Lightbox is already over-stuffed with great shows, but they’re adding more every month. So from now on each month we’ll bring you an annotated guide to the latest arrivals to Lightbox. First up – a combo of the best new shows from November and those arriving this December.//
NOVEMBER’S NEW ARRIVALS
Jaquie Brown Diaries (Both Seasons)
The two season sitcom created by Jaquie Brown and Gerard Johnston (Housebound) stars Brown as an exaggerated version of herself. Middling through her job as a well-meaning but truly terrible fluff news journalist, Jaquie frequently finds herself in awkward fumbles not too far from Miranda or The Sarah Silverman Program. Plus, it’s jam-packed full of New Zealand’s comedy talent including Madeleine Sami, Jonathan Brugh and Rhys Darby.
Alpha House (Season two)
Based on the true story of three Congressmen who shared a house in Washington D.C., the framework is perfect for sitcom hijinks and lashings of political satire. Starring comedy heavyweight John Goodman with cameos from Bill Murray and the real-life Senators themselves, it’s flatting: Congress style.
Franklin and Bash (Season four)
Following the story of longtime friends and street savvy lawyers Jared Franklin and Peter Bash, this comedy has been described as “Ally McBeal with balls”. After winning a long-running case, the pair are recruited to save an ailing law firm with a shonky staff list including an ex-con advisor and an agoraphobic attorney. Featuring an all-star cast including Breckin Meyers, Malcolm McDowell and Heather Locklear.
Masters of Sex (Season two)
An ‘50s period drama based on the lives of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, American pioneers in human sexuality research. Approaching it’s complex titular subject with sophistication and humour, it’s a fascinating chronicle of both the personal lives and pivotal experimental work of two people that changed modern society.
Justified (Season five)
A super stylish, super violent neo-western starring Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens, a US Marshal with a old-fashioned approach to justice. It impressed our own Catch Up Club with it’s giant hats and shoot-out dinner parties, and evil neo-Nazi criminals. The latest round to hit Lightbox (season five) is set in the swamplands of Florida and centred around a family of farmers – alligator farmers.
Top of the Lake
The criminally under-exposed Top of the Lake is a haunting drama directed by our own Jane Campion (The Piano). Shot in Queenstown, the drama follows Detective Robin Griffin (Mad Men’s Elizabeth Moss) as she investigates the disappearance of a pregnant 12-year-old girl. Also starring Holly Hunter, Robyn Malcolm and David Wenham. Dip your toes into the chilly waters by reading our Catch Up Club recap of episode one.
New Zealand Shows
November saw a slew of local content to Lightbox including the complete runs of classics like Being Eve, Bro Town, Nothing Trivial, Mataku, The Insider’s Guide to Happiness, Maddigan’s Quest and many more.
COMING IN DECEMBER
The Unknown (1st Dec)
Starring Dominic Monaghan from Lost and Lord of the Rings, The Unknown is a thriller anthology made for the Sony online streaming service Crackle. Working as some kind of online supernatural detective, he pursues closed cases which defy rational explanation, unearthing far spookier verdicts. Featuring a plethora of writers and directors from heavyweight shows like The Wire, 24 and Heroes, it’s jam packed with all the ghosts, demons, aliens and talent you could ever want.
Orphan Black (Season two)
Referred to in this admiring David Larsen piece as “one of the most important shows of our current moment”, Orphan Black is a sci-fi series known as Game of Clones for obvious reasons. A complex puzzle of moral and ethical dilemmas, season two ups the pace and continues to deliver a multitude of incredible diverse performances from the lead star Tatiana Maslany.
Top Gear Christmas Special 2011 & 2012
Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond bring in all their favourite car-loving celebs for these Top Gear Christmas spectaculars. The 2011 special takes the gang to India, and features a cameo from British PM David Cameron himself. The following year they outdo themselves once more, tracing the Nile across the plains of Africa.
Sons of Anarchy (Season five)
A crime drama about an outlaw motorcycle gang who operate within the fictional (and ironically named) town of Charming. Season five has just arrived on Lightbox, and has been highly praised as a “richly detailed portrait of self-righteous villainy”. Starring Ron Perlman, it’s a gritty ride along the wrong side the law.
American Horror Story: Asylum
The second season of the stylishly deranged American Horror Story takes the frights from the family home to the mental home. Following both the inmates and the staff at the Briarcliff Manor Mental Institution, the series cuts between 1964 and 2012 to deliver pan-generational horror. Starring AHS stalwart Jessica Lange and cameos from the likes of Adam Levine (terrifying), it’s a groundbreaking vision of truly depraved television horror.
Sequestered (15th Dec)
Another series made for online streaming service Crackle, the six-part thriller follows a murder trial with more than meets the eye. Isolated in a hotel for the duration of the trial, jury member Danny Firmin (Jesse Bradford) becomes trapped within a much deeper conspiracy.
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.