Category Archives: Electronics

Lenovo’s new ThinkPad X1s include a 3K tablet and the lightest ever 14-inch business laptop

Lenovo has revealed a trio of refreshed ThinkPad X1 notebooks at CES 2018, with new Carbon, Tablet and Yoga variants, along with an updated ThinkVision X1 monitor.

Lenovo has given the third-generation ThinkPad X1 Tablet an all-new 13-inch design, with a 3K display (3,000 x 2,000 pixels) promising vibrant colors and supporting HDR (with the screen being fashioned from Gorilla Glass).

The tablet is powered by Intel’s latest 8th-gen processors, boasts up to 16GB of system RAM, and offers optional LTE-A connectivity for speedy web surfing on the move.

It also incorporates an infrared camera (facilitating secure login via facial recognition) and optionally comes with a stylus, Lenovo’s Pen Pro which supports tilt-to-shade and 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity. Battery life is a claimed up to 9.5 hours.

Carbon copy

Moving onto the refreshed ThinkPad X1 Carbon (the sixth-generation of this variant), Lenovo claims that this is the world’s lightest 14-inch business laptop. It’s certainly highly portable with its carbon fiber chassis weighing only 1.13kg, and it’s just a shade under 16mm thick.

The 14-inch screen has a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 and is a Dolby Vision-capable HDR display that should deliver some pretty punchy images indeed. Again, this notebook utilizes Intel’s 8th-gen CPUs (up to Core i7), paired with up to 16GB of system RAM.

Battery life is claimed at up to 15 hours, and a quick charge feature means that one hour of charging will give you up to 12 hours of battery life, Lenovo says.

Dolby Premium Audio is on board, plus you also get optional LTE-A connectivity here, too. Furthermore, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon boasts far-field 360-degree microphones to allow for voice control from up to four meters away (Amazon’s Alexa is also supported here).

There’s also a ThinkShutter to slide across the webcam for privacy – no Zuckerberg-style masking tape required – and a fingerprint reader, as well as facial recognition login with Windows Hello.

Note that there is now a touchscreen variant for the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, which replaces the aforementioned 2,560 x 1,440-resolution screen with a Full HD touch-capable display.

Yoga refresh

Finally, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga has been refreshed in a third-generation model which also runs with Intel’s 8th-gen processors, and the same Dolby Vision HDR display as seen on the X1 Carbon.

It also offers the same far-field 360-degree microphones and Alexa tricks, ThinkShutter feature (and an option on an IR camera, for facial recognition login), fingerprint reader, LTE-A support and up to 15 hours of battery life. All in a convertible format with the Yoga sporting a 360-degree hinge.

Every one of these new ThinkPad X1 spins offers a solid range of connectivity, including a pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports (and a pair of USB 3.0 ports on all but the X1 Tablet). They all boast 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2.

The new ThinkPad X1 Tablet will start at $1,599 (around £1,180, AU$2,040), with the X1 Carbon weighing in at $1,709 (around £1,260, AU$2,180), and the X1 Yoga starting at $1,889 (around £1,395, AU$2,410). They will all be available later this month.

Monitor magic

Lenovo also unveiled a refreshed ThinkVision X1 monitor with a 27-inch 4K IPS display. This is an ultra-slim model at 4.7mm thick, with ‘near-borderless’ bezels on all four sides of the screen.

It has a Thunderbolt 3 port, alongside HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.2 connectors, and boasts 99% coverage of the sRGB color gamut. There’s also an extra nifty touch in the form of a motorized webcam which can pop up out of the chassis at the touch of a button when the user requires it (and be lowered to remain hidden when not needed).

The ThinkVision X1 monitor will set you back $799 (around £590, AU$1,020) and also goes on sale later this month.

  • New year, new tech – check out all our coverage of CES 2018

      

The best video editor 2018

If you’re looking for a video editor there are some amazing free tools around, but they’re not always the best choice. Developing a good editor is so difficult that even big-name companies often struggle, and if you’re a demanding user it’s unlikely that a free package will give you everything you need.

We’re not just talking about the length of the feature list. Opting for a paid product might get you high-end extras like 360-degree video support, motion tracking and multi-cam editing, but that’s just the start. The extra resources available to commercial projects help to refine the entire package, often bringing more accurate and configurable effects, an enhanced interface and a faster rendering engine.

With that in mind, here are the very best video editors you can buy today.

Adobe Premiere Pro is an industry-standard video editor and getting the most from it will require an investment of time as well as cash, but if you’re serious about video then it’s well worth the effort.

Premiere Pro’s interface (based around panels and a timeline) is often aped but rarely bettered. Unlike other apps, however, Premiere Pro is highly customizable. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can tailor the interface to suit your own workflow.

Whereas previous versions of Adobe Premiere Pro required users to switch to different apps for some parts of post production, the latest edition tucks everything into one neat interface, including captions and audio editing.

It’s hard to do justice to all of Premiere Pro’s features, but there’s a vast assortment of stackable audio and video filters, support for 360-degree and VR video, native support for a huge number of raw file formats, and the ability to work collaboratively with others. You can even start editing your videos before they’ve finished importing.

Adobe Premiere Pro is available as an individual subscription, or as part of the Creative Cloud suite (a better investment if you want more than one of Adobe’s apps). If you join CC, you’ll benefit from easy transferring of project files and other resources between Adobe apps like After Effects.

This kind of power doesn’t come cheap and the monthly or annual subscription fee adds up, but the lack of a large initial outlay makes Premiere Pro surprisingly accessible. It’s worth downloading a trial of the other video editors here before making a decision, but Premiere Pro is extremely versatile and the cloud-based model means you won’t have to pay for upgrades as they’re released.

Platform: Windows, Mac

Price: From US$19.99, £19.97, AU$28.59 per month

Vegas Pro Edit (formerly owned by Sony) is the smaller brother of MAGIX Vegas Pro. It’s one of the most accessible premium video editors for new users, which is an impressive feat for a fully featured, professional quality editing suite.

Vegas Pro 15 includes a huge set of filters and effects, which you can extend even further via plugins. You can chain effects together, then fine-tune with impressively granular controls. Every filter is highly customizable, but every option is clearly labelled and easy for even beginners to understand. For example, clicking the ‘Video FX’ tab above the timeline gives you a convenient animated preview demonstrating each preset before you apply it.

Every aspect of Vegas Pro’s interface and toolset has been carefully considered with accessibility in mind; for every advanced control, there’s an automatic or preset equivalent.

Vegas Pro Edit is also one of the most affordable premium video editors available; at the time of writing it’s available for a one-off fee of US$299 (£224, AU$399). Other payment options are available.

Vegas Pro Edit is only available for 64-bit Windows systems, but that’s pretty much its only drawback.

