Not only Netflix: streaming services and their best serials

What to see besides the show Netflix, and how much it costs.

Streaming services are gaining popularity around the world. Of course, in the first place in terms of the number of serials and original content is Netflix. Strumigovy giant recently exceeded the capitalization of such studios as Warner Bros. and 21st Century Fox.

In an effort to keep pace with the times, their services want to run virtually everything. Apple already with might and main makes original series. DC Comics work on the “Titans” and the animated “Young Justice League” – they will be the first to launch on their own service. Disney will also soon create its own platform.

Many existing streaming services belong to individual TV channels and broadcast their content. Pros for the viewer here is obvious – you can watch TV shows and any shows at a convenient time, and not “catch” the broadcast. This is how CBS works All access and HBO Now.

AMC channel for paid subscription allows you to watch TV shows even before the release of all episodes on television. So, on March 26, simultaneously with the premiere of the pilot series “Terror” on TV, the streaming service was immediately laid out the entire first season.

But there are a number of services with original content that exist only on the network by subscription. Of course, no one can compete with Netflix for volume and distribution, but, for example, Amazon and Hulu are rapidly gaining popularity and expanding the audience in recent years.

Not only Netflix: streaming services and their best serials

A considerable part of the content is purchased: the platforms sign contracts with TV channels and film studios and broadcast their films and serials, but there are also original products. That is, the platform itself or together with some studios shoot the series to attract more subscribers. If the series is popular – the audience of the service grows, and old subscribers extend their membership. Although there are those who provide a subscription for free, earning on advertising.

Here are a few platforms besides Netflix, which release interesting original content, as well as their best shows.

Amazon Prime

Subscription fee: 8.99 dollars a month just for video, or 12.99 dollars with unlimited music, free e-books and storage of photos, or 99 dollars a year for everything.

Not only Netflix: streaming services and their best serials

Amazon is now diligently trying to catch up with Netflix in scale and reach of the audience. They broadcast a lot of purchased movies and serials – some of the pictures can be watched not for subscription, but for a fee. And here the principle of Rent or Buy: the film can be viewed once for a lower price, or buy, but more expensive. The price strongly depends on the time of release and popularity of the picture. Rent can cost both 4 and 13 dollars.

The amount of original content is constantly growing. Now Amazon plans to switch to large-budget sagas and buys rights on the screen version. So, for example, the series on “Conan the Barbarian”, and the restart of “The Dark Tower” by Stephen King was launched. The series is planned for the cycle “The Wheel of Time” by Robert Jordan.

But most of all the forces and money invested, of course, in the future series on the world “Lord of the Rings”. At the moment, it is planned to spend over one billion dollars on its production. Reported plans for five seasons with potential spin-offs. And to release the series Amazon plans no later than 2020 to just take up the niche of the “Game of Thrones” before the appearance of its spin-offs.

And here are a few serials from Amazon, which are worth paying attention to now.

“A Man in a High Castle”

The most popular project from Amazon, “Man in a High Castle”, is based on the novel of the same name Philip Dick. But rather quickly from the original work there remains only the common canvas and the central line, and the plot with each series increasingly deviates from the original source.

The series tells about an alternative world: Germany in 1945 threw a nuclear bomb on Washington and won the Second World War. As a result, the world was divided between Germany and Japan. The plot revolves around an anti-fascist film, which was shot by a certain Man in a high castle. The film shows the world where Germany lost the war, that is, close to ours. Nobody knows how this film was shot, but everyone tries to get it and find the author.

There are several main lines in the story that show the life of different layers of society in such a complicated political situation. In contrast to the events from the original book, underground resistance is also introduced – its participants are fighting the Nazi regime, although their methods often look no better.

Given the popularity of the series, it is expected to be extended for the second season. And here the authors again showed themselves from the best side: the plot is only growing, the world is on the verge of nuclear war, besides, rumors of Hitler’s illness and the imminent death are spreading more and more. The main characters are trying to do their best to do something for the world, based on the chronicles of the film.

