What to stream this week on Telstra TV
Posted on May 17, 2019
12 min read
There’s something for everyone this week on Telstra TV. Whether you’re in the mood for an emotional drama, a cheeky comedy or a live music extravaganza, we’ve got what you need to stay entertained.
Julia Roberts gives a powerful performance as the desperate mother of a recovering addict in BEN IS BACK, available fresh from the cinema on Telstra TV Box Office. Lucas Hedges plays her son Ben, who checks himself out of rehab early to return home for Christmas. Concerned that he will relapse, his mother Holly allows him to stay only if she can keep a constant eye on him. But it proves to be a difficult task, with a number of ghosts from his past resurfacing to drag him back into his old life. During the course of a day, Holly is introduced to some shocking truths about what led to Ben’s teenage substance abuse. And when he disappears, panic sets in as she faces the familiar threat of losing her son all over again to the devastating disease of addiction. Written and directed by Lucas’s father, Peter Hedges, who was inspired to write the film after losing a friend to a heroin overdose, it’s a touching look into the depths of a mother’s love and the lengths she is willing to go to protect her child from harm.
One of the smartest British comedies to come along in years, FLEABAG, is now in its second season – available to stream in full from this Friday 17 May on Amazon Prime Video. Written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who also stars in the lead role, this hilariously deadpan series follows a quick-witted single woman as she experiences the highs and lows of dating, friendship and family life in London. Always the cleverest person in the room, she suffers no fools – and often directly addresses the camera to share with viewers a private commentary on what she’s thinking about the other characters, even if it’s just a sly eyebrow raise or a knowing look. And it’s this raw honesty with the audience that makes this show so great. As she deals with a cast of frustratingly real characters including her neurotic sister Claire (Sian Clifford), Claire’s sleazy husband Martin (Brett Gelman), her indecisive dad (Bill Paterson) and her delightfully snide stepmother to be (Olivia Colman), she does so with a dry wit that instantly calls out how absurdly they’re all behaving. And when she’s the offending party, she’s the first to point it out. After all, she did name her own lead character “Fleabag”.
New to Foxtel Now this week is the incredibly modern HBO/BBC period drama, GENTLEMAN JACK – with episodes streaming each Sunday from 19 May. Written and directed by Sally Wainwright, the award-winning creator of Happy Valley, Unforgiven, Scott & Bailey and Last Tango in Halifax, the series is set in Yorkshire in 1832 and follows the life of the fiercely intelligent and assertive Anne Lister (played by Suranne Jones). Based on the real-life diaries of Lister, said to be written in astonishing detail, Lister was widely known to prefer and actively pursue the company of other women – earning her the rather derogatory nickname of “Gentleman Jack”. Being in a position of regional prominence as the heir to her family’s estate, Anne’s diaries were largely written in coded language to hide the details of her lesbian affairs. And while her love life and unusual manner might have bothered some at the time, it didn’t get in the way of her living a remarkably momentous and fulfilling life – especially at a time when men still had a monopoly on industrial and political power. As the series unfolds, we follow Anne’s quest to rejuvenate their country manor house, complete with the men dominating the local coal industry and her courageous plan to take a wife.
Eurovision Song Contest 2019 (SBS On Demand)
Pop music’s largest, most fabulous annual event is here again with the Grand Final of the EUROVISION SONG CONTEST airing live from Tel Aviv, Israel from 5:00am (AEST) this Sunday 19 May on SBS and SBS On Demand – with a replay at 8:30pm. And while we’re not officially part of Europe, Australia’s love of the annual event has meant we’ve been invited back for the fifth time since 2015 to compete against 41 European nations before a global audience of over 200 million viewers. Kate Miller-Heidke will represent Australia in the final this year with her pop-opera banger, “Zero Gravity” – after an incredibly flawless performance in the semi-finals, that has resulted in her currently sitting in second place in the odds to win – right behind this year’s favourite Duncan Laurence from the Netherlands. Watch the broadcast with live commentary from our very own Myf Warhurst and Joel Creasey, as they unpack each of the cheezy, kitschy and catchy performances sure to stick in your head for weeks to come.
