3 Streaming Originals (not on netflix) Worth Watching

streaming mediaSo, my kids tell me there’s this thing called “Netflix” that lets us watch moving pictures on our mobile devices or tvs right from the air. Further, it seems Netflix has had some success with some original programming. “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black” are, if twitter is any indication, really, really good shows. I haven’t watched either yet, so I can’t really speak to how good they are, or aren’t. I do think its awesome that Netflix invested in original shows, and that it is paying off.

While not as mainstream, or as tweeted about, or as podcasted about (seriously, TWiB! live-podcasted the entire 2nd season of House of Cards, in one day!), Hulu has also invested in quite a bit of original stuff, some of it being surprisingly good stuff. And they’re free! Here are 3:

#3: ENDGAME (drama, 13 episodes, watch):
endgame Endgame was a show in the quirky detective vein. It centered around an eccentric Russian chess master who witnessed his wife murdered in front of his hotel. The stress from the trauma manifested as agoraphobia, leaving the chess rock star, Arkady Balagan, stuck in the hotel. Unfortunately, Arkady had money issues, resulting in a constant struggle between him and the hotel management. In order to earn money while his money issues are fixed, he resorts to solving mysteries. Yes, using his brilliant, borderline-insane chess brains to do it. And a motley crew of hotel staff, including a maid, the head of hotel security and a bartender. Oh, and he also had stalker-ish fanboy that he bribed with chess games to do incredibly dangerous shit.

Most of the acting is pretty good, believable. There were some fun visuals of Arkady’s thought process. The mysteries were the usual and by the end of the episode the mysteries were solved in clever, unique ways. And always a subplot of trying, and always making, rent. There was a long plot that involved the murder of his wife, that hinted at involvement by law enforcement, and some shadowy organization. Alas, production of Endgame was shut down, with no plans, or rumors, of restarting, so we’ll likely never know why she died, or who killed her.

Still, the 13 episodes are worth watching. It makes for an entertaining couple afternoons, and (not trying to be sexist, but because I just typed that, I am..) the actress who plays the bartender is smokin’ hot.

more about Endgame: [wikipeda | imdb]

#2: Booth at the End (science fiction, drama, 10 episodes, watch):
booth Watching and old guy have conversations with random people while sitting at a booth (at the end!) sounds boring as shit. Surprisingly, it isn’t:

A mysterious Man sits at a booth at the end of a diner. People approach him because they’ve heard The Man has a gift. He can solve their problems: A parent with a sick child, a woman who wants to be prettier, a nun who has lost her faith. The Man can give these people what they want. For a price. – from hulu

The price is they have do do something The Man asks them to do. They have a choice to make. How far will they go to get what they want? And when they do the thing, will it affect others? Yes, yes it does. At the end all the stories tie together in out-of-left-field ways.

The Man, played by Xander Berkeley, gives a master class in acting. The entire series is an exercise in minimalism. It is a hard show to pigeonhole, or to describe with anything close to doing it justice. You just gotta watch.

more about Booth at the End: [wikipedia | imdb]

#1: MisFits (mind-blowing, genre defying, 37 episodes, watch)
misfits2 I really don’t know what words to say about Misfits except that IT IS THE GREATEST SHOW EVER FILMED. Seriously, it is. Well, okay, we’ll call that my “opinion.” Sci-fi, drama, comedy, horror, all of it blended together into some kind of brain melting drug. As it is a British show, with UK TV sensibilities, it is dirty as hell. Also, Balls-out honest, completely unafraid and refreshingly real (despite the premise).

Speaking of the premise; this 37 hours of awesome is about a group of minor criminals sentenced to community service on an estate in the UK. During their first day a weird storm rolls in, throws some lightning, and boom!, everyone has superpowers. Some of the superpowers are ridiculous, some are standard trope superpowers possessed by people who either aren’t very bright, or have no idea what to do with their powers.

The first two series (UK vernacular for seasons) featured episodic plots, and a loose series-long arc. The actors from series 1 to series 3 changed as originals moved on with their lives with their powers. The last three series kept to the same cast for the most part, and started a story arc that took shape over the last three series leading to a finale that, while tying up loose ends in the show, opens the door for a movie.

I will warn you, though, once you start, you won’t stop. This show is addicting. Clear a weekend, gather all the snacks, and watch this show.

more about MisFits: [wikipedia | imdb]

There, three original shows that you can stream. Three shows that are far-and-away better than the scripted “reality” bullshit that litters the dish channelscape.


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