Stream Police: Hulu Modern Classics Edition
Although two of my favorite programs on Netflix have made their return since my inaugural Stream Police, the return of Bojack Horseman and Orange is the New Black aren't quite enough to convince me to shell out another ten dollars for a streaming service. Summer is quickly coming to a close, and what better way to beat the last days of the heat and humidity than by taking in a new show, or falling in love with a classic all over again. Here are five classics you may need to reacquaint yourself with. Maybe consider binging away the last few weeks of Summer with these old friends.
The tales of Wisteria Lane's four conniving, sometimes backstabbing denizens and their journey through drama, domestic struggle, and mystery are the stuff of legend. Desperate Housewives stands as, perhaps, the best prime time soap opera of all time, certainly of the last few decades. Marcia Cross shines as Bree Van De Camp, as she leads an ensemble cast from a young Eva Longoria to Felicity Huffman. The program certainly shines in the first half of the series, storylines range from Bree's gay son sleeping with his mother's sex addicted husband. who may also be a murderer, to the more grounded tales of a woman fighting for both her career and family. Sadly, a bloated budget and clogged writing would cloud the tail end of the series. However, its mark on both prime time drama, and television as a whole can't be ignored. If you're a fan of classic drama or soap opera style story telling, without the camp and stigma attached, you owe it to yourself to revisit a period of television history.
Watch if You like: Law and Order, Ally McBeal, ER
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Patrick Stewart leads the Starship Enterprise on a journey to explore the final frontier in a continuation of the legendary series from the early sixties. While the inclusion on a list of classics may seem a tad obvious, consider the following: There is an entire generation of people who's only familiarity with this program is in title alone. TNG hasn't been on broadcast in over twenty years, and it's inclusion on syndication is spotty at best. The true glory in the program comes not from it's portrayal of space combat, but in its direct and sometimes graphic portrayal of consequence. TNG was always about exploration, including the exploration of self.
Watch if you like: Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, Stargate SG-1
Furi Kuri (AKA: FLCL/Fooly Cooly)
Anime is a love it or hate it genre of programming, and I fall almost solely on the hate it side of the spectrum. I say almost because of one program, and so far the only one, (Dragonball Z doesn't count guys.) and that is Furi Kuri. I've watched through FLCL probably four different times, and I can't quite explain what the show is about. Even the Wikipedia page explaining the plot gives little of substance, but that is part of the charm of this legendary anime. Through non traditional storytelling and downright bizarre imagery, director Kazuya Tsurmaki created something both exceptionally complicated and deep, but at the same time fresh and compelling. FLCL isn't for beginners, and it rewards rewatching, as well as an open mind. If you're open to experiencing a new way of viewing a television show, then give FLCL a try... just don't expect to understand it in a single viewing.
Watch if you like: Heavy Metal, Akira, Marijuana
The Man Show
Jimmy Kimmel would never admit it now, but twenty years ago, he and best friend Adam Carolla were on top of the world by exploiting women. The Man Show may have never received the critical acclaim that his late night show has garnered, but it stands as a classic in its own right. As a sketch comedy program centered around a caricatured stereotype of the typical red blooded male, laughs are cheap and typically come by way of toilet humor, or the frequent jab at Oprah or Rosie O'Donnell. Not every sketch hits, but many will garner a good belly laugh. Watch out for a particularly legendary sketch involving the Man Show Boy, an overweight preteen successfully attempting to convince an adult to purchase him alcohol. Also, prepare to fall in love with The Fox, the foul mouthed, beer drinking senior citizen Master of Ceremonies who sadly passed away mid series. Also, girls jumping on trampolines!
Watch if you like: The Andy Dick Show, Drawn Together, Family Guy
Strangers with Candy
Her name is Jenni Blank and she was a booser, a user and a loser. A young Amy Sedaris stars along side a young Stephen Colbert in, perhaps, the greatest cult program ever on television. Sedaris stars as Jerri Blank, a 46 year old ex prostitute and drug addict who awkwardly attempts to return to complete her freshman year of high school as she tries to integrate herself into normal society. That explanation does little justice to how perfectly Sedaris portrays the socially awkward Blank. In a way, the show stands as a parody of the "After School Special", however, with the benefit of time, we can see how many cues and production styles have been borrowed from the program. Unfortunately, the program's time on the air was short lived, but what content does exist will have you hooked immediately.
Watch if you like: Stella, Reno 911, The Office