2 New Series To Catch On Netflix—An Anti-Romance Rom-Com And An Anti-Superhero Superhero Series
Two new releases on streaming service, Netflix, take tried-and-tested genres and turn them upside-down to offer something that’s refreshing and offbeat. If only for the fact that they straddle that thin line between indie and mainstream, I’ll cheer these two new additions, and sincerely hope they find an audience.
First up is the female buddy film from New Zealand, The Breaker Upperers. Madeleine Sami and Jackie Van Beek are acting, writing and directing this one, with Taika Waititi as Executive Producer. It’s about two women, both cynical about romance getting together and setting up a service agency that helps anyone, for a price, break off their relationships. It’s a hilarious premise and the first ten minutes of the film are priceless in terms of thinking up situations and showing us how these two women get the job done. Played for laughs at the outset, there’s a delightful quirky humor that successfully differentiates itself from typical Hollywood comedy schtick.
There’s an absolutely brilliant dinner set-piece when Jen (Van Beek) brings Mel (Sami) to have dinner with her family, and we're treated to a flashback on how the girls got together. James Rolleston as Jordan, a new client, is crazy/funny as a dim-witted Maori rugby player who falls for Mel while extricating himself from his current girlfriend, putting a test to the Jen and Mel friendship and working relationship. And wait for how they weave in a Celine Dion song into the outrageous comedy.
Netflix’s new superhero series is The Umbrella Academy, and it’s like X-Men: First Class gone off the rails. Based on a comic book series written by Gerard Way (lead singer of My Chemical Romance) and Gabriel Bä, the story revolves around a dysfunctional family of seven superheroes who have to come together and solve the mystery of their adoptive father’s death, and face the threat of the impending Apocalypse, information gleaned from Number Five who can time-travel.
Photo from @umbrellaacad
It has ten episodes with each of the seven superheroes getting a chance to reveal their back story and present situation. As Number Seven, we have Ellen Page, whose superpower is basically playing the violin very well; I know, hilarious and offbeat in itself, and there’s a great reveal at the end. The most interesting among the seven would be the aforementioned Number Five who’s basically an old, grumpy man stuck in a child’s body on account of his time-travelling. The series could have used some editing; the characters and visuals are great, but the pacing and tone falters in the middle episodes.
So here are two that are great fun in very different ways.
Photos from IMDb