After the second season of “The Man in a High Castle” was again extended. The release date of the sequel is still unknown, but the first trailers are already appearing.

“Goliath”

This series is worth watching at least because of Billy Bob Thornton in the title role. The last time he showed himself brightly in the first season of the series “Fargo”, and since then nothing steep has happened.

In “Goliath” Thornton appears in the traditional image for which many people like him. His hero – once a very successful, and now divorced and drunk lawyer Billy McBride. He leads small businesses, feeds a street dog with pizza and can not establish communication with an aging daughter.

But one day he is persuaded to take up an interesting matter: a woman wants to sue the company, because she is sure that her brother did not commit suicide, but died during the explosion on the ship. But for McBride it’s more important that the defendant in the case is a large law firm, which he once created, and his ex-wife personally.

The series attracts so many. Firstly, the rude humor and sarcasm of the hero Thornton: he jokes no worse than in the “Bad Santa”, often the same way, but at the same time it is stylish. Secondly, really unexpected turns of the plot, which sometimes involuntarily shudder. Well, the secondary actors also did not disappoint.

Oscar-winner William Hurt plays the main antagonist – head of the law firm. The role of Billy’s wife went to a two-time nominee for the Golden Globe by Maria Bello (“And the light goes out …”). All the actors – in their places and play without grotesque and kinks, so “Goliath” looks very lively, natural and exciting.

The series is extended for the second season, however its future is nevertheless vague. First the project was left by the showman David E. Kelly (“Big little lie”, “Mr. Mercedes”), he was replaced by the scriptwriter “Dexter” Clyde Phillips. But later he left. How such permutations will affect, and whether it will be possible for new authors to keep the continuation at a decent level without Kelly – is still unknown. The release date for the new season has not been announced yet.

“Sneaky Pete”

The series is from the creator of “Dr. House” David Shore and actor Brian Cranston. Pete is the name of cellmate of the main character Marius (Giovanni Ribizi). All the term of imprisonment, he willingly told stories from his childhood about the town where he was born, and his relatives, so that Marius thoroughly studied someone else’s life. And now, after his release, he has to hide from the criminals, to whom he owes money.

Marius immediately remembers all prison histories and goes to his hometown of Pete, where he appears in his name. Relatives have not seen him since childhood, so that no one can notice the substitution. In addition, Marius remembers a lot of details from the stories of the real Pete and easily rubbed into the trust not only to the elderly grandmother and grandfather, but also to the rest of the family.

Quite quickly he finds himself in an uncomfortable situation for himself. It turns out that the family earns by taking on the bail of criminals. Accordingly, if someone violates the conditions of liberation, he has to be caught. And in the first case, Pete encounters a member of the gang, from which he hides.

Of course, the moral here is obvious: Pete sees what a real family, friendship and even love. But he is not released past misdeeds – his brother is held hostage until the debt is paid.

Brian Cranston (“In All Grave”) plays a very vicious criminal, and Giovanni Ribisi, who is remembered for minor roles, finally got the opportunity to reveal his acting talent. “Sneaky Pete” combines criminal drama and comedy, and watching the series is very easy – the episodes are well linked, the action is not overloaded with details, but it does not sag.

Two seasons of the series were held with great success both by critics and spectators. Already planned is the third, where the action is transferred to California, but when it is waiting, it is still unclear.

“Comrade Detective”

An ingenious parody project from Chening Tatum. According to the official legend, Tatum and director John Ronson spent twenty years looking for copies of the Romanian TV series “Comrade militiaman”. And when they still managed to get old records, they re-voiced the project with the voices of American actors and released in a rental.

But in fact, this series makes fun of the cinema and television of the Cold War. And as the Soviet propaganda of communist countries in the style of “30 cases of Major Zeman”, and its reflection in American films like “Red Dawn.”

The main character – detective Gregor Angel, – lives in a happy communist Romania. And all problems and crimes come to their country exclusively from the USA. During the capture of another distributor of American drugs, Angel’s partner is killed. He will have to get used to a new colleague and find a murderer whose traces lead to the American embassy.

