BEST STREAMS AND SHOWS OF 2018

 

Let’s admit : We spend more hours watching TV shows than films. And why not, specially in 2018? In recent times, the quality of content in our shows are raising standards. We are spoilt with choices, flooded with recommendations on virtually any genre you like, which is probably leading to us being bigger couch potatoes. But that’s a concern for another day.
We are here to celebrate some of the best series to have graced our mobile/laptop screens this year. Of course, like it’s been the trend of the decade, the “TV shows” gaining biggest traction are not actually broadcasted on TV. The internet is where the content is truly shining, and that’s what will be apparent from my list.

From the western stable

THE END OF THE F***KING WORLD

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With a plot that is as unlikely and odd as its title, the reason I watched this show is because of its 20-minute runtime of just 8 episodes.
The show had a tone similar to another teenage comedy on Netflix that arrived last year : American Vandal (It’s season 2 drop this year which I meant to watch, but couldn’t, yet). It’s dark, gruesome but also sweet and genuinely funny at parts.
It’s not everyday that a story about two ignored and least famous schoolkids can be THIS entertaining!
Watch on : Netflix

WILD WILD COUNTRY

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If you have never heard about the religious figure named Osho, I urge you to watch this docu-series. Everything that is told here is real, but you would refuse to believe so.
What is more shocking than the actual story, is the access of such exclusive footage of those times. How did they manage to get that!?
Watch on : Netflix

THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE

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First things first : anything that relates to horror is never my thing. Going through a horror film/show means days and nights of trauma. But the rave reviews for this one, compelled me to go through it, just for the sake of watching a good show.
And I am so damn glad that I did!
The Haunting of Hill House is a brilliant story told using well-crafted filmmaking. The focus is less on the scares and more on getting into the psyche of these characters. Each member of the Crain family is well-rounded and wrapped into mystery which unfolds as the episodes progresses.
And apart from few moments, the show is not that scary! So watch it even if you are not a fan of horror.
Watch on : Netflix

THE MARVELOUS MRS MAISEL – SEASON 2

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The life and times of a female standup comic set in late 50s of the America. Sounds interesting? Not much, maybe.
But the first season of The Marvelous Mrs Maisel was a complete joyride. It has all the ingredients that I look for in a show : effortless humour, sharp dialogues, breezy plot and some truly energetic, exceptional performances. With the season being SO good, I thought the show is just a one-season wonder. Again, what else can you bring in a story about a female standup comic set in late 50s of America?
The second season dropped in December, and I just couldn’t believe they pulled it off yet again! All its colourful characters – Abe, Joel, Rose, Susie among many others – are as charming and quirky as in the first season. The plot remains to be engaging, fun and yet relevant to social themes. The powerhouse of the show is  of course our very own Mrs Maisel – Rachel Brosnahan. Acting works such as hers is a craft you won’t dare take your eyes off.
Watch on : Amazon Prime

Cable Stars

SILICON VALLEY – SEASON 5

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I actually watched all the seasons at once, and the latest one just happened to be released this year, which is why it is up here in my list.
Although I felt that the 5th season was a bit rushed, specially in the final 2 episodes, it still doesn’t take away the brilliance that the show imbued right from the start.
If the world of startups, internet and entrepreneurship excites you, you should binge watch this right away!
Broadcasted on : HBO
Available for stream on : hotstar

LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER – SEASON 5

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When will Last Week Tonight stop being great? We witnessed 5th season of the variety, and the show is still as brilliant as it’s ever been. Discussing on topics of major concerns around the world, host John Oliver weaves a story from its incredibly researched studies, never forgetting to crack one-liners and punchlines to keep its audiences entertained.
A show with just one guy talking on screen can still be engaging, if made right.
Broadcasted on : HBO
Available for stream on : hotstar

