Randy Schiff, The Buffalo News
print logo

Randy Schiff


If you yearn for science fiction that is both dark and surreal, then binge-watch Max Headroom. Offering both 1980s nostalgia and a vision of networked corporate power that feels uncannily contemporary, Max Headroom is a unique cyberpunk gem. Title: Max Headroom Year it began: 1987 Where it can be seen: Amazon; DVD Who’s in it: Matt Frewer; Amanda Pays; Chris …

If you just can’t get enough of King Arthur stories, then binge-watch Camelot. Presenting Arthurian legend for the era of big-budget cable network fare, Camelot offers a gripping, racy take on this timeless British myth. Title: Camelot Year it began: 2011 Where it can be seen: STARZ; Amazon; Hulu; DVD Who’s in it: Joseph Fiennes; Eva Green; Jamie Campbell B…

Dolls can be terrifying. Linked with childhood, when we were more willing to see life in inanimate things, malevolent dolls make us fear that evil can lurk anywhere. Demons are also terrifying—for they are malicious, powerful monsters. “Annabelle: Creation” uses both dolls and demons to frighten us. With impressive sets, capable directing and some strong performan…

“13 Minutes” is a powerful film based on Georg Elser’s failed 1939 attempt to assassinate Hitler. The German film takes its title from a fateful fact: Hitler left 13 minutes before the bomb painstakingly built and planted by Elser exploded at Munich’s Bürgerbräukeller, killing eight bystanders. With stunning cinematography, exquisite performances and sparing u…

If you seek courtly intrigue in a sumptuously staged medieval England, then binge-watch "White Queen." With stirring performances and fine cinematography, "White Queen" powerfully portrays political scheming and noble life during the Wars of the Roses. Title: "White Queen" Year it began: 2013 Where it can be seen: Amazon; Starz; DirecTV Who’s in it: Rebecca F…

If you seek supremely silly sketch comedy, then binge-watch the BBC’s wonderfully wacky “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.” This is British comedy so bizarre and bodacious it will make you spill both your tea and crumpets. Title: "Monty Python’s Flying Circus" Year it began: 1969 Where it can be seen: Amazon; Netflix; iTunes; Seeso Who’s in it: Graham C…

At a time when some worry about where America is going, it’s wise to learn more about where we’ve been. If you want a beautifully filmed look at the social and military origins of the United States, then binge-watch PBS’s “Liberty!” Title: “Liberty!” Year it began: 1997 Where it can be seen: PBS, DVD Who’s in it: Philip Bosco, Peter Donaldson, V…

If you can’t get enough of vampires and demons, then dim the lights and binge-watch the otherworldly world of “Angel.” Starring David Boreanaz, this spin-off of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” features all the furious fights but with a darker atmosphere. Title: Angel Year it began: 1999 Where it can be seen: Amazon; Hulu Who’s in it: David Boreanaz; Char…

If you are looking for smart situation comedy in a gritty urban setting, make your way to the mad Manhattan workplace of Taxi. This star-studded series, featuring such legends as Andy Kaufman, Danny DeVito, and Christopher Lloyd, always delivers its comedy fare. Title: Taxi Year it began: 1978 Where it can be seen: CBS.com; Amazon; Hulu; DirecTV Who’s in it: …

Based on the true story of a United States Marine dog-handler who served in the Iraq War, “Megan Leavey” is a gripping film that powerfully conveys an emotional bond forged between warriors of different species. Expertly directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, “Megan Leavey” succeeds both as a war film and as a psychological study of the challenges and dignity of milit…

If you seek first-rate crime drama exploring the illicit drug world, journey to Baltimore to listen in on "The Wire." With a deep cast of talented actors, intelligent writing, and brilliant directing, "The Wire" offers five gripping seasons. Title: "The Wire" Year it began: 2002 Where it can be seen: HBO, Amazon Prime, DirecTV Who’s in it: Dominic West, Idris…

Revisit the riveting world of "Shaka Zulu." If you seek epic historical drama, then binge-watch "Shaka Zulu." Telling the story of a Zulu military and political genius, "Shaka Zulu" is a first-rate miniseries. Title: "Shaka Zulu" Year it began: 1986 Where it can be seen: Netflix Who’s in it: Henry Cele, Edward Fox, Robert Powell, Dudu Mkhize, Conrad Magwaz…

If you are interested in Guy Ritchie’s "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword," now showing in area theaters, you may want to brush up on your knowledge of King Arthur myths. Since medieval times, King Arthur has starred in numerous poems, novels, paintings and films. To prepare yourself for Charlie Hunnam’s portrayal of Britain’s most legendary king, why not take this tr…

If you want to follow a relentless reporter with a knack for discovering dangerous conspiracies and deadly monsters, then binge-watch "Kolchak: The Night Stalker." A key inspiration for "The X-Files," "Kolchak" offers eerie, exciting and campy entertainment. Title: "Kolchak: The Night Stalker" Year it began: 1972 Where it can be seen: WBBZ-TV, Netflix, DVD Who…

If you want to experience the golden ages of world history through exquisitely presented miniseries, then binge-watch Empires from PBS. With outstanding production values and engaging narration, Empires offers sublimely illuminating portraits of great cultural periods. Title: "PBS Empires" Year it began: 10 Where it can be seen: PBS, Amazon Prime. Narrated by…