Parody is here everywhere. In caricature Romania, children dance in the streets, everyone trusts each other unconditionally, and Americans eat up hamburgers and persuade people to become debauched. Heroes constantly think “what would Lenin do?” And start off in meaningless philosophical dialogues, parodying “The real detective.”

It is equally important that the “Comrade Militiaman” is shot badly, as if on an old tape, while the voice acting in places “limps”. All the roles are really played by Romanian actors, and then re-sounded in English. And the volume of the sound “walks”: the original text is heard, then disappears, and the voice acting does not always converge with the action. It’s funny that the protagonist speaks Tatum’s voice, but he himself appears in the frame in a small role.

This series is an excellent occasion to recall projects from Eastern Europe, as well as American films of the 70s-80s with frank propaganda and poor quality of filming and voice acting.

“Jean-Claude Van Johnson”

Another great parody of the famous actor. But this time – from Jean-Claude Van Damme, who undertook to joke over himself. It is not difficult to notice that in recent years dozens of eighties’ fighters have returned to big and small screens in projects like the Expendables. Yes, and Van Damme, by the way, managed to withdraw in the restart of the Kickboxer.

The protagonist of the series is the secret agent Jean-Claude Van Johnson. He worked for many years undercover, portraying the actor Jean-Claude Van Damme. Every time it was necessary to perform a dangerous mission, the group went allegedly to the shooting of a new film to provide an agent with an alibi. But then Van Johnson for personal reasons abandoned both works.

And all the same personal reasons make him return to the work of a secret agent, and at the same time to a movie. However, with age, he podrasteril all his experience, stretching and mindfulness. This prevents him and remember the text as an actor, and deal with criminals as a special agent.

All this small series – irony over the “heroes of yesterday” and the current cinema. Van Johnson is fixated on past merits, and constantly reminisces about the old films, while in his face if they find out, they are confused with other actors.

Amazon decided not to extend the series, but perhaps this is for the best. All six episodes of the first season look very fun and in one breath. But the continuation, most likely, would look like an already exhausted repetition of the past, which the authors joked from the very beginning.

“Legends”

The author’s project of the former graphic designer Aaron Manke. Once he simply loved to find different legends and myths and to understand them from the point of view of modern medicine and psychology. In parallel with the main work, Munke released samizdat books, and then started a podcast on iTunes.

When he reached the millionth of popularity, the author had the opportunity to leave work and devote himself completely to his favorite occupation. So from his stories appeared the series “Legends”. And the project was produced by Gail Anne Hurd – James Cameron’s ex-wife, she once helped to release the first “Terminator”.

The series, like the podcast, is built in an anthology format: each episode is dedicated to a separate topic. It is based on some real mystical story – this part is played by actors. But further into the plot are intertwined historical chronicles, photographs and shots, and then a medical analysis of what happened.

And if in the first episode they tell of a long-standing fear of being buried alive, then in the next series they switch to the history of lobotomy, then they disassemble the appearance of the myth about “changelings”, and then even legends about animated dolls. And in every such story Manke, who himself reads the offscreen text, finds interesting analogies with the modern world and talks about the influence of beliefs on mass culture.

The series is interesting to watch and as a documentary project, and as a simple horror. The first season was highly rated by critics. The Dread Central site, dedicated to horror, very accurately responded to the project: “The only drawback of the series – it’s too few episodes.” But this should soon be fixed: “Legends” are extended for the second season. The filming has already begun, but the exact release date is still unknown.

Hulu

Subscription fee: $ 7.99 per month + $ 4 for disabling advertising

In addition to subscriptions to movies and TV shows, the service offers a separate view of the show from HBO, Showtime and other channels. It costs about 8-9 dollars a month, which is cheaper than a separate subscription to the channels.

Hulu significantly lags behind Amazon and especially Netflix, but over the past year the service has greatly increased the amount of original content. He released a joint series with Marvel, filmed King, and then withdrew one of the most successful anti-utopias of recent times. In the future plans, the streaming platform has even more original content: for example, the soon-to-be released series “Castle Rock” from JJ Abrams, based on a whole series of works of the same Stephen King.

