It’s that time of week again! Time to kick off your shoes, sit back, relax and enjoy some of the best content online streaming services Netflix and NOW TV have to offer. Let’s start off with the Netflix Original movie (starring Ireland’s own Chris O’Dowd) that’s got everyone talking today…
Hot New Netflix Arrival: The Incredible Jessica James
Released on the streaming site just today, The Incredible Jessica James follows a vivacious, feisty and confident aspiring NYC playwright trying to get over a painful breakup by bonding with another recent dumpee.
Initial critic reviews are very positive with the film holding a score of 82% on Rotten Tomatoes. The easy and comic chemistry between the two stars Jessica Williams and Chris O’Dowd has been particularly noted, with many in agreement that their charming performances elevate a somewhat predictable script.
Promising review: “Casting makes all the difference, and Williams and co-star Chris O'Dowd bounce off each other with a sparky, sarcastic chemistry.”
Give it a go: If you are looking for the perfect Friday night romcom.
Give it a miss: If you’re not a fan of flawed characters.
Feel good flick: Ricki and the Flash
Chameleon acting superstar Meryl Streep comfortably morphs into the skin of a hard rocking singer and guitarist Ricki in this uplifting comedy. After having given up everything to pursue her dreams of becoming a guitar heroine, Ricki must now return home to make things right with her family. Streep stars opposite her real-life daughter Mamie Gummer, who plays her fictional daughter; Rick Springfield, who takes on the role of a Flash member in love with Ricki; and Kevin Kline, who portrays Ricki's long-suffering ex-husband.
Critics agree that Streep pretty much carries the film (but when doesn’t she?) and the film holds a respectable score of 65% on Rotten Tomatoes. Positive critique: “Without Streep at its centre, this might have seemed a flimsy confection. But she plays the rock singer with the utter conviction and fearlessness that she brings to all her roles, however unlikely they seem.”
Give it a go: If you’re in the mood of a light piece of comedy.
Give it a miss: If you’d prefer a bit more meat to your stories.
Great series now available on NOW TV:
Insightful comedy-drama about twenty somethings: Insecure
Insecure uses star Issa Rae's breakout web series Awkward Black Girl as the basis for an insightful, raunchy, and hilarious journey through the lives of two twentysomething black women that cuts through stereotypes with sharp wit and an effusive spirit. The story closely follows Issa and her friend Molly’s friendship as they cope with their own flaws, relationship troubles, and the general difficulties of young adulthood.
Critics and fans alike love the show for its appealing authenticity that feels very much rooted in experience. The first season currently holds an impressive 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and you can stream it all now on NOW TV.
Give it a go: If you liked Girls but are looking for a more alternative and diverse exploration of twentysomething life.
Give it a miss: If you’re looking for something a little less introspective.
Absurdist buddy comedy series: Broad City
Broad City is probably my favourite comedy series currently on television and not enough people know about it! It’s the kind of show that I’ll always put on when I’m having a bad day because I know it’ll never fail to make me laugh. The great news is that all three series are now available to stream on NOW TV!
Written by, and starring comedic duo Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, the series follows a pair of twentysomething stoner BFFs living in the Big Apple. Together these two misfits get into the most ridiculous of absurd situations and it’s just magical. It’s a little bit out of the box but Ilana and Abbi’s likeability is undeniable. The friendship at the heart of the show elevates its witty writing, and the playful experimentation with the parameters of comedy make for an unpredictable and enjoyable show.
Glowing critic review: “It's one of the most purely funny shows on television - where many "comedies" are really dramas in half-hour form, and others are likeable but rarely laugh-out-loud funny - and it's only more confident, sharp and its own thing in the new season.”
Give it a go: If you’re looking for wacky comedic gold.
Give it a miss: If you feel a disconnect with edgier forms of comedy.
Girl Power Sitcom: Teachers
Another web series adaptation, Teachers is the brainchild of the all-female comedy improv troupe The Katydids (all members of the group by coincidence have the first name Kate as a root name). The sitcom is set in a Chicago elementary school and follows six teachers (the members of The Katydids) as they try to juggle the trials and tribulations of their jobs and personal lives.
The tone is high-energy and each teacher has a distinct personality type which acts as a vehicle for comedic gags; there’s the conservative religious nut, the prissy neat freak, the sarcastic goth, the kooky weirdo, the hippy art teacher and the wannabe housewife of Beverly Hills.
Promising review: “It's an unexpected little gem you should add to your piled-high stack of series to watch.”
Give it a go: If you like women in comedy and you’re looking for a new irreverent sitcom to binge.
Give it a miss: If you get bored by stereotypical character types.
None of these doing it for you?
Check out last week’s recommendations.