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RICK AND MORTY

AdultSwim (available on AdultSwim.com)

How did you spend April Fool’s Day? Cling filming a toilet seat? Placing fake vomit on the carpet? Well if you’re Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland you released the brand-new episode of Rick and Morty, The Rickshank Redemption and aired it on a continuous loop for the day. The episode picks up almost exactly where the previous season ended, with Rick incarcerated and Morty and the rest of the family adjusting to life on Earth as a part of the Galactic Federation. What follows is a hilarious and at times bizarre prison break story, which has a surprisingly self-aware ending that will leave viewers’ shocked. ***** GE

TRAILER PARK BOYS

Swearnet (available on Netflix)

The latest series of Trailer Park Boys seems to be a cut and paste job of the past few series. There’s little to no character development; the characters themselves have become tired shadows of their former selves, doing little more than following the very basic formulae their characters are bound by. The result is a disappointing and drawn-out death of what was once a hysterical, clever, and charming show. I suppose it’s time though – Canadian cannabis legalisation sort of destroys a big part of the series’ source of humour. ** LOB

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MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000: THE RETURN

Netflix (available on Netflix)

A B-movie lover favourite, MST3k is back and has laid any concerns that it won’t live up to the originals to rest. With a new host (Jonah Ray) looking after his robot friends, Crow and Tom Servo, the trio riff over the likes of Starcrash and Avalanche (which I highly recommend for its shittiness). Felicia Day and Patton Oswalt also offer their comic talents in this reboot, and with references younger generations may actually get, it feels more relevant than ever. Ray fills former hosts Mike Nelson and Joel Hodgson’s boots perfectly. ***** LOB

MR HOLMES

BBC Films (available on Netflix)

Mr Holmes is an interesting take on the recently overly exploited Sherlock Holmes series: Ian McKellen masterfully stars as a 93-year-old Sherlock, now in retirement in a sleepy Sussex cottage battling against Alzheimer’s, living with his housekeeper and her young son. The beautifully shot film sees Sherlock investigate one last case from his past and as he tries to delay the effects of dementia to be able to resolve it. Mr Holmes is refreshingly different and poignant, all while maintaining that typical sense of mystery. **** LOB

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LEAD BALLOON

Open Mike Productions (available on Netflix)

Jack Dee and Pete Sinclair’s British sort-of-answer to Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm sees Jack Dee star as Rick Spleen, a petty and cynical comedian whose life is one embarrassment after another. What sets it apart from Curb however, is the insufferable nature of Rick Spleen, who comes across as needlessly mean and spiteful, in comparison to Larry David’s strong sense of petty morals that constantly get him into trouble. I found myself getting annoyed at Dee’s character, but it’s still got some funny moments and well-crafted characters… Spleen’s just not one of them. *** LOB

BIG LITTLE LIES

HBO (available on Netflix)

Don’t be fooled by the glossy exterior, Little Big Lies is dark, and unexpectedly complex. Starring Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Shailene Woodley, the series focuses on the various entangled lives of the residents of Montery, California. Featuring largely female protagonists, the narrative hinges on the identity of a murder victim and the crime’s perpetrator. Intelligently interspersing police interviews with local residents throughout, the resulting drama is cohesive and engaging, highlighting the opportunities TV now offers for A list actors. **** SD

Feature

SAMURAI GOURMET

Netflix Japan (available on Netflix)

In a similar vein to the quietly beautiful Midnight Diner, Samurai Gourmet is a drama that uses food as a device to explore issues in Japan. An Edo period Japan obsessed salaryman enters retirement – making him something of a ronin – and uses the newfound time to engage in his gourmet fantasies, rediscovering his youth, tackling his socially awkward nature, and enjoying life. Each episode sees him face something of an awkward situation. Luckily, an imagined samurai is there to help. It’s good fun and an interesting look into Japanese cuisine, but its formulaic nature lets it down. *** LOB

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