Sam Wolfson, Rebecca Nicholson, Jack Seale, Graeme Virtue, David Stubbs, Ben Arnold, Hannah J Davies, Tshepo Mokoena, Mark Gibbings-Jones, Laura Snapes, Gavin Haynes, Kate Solomon, Julia Raeside , Rachel Aroesti, John Robinson, Harriet Gibsone, Oobah Butler, Joel Golby and Stuart Heritage
From brutal true crime sagas to dark comedies, here’s our writers’ guide to the best underrated shows to stream right now.
In December 2004, Scientific American Life published an article entitled The Tyranny of Choice. It argued that constantly being surrounded by indistinguishable everyday options is slowing us down. It’s overloading our minds and paralysing us. It’s making us miserable. If you’ve ever spent an evening listlessly scrolling through Netflix’s infinite library, you’ll know that the Tyranny of Choice is painfully real.
You have never been more swamped with things to watch. There’s regular telly, and then there are the catch-up services. There’s Netflix. There’s Amazon. There’s Now TV. There’s YouTube. If you’re a very specific kind of weirdo, there’s Hayu and the WWE Network, too. You have more TV than you could ever watch in a lifetime at your fingertips around the clock, and you’re somehow expected to make an informed choice about what’s good and what isn’t.
Oh, sure, there are the buzzy shows; the shows that cut through and make a dent in the mainstream media. Stranger Things you already know about, because nobody ever shuts up about Stranger Things. But a little light exploration beyond these tentpole titles can pay dividends. Every streaming service is peppered with perfect little gems that everyone else has missed. So, here’s a collection of streaming titles we can’t believe aren’t household names already. Some you will have seen. Others you might have heard of. A handful might be entirely new to you. But all of them, in their own way, are miraculous. Next time you’re blinded by the tyranny of choice that streaming services offer, line up one of these programmes instead. One of them might just end up being your new favourite show. At the very least, it’ll be better than House of Cards. Stuart Heritage
Created by anyone else this show would be too maudlin to bear, but in Tig Notaro’s hands it’s hilarious … One Mississippi. Photograph: Patti Perret/Amazon
One Mississippi Amazon Prime In the last few years there’s been a tendency for TV comedies to deal with more serious subject matter, but One Mississippi takes the sadcom to the next level – a quasi-autobiographical show which deals with death, child abuse, mastectomy and a rare intestinal disease. If that all sounds a bit heavy, just you wait – it often goes 10 minutes without a joke.
Created by anyone else this show would be too maudlin to bear, but in Tig Notaro’s hands it’s hilarious. For years, she was known in standup circles for being amusingly deadpan both on and off stage. But in 2012, she was beset by a series of unspeakable tragedies: she contracted a serious bacterial infection, her mother died, she was dumped by her girlfriend and found out she had breast cancer. Hours after the cancer diagnosis, she went on stage at Largo and performed a different kind of standup: terrifyingly personal, with much of the humour often coming from the implausibility of this string of events. The set was discussed everywhere from the New York Times to This American Life, and Notaro exploded.
It’s a vein of comedy that Notaro has honed and perfected in the years since that set. This show is very closely based on some aspects of her life (the lead character is called Tig and the main love interest is played by her wife Stephanie Allynne) but it also moves beyond her story, to universal themes about stoicism, homecoming and family secrets. In one scene, Tig visits her mother’s grave, only to be visited by her vision. They start talking about their first sexual experiences. In another show this would be played cutesy but it gets dark quickly: her mother had a relationship with her married art teacher, Tig was molested by her grandfather. Then other giggling dead women come over and join the party – they were date raped, gang-banged – all laying out their blankets for the picnic. It is beyond morbid, yet there is a dark humour to the scene.
