If you're new round here, you may not know that as my full time job, I work in TV.
I do lots of different things day to day (including reading scripts, editing etc...), but the best part is being able to spend my evenings binge watching new series guilt free and counting it as 'homework' - never laziness...
Ever since I was tiny, my Dad, sister and I would watch films together as part of "Dad's Film Club". Every other weekend (children of divorce, you feel me), my Dad would pick a film (always brilliant) and we would all cuddle up and watch it while Dad peeled apples and pears for us to munch on ("Dad's Fruit Club" - as you can tell, we are a very creative and imaginative family). We started off easy with the likes of Toy Story and Chicken Run, and quickly progressed to post-10pm films like Gladiator and Die Hard. V grown up. V v exciting.
As I got older, Dad's Film Club sort of evolved to Dad's TV Club. My Dad always seems to know exactly what to watch before the crowd, and whether it was the amazing French series 'Engrenages' (masking its true purpose as French A-Level revision), or 'Breaking Bad', these were some of the best parts of my childhood/teenhood - and I think this is where my love of television has come from. From watching my Dad love film and TV, and watching him get such a buzz when me and my sister shared his excitement too.
So, I thought I would share my Top 3 picks from Amazon Prime - I personally think these are three series that have been seriously overlooked. And they are absolutely bloody brilliant and deserve your attention immediately...just finish reading this post first before you click onto Amazon, okay?
At the very top of my list sits Goliath. Yes, I'll admit - it may have something to do with Billy Bob Thornton playing the lead (he really is just the coolest dude ever).
Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, William Hurt, Nina Arianda, Tania Raymonde, Diana Hopper, Olivia Thirlby, Molly Parker
Goliath is an underdog legal thriller, to put it briefly. Goliath follows Billy McBride (Thornton), your classic anti-hero - a once highly successful lawyer who founded a major law firm, Cooperman McBride. But for reasons that are not immediately apparent, he left, becoming an alcoholic living in the motel next to his local dive bar (but let's be totally clear about this - in "real life", they are the coolest motel and dive bar, and if you go to LA you have to at least drive past the Ocean Lodge motel and Chez Jay on Ocean Ave, Santa Monica - it is so so cool to be so obsessed with a show and then see the filming locations in the flesh...man, I miss LA).
Anyway! When Billy reluctantly agrees to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the massive law firm he helped create, a vast and deadly conspiracy comes to light. Billy and his team end up in a life-or-death trial against the ultimate enemy, which could end up helping Billy find redemption and exact revenge on the firm.
But be warned: there are some really rather unbelievable moments which you have to try and see past, and Donald Cooperman (of Cooperman McBride) is one of the worst super-villains I have seen on TV in a long time. He is the complete stereotypical Dr Evil character, and you have to just grin and bear his scenes...but it is worth doing, I promise!
Goliath is SO bingeable - and this is coming from a girl who has no particular interest in law-based dramas whatsoever. But oh my God, Goliath is SO gripping, tense and dark. Billy is the smartest, funniest character and you feel so invested in him from the off - desperately wanting him to put down the bottle of whiskey and kick some butt. You get to the end of an episode and cannot face a moment's pause without knowing what will happen next. I'm talking..."I don't even have time to boil the kettle to make a cuppa" sort of tension. You also start to care so deeply for the supporting characters so quickly, that you can't not find out how this will end.
Billy's one liners are everything. Billy Bob even won a Golden Globe for his role in Goliath in 2017 for 'Best Actor in a Television Series Drama' - so that alone should tell you all you need to know.
Still don't believe me? Just watch it for the shots of LA and tell me that's not worth your time...
Just proceed to series 2 with caution...things get very weird. Still brilliant and dark, but eurgh (that's all I'll say on that).
Starring: Giovanni Ribisi, Bryan Cranston, Margo Martindale, Marin Ireland, Peter Gerety, Shane McRae, Libe Barer
Sneaky Pete is a drama series which follows Marius Josipović - a con man who gets out of prison only to find himself hunted by the vicious gangster (Bryan Cranston) he once conned. After leaving prison, Marius takes cover from his past by assuming the identity of his cellmate, Pete. Having spent years listening to Pete talking about his beloved grandparents' farm, Marius tracks them down. He moves in with Pete's long-estranged, unsuspecting family who have no reason to suspect he's not their long-lost loved one. Marius is then roped into the family's bail bond business, and in the process, he'll discover the family he's never had.
First of all, that star studded cast though - you've got Phoebe's brother playing the lead, Walter White playing the super-villain, and Hannah Montana's grandma playing...Pete's grandma. Then you have newcomers like Libe Barer (who is worth a follow on Instagram, she is so so cool and how she doesn't have more followers is beyond me).
Sneaky Pete has got to be one of the most tense series I have watched in a long time, with plenty of "quite-literally-on-the-edge-of-your-seat" moments. It is SO tense and nail-biting and had me and my Dad shouting at the TV. Will Marius' cover be blown? Can his con his way out of anything? Will his past catch up with him?
This series also has brilliantly funny moments, and the best way I can think to describe it is that it is literally Ocean's Eleven meets Breaking Bad.
Sneaky Pete NEEDS to be binged. It's very cool, very funny and incredibly stressful - but in the very best way possible.
CRISIS IN SIX SCENES
Starring: Woody Allen, Miley Cyrus, Elaine May, David Harbour, Michael Rapaport, Rachel Brosnahan, John Magaro
It's been a long time since I sat down to watch this one, but the main thing I can remember is how much I enjoyed watching it. It's a much easier watch than the previous two series I have mentioned - it is a very gentle comedy which is beautifully paced.
Set in 1960s America, Crisis in Six Scenes follows Sidney (Woody Allen), a neurotic novelist-turned-TV writer, and his wife Kay (Elaine May), a therapist who sees clients at their upscale suburban New York home. Sidney and Kay are allowing their friend's son Alan, to stay with them while he attends NYU - pretty much just so he can stay away from hippies and "druggies" and other undesirables, as he is planning to marry his fiancée, Ellie. However, everything is turned upside down with the 4 a.m. arrival of flower-child Darlene "Lennie" Dale (Miley Cyrus), whose family took in Kay when her parents died. Lennie is hiding because she's a wanted fugitive, a member of the Constitutional Liberation Army who was busted out of jail, and a guard was shot in the process. The series is full of hilariously chaotic moments as reluctant Sidney and over-willing Kay try to keep Lenny's true identity unknown from their unsuspecting friends and family - and try to keep her away from Alan!
This series didn't receive fantastic reviews, but I think unfairly so. It had so many genuinely funny moments and was a really captivating story. It never begged you for laughter, or tried too hard for its laughs - it just was what it was. Hilarious, engaging and gentle.
Miley Cyrus was absolutely amazing, and it was a bloody dream come true to sit down with my Dad and watch something with Miley Cyrus playing the lead - sadly, getting my Dad to watch Hannah Montana wasn't as easy...But she really was brilliant. You are essentially just watching Miley Cyrus play the 60s version of herself, and I loved every second of it.
Woody Allen and Elaine May brilliantly played the dynamic that we see in most of our grandparents - constantly bickering in the most loving of ways. My Dad and I were crying with laughter because Sidney and Kay just feel so familiar and their relationship is so fantastically relatable.
If you're looking for a chilled, easy watch that you'll blitz through quickly, definitely give Crisis In Six Scenes a go.
And there you have it! My top 3 picks from Amazon Prime - because I really do think these deserve far more attention than they have received.
I do think Goliath may be bigger in America (purely basing this on all the Billy Bob billboards I saw in LA in May) but they need some love over here!
What are your favourite shows on Amazon Prime?