Never have streaming services seemed more crucial to our collective consciousness than right now. In these uncertain times, we’re all looking for a way to escape, whether it’s through home workouts, baking, or something a little more thrilling.
Thankfully Aussie legend Stan has the goods with a slew of brand new thriller releases. So dim the lights, grab a bowl of movie-grade popcorn and get ready to stay in, sit back and enjoy.
Penny Dreadful: City of Angels
What: A spiritual descendent of the original Penny Dreadful story, the brand new series Penny Dreadful: City of Angels is a twisting, supernatural crime caper set in 1938 Los Angeles – a time and place deeply infused with social and political tension.
When a grisly murder shocks the city of Los Angeles, Detective Tiago Vega (Daniel Zavatto) and his partner Lewis Michener (Nathan Lane) find themselves embroiled in an epic story that reflects the rich history of Los Angeles: from the building of the city’s first freeways and its deep traditions of Mexican-American folklore to the dangerous espionage actions of the Third Reich and the rise of radio evangelism. Before too long Tiago and his family are grappling with powerful forces that threaten to tear them apart.
Why should you watch it? If the action-packed trailer alone, with its sinister lighting, old-school gangster guns, grizzled but dreamy detectives, explosions, horror, occult references and supernatural undertones isn’t enough to convince you, then consider this: one of the TWO major battles the show is built around sees Magda (Natalie Dormer) face off against the literal personification of death Santa Muerte (Lorenza Izzo) who just so happens to be her sister! It’s the demonic family feud we’ve all been waiting for, and the city of sinners is the perfect place for it to go down.
If Penny Dreadful: City of Angels was a band it would be: Slipknot (there’s a LOT going on and it’s ALL awesome)
When to watch: Right now, right here.
What: A powerful and provocative crime thriller set against the surreal landscapes of Tasmania, and from The Kettering Incident creator Vicki Madden, the Stan Original Series The Gloaming is a crime TV masterpiece not to be missed.
When an unidentified woman is found brutally murdered, Detective Molly McGee (Emma Booth) uncovers chilling evidence that links the body to an unsolved crime from over two decades ago. Driven to finally get both the truth and justice, Molly teams up with ex-partner and old-flame Alex O’Connell (Ewen Leslie), only to be thrown headfirst into a murder mystery that rapidly goes from routine investigation to something much more insidious. As political corruption and shady business intertwine with sinister crimes and occult practices, The Gloaming becomes a genuinely unsettling puzzle.
Why should you watch it? If the above paragraph wasn’t enough to convince you, consider this: self-isolation has likely taken your brain to some strange and dark places this month, but none of them will be as deeply disturbing, unsettling and unexpected as the events depicted in The Gloaming. This is the type of murder mystery that will keep you awake until you’ve binged it all in one day, and the pay-off is absolutely worth it. It also scores bonus points for a stellar cast, the gorgeously ominous fog-covered Tasmanian scenery and the episode titles, which are all amazing (eg. The Mark of the Witch).
If The Gloaming was a band it would be: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
When to watch: This one is perfect for when you want to escape into the great outdoors (and not just for some essential exercise). Every episode of this Stan Original Series dropped as part of the platform’s massive summer line up, so you can jump right in.
Better Call Saul
What: Joining the universe of Breaking Bad, one of television’s most critically acclaimed shows, Better Call Saul is a darkly comedic crime series centred on Walter White’s criminal/lawyer, and tracks his transformation from small-town attorney James ‘Jimmy’ McGill (Bob Odenkirk) into the dodgy, lowlife, scam artist, alter-ego, Saul Goodman.
Set six years before Breaking Bad kicks off, Better Call Saul gifts viewers a front-row seat to the series of extraordinary, and extraordinarily tragic, events that forged one of television’s most truly despicable beings. Set in Albuquerque, New Mexico, we get inside the mind of McGill as he takes on a job as the lawyer for a former police officer whose skills allow him to enter the criminal underworld.
Why should you watch it? If for some reason the prospect of another five seasons of critically acclaimed TV featuring Bob Odenkirk as he becomes Saul Goodman wasn’t enough reason for you to watch alone, the welcome return of fellow Breaking Bad alumni Jonathan Banks as hitman Mike Ehrmantraut, and malevolent chicken king Gus Fring played by Giancarlo Esposito, should do the trick. Simply put, if you were addicted to the greatest television show ever made (or just like good TV), then you better watch Saul.