That is the level the show tends to operate on: the unspeakably real. Its greatest asset in doing so is John Rothman, who plays Tig’s stepfather, mourning his wife by getting increasingly pernickety about light-switch etiquette. He is fantastic, both inexpressibly sad and emotionless. That’s what makes One Mississippi worth your time. When a joke eventually comes along it’s never just throwaway: it makes you laugh from somewhere deep inside. Sam Wolfson
A joyful, surreal sitcom … Lady Dynamite. Photograph: Doug Hyun/Netflix/Saeed Adyani/Netflix
Lady Dynamite Netflix This is probably the most idiosyncratic show on the Netflix roster, and it’s certainly one of the least known. But US comic Maria Bamford’s joyful, surreal and ambitious sitcom – which loosely tells the story of her real-life breakdown and subsequent recovery – is a true delight. It takes the breathless pace and zing of Bamford’s visionary standup and throws it into a Day-Glo version of Hollywood, where she is attempting to resurrect her career, revive her love life and bring her entire community together by means of installing a bench in front of her house. As a portrait of mental illness, it’s astonishing – not least because it finds such humour in despair – but as a spectacle it’s even better. Part of the joy of each episode is seeing where it will go next, and it’s always a surprise – from characters turning into animals to a particularly knotty and anarchic segment which addresses racism in a way that swerves categorisation. Much like this genius show, in fact. Rebecca Nicholson
Casual Amazon Prime The title may be warmly ironic – this is a show about single people for whom dates are freighted with anxiety – but it’s a fitting description of the audience’s relationship with this ace US show. Every carefully curated watchlist needs a programme like this: a half-hour dramedy you can whack on for a reliable, smartly written hit of escapism. While other dramas squawk for constant attention – or send you into binge spirals – Casual is the secret friend you can not see for months and then meet for an easy catch-up over a massive glass of wine. The characters drink theirs in high-ceilinged LA bars, or in the cavernous kitchen-diner of faded web guru Alex (Tommy Dewey), whose sister Valerie (Michaela Watkins), a shrink who needs therapy more than her clients do, lives with him because they’re both such hopeless romantic screw-ups. Casual’s determination not to grip its stories too tightly or play for huge payoffs lends the moments of humour and heartbreak real intimacy. Jack Seale
Winningly sweet and raunchy … Lovesick. Photograph: Brian Sweeney/Netflix
Lovesick Netflix This winningly sweet yet raunchy sitcom began life as Channel 4’s catastrophically titled Scrotal Recall. Rebranded by Netflix, a second season continued the conceit – newly diagnosed with an STI, nice guy Dylan (Johnny Flynn) must contact everyone he has boinked, with each episode flashing back to their tumble – but added more emotional heft to the relationship between Dylan, his semi-platonic soulmate Evie (Antonia Thomas) and horndog wingman Luke (Daniel Ings). Graeme Virtue
Samurai Gourmet Netflix Comforting whimsy from Japan, starring Naoto Takenaka as retired gent Takeshi. Having given most of his life to Reggie Perrin drudgery, he has almost no identity. But now he’s free to have phenomenally low-key foodie adventures, which find him slurping down pickled plums and dried mackerel with boyish abandon. Helped by the samurai warrior he hallucinates when he needs encouragement to do something crazy, the flavours of the feasting provoke heady Proustian wistfulness. JS
Staggering … Death on the Staircase. Photograph: Sara Davis/AP
Death on the Staircase iPlayer Michael Peterson was a Vietnam veteran who wrote three successful novels based on his experiences during the conflict. At the beginning of filmmaker Jean-Xavier De Lestrade’s extraordinary eight-part 2005 documentary, we see Peterson walk us through his enviable North Carolina mansion, describing a pleasant evening he and his wife Kathleen spent together in 2001. It was their last. We hear the audio of his hysterical 911 call made just hours later. She was dead at the bottom of the stairs. Peterson would maintain that she fell down them. However, the authorities decided that despite Peterson’s distraught state there was sufficient evidence to prosecute him for his wife’s murder.