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Our favourites streaming for the week of 10th of May:
The Front Runner (Telstra TV Box Office)
Hugh Jackman stars in the gripping political drama, THE FRONT RUNNER – available fresh from the cinema on Telstra TV Box Office. Based on real events that occurred during the 1988 US Democratic primaries, the film follows the story of young presidential hopeful Gary Hart, who emerged as a clear favourite in the selection of a blue party nominee. A skilled communicator, a charming family man and photogenic to boot, Hart was the candidate to beat. But when the press caught wind of Gary cheating on his wife (played by Vera Farmiga), the news blew up – unfortunately for Gary, at the precise time when tabloid newspapers discovered they could mine for stories in the political sphere. Gary was forced to withdraw from the race for the White House in a scandal that rocked not only that election cycle but had knock-on effects for political campaign journalism around the world to this very day. Based on Matt Bai’s book, All the Truth Is Out: The Week Politics Went Tabloid, the film also stars J.K. Simmons and Alfred Molina.
Wine Country (Netflix)
Fans of outrageous female-led comedies like Bridesmaids, Sisters and Life of the Party will love WINE COUNTRY, the latest Netflix Original film streaming from this Friday 10 May. Amy Poehler stars as the recently unemployed Abby, who organises a girls getaway to the Napa Valley wine region to celebrate the fiftieth birthday of their friend Rebecca (played by Rachel Dratch). A bit of a control freak, Abby plans out the weekend in excruciating detail. Mother of four, Naomi (Maya Rudolph) is just glad to be out of the house, while Jenny (Emily Spivey) spends much of the trip wishing she were back home with her husband. Catherine (Ana Gasteyer) is glued to her phone, unable to let go of work – while Val (Paula Pell) is here to party after recently recovering from knee surgery. As the wine flows, these six old friends let loose and things get a little crazy. And while they might occasionally get on each other’s nerves, they’re ultimately reminded of why they’ve stayed friends for over twenty years. Also starring Tina Fey and Jason Schwartzman, the film marks Amy Poehler’s directorial debut and offers plenty of familiar campy humour from these former SNL cast favourites.
Prepare to be rattled by HBO’s riveting new five-part miniseries CHERNOBYL, airing each Tuesday from 7 May on Foxtel Now. At 1:23 (and 45 seconds) in the morning on 26 April 1986, the nuclear power plant at Chernobyl, Ukraine suffered a disaster of unimaginable proportions. During a routine safety test, the reactor caught fire and exploded – in an unforeseen, uncontrollable event that spread lethal doses of nuclear fallout into the surrounding city – and eventually into the atmosphere, wafting radioactive particles across the Soviet Union and as far as western Europe. The series starts with the firefighters and power plant workers who bravely risked their lives to limit the contamination, while Soviet leaders refused to believe the unthinkable and set about spreading disinformation to save their own hides. Jared Harris plays nuclear physicist Valery Legasov, who was among the first to comprehend and convey the magnitude of the hazard – while Emily Watson plays Ulana Khomyuk, a fellow scientist dedicated to uncovering what caused the worst nuclear accident in history.
Mr Black (10 play)
Check out the hilarious new Aussie comedy, MR BLACK, airing Tuesdays at 8:45pm (AEST) from 7 May on 10 and 10 play. The series stars Stephen Curry as Mr Black, a behind-the-times retired sportscaster who moves in with his daughter Angela (played by Sophie Wright) when his health takes a turn for the worse. But when he meets Angela’s sensitive, new-age boyfriend Fin (Nick Russell), he decides to focus all of his energy on driving the man out of his daughter’s house. In a battle to prove that the floral print-wearing, foot-rubbing feminist isn’t macho enough to take care of his daughter, Mr Black goes head-to head with Fin in a battle of wits, virility and perseverance. Written by the creator of the cult hit ‘Wilfred’, Adam Zwar, this awkwardly funny offbeat comedy is one that’s sure to leave a smile on your dial.
