Written by Harry Russell, Edited by Charlotte Ammirato
In the unfortunate times we currently find ourselves living in, we should perhaps be more thankful than ever that we have such a wide range of streaming services to take advantage of. For the sakes of those looking for something new to watch, here I’d like to offer some alternative options that you may have neglected to think of. Hopefully, there should be something here for everyone.
Starting off with a more mainstream option, Amazon Prime Video. The service offers a wide range of both TV shows and films, with streaming content available soon after home video releases. 2019’s Hustlers is already streaming on the service, relatively soon compared to how long it takes many big films to reach traditional streaming platforms. Prime Video also benefits from being one part of Amazon’s larger Prime service, meaning members get other benefits such as next-day delivery and music. Prime becomes an even better deal for students, who get it for 50% off after a 6-month free trial, so a pretty good deal if you’re looking for a large amount of content to fill your time.
A brilliant option for a collection of arthouse cinema with a new addition every single day. Mubi’s film school program also means that Film Studies students are able to get the service for free for the entirety of their degree course. Mubi benefits from curated content, with films often being grouped under banners to create a themed viewing experience, for instance a recent series on ‘Perfect Failures’. Mubi also engages with its community, occasionally organising live viewings with directors, such as with Richard Kelly for his film Southland Tales. Mubi does only show films though, so if you’re looking for a bingeable series you’re better off looking elsewhere.
A relatively new addition to the University of Warwick Library services, Kanopy is now available to all students to use for free. It’s a service that deserves recognition and to be used, due to the truly staggering amount of content which it offers. Kanopy holds a large section of the Criterion Collection available to view, as well as huge sections devoted to documentary, in case you’re looking for some non-fiction to occupy your time. The only significant downside to the service is it lacks any apps aside from mobile storefronts, meaning watching it on any screen larger than a laptop requires some level of messing about with adapters or screen sharing. Not too difficult overall, but a small hurdle in the service’s convenience.
BoB wins the prize for likely having the largest amount of content of all the services in this list. Another service available for free with institution credentials, BoB contains shows from roughly 75 Freeview British channels, recording more every day. It can often be a valuable resource for finding shows and TV which are difficult to find anywhere else. It’s often pleasing to enjoy a more conventional TV experience, ads and all, giving intended pauses to go and get a drink or snack. The main downside to BoB is it was mainly created to be an educational resource, so the viewing experience and process of finding what you may be looking for can be difficult. For instance, your searches may initially fetch more results based on video transcripts and some series aren’t marked by episode making it hard to watch a continual series. But if you’re willing to put in the effort, you’ll find plenty of content to watch on BoB.
Whilst it is possible to find some online original series to watch on YouTube, the real wealth of content is in the video essays talking about the content you enjoy. Sometimes after watching a particularly good series or movie, it can be hard to just leave it alone. With the rich variety of video essays on YouTube, you won’t have to, hearing other people’s opinions and thoughts where you may not be able to otherwise if no one else you know has seen the same movie or series. Occasionally, the rabbit hole of YouTube content can lead to new recommendations as well, potentially helping you to find a brand-new favourite.
Definitely a much more unconventional pick compared to the rest of the list but hear me out. Through the University Library, all students now have access to the Drama Online library, including a large selection of recorded productions. Sometimes it can be nice to watch a play and appreciate the differences between forms of media. The one con of Drama Online is, in my experience, the website can suffer from issues logging in with the University and may require closing and/or refreshing after being on it for a while, but this may also be a problem in the system that will be fixed in due time.
Hopefully, with these ideas you’ll be able to find something that really interests you to occupy your attention during lockdown. If any series or film particularly grabs you, why not write up a short piece on it to submit to Reel Talk? For more information, check out the poster below: