As technology evolves and more and more streaming is how we consume our entertainment, we have witnessed the rise of online streaming subscription companies like Amazon Prime and Netflix and as their subscriber numbers grew, they manage to expand into also creating their own content. An ever successful endeavour as these shows, documentaries, films and specials have not only been a driving force in the motivation behind some subscribers but also have gained professional recognition at some of the most prestigious entertainment awards ceremonies. Personally, and with many others I know, standard television is becoming a ever-decreasing presence in my life as I cannot remember the last time I sat down in front of the TV instead of streaming my content at my leisure and being able to binge watch entire series of programming. In my opinion, Netflix Originals and other shows that Netflix plays a hand in commissioning are some of the best quality pieces of entertainment that have been created in a very long time. In no particular order, here are my top 10 Netflix shows – all of which I would recommend binge watching (I’ve added the amount of episodes so you can gauge how time-consuming it may be for you).
House of Cards – 4 seasons, 52 episodes
I don’t know if I’ve ever watched a programme that has shocked me so much, I have genuinely gasped more times than I can remember while watching this show. House of Cards is a political drama set in modern-day Washington D.C., it tells the story of Kevin Spacey’s character Frank Underwood, a Democrat, in his elaborate plan to become President after being passed over as Secretary of State with help from his equally ruthless wife, Claire. The show is so satisfying to the part of me that is enthralled by law-related programmes and is a study of pragmatism, manipulation and the struggle for power. It’s a great binge watch, possibly the greatest Netflix Original and I am so excited for the new season coming very soon!
The Crown – 1 season, 10 episodes
Another topic that really fascinates me is the British monarchy so when I saw that they were making this programme I instantly knew that I would love it. The show is a biographical story about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. The first season covers the period between the Queen’s marriage to Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in 1947 to the disintegration of her sister Princess Margaret’s engagement to Peter Townsend in 1955. It is perfectly intimate and feels very realistic and compelling. Claire Foy is absolutely stunning and inspires a huge amount of empathy for the difficulties that royalty brings to human relations. Luckily, Netflix released the whole first season at once and there is word that a second season is on the way which I cannot wait to devour.
Riverdale – 1 season, 13 episodes
I have been SO impressed with Riverdale, especially near the end of the season. The series is based on the Archie Comics and follows Archie, Betty, Jughead and Veronica as they face a mysteriously dangerous small town filled with gangs, blackmail and murder, all placed on the familiar backdrop of a high school drama. It is a really captivating watch because it provides mystery but also answers these questions without too much of a wait and replaces this with more questions. Every episode have several points of interest so you never feel like you watched an uneventful episode. In particular, the last three episodes have given so many twists and turns, you’d think you were driving on a country lane. It is so satisfying and surprising to watch and I would absolutely recommend. Don’t know how I’m going to cope waiting until Autumn 2018 to find out what happened after that cliff hanger!
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – 2 Seasons, 26 episodes
A little different to the rest of the list that is pretty drama heavy, Unbreakable is a light-hearted sitcom series made up of 25-minute long episodes based around Kimmy Schmidt as she readjusts to life in NYC after her rescue from a doomsday cult in Indiana where she and three other women were held in an underground bunker by Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne for 15 years. This may sound like a gritty topic when in fact it is made eternally bright and sunny by the unyielding positivity of Kimmy and the eccentricity of her flatmate Titus, landlady Lillian and boss Jacqueline. It’s a wacky comedy with humour similar to that of The Office or Parks and Rec with the added bonus of bright colours and stagey characters.
Girlboss – 1 season, 13 episodes
Girlboss is loosely based on the rise of “Nasty Girl” founder, Sophia Amoruso, from an aimless, barely employable slacker to the CEO of one of the fastest growing companies in America, an eBay store selling modified vintage clothes. It’s an interesting and modern show with relatable characters and interesting storylines following her love life and her journey towards finding her feet as a professional after floundering a little trying to figure out what the adult her looks like. It’s a rather funny affair and features the wonderful Rupaul as her eccentric neighbour, a highlight.
Dear White People – 1 season, 10 episodes
This satirical comedy-drama follows a group of students of colour as they suffer prejudices towards them at a predominantly white college. Each episode focuses on an individual student and their perspective which provides a wide variety of different opinions and feelings towards the discrimination. It is a very topical show for this present moment and deals with a lot of the anger you may have about the inequality and rash choices made against POC for just being. It is very well written, witty and interesting to watch.
Making a Murderer – 1 season, 10 episodes
You probably watched this at the time, or at least heard the hype. I do think that it’s worth it because I was gripped from start to finish – it was one of those programmes that had me staying up all night because I couldn’t stand to put it away. In case you missed it though, the American documentary series follows the case of Steven Avery, a man from Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, who served 18 years in prison for the wrongful conviction of sexual assault and attempted murder of Penny Beerntsen, before being fully exonerated in 2003 by DNA evidence. He filed a suit against the county on this case. In 2005, Avery was arrested on charges of murdering Teresa Halbach, a local photographer, and was convicted in 2007, however the documentary throws a heavy amount of doubt towards whether or not Avery was truly guilty, especially considering his first experience with incarceration. It is a very interesting watch and it’s almost sickening to think about how innocent people can lose such a large proportion of their lives to unjust convictions. 100% worth watching if you haven’t already.
Orange is the New Black – 4 Seasons, 52 episodes
Everybody knows about it and while, at times, it doesn’t always live up to the hype, OITNB is a great watch. I don’t know if it really needs much explanation but it is an interesting show, with plenty of episodes to binge if you haven’t already watched it. OITNB chronicles the experiences of Piper Chapman’s time under incarceration at Litchfield Penitentiary. Although there was a serious lag with the uneventful season 3 that basically just focused on selling panties, season 4 left us with an incredible cliff-hanger, the results of which are about to be revealed!
Bo Burnham: Make Happy – 1 episode (60mins)
Bo Burnham is one of my favourite comedians, he is kind of like a mixture between the young man ‘lad-ish’ style humour of a Russell Howard mixed with the musical wit of Tim Minchin. I first discovered Bo through his incredibly funny ‘what?’ show (which is also on Netflix), but they treated us to more with a Netflix comedy special filmed from a live gig. According to IMDB, this special tackles life, death, sexuality, hypocrisy, mental illness and Pringles cans in his dazzling new stand-up special. Doesn’t that sound like a great lineup? He is satirical, sarcastic, ironic, quick-witted, with quite a dark humour, his one liners are sure to have you laughing!
13 Reasons Why – 1 season, 13 episodes
The latest fad of the Netflix world, which was perhaps over-hyped resulting in a somewhat disappointed audience, it is a show that deals with some very important topics. Unfortunately, its internet outburst resulted in a lot of meme and joke activity which sadly makes light of very serious issues. The series is based on Jay Asher’s novel of the same name. The series revolves around a high school student, Clay Jensen, and his friend, Hannah Baker, who committed suicide after suffering a series of demoralising circumstances, brought on by select individuals at her school. A box of cassette tapes recorded by Hannah before her suicide details thirteen reasons why she ended her life. In approaching issues such as bullying, sexual assault and mental illness, it has of course attracted controversy for perhaps not handling these topics delicately or ‘properly’, it does bring around a consideration of thinking about how we treat one another. I found myself gripped to the series and wanted to know what would come next although I did think some scenes were too graphic and uncomfortable, I suppose that’s how they’re supposed to feel: unpleasant. A second series has been commissioned and I wish they had just left it at one, why? This.
What do you think of this list of favourites? Do you have any other must-watch suggestions, let me know!