The True Crime genre love that has been drawing in viewers for some time now from Making a Murderer to The Keepers and The Staircase among others, has a new must-watch show featuring one of the most bizarre cases ever documented. Evil Genius: The True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist recently dropped on Netflix and the four part documentary has enough of all the right genre ingredients for it to be binged in a single sit and leave us wanting more.
At the very base of this case is the town of Eerie, Pennsylvania and a pizza delivery driver named Brian Wells who robs a bank with a working walking cane gun (it’s literally something out of James Bond), a note demanding $250,000 – and a collar bomb around his neck.
After obtaining less than $9000, Wells leaves the bank, is apprehended and while waiting for the bomb squad to arrive, dies when said collar bomb explodes in one very graphic and horrific scene that has traumatized me since viewing. Moments after Well’s shocking death, it’s discovered he was on a scavenger hunt, following a map and instructions in order to defuse the Saw like collar bomb.
The web of this case begins to expand when one of Well’s co-workers mysteriously dies only days later and two people – Bill Rothstein and Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong – enter the fray with a third dead body sitting frozen in Rothstien’s chest freezer.
This fascinating case features master mind criminals, red herrings, crazy theories and law enforcement bungles – just as others in the genre have – but unlike those, the focus on the judicial system is just a haze as the unusual circumstances within this case are just too outlandish to not be put front and centre.
Of the two criminals in this case, Diehl-Armstrong is the only one still alive and the only one to actively communicate with director Trey Borzillieri about Well’s case and the ever expanding landscape that surrounds it.
Check out the trailer below:
Evil Genius is streaming now on Netflix Australia/New Zealand.
p.s – for fans of the genre’, the compelling The Staircase is coming to Netflix along with three all-new episodes starting on June 8th!
Streaming giant Netflix has given us all an early Easter present with the announcement of new seasons for some of our most binge worthy non-scripted shows!
Dope, Drug Lords, vintage toy docuseries The Toys That Made Us, hilarious baking show Nailed it! and the Queer Eye reboot have all been given an additional series order by the service.
“These series are indicative of what we’re trying to accomplish for Netflix unscripted: working with world-class producers to create the best unscripted shows on television,” Bela Bajaria, vice president of content at Netflix, said. “These series elevate the genre with innovative takes on familiar formats. They deliver immersive and nuanced stories. They elicit so many emotions from viewers, from tears of laughter to tears of joy – and that’s just ‘Queer Eye.’”
No news as yet when we can expect the new episodes however The Toys That Made Us’ will have four more episodes from season one to drop shortly!
We’re all freaks, we’re all fragile, and we all survived. This tagline for Netflix’s docuseries ‘Mortified Guide’ rings true for all us 30-something year old’s who can remember the awkward, angst ridden life we all lived ‘back in the day’ of our teen years and the dairy entries that accommodated those life defining moments.
The six episode series takes heed from a generalized topic such as “The Mortified Guide to Fitting In” and “The Mortified Guide to Pop Culture” among others and puts willing participants on stage, in front of a live audience, to read aloud actual diary entries written in the moments of rage, love, happiness and oblivion.
Think of it as a live action, modern day version of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole.
The beauty behind Mortified Guide is just how affirming it is to know that what we experienced and felt and believed all those years ago, mimics that of pretty much everyone else and that is in thanks to how Mortified Guide is presented.
This is about the celebration of our awkward years, the celebration about how inept we all really were about love and sex and family and well….pretty much life in general and the celebration of how we all saw this and interpreted it into written form.
Each of the six episodes offer plenty of standout diary moments including a re-telling of a very erotic story written about an encounter with Jon Bon Jovi in the high school corridors, a star trek obsessed lad who wrote his diary entries in the form of ‘captains logs’, one girls attempt to get popular with online fanfic readers with her clueless homo-erotic Harry Potter fan fiction and my personal favorite – episode one’s closing of two life long friends re-enacting their old MSN chats where being friend-zoned is painfully hilarious.
There’s so much warmth to this awkward humor, so much so that you’ll be encouraged to pull out your own teenage journal from the back of wardrobe and cringe a little less than the last time you read it.
And so rings true it does, the shows tagline “We’re all freaks, we’re all fragile, and we all survived.”
Mortified Guide To is now streaming on Netflix Australia
Now that Netflix has officially launched in Australia, I need to note my top pick for new content that is a must watch for any subscriber.
Located in the US TV category is a sweet yet not so sweet comedy called The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) is discovering what modern life is like for the first time after being freed from a cult – a cult that lived in an underground bunker where Kimmy and 3 other women were being held hostage for 15 years (they had been told the world had pretty much blown up). It’s a rather macabre premise for a show – especially a comedy.
Wanting to steer clear of the ‘Indiana mole women’ tag Kimmy and her fellow cult devotee’s have been so kindly given, Kimmy decides to make a break and start her life in New York City and in what seems like record time, Kimmy manages to find an apartment with a roommate in Titus (Tituss Burgess) and a job as a co-dependent for wealthy socialite Jacqueline Voorhees (Jane Krakowski).
Kimmy’s sudden burst into the modern world and her adjustment to this new life away from the bunker provide the base story point for the season and the comedy revolving around dated slang versus modern technology.
