Prizm News / January 1, 2018 / By Pete Lovering

 

Why settle down for a long winter’s nap when you can binge-watch your way to spring?

 

By Pete Lovering

If by some miracle you’ve managed to escape the never-ending, slow-motion car crash that is the news these days, you may not be aware of the fact that net neutrality rules were recently voted to the guillotine.  

This is horrific for a whole host of reasons; however, one of the most troubling, in my opinion, is the very legitimate possibility that society will lose the ability to stream whatever the heck we want, when we want it, without forking over more of our cash.  

What can we do about it? Well for starters, call Congress. Seriously. They work for you!  

And since that takes all of five minutes, spend the rest of your time this winter gobbling up some of these great queer-centric movies and TV shows available to stream before your internet provider hides them behind a paywall.

 

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London Spy

The title of this cracking miniseries might suffer from a bout of overly-literal-title syndrome, à la “Bad Teacher” or “Horrible Bosses.” Yes, it does involve a spy, and, shockingly, it’s set in London.

Each episode is dripping with a charming sense of unease, but, remarkably, it’s the show’s understatedness that distinguishes it from some of its contemporaries.

Ben Whishaw, who most notably played Q in the latest batch of James Bond movies, is Danny, an endearing, slightly capricious club kid who hits it off with strong, silent-type Alex, a London banker who is very much not what he seems. (Stream on Netflix)

Cucumber and Banana

This twosome (threesome if you count the semi-related docu-series, “Tofu”) gets its names from a highly credible and no doubt peer-reviewed measurement of—ahem—firmness, as it applies to male arousal.

Both shows-“Cucumber” and “Banana” were created by “Queer as Folk” and “Doctor Who” mastermind Russel T. Davies-focus on a group of gay Mancunians at various stages in life.

In traditional British TV fashion, they don’t squarely fall into either comedy or drama genres very comfortably. Instead they land, somewhat awkwardly, in that tenuous middle ground resembling real life. (Stream on Hulu)

Queers

Believe it or not, this list will include non-British shows and movies, but we’d be remiss to omit this miniseries from 2017.

To commemorate 50 years since homosexual conduct was decriminalized in the UK, this series of monologues performed by some of Britain’s most notable queer actors spans a century of LGBT history.

The cast includes stars such as Russell Tovey and Alan Cumming, who perform from a first-person perspective. Expect goosebumps. (Stream on BBC America)

Please Like Me

It’s odd to describe a show whose pilot features a suicide attempt as “zany,” yet this gem from Australia is just downright charming in its wackiness.

Centered around main character Josh, a recently out, youthful pip in Melbourne, “Please Like Me” explores the uncomfortable process of growing up without losing some of that wonder of youth. It’s a bit like “Girls,” if all of the characters weren’t unlikable and insane. (Stream on Hulu)

Transparent

Sure, it’s an obvious choice, and yes, it’s a bit soiled by recent revelations about Jeffrey Tambor’s on-set conduct. With that in mind, Amazon’s shining star of original programming is still one of the most transcendent shows out there.

The Pfefferman bunch, centered around Tambor’s Maura, a transgender woman recently out after living the majority of her life as Morton, are fascinating, hilarious, awfully difficult to root for and intensely relatable. (Stream on Amazon)

Billy on the Street

“Masculinity is a prison” is a statement, perhaps, that you’d expect to discuss in a gender studies class, or in the comments section of a cogent, spicy New Yorker article.

It is not something you’d expect to have yelled in your face on the sidewalk, unless you happen to walk past Billy Eichner. His show is fast and loose, loud and, at times, surprisingly thoughtful.

In the segment above, Billy is seen traipsing through New York with guest Jason Sudeikis and a horde of dudes who are Bro-ing out, asking passersby if they remember “Driving Miss Daisy” and arguing about Julie Louis Dreyfus’ best roles. Other highlights include unlikely “Quizzed in the Face” star Elena, Drew Barrymore incorrectly answering questions about her own preferences, and Rachel Dratch climbing through Julia Roberts’s mouth as part of an obstacle course. (Stream on Hulu)

Carol

In many ways, “Carol” had Oscar written all over it: a period piece, based on a Patricia Highsmith novel, about a young woman in the 1950s who becomes infatuated by a wealthy, alluring matron, played by Cate Blanchett.

That ticks half the Oscar boxes without even seeing the movie. Incidentally, the film happens to be excellent, particularly the performances by Blanchett and co-star Rooney Mara, and its absence from the list of 2016 nominees remains a puzzler to this day.(Stream on Netflix)

The Handmaiden

One would be forgiven for overlooking a film that was merely runner up for both the Cannes Palme d’Or and the Dorian Award for Best LGBTQ Film of the Year in 2016, but this steamy South Korean import deserves a second glance.

Park Chan-wook, most famous—or infamous, depending on the viewer—for the mind-melting film, “Oldboy,” helms a Bechdel-test-approved thriller/love story about a young woman, trained as a thief, who gets roped into an inheritance con in Japanese-occupation-era Korea.

It’s delightfully twisty and surprising, sexy, beautifully shot and splendidly over the top.(Stream on Amazon)

Mariela Castro’s March,
The Case Against 8

The marriage-equality honeymoon is over. Officially. There’s no time for basking in all the glory while executive orders and arcane rulings spit out of the White House like wildfire, compromising fundamental rights and protections across the spectrum.

In order to refresh your taste for activism and rekindle your fondness for sign-making, mosey over to HBO for “Mariela Castro’s March” and “The Case Against 8,” two documentaries about grassroots movements and community activism. The fight is far from over. (Stream on HBO Go/Now)

Search Party

One of a cache of surprisingly fringe shows on TBS, “Search Party” focuses on a group of Brooklyn Millennials who really embody some of their generation’s less flattering characterizations.

Main character Dory (bi actor Alia Shawkat, who also performs in Season 4 of “Transparent”) sees a former college acquaintance on a missing person poster and decides to take up the case.

John Early, who plays Dory’s self-diagnosed narcissist gay bestie, particularly shines, albeit in a hate-to-love kind of way in this sometimes frustrating but always engrossing caper. (Stream on TBS)

Moonlight

Everyone knows this story. Against all odds, an independent film about the life of a young black man reckoning with his sexual identity earned the golden statue, but not before they handed it to the wrong people first.

It’s a shame that “Moonlight’s” best picture announcement was marred by last year’s surreal Oscar blunder. Sure, it made for damn good television, but it overshadowed the importance of the film itself.

It’s a movie that’ll stomp on your heart, and you’ll thank it for doing it so well. (Stream on Amazon Prime)