In every issue of WiFi HiFi, we have recommended a TV series that's worth binging, available through one of the top streaming services in Canada, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Crave.
If you're looking for what to watch next now that you've just finished binging the latest season of Stranger Things or Orange Is The New Black, or considering what to download and watch on the plane en route to the next trade show or business meeting (CEDIA, perhaps?) here are some suggestions.
This HBO historical drama miniseries is a dramatization of the April 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, focusing on the story of how it happened, the clean-up efforts afterward, and everyone involved, from the firefighters to the volunteers, miners, and the "Suicide Squad."
Lauded for the incredible detail, despite being a dramatization, much of the story is true, based on the recollections of Belarusian Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich and her book Voices Fom Chernobyl.
With an incredible cast headed by Jared Harris as Valery Legasov, the man who led the clean-up efforts, every episode is chilling and heartbreaking, some even inspiring, providing a glimpse into a catastrophic event that happened not that long ago.
Don't miss the epilogue with detailed information about various people, the reactors, and after-effects of one of the biggest catastrophes of the past 50 years. Binge the five one-hour (or so) episodes it on HBO or Crave.ca (Photo: Liam Daniel/HBO)
Hollywood A-lister Julia Roberts plays Heidi Bergman in this psychological thriller, a former caseworker at a Homecoming Transitional Support Center that supposedly helps soldiers reintegrate back into civilian life. Now back home working as a waitress, both she and a United States Department of Defense auditor have a sneaking suspicion that things weren't really what they seemed to be.
The series is delivered in signature Sam Esmail style that fans of his USA Network series Mr. Robot will appreciate. It also stars Bobby Cannavale and Sissy Spacek, and introduces Canadian actor Stephan James, who delivers a captivating performance as military veteran Walter Cruz.
The 10 episodes in the first season run are about a half hour each, so it's a quick and easy binge. Primevideo.com (Photo: Jessica Brooks)
Tidying Up With Marie Kondo
She's dainty and unassuming, but this Japanese organizing consultant and author "strikes joy" in every home she enters.
This series, released on January 1, 2019, has had people everywhere putting their clothes in big piles to sift through, re-folding laundry, organizing junk drawers, and clearing out garages based on Kondo's KonMari method of cleaning.
In each episode, she visits a different household - couples with young children, downsizing empty nesters, newlyweds with dogs, and even a recently widowed woman - and helps them reorganize their homes, which ends up having an overall impact on their lives and relationships.
Accompanied by her interpreter, also named Marie (Kondo does speak some English), she encourages them to keep only things that "spark joy," and provides organizational tips. No matter how cluttered a home, she never passes judgement.
Her quiet and joyful nature is infectious, and viewers have taken active notice of her concepts. It's the perfect series to binge watch if you're looking for something light and airy, and don't want to get too caught up in an intense storyline. Netflix.ca (Photo: Denise Crew/Netflix)
Taking Fatal Attraction to a whole new 21st Century level, Joe (Penn Badgley) is a seemingly nice guy, a bookstore manager in New York who falls helplessly in love with a frequent customer Guinevere (Elizabeth Lail)...to the point of obsession.
He uses clever tactics, including spying on her, trolling her social media, and stealing her phone, to appear as the perfect companion. While he eventually convinces her to date him, her best friend is suspicious. And his jealous nature takes some deadly turns.
Our ability to see his duplicitous nature, combined with a confusing desire to actually root for him, makes for a gripping, intense ride through the 10-episode first season.
Binge the series, based on the best-selling novel of the same name from Caroline Kepnes, then hold tight for season 2, which has been confirmed but is yet to receive a premiere date. Netflix.ca
My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman
If you have been missing David Letterman from the late night circuit, check out the first two seasons of his talk show on the streaming service. Employing a different format from his long-running network series, Letterman sits down in an intimate venue with just one guest for an hour of chit-chat about their life and career: it's just two chairs, a stage, and a live audience.
