Okay, if you’re reading this in the first few hours of your uni / school / work / easter hollies then you’re probably still way too optimistic, imagining that you’ll spend the next however-long doing things like hiking, and working on your skincare routine, and being a functioning member of society.
While you’re wasting time with all of that dreamery (been there, done that, every holidays) (no dreamery isn’t a word, yes I love it, yes I will use it far too often from this point forwards), I’ve put together a list of the good, the so-bad-it’s-great and the excellent in terms of TV and movies on demand that you can spend your days and nights gobbling up- BYO junk food.
13 Reasons Why // Watch when: You need to feel some serious feelings- almost guaranteed to break you out of your chocolate coma. Watch where: Netflix. Watch Why: Because it’s an excellent, well-written (seriously well-written, with dialogue like: ”some girls know all of the lyrics to each other’s songs. They find harmonies in their laughter.”) drama with relatable characters. Or just so that you finally understand all of the memes floating around your facebook feed right now.
Veronica Mars // Watch when: You want to add a little bit of whipsmart humor and 00’s vibin’ to your life. Watch where: Not on any streaming services currently (a shame against humanity) but 200% worth buying or hiring on DVD. Is hiring DVDs still a thing? Watch Why: There are three meaty seasons of the show, and somehow it doesn’t wane over time. Pretty much sure to become one of your all-time-favorites within a couple of episodes, and pretty much sure to make you seriously consider a career as a PI.
Jane the Virgin // Watch when: You just wanna zone out and fest your eyes on something a little bit different, and a lotta fun. Watch where: The first two seasons are up on Netflix, I’m not going to tell you that I hit up a moderately dodgy watch online free site to keep up to date with the third but I will tell you that JTV’s cliffhanger episode / season endings means you’re going to want to find it somewhere. Watch Why: It’s about a girl who is saving herself for marriage, has never had sex and ends up pregnant anyway. Unless you’re into a classic latino telenovela or two, this is going to be unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. Packed to the brim with completely unrealistic drama, moments of pure hilarity and heart-wrenching loss and some seriously nifty soundwork, you basically can’t miss it.
Four Weddings & a Funeral // Watch when: You find yourself thinking / saying ‘they just don’t make films like they used to (also, check that cause it sounds kinda wanky). Watch where: On Netflix. Watch Why: Because sometimes there’s nothing better than having a hearty sob on a Sunday arvo. Because the delivery of that monologue is absolutely timeless. Because a young Hugh Grant might just show you what your nan’s always on about, and make you realise that he (NOT Michael Cera) was the original #geekchic, and that has to be worth something.
Faking It // Watch when: You’re down to relive the madness that was being a teenager- and then some. Watch where: You can catch the first season on Stan. After that, it’s up to you. Watch Why: It’s a clever comedy / drama with a host of relatable and understandable characters, and it touches on issues like queerness, race, ability and inclusiveness in a really powerful way. A LGBTQ+ series at heart, it more or less has something for everyone.
Room // Watch when: the mood is sombre, the air is still and you’re able to concentrate for a little while. Watch where: Stan. Watch Why: It is definitely one of the best films of the millennium so far. A big call, yes, but if you don’t agree I’ll eat my hat (then shake you by the shoulders and ask what the heck is wrong with you). I can’t give away any more than that, but you must.
Stranger Things // Watch when: You wanna feel a little creepy. Watch where: Netflix. Watch Why: Winona Rider’s incredible talent is eclipsed only by the insane skills of her pre-teen costars. You will want to adopt all of them and be their best friends, simultaneously. It probably should be said that there are some serious jump scenes all about the series, but they’re well timed and just add to the fun.
The Fundamentals of Caring // Watch when: You can handle some thick indie nuance, mountains of sarcasm and some occasionally drawn-out but always-worthwhile movie goodness. Watch where: Netflix. Watch Why: Firstly, Paul Rudd is one of the main characters. I mean, that’d just about do it for me, but also Selena Gomez is surprisingly fantastic, and if you watch it you’re going to open up your disability worldview something spectacular so there’s that.
