There’s no other way to describe it: we are living in a golden age of TV shows. Streaming series has changed the way a lot of people live their lives – I know it has changed mine. This might be the very definition of a first-world problem, but I have to think really carefully before I commit to finishing another series– I just don’t have space in my life for them all.
So with that in mind, allow me to present a few of the best serials on Netflix (the granddaddy of the streaming platform) right now. From punchy in-house originals to old favourites to the reboots everyone has been begging for, I can almost guarantee that you’ll love these and will be far to engrossed to do any – ahem – chilling.
If you’re a fan of moody true-crime documentaries like Making a Murderer and The Keepers (don’t forget to add them to your queue) you’ll get a kick out of American Vandal. Shot in the same way and superbly well-written, it follows the story of Dylan Maxwell (Jimmy Tatro) who has been accused of spray-painting “dicks” on the cars of faculty members at his school, Hanover High.
Maxwell says he is innocent, but his past behaviour (including drawing the offensive items on whiteboards) suggests otherwise. Peter Maldondo (Tyler Alverez), who works on the high school’s morning show, is the only one who thinks Maxwell might be telling the truth. This brilliant parody won a Peabody Award in 2018, and once you’ve watched it you’ll see why.
The premise seems a little ridiculous, but that’s a device that has proven successful for a lot of satirical cartoon shows. The titular Bojack, voiced by Will Arnett, is a washed-up actor and horse from a ’90s sitcom called Horsin’ Around. By the final episode of season 1, this series has already evolved into the acerbic, hilarious and poignant look at pop culture and depression that has made fans appreciate it so much.
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Arrested Development was incredibly popular when its first 3 seasons were released. The series followed the escapades of the dysfunctional and once high-society Bluth family once they fell from grace. As the family patriarch languishes in prison, first-born son Michael (Jason Bateman) vacillates between hating everyone except his son George-Michael Michael (Michael Cera) and trying to reconcile them all.
Seasons 1 through 3 are definitely worth watching again, and you can also check out the Netflix-commission reboot. Season 4 deviated from the ensemble cast structure of each episode to focus more on a single character at a time, and got mixed reviews. Stick it out though; it’s worth it for Season 5 (now halfway-through) when the scriptwriters return to form.
During the 1970s and 1980s, the FBI ran a behavioural science unit to study a terrifying crime phenomenon that seemed to be on the rise; serial killers. This series is based on that, and the life of John E Douglas who served as the inspiration for the Jack Crawford character in Hannibal. Douglas is channelled into the character of Holden Ford, who is played by Jonathan Groff. Watching the evolution of now-commonplace profiling is fascinating, even more so because Ford becomes dangerously obsessed with the killers who were fixated on their victims. With David Fincher serving as executive producer and sometime director, you can expect a visual and psychological feast.
Dear White People
Based on a movie with the same name, this thought-provoking Netflix original takes more bites out of modern society than a pint of acid. Dense layers of -isms are explored as Logan Browning and the rest of the cast grapple with college-campus racial politics. Expect issues such as the different challenges that darker- and lighter-skinned people of colour face, and whether black people should work within the current system or fight it with something new. Always well written, always eye-opening, and always thought provoking, it’s an all-round winner.