Platform: Windows

Price: US$299/£224/AU$399 (one-off payment, one PC)

If Adobe Premiere Elements and Vegas Pro Edit are overkill for your video editing projects, take a look at CyberLink PowerDirector.

Although PowerDirector is a premium, feature-packed video editor, it’s also very forgiving, and offers a gentle introduction to post production that won’t faze complete beginners. The Magic Movie Wizard is the ultimate example, paring the task of combining and optimizing videos down to a few clicks. You’ll achieve better results by spending a while in the timeline editor, but for anyone who just wants to quickly piece something together to publish on Facebook, it’s ideal.

That’s not to say that CyberLink PowerDirector is dumbed down, though; far from it. The software also offers a standard post production interface based around control panels and a timeline. It sometimes takes a little while to drill down to the finer controls, but every filter and option is extremely flexible once you start exploring.

Perhaps most impressive of all, CyberLink PowerDirector makes video editing fun. If you’re relatively new to post production but want something more flexible than free software, PowerDirector is the tool for you.

Platform: Windows

Price: US$59.99, £49.99, AU$62.99

HitFilm Pro is a premium video editor that’s a firm favourite with fanfilm makers – and with good reason. It’s packed with tools for creating stunning special effects, but is accessible enough for home users.

One of HitFilm Pro’s biggest selling points is the ability to tackle pretty much every aspect of video post-production within the editor. Animations, titles, audio editing and color grading are all accessible with a couple of clicks, but the interface is intuitively designed and never feels cluttered.

Effects can be queued, and drilling down through the software’s advanced options is a straightforward process.

Unlike the other video editors in this roundup, HitFilm Pro supports importing and animating of custom 3D models, complete with simulated 3D cameras, custom shadows and dynamic lighting. There are also impressive particle effects, and superb chroma-keying to minimize annoying spill.

HitFilm Pro will be overkill for beginners, but if you have a creative filmmaking project in mind then it’s a fantastic choice.

Platform: Windows, macOS

Price: US$422.45, £373.85 (about AU$540)

Although the free version of Lightworks is excellent, if you’re editing video on a regular basis and want a full breadth of output options, take a look at Lightworks Pro.

Lightworks isn’t as beginner-oriented as CyberLink PowerDirector, but its interface leads you through each step of the editing process with clear explanations that help new and experienced users find their way around.

There’s an excellent set of effects and transitions – all easily customizable. Lightworks’ color-correction tools are particularly strong, and its impressive multi-camera editing technology earned developer Editshare an Emmy last year.

Low-res proxy editing for 4K video is another excellent feature, enabling you to work with extremely high resolutions without slowing your system to a crawl.

Lightworks Pro is available for a one-off fee of US$437.99, £249.99 (about AU$560). That’s a significant early outlay, but there are also subscription plans available on a monthly or annual basis.

TechRadar readers can get 40% off a monthly Lightworks Pro license using the voucher code TECHRADAR_LW_PRO_MONTH_2017. Find out how to use your discount voucher.

Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux

Price: US$437.99, £249.99 (about AU$560) – outright license, one device

      

Meltdown and Spectre Windows patch halted for AMD PCs after it causes boot failure

At CES, Intel may have been keen to insist that the whole Meltdown and Spectre fracas will be largely put to bed by the end of next week, but it appears more havoc is being caused right now, with Microsoft’s Windows patch aimed at tackling the flaws causing AMD-powered PCs to stop booting up.

This is only affecting some AMD machines, but clearly enough have been hit, because Microsoft has made the decision to halt patching AMD PCs in order to resolve the problem.

Speaking of which – what is the problem? It lies in AMD’s documentation for its CPUs, Microsoft asserts, which is erroneous in some respects, and whatever differences there are between the documents and reality of AMD’s processors are serious enough to have caused affected machines to fail to boot.

As the Verge reports, Microsoft issued a statement to say: “Microsoft has reports of customers with some AMD devices getting into an unbootable state after installing recent Windows operating system security updates.

“After investigating, Microsoft has determined that some AMD chipsets do not conform to the documentation previously provided to Microsoft to develop the Windows operating system mitigations to protect against the chipset vulnerabilities known as Spectre and Meltdown.”

Blame game

So, as mentioned, the blame appears to lie firmly with AMD, although we’ve yet to hear a response from the chipmaker itself. Though you might also argue that Microsoft’s pre-patch testing should have stumbled across the issue, perhaps, given that it seems to affect a fair number of AMD-powered PCs, judging by reports across the net (which also seem to suggest that it’s older AMD CPUs that are more likely to be affected, in the main).

For the full details on the block put on the update, check out this Microsoft support post. There are also some handy links which may help in troubleshooting PCs that have been rendered unbootable.

Microsoft says it’s working with AMD to resolve the issue as soon as possible, but for now, all AMD processor owners can do is wait. Meanwhile, you can always check out our guide on how to protect against the Meltdown and Spectre bugs.

      

Chinese investment drives IoT boom

The cellular IoT market is set to hit one billion installed devices this year. According to a new report from market research company Berg Insight, the number of worldwide cellular IoT subscribers increased by 56% in the past year, hitting 647.5 million.

The report highlights the potential for the technology; it estimates that the global market for IoT devices will be 2.7 billion devices by 2022.

Much of the growth is being driven by China. The report points out that the Chinese government has set a goal to connect 600 million devices to NB-IoT networks by 2020. According to report author, and Berg Insight senior analyst, Tobias Ryberg, “NB-IoT will essentially replace 2G technology, which accounted for the bulk of the 150 million new cellular IoT connections added in the country in 2017. In the process, the cost of 4G-based cellular IoT chipsets and modules will fall dramatically, paving the way for a similar transition worldwide”.

Connected products

The next wave of IoT technology will also be driven by China. Berg predicts that the growth of smart cities, smart industrial supply chains and connected consumer products will be kickstarted by Chinese investment, both public and private.

Ryberg said that a key part of this growth will be in the way that IoT capability is being added to existing products. He pointed out how the Chinese bike sharing industry has grown. In less than a year, tens of millions of connected bikes were launched into the streets of major cities”, said Ryberg. “The aftermath of the bike sharing frenzy does however underline an equally important point: IoT technology adds no value without a proper business case. The long-term winners in IoT will be those who combine scale and economic benefit.”

      

Acer and Asus are bringing Amazon Alexa to their laptops

This year’s CES 2018 event has only just started but we’ve already witnessed some exciting surprises, the latest being Acer and Asus announcing that they’re bringing support for Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant to their laptops.

This follows news that Amazon is making it easier to integrate Alexa into a range of different devices, while we’ve begun to see Alexa pop up in unexpected places.