Red Dog // Watch when: You have the urge to ugly-cry your heart out. Watch where: Netflix. Also, I’m pretty sure everyone has a DVD of this stashed somewhere. Watch Why: It’s quintessential 70’s Australia (I mean, I wasn’t here but it seems legit), and the main character is a dog. The storyline is fast-paced and well-done, and the main character is a dog. The movie also scores bonus points for having a dog as the main character.
About Time // Watch when: You are ready to have a new favorite film. Watch where: Not on any streaming services <insert very frowny sad face here>. Watch Why: Bill Nighty is a genius, the premise of the movie is genius, and the soundtrack is electric. Seriously though, there’s something about About Time that I’ve never seen anything before or since quite capture. I should stop talking it up, because I think part of the joy is the unexpected excellentness of it all, but you should really sit down for a couple of hours, turn over the little-bit-slow beginning and let it wash over you.
Orange is the New Black // Watch when: You’re wanting to see how the other half live- and by the other half, I mean women in a correctional facility. Watch where: Netflix. Watch Why: OITNB is a cult classic for a reason. It paints a vivid picture of the good and the bad in everyone, and the intimacy that you find in the lives of each and every person is often refreshing and always a bit of a shock. If you love character-driven storylines, you really can’t go past this series. Also, if you love Ruby Rose, you really can’t go past this series. Also, if you love complicated lesbian relationships, (you know where I’m going with this).
F.R.I.E.N.D.S. // Watch when: You want to laugh, cry, sigh with and adore a whole bunch of people who might just end up feeling like the truest mates you have. Watch where: Stan. Watch Why: If you’ve never seen F.R.I.E.N.D.S, you are so bloody welcome- it is literally THE best thing you will ever know. If you’ve seen it a dozen times, what a great opportunity this is to watch it again. Pure timelessness, packed-to-the-brim with reliable laughs and good clean fun.
How I Met Your Mother // Watch when: You have the time to commit to all nine seasons. Watch where: Netflix. Watch Why: There is a tangible difference between catching an episode of HIMYM now and then, and actually watching the whole series start-to-finish. Seriously, it will change the perception of every single character and circumstance, and the cleverness of it all will maybe even make you forgive the ending.
Summer Heights High // Watch when: You’re up for having a guilty giggle or fifty. Watch where: Netflix. Watch Why: There’s very little as crude, as clumsy and as careless in it’s portrayal of often marginalised members of our Australian society as Summer Heights High, and Chris Lilly is utterly ridiculous as every core character in the show. Somehow all of that comes together as a bright-and-clashing wonder, perfectly executed and beloved by everyone from teenagers to my grandparents. By the end of the too-short only season, you’ll be wishing there was more.
Brooklyn 99 // Watch when: You’ve had a long-ass day and you want to sink into something goooooood. Watch where: Netflix. Watch Why: It’s damn funny. The characters are perfect archetypes, foiling their own best intentions every single time, and the brilliance of both this and the abundance of classic one-liners makes B99 for some easy, carefree and very addictive viewing.
Upper Middle Bogan // Watch when: You’re trying to convince yourself that Australia is absolutely cultured, thank you very much! Watch where: Netflix. Watch Why: If you don’t know anyone like the Denyars or the Wheelers, then you probably don’t live in Australian society. Taking the piss out of both our lower and upper middle class neighbors, friends and family members, the beauty of Upper Middle Bogan is how reflective it is of the way we exist, and the brilliance of it is that whether you’re more ‘Satdy down at the Mallala drags’ or ‘the Taylors will be joining us for a celebratory birthday dinner’ will weigh heavily on how you watch the show and what you take away from it.
You Can’t Ask That // Watch when: You want a life education. No, seriously. Watch where: ABC IView- season two has just come out. Watch Why: Honestly, this should be compulsory viewing for every single human being. Honest, unbiased and beautifully put together, You Can’t Ask that poses difficult, rude and often-wondered questions to our most vulnerable members of society. It addresses the bias that we can’t help but feel towards people such as the homeless, muslims, recent war veterans, the dying, those with down syndrome and the indigenous and quenches anything we might wonder at the back of our brains. It might solve some fear built on misunderstanding, and there is no downside to that.
