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Binge Watch This

By Harriet Condron

 

Now 2016 has ended and we dawn into 2017 we take a swing at our resolutions, ‘new year, new me’. But why should you change when you can be a better you? If you want to keep binge watching the Netflix library, go for it. However, before you do, here are some highly rated shows to improve your watching experience and, therefore, yourself.

The OA

Netflix

The OA, Netflix

Having been missing for seven years Prairie tells five, seemingly random, suburban people her story. She describes her travels from mob-riddled Russia to America, her captivity to the curing of her blindness by the mythical Khatun and her longing to go back. ‘Back’ being the inexplicable dimension.

Prairie, or the OA, wants to create a portal to return to her captive friends. The means to get there is expressed through five, dance-like, movements. These five movements are hoped to be powerful enough to send her to save her friends from their captor and be with her love, Homer.

In any other context, her story would be unbelievable. But, as we are told the backstories of the people listening to OA, it is easy to feel like there is meaning behind the accidental group of people assembled.

The series reaches a crescendo in the final episode when the magical five movements are used in a very real situation. This is the moment when the fictional element of the drama and reality collide. It becomes clear why this group of people were chosen by OA and less clear whether she will reach the place she is so desperate to get to.

From the first episode you are torn between falling into her story, believing it possible, and writing her off as a damaged survivor. Both scenarios seem to be possible due to the clever directing of Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling and the conflicting evidence we are shown. We become the people she confides in, listening to her story with intense concentration, trying to understand how, and if, this can be true.

The Crown

Elle

The Crown, Elle

The Crown is a biopic drama charting the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. The series begins in 1947 with Prince Philip of Denmark and Greece revoking all foreign titles to marry Princess Elizabeth and future Queen. Winston Churchill is re-elected as British prime minister after a six-year break, and the Commonwealth Tour is allocated to Elizabeth and Philip to undertake.

Events unfold that results with Elizabeth becoming queen much sooner than planned. Her life is turned upside down and we see a princess become a queen as she comes to terms with new priorities taking root in her life.

It is understandable why the Royal Family would be keeping a close eye on the series as their lives are placed under scrutiny in such a detailed manner. We see tensions form between Elizabeth and Philip as his marital dominance diminishes. Elizabeth strives to succeed by adapting to the traditional role of the monarch and mother in a modern era. And Princess Margaret’s romance with Group Captain Peter is explored by the media as a hopeful fairy tale.

Parallel to the Royal Family and their affairs, Winston Churchill struggles with his return to office. Churchill is doubted by his peers and in turn they place their doubts upon the Queen with the intention of her interfering with Government matters. International relations are explored with America and President Eisenhower’s worries of the Soviet Union. And Churchill’s health becomes a burden on the running of the country.

Claire Foy, now a Golden Globe winner, stars as Queen Elizabeth and Matt Smith, former Doctor Who, supports as Prince Philip. They join a talented cast as they map the development of the Royal Family. There is currently only one season to watch but Netflix plans to span the drama filled stories over six seasons. Buckingham Palace and 10 Downing Street promise years of scandals, politics and incidents that shaped the twentieth century.

 

The Fall

The Fall, BBC

BBC

Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson is called to Belfast to review and unsolved murder case. After an initial inspection, it is discovered that a serial killer is targeting young professional women. In a game of cat and mouse, Gibson chases the killer labelled ‘The Belfast Strangler’.

The killer is revealed to the audience almost immediately. Jamie Dornan delivers the role of a family man, Paul Spector, with a wife and two children who secretly plots and kills young women at night. His high intellect means that he is, initially, able to avoid police detection and continues to murder while the police are investigating.

As Gibson’s hatred of Spector increases, so does his obsession with her. Gibson (Gillian Anderson) is a strong woman in a male dominated field, her intense personality is fascinating as well as feared by the men she comes into contact with. These feelings are manifested in Spector’s own feelings towards her.

Eventually Spector contacts Gibson directly and a series of interactions begin. Spector gradually gains the courage, or bravado, to sneak into her hotel room and read her personal dream diary. From this point Spector’s actions become increasingly desperate in a contrast to his former calm and collected manner.

Towards the end of series two Spector is followed in the attempt of saving Rose Stagg from his imprisonment, he is shot while in police custody and wakes up in series three with the supposed loss of his memory. The final series is spent with the police trying to pin Spector down as a liar and a killer while he denies all allegations due to his lack of recollection.

The ending of the three seasons is anti-climactic, to say the least. In the end Justice is lost and Gibson’s feelings are projected onto the viewer after she leaves an occupying case to the emptiness of her personal life.

According to the director, Alan Cubitt, future series are a possibility with Stella Gibson as the central character. Gibson being such a complex and interesting personality promises something to look forward to after the quiet ending of Spector’s arc.

 

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