News that two major players like Asus and Acer are getting behind Alexa will be a huge boost for Amazon – and could prove uncomfortable reading for Microsoft, whose own voice assistant, Cortana, is supposed to be the go-to voice control for Windows 10 laptops.

However, this may not mean the end of Cortana, as last year it was hinted that Amazon and Microsoft were looking at working together to allow their voice assistants to communicate with each other.

Acer and Alexa

Acer has announced that Alexa support will be coming to a select number of its laptops. These are the Aspire 5, Aspire 7, Spin 3, Spin 5, Switch 7 Black Edition, Swift 3, Swift 5, Swift 7, Aspire Z24, Aspire U27 and Aspire S24.

Some Acer Aspire all-in-one PCs will also get Alexa support. Initially available in the US, Alexa support will be available in the first quarter of 2018 via an update through the Acer Care Center software, with other locations getting Alexa support mid-2018.

Jerry Kao, President of IT Products Business of Acer Inc, stated that “Acer is excited to be among the first brands to bring Alexa to PCs… we’re providing consumers the possibility to interact with multiple voice services on their notebook or desktop.”

Asus and Alexa

Asus also announced that select 2018 models of its ZenBook and VivoBook laptops will support Amazon Alexa, allowing users to use their voices to control the devices.

These upcoming ZenBooks and VivoBooks will be announced in the first half of 2018, although Asus did not specify if certain markets will get Alexa support before others. We’ve reached out to Asus for clarification.

Steve Chang, President of Asus North America, said that “combining Alexa with Asus PCs will allow customers to complete a variety of formerly complex tasks, simply by speaking. This allows customers greater efficiency and allows them to spend more time on their own passions”.

Hopefully we’ll get our hands on these new Acer and Asus laptops soon to test out how well Alexa works on Windows laptops.

  • New year, new tech – check out all our coverage of CES 2018 straight from Las Vegas, the greatest gadget show on Earth

      

New HP Spectre x360 15 puts pedal-to-the-metal with CPU and GPU upgrades

HP Spectre x360 15

Over at CES 2018, HP has taken the wraps off a refreshed Spectre x360 15, with the convertible getting some solid extra pep on the performance front.

The additional grunt comes from the introduction of two of Intel’s latest processors. First, the 8th-gen Core i7-8550U – alongside juicing up the GPU from a GeForce 940 MX to a current-gen (Pascal) GeForce MX 150 with 2GB of video memory.

Then, an Intel Core i7-8705G version is available – yes, the one with Radeon RX Vega M discrete graphics embedded in the chip housing and up to 2TB of NVMe M.2 SSD storage

System RAM remains the same at 16GB for both models, though storage differs between both models: a 512GB PCIe SSD for the MX 150 model and up to 2TB of NVMe M.2 SSD space for the AMD Radeon RX Vega M model. There’s no real need for any upgrades in either case, at least on the performance front.

As with its predecessor, the refreshed convertible, which utilizes a 360-degree hinge as the name suggests, still offers a 4K IPS 15.6-inch touchscreen with BrightView tech (meaning colors are bright and vibrant) and a ‘micro-edge’ (barely visible) bezel. The display is also toughened up by using Corning Gorilla Glass 4.

Sonic boost

This 2-in-1 laptop is no slouch on the audio front, either, sticking with Bang & Olufsen speakers that we really appreciated on last year’s model (which had three speakers – and this refresh now has four, so it may sound even more impressive).

On the battery front, HP says this hybrid will be good for up to 13.5 hours, and fast charge technology means you can juice up the battery to 50% in around 45 minutes.

In terms of ports, you get a solid selection: a Thunderbolt 3 connector and a USB 3.1 Type-C port, along with a USB 3.1 (Type-A Sleep and Charge) and an HDMI port. One final point – this refreshed laptop is slightly thicker than last year’s model at 0.76-inches compared to 0.7-inches.

HP Spectre x360 15

Other points worth mentioning include the presence of an infrared-toting webcam for secure Windows Hello login, along with a fingerprint reader for the same purpose. There’s also a bundled HP Digital Pen for Windows Ink duties.

The HP Spectre x360 15 will be available on March 18 in the US (via HP.com and Best Buy) starting at $1,370 (around £1,000, AU$1,740).

  • New year, new tech – check out all our coverage of CES 2018

      

See if you can beat today’s BT broadband price rise with one of these internet deals

BT counts around 10 million households among its huge share of the UK internet market. That’s a LOT of disgruntled customers it presumably had on its hands when it announced its latest round of price rises on BT broadband and Infinity fibre.

Deals are going up by as much as £2.50 a month from today. If you already have BT broadband, the standard Unlimited Broadband price will rise from £35.99 a month to £37.99. While its super fast fibre broadband offering, Unlimited Infinity 1, goes from £47.49 to £49.99.

BT cites ‘making some great improvements to your service’ as the reason for the price increase and promises BT Call Protect as a freebie for all customers to block nuisance calls. But we can’t imagine that’s going to placate most BT customers who don’t even use their landline anyway.

Keep reading to see what you can do about the price rises – the good news is that you can still cancel your contract if you’re not happy and received notification about the price rise after December 8. And if you were on the brink of going with BT but these price rises have put you off, then below we’ll tell you which providers are offering the best broadband deals right now.

Best value broadband only deal

Best value fibre broadband deal

I’m a BT broadband customer? What can I do?

If you currently have your broadband through BT, you should already have been notified in writing about the price rise.

But the good news (for some) is that you’re not lumbered with the hike. BT says that: ‘Customers need to contact us within 30 days of receiving their pricing notification in order to leave without paying penalties.’

Unfortunately, that means that if you received your notice on or before December 8, then the window for action has now elapsed. But if you heard from BT after that date, then you won’t be penalised for checking out our best broadband deals page and grabbing a better price.

If you’re a recent newcomer to BT and were lucky enough to bag a cheap introductory price (like the ones in our comparison chart below), then we understand that your bills won’t be affected by the price rise.

Today’s best broadband deals:

      

Acer’s affordable gaming laptop gets a Ryzen processor and GPU boost

Acer has unleashed a refresh of its affordable gaming laptop, the Nitro 5, over at CES, giving the machine one of AMD’s new Ryzen mobile CPUs.

As well as stepping up to a Ryzen mobile processor (where previously there was a choice of AMD A-Series APUs, if you didn’t want to go with the Intel Kaby Lake-powered model), Acer has upgraded the GPU to a Radeon RX 560X (from an RX 550).

This new combination of CPU, graphics solution and faster DDR4 system memory also being introduced into the mix should boost the performance levels of the Nitro 5 considerably. Altogether this should be a more tempting solution for the casual gamers who don’t want to spend a fortune on portable PC gaming.

