Streaming Finds: Tracking down sci fi and fantasy shows of interest available on the streaming services.
Thanksgiving week is here and after all the turkey and dressing and family time, you may just want to find an excuse to escape from the holiday mirth and binge-watch a good show or two. A four-day weekend (of which you will probably at best get only three days to yourself) will not be enough to binge all 176 episodes of Star Trek: DS9 or even make it through the five seasons (and 100 eps) of Fringe. But there are any of a number of shows with a shorter run out there on the streaming services that you could fit in over the weekend. Here are a few suggestions that should be worth watching if you can steal away long enough for some couch time, starting off with some family-friendly entries in case you can’t escape the kids. And for more offerings on the streaming services, be sure to check out our comprehensive lists of the sci fi and fantasy shows currently available (see links below).
Pushing Daisies (Prime Video, 22 Episodes): Bryan Fuller’s dark fantasy may be a good option if you are looking for a more family friendly series (though don’t confuse this with a Hallmark Channel entry). In this show, a man discovers that he can bring people back from the dead for one minute and he uses the information they provide to help solve crimes. This is anything but your typical supernatural thriller, though, with Fuller’s fingerprints all over it and its spot-on cast. It will leave you wanting more, but you will definitely enjoy the journey.
Agent Carter (Hulu, 18 Episodes): Another show that might fit the family-friendly bill, this short-lived spin-off from the Marvel Universe movies was sadly overlooked by the larger audience during its run, but is definitely worth checking out. It follows Agent Peggy Carter immediately after World War II as she works for the Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR) tackling threats against the United States. The show is a ton of fun especially with Hayley Atwell and James D’Arcy leading a strong cast and makes a good companion to the first Captain America movie (in fact, the Howling Commandos show up in the first season). At only eighteen episodes, you can probably get through this one in a couple of days, and you will consider it well worth the effort.
Origin (YouTube, 10 Episodes): Looking for a promising new sci fi series? This one just debuted on YouTube this past week and is definitely worth a look. Several passengers on a colony ship headed to a new planet wake from suspended animation to find that they have not reached their destination and that something has gone wrong with the mission. This one is Lost meets Lost in Space meets Alien with some bits of Blade Runner and Dark Matter thrown in as well and it has exceptionally good production values. The first two episodes are available for free and the rest require that you subscribe to YouTube Premium. But you will find yourself quickly hooked after those two eps.
Galavant (Netflix, 18 Episodes): This musical fantasy series from the guy who wrote the screenplays for Cars and Tangled is part Disney, part Monty Python, and a whole ton of fun. It follows the dashing knight Galavant who attempts to reclaim his status and his true love after being bested by the wicked King Richard. Not many people tuned in when this one first aired, and they missed out on a wickedly funny show that kids and adults can enjoy. Now is the time to rectify that if you were one of those, and at 18 thirty-minute episodes, you might get through this one in a single day.
The Prisoner (Prime Video, 17 Episodes): This late-60’s series might not fit the family friendly bill, but it seems quite appropriate to today’s rather dubious political climate. A British secret agent resigns and is then placed custody in a town known as The Village which houses people who know too much. The series is rife with political commentary and allegory as it presents an ongoing conflict of the individual against government / society. It’s pretty heady stuff, but the show still holds up quite well today as it presents challenges and ask hard questions that should resonate with the modern audience. And buckle yourself in for that final episode which will take you on one of the wildest rides ever for a television series.
Masters of Horror (Tubi TV, 26 Episodes): Looking for a horror fix over your Thanksgiving holiday? This highly regarded series that originally ran on Showtime will satisfy that. It’s an anthology with well-known horror creators such as John Carpenter, Joe Dante, Guillermo Del Toro, Tobe Hooper, Mick Garris, and more contributing episodes. This one certainly doesn’t fit the family friendly bill–the episode “Imprint” was banned during the shows original run–but it should delight horror fans. Tubi TV is a free streaming service similar to the original Hulu which runs adds during the shows.
Dimension 404 (Hulu, 6 Episodes): This might be a good one if you are looking for a quick binge. This throwback sci fi / horror anthology has only produced one season so far, but fans of the old Twilight Zone and Outer Limits should enjoy it. It takes a somewhat tongue-in-cheek approach to its stories, but it still manages to deliver some good ones like “Polybius” which rivals some of the classics from the best of the sci fi anthology shows. The other episodes are of varying quality, but all are at least worth a watch. And if this whets your appetite for more sci fi anthologies, you can switch over to Netflix to watch the excellent nineteen episodes produced thus for Black Mirror.