The Sinner: American crime drama that raised the bar begins its final run on Netflix

The fisherman

It was one of those shows that we all discovered on Netflix around the same time and that I think united us all over the last few years of binge-watching.

Starting in 2017 – but debuting on Netflix here a few years later, The fisherman is an American crime drama that slightly raised the bar for how insightful and pessimistic we will allow the genre to be.

Casting Bill Pullman as the gloomy, ever-vigilant detective Harry Ambrose from author Petra Hammesfahr’s novel was a stroke of genius. Pullman has the intelligence, likability, and range to communicate this complex and not always flawless character — moral conflicts and all.

Over the first three series, we saw Pullman work his way through instances of escalating violence and inscrutability, but also as each passing season seemed to visibly age and tire the stoic cop.

Season four finds the so-called cursed Ambrose once again contemplating a seemingly accidental or self-inflicted death, this time on a fishing and resort island where he has, ironically enough, come to find himself after the rigors and heartbreak from previous years. As with any good TV sleuth, Death seems to enjoy toying with Ambrose.

We were told that season four of The fisherman will be the last. If that’s the case – and I believe it is – then the show is going strong, with great writing, a great cast, and a truly iconic character all still at the top of their game. Recommended.

Casting Bill Pullman as The Sinner's gloomy, ever-vigilant detective Harry Ambrose was a stroke of genius.


Casting Bill Pullman as The Sinner’s gloomy, ever-vigilant detective Harry Ambrose was a stroke of genius.

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* Finding Love: The Best, Worst and Weirdest Ways to Find Love, streaming on NZ TV
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* Casper: One of the most underrated family movies of the 90s is coming to Netflix
* Lessons to be learned from the resounding success of Netflix’s Drive to Survive


The third series of Formula 1: Drive to Survive focuses on the Covid-affected 2020 racing season.

F1: drive to survive

There’s a new fourth series due out any day now. In fact, by the time you read this, it may already be out.

This Netflix doco/reality series caused a stir, attracting a fan base that grew far beyond the usual motorsport tragedies and into the kind of numbers typically reserved for the island of love and Chef style franchises. And the reason is simple – F1: drive to survive is really, really, really good.

Each series follows a full season of the Formula 1 calendar, from qualifying races and pre-season, through to the final race of the series and the crowning of champions.

The episodes – each around 40 minutes long – are edited to advance the season’s story arc, but also focus on a particular aspect, team or driver that competes in the series. Not every driver or team agrees to take part, but there is also regular media news and interview footage cut from each episode, so no stories relevant to the season are unknown.

With the full cooperation of the F1 authorities, Drive to survive pushed race attendance and viewing figures to heights they haven’t reached in decades. And with the final season up to the final run and masses of drama and conflict along the way, expect the 2022 edition of Drive to survive to be the most watched to date.

In the meantime, go back and catch some old seasons. Even if you know the results, this show is a lot of fun to watch again. It’s a compelling and superbly put together TV.


Catching Killers is now available to stream on Netflix.

catch killers

There are a lot – maybe too many – of “true crime” docos on Netflix. But some of them are better put together and thought out than others.

I was impressed by The Ripper recently, with an emphasis on humanizing and telling the stories of the victims, rather than the usual glorification of the killer. And also, The Tinder scammer, Seems to me, having his kaupapa sorted.

And I’m also a fan of catch killerswhich is a nicely pessimistic, non-sensational account of the police work – and sometimes blind luck – that eventually apprehended or identified some of the absolute worst criminals of decades.

The first episode, about the killer says “BTK”, is perhaps the best. It’s a meticulous show and done with respect.


Trial By Media is now available to stream on Netflix

Trial by the media

And, to see how bad and irresponsible the media can be, this is a 2020 series that the algorithm seems to pay attention to again.

Netflix is ​​brilliant/notorious for breathing new life into old content by deciding to feature it in its “trending now” and “recommended for you” categories and for some reason Trial by the media is back on my front page this week.

The series covers six infamous court cases from the last four decades in America. All of the cases were influenced in some way by the media attention and sensationalism they received.

Trial by the media operates without voiceovers or presenters, with each episode assembled solely from archival material and interviews. It’s a tough way to put on a show, but it pays real dividends here and that’s surely one of the reasons why Trial by the media worth revisiting or exploring for the first time.

Lots of cases Trial by the media the covers may not be familiar to New Zealand audiences. The so-called “Subway Vigilante” Bernard Goetz is probably the best-known case internationally, but don’t let that put you off. Trial by the media is a relevant and well-crafted show, with fascinating stories to tell.

If you enjoyed JO: made in Americayou will enjoy it.

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