With uncanny prescience – given that this would be anything but a routine case – Lestrade began filming his documentary just weeks after Kathleen’s death, the end result reduced from 600 hours of footage. To outline here the twists and revelations about Peterson’s past, the schism as some members of his family are more convinced than others, and one particularly bizarre coincidence would constitute spoilers. For the same reason, do resist the temptation to Google Michael Peterson before watching this series.
As well as an astonishing story, what’s also remarkable here is the candour of all involved in the case and willingness to appear on film, affording us an intimate glimpse into the pre-trial, trial and eventual verdict, the sensational arrived at via the methodical. The bombshells resound all the more against the understated backdrop of legal procedure, the chug of a fax machine, the homely North Carolina accents, even moments of courtroom humour, all of which run counter to the raging emotional drama at this documentary’s core.
Also under the spotlight are the media, who inevitably seem to treat this case almost as a tremendous diversion rather than a tragedy, the clicking of their camera shutters a recurring soundtrack.
At the centre is Peterson himself, his face jowly and etched with experience, William H Macy-esque. At all times he must be conscious that he’s not just trying to convince the authorities and his loved ones but a mass TV audience. Is this the face of a bereaved man appallingly wronged, or a coolly unscrupulous murderer whose capacity for fiction extends beyond the pages of his books to gross deceit? Decide for yourself and catch, if you can, Lestrade’s equally staggering sequel The Staircase 2: The Last Chance. David Stubbs
BBC3’s fascinating first foray into true crime … Unsolved. Photograph: Adam Patteron/BBC
Unsolved: The Boy Who Disappeared BBC3/iPlayer On 2 November 1996, 16-year-old Damien Nettles went missing after a night out with friends in his hometown of Cowes on the Isle of Wight. He was never seen again. Hampshire Constabulary had investigated his disappearance as a missing persons case, but there’s much evidence to suggest that he was murdered. In BBC3’s first foray into true crime proper, dedicated journalists Alys Harte and Bronagh Munro spent over six months digging into the cold case, trying to decipher the truth from the rumours and half-remembered testimony of his acquaintances. It quickly emerges that Damien had become involved in the dark criminal underbelly of the seaport town, and soon Munro and Harte find they’re dealing with a case of misplaced evidence, informants and violent drug dealers known to the police. A fascinating doc which zips along at a brisk clip. Ben Arnold
Real Detective Netflix
Dramatic reconstructions are often the mark of crime docs fit only for endless repeats late into the night. But what if the reconstructions were high quality? Real Detective is the answer. This US series synthesises drama and true crime, and flips the cliche of the homicide cop haunted by that one case they got too close to. Real detectives are interviewed about their personal nemeses, with their recollections becoming narration. Unpretentiously performed action cuts away to the testimony of an actual cop, reminding us that the shattered lives we’re watching were not invented by a writer. While the starriest casting is Michael Madsen as a Texas Ranger who thinks rich locals are covering up a murder, the standout episode sees Tahmoh Penikett play a Portland cop hunting for a serial child-killer in 1989. Yet nothing Penikett does can top the moment when the real-life cop breaks down as he recalls the case a quarter of a century later. Jack Seale
A compelling meditation on power and religion … The Keepers. Photograph: Netflix
The Keepers Netflix The unsolved 1969 murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik – a nun who had taught at an all-girls Catholic school in Baltimore – is, ostensibly, the focus of this taut seven-parter. Former students Gemma and Abbie have turned amateur sleuths, convinced that the investigation into her death was clouded by foul play from the church and the police. That alone would be sinister, but mixed with the sexual abuse, miscarriages of justice and cover-ups they unearth, this becomes a compelling meditation on authority, power and religion. Hannah J Davies
Aileen Wuornos: Life and Death of a Serial Killer Amazon Prime Eleven years after Nick Broomfield examined the hype around Aileen Wuornos, the US’s first female serial killer, he returns to document her final weeks on death row in 2003. His film peels back layers around the ethics of executing the mentally unwell Wuornos, whose life as sex worker is never truly understood. By the end, when she has confessed to killing seven men in cold blood but also pleaded self-defense, you’re left with a sense of the tattered remains of her painful, solitary life. Tshepo Mokoena
It’s criminal, and it’s been going on for decades … Tickled. Photograph: A Ticklish Tale Limited
Tickled Amazon Prime Competitive endurance tickling is like no other sport you’ve ever heard of. That’s probably because – as it transpires over the course of this smart, disturbing doc – it isn’t a sport at all. New Zealand-based TV journalist David Farrier narrates the story of how he became entangled in a world where amateur athletes are paid to touch each other in a way they’ve been assured is in no way sexual, but which seems a bit suspect. At the outset, all Farrier wants to do is make a short, sideways human interest segment about the unusual activity he’s discovered online. But after receiving a homophobic response to a press request he sends to shady organisers Jane O’Brien Media, he decides to investigate just why young men from around the world are being given thousands of dollars to tickle each other.
