Keen for a new on-the-screen series to binge-watch, or something to listen to on your phone during your daily commute? It’s been a while since Game of Thrones finished with that tiny, disappointing fizzle, but if you still can’t find something to fill that Jon Snow-sized hole, try one of these binge-worthy TV, Netflix, movie and podcast recommendations from EL editors and readers.
For the adults
Queen of the South (SEASONS 1 – 3)
My husband has long been a fan of the “narco” genre of shows – think Breaking Bad , Narcos and Sons of Anarchy – so when he suggested Queen of the South, I wasn’t sure. However, the two strong female characters, Teresa Mendoza and Camila Vargas, gripped me.
Through a series of very unlucky events, Teresa ends up being a reluctant drug mule for the Vargas cartel. In an attempt to survive, she learns all she can and decides to take the cartel on.
The battle for “product” and territory between the two women (and a handful of ruthless but handsome sidekicks) is epic. Camila wants power and Teresa wants to “do things differently”. Neither agree and constantly double cross each other for control. I loved it! Season 4 will air on Netflix mid-next year. – Jaynie Roberts, EL reader
I’m currently into the fifth season of Mad Men on Netflix. This American period drama series is an oldie but a goodie! Set in the 1960s, the award-winning show is based on day-to-day life in advertising agencies – specifically of the fictional Sterling Cooper on Madison Avenue in Manhattan.
I loved how the characters develop over the course of the seven seasons, and how I have grown a liking to some instead of the others. It was as if I got a glimpse into what working and living was like in that era! The characters’ struggles were well explored and, surprisingly, still relatable even in this day and age. It’s a must-watch if you’re in the media industry – or even if you’re a smidgen curious about how advertising works. There are plenty of thought-provoking quotes, too! – Anthia Chng, EL Editor
What/If (Season 1)
“Okay, so the first thing you will notice is that Renée Zellweger has had work done. A lot of work. But once you accept that Bridget Jones has disappeared forever, she is actually terrific in this series. She is calculating, clever and terrifying. Zellweger plays Anne Montgomery, a wealthy venture capitalist with a dark past. She sets her sights on young couple Lisa and Sean Ruiz, and uses manipulative tactics, intimidation and money to get what she wants. It’s a bit raunchy at times and the twists and turns will have you saying “I didn’t see that coming” during every episode. The haunting subplots and the brilliantly cold performance of Zellweger will have you binge-watching the 10 episodes over a few days!”
– Kel Flanders, EL Editor and parent to Avery and Alexia
For the kids
Ask the Storybots (Seasons 1 & 2; for ages 3 and up)
“Any series that is educational, engaging and guest-stars Snoop Dogg and a host of other Hollywood names is always going to be popular in my house! It tackles those annoying – I mean wonderful – questions that children ask, like ‘Why do I have to brush my teeth?’, ‘How do computers work?’ and ‘What is electricity?’ It’s easy to watch, using animation and real life. Each programme lasts just over 20 minutes and will keep the kids’ attention the whole time.”
– Justine Milard, reader and parent to Lucy and James
Beat Bugs (Seasons 1 to 3; suitable for all ages)
“Our kids, who are nearly five and three, have been obsessed with Beat Bugs for a little while now. Yes, it’s a cartoon, but you will love it too. Each episode follows the adventures of a group of cheerful garden animals and features a different song by The Beatles. The characters are endearing and there is always a lovely message or life lesson given. We love listening to the girls wandering around the house absentmindedly singing The Beatles, because, after all, all you really do need is love.”
– Kel Flanders
Blue Planet II (suitable for all ages)
“This BBC series combines amazing cinematography with captivating insights into the animal world beneath the waves. Each episode shows a different aspect of ocean life, ranging from the biggest animal of all, the blue whale, to the smallest of all sea creatures. I found the episode about deep-sea animals the most fascinating but highly recommend the whole series. With the incredible voice talents of narrator David Attenborough complementing the already spectacular programme, this documentary is definitely worth watching.”
– Nikita (age 13)
Extremes, VICE Australia
I’ve been really enjoying this podcast (available on Spotify). From the hilarious to downright heart-breaking, it features individuals with extraordinary life stories. Whether it’s a guy who woke from a coma speaking fluent Mandarin, a volunteer firefighter convicted of arson or the tragic tale of a Dutch woman involved in a 1992 plane crash in Vietnam that killed all other passengers, including her fiancé, this podcast stirs up all kinds of emotions with its intrigue into human behaviour and resilience. – Leanda Rathmell, EL Regional Production & Client Services Manager
Revolution, Health radio
I regularly listen to various podcasts on the subject of Functional Medicine; this is one of my favourites. Chris Kresser is one of the top guys, and most of his interviewees, too, are leaders in their field.
As Chris’s website blurb explains, Revolution Health Radio debunks mainstream myths on nutrition and health and delivers cuttingedge, yet practical information on how to prevent and reverse disease naturally.
His many topics have included: Your Guide to Keto Fasting (Dr Joseph Mercola), How Your Nervous System Impacts Gut Health (Allison Post), The Truth about Saturated Fat (Zoë Harcombe), How to Maximise Your Nutrient Intake (Chris Masterjohn) and What the Heck Should We Eat? (Dr Mark Hyman). For me, this is addictive stuff! – Verne Maree, EL Contributing Editor
Podcasts for Kids
Tales From The Lilypad
“My two girls love this podcast! It’s a series of stories for young children that are about 15 to 20 minutes long. It’s narrated by Lily, a frog, and it’s perfect for bedtime. We listen with the lights out after we’ve read a real book. It makes my girls look forward to bedtime – winning! A new story is uploaded most months and they also create themed stories for Easter, Halloween and other holidays.”
– Bec Simpson, Expat Living Hong Kong Editor
The Sun Is Also A Star, Nicola Yoon
“I really wanted to read this book before I saw the movie (it has one of the hunks in it from Riverdale!), but, hey, who has time for reading these days?! Audio books give me a quick fix, without having to carry around a heavy book when I’m on the go. It took me a while to settle into the voices and the narration style of this audio book. The story definitely didn’t hook me to start with, but the intensity of the love between the main characters and the underlying commentary of immigration and cultural struggles, make this a beautiful and touching love story. Suitable for adults and teens.”
– Kel Flanders