KOFFEE WITH KARAN – SEASON 6

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Say you what may, but there’s no denying that Koffee is still the coolest talk show we have ever had. In the recent seasons, its self-admission of being just silly fun has only added to the charm, although there are fewer laughs. The set also had a huge, bold “STOP MAKING SENSE” written to make things clear for the audience.
If anything else, we saw quite some genuinely emotional moments. Be it Katrina’s take on relationships, Ajay-Kajol’s patchup story with Karan, Arjun-Jahnvi’s coping of her mother’s death or Aamir’s discussion on the #MeToo movement, the show did touch some raw nerve this time.
Broadcasted on : Star World
Available for stream on : hotstar

Desi streams

THE TEST CASE

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Can women fit into the combat roles of army? That’s what Shikha Sharma explores as she enters Indian Army’s academy as a first female test case.
It’s a thrilling idea and brought at the right time when the talks are huge on feminism and #MeToo. Though melodramatic at parts, the show is still a wonderful portrayal of the life and times of our soldiers and the excruciating training that they go through in the academy. Nimrat Kaur playing the lead is in top form, and literally gives blood and sweat playing the character.
Watch on : ALT Balaji

SACRED GAMES

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Netflix finally debuts with its original series for India, and it exploded internet like wildfire! It boasted of two of the most credible directors in the business – Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane helming the project, while starring known actors like Saif Ali Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui. But the real success is apparent when unknown actors like Kubra Sait playing Kuku and Jatin Sarna playing Bunty also gained some spotlight.

Read the full review here

Watch on : Netflix

MIRZAPUR

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The naysayers were quick to dismiss Mirzapur as “poor man’s Gangs of Wasseypur”. While the comparison is not wrong, Mirzapur stands out with the way it’s treated, and in fact has more similarities with Prime’s first series Inside Edge. Which makes sense, as it shares the same creator – Karan Anshuman.
The good or bad news it retains all the qualities (whether good or bad) from that show and just changes its settings and the basic plot. It’s full of style, sudden deaths and has exactly one episode which stands out from the rest. But it’s also weird, emotion-less and cringe-y at parts. What keeps the show going are the performances from its absolutely phenomenal ensemble.
Watch on : Amazon Prime

GHOUL

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The “omnipresent” Radhika Apte takes lead in this dystopian mini series that tries to build a world of its own. Releasing just weeks after Sacred Games, I had great expectations from it. But it didn’t really impress me.
The reason why it makes into this list is for two things – one, for its impeccable production design and two – because it ends in a note that would make you wait for its next season regardless.
Watch on : Netflix

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FLAMES

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There are many shows made on teenage love. But very few make you experience that, even when you have passed that stage years ago. FLAMES is that kind of a rare gem.
Yes, nothing much happens in its very limited runtime. Yes, it’s more cheesy than a double Margherita. But in matters of heart, you just tend to surrender.
Watch on : YouTube (Timeliners)

BREATHE

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As a standalone plot, Breathe has a thrilling template and strives to be a genuine medical drama. But where it faulters is in the moral compass which the makers probably ignored its existence while writing the script. Unfortunately, we cannot do the same.
Still, Madhavan’s performance and his cat-and-mouse game with policeman Kabir keeps you invested.

LITTLE THINGS – SEASON 2

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As promised by the promos, not all things are little anymore between Dhruv and Kavya. Like the first season, the story continues to be about a mature live-in couple figuring out their lives as their relationship progresses. The focus this time around was on how distinct both people are when it comes to life choices. Some scenes stood out as truly well directed and written.
The huge shift from YouTube to Netflix resulted in a better, more refined content.
Read the full review on the show here :

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YEH MERI FAMILY

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For a studio that once produced such brilliance like Pitchers and Permanent Roommates and set the bar for Indian web series for years to come, all of its recent content didn’t really do justice to its brand. That is, before this lovely show entered.
Yeh Meri Family is literally the life story of every middle class family out there. It’s drenched in nostalgia and every little detail from the 90s – be it emotions or the world – is wonderfully brought to life. But that’s not why the show is great. It’s the characters, the story and the performances which truly wins the heart.
The bar is set yet again.
Here’s to another year of awesome shows and hours of binge!

 

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