The Movie Guru: “Shadow and Bone,” “Leverage: Redemption” perfect for streaming binges
Sometimes, a movie just isn’t enough.
Online streaming platforms make it easy to binge an entire series’ worth of amazing programming, but you have to pick the right show. Eight episodes fill an evening without making you lose too much sleep, and an involving plot keeps your attention throughout. Whether the episodes play out like an expanded movie or offer more independent delights that build on each other, here are two online treasures to add to your must-watch lists.
Shadow and Bone (Netflix)
The best thing about this series, based on the novels of Lynn Bardugo, is that it’s actually three different shows woven together. Do you want the classic YA tropes of a powerful young woman having to decide between a mysterious, powerful man and her faithful childhood friend? Meet Alina, who can call the sun and is torn between a hot young general and the tracker who would do anything for her. Do you want a bunch of young, emotionally damaged criminals who care about each other trying to plan an impossible heist? Meet Kaz, Inej, and Jasper, who have staked their entire futures on capturing the mysterious Sun Summoner and bringing her back across an impossible barrier. Do you want a good, slightly heartbreaking enemies-to-lovers romance? Meet Nina and Matthias, two people on opposite sides of a deeply ideological war who find unexpected common ground after their ship crashes.
If only some of these storylines sound interesting, simply fast-forward through anything you don’t like. The three storylines are independent enough you won’t miss anything, and any crossover will be explained while your favorite characters are on the screen. If all of them seem like they could be fun, settle in for hours of emotional, exciting, surprisingly hilarious fantasy.
Leverage: Redemption (IMDb TV)
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Is the news getting you down? Are you sick of reading about all those rich and powerful people who keep hurting people without being punished? Do you just love watching a group of criminals who love each other like family outwit terrible people? Welcome, my friends, to “Leverage: Redemption.” A continuation of the TNT series that ran from 2008-2012, the show follows a group of thieves, hackers, and con artists who use their skills to help people in need. They’re like a family of Robin Hoods for the modern age, except they really enjoy committing crimes.
If you have any love of heist movies, or Robin Hood-type characters, you’ll love this series. It’s fairly easy to follow even without knowing about the previous series, but if you want to catch up IMDb TV has all five seasons of the original show as well. Even better, they’re all completely free if you’re willing to watch some ads.
Jenniffer Wardell is an award-winning movie critic and member of the Denver Film Critics Society. Find her on Twitter at @wardellwriter or drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.