And here’s what you can see on Hulu today.

“Story of the maid”

To date, the top series from Hulu. The first season of “The Story of a Servant” along with “Big Little Lie” from HBO collected, perhaps, all the prestigious television awards. The fact is that the authors successfully combined the genre of anti-utopia with the story of strong women.

The plot tells of the fictional state of Gilead, where the power was captured by a religious organization. All women lost their civil rights: they can not work and have no right to dispose of money. In addition, most women lost the opportunity to become pregnant. In order to maintain fertility, those who are capable of conceiving, are collected in special camps. There they are deprived of their own names, accustomed to barracks and prepare for a single function – to give birth to children for officers whose wives are barren.

“The Story of the Maid” is distinguished by gloom even among the now popular anti-utopias. Probably because the emphasis here is not on war or struggle with the system. The main character, June Osborne (Elizabeth Moss) is an ordinary woman who was taken away from her child, and then sent her to the camp. Now her name is Fredova (Offred – that is, “owned by Fred”), she must work as a servant and sleep with commander Fred Waterford (Joseph Fiennes). She tries to keep her sanity in a crazy state and find a daughter. In parallel, the story of the formation of the totalitarian Gilead is told.

First of all it is worth noting an excellent selection of actors. Fredova is accustomed to concealing thoughts and feelings, so Elizabeth Moss plays very restraint. Waterford, performed by Joseph Fiennes, first creates the impression of a typical villain, but then reveals itself and on the positive side – sometimes it seems even caring towards the servants. But Yvonne Strahovski (“Dexter”) in the role of his wife, on the contrary, looks somewhat grotesque.

The show turned out to be very gloomy, and that’s what bribes. Particularly impressive is how the cruelty of ordinary people who adopted new rules showed: at the end of the first episode the angry servants kill the criminal with their bare hands to death. But in this story, the ordinary man’s attempts to find personal peace in a crazy world are more appealing.

Ghost Tower

A series about the events that preceded the tragedy of September 11, 2001. In fact, the entire plot of the “Ghost Tower” is the story of FBI agent Ali Sufan (Takhar Rahim) during interrogation in court. He states that the CIA and the FBI had enough information to prevent the attack. But the agencies were too carried away by internal disassembly and missed the opportunity.

The head of the FBI anti-terrorist department, John P. O’Neill (Jeff Daniels), is trying to find out what information the CIA managed to get from the hard drive of one of the terrorists, but they refuse to cooperate. Their leader Martin Schmidt (Peter Sarsgaard) is convinced that if O’Neill’s subordinates receive data, they will begin mass arrests in the Arab countries and prevent the capture of Osama bin Laden.

In the meantime, Al-Qaeda arranges explosions in the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The FBI agents are sent to Africa, where they are trying to find traces of the organizers of the terrorist attacks. And O’Neil himself unsuccessfully tries to get interaction with the CIA, and at the same time to deal with his family affairs.

Perhaps the theme of the September 11 attacks is not so new, but the “Ghost Tower” does not tell us about the tragedy itself, or even about its background. This is a series about how a huge state apparatus misses the opportunity to save people because of the vanity and selfishness of individual leaders. The history finale is known from the very beginning, and the authors regularly remind us about it. The series is not in vain added a lot of documentaries, most characters are written off from real people, and against the backdrop of often flashed towers of the World Trade Center.

“Ghost Tower” was highly appreciated both by critics and by spectators. Perhaps the fact is that the series refutes all possible conspiracy theories. He gives a simpler and more intelligible explanation of the version by which the US government could allow an attack of terrorists, knowing in advance about their many plans.

“Fugitives”

The first joint series Hulu and Marvel stands apart from all the other projects of the largest kirovosesnoy. On the ABC channel are the main series, directly related to the films Marvel, on Netflix – gloomy “adult” projects. Well, on Hulu decided to launch the first teenage TV series in the movie room.