Users will also find Nitro Sense software pre-installed to monitor both CPU and GPU performance. These real-time metrics should help everyone get more details on exactly what’s going on under the hood.

The Acer Nitro 5 with Ryzen CPU will hit the shelves in May with the price starting at $799 (around £590, AU$1,020), just the same as the current Nitro 5’s recommended price.

Acer Predator Orion 9000

Acer also announced the Predator Orion 9000, which was first unveiled back at IFA last August, will go on sale in February. That’s somewhat later than December, which was the initially anticipated date.

This PC comes armed to the teeth with an 18-core Intel Core i9 Extreme Edition processor and can be equipped with a pair of Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics cards in SLI configuration. It also has a rather neat all-in-one liquid cooling solution to keep these powerful components under control heat-wise. Prices start from a substantial $1,999 (around £1,470, AU$2,550).

  • New year, new tech – check out all our coverage of CES 2018

      

Best Netflix TV shows: the top Netflix television series in Australia right now

UPDATE: The new Netflix Original documentary series The Toys That Made Us, which tells how some of our favourite toys came to be, has now been added to our list of the best TV shows on Netflix Australia. Find out why it’s so good on the next slide!

It’s been a long time coming (like, a seriously long time) but Netflix has finally arrived on Australian shores, giving Australians unfettered access to all of the critically-lauded Netflix Originals shows. Not only that, users also have access to a wealth of other licensed material.

Sure, Netflix also streams movies, but its television output is perhaps the reason most people have signed up for an account. There’s nothing quite like firing up Netflix and binge-watching a series at your own pace. Getting instant access to entire seasons of House of Cards from day one is half the appeal.

This is why we’ve created the TechRadar guide to the greatest TV shows on the Australian version of Netflix right now (in no particular order). We’ll keep this best TV show list constantly updated with the latest television shows that you should be watching and also tell you why.

Want to know more about Netflix’s take on binging? Watch our very own Jon Porter live on the couch discussing his time at Netflix HQ!

One of the greatest cartoons of the ’80s, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe has finally made its way to Netflix Australia! Set on the magical world of Eternia, the show follows Prince Adam, a young man who becomes the superhero He-Man whenever he holds aloft his magic sword and speaks the words: “by the power of Greyskull!” Together with his friends, Teela, Man-At-Arms, Battlecat and Orco, He-Man regularly faces off against the dastardly (and deliciously campy) villain known as Skeletor, who will stop at nothing in his attempts to take over the realm. If you’re after a mad rush of nostalgia, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe should do the trick!

Seasons on Netflix: 1

A hilarious and refreshing comedy series, The Good Place sees Eleanor (Kristen Bell) arrive in a Heaven-like afterlife only to be greeted by Michael (Ted Danson), architect of what is known as ‘The Good Place’. This beautiful neighbourhood is meant to be a reward for living an upstanding life. The problem is, she totally doesn’t belong there, and now Eleanor must hide her wrongdoings, lest she be sent to The Bad Place instead. Witty and full of terrific one-liners, The Good Place is a delightful show with some unexpected twists and turns to keep you on your toes.

Seasons on Netflix: 2

Marvel’s most polarising Netflix series to date, The Punisher seems the return of Frank Castle (Joe Bernthal) after the events of Daredevil: Season 2. Having already killed everyone involved in his family’s death, Frank’s attempts to lay low are interrupted when he is dragged into a military conspiracy that he may or may not have been involved in. Though it can be slow-paced at times (please Netflix/Marvel, look up the phrase ‘cut to the chase’ for me), it is nonetheless a powerful and violent show that isn’t afraid to deal with some heavy topics. As a study on the effects of PTSD, The Punisher is surprisingly poignant. It may not hit the heights of Daredevil or Jessica Jones, but The Punisher still makes for a welcome addition to Marvel’s television landscape.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

Need a badass western series to tide you over until Westworld returns next year? Well, saddle up pardner, because Netflix’s new limited series Godless should keep your spurs from jingling and jangling. From Scott Frank, director of The Lookout and A Walk Among the Tombstones, comes Godless, a show that sees an outlaw chase his ex-partner into a New Mexico town populated entirely by women. Starring Jeff Daniels, Michelle Dockery and Scott McNairy, Godless is a gripping western that will shock and surprise you.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

What causes a seemingly normal woman to violently murder a random person while out at the beach with her husband and newborn child? That is the premise behind The Sinner, a show which sees Jessica Biel take on a darker character than she ever has before. Bull Pullman also stars as an investigator who becomes obsessed with finding out where these violent fits of rage come from. Is there something hidden deep in her past that even she doesn’t know about? Thrillingly told and terrifically acted, The Sinner is compelling viewing.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

Perfectly timed with Halloween this year, Stranger Things season 2 is now streaming on Netflix. Playing like a cross between Stephen King and Steven Spielberg, Stranger Things is a nostalgic and somewhat scary throwback to the classic Amblin films of the ’80s. In the small town of Hawkins, Indiana, young boy Will (Noah Schnapp) disappears in the middle of the night without a trace. The very next day, a young girl in a hospital gown appears in town, scared and unable to speak. In true Goonies/Stand By Me-fashion, the girl joins up with Will’s buddies in an attempt to track down their missing friend. Also embroiled in the mystery is the young boy’s mother, Joyce (Winona Ryder) – a woman who must confront terrifying forces if she has any hope of seeing her son again. Without spoiling the first season for newcomers, Stranger Things 2 picks up a year later and not only introduces some new characters, but also an even bigger and more terrifying threat that must be stopped at all costs!

Seasons on Netflix: 2

From David Fincher, director of such serial killer classics as Se7en and Zodiac, comes Mindhunter – a Netflix Original series that details how the FBI’s profiling practices came into fruition. Academic and detail-oriented, the series sees its agents stare deep into the heart of darkness in order to better understand this new breed of demented killer that they’ve been tasked with chasing. Based on autobiographical accounts by FBI Agent John Douglas, who inspired the fictional character of Jack Crawford in Thomas Harris’ seminal Hannibal books, Mindhunter is a gripping series that applies an analytical approach to a well-worn subject.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

It may take an episode or so to truly get off the ground, but the newest Star Trek TV series delivers all the intergalactic adventuring we could possibly hope for. There’s no shortage of action or spectacular visuals here, though the show’s creators have balanced it with the series’ trademark smarts to provide a truly compelling new entry in the Star Trek canon. The cast, which is led by Sonequa Martin-Green and features the likes of Michelle Yeoh and Jason Isaacs, is extraordinary. We can’t wait to see where Star Trek: Discovery takes us in the future.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