Our favourites streaming for the week of 3rd of May:
The Favourite (Telstra TV Box Office)
It’s the wickedly witty dark comedy that received a whopping ten nominations at this year’s Academy Awards: THE FAVOURITE is now available, fresh from the cinema on Telstra TV Box Office. Starring Olivia Colman as Queen Anne – a role for which she won the Oscar for Best Actress – this cleverly comical period film follows an ailing and lonely monarch, manipulated by those in her court who compete for her affections to usurp her power. Until now, the business of governing is largely taken care of by her close companion Lady Sarah Churchill (Rachel Weisz), with whom she shares a secret romantic relationship. But when Sarah’s penniless cousin Abigail (Emma Stone) arrives at the palace looking for work, Abigail becomes a worthy adversary – worming her way into Anne’s good graces, triggering a vicious battle with Sarah for the Queen’s heart and her favour. Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster, The Killing of a Sacred Deer) and also starring Nicholas Hoult, James Smith and Mark Gatiss, The Favourite is uniquely unusual, fabulously fun and surprisingly thrilling. Add it to your watch list this week.
Dead To Me (Netflix)
Fans of intriguing mysteries like ‘Big Little Lies’ or ‘How to Get Away With Murder’ will love DEAD TO ME, a brand new Netflix comedy-drama series with all ten episodes available to stream this Friday 3 May. After her husband was killed in a hit-and-run accident, Jen (played by Christina Applegate) joins a grief counselling group to cope with the pain. While there, she meets offbeat optimist Judy (Linda Cardellini), who couldn’t be more different from her own uptight sarcastic self. But through their shared grief, they bond over bottles of wine, phone calls on sleepless nights and their shared love of the eighties sitcom ‘The Facts of Life’. Determined to solve her husband’s murder, the pair go on the hunt for a Mustang with a busted bumper. But as they grow closer, Jen realises there might be more to Judy than meets the eye. Be prepared for a few shocking plot twists and a couple of startling cliffhangers. Just when you think you know what this show is, it turns into something quite different – making for some incredibly addictive binge-viewing.
The Spanish Princess (Stan)
For a royal drama packed with even more politics and romance, check out THE SPANISH PRINCESS, streaming weekly from this Monday 6 May, same day as the US, only on Stan. Charlotte Hope plays Catherine of Aragon, the eponymous Spanish Princess who has been assured her place atop England’s throne since she was only a young girl. Now a teenager, she travels from Spain to dark and dreary England to marry Arthur, Prince of Wales (Angus Imrie). However, shortly after their wedding, the Prince becomes gravely ill and dies. With her claim to the throne now slipping further from her grasp, Catherine sets her sights on the next in line – the younger brother of her late husband, the charming Prince Harry (Ruairi O’Connor), who will one day become King Henry VIII. Based on Philippa Gregory’s novels ‘The Constant Princess’ and ‘The King’s Curse’, this visually stunning series also offers outstanding performances from Laura Carmichael, Harriet Walter and Stephanie Levi-John.
Eden Lake (MUBI)
And if you’re in the mood for an edge-of-your-seat thriller, EDEN LAKE is now streaming until 2 June on MUBI. Steve (played by Michael Fassbender) and his girlfriend Jenny (Kelly Reilly) plan a romantic weekend away to a secluded spot in the English countryside. But their blissful lakeside escape is suddenly ruined when a rowdy gang of teenagers start hanging around their campsite. When the couple try to stand their ground, the youths become hostile and lash out – spurred on by their unhinged leader Brett (Jack O’Connell). As the weekend goes on, the brutal, unrelenting torment they unleash upon the pair is nothing short of terrifying. Incredibly chilling and expertly executed, this fast-paced horror-suspense isn’t one for the faint of heart.
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