Streaming Highlights, July 31 to August 6: Zomboat!, Fear City: New York vs The Mafia & Tickled

OUTLANDISH: Cara Theobold and Leah Brotherhead in the comedy-horror series Zomboat! Below, a scene from Fear City: New York vs The Mafia.
OUTLANDISH: Cara Theobold and Leah Brotherhead in the comedy-horror series Zomboat! Below, a scene from Fear City: New York vs The Mafia.

ZOMBOAT!

Stan

The cult UK comedy-horror classic Shaun Of The Dead is often cited as being a by-product of post 9/11 anxiety. There's nothing like hordes of flesh-eating zombies to mirror fears of society's impending destruction.

In that sense new British series Zomboat! appears perfectly suited for our current COVID-19 pandemic.

However, if you go searching for too much meaning in Zomboat! you'll end up disappointed. But if you approach the series as intended - a silly parody of horror films, social media narcissism and online gaming culture - you'll enjoy the ludicrous ride.

The English city of Birmingham has been overtaken by a zombie apocalypse and the only apparent survivors are online gamer and self-confessed zombie expert, Kat, and her frivolous sister Jo.

They escape the advancing zombies in a boat and that travels at a snail-like pace along the canals. On the journey they're joined by the sarcastic Sunny and his gym-obsessed air-head friend, Amar, in their bid to avoid the comical zombies.

If you enjoy cartoonish blood and gore and snappy pop culture references in your humour, Zomboat! is worth dropping a line. Those that enjoy subtly, should venture on.

GRITTY: A real-life surveillance photograph of the New York mafia.

GRITTY: A real-life surveillance photograph of the New York mafia.

FEAR CITY: NEW YORK VS THE MAFIA

Netflix

Classic films like The Godfather and Goodfellas have created an enduring fascination with the American Mafia. Organised crime lingo like "wise guys" and "offer he can't refuse" are well established.

But there's something decidedly more chilling about hearing actual gangsters dish out threats or discuss business on convert recordings. These recordings are at the heart of Fear City: New York vs The Mafia.

It was also those recordings which were central to the FBI's case which brought New York's five mafia families - Gambino, Colombo, Bonanno, Lucchese, and Genovese - to justice in 1985 under the Racketeer Influenced and Corruption Organisations (RICO) Act.

The three-part documentary mostly tells the story from law enforcement's perspective, including interviews with former attorney and ex-New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who led the prosecution of the mob bosses.

The Big Apple's '70s and '80s skyline is almost its own character in the documentary, so often it is portrayed, as if hovering over the mafia with it's knowing gaze. It becomes all the more insidious when the doco explores how the mafia established the Concrete Club, which exhorted money from cement contractors at the height of Manhattan's development boom.

TICKLED

DocPlay

Australian streaming channel DocPlay offers an intriguing line-up of documentaries from near and far. Although many are not brand new, they are still new to our screens. Tickled follows New Zealand journalist David Farrier, a fan of the weird and wild, as he peels back the layers behind the bizarre activity known as "competitive endurance tickling". Farrier, who resembles Louis Theroux in style and manner, travels to the US to learn who is behind this strange project and becomes entangled in the story.

This story Set sail down the canal for the zombie apocalypse first appeared on Newcastle Herald.