Settle in on the couch and box series your long weekend away…
American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson
Hardly a cliffhanger unless you somehow missed the “trial of the century”, Cuba Gooding Jr produces a deft portrayal of a tortured OJ over this 10-part series. A little but soapy — John Travolta’s hammy performance as defence lawyer Robert Shapiro a case in point — but entertaining from start to finish, so long as you can get past the existential shock of realising that 1995 is now ancient enough history to justify a period TV drama.
This eight-episode Netflix Original is the perfect length to feast on over a chocolate-fuelled binge this weekend, following the mystery of a blind woman who goes missing for years until she turns up out of the blue with her vision restored . . . with all the requisite fantastical twists thrown in, of course. Oh, and while we’re talking head-scratching supernatural series, do yourself a favour if you haven’t already gotten around to watching Stranger Things.
It’s hard to tell what makes this documentary series so binge-worthy: the remarkable biographies of the renowned chefs, or the food porn they dish up. Each ep focuses on the back story of a single masterchef — be they off the grid in Patagonia or a Korean nun serving ‘temple food’ — which is perfect for the foodie viewer who’s sick of the melodrama that bogs down the over-hyped Aussie cooking shows. And with three seasons of six episodes, there’s plenty to sink your teeth into.
Master of None
Aziz Ansari’s 10-part comedy series has a Seinfeld-esque ‘show about nothing’ quality to it, borrowing the poignancy of Louie or Transparent — leaping from laugh-out-loud gags to cutting insights into the dating world of the new millennium. Co-created by Ansari and Alan Yang, the show also represents a rare chance to see faces on TV that don’t look like they’ve just walked straight out of an Abercrombie & Fitch catalogue or a Donald Trump campaign ad.
Hardly a new release, but the long weekend is the perfect excuse to churn through 92 episodes of the most scintillating television that’s ever been produced. As if it needs any explanation, Mad Men stars Jon Hamm as Don Draper, a New York ad man who’s sense of style is surpassed only by his capacity for self-destruction, in a program that perfectly captures that dapper 1960s aesthetic.
The first Netflix Original to come out of Brazil, this eight-ep series depicts a dystopian world where three per cent of the population have the chance to escape harrowing poverty through a string of impossible tasks — imagine the Hunger Games, but in Portuguese. The show was produced on a shoestring budget but using the same cinematographer behind the epic 2002 favela flick City of God, César Charlone, means the visuals are top drawer.