My Binge-watching Picks #2: Roku Channel
As many of us may still be under quarantine and stricken with cabin fever, I shall continue my series on binge-watching recommendations. For this article, I will be drawing my picks from the Roku Channel. As I mentioned previously, people who own Roku devices may already be familiar with this, but anyone can view its selection by downloading the Roku app or going to https://therokuchannel.roku.com/.
As always, titles available are as of the composition of this article and are subject to change.
The Adam West Batman series. Do I really need to say anymore? Seriously? Holy pop-culture awareness, Batman! To the Bat-cave!
The late great legend himself, Adam West, wears the cape-and-cowl in this eagerly campy 60s take on superhero lore. The legacy of this show, both in superhero history and in all of television, has deepened in the decades that have passed.
Highway to Heaven
This drama from the late 80s starred Michael Landon (famous for roles such as Little Joe Cartwright on Bonanza and Charles Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie) as Jonathan Smith, a “probationary” angel sent to Earth to help people in need. On an early assignment, he meets a bitter ex-cop named Mark Gordon. Mark ends up helping Jonathan with his assignment before teaming up with him on his adventures.
Multiple court shows
Genre: Courtroom, reality
If you’re the kind of person whose day is not complete without some courtroom drama, who plans your day around Judge Judy, or who can name at least three or four of the judges who regularly appear on cable’s Justice Central, there are a couple more judge shows on Roku worth checking out.
Roku currently hosts season 5 of Lauren Lake’s Paternity Court (117 episodes). If you’re not already familiar with the program, the title is pretty much self-explanatory, as the show sorts through the drama surrounding paternity cases.
Also available on Roku is Judge Faith (445 episodes), an arbitration-based court show starring former district attorney Faith Jenkins.
America’s Dumbest Criminals
Genre: Crime, Reality, Comedy
This series from the late 90s depicts real-life stories of hilariously stupid criminals, like the bank-robber who wrote the hold-up note on the back of his own paycheck or the drug-dealer who tried to sell to a party of beach-goers who were all undercover narcotics officers attending a seminar. The show features interviews with police officers combined with actual footage and comedic reenactments.
The show changed formats a few times, starting out with the main host, Daniel Butler, inside a mobile command center, before moving to an indoor studio and introducing a co-host, and finally adding a live studio audience.
Multiple Gordon Ramsay shows
If you’re a Gordon Ramsay aficionado, there is plenty available on Roku to keep you occupied.
As previously mentioned in my last article drawing picks from Tubi, Hell’s Kitchen (264 episodes) pits two teams of chefs against each other for a chance to win a job as head chef at a restaurant.
Kitchen Nightmares (87 episodes) sees our beloved chef go into struggling restaurants to help turn them around. Like in similar programs such as Jon Taffer’s Bar Rescue, the show often pits Gordon against owners who are oblivious or even complacent to what is going on in their own restaurants, encompassing a whole range of issues including lousy food, poor sanitation, and bad behavior.
It makes sense that Ramsay of all people would have a cooking show titled The F Word (39 episodes). The show sees Gordon running a restaurant full of invited diners where Gordon shows a variety of restaurant-quality recipes that are adapted so the home-viewer can make them. To drive this point home, he employs amateur chefs to work in the kitchen. The show frequently cuts to interviews with the guests in the restaurant (including British actress Joan Collins, whom Chef Ramsay famously threw out of one of his restaurants). The show also cuts away to culinary adventures at Ramsay’s home and to Ramsay visiting ordinary people in their homes and teaching them how to cook.
Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cooking Course (10 episodes) is recorded at Ramsay’s home and often features members of his family lending a hand in the kitchen. In the show, Ramsay prepares simple recipes and offers cooking tips to help the viewers at home cook better meals.
Ramsay Behind Bars (4 episodes) sees Gordon go in one of Britain’s prisons to train a team of inmates to be chefs and run a business from behind bars. This compelling show sees Gordon clash with the inmates as he struggles to get them working together in a cohesive unit, but also sees him clash with restrictions set by prison administration. The endeavor was very personal to Ramsay as his own brother was a heroin addict who was in and out of prison.