As they investigate, Farrier and his partner in the project, producer Dylan, become increasingly drawn into a web of blackmail, lies and fetish culture, with O’Brien threatening to ruin him legally. Because, as he discovers, that’s what O’Brien does; she pushes people to become an intrinsic part of her tickling empire, before pulling the rug out from under them by making supposedly private clips available online and defaming the participants. O’Brien has humiliated and stalked people across the decades, all in the name of … what exactly? It would be too much of a spoiler to say any more, but it is absolutely worth watching to find out.
Tonally, Farrier’s 2016 debut is reminiscent of another 2010s documentary film, Catfish, which spawned the MTV reality series of the same name. They both deal with the sad, strange stories lurking behind computer screens, with troubled antagonisers who go to great lengths to deceive others. The workaday investigation is woven in with the action, with Farrier travelling from New Zealand to LA in an attempt to track down O’Brien. The only difference is that what Farrier discovers is far more insalubrious than just a troubled figure messing with people’s lives online – it’s criminal, and it’s been going on for decades.
Tickled is an absorbing journey that starts out lighthearted but ends up feeling like something out of a horror film. It’s not the most sophisticated production you’ll ever see, and the way that Farrier makes some of his findings is unclear, which makes you wonder how much of the investigation was complete before the cameras starting rolling. But, ultimately, none of this really matters when the subject matter is this engrossing, and gross. HJD
Spellbinding … Grandmaster Flash on the decks in Hip-Hop Evolution. Photograph: Netflix
Hip-Hop Evolution Netflix The humble beginnings of hip-hop might easily be forgotten in this era of stadium-packing blowout tours, but Canadian rapper and film-maker Shad Kabango cracks open the vaults to cover those early years in this four-part series first shown on HBO. In 1970s New York, while adults were grooving to the disco scene, the kids of the Bronx were spellbound by DJ Kool Herc and Coke La Rock. From a street culture dominated by gangs, hip-hop parties provided a sanctuary where self-declared street warriors could make peace. Following Grandmaster Flash’s discovery that records can become an instrument for skilful spinmasters, plus the addition of a vocal style inspired by sources such as Gil Scott-Heron, the first nationwide rap hit by the Sugarhill Gang wasn’t far away. Kabango’s take isn’t perfect – the impact of female artists like MC Lyte is downplayed – but this offers a real insight into the genesis of the genre. Mark Gibbings-Jones
Disneyland Dream archive.org Social media has killed the home movie. You can’t budge online for kids who have been goaded into playing for the camera since birth. Hardened by fake news, we distrust any meme exploiting childhood innocence. All of which makes Disneyland Dream wildly disarming. In 1956, the Barstow family of Wethersfield, Connecticut, won a trip to California’s newly opened Disneyland. Dad Robbins was an early home video enthusiast and decided to film the process, from creating their entries to their subsequent victory and vacation. He creates simple in-camera effects that capture his intoxicating sense of wonder. He films every member of the family reading the congratulatory letter, then falling down in theatrical slo-mo. In the park, mum Meg shakes open a folded bag and pulls out hamburgers and milk for everyone. There’s incidental magic, too: look closely and you’ll even spot a pre-teen Steve Martin selling guidebooks. Laura Snapes
