could be forgiven for forgetting this was a scripted comedy.

Why you should binge: Filled with laughter and outrageous moments, Playing House is just fun to watch.  Pure and simple, plus Maggie and Emma’s friendship offers up some major feels that will keep you moving onto the next episode.

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Michael Peterson – cold blooded killer or man of innocence?

The Staircase  /  Season 1  /  Documentary  /  2004

Another true crime documentary that falls into the Making a Murderer and the above mentioned The Jinx category where you can’t stop at just one episode.  Offering up two main themes – The investigation into a very complicated murder and the defense and prosecution teams who are trying to construct winning cases, The Staircase is told from the viewpoint of worried widow/cold blooded killer Michael Peterson, and details the case around his late wife who was found at the bottom of their family home staircase in a pool of blood.

Why you should binge: While this 8 part series ends rather abruptly, this case of a woman dead at the bottom of a staircase isn’t as clear cut as it first seems.  The family secrets and compelling connections that are revealed as time goes on will only leave you questioning your own mind on Peterson’s guilt or innocence.

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Broad City  /  Seasons 1 to 3  /  Comedy  /  2014 – 

Abbi Abrams (Abbi Jacobson) and Ilana Wexler (Ilana Glazer) are best friends in their 20’s living the high life in NYC.  Abbi works in a gym as a cleaner but has hopes of making her way up to personal trainer, Ilana works….well we never really find out what she does but it involves lots of sleeping in the toilet and spinning on her chair.  With meaningless jobs, a very short supply of cash and virtually no shame, their day to day experiences lead them down some bizarre and unexpected paths.

Why you should binge: It’s like Girls but funnier, and you don’t want to cause physical harm to any of the characters.  Broad City is wildly outrageous, crude and shocking in it’s approach to 20-something life in New York and the friendship between Abbi and Ilana will make you wish you had something similar, but with a more stable love life, professional life and cash flow.

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Hands On Look at Star Wars Battlefront: The Good and The Dark Side

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Just one of the many randomly generated characters in the STAR WARS™ Battlefront™ Beta

Star Wars fans unite as the playable beta for the soon-to-be-released Battlefront game is now open for play and it’s FREE for all PS4, Xbox1 and PC users!  While I may not be the biggest star wars fan, I am fond of the series and what it has to offer to both cinemas and gaming and by the looks of it, both are set to make a big impact on fans.

The free playable beta straight up offers three modes of play – a ‘survival’ mode on tatooine that can either be played solo or with a friend in co-op that has you as a rebel fighter going up against hoards of storm troopers, shock troopers and AT-TE’s.  There’s also two multiplayer modes open for play with ‘drop zone’ that is basically a zone wars game and the larger scale ‘walker assault’ which pits rebel soldiers against storm troopers, AT-AT’s, player controlled tie fighters, Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader.

Of the three game modes, it’s the ‘walker assault’ that’s the biggest draw card showcasing a ridiculously large free-roam map with a total of 40 players within a single game.  For the most part, I found myself splitting my time between the two multiplayer maps enjoying both game modes equally.

That said, the beta is not without it’s problems even though the game will appeal to both star wars fans and first person shooter fans.

THE GOOD

*The graphics are just insane.  Like crazy insane.  The snowy, rocky landscape featured in Hoth’s ‘walker attack’ is crisp and lush and textured while the reddish and brooding terrain on Sullust in ‘drop zone’ is equally stunning.  From steaming sinkholes to snow capped mountains, DICE have truly created a beautiful looking game.  Even when in a 20v20 game of Walker Attack, everything is incredibly detailed and sparse and visual.

*Game play is incredibly smooth.  All three game modes available, while mostly standardized within multiplayer games, feel new and fresh and make use of the entire map.  Weapons don’t feel over powered and the bonus cycler rifle is a personal favorite weapon.

*Servers ran well and so far have had no issue with getting kicked out of a game, lagging or even finding a game.  Even the ability to join friends in the same lobby was pretty pain free thanks to the size of the games.

*The multiplayer hub is a neat idea that allows users -while waiting for a game to start – to customize either their star card hands (more on that later) choose their weapons or customize their player without the worry of being ported into a starting game without saving any changes.  Once ready, you can then jump straight into the game and continue on the fight for good…or evil, though don’t linger for too long as there is a limit of being idle before being booted from the server.

*Customization, while not a feature in the beta, will be open upon the games full release and will include male and female characters.  Storm trooper customization will be limited (no pink and purple storm troopers in this game!) but there is an option to remove the helmet and customize your players head/face.  Rebel soldier customization will be more generous in what it has to offer.

*The game feels like it’s Star Wars.  And in general, that’s what fans want.  Battlefront doesn’t feel like a rip-off or even sub-par, it feels like what we’ve known and loved for all these years.

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STAR WARS™ Battlefront™ Multiplayer lobby

THE BAD

*The Star Cards your player holds ultimately decide what ‘accessories’ your player holds.  From thermal detonators to sniper rifles to jump packs, each one offers the ability to change up game play.  The downside is that at any given time, you can only hold two cards, though I’ve seen some players with three, and it feels limiting to what you can allow your character to start with.

*The blasters are a great addition to the game and the four available in the beta flow across both troopers and rebel soldiers – but, there are no options for add-ons.  No scopes, no grenades, no quick-cool-down feature.  I guess this would keep things pretty even between teams but once again, feels limiting to what one could do when the game starts.

*Walker Attack is a fantastic game mode – when you’re selected to play on the side of the empire.  The only major downside of this mode is that it’s so one sided with the rebels attempting to outrun the empire and their AT-AT’s and AT-ST’s to stop the assault with coordinated airstrikes via controlled satellites that of the 15 or so games I played, the rebels won just once.

For any damage to be done to the massive AT-AT’s, the rebels must control two uplink points at once to call in a friendly attack but when it’s rebels vs empire troopers and walker vehicles…it all becomes too difficult and one sided.

*Spawning, as per the norm, was a nightmare.  With such massive maps, getting killed only to respawn literally in the middle on nowhere kills the momentum, especially when you have to run to the opposite side of the map just to catch up with other players who found themselves in the same situation.  The flip side is finding the enemy spawning directly behind or even beside you in random sporadic moments of wtf?!.

For what’s on offer in the beta, Battlefront actually impressed me to a point where i’m actually excited to see the whole game once it’s released and finally make the decision to add it to my list of pre-orders.  For EA and DICE, I think they achieved what they set out to make – a game that feels true to the Star Wars status.