As Kimmy, Kemper is perfection. The doe eyed, clueless optimist plays well with Kemper (the role was created with her in mind) who breathes innocence into a woman not wanting to be seen as a victim. her incessant happiness should be annoying but in Kempers hands, her sweet temperament comes off a somewhat adorable. Krakowski on the hand is my favorite. As the perfect image at any desperate cost (foot surgery and all), Jacqueline could be considered to be an older version of Krakowski’s other alter ego (30 Rock’s Jenna Maroney) but it’s easy enough to over-look it with the amount of fantastic one liners she constantly spews out. Jacqueline is the kind of woman you hope doesn’t exist yet you know she does.
The brains trust behind Kimmy Schmidt is of course Tina Fey and 30 Rock producer Robert Carlock. The two working together have created a show that has a familiar feel to it (30 Rock fans should be all over this) but is so separate from the creators roots, new viewers should stick around.
The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, complete season one is available on Netflix Australia.
Subscription streaming services Presto and Stan have now been live for more than a month now and the third service – and the one with the biggest name – Netflix, launches tomorrow to Australian and New Zealand residents.
The Aussie form of Netflix is going into the market with the lowest price of the three services – just $8.99 a month (Stan is $10 per month, Presto $9.99) for the lowest of the three available packages, and while heavily affordable, the $8.99 package will only stream in standard quality.
House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Orphan Black, Homeland, LOST, House and Arrow – among others, are all listed to be readily available to subscribers from tomorrow – most of which has been confirmed by Netflix.
Having had some play time on the US version, I can easily say Netflix was my favorite, mainly due to it’s ease of use, personalization suggestions and massive back and current library (I managed to fall into a Dawsons Creek – Melrose Place – 30 Rock binge session)
All new users will receive one month’s free trial of the service before the three tier packages come into effect.
Are you planning on using Netflix? Already subscribed to Presto or Stan? Let us know what you think of them in the comments below.
With the news that another pay subscription streaming TV service is about to hit our shores next year, it’s starting to feel a little “when it rains it pours”. From Foxtel Go to Netflix, Stan and now Presto Entertainment, it’s time to sit down and look at just is ‘streaming subscription TV’ and is it something you’ll want?
Subscription TV isn’t a new thing here in Australia. We’ve had Austar and Foxtel and Optus TV streaming all kinds of television shows into our homes for years all for a monthly subscription fee but we were restricted to programming schedules and having to buy channel packs containing shows and channels we really didn’t watch. Free to air TV also offers us a wide range of shows, though once again, we’re restricted to scheduling, delays, changes in programming, adverts and more. We turned to illegally downloading our favorites programs in an attempt to keep up-to-date with our US counterparts so as to stay informed and join in the conversations on social media and to also avoid spoilers.
Subscription TV on a streaming basis however is only just starting to make it’s mark. Netflix is easily the biggest of the names making the move to break into Australia while Presto, while known and already in the market, only offered movies – until announcing a joint deal with Channel 7 and Foxtel to bring TV programs today. Stan, the newest of the bunch, is still in baby steps, keeping their content and cards closed off.
Netflix, when it launches will offer a mass library of television shows and movies (that they plan to expand after it’s initial release), though in general, their extensive catalogue consists of content that is usually a year, or a season, behind it’s first run. (hence it’s adoration by binge worthy viewers) They have the rights to air Batman prequel series Gotham, but can’t make it available until a year after it’s premiere on channel 9 – so October 2015 and aside from it’s original content of Orange is the new black and House of Cards, all programs are usually classed as second-run series. Netflix is set to launch in March 2015 and will cost subscribers approximately $10 a month
Stan is a joint venture between Nine Entertainment Co and Fairfax Media and plans to make available new content as it becomes available to subscribers. While not revealing too much, Stan announced they’ll have exclusively the entire series run of Breaking Bad and it’s highly anticipated spin-off series Better Caul Saul. As CEO, Mike Sneesby (speaking to gizmodo.com.au) states “Nobody else will have that. Not Foxtel, not Netflix, not broadcast. We make a deal that sees us put it onto Nine, but only if we say so.” “If it’s big on BitTorrent, if it’s big on Netflix, we wanted it.” Stan is set to launch in February 2015 and will cost subscribers $10 per month with no lock-in contracts.
The newly announced Presto Entertainment is a joint venture between Foxtel, Seven West Media and Presto to bring a “broad range of locally commissioned and internationally acquired content including drama, comedy, factual and entertainment programming”. No content has been announced and no start date either. Price wise, don’t be too surprised if it matches Presto’s current $9.99 per month it has for it’s streaming movies offer.
So the big question is, which one do you subscribe to? All will feature content and all will be less than $10 per month. When they all arrive, do your homework. Each plan on offering different and exclusive content so know what you want and see who is offering it. Also, be wary of minimum subscription periods. Netflix allow users to cancel at will while Presto and Stan are yet to reveal if they will allow this.
So what’s the end game of subscription streaming TV? Namely, it’s an untapped market in Australia, but it’s also a plausible solution to stop the mass of torrenting that’s occurring here. Streamco (Stan) while doing research on streaming subscription tv found that “half of pirates it surveyed would pay for the content they were downloading if it were available on a cheap and convenient platform.”
Do you plan on heading into the streaming subscription TV area? Does one stand out better than the others? Sound off in the comments below!
Update – 20/1/15
Streaming service STAN is set to go live shortly and judging by their updated website, there’s a slew of content ready to go when it launches. Programs including Nurse Jackie, Dexter, Hannibal, Californication, The Bridge, The Tudors, Orphan Black, Doctor Who and Masters of Sex are all featured in the sites background image.