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Canberra Today -1°/-1° | Monday, September 20, 2021 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Streaming gems that don’t tickle the credit card

Brendan Gleeson in “Mr Mercedes”… free to stream on SBS On Demand.

Streaming columnist NICK OVERALL looks at some quality shows that won’t cost a brass razoo to watch.

WHILE, yes, viewers will have to put up with ads and, no, they don’t have the calibre of entertainment that industry giants such as Netflix offer, homegrown streaming platforms SBS On Demand and ABC iView do have some gems ready to watch that won’t ask for your credit card details first.

Nick Overall.

In an answer to today’s selection of outstanding crime dramas found throughout the paid streaming platforms such as “Mare of Easttown”, “The Sinner” or “True Detective”, SBS On Demand has “Mr Mercedes”, a noirish thriller about a detective’s obsessive pursuit of a serial killer years after the case has gone cold.

The psychological drama is an adaptation from the mind of Stephen King, yet another dug up from the author’s seemingly endless list of works that’s been whipped into a popular series.

Refreshingly, however, “Mr Mercedes” stays away from the supernatural bent King is so known for and remains firmly grounded in the “real world”. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of the author’s creepy works, but it’s interesting to see his creative muscles stretched in a different, yet still effective way with this series.

There’s also a great selection of films to be found on SBS On Demand, especially for those searching for something a little off the beaten path.

“Downfall” is a German war film that places Hitler himself at the centre of the plot and follows his final days losing control of both his army and himself as the battle of Berlin rages around him.

There’s the confronting true story of “Spotlight”, about the team of journalists from “The Boston Globe” who broke the story about the child sex abuse cover-up by the Catholic Church.

Featuring a brilliant ensemble cast that includes Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton and Rachel McAdams, “Spotlight” deservingly took out best picture for 2015.

For those looking for a bit of escapism there’s the Australian made “Predestination” starring Ethan Hawke, a trippy sci-fi thriller about a time traveller attempting to stop a bomb attack in 1975.

Fans of Netflix’s German series “Dark”, arguably one of the platform’s best and most bizarre offerings, will find familiar ground in “Predestination” and get a major kick out of it.

Over on ABC iView, we’ve got “The Trial of Christine Keeler”, a series ported over from the UK about the real-life scandal which almost tore apart the British government.

Keeler became a household name in the ‘60s when it was revealed she had been involved in affairs with both the Soviet Union naval attaché and Britain’s Secretary of State for War at the height of the Cold War.

This series follows Keeler’s story from the inside and is held together by some stellar performances, especially from lead Sophie Cookson.

There’s also the Australian-produced series “The Newsreader”, a drama which examines some of the most contentious events of the 1980s from behind-the-scenes of a break-neck newsroom, including a dive into whether or not the dingo indeed ate the baby.

The platform also has rockstar astrophysicist Brian Cox’s newest doco series “Adventures through Space and Time” now available.

This series sees the famed scientist take a look back at his work over the past two decades and offer new insights from today on some of humanity’s biggest questions. How far can we travel beyond Earth? Are we alone in the universe? Where did we come from?

Cox has made a name for himself by condensing the vast complexities of these questions into easily digestible entertainment and he just keeps getting better at it, with this series comprehensively covering mind-blowing topics at lightspeed pace.

It comes ahead of his world tour next year, which will include him landing here in Canberra come March.

One of Cox’s most famous quotes: “The problem with today’s world is that everyone believes they have the right to express their opinion AND have others listen to it.”

Judging by that he’s just bound to love a certain few of us here in the ACT.


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Ian Meikle, editor

Nick Overall

Nick Overall

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