A note-perfect spoof of the ‘true crime docu-series’ model that’s become all the rage following the success of Making a Murderer and Serial, American Vandal follows the investigation of a fictional crime in which an underachieving high school student is accused of spray painting dicks on every car in his high school’s faculty car park. Like any good true crime investigation, American Vandal is filled with conflicting testimonies, unreliable witnesses, compelling evidence, huge revelations and, of course, moody cinematography. Hilarious and constantly surprising, American Vandal is a must-see for any true crime aficionado.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

The best way to approach BoJack Horseman is to let it slowly grow on you. Chances are you won’t be blown away by it from the first episode, but once you get hip to its rhythm, you’ll likely find it to be one of the best animated comedy shows since Bob’s Burgers (only with a lot more depth). Will Arnett voices BoJack, a washed-up ’90s sitcom star who spends his days being bitter about his failures alongside perpetual houseguest, Todd (Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul). Things get complicated when his cat girlfriend and agent Princess Carolyn (Amy Sedaris) hires ghost writer Diane (Alison Brie) to pen BoJack’s memoir. Filled with hilarious characters that could only exist in drawing-form, BoJack Horseman is a real winner. Now back for its fourth season, BoJack finds himself in a weird position as his 18-year-old lovechild enters the picture. Things aren’t going so smooth for Mr. Peanutbutter and Diane either, with the former’s political aspirations putting a strain on the couple’s marriage.

Series on Netflix: 4

While the first two seasons of Narcos recounted the true story of the world’s most infamous drug lord, Pablo Escobar (Wagner Moura), and the DEA agents (Boyd Holbrook and Pedro Pascal) tasked that brought him down, the third season shows us what happened after the end of Escobar’s reign. This time, the focus in on the Cali Cartel, a drug empire so powerful, that its wealth rivalled that of Fortune 500 companies. This riveting crime drama plays like a cross between City of God and Goodfellas, employing a voiceover-based narrative that gives you an unprecedented look at the ins and outs of Colombia’s drug trade. Violent, sexy, well-written and immaculately acted, Narcos is truly one of the best shows on Netflix, and we’re glad to see it continue even though Pablo’s story is over. We expect things to get even hairier from this point on.

Seasons on Netflix: 3

Everything has been leading to this – Marvel’s insanely popular Netflix shows, each set in the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe, are finally colliding in The Defenders. Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist, all the lead heroes of their own respective shows, must now come together to stop a threat that aims to watch New York City fall. Think of them like the television equivalent of The Avengers, only more street-level. Will they be able to put aside their differences to fight as a team? Or will The Hand, the shadowy, ancient criminal organisation that featured in both Daredevil and Iron Fist, take one more step towards global domination? You’ll have to binge-through this 8-episode special event to find out!

Seasons on Netflix: 1

If you’ve seen and are a fan of David Wain and Michael Showalter’s hilarious film Wet Hot American Summer (WHAS), then you’ve surely watched its Netflix Original prequel series, WHAS: First Day of Camp (also on our list of the best shows on Netflix Australia). Hilariously taking place during the same summer of 1981 (despite a cast that’s obviously aged by 15 years), the series hit every comedic note that made the film a cult favourite. Now, a sequel series has been made that sees our beloved characters return to Camp Firewood ten years after the events of the film and first series. Set in 1991, the show gets a lot of comedic mileage out of its new era, and sees most of its original cast return in some form or another (Bradley Cooper is unfortunately absent, though Adam Scott does a good job of filling his shoes). If you’ve ever wondered what these ridiculous characters might be like as adults, this is a series you must watch.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

Though Netflix’s new crime drama Ozark has understandably been compared to Breaking Bad, the show approaches similar themes in an entirely different and uniquely intense way. Chicago businessman Marty Bryde (Jason Bateman, who also directs some of the episodes) seems like a standup guy, but has actually spent years laundering drug money for a Mexican cartel. When it’s revealed that his friend and business partner has been skimming money off the top, Marty finds himself in debt to a trigger-happy drug lord who has no qualms about murdering Marty’s entire family, including wife Wendy (Laura Linney) and their two young children. Now, Marty’s only chance at keeping his family alive is to move them to the Ozarks, a long coastline in Missouri that Marty believes is potential a goldmine, so that he can pay back the money that’s owed. Gripping and very adult, Ozark will surely appeal to fans of shows like Fargo and the aforementioned Breaking Bad.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

Inspired by the beloved video game franchise of the same name and modelled after Japanese anime, the Netflix Original series Castlevania isn’t shy about packing its short four-episode season with as much blood and guts as possible. Produced by noted geek Adi Shankar (Dredd) with animation by the renowned Frederator Studios (Adventure Time), Castlevania sees Dracula (Graham McTavish) wage war on mankind after the senseless killing of the one human he loved. Now, it’s up to whip-cracking hero Trevor Belmont (Richard Armitage) to stop him. With comparisons to Game of Thrones, Castlevania is definitely a series made with adults in mind. If you like brutal medieval stories that are willing to explore some seriously dark territory, you’re going to love Castlevania.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

Did you know that competitive body painting was a thing? Well, if you didn’t, Skin Wars is here to show you what you’ve been missing out on! Hosted by Rebecca Romijn and featuring RuPaul Charles, Skin Wars pits the world’s best body painters against each other for a chance to win a grand prize of $100,000. Contestants are given weekly tasks that involve painting naked models. Need more convincing? Well, the tasks will put their skills for painting and storytelling to the test, with a panel of judges handing out verdicts at the end of each episode. The person who presents the least skin-tillating artwork will be sent packing. Brutal, but hey, war is Hell.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

From the makers of Orange is the New Black comes Netflix’s latest hit series, GLOW, a show based on a real-life all-women wrestling league that existed in the ’80s. Why’s it called GLOW? It stands for Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, that’s why! The show stars Alison Brie (Community) as an aspiring actress who auditions for the wrestling gig after being fed up with the lack of meaty female roles in Hollywood. Here, she can be a fierce warrior, one who is in charge of her own destiny and gets to play opposite other strong women. Like Orange is the New Black, GLOW is a show that masterfully balances comedy and drama. We can only hope that it gets as many seasons as that award-winning show.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

It may have never reached the heady heights of House Of Cards, but Orange Is The New Black is another show that proves Netflix is now up there with HBO when it comes to offering decent programming. Set in a woman’s prison, Orange doesn’t shirk the big issues of violence and rape but manages to mix these with a heady dose of black humour. Oh, and its first series was actually more popular than Cards, which is a surprise as Netflix’s advertising has always been very Spacey heavy. And, if you’ve already watched the first four seasons, you’ll be happy to know that season 5 has just made its way to the service. Get ready to binge!

