The best TV shows and movies on Stan in 2018

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Are you tired of Netflix and want to fire up Stan instead? If so, you’re in luck, because Stan is home to some of the best TV shows and new movies currently available in Australia. If you want to get data-free Stan streaming on your mobile phone, hit the jump link below to see what plans are available right away:

Stan is Australia’s homegrown answer to Netflix, and in many cases has an edge over its US rival:

  • It starts at $10 and its top-tier plan is cheaper than Netflix’s top tier plan
  • It has hot programs like Better Call Saul, Breaking Bad, Seinfeld and Friends
  • It has a plethora of popular Aussie and UK shows and films

In fact, there’s so much content on Stan that it can be overwhelming and you could easily spend hours trawling through the library deciding what to watch. So we’ve narrowed down some of the best shows and films to cure your boredom and streaming addiction, trying to include something for everyone.

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Best TV shows on Stan

11.22.63

Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, 11.22.63 is a date etched in many peoples’ minds as the day that US President John F Kennedy was assassinated. On November 22 1963, at around midday, JFK was riding in an open-top motorcade throughout the streets of Dallas, Texas, when sniper shots rang out, leaving the beloved president dead and some Secret Service agents wounded. It was a watershed moment in American history… and also made future Presidents ride in non-convertible cars.

11.22.63 follows Jake Epping (James Franco), a high school teacher from Maine who learns about a rabbit hole that sends him back in time to the very early 1960s. His mission is to change the course of history forever and prevent the assassination of JFK. Though, saving JFK isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and history doesn’t want to be messed with. It’s a thrilling period piece that doesn’t stray from the nostalgic and sanguine portrayal of life in the 60s, but readers of the book may be a bit disappointed with certain glaring differences in the show. Nevertheless, it’s an easy-to-watch eight-part miniseries with a stellar portrayal of Lee Harvey Oswald by Aussie Daniel Webber that will send chills down your spine. It’s a great blend of Sci-Fi, history and thriller cinema.

Better Call Saul

Fans and addicts of Breaking Bad will rejoice at the fact that Better Call Saul hits Aussie screens through Stan pretty much at the same time as in America. Better Call Saul is a Breaking Bad spinoff prequel series and you don’t even need to have watched Breaking Bad to enjoy it. Better Call Saul follows the life of Saul Goodman… or shall we say ‘Jimmy McGill’. Jimmy was his name before he turned into Saul (a play on the words ‘It’s all good, man’).

Jimmy is played by Bob Odenkirk and details his rise from affable if downtrodden Jimmy to charismatic, slick and slimy Saul – a shopping mall lawyer who will do anything for a buck. After all, you don’t want a criminal lawyer – you need a CRIMINAL lawyer. Season 3 of Better Call Saul kicked off in early 2017, and in the new season comes a familiar face from Breaking Bad. With that said, Better Call Saul is a great show in its own right, but one wonders how long exactly the creators are going to drag it out for to meet the start of the Breaking Bad timeline.

Billions

If you’re wondering what happened to Nicolas Brody in Homeland, here he is… just kidding. Damien Lewis (Homeland, Band of Brothers) essentially plays rich tosser Robert Axelrod, a billionaire manager of a hedge fund called Axe Capital. Despite being a bit of an ass, publically he is generous and charitable, himself being a survivor of the 9/11 attacks, funding college tuitions of the children of his colleagues who died in the attacks. However, insider trading and bribery in the hedge fund catches up to him. His nemesis is Paul Giamatti, who plays Chuck Rhoades, a US Attorney who essentially makes Axelrod’s life as hard as possible. Billions is a slick and sexy show with intense dialogue, brought to life by Giamatti’s attack dog-esque approach to every character he portrays and the “love to hate” nature of Axe.

Ray Donovan

A hit TV show straight from the Showtime channel in the US, Ray Donovan is a crime drama detailing the life of you guessed it… Ray Donovan – played by Liev Schreiber. Ray is a ‘fixer’ in Hollywood, meaning he receives large sums of money in return for his knack for making celebrities’ problems disappear. Think murders, affairs, drug scandals – you name it, Ray can fix it. Things are going along smoothly until Ray’s father Mickey (played by Jon Voight) is released from prison and starts turning Ray’s world upside down.

Add to the mix some deep and dysfunctional family issues and you have yourself a gritty crime family drama. It perfectly juxtaposes the glamorous LA lifestyle with the seedy and gritty undertones not often portrayed on TV. Jon Voight absolutely steals the show, too, as does crooked FBI chief Ed Cochran (Hank Azaria – voice of Moe and other characters on the Simpsons). Stan has seasons 1-3 of Ray Donovan, with the fourth no doubt to be added shortly, while a fifth season is set for release in June.

Sherlock

Sherlock is a crime drama based on the Sherlock Holmes series by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective stories co-produced by the BBC and PBS in the US. Sherlock is a modern take on the detective series and stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock. It’s a TV series with a bit of a strange delivery – there are only thirteen episodes in total, with four three-part series and one special episode. The first ‘season’ was released in 2010, while the fourth was released in 2017.

What Sherlock lacks in sheer episode quantity it makes up for with long run times – often 90 minutes per episode. As mentioned it’s a modern take on the classic series, so expect gritty London to be portrayed as it is today. Despite the sparse spacing of the seasons and episodes, Sherlock has attracted rave reviews and has been nominated for BAFTA and Emmy awards – winning certain accolades in both awards programs. Luckily Stan has all four seasons plus the special episode.

So you’re off on the right foot with shows to watch on Stan, but what about movies? Keep reading to whet your appetite.