The Wolfpack Amazon Prime Doc makers wait their whole lives for a story as good as The Wolfpack. For Crystal Moselle, it arrived when she saw six teens in Reservoir Dogs suits walking in Manhattan. Nearby, the Angulo brothers had been kept under virtual house arrest for 14 years by their father, living entirely within the glow of the movies that came through their TV. Goodfellas, Batman, Taxi Driver: the boys staged note-perfect reproductions of the classics to while away the hours, inadvertantly revealing how imagination can triumph over the most dismal isolation. Gavin Haynes
A real-life Friday Night Lights … Last Chance U. Photograph: Alan Markfield/Netflix
Last Chance U Netflix You don’t have to care about American football to fall for Last Chance U. Essentially a real-life version of US drama Friday Night Lights, the doc follows a team of underdogs in a no-mark Mississippi town, transformed by a bullish coach and academic advisor into a national championship winning, 25-win-streak hotshot of a team – and a last resort for those hoping to graduate to the NFL. Shot with a Kubrickian eye for symmetry, you’ll end up jubilantly yelling “Touchdowwwwwn!!!” without ever really understanding what it actually means. Kate Solomon
Ripper Street Amazon Prime You might be wronger than you were about jellied eels when it comes to Ripper Street, the BBC crime saga cancelled after two seasons and then rescued by Amazon. This isn’t all dead sex workers and Jack the Ripper. Rather, it’s set in Whitechapel just after the notorious killer has ended his spree; the streets buzz with fear and the local law, led by Matthew Macfadyen’s Detective Inspector Edmund Reid, a troubled tombstone in a brown hat, try to maintain order.
But from the docks to the music hall, a sense of evil that’s as strong as the porter that flows from the tavern taps looms over the residents. Human life crams the thoroughfares, bringing stories of horror, survival, redemption and regret. Here, every word crackles with meaning, encapsulating the hope and despair of the life that clings to its flagstones. No man or woman is an island and though the moral pendulum swings wildly, all must answer to a higher power in the end.
Inspector Reid’s obsession with the tainted fabric of this neighbourhood sees weekly crime puzzles give way to a more soulful storytelling experience towards the end of series five, as strands from the protagonists’ lives draw together. Incredible guest performances from David Threlfall, Jonas Armstrong and Joseph Mawle add texture to the already dense tapestry, and several episodes are true works of art.
For me, it has always stood out for its truly remarkable writing and the kind of dialogue no other British drama has come near since; every sentence a meticulous, filigreed spoonful. The delicious, meaty ensemble performances surround Macfadyen as he presides over his grizzly archive: Jerome Flynn as human knuckle DS Bennet Drake, MyAnna Buring’s steely brothel madam Long Susan and Adam Rothenberg’s sexy, liquor-soaked forensic genius, Homer Jackson. In later series, add to that the rousing performance of Lydia Wilson as music hall proprietress Mimi Morton and you have a Victorian A-Team of sorts, delivering justice by their own means.
The men fight demons but the women do not simper nearby. They run businesses and commit murders and have as much agency as the male counterparts. I defy you to find another period drama that evens the gender scales so admirably.