For the debut, the comic “Fugitives” from Tsunami imprint was chosen. The series, like the original source, is focused on youth problems and relations between children and parents. A group of teenagers discovers that their parents are members of the secret criminal organization “Pride”, and even they bring human victims. Heroes decide to escape, with most teenagers discovering supernatural abilities. One girl can control a tame dinosaur, another manipulates energy, a third, a younger one, is just very strong, and so on.

The series’s events, in contrast to the original, develop very slowly and show a real teen drama in the cover of a parody comic book. In the source, children quickly ran away from home and tried to resist their parents, but here most of the plot is built on the communication of adolescents with the older generation: they try to find a common language and do not rush to rush into battle. In addition, the position of their parents is much more thoroughly analyzed – they do not look like caricature villains, and one of the episodes shows the whole situation on their part.

“Fugitives” were somewhat lost among other superhero series about family relations. First came the failed “Neludi” from Marvel, and a little later – the more successful “Gifted” from Fox. But still the show has its own audience, it is extended for the second season, and the authors of the upcoming series “Cloak and Dagger” from the channel Freeform even think about the crossover of the two projects.

«The man of the future»

Cleaner Josh Futturman (Josh Hutcherson) – the first and only who passed the most complex computer game Biotic Wars. The game shows the post-apocalyptic world of 2162, where all the power was captured by genetically modified people. To play it is necessary for the participant of resistance who struggles with the government.

As soon as Futurman wins, two main heroes of Biotic Wars appear in his room: Tigger and Wolf. They report that the world of the game is real, and they have returned from the future to find a chosen one that will save their world. And then everything is like in the “Terminator” or “Back to the Future” – the characters skip at times and try to fix the future, but they constantly make it worse.

The series was shot by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, so jokes about sex, masturbation and other controversial topics are at every step. Actually, the characters and meet at a time when Josh masturbates, dreaming of the Tiger.

But still the main charm of the series is not that. “Man of the Future”, like “Very strange cases,” is packed with references to classical films and other pop culture. The heroes repeat the text of “Terminator”, draw schemes from “Back to the Future”, arrange a shootout in a cafe in the style of “Pulp Fiction” and remember a spoon from the “Matrix”. And James Cameron and his films are devoted to a whole episode. In addition, each time period is highlighted by its color range: the yellowness of old films, the shine of disco, or even the black and white shooting.

«11.22.63»

A screen adaptation of the same book by Stephen King. The main character is an English teacher, Jake Epping (James Franco). He gets the opportunity to move into the past and prevent the assassination of President Kennedy. But for this he must have lived in the past for several years.

Epping finds himself an assistant to Bill Törkott (George McKay), together they arrange surveillance for Lee Harvey Oswald, who must kill the president. But the hero has two problems: he is trying to prevent time itself, which resists any change, and besides, he is immersed too much in the life of the sixties, becomes attached to this time and falls in love with the local teacher Sadie (Sarah Gadon).

From the series on the product of Stephen King, you expect primarily horror and mysticism. But even the King of Horrors admitted that at first he planned to write a book about the movements in time and their consequences, but in the process he was more interested in memories of the culture of the early sixties and theories about Kennedy’s murder. The plot of the series in many respects differs from the book – for example, to the forefront Bill is deduced, who played an episodic role in the source.

But the basic idea and the atmosphere are very well conveyed: the Franco type fits perfectly into the entourage of the era, and costumes and music create the right atmosphere. Plus, you can find out some real details about the life of Lee Harvey Oswald and his wife Marina.

In the novel, King directly linked one of the parts of the plot with the book “It” – the main character met with children from the “club of losers.” In the film, this scene was abandoned, but they added a lot of references to the author’s different works: from “Confrontation” to “Shining”.

Sony Crackle

Subscription fee: free, but with advertising.

As you might guess, this service belongs to Sony, so the focus here is on the works of the studio. But in addition, the library has licensed films from Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures, Fox, Miramax, Legendary and many others. So the content there is enough.

Own production from Crackle is not very much yet – a little more than a dozen original series and a few low-budget films. But there is also something to see here.

