It’s no secret that television shows are often better than big budget movies and binging on a television show is as easy as a Sunday morning. So get your popcorn ready and kick back to my top ten best TV shows on Foxtel for 2016.
Ballers is a comedy-drama starring Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) as the smooth-talking Spencer Strasmore; an ex ‘baller’ turned financial manager who will stop at nothing to sign the best players in the NFL. This uniquely entertaining insight into the world of American football kept me engaged all the way. The plot is sophisticated and the problems are definitely amusing. Created by Stephen Levinson (Entourage) this series boasts a great cast and delivers on all levels.
Queen Of The South is a must for Scarface and Narco fans alike. This story follows Teresa Mendoza. A poor Mexican girl who unexpectedly finds herself caught between two Mexican drug cartels. Her eventual rise to the top is nothing new to this genre however, the sub plots are interesting and the characters are more than likable. Be warned…the violence will make you cringe but still pine for more.
Quarry is the story of Mac Conway (Logan Marshall-Green), a soldier who returns home from the Vietnam War only to become embroiled in a network of corruption and violence. Facing financial hardship Mac is temporarily recruited by the ‘Broker’ as a hit man and is required to repay his friend’s debt. You can’t help but empathise for Mac as he deals with the posttraumatic stress from his experiences in the war and comes to terms with the social views of the time. This 1970’s American drama exhibits outstanding performances in particular; Buddy, played by South Australian actor Damon Herriman, and Peter Mullan as the Broker. The plot is gripping and the action is as realistic as it comes.
Westworld. This Cinderella story uniquely intertwines fantasy with artificial consciousness. Both Ed Harris and Sir Anthony Hopkins give outstanding performances in this sci-fi thriller about a futuristic adventure park for wealthy vacationers. Hopkins, who plays Dr. Robert Ford – the creator of the amusement park, is reminiscent of the much-loved character Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Silence of the Lambs), and seems to be playing the role of God? Underpinning the fantasy concept is a clever study of human behaviour, which I find the most intriguing, and with only a few episodes remaining, this is sure to be the number one TV series for 2016.
Kingdom is exactly what the title suggests. Frank Grillo plays the ‘ever so cool’ Alvey. A retired MMA fighter who must deal with the daily trials and tribulations of the fighters he trains at his Navy Street gym. Not only is Kingdom a hard, gritty portrayal of life in mixed martial arts but is also an honest look at the hardships endured by family and friends, in love, money and drug addiction.
Vikings. I must be the only person who never jumped on board the Game of Thrones bandwagon however, this Irish-Canadian drama, created by Michael Hirst for the History Channel, certainly fills the void for my action adventure crave. Vikings is inspired by the folklore surrounding the Viking legend, Ragnar Lothbrok, played by Australian actor Travis Fimmel, and is set at the very beginning of the Viking Age. There is certainly enough pillaging and plundering to keep any Game of Thrones fan interested with intriguing sub plots of power, love and betrayal. Season 4, “Ragnar” airs December 15th on FX.
Mr Robot. An American psychological thriller created by Sam Esmail is guaranteed to blow your mind. This anti-establishment story follows the reclusive Elliot (Rami Malek), a computer genius who is recruited by a terrorist organisation headed by the determined Mr Robot (Christian Slater). Slater fans will be more than pleased with his well-deserved Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in a Series, and with plenty of twists and turns aside, this show will keep you guessing. Season 2 is due to air this month on Showcase.
Bates Motel. Season 4 aired this year and was an absolute mind-bender. A contemporary prequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s successful 1960’s film Psycho, this series focuses on the lives of a young Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) and his eccentric mother Norma (Vera Farmiga). Both Highmore and Farmiga are uniquely superb in their roles with season 4 providing enough suspense, mystery and drama to keep this psychological horror from being anything but tedious. The much-anticipated Season 5 is scheduled to air mid 2017.
Outcast was created by Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead) and aired for the first time this year, 2016. This American horror-drama follows Kyle Barnes, a man tormented by his past demons who forms an alliance with the Reverend Anderson and together they endeavour to redeem the small town folk from being consumed by a strange evil force. Not a zombie in sight but sure to please horror fans alike.
Vinyl. What do you get if you mix Martin Scorsese with Mick Jagger? A ‘bloody’ riveting show, that’s what. This awesome American drama series is set in 1970s New York just as Rock n’ Roll was giving way to Hip Hop, Punk, and Disco. A classy depiction of the drug fuelled lives of those involved in the American record industry. In particular, American Century Records founder and president Richie Finestra (Bobby Cannavale) and long time friend, Zac Yankovich, played by Ray Romano who is a charming inclusion to this cast. Rumour has it that HBO has cancelled Season 2. Not only has this dampened my spirits but makes me wonder what constitutes a quality show? Needless to say, Season 1 of Vinyl will be sure to entertain. Just like the opening theme song, “Kill the Lights” … my foot is still tapping.