Seasons on Netflix: 5

Finished watching Netflix’s new Voltron reboot series and crave even more intergalactic action? Well, you’re in luck – Netflix has seen fit to drop a whole bunch of classic Voltron episodes from the original series on its service! Rather than just posting them in the order they were released, the episodes have been handpicked by members of the creative team behind the new series. Not only that, each episode is prefaced by a short introduction from the person who picked it detailing why it’s important to them. A must-watch for Voltron fans who want to take a stroll down memory lane.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

For people of a certain age, the toys they grew up with would come to define their childhoods. In this 8-part documentary series (only 4 eps are currently available), we get to see how our favourite toys came to be, while also meeting the people responsible for them. Kicking off with Star Wars toys, the show them gives us a glimpse at the surprising origins of Barbie, G.I. Joe and He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. It’s hard to imagine anyone who grew up in the 70s/80s/90s not getting a massive kick out of this.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

Ever spent an evening with friends watching bad movies and cracking jokes at their expense? If that’s you, you’re going to love Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K). Based on a flimsy premise involving a scientific experiment by Gizmonic Institute, the show’s lovably homemade sci-fi angle is just an excuse to have comedian Jonah Ray hang out with a bunch of wise-cracking robots named Gypsy, Tom Servo and Crow as they relentlessly mock utterly terrible movies. The new Netflix version is actually a remake of an American cult favourite from the ’80s and ’90s and each episode will actually give you an entire movie to cringe and laugh through. Charming, funny and endlessly entertaining, MST3K is bound to capture a whole new generation of fans.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

True crime fans, get ready for your newest obsession. The People vs O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story recounts the 1994-1995 murder trial involving all-star NFL legend O.J. Simpson, in which he was accused of the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown, and her friend, Ronald Lyle Goldman. The first in a series of one-off stories, American Crime Story season one is an engrossing and terrifically-acted retelling of the infamous trial told from the perspectives of both the prosecution and the defence. Cuba Gooding Jr. gives a fantastic performance as O.J., while Sarah Paulson (as Marcia Clark), David Schwimmer (as Robert Kardashian) and John Travolta (as Robert Shapiro) provide exceptional support.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

They say that chefs are like the new rock stars of our time, and if that’s the case, the lovably-outspoken celebrity chef and author Anthony Bourdain is the culinary equivalent of Iggy Pop and Henry Rollins rolled into one charming yet thoughtful dish. In his show No Reservations, Bourdain roams the globe in search of mouth-watering meals, although unlike most other travel/food programs, Bourdain spends an equal amount of time exploring the cultures and socio-political environments that birthed them. Funny, eye-opening and extremely entertaining, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations is a must-watch show for foodies and globetrotters alike.

Seasons on Netflix: 2

Set aside any pre-conceived notions that you might have about a ‘sexy Archie’ series and get ready for one of the most addictive new shows of the year with Riverdale. First things first – this ain’t your grandpappy’s Archie show. A modern day re-imagining of the beloved comics franchise that has spanned almost eight decades, this Twin Peaks-inspired version of Riverdale is fraught with murder, deception and small town scandal. Famous characters like Jughead, Veronica, Betty and even Josie and the Pussycats are all present and accounted for, only with a decidedly millennial twist. The question on everybody’s lips: Who killed star quarterback (and most popular kid in school) Jason Blossom? With new episodes fast-tracked from the US every Friday, your only problem will the seven day wait between episodes.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

True crime stories are so hot right now, evidenced by the immense popularity of the podcast Serial and HBO’s The Jinx. Netflix’s original series Making a Murderer however, is probably the hottest of them all, documenting and recounting the trials of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey, two working-class Americans accused of the murder of 23-year-old photographer Teresa Halbach. Over its 10 episodes, the show exposes the failings of the Wisconsin justice system in blood-boiling detail. Having spent 18 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, Steven Avery is exonerated based on new DNA evidence. However, shortly after his release, he becomes the prime suspect in Halbach’s murder, and Avery is put through the ringer once again by law enforcement figures that seem to have it out for him. What follows is an anger-inducing sequence of events that involve forced confessions, unconvincing (and possibly planted) evidence, dodgy lawyers and a complete presumption of guilt from almost everyone involved. Compelling, infuriating and tragic, we guarantee you won’t be able to stop watching Making a Murderer once you’ve started.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

When Marvel revealed that it would be creating several Netflix shows tied directly into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, fanboys (like me) were over the moon. The fact that it would start by bringing Daredevil back to life (Evanescence pun completely intentional) after the much-maligned Ben Affleck film was more than we could have ever hoped for. This isn’t some low-level player – Daredevil is a genuine fan favourite. And if you ask us, ‘The Man Without Fear’ is probably better suited to being the star of a series rather than another movie – especially as he’ll eventually team up with Netflix’s other Marvel heroes Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage in the Netflix miniseries, The Defenders. Though the series kicked off with a bang in the first season, Marvel has managed to top it in every single way in the second season, with the inclusion of The Punisher and Elektra dialling up the action and intensity considerably.

Seasons on Netflix: 2

In retrospect, it would seem impossible for Marvel to surpass its last Netflix Original series, Daredevil, with a show about a hard drinking ex-superhero that’s little known outside of comic book circles, but that’s pretty much what it’s done with Jessica Jones. Though the show doesn’t quite reach the action heights of Daredevil, Jessica Jones manages to be even more compelling in terms of story and character. Based on the comic Alias by Brian Michael Bendis, the show sees private investigator Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), bar owner Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and celebrity Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor) do battle with a mind-controlling creep named Kilgrave (David Tennant), whose incredible obsession with Jessica is causing everyone around her to die. Dark, violent and quite sexual for a Marvel show, Jessica Jones is required viewing for fans of the MCU.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

Arguably the finest show on television, Mad Men is a brilliant time capsule that takes us on a journey through the ever-changing landscape that was 1960s America. Over the years, we get to see the country evolve through the eyes of the people who work at a swanky New York advertising agency – most notably our lead character Don Draper (John Hamm), a damaged individual with a hidden past and a drinking problem who is constantly engaging in infidelity. Through the show, we get some insight into the slow rise of power for women in the workplace while facing overt sexism, race relations and the evolution of the American family during the most tumultuous period in American history. Truly an outstanding, must-watch show.

Seasons on Netflix: 6

Many scoffed when it was announced that MTV would be making its own Scream show based on the hit Wes Craven-directed film series of the same name, but that initial cynicism bleeds away once the show sinks its hooks into you. Inspired by the films but in no way connected to them, the show maintains the meta-commentary and slashing action that the Scream name is known for while creating a whole new mythos of its own. Featuring a (mostly) likeable cast, buckets of blood and a central mystery that will keep you guessing until the very end, fans will definitely get a kick out of Scream’s small-screen slashing mayhem. And, with Scream currently in its second season, Netflix is fast-tracking brand new episodes directly from the U.S. every tuesday.

