Columnist NICK OVERALL takes a look at what's making waves in Streaming World.
FOREST Whitaker has become one of the most recognisable actors in modern film and television, but one who more often than not has taken back-seat roles in his work.
However in “Godfather of Harlem”, now streaming its second season on Stan, he’s more than taking charge as Ellsworth Raymond Bumpy Johnson, an infamous, African-American drug trafficker who became known as the kingpin of Harlem, New York.
The show transports viewers to the '60s following the mob boss’ 11-year sentence in Alcatraz, returning to a world vastly different from before his time served.
He finds his turf taken over by the Genovese Italian crime family, and the show closely follows his real-life exploits in taking it back.
He’s a fascinating and enigmatic figure, one that’s given Forest Whitaker boundless potential to explore in his dedicated performance. On top of Bumpy Johnson’s brutal and uncompromising criminal dealings, he was also known as a sly chess player, a poet and was often referred to as “the professor” for his love of philosophy.
This is the gangster’s most in-depth appearance in media to date, but he can also be found in the 2007 film “American Gangster”, which stars Denzel Washington as the mob boss’ right-hand man, Frank Lucas, in the events following Johnson’s death.
That film can be streamed on Netflix and makes for a savvy watch after a binge of “Godfather of Harlem”.
WIND back the clock another century, and there’s another show charting a course through the streaming tides called “The Terror”, on Amazon Prime.
It crosses a fascinating bridge between history and mystery, with an account of the true story of Capt Sir John Franklin’s lost expedition of the 1840s.
The journey, planned to chart the last unnavigated sections of the Arctic, would see the 129-man crew of the British naval ships HMS Terror and HMS Erebus vanish in the freezing wilderness.
Speculation has swirled around what happened to these two ships, with theories of the crew descending into cannibalism, lead poisoning, hypothermia and, as examined in the show, being hunted by a strange monster.
“The Terror” is only the most recent artistic interpretation of the eerie events that bewilder to this day.
Its imagery is inspired by another work that haunts the imagination titled “Man Proposes, God Disposes”, a painting from 1864 causing widespread backlash for its stark depiction of one of these more “monstrous” theories of the crew’s fate.
Among it all, there’s also an interesting historical connection to Australia, with Capt Franklin serving as lieutenant-governor of Tasmania (then Van Diemen’s Land) in the years that preceded his leading the expedition.
These are just a few of the intriguing pieces that make up the puzzle of “The Terror”, and there’s plenty more to be found in the show for fans of history, horror or both.
BACK to the future, on the other end of the genre spectrum, is a series that’s just kicked off on Stan called “Made for Love”.
Cristin Milioti takes the lead in this story about a woman being obsessively stalked by her billionaire ex-husband.
The twist? He’s using a tracking chip that can monitor her movements and her emotional state at any time.
Sounds pretty dark, right? “Black Mirror-esque” if you will, but the show injects its premise with some tightly balanced comedy that makes it all the more watchable as a result.
AND Binge streamers may be interested in a just-released doco, “The Real Prince Philip”, which details the life and times of the recently passed Royal icon.
Have to commend the producers of the documentary for how quickly it was put together. It was available to be streamed within 48 hours of the sad news of the prince's passing.
Can’t help but wonder how much of a frenzy the team behind Netflix’s “The Crown” are in right now.
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