This Australian based subscription video-on-demand service offers award-winning TV shows in High Definition. So whether you are considering subscription renewal or a free trial, here is a review of my top five shows on Stan to help get you started.
- Braindead. What does the iconic 80’s rock band ‘The Cars’, Cherry Blossom flowers, and the White House all have in common? Find out as this American political satire creatively merges these concepts into a dark comedic science fiction created by Robert and Michelle King. The timing of this series couldn’t be more perfect coinciding with the recent inauguration of America’s 45th president, Donald Trump. And even if politics bores you to death, trust me…you will have to see this series through to the end. Laurel Healy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) begins work on Capitol Hill for her brother, Luke Healy (Danny Pino), a Democratic Senator who is constantly at war with his Republican rival, Red Wheatus. Whom I might add, is played brilliantly by Tony Shalhoub. In its essence this political love story pits Laurel against Red’s Chief of Staff, Gareth (Aaron Tveit) who, despite having polar opposite political views (welfare for the poor versus tax cuts for the rich), manage to set aside their differences and reach across the aisle to solve the issues underpinning the dysfunction of the governmental system. All the while alien bugs are happily munching their way through the brains of both political parties and strangely provides us with a reasonable explanation as to why American politics is as bazaar as it has become.
- Better Call Saul. From the creative mind of Vince Gilligan (Breaking Bad) this quirky award winning American comedy drama takes place six years before Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) has reinvented himself into the alter ego of Saul Goodman from the Breaking Bad series. This is an amusing insight into the life of Jimmy McGill, a burgeoning young lawyer with everything to prove in the shadow of his older brother, Chuck (Michael McKean). In order to make ends meet Jimmy must deal with low-income clients and violent criminals, protect the elderly from themselves and their families, and manage his professional relationship with former police officer turned private investigator, Mike Ehrmantraut (played superbly by Johnathon Banks). What can I say…I loved this show so much I made it my ringtone. Season 1 & 2 are available on Stan with Season 3 scheduled to air early 2017.
- Ash Versus Evil Dead. “Ash” Williams (Bruce Campbell) is the ever-charming, upbeat protagonist, and Exorcist of the Evil Dead, a franchise created by Sam Raimi. It follows the events some thirty years after the original Evil Dead movies whereby, Ash must give up his dead-end job at Value Shop and crusade to save the world from being inundated by demons entering via a portal from hell. He is well supported by his best friend Pablo (Ray Santiago) who believes Ash is a true American hero and calls him “El Jefe”, meaning “Boss” as a sign of respect. They are accompanied by the ‘sassy’ Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) who subsequently is dragged into their fight and together must form an unlikely alliance with the immortal Ruby (Lucy Lawless). The casting of Lawless (“Zena”) pays dividends with a notable heart-warming chemistry between each of the characters. As you would expect there are plenty of funny one liners as ‘Ashy Slashy’ must wield his chainsaw hand to cut his way through an army of “Deadites” (humans possessed by demons). With enough gore to make you want to gag this is certainly not a show for the faint hearted. However, this series doesn’t take itself seriously which is why it is sure to become a cult classic. Seasons 1 & 2 are now available on Stan.
- Billions. If money doesn’t buy you happiness it certainly buys you a lot of power (and paranoia). This American drama is set in New York and is a game of cat-and-mouse between District Attorney Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) who embarks on building the case for corruption against the ambitious hedge-fund Kingpin, Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis). Chuck’s wife (Maggie Siff), an overpaid psychologist by day and mistress to her husband by night, is employed by ‘Axe’ as the company’s performance managing coach, well before Chuck is appointed his position of District Attorney. As the story unfolds she finds herself compromised in both her professional and personal relationships and is forced to make a ‘Sophies’ choice. Paul Giamatti plays the role of Chuck effortlessly and is quite often amusing. However, his intelligence is matched by the shrewdness of Bobby who you just can’t help but admire. This series is sure to make you question who the ‘Master of Puppets’ really is. Season 1 is available on Stan while Season 2 is due for release Feb 2017.
- Mad Dogs. This stand alone 10-part series is a dark comic thriller which made me desperately want to dig out my old Hawaiian shirt and laugh at the prospect of having a midlife crisis in my forties. Set in beautiful Belize on the eastern coast of Central America, four long-time college pals reunite with their friend Milo (Billy Zane) only to quickly become seduced by his mysterious, but wealthy lifestyle. Elements of a dark comedy emerge as the friends begin to bicker endlessly, brought about by a string of unforseen events. Only to have panic turn to desperation self preservation soon dictates they must work together as they muddle their way through the corrupt underbelly of Belize. The plot will keep you guessing and with tensions high, this is an easy to binge-watch series.
Have you watched any of these shows, or is there something else you can recommend on Stan? I’d love to hear what you think in the comment section below.