Seasons on Netflix: 2

One of the funniest shows to hit TV in years, Brooklyn Nine-Nine stars Andy Samberg as an immature goofball who also happens to also be a brilliant NYPD detective. The show revolves around the many cases (and shenanigans) that Samberg and his equally hilarious co-stars get wrapped up in under the watchful eye of their stern Captain. Quick-witted and full of heart, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a new comedy classic.

Seasons on Netflix: 3

Netflix has been killing it with its Marvel shows so far, having already launched two well-received top-tier shows in Daredevil and Jessica Jones. Now, it’s time for a new kind of hero – Luke Cage, also known as Power Man to fans of the comics the show is based on. If you’ve watched Jessica Jones, you’ll already be familiar with this literally unbreakable character, as he played a pivotal role in that show’s first season. This series, however, picks up some time after that, with Cage relocating from Hell’s Kitchen to Harlem, and finding himself coming to blows with local gangster Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes. Expect plenty of intense action with a real hip-hop flair.

Series on Netflix: 1

Someone escaping from a Domesday cult shouldn’t be a recipe for comedy but Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt manages to squeeze the funny out of this premise. Created by Tina Fey and starring Ellie Kemper as the title character, the show sparkles with wit and lands on the right side of kooky. Best of all, season 2 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt has arrived and is fizzing with the same energy of the first. If you’re a fan of shows like Parks and Recreation and 30 Rock, you’re pretty much guaranteed to love Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

Seasons on Netflix: 2

You’ve never seen a lawyer show like this before. Suits mostly avoids the ‘courtroom drama’ angle that law shows usually take, and instead focuses on the dealings behind the scenes. Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) is a brilliant man with a photographic memory who is wasting his life away as a petty drug dealer, until lawyer-extraordinaire Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) hires him to work at the most prestigious law firm in New York. Let’s hope no one finds out about his lack of a law degree. Absolutely addictive.

Seasons on Netflix: 5

If there ever was a poster boy for Netflix, House of Cards’ Frank Underwood would be it. Funded completely by the streaming service, Cards’ boasts a visual style crafted by director David Fincher and immense acting by Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. The reason: Netflix positively wanted you to binge watch, putting all episodes up at once. With five seasons currently available, Netflix’s Card trick is still impressive and shows just how far Netflix has come, bringing the service worldwide critical acclaim and awards attention. With the world as focused on US politics as it is now, House of Cards is downright therapeutic entertainment.

Seasons on Netflix: 5

One of the freshest and most enjoyable shows Netflix has put out to date, the semi-autobiographical Master of None sees comedian Aziz Ansari (Parks and Recreation) play Dev, a character much like himself who is trying to navigate his family, friends, acting career and love life in New York City. Hilarious and thoughtful, Master of None gives Dev the opportunity to reflect on difficult subjects like like racism and misogyny in a way that’s warm, funny and eye-opening – no easy feat! Master of None also has an amazing soundtrack, and some wonderful supporting turns from Noël Wells, Eric Wareheim, Kelvin Yu and Ansari’s own scene-stealing parents, Shoukath and Fatima.

Seasons available on Netflix: 2

An incredibly fascinating four-part docu-series charting the birth of hip hop music, Hip Hop Evolution takes us on a trip back to New York City’s South Bronx area during the tumultuous early ’70s. Beginning with the famous DJ Kool Herc block party that started it all and continuing on to the early days of gangsta rap music in the late ’80s, Hip Hop Evolution is an eye-opening examination of all the elements that led to rap music becoming the global phenomenon it is today. Featuring countless interviews with hip hop pioneers, including Africa Bambaataa, Grandmaster Flash and Kurtis Blow, this Netflix Original series is one of the most entertaining cultural lessons you’re ever likely to see. Once you’re finished watching this, keep the beat going with Netflix’s other brilliant hip hop show, The Get Down.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

Before he was the showrunner for Marvel’s Daredevil, Steven DeKnight worked on the gratuitously violent and sexual series Spartacus. At first glance, you’d be forgiven for thinking that there’s nothing more to the show than meat-headed beefcakes fighting and screwing in a 300-aping manner, but there’s so much more going on – we follow Spartacus (the late Andy Whitfield and his replacement, Liam McIntyre) as he is taken into slavery and forced to do cruel and unimaginable things in the gladiatorial arena, just waiting for the day that he can finally get his revenge on slave-owners Batiatus (John Hannah) and Lucretia (Lucy Lawless). All of this culminates in one of the most satisfying season finales in recent memory. Be warned – this show is filled with grotesque violence and an immense amount of sex and nudity. It’s like Game of Thrones times ten.

Seasons on Netflix: 4

Reportedly Netflix’s most expensive show ever, The Get Down is an absolutely dazzling look into the birth of hip hop music in the South Bronx during the late 1970s. The show effortlessly blends real life footage from the period with scenes from the show, mixing them together like a good DJ. Created by Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge!), The Get Down is bursting with style, drama, colourful characters and fantastic music. If you have even the slightest interest in hip hop music, consider The Get Down required viewing.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

Fans of brainy, politically-minded science fiction, like the incredible Battlestar Galactica reboot series, would do well to check out The Expanse, a futuristic series that sees our Solar System colonised by humans. Initially presented in the guise of a cop procedural about a missing person, The Expanse’s stakes are quickly raised when a vast political conspiracy becomes apparent that threatens the fate of our galaxy. Starring Thomas Jane, Steven Strait and Shohreh Aghdashloo, The Expanse is a show that takes a little while to warm up to, but once you’re hooked, you won’t be able to look away.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

As far as dystopian fiction goes, Black Mirror is up there with the very best. Penned by Charlie Brooker, who before this was disassembling and decimating the news in his show NewsWipe, Black Mirror consists of a handful of caustic tales about the perils of technology, shady governments and human nature as a whole.

Not only has Netflix nabbed the original seven episodes of the show to stream, comprising two series and a Christmas special, but it also funded a further six. Each standalone episode holds a mirror up to our society in extreme satire, with themes that are not too far from issues facing us all today: social media highs and embarrassing lows, technology going awry and new games that start to feel all-too real. Pitch-black comedy at its absolute darkest, Black Mirror is a must for tech-heads with a wicked sense of humour.

Seasons on Netflix: 3

Watch Black Mirror on Netflix now

Playing like a hilariously twisted version of Back to the Future, Rick and Morty follows a whiny high schooler and his alcoholic scientist grandfather as they set out on crazy adventures across the Universe. From Dan Harmon, creator of Community, and Justin Roiland, who voices both the titular characters, Rick and Morty is an endlessly clever show that never ceases to come up with mind-blowing stories to tell. This isn’t just the best animated sci-fi comedy since Futurama – it’s even better. So, grab your Plumbus and strap in, because the second season of Rick and Morty is now available to stream on Netflix Australia!

