HAVING REVIEWED the best of what is on offer on Netflix, Prime Video, TG4 Player and AllFour, I am almost running out of streaming services to look at, so this week I turned to the much maligned RTE Player.
Now I am aware that for live TV, the service is not up to scratch for important news reports and matches (inexcusable for the national broadcaster ) and does not play for some people due to server overload. However the catch up and box sets worked very well for me with no buffering and few ads.
I’m not going to list all the great stuff the RTE Player has (eg, Room to Improve and The Tommy Tiernan Show, etc ), but the player also has several seasons of Irish and international shows for free (well, TV license ). Here are four which are worth your time.
Paths to Freedom: I am surprised this did not have the legs I thought it would. This is the best comedy show RTÉ has ever produced, and was released a year before The UK Office really blew up the mockumentary sitcom. We follow Jeremy and Rats who have just been released from Mountjoy as they spend a year trying to integrate back into society. Hilariously funny and surprisingly relevant for something made 20 years ago.
The Good Wife: A bit like the foods figs and haggis, The Good Wife is a great product hampered by a truly terrible name. It is the best courtroom drama that has ever been on TV and has plenty of seasons so if you have not seen it, it will get you through a fair whack of this current lockdown. Yes, the main character, Alicia, becomes a little grating by the end, but the side characters are absolutely fantastic. Diane, Kalinda and Eli Gould are some of TVs best characters.
Yellowstone: Written by Taylor Sheridan, the Oscar nominated screenwriter who wrote Hell or High Water and Sciario, this is 'your dad's favourite' show - even if he has not seen it, he's just not aware it is his favourite yet. It stars Kevin Costner as John Dutton, owner of the largest ranch in America. It is basically a really high budget soap opera with action, sex, and great cast set on a massive farm. Ideal lockdown binge.
Seinfeld/Frasier: In my opinion the best two sitcoms ever made. They are just sitting there, all 20 seasons.
I feel like Seinfeld was not very accessible to Irish viewers while it was airing in the 1990s so a lot of people have missed out. It has aged incredibly well and some episodes, particularly 'The Contest' (season 4 episode 11 ) probably would not air the same way today.
Frasier is obviously brilliant and it is nice to see John Mahoney, who of course did many performances in the Town Hall here in Galway, on screen again.