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Three streaming series that bow out so gracefully it's as joyous as TV gets

With so many entertainment options, it's easy to miss brilliant streaming shows, movies and documentaries. Here are the ones to hit play on, or skip.

Orange Is The New Black

Netflix

Not every successful series knows how to exit gracefully but the seventh and final instalment of Orange is the New Black is its most thoughtful, its most assured, and its most satisfying yet.

 That's a wrap: Orange is the New Black season 7 is streaming on Netflix.

That's a wrap: Orange is the New Black season 7 is streaming on Netflix.

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It continues to mine the themes that have always formed its foundation – not least the power of white privilege – but it raises fresh issues too, while giving all our favourite characters something meaningful to do. Most importantly, without leaving us hanging too much it remains as complicated, as open, as hopeful and as hopeless as it ever was.

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Preacher

Stan*

There have been a lot of shows in the last decade pondering the nature of God. From Supernatural’s “God has left the building” to the kooky The Good Place and the even more cheerfully disrespectful Good Omens, a lot of writers are having a ball wondering what the hell The Big Guy is up to.

Pip Torrens as Herr Starr and Mark Harelik as God in Preacher season 4.

Pip Torrens as Herr Starr and Mark Harelik as God in Preacher season 4.Credit:Lachlan Moore/AMC/Sony Pictures

This wild and wonderful addition to the lists, based on the Vertigo comic of the same name, began with our Preacher (Dominic Cooper) on a mission from God and ended the first season with the suggestion that we are, in fact, all already in Hell. It was a journey that sometimes tested our endurance but was ultimately richly rewarding. The next two seasons brought genuine character development and solid narrative structure, and at the same time threw the rulebook out the window (after first shredding the pages, dousing them in vodka, and setting them on fire).

Lachy Hulme as Frankie in Preacher season 4 .

Lachy Hulme as Frankie in Preacher season 4 .Credit:Lachlan Moore/AMC/Sony Pictures

What Preacher is "about" is rather beside the point. (For a bit of fun, check out Wikipedia’s episode summaries.) Like Legion, it’s one of those shows whose meaning often feels elusive, just on the edge of our understanding. At other times it delivers the pleasure of an “Oh! I get it!” moment – and the payoff’s all the greater for the perplexity that preceded it. In between times, we get sly wordplay, high-octane action, cartoonish splatter, and wonderfully charismatic characters (Cooper is joined by Ruth Negga as his raised-from-the-dead career criminal girlfriend Tulip, and Joseph Gilgun as Cassidy, a vampire). Preacher’s absurd sense of humour is a reliable source of entertainment.

And this final season is all the more fun because it’s largely filmed in Melbourne and surrounds. Apart from anything else, that means lots of cameos from Aussie actors. Noah Taylor has been in the cast for a while, playing Adolf Hitler (who at one point escapes from Hell and ends up working in a diner). Joining him this season are David Field as a gleefully corrupt angel and Lachy Hulme as maniacal torturer.

Needless to say, all three gents seem to be having a whale of a time. It also probably goes without saying that Preacher exists at the fringes of Golden Age television: erudite, boundary-pushing but also bloody, profane, and decidedly niche. (Imagine the Cohen brothers on acid.) For those of us who have been on the rollercoaster from the beginning, this is a thrilling return. For the neophyte, all three previous seasons await.

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iZombie

Stan*

This delicious series has finally come to an end but of course in the world of streaming there is no beginning and no end: like zombies, great shows are there for eternity. In a good way.

Pictured (L-R): Malcolm Goodwin as Clive and Rose McIver as Liv in iZombie, season 4.

Pictured (L-R): Malcolm Goodwin as Clive and Rose McIver as Liv in iZombie, season 4.Credit:Bettina Strauss/The CW

The brainchild of Veronica Mars’ Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero-Wright, iZombie is a comedy, it’s a crime-of-the-week, it’s jam-packed with both bad puns and pop culture, and (because every week someone eats a dead person’s brain then assumes that person’s personality) a delightful acting masterclass. Despite the brain-eating, it’s about as joyous as TV gets.

The Twist

ABC iview

Can’t get enough true crime? This fun series of animated shorts covers great crimes from Australian history, recent and not so much.

The first episode – Arthur Upfield and the Murdoch murders, taking place around the building of the rabbit-proof fence – is one of those things you probably could make up, but if you did no one would believe you. Other instalments cover pistols at dawn in Melbourne’s Treasury Gardens, scams in Burundi, and more. Fine for adults, perfect for older kids with a taste for the gruesome.

Bullets

SBS On Demand

Fabulous Euro-thriller from Finland (actually a German/Belgian/Finnish co-pro) focusing on two complicated women. Mari is an intelligence officer who constantly works undercover. Madina is a former terrorist, drug mule, and all-round villain who’s all sorts of other things as well.

Bullets comes from the co-producers of The Bridge, The Killing and The Millenium Trilogy.

Bullets comes from the co-producers of The Bridge, The Killing and The Millenium Trilogy.

Bullets isn’t a crime drama in the usual sense – there’s no real whodunit driving the narrative. It’s more a high-stakes psychological journey with most of our interest focused on who these two fascinating women really are, and which of them will ultimately triumph.

Younger

Stan*

An incredible seventh season of this delightful sitcom has just been announced, which is a credit more to the fabulous writing and performances than to any particularly longevity in the concept.

Hillary Duff in Younger season 6.

Hillary Duff in Younger season 6.

On the contrary, the whole idea here is ridiculous: a woman in her 40s pretends to be in her 20s in order to get a job. And sure, Younger has – and does – explore ageism, the generation gap, the changing workplace, and all the other issues that setup invites. But it’s really the sophisticated character studies, supported by wonderful performances from Sutton Foster, Miriam Shor, Hilary Duff and Peter Hermann (among others) that has given it such life and spark.

In that respect it’s probably the most mature work Darren Star has produced. He and his writers still hit all those familiar notes – great outfits, oodles of romance, New York City like a picture book – but there’s an intelligence and subtlety here that makes this rewarding in a way his other stuff is not. As well as the surface – as light and sweet as fairy floss - there’s actually substance. It’s a winning combo.

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