He has interviewed a diverse selection of guests thus far, including President Barack Obama, Malala Yousafzai, JAY-Z, George Clooney, Tina Fey, and Howard Stern in season one. Short on-the-scene clips help break things up: he indulges in fast food with Clooney, visits a university with Yousafzai, and sits in on a recording session with famous producer Rick Rubin. A bonus episode features Jerry Seinfeld and Letterman interviewing one another.
They're all candid discussions, with no topic off limits, but there are still twinges of the usual, though slightly subdued, Letterman humour.
The second season, which debuted this year, features a new slate of exciting guests, including Kanye West, Melinda Gates, and Zach Galifianakis. Netflix.com
Kiefer Sutherland is Thomas Kirkman, a low-level political figure who is thrust into becoming the President of the United States after the entire administration is killed in a terrorist bombing at the State of the Union address. Why was he the only one spared? He had been named the designated survivor, holed up in a separate location during the address.
While Kirkman is inexperienced and overwhelmed with the difficult decisions he must make, facing pushback from those who feel he should not hold the position at every turn, Kirkman's honest nature and genuine love for his country quickly turns him into a model president for the people. Meanwhile, the government, and the FBI, still need to figure out who caused the attack, and prevent subsequent ones.
ABC cancelled the series after two seasons, but Netflix picked it up for a third that debuted this year. It has since been canceled (again). But the three seasons are worth watching if you're in the mood for a dirty political drama. Netflix.ca (Photo: Ian Watson/ABC)
Now that Fall is closing in on us and work mode will be back in full swing soon, this series is the perfect fit to get you back into the tech headspace. With five seasons under its belt, and a sixth on the way some time in 2020, this satirical HBO series about a team of tech nerds trying to get their technology off the ground is chocked full of geeky, reclusive developers, greedy CEOs, quirky VCs, and lawsuits galore; and it mocks every stereotype there is about the California tech hub.
You'll recognize familiar events like TechCrunch Disrupt and CES, and laugh along with subtle jokes that only tech insiders would understand. Rumour has it that many characters are loosely based on real-life tech execs, like the Peter Gregory character being modeled after PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, and the eccentric billionaire Russ Hanneman on Mark Cuban.
Tune in, and you'll be laughing hysterically through all five seasons. Cravetv.com or HBO on Demand.
Game of Thrones
Let's face it: who hasn't yet seen Game of Thrones? Most of us had followed this fantasy drama since it premiered in 2011, and many others considered hopping aboard before it ended earlier this year - the eighth and final season commenced on April 14, 2019.
Given the complexity of the series, and intertwining storylines, it's worthwhile to watch twice; and even if you know what happens in the end, you might enjoy watching it anyway given the high cinematic value and tremendous acting.
Based on the fantasy novels by George R.R. Martin, GoT follows characters from Seven Kingdoms within the fictional continent of Westeros and Essos as they battle for power, riches, and honour.
Filled with gratuitous violence and graphic scenes, it's not for the faint of heart. But the series has earned record viewership numbers and numerous accolades for acting, storylines, and production value.
The Handmaid's Tale
Based on the Margaret Atwood novel of the same name, this terrifying series presents a reality whereby a totalitarian society called Gilead has taken over part of the United States. In the dystopian regime, women who are able to bear children are tasked with doing so for barren wives of commanders.
With characters like the cunning and manipulative commander Fred Waterford, his chillingly evil wife Serena, and the frightening Aunt Lydia who manages all of the handmaid's, the series is shocking, cruel, and beautifully told.
But it's Elisabeth Moss' performance as June/Offred who steals every scene as the bitter and angry handmaid, a modern feminist woman willing to do anything it takes to be reunited with her daughter, or at least get her daughter safely out of the horrifying world (perhaps in a bit of art imitating life, safety means across the border and into Canada).
Many of the episodes are pretty difficult to digest, so be prepared to be haunted by what you see. Nonetheless, it's a fabulous show that is currently airing its third season. Binge it on Hulu in the U.S. or Crave in Canada.