If Better Call Saul was a band who would it be? Kyuss
When to watch: Every episode of all FIVE seasons are available right now, so get streaming before the final season drops next year and we say goodbye forever. Bonus: If you’ve never seen Breaking Bad, you can also stream every episode of the series – there’s a solid month of self-isolation viewing sorted!
The Little Drummer Girl
What: Based on John le Carré’s best-selling literary masterpiece, The Little Drummer Girl is an immersive thriller series about a fiery actress who, upon meeting a mysterious stranger in Greece, is drawn into a high-stakes international espionage operation.
Set in the late 1970s, the pulsating drama stars the fantastic Florence Pugh as Charlie, the unfulfilled British actress and idealist whose resolve is tested after she meets Alexander Skarsgard’s Becker while on holiday. It quickly becomes apparent that his intentions are not what they seem, and their encounter entangles her in a complex plot devised by the spy mastermind Kurtz, played by the incomparable Michael Shannon. Charlie takes on the role of a lifetime as a double agent in the ‘Theatre of the Real’, but despite her natural mastery for the task at hand, she increasingly finds herself inexorably drawn into a dangerous world of duplicity and compromised humanity.
Why should you watch it? The Little Drummer Girl blurs the fine lines between love and hate; truth and fiction; and right and wrong, and will leave you in a state of near-constant suspense as layers upon layers of depth and intrigue are added each episode. And thanks to the international settings, it’ll feel like you’ve taken a trip to the other side of the world, multiple times, without ever leaving your house.
If The Little Drummer Girl was a band who would it be? Placebo
When to watch: All episodes of the thrilling British miniseries are available to stream right now.
What: When Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) Winchester were children, they lost their mother to a mysterious and demonic supernatural force. All grown up, the brothers embrace their inner Buffy as they traverse the country seeking truth, vengeance, and their missing supernatural hunting father, kicking the ass of whatever force, human or otherwise, dares try to intervene.
Along the way, Sam begins to develop disturbing powers, including the ability to see graphic visualisations of people’s deaths before they happen. It’s these premonitions that then give additional purpose to the Winchester brothers’ quest as they try to prevent these lives being lost
Why should you watch it? Put simply, Supernatural is one of the best shows of its genre ever made. With a Rotten Tomatoes score of 93% across 14 (yes 14!) seasons, it’s a genuine masterclass in TV worldbuilding, with every episode playing a crucial role in the telling of a truly epic paranormal tale that expertly blends horror, mystery, drama and thriller conventions into one supernaturally good show.
If Supernatural was a band who would it be? Coheed and Cambria
When to watch: When you feel like some sibling bonding time, tuck into all 14 seasons of this iconic series on Stan.
What: A pitch-black modern fairytale thriller, Parasite follows the near destitute and increasingly desperate Kim family as they infiltrate the ludicrously wealthy Park family, one lowly service job at a time, in a calculated effort to survive. A symbiotic relationship is forged, yet beneath the surface a parasite dwells, feeding on greed and class-discrimination, threatening to expose the truth.
Parasite is a film best enjoyed without any further context, so we’re not going to spoil the plot any more – all we’ll say is you’ve never seen a film t like it, and it’s very likely that once you’ve seen it, you’ll never be the same again.
Why should you watch it? After winning 4 Academy Awards, including the historic accolade of being the first foreign-language film to ever win ‘Best Picture’, and the Palme d’Or at Cannes, Parasite is South Korean director/writer Bong Joon-Ho’s (The Host, Snowpiercer, Okja) masterpiece. Perfectly cast and brilliantly layered, every single shot, plot twist and piece of dialogue uttered in Parasite is absolutely essential in adding to the omnipresent suspense. It’s funny, haunting and thrilling all at once, but the scariest and most shocking quality of all is just how POSSIBLE it seems. This is a movie that will haunt not just your nightmares, but your daydreams as well. Stop reading this, and watch it immediately. That 99% Rotten Tomatoes score didn’t get there by accident.
If Parasite was a band what would it be? Envy
When to watch: After being fast-tracked from cinemas, Parasite is already available to stream so get to it – just make sure you’re emotionally prepared.