As more streaming services pop up and giants like Netflix, Hulu, and newcomer Amazon have begun producing their own shows, cable is getting a run for its money. The two years have seen an explosion in high quality online content, which has forever changed the way we watch TV. The best side effect of this renaissance is that waiting a week between episodes of your favorite show is a thing of the past; now you can watch an entire season at your own pace, whenever, wherever.
But there’s a lot of crap out there, and life’s too short for bad television, so we’ve put together a guide to the wonderful world of streaming and all the new goodies recently released.
Mozart in the Jungle (Amazon Prime)
When Amazon debuted a handful of pilot episodes announcing they would put the four most popular choices into production earlier this year, this show was one of the winners (the excellent new show Transparent was also a winner). Created by Roman Coppola, Jason Schwartzman, and Alex Timbers, the vibe is sex, drugs, and intrigue behind the curtains at a NYC symphony (the show is loosely based on Blair Tindall’s 2005 memoir of the same title). If that synopsis doesn’t win you over, the star-studded roster of actors—including Malcolm McDowell, Saffron Burrows, and Gael García Bernal—will. Season one is out now.
Peaky Blinders (Netflix)
Imagine a mashup of BBC’s Downton Abbey and HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and you’ve got a pretty good idea of this show. Set in bleak post-World War I Birmingham, England, Peaky Blinders follows a ruthlessly ambitious gangster (played by the ever-terrifying Cillian Murphy) dead-set on expanding his criminal empire. Blood, guns, and cockney accents galore.
Black Mirror (Netflix)
This British mini-series has become tremendously popular for its fresh take on science fiction and the way technology is changing life. Each episode is a stand-alone short film that deals with mundane everyday life in a fictional future. What happens to relationships if we are able to record every minute of our lives and examine them to no end? Is reality TV destroying the world? Should we be able to reanimate dead loved ones using their social media avatars? Black Mirror is dark, fascinating, and thought provoking.
The Wrong Mans, (Hulu Plus)
Series two of Hulu Plus’s The Wrongs Mans, which is co-produced with British BBC, was a hit across the pond and has made a splash in the US, too. Two office workers are unwittingly swept up in an intricate web of lies, conspiracies and violent crimes when one of them accidentally answers the wrong phone call. Series two finds our hapless protagonists readjusting to life in prison.
Orphan Black (Amazon Prime)
The first two seasons of the Canadian sci-fi thriller Orphan Black, back for a third season in April 2015 , are available now on Amazon Prime. The central premise of this cerebral Philip K. Dick-ian show involves human cloning. Sarah Manning is confronted with her doppelganger, Beth, when the latter commits suicide. Sarah assumes Beth’s identity to uncover the mystery, but she’s about to discover more than she bargained for.
Marco Polo (Netflix)
Netflix’s big fall roll out included their most ambitious project to date, the Game of Thrones-esque (less supernatural snow zombies, more nude martial arts battles) historical-ish drama Marco Polo. The titular character is held captive at the court of Mongolian ruler Kublai Khan, who is deadlocked in conflict with the Chinese Song-dynasty to the South. This (slightly suspect) history lesson is anything but dry, though. Gorgeous costumes, elaborate combat sequences, a dazzling diverse cast of characters, and steamy harem sex scenes has us glued to the retina display.