Binge Watch: Frontier, Sneaky Pete, A Series of Unfortunate Events and The Santa Clarita Diet

Looking for a new show to watch online? Here’s what I’ve been binge-watching the last few months. Read on to find out what is worth your precious TV-time.

Frontier - Available worldwide (except for Canada) on Netflix 

Basically, “Jason Momoa wrapped in fur killing a bunch of English people” - as described by Jason Momoa. That’s pretty much what the show is about and it sounds amazing, right? It had you at “Jason Momoa killing people”, right? Well… Sadly, it’s not as amazing as it sounds. Frontier has a cool setting (Canada’s wilderness), a cool premise (Native tribes against the evil trading companies) and great performances - particularly from the British actors; but it can be predictable, veering towards storytelling cliches.

Frontier may have the setting for a kick-ass show, but it is lacking the grittiness [and the sharp dialogue] of shows like Banshee and Justified. Still, even with all its shortcomings, Frontier has enough enjoyable elements to make it worth watching: Lovable rogues coming to the new world, people killing each other over furs and strong female characters [Zoe Boyle, Katie McGrath and Jessica Madden stole the show for me]. And then, there is Jason [wrapped in fur] being a damaged badass… but that’s not precisely new [it hasn’t become any less hot either].

Binge Worthiness: “Watch when you can”. I wouldn’t say you should skip this show altogether. However, if you are only planning on watching it for Jason Momoa, I’d suggest The Red Road instead and if you’re just interested in the setting you’re probably better off watching Taboo. In other words, do watch Frontier at some point, but don’t put it on top of your binge-list.

A Series of Unfortunate Events - Netflix

Just like the in movie [and the book on which both are based], three little orphans go through an endless sequence of ordeals after their parents die. They bounce around from one crazy relative to another surviving thanks to their encyclopedic knowledge, mechanical expertise and superior chewing ability. The reviews about this show have been mixed; personally, I thought it was fun to watch.

Is it better than the movie? Probably not, but I think it is pretty close. It may not be the greatest surreal show I’ve seen lately [that would be Dirk Gently without a doubt], but it has a whimsical tone, snarky narration, anachronistic fun details [they are dressed in period clothes but have credit cards and online shopping e.g.] great visuals and, yes, the baby is still amazing.

I have one big complaint, however. Why did they change the ‘faux-Victorian’ setting to ‘faux-40s’? [the baby was so much cuter like that]

Binge Worthiness: “Watch it when you are in the mood for something light” If you keep your expectations manageable, I think this can be a very enjoyable show.

The Santa Clarita Diet - Netflix

For some reason, I never bothered to read the synopsis for this show before watching it; so I assumed it was some sort of Eat, Pray, Love thing. Imagine my surprise when I realised it was a zombie comedy!

Drew Barrymore plays a painfully vanilla housewife who lives in the Santa Clarita suburbs with her equally boring husband (Timothy Olyphant). Their lives are quite ordinary until one day she spontaneously turns into a zombie. Hilarity ensues.

The Santa Clarita diet is a dark comedy with an absurd twist, Desperate Housewives with zombies, you might say. I don’t think I have seen that before. Once you get over the fact that Timothy Olyphant doesn’t have a cowboy hat and is not in law enforcement, it is definitely a fun show to watch. My only issue is that people are calling it the “first zombie comedy on TV”. These people have clearly not seen iZombie, which is just as clever and funny in my opinion.

Binge worthiness: “Definite binge” It’s quick and it is fun. I watched it over a weekend.

Sneaky Pete - Amazon

This show is probably the least buzzy on this list, but it is my top pick. It’s not only the best show I’ve ‘binged’ lately, but it might be one of my favourite new shows of the 2016-17 season.

Sneaky Pete tells the story of a con-man (Giovanni Ribisi) who steals the identity of his former cell-mate to hide from a psychopathic criminal (Bryan Cranston) who is after him. The premise, is relatively low key when compared to the rest of the offerings in the streaming world (alternate nazi realities, zombie housewives, upside down worlds, and so on), which probably explains why this show has been flying under the radar.

This show had a great mixture of heartfelt drama, character development and comedy that we don’t see anymore! It was very reminiscent of the blue-skies era of the USA network, back when Burn Notice and White Collar. But even better. I know the current trend is to go as dark as people can take, but I miss watching shows that are fun. Plus, the cast – which also features Margo Martindale – is phenomenal.

Binge worthiness: “Definitely worth the binge” I can’t really claim this show is groundbreaking, but it was tremendously enjoyable. And we can all use a fun ride, can’t we. [Full disclosure, I adore Giovanni Ribisi and Bryan Cranston, so that might have been a factor].
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The TV Empress is a Media Management graduate, screenwriter in the making (and financial engineer in the meantime). She has serious plans to take over global television. You can follow the TVEmpress on twitter @TVRepublik

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