Weekend Binge Guide: June 2016

Have the weekend free? Going out is overrated! Binge-­watch one of these shows instead:

 

If you want to laugh:

 

 

 

Please Like Me

See all reviews for Please Like Me

Some have described Please Like Me as Australia's answer to Girls. That makes sense. Now 29, Josh Thomas launched the show when he was 25, leading to comparisons to Lena Dunham (who's a fan, BTW, NBD). The show looks at young people and their relationships — with friends, partners, and parents. It tackles serious topics like mental illness and sexuality with warmth and wit. It can be honest and awkward, just like Dunham's show. But its characters are much more likable (sorry, Hannah). And the tone is far more playful and heartwarming. Thomas is not an extraordinary actor, but his work on the show is natural and winning. And while parents on these kinds of shows can come off as cartoonish, Debra Lawrance and David Roberts are superb in complicated roles. This is the perfect choice for anyone who appreciates a well-balanced mix of humor, drama, and heart.

 

 

If you want to cry:

 

 

 

Torchwood: Children of Earth

See all reviews for Torchwood

Torchwood started as a more mature companion to Doctor Who, providing a space for the "pansexual" Captain Jack to be charming and heroic in a world where sex and swearing exist. After two seasons heavy on procedural elements, the third outing took a turn. Torchwood: Children of Earth starts with a plot that could appear on Doctor Who, but veers into far bleaker territory. The problem: in a matter of days, every child in the world freezes and starts saying, "We are coming." CREEPY. As expected, the Torchwood team and their allies race to figure out what's happening. But instead of an upbeat resolution, the heroes face impossible choices that leave no one's hands clean. Unlike a lot of sci-fi that relies on special effects, this five-hour miniseries' strengths are incredible acting, direction, and writing. Even without knowledge of earlier Torchwood episodes, this is remarkably bingeable TV.

 

 

If you want to scream:

 

 

 

Orphan Black

See all reviews for Orphan Black

Powered by a prodigious performance by Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black is one of the best dramas on TV today. And, at times, the scariest. But first: Maslany's challenge cannot be overstated. She plays a horde of clones, all with distinct looks, mannerisms, and accents. She has shared the screen with three other versions of herself. And she regularly plays clones pretending to be other clones. But Maslany operates at such a consistently high level that I regularly forget that these characters are played by the same woman. There are occasional light moments, but this conspiracy thriller is mostly dark. Like Mr. Robot, it raises ethical questions about real-world topics viewers could easily imagine spinning out of control — in this case: cloning, genetics, and overreaching corporations. And everything appears to be rooted in real science, which makes the consequences even more terrifying.

 

 

If you want to think:

 

 

 

States of Undress

See all reviews for States of Undress

Viceland produces shows with strong points of view that not everyone will like. But I've found a couple of really thoughtful and intriguing series, including States of Undress. Actress, model, and journalist Hailey Gates digs deep to explain what people around the world wear and why, touching upon deep societal issues along the way. In the globe-trotting series' first season, Gates talked to men and women in Venezuela desperate to perfect their bodies as a way to escape, interviewed a Pakistani man who had thrown acid on his wife for wearing the "latest fashions," and spoke to women in the Democratic Republic of Congo going to dangerous lengths to avoid becoming the "skinny friend." Similar to how Anthony Bourdain uses food as a way to explore other cultures, States of Undress is an exploration of the culture, the people, and the history of these different regions, using clothing as the conduit.

 

 

 

Comments

17 comments

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scotwotContributor
Jun 3, 2016 12:40PM EDT

Tatiana Maslany is amazing, it's been a while since I caught up on Orphan Black, time to get back on schedule! I'll give all of these a look, although I might start Torchwood from the beginning as I've never got around to watching it! State of Undress looks particularly interesting. Thanks for the list! :)

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Jun 3, 2016 3:59AM EDT

It's Josh Thomas, not Josh Charles

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Jun 3, 2016 12:55PM EDT

Great catch, brontew! Thanks.

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zazerhContributor
Jun 3, 2016 5:58PM EDT

I know *I* always have Josh Charles on the brain.

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scotwotContributor
Jun 3, 2016 6:01PM EDT

Me too, we have similar tastes in our leading men, zazerh! :D

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Jun 3, 2016 11:14PM EDT

OMG, Love Island is fantastic this season. A beautiful cast of public toilets. I feel like I should wear a jimmy and have a shot of penicillin ready for the inevitable drip-drip-drip of gonorrhea.

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TelevisionFanboyContributor
Jun 5, 2016 3:25PM EDT

Brilliant binge guide! Please Like Me and Orphan Black are Grade A! I'm excited to try the others out!

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Jun 6, 2016 12:49AM EDT

Please Like Me is a really accurate portrayal of student life in Australia. The house looks the same as mine, and I wouldn't raise an eyebrow if one of the characters walked through the door.

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Jun 6, 2016 8:43PM EDT

Zane, what if a dingo ate your baaaaby? I bet you'd raise an eyebrow then!

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Jun 7, 2016 2:30PM EDT

Dingo's aren't a problem here Kaiden. ..Have you ever seen a wet Koala? The're the real threat.

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scotwotContributor
Jun 7, 2016 3:51PM EDT

Don't forget Aussie women, Zane, they're the scariest of them all - if my relatives and many visits to Oz are anything to go by! lol #fierce :D

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Jun 10, 2016 3:52AM EDT

If Lena Dunham approves, I assume it is a steaming pie of crap...you know like her

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Jun 10, 2016 9:40PM EDT

@Heavydan85, anything Lena "No Talent" Dunham involved in, is always an unwatchable pile of Dungham.

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Jun 11, 2016 10:02PM EDT

@kaidenlaw, I never thought a kitten could be so cruel. It's like a rainbow shaking you ;p

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Jun 12, 2016 12:31AM EDT

@ZaneAppeal, dude, mate, I meant no offense or to rock anyone's world. I just can't stand Lena Dunham.

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UnknownfearContributor
Jun 26, 2016 12:52PM EDT

My favorite Torchwood season is actually Miracle Day. I really enjoyed that. It was a plot that explored the thing that was most mysterious about Jack, his immortality. It also introduced us to fun new characters. I've got it written down somewhere to eventually buy and listen to both Torchwood audio series 1 & 2. It's just such a different medium when you can't see it. If it's torchwood I'm sure i'll enjoy it but ... I've got other things to do that seem more immediately appealing, you know?

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Jun 27, 2016 12:50PM EDT

"Miracle Day" also is great. I really wish there were more "Torchwood."

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