“Startup”

The most popular TV series from Sony Crackle. And the main thing is his dignity – Martin Freeman as a scoundrel who incessantly swears. The girl-programmer Izzy Morales (Omarara Marrero) comes up with a fundamentally new crypto currency Gencoin, which can change the entire banking system. But it does not have enough funding for its project – all banks, of course, refuse to develop dangerous for them. Fate brings her with the son of banker Nick Talman (Adam Brodi) – he just needs to hide money illegally received by the father.

But as soon as they launch their startup, Ronald Daisy (Edie Gathegi) from the Haitian mafia comes to the characters. It turns out that there is a share in the invested money. But that’s not all. Nick’s father is looking for an FBI agent Phil Rask (Martin Freeman), though not to bring him to justice – he also wants to get his share. As a result, the characters are trying to launch Gencoin, and Rusk is looking for ways to get to the suspects (and money), and in the process he himself breaks the law.

In the “Startup” four full-fledged protagonist, and each allocated approximately the same amount of time. Izzy wants to break out of poor society for years, she is talented, but no one recognizes her without ties. Nick, on the contrary, got everything ready in his life, and now he is trying to somehow establish himself. Ronald wants to finish things with the mafia, but can not get out of the vicious system. And even in the life of Phil Rasca there is a tragedy.

Freeman – certainly the main decoration of the series. In “Fargo” he even played a scoundrel, but still looked like a common loser, but here his hero is an impudent man who will stop at nothing to achieve his goal. The concentration of the word “fuck” in his speech sometimes just rolls over, but Freeman always speaks with a pretty face and a nice smile.

By the second season, the alignment of forces is changing, the startup is reaching a new level, and in the plot there are new bright heroes – which is only the character of Ron Perlman. For two years, the series has not lost its popularity and still maintains a leading position on views on Sony Crackle.

Of course, the “Startup” was extended for the third season. In the cast there is expected a major addition: the most interesting among the new actors is the laureate of the Oscar and the Golden Globe of Mir Sorvino as a CIA agent.

“The Big Jackpot”

The series “Big Kush” continues the idea, once set by the authors of the TV version of “Fargo”. It is based on the film of the same name only approximately, but conveys the atmosphere and refers to many other works of Guy Ritchie.

Tie is traditional: friends and petty criminals Albi (Luke Pascualino) and Charlie (Rupert Grint) on a tip of a friend want to rob a car with money. By mistake, they attack a van that carries gold for the mafia. Now they have to deal with their own debts, both with the mafia, and with a huge number of other problems that they masterfully create for themselves.

Of course, the prototypes from the paintings of Guy Ritchie are visible here in every character. Charlie frankly reminds Tommy of the original “Big Kush”, and their fellow boxer is clearly written off from the gypsy, played by Brad Pitt. Albi looks more like Eddie from “Card, Money, Two Barrels”, and from there the criminal authority of Sonny is taken – he reminds Rory Lomschik. In this case, his lover Lottie refers to Stella from the “Rock-n-Rollershchik.”

In terms of shootings, the authors of the series also try to copy Richie’s style, but it turns out not always as elegantly. Sometimes, because of a sharp change of plans, the series looks artificial, but the general atmosphere still allows you to enjoy classical crime scenes and remember the first films of a famous director.

The series was extended for the second season, the filming was delayed a little due to the hurricane in Puerto Rico, but then the process was launched.

“Selected”

This series should be watched by those who complain about the uneven pace and sagging dynamics in the current projects. “The Chosen One” is one of the most dynamic series of our time, the action here is developing faster than even in the famous “24 hours”. And a little timing only contributes to this: each season consists of six series of 20 minutes.

The plot takes the first five minutes of the pilot episode: the main character lawyer Ian Mitchell (Milo Ventimiglia) discovers a box at the door of his house. In it he finds a timer, a pistol and a note with the name and address of an unknown person. Quite quickly Ian learns the rules of the game, in which he was forcibly drawn-he must kill the person whose name is indicated in the note in the specified period. Otherwise, they will declare a hunt for him already.

And then the action develops faster with each series. Ian finds victims, faces other hunters and tries to find those who came up with this cruel game. But

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