While it may have suffered from launching too close to the visually flashier Peaky Blinders, it’s hard to recall the last time a British drama stretched its imaginative wings like this one does. If you crave poetry and invention with your crime capers, five seasons await. Julia Raeside
Worth ruining your Amazon recommendations for … The Girlfriend Experience. Photograph: Kerry Hayes/2016 Starz Entertainment, LLC
The Girlfriend Experience Amazon Prime Warning: this will knacker your Amazon recommendations. The algorithm knows it’s an explicit drama about high-end prostitution, but can’t discern that the other content tagged with those attributes is exploitative dreck with none of the sleek menace or unsolvable moral tangles of The Girlfriend Experience. It’s worth the shame. Riley Keough is sensational as Christine, a law student who is drawn into a lucrative sideline: a type of escorting where she fakes a relationship with the client. The show explores power, money and misogyny via the sad millionaires who hire Christine. But our focus is her emergence as a shark-eyed sociopath, bent on revenge against … the patriarchy? Pitiless capitalism? Her own past? Keough embodies a capable schemer while letting flashes of vulnerability sneak through, so we’re not sure whether to applaud Christine’s agency in this acid fantasy, or hope she steps back from the abyss. JS
3% Netflix Released last year, 3% is Netflix’s first original series to come from Brazil, and was directed by César Charlone, the Oscar-nominated cinematographer behind City of God. Set in a dystopian future, it finds the vast majority of the populace living in squalor, but at the age of 20, young people take part in a series of tests which could allow them access to a utopian paradise called the Offshore. As per the title, only 3% will be chosen. Weighed heavy with other film and literary touchstones from The Hunger Games to Lord of the Flies, candidates are sent to a futuristic desert facility to commence the rigorous, dangerous process. What it lacks in production dollars it makes up for in the compulsive viewing stakes. Leaders emerge, alliances form and a resistance movement plots revolution. There’s deceit, betrayal, jeopardy; all the good stuff, basically. Best enjoyed with the subtitles on, unless you’re a fan of overplayed dubbing. BA
Profoundly evocative … Inside No 9. Photograph: BBC/Sophie Mutevelian
Inside No 9 Netflix Witch trials, office karaoke, snuff films, party games, incestuous cannibalism: no subject matter is too terrible, or trivial, for Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith’s hair-raisingly inventive anthology series. With help from a rotating cast of acting aristocracy, the League of Gentlemen duo have spent three series battering down the divisions between comedy, horror and drama. However, one episode towers above the rest: the Sheridan Smith-starring 12 Days of Christine is one of the most profoundly evocative half-hours of TV ever made. Rachel Aroesti
UnREAL Amazon Prime UnREAL is what happened when US TV producer Sarah Gertrude Shapiro escaped from her job on reality dating show The Bachelor and co-wrote a deliciously schlocky drama set behind the scenes of a similar programme. It stars Shiri Appleby as mentally unstable producer Rachel, trapped in a mutually destructive working relationship with exec producer Quinn (Constance Zimmer) who is basically molten lava in female form. Morally dubious at best, homicidal power junkies at worst, you won’t be able to take your eyes off them. JR
An elegantly easy watch … Her Story.
Her Story YouTube “What is a polite way to ask what someone is?” inquires Allie, a renegade reporter for fictional queer publication Gay LA. Her current focus is a piece on trans people in her local area – not in a Jerry Springer-style sensationalist way, as her bigoted friend suggests – but through a thoroughly reported, warm and relatable narrative which positions trans people as visible members of society rather than a spectral other. Through Allie’s cautiously fumbling approach we follow Her Story, a six-part web drama about queer and trans women, and the only non-network series nominated in the Outstanding Short Form Comedy or Drama Series Emmy category in 2016. We collectively wince as Allie asks the sort of clunky, blunt questions about sexual orientation that a cisgendered person would never get asked. Allie generally gets it wrong while attempting to do right, and the small budget show manages to tell a nuanced story in short, seven minute-long episodes.
Aside from ploughing through a barrage of hearty subjects seamlessly, the series also manages to remain light and full of savvy humour. Overall, Her Story is a series so nourishing and skillfully woven that the YouTube comments overflow with thankful and abundant praise.