Seasons on Netflix: 2

Reviled on initial release and then rediscovered as a cult classic, the 2001 film Wet Hot American Summer is the kind of satirical comedy that leaves most people scratching their heads. Those in the know, however, see it as an absolutely pitch-perfect, gobsmackingly hilarious spoof of the summer camp movies of the late ’70s and early ’80s. Many of the actors in the original film went on to become huge stars (Bradley Cooper, Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler), so it should be considered a minor miracle that all of these people were wrangled back almost 15 years later to star in a prequel series for Netflix. If you haven’t seen the original movie, you might want to stream it on Netflix before watching the show, but if you have seen it and love it like we do, you’ll be over the moon with Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

Praise Odin! We finally have a brutal and (mostly) historically-accurate show about Norse culture that would make Thor proud. Vikings takes us on a journey through Scandinavian/European history as Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel), a man who may or may not be a direct descendent of Odin himself, rises up the viking ranks and searches for new civilisations alongside his band of viking brothers. Best watched with a pint of mead in your hand.

Seasons on Netflix: 3

One of the funniest comedians to come out of Britain in years, Matt Berry (The Might Boosh, The IT Crowd, Snuff Box) is back with another pompous blowhard character that’s entirely in his much-perfected wheelhouse. In Toast of London, Berry plays Steven Toast, an eccentric, washed-up actor whose antics off the stage are almost as insufferable as the ones on it (when he can actually find a worthwhile gig, that is). To make matters worse, Toast is surrounded by a number of comically-named characters who are just as aberrant as he is. Will Toast ever catch a break? A single episode of the show will probably be enough to answer that one…

Seasons on Netflix: 3

Like a cross between Modern Family and The Walking Dead (with a spattering of Dexter thrown in for good measure), Santa Clarita Diet is a hilariously gory Netflix Original series that sees suburban mum Sheila (Drew Barrymore) suddenly acquire an insatiable hunger for human flesh. Though shocked at first, Sheila’s loyal husband Joel (Timothy Olyphant) and daughter Abby (Liv Hewson) are determined to keep this family together, even if it means covering up a number of murders…

Seasons on Netflix: 1

On the list of shows that were tragically cut down before their prime, Number 1 is Firefly. Number 2, however, is Freaks and Geeks, the show that served as a launching pad for some of our favourite stars in comedy today. Brash, mischievous and hysterical, James Franco, Jason Segel and Seth Rogen provide a perfect counter-balance for the tepid (and completely loveable) Linda Cardellini. The show scores the last spot on our list and in our hearts because at the end of the day we’ve all been Cardellini’s character, Lindsay. We’ve all been picked on, called a nerd and genuinely loved something – whether that’s cellphones, computers, televisions, whatever. And just when you think you’ll never fit in, the right group of people somehow find their way into your life.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

After he had produced the perfect female lead in Buffy and before he was Hulk smashing with The Avengers, Joss Whedon created a short-run sci-fi series that has spawned not only a massive cult following but, quite astonishingly, a movie. The reason it was such an underground success was because Firefly takes the Star Wars framework of making space messy, where everything is a little rough around the edges – including the crew. It even has its own Han Solo in the form of Nathan Fillion’s Malcolm Reynolds. Whedon’s witty words permeate the whole of Firefly, which is not so much a space opera but a space rock opera.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

A truly opulent historical epic, The Crown is a majestic Netflix Original series that deals with Queen Elizabeth II (Claire Foy) and her rise to the throne, starting in the 1940s and moving on to modern times. With a reported budget of £100 million, Netflix and Left Bank Pictures spared no expense to tell this story of royalty with as much detail and historical accuracy as possible. Though it might seem like a stuffy costume drama, the brilliant photography and incredibly sense of scale will leave you flabbergasted. Featuring terrific acting and wonderful direction from Peter Morgan (who directed the Oscar winning film, The Queen), The Crown is the perfect show for Downton Abbey fans who are looking for their next big fix.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

Before he was a global superstar, Will Smith was the frontman for the late ’80s/early ’90s hip hop duo, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. With a winning sense of personality and infectious hits like ‘Parents Just Don’t Understand’, Smith took his performing talents and turned to acting by starring in the family sitcom, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Playing a fictionalised version of himself, Smith moves in with his stuffy high society Aunt and Uncle’s family in the posh suburb of Bel-Air. Before long, his crazy persona turns the entire family’s dynamic on its head, bringing a sense of much needed humour into their lives. A classic series with one of the best and most memorable theme songs of all time, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is as fresh and funny now as it was 20-odd years ago. Now, sing it with us: “In West Philadelphia, born and raised, on the playground is where I spent most of my days…”

Seasons on Netflix: 6

      

Acer Swift 7 gets thinner, beefs up battery life

Over at CES 2018, Acer has revealed an even thinner Swift 7 Ultrabook, as well as announcing the availability of a new spin on the Switch 7.

The Swift 7 was already incredibly thin and light, but Acer has slimmed it down from just over 10mm to an exceptionally trim 8.98mm. The ultra slim Ultrabook will stick with last generation Kaby Lake Core i7 processor, but its Full HD display has increased in size from 13.3-inch to 14-inch. This time around the display is also a touchscreen fitted with a Corning Gorilla Glass facade.

Acer has also brought built-in 4G LTE connectivity to the notebook, with the antenna neatly integrated into the all-black aluminum unibody chassis, helping to ensure a better signal for your mobile broadband (although speeds will be dependent on local signal strength, of course).

The new Swift 7 delivers a claimed battery life of up to 10 hours, slightly more than its predecessor which ran for an estimated nine hours. In our review, we found longevity to be one of the laptop’s weak spots, so any extra pep on this front is obviously welcome.

Hopefully, this will translate to even better results in our own battery benchmarks when we actually get to play with the refreshed model. Fingers crossed and all that.

Expect the new Acer Swift 7 to emerge in April, with the price starting at $1,699 (around £1,250, AU$2,160). Compared to its predecessor, this new model is considerably more expensive.

Switch 7 Black Edition

You may recall that Acer unveiled its Switch 7 Black Edition at IFA 2017 last September, and we got to go hands-on with the hybrid, finding it to be an impressive piece of tech, boasting a discrete GPU (GeForce MX 150) and liquid cooling.

The news from CES is that this 2-in-1 is now on sale in the US with the price starting at $1,699 (around £1,250, AU$2,160). Again, that’s no small outlay, and we’ll certainly evaluate the value proposition of this hybrid in our full review.

  • New year, new tech – check out all our coverage of CES 2018