The stars of WHO’s TV podcast, Binge List, give their thoughts below on the big new programs coming to your screens. Here's what podcasters Matt Denby, Clare Ridgen and Gavin Scott have to say...
Orange Is the New Black Season 6 (Netflix)
Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black helped to redefine TV, ushering in the binge TV era and creating huge buzz around the streaming provider.
Last season broke expectations by focusing on an epic, season-long riot, but this time we’re going back to basics.
With season six now available to binge, is Orange still fresh, or is it just more out-of-date fruit?
‘I would say it’s still fresh, it’s approaching its expiry date but it hasn’t got there quire yet,’ says Gavin, who enjoyed this season’s post-riot reboot. ‘This maximum-security prison the prisoners have now been sent to is full on!’
Matt however thought the dramatic tone shifts – which go from serious drama to out-and-out farce – have now started to wear thin and look tired. ‘This show began the era of binge TV, but it’s kind of showing its age now,’ he says.
Street Smart (from August 5 on Ten)
Channel Ten’s ongoing commitment to Aussie comedy sees the launch of new series Street Smart from August 5.
From two of the creators of Here Come The Habibs, this one follows central character Steve as he puts together a highly disorganised crime gang out of his parents’ western Sydney garage.
This is getting credit for its multi-cultural cast (which includes Tahir Bilgic and Casey Donovan) on a network that’s recently been slated for allegedly prioritising mostly ‘straight white blokes’ in its Pilot Week scheme. But is it funny?
‘I didn’t laugh,’ says Clare. ‘I can’t help thinking this timeslot is a massive mistake, as it’s really not funny.
‘I wish networks and production companies would spend more time and money tweaking their scripts.’
Adds Gavin: ‘This is complete rubbish. It kind of feels a little bit like a kids’ show – a decidedly unfunny one.’
OK, Street Smart – you’ve got one more chance… What did Matt think?
‘The biggest mystery about this is that there aren’t any jokes – not even jokes that don’t land,’ he says. ‘This really is a dud, I’m sorry.’
Better Call Saul Season 4 (from August 7 on Stan)
Spin off series rarely seem to meet the standards of the original, but the Breaking Bad prequel Better Call Saul is an exception.
This series, which charts the evolution of small time lawyer Jimmy McGill into crime figure Saul Goodman, has been a consistent critical darling.
Stan will be showing season 4 from August 7, and the Binge List team were lucky enough to have seen a preview.
‘It’s the aftermath of the tragedy we saw at the end of season 3,’ explains Gavin of where we pick up.
‘It is a great show - it’s good TV for adults, it’s good TV for people with a brain,’ adds Matt. ‘I don’t think you need to have watched Breaking Bad to enjoy this – but if you’re new to the show, it’s definitely worth going back to start at season one rather than trying to catch up here.’
American Horror Story: Cult (streaming on Foxtel)
Well, better late than never. American Horror Story: Cult is now available on Foxtel, almost a year after it first aired on American TV.
The seventh season of the popular horror franchise deals with the direct aftermath of the election of Donald Trump, and the terror begins immediately for one particularly vocal character.
Yes, there’s endless screaming and a lot of blood – but is it still scary?
‘I find this hard to take seriously, it’s just too camp and unsubtle,’ says Gavin. ‘To me the best horror is a lot more subtle, and everything Ryan Murphy does is completely heavy handed.’
But Matt disagrees, saying he’s come back to the franchise energised after a good, long break. He says if you like the AHS franchise this is for you.
‘I really enjoyed it actually,’ he says. ‘I think Billie Lourd is a fantastic addition to the cast.
‘I’m not a fan of the really gratuitous violence in this – and after seven seasons there aren’t many genuine scares or shocks anymore - but I do like the funny writing and campy tone when they get those right.’
You can hear this week's episode of Binge List below, or subscribe via iTunes http://po.st/syE3JF
This article originally appeared on WHO.