Through her journalism, Allie befriends Violet, who transitioned to a woman. As the pair become close, Allie learns about the ways in which trans people navigate life on a daily basis – from micro anxieties (Violet’s fear of people noticing her voice or appearance which stops her from feeling present) to macro-aggressions (Violet’s abusive partner). Running parallel to this relationship is the story of high-powered attorney Paige, who falls for a bison-like hunk. She decides not to come out to him immediately. Her Story’s ability to articulate the fluttering anxiety of the first flushes of love, layered with the fear that she is keeping something from him that might wreck her chances of happiness, makes for a quietly powerful sequence.
In June this year, a group of rising trans and gender non-binary actors made a campaign video asking the film and TV industry to break with their tradition of casting trans actors in cliched roles – the prostitute, the psychopath, the jester. As a series, Her Story succeeds in the places where the rest of Hollywood (and even Transparent) has failed, by casting trans actors in its lead roles. It is authentic, richly educational, and an elegantly easy watch. As Allie eventually writes in her article on the lives of trans people: “Our world is less rich without their stories, their laughter, their voices.” Harriet Gibsone
The most audacious television in living memory … Horace and Pete.
Horace and Pete louisck.net Last January, Louis CK sent an email to his subscribers. It simply read “Horace and Pete episode one is available for download. $5. Go here to watch it. We hope you like it.” What followed was some of the most audacious television in living memory. Funded, shot and distributed by CK, who also played one of the leads, it was as singular a vision as you are ever likely to see. CK’s email was vague because he wanted viewers to go into it blind, without marketing gimmicks. In keeping with his wishes, we’ll only give you the bare bones. Inspired by Abigail’s Party, it follows the owners of Horace and Pete’s, a dive bar in Brooklyn. The bar has been in the family for a century, and has degraded with each generation. There are depressive barflies; there is abuse; there is mental illness; there is cancer. Make no mistake, this is not a comedy. It goes to dark places, and stays there without flinching. But if you can stomach it, you’ll love it. SH
On Cinema YouTube As shown by the huge popularity of off-the-wall animation Rick and Morty and news of a Big Night Out special from Vic and Bob, comedy fans are searching for ever more surreal places to escape to. A natural home for this is subversive US TV network Adult Swim, which has long provided us with some of the most uncanny comedies around, and now offers film-themed web series On Cinema, hosted by prolific comic Tim Heidecker and Gregg Turkington (of Neil Hamburger fame). The pair are rude, hilariously passive aggressive, and disinterested in one another – imagine Mark Kermode paired up with John McCririck – and tend to discuss everything except the film they’re aiming to review. Instead, Heidecker’s character persistently derails any film chat in a Monty Python-like manner, even turning their set into a restaurant in one episode. All of this eternally frustrates Turkington, who just wants to discuss his extensive VHS collection. Oobah Butler
Vloggy McVlogface … Pls Like. Photograph: BBC
Pls Like BBC3/iPlayer Over six 15-minute episodes, Liam Williams’s sharp, pointed mockumentary series takes aim at some of the more inane professional vloggers (“Or, as I call them, self-manipulating content puppets,” says the comic), immersing himself in the world of YouTube via a surprisingly successful turn as Vloggy McVlogface. Though internet celebs might seem an easy target, the satire is as bleak as it is witty, and Williams’s attempts to become a YouTube star himself in order to win 10 grand turn increasingly dark. RN
Binging With Babish YouTube This YouTube-only cooking show finds NYC chef and film-maker Andrew Rea carefully preparing dishes from films and TV shows: the prison sauce from Goodfellas, for instance, or the “moist-maker” sandwich from Friends. Binging With Babish is a curiously hypnotic watch; slick editing, a smartmouth narrative track and a hands-only view of the action makes it at once more and less than a traditional cooking show, something you can both watch and half-watch at the same time. Then you look up, an hour has gone by and you’re really, really hungry. Joel Golby.