For television viewers, we are in an era of exceptional television. It started with HBO and its extraordinary programming such as Game of Thrones and The Sopranos but the crown has passed to the streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, DC Universe, Hulu, CBS Access, and YouTube Premium. These services have added to the television marketplace with their own exceptional programming and have even raised the bar a notch or two. In order to compete, network television and basic cable have introduced new and better programming (The Walking Dead, Into the Badlands, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, all the WB DC superhero series, Manifest, The Expanse). With so many new and good series, it is easy to miss a few original movies and series. Here are some that are worth a look.
This series is an extraordinary compilation of animated shorts which last 6 to 17 minutes and are filmed in a multitude of animated styles (there is even a live-action sequence). Many of these short films are based on short stories by famous science fiction authors such as Peter Hamilton, John Scalzi, and Ken Lui. The animated shorts run the range from fantasy to horror to science fiction. Some of the shorts are funny, while others are heart-wrenchingly brutal and some are deeply troubling. My favorite episodes are “Shape-Shifters,” “Helping Hand,” and “Zima Blue” however, all of the shorts are worth watching. Fortunately, the series has been renewed for a second season. One can hope that it will be as good as the first season!
Eat Locals is a dark comedy about a meeting of vampires crashed by a military unit led by a Vatican official, Larousse, (played by Mackenzie Crook of Almost Human). The movie stars Freema Agyeman (Dr. Who) as Angel, Charlie Cox (Daredevil) as Henry, Annette Crosbie (Into the Woods) as Alice, Tony Curran (Defiance) as Peter, and Eve Myles (Torchwood) as Vanessa. The film also stars Billy Cook (Silent Witness) as Sebastian, whom Vanessa brings to the meeting at the farmhouse to become the latest member of their vampire council.
The movie is a dark comedy of manners as the Vatican military unit tries to kill the vampires. These are not sparkly vampires, yet they are not all bloodthirsty vampires either. Any movie where an elderly woman gleefully fires a machine gun can only be fun. Actually, this movie would be even better as a television series with the character of Sebastian acting as the new familiar for this group vampires.
The InBetween – NBC
The InBetween is a police procedural drama with a twist. The twist is that Cassi (Harriet Dyer), is a psychic. She can see and talk to dead people but she also has visions related to the homicides. She helps her father, homicide detective Tom Hackett (Paul Blackthorne) and his partner, Damien Asante (Justin Cornwell) solve murders while dealing with her personal demon, the spirit of a convicted murderer, Ed Roven (Sean Bolger).
The series could just become a network summer filler but the writing, acting, and production values are quite good, making it stand out. Each episode is multi-layered since Cassie has to deal with the fact that her mother drank herself into an early grave, a myriad of random dead people who need closure, and the fact that her other father, Brian Currie (Michael B. Silver), has been diagnosed with a debilitating disease. But most troubling is the spirit of Ed Roven. He is constantly trying to tempt Cassie by offering to help her fight against malignant spirits. Cassie knows that Ed is up to no-good but his offer to help her deal with malignant spirits that she cannot banish is truly tempting.
I am hoping that this series gets a second season because it has so many places it still can go. It is easy to get caught up on missed episodes with On Demand or Hulu. It is worth a watch.
Outside of these series, I cannot recommend Amazon Prime’s The Boys and The Expanse enough. They are both incredible and can be watched multiple times. Also, The Boys has been renewed for a second season and The Expanse has been renewed for a fifth season. There are so many new and exciting series in the coming months such as Amazon Prime Video’s Carnival Row and Netflix’s The Witcher, that fans can truly believe this is the Golden Age of fantasy and science fiction on television.