Best movies on Stan

Balibo

We mentioned that Stan shines for Aussie content, and Balibo is perhaps one of the most compelling Australian films ever made. If you’re old enough to remember the story of the Balibo Five, then you’ll probably already know where this is going. Journalist Roger East (Anthony LaPaglia) travels to East Timor in 1975 at a time of political upheaval in the small South East Asian country. East travels to the country to investigate the fate of the ‘Balibo Five’ journalists who died in the lead-up to the Indonesian invasion of East Timor, which set off a chain reaction of events that saw Australian military involvement in the region for much of the 1980s and 90s.

The Balibo Five are five journalists from Channels Nine and Seven sent to cover the impending invasion, and both channels work as a sort of competitive yet cooperative team. The Indonesians son get wind of what these journalists are doing and what happens is one of the biggest tragedies to press freedom worldwide. Balibo won numerous accolades, including Best Actor for LaPaglia at the 2009 AFI (AACTA) Awards. It’s a heartbreaking, slow-burning film that you won’t forget, and sheds light on a time in history many young Australians may not be wary of.

Louis Theroux Documentaries

Technically more than one documentary, Louis Theroux’s films can be incredibly poignant, revealing, funny, anger-inducing and just plain weird. From Louis’ ‘Most Hated Family in America’ documentary where he highlights the hypocrisy and lunacy of the Westboro Baptist Church, to the stark and tear-jerking ‘Extreme Love’ and ‘LA Stories’ series, Louis Theroux is a talented journalist and documentarian, whose off-beat and awkward persona gets people to open up and reveal their stories on-camera.

Most documentaries end on a fairly melancholy note, so don’t watch if you want to feel uplifted, but certain more light-hearted and zany documentaries include ‘Twilight of the Porn Stars’ as well as ‘Louis and the Brothel’. If you know a bit about Louis, you’ll know they are going to be weird.

Mulan

This is a modern animated classic by Disney that challenges the female gender stereotype to deliver the powerful and stubborn Mulan – a young woman in ancient China who signs up to be a warrior to protect China and the Great Wall from the Huns of the north. Even though only men are allowed to fight, Mulan defies all odds and setbacks to protect her country by pretending to be a male, and becoming a soldier based on merit and not gender.

Alongside Mulan for the ride is Mushu, a quick-witted dragon with a chip on his shoulder voiced by Eddie Murphy. Mulan is perhaps a film that reignited Disney’s popularity and was one of the first to challenge gender stereotypes in animated film. Mulan isn’t just a film for kids – adults can get behind it too, and its $304m box office return reflects that, as well as its Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations. Before watching the live-action adaptation, Stan has the original Mulan for you to enjoy.

The Hurt Locker

Continuing the theme of war, but in a totally different light, the Hurt Locker is a slow-burning Iraq War thriller starring Jeremy Renner. Rather than just violence and war itself, the Hurt Locker explores the psychological nature and mental toughness needed to survive in a war zone. In a topic that is considered taboo – especially among military circles – PTSD is explored heavily. Will James (Renner) is the new squad leader of an Iraq War bomb squad, and the film details not only the precise and tense nature of dismantling bombs, but the odd relationships they form with Iraqi locals as well as how the bomb squad deals with disaster and death.

In 2010, the Hurt Locker was an underdog for the Academy Awards Best Picture accolade, up against strong competition that included James Cameron’s Avatar – with Cameron the ex-husband of Hurt Locker director Kathryn Bigelow. In fact, the Hurt Locker was the lowest-grossing film adjusted for inflation to ever win Best Picture, and the film’s understated nature is what wins hearts and minds of viewers.

The Ides of March

If you’ve just come out of watching the US election and you’re thinking ‘WTF’ then you’d be forgiven… it’s confusing and convoluted compared to Australian politics. The Ides of March details just this, with factional Democrats feuding and backstabbing, and let’s not even mention those other guys – the Republicans. If you know a bit about the Roman ‘Ides of March’ you’ll know that it’s the story of the assassination of Julius Caesar, and the modern-day film starring George Clooney and Ryan Gosling is an allegory to the Roman original.

Clooney plays Mike Morris, a Democrat running for president, while Gosling stars as Stephen Meyers, the junior campaign manager. There’s a sexual scandal, a suicide and a whole lot of political talk, but it’s every bit as thrilling as any old murder mystery. Paul Giamatti is perhaps the most compelling actor featured, who plays Tom Duffy – the opposing campaign manager in the Democratic Primary election. This is a film that proves that politics is a dirty sport, and it’s not just the other party you have to watch out for. Often, friendly fire is what kills an entire campaign, and the Ides of March is a slow-burning film that’s dialog-rich and one that will have you thinking about it for days afterward.

Mobile phone plans with unmetered Stan streaming

Plans with unmetered Stan streaming are few and far between, but there is one provider that is known to offer it. You may have heard of it; it’s called Optus. Currently on many postpaid mobile phone plans over $40 a month, Optus offers data-free Stan streaming, which can see your data go further. Usually you’ll have to sign up for 24 months on a new plan with a phone bundled in, but prepaid users aren’t left in the dark either. Prepaid customers can often receive bonus data for streaming – up to 10GB – which is a big bonus. Below are some plans with the new iPhone X that can get access to unmetered Stan.

Are you ready to binge on Stan?

Don’t just stop at these 10 shows and movies listed above. Stan has a pretty wide range of both shows and movies, and particularly stands out for its Australian content. If you’re tired of scrolling through Stan’s huge library then we hope we’ve sparked some interest with this list. In any case, these lists are always heavily subjective, so the next time you’re ready for a Stan binge, make sure to rate stuff you like and add things to your list so Stan helps you find other things you may want to watch. Grab the popcorn, your pyjamas and blanket, and set yourself up for a night in.

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