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Our top five streaming picks for summer, from Orange is the New Black to House of Cards and Ballers

Things turn congenial in Lightfield Penitentiary, Dwayne Johnson and Rob Corddry head west in Ballers, Ozark’s first season left us eager for more, John Krasinski plays Jack Ryan, and Robin Wright is POTUS. It’s binge watch time

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 July, 2018, 11:21am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 July, 2018, 3:27pm

It’s still only early summer and there is already a plethora of original streaming content online – movies and series – worthy of our attention.

From titles such as Sharp Objects to Succession, to sequels such as Luke Cage and Glow, among others, our ability to find something to watch is limited only by the number of hours we can devote to staring at a screen.

These are the five shows (listed chronologically by release date) that we can’t wait to binge watch.

1. Orange is the New Black, season 6 (all episodes on Netflix beginning July 27)

Can you say Maximum Security? Following a three-day riot, the ladies of Litchfield Penitentiary have been unceremoniously transferred to a high security facility with new rules and new inmates.

If the trailer is anything to go by, this season looks to be a bit more congenial. Inmates have pledged allegiance to their respective colours, not across racial lines but, oddly and hilariously enough, by the colour of their uniforms – blue versus khaki.

It’s precisely the clever yet lighthearted scenes of this kind (which often, without a moment’s notice, turn very bleak very fast) that makes Orange is the New Black such an intriguing watch.

2. Ballers, season 4 (weekly episodes on HBO GO, HBO On Demand and HBO (NOW TV CH115) beginning August 13)

It’s no big surprise this show has been so successful for HBO. It’s loaded with fancy cars, a lot of flesh, good-looking people living the high life, and it stars the biggest celebrity in the world, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. You can’t go wrong with that formula.

The upcoming season, which sees Johnson, reprising his role as former football star turned money manager Spencer Strasmore, and his partner Joe Krutel (Rob Corddry) leave the east coast and take their act to Los Angeles.

It’s hard to find something negative to say about the show. It’s entertaining, funny and never short of eye candy. The only major gripe we have is that each episode is only a half-hour long.

 

3. Ozark, season 2 (all episodes on Netflix beginning August 31) 

You really have to give it up to Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) and his family. They mixed it up with the Mexican cartels and redneck drug dealers, essentially pitting them against each other, and survived another season.

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Last season’s finale provided little closure to one of the most pleasing and delightfully violent shows from Netflix, setting up a follow-up that’s one of the most highly anticipated in recent memory.

Will there be a turf war? Which side will Byrde land on? What other bizarre and dangerous schemes will Byrde participate in to protect his money laundering business? These are but a few of the questions fans are waiting to see addressed.

 

4. Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan (all episodes on Amazon Prime Video beginning August 31)

Amazon, keen to boost its original content, has tent pole aspirations for this adapted series. It renewed the show for another eight episodes, and a second season, even before its premiere, which is set for the end of summer. And it spent what must have been a fortune running a TV spot during the Super Bowl.

The e-commerce giant has pinned its hopes on the talented and likeable John Krasinski for the title role. That’s a lot of pressure for the former The Office alum, but of late he seems to have nicely transitioned to leading man duties.

As complicated as the Jack Ryan universe is, this adaptation seems quite straightforward. (At one point or another, Ryan has been in the CIA, an American vice-president and the commander-in-chief.) Ryan is a young CIA analyst entering field duty, in the Middle East, for the first time, where he encounters evil on a scale he’s never imagined before.

 

5. House of Cards, season 6 (all episodes on Netflix; date to be confirmed)

In terms of release date, this one is a bit of a wild card. There’s nothing official yet, but all indications are that it will be sometime in late 2018. We’re optimistic it will be in the next few months, so we’ve included it in this list.

It’s hard to imagine the political satire – Netflix’s second oldest original programme, and in many ways, the streaming network’s most iconic show – without its co-lead, Kevin Spacey. It was the right move to sever ties with him following allegations of sexual misconduct, but it did leave writers with a gaping hole to fill.

Season five was less accomplished than previous seasons, but in typical HoC fashion, some characters “disappeared” (namely, those who know too much). As usual, Team Underwood takes care of business, and Claire has taken over as POTUS.

Netflix has been extremely tight-lipped about season 6, so there’s very little we can say or confirm. From what we know, Diane Lane and Greg Kinnear join returnees Michael Kelly, Jayne Atkinson and Wright as the main cast. It has also been confirmed that this will be the final season of the show. The brief promo video released on American Independence Day served its purpose as a teaser, but did not reveal much.