Please Like Me // Watch when: You reckon that nobody understands how awkward and ridiculous your life is. Watch where: Netflix. Watch Why: Josh Thomas is uncomfortably funny, and he portrays both his own life and the millennial experience with an accuracy that is almost unbelievable. Often dark and always funny, the show gets much better than the opening theme song- and that’s so good it’ll be stuck in your head for a fortnight.
Pretty Little Liars // Watch when: You wanna solve some crimes in your own mind and watch some damn fine teenagers get tormented beyond reality (but you’ll be cheering them on the whole time obviously). Watch where: Netflix. Watch Why: PLL is so. well. written. The twists and turns are over the top at times, sure, but you’ll find yourself so deep in the world that it’s showing you that you won’t even notice. This is one of those call-in-sick-for-work-because-you-MUST-finish shows, so it’s lucky you’re on holidays. Also, it’ll probably get you SO hooked, too, which is always a bonus.
The OA // Watch when: It’s been too long between some ‘why are we and why are we here’ drinks. Watch where: Netflix.Watch Why: This show is one part ‘I love humanity’ to every two parts ‘what the damn hell’, and there’s a good dose of jumpiness, curious happenings and phenomenal plot twists throughout.
Kingsman: The Secret Service // Watch when: You want some British humour, some thrills and spills and some cute little doggos, too. Or when you’re down for an action movie that can actually hold its own, plot-wise. Watch where: Watch Why: This movie undoubtedly did not get the hype it deserved. It’s packed with a star-studded cast and some fresh talent, an A+ storyline and a scene to the tune of Dizzee Rascal’s Bonkers that will get you fifty shades of hyped up. Also, a sequel is apparently on the way- watch it and you’ll understand how and why that is so exciting.
The Inbetweeners // Watch when: You want to cringe, and cringe, and cringe some more. Watch where: Neeeetfliiiiix. Watch Why: When I went to see the Inbetweeners Movie, the sister of my boyfriend at the time asked how I could possibly have enjoyed it, citing the show as ‘such a boy thing’. I mean, she had a point- but there’s something wonderful and pure about watching dudes fail at breaking into any kind of moderate-to-good social circle and hang shit on each other for half an hour at a time. If you grew up spending time with guys, this’ll take you back there in the best (and most hilarious) way.
Black Mirror // Watch when: You want to probably end up rocking by yourself in a corner and feel a bit bleak about our not-so-distant future. Watch where: Watch Why: To feel funny in your tummy about the human condition. Honestly, the first one I saw was Season 3, Episode 1 and I still don’t reckon it can be beaten- just be ready to question everything you know.
30 Minutes or Less // Watch when: It’s been a long day, people have been kinda assholes and you just want to put something on, dammit. Watch where: Netflix. Watch Why: This is an absolute take-it-or-leave-it movie, the kind that is a little bit rubbish but also really good. Aziz Ansari and that guy from Zombieland make a great pair, and while it’s not exactly must-see viewing, it’s the kind of thing you wanna veg out in front of, or play during a fun and exciting round of ultimate uno. Good stuff.
The Intern // Watch when: You wanna appreciate humankind. Watch where: Netflix. Watch Why: This one is surprisingly heartwarming. It captures the complication of the human existence nicely, and manages to hold together a storyline in a rom-com fashion without it being a rom-com at all. Aside from a few flutters of passion with other characters here and there, it stays true to the central plot of the companionship between an older, widowed man and a young woman caught between being a workaholic and a family member with some serious finesse.
If You Are the One // Watch when: You have the brain capacity to read subtitles. Watch where: SBS On Demand. Watch Why: If you have to ask WHY you’d want to watch a Chinese dating show, where contestants are treated like commodities and the language and cultural barrier is tough as nails, you are in for a treat. My Chinese grandma tells me that an incredible amount is lost in translation, which you’ll be very thankful for when you’re rolling around laughing the truthfulness, strangeness and brutality of what the potential suitors and their potential love interests have to say to each other. Quality stuff.
Alrighty, that should tide you over until real life starts again; watch, adore and thank me later (I’m off to sink into a new series!) xo