In this time of need, I guess we all need some recommendations. Especially since Netflix is pretty lousy in its. Let’s say it – they only suggest their shows and there’s A LOT of content that is worth watching and completely lost in the void. So I want to give you a list of shows that I enjoyed and I did watch on the platform. I can’t guarantee they’re still available in every country but it’s definitely a start and since a few of them are more or less “Netflix originals” you should find a few ideas.
It started as a guilty pleasure and became one of the handful shows I watch when it airs. The reason I started Outlander was simply Scotland and its history. I’m down for anything Scottish including mountains and whisky. Always. I didn’t even expect to enjoy it. After all, it was a romance and I can barely stand anything that focuses on love as the main idea. Outlander proved me wrong on so many levels.
First and foremost, even if the subject is love, it is love done well. Even when cliches occur, the characters are vivid enough to make it a new experience. And the further you go, the more it defends itself. It goes way further than feelings. Frankly, today I can’t think of anything bad about it.
The story is based on books by Diana Gabaldon. These are huge and full of details which is pretty useful for the show (I’ve read only three of them and I don’t know if I‘ll ever go on, but I still have them all on my bookshelf). The main story is simple: Claire is “teleported” in time through standing stones in Inverness from past World War II to the eighteenth century. And she kinda has to make her way there. And it’s not an easy journey, especially since one redcoat captain looks exactly like his descendant who happened to be her husband. I won’t be saying much else, give it a chance.
I seriously don’t understand why it isn’t loved. In my world, this is the best zombie show on modern TV. And it gets quite accurate in the time of the pandemic. I guess we all need a Ravi Chakrabarti now.
Based on the Vertigo comic-books, it is telling a story of Liv Moore whose life is torn apart because of her zombieism. She starts working at the morgue to have a humane way of acquiring brains. But then it turns out brains have an impact on her. Not only she has visions from the life of the deceased but also her mindset is affected by the lifestyle of the victim. So Rose McIver plays a different role with almost every episode. And it is just pure fun. Especially since Liv turns out to be a great asset in police investigations and an unaware detective hires her to help him solve crimes.
It is simple and fun. A little crime-procedural with a twist and the best thing that happened to The CW after Supernatural Season 5. It happens to have exquisite ideas about zombies and there’s a nice story going from one episode to another. So if you need something pleasant to relax after a hard-working day, it’s my pick for you.
My recent adoration and addiction. I watched it this year for the very first time and I already started a rewatch. I still feel guilty that I didn’t stick to it all the years ago I first started but wasn’t exactly in the mood for this exact setting. So do not turn it off before the first episode is over. Trust me, you’ll get there.
Based on an actual gang in Birmingham in the interwar period, Peaky Blinders is a show with a dark mood, incredible visuals and intelligent twists here and there. In between these, it has strong characters who make their way in the cruel industrialism of last century England. The first season starts off almost right after The Great War and introduces Thomas Shelby’s plot to create his own empire. And this bad boy is pretty likeable in his viciousness.
Avatar: The Last Airbender
The only “anime” that stuck with me entirely. Avatar is my childhood memory but I actually finished watching it only a few years ago. The best thing about the series is its world. It has similarities to ours and plenty of symbolism but a little bit of magic does wonder.
In short, there’s an Avatar, one person in the whole world that can control the bending of all four elements. It moves in regeneration from one person to another and is destined to secure the balance of the world. And he disappeared when he was needed the most. The balance is completely off, Fire Nation started world wide war and only the Avatar can stop it. This time though, it appears he’s just a 10-year-old kid.
The story is childlike simple, but there’s power in it. A lot of relatable characters, humour and Easter Eggs. It is light entertainment for a tired mind if you need to relax but make it worthwhile.
PS. This is the proper Avatar.
PPS. Do not ever watch the live-action film. Don’t even check it.
Locke and Key
I am not entirely satisfied with the first season, but Locke and Key is an idea worth to check out. There’s a house with hidden keys that do something more than open doors. They can do so much more like transport you to any door you visualise or put something on fire. The sole discovery of these with the protagonists is fun.
It has ups and downs – some understandable, some not. A few things that happened were truly moronic and the main trio isn’t 100% likeable (my favourite is the youngest which is never the case). It is a nice mystery to follow, though. I like watching something obvious when I do some no-words creative stuff so I guess this can somehow explain the appeal.
Bonus info: This is an adaptation of a comic series by Joe Hill. The guy was raised by Stephen King so I don’t expect anything ordinary out of him (he’s his son).
A Series of Unfortunate Events
This is one of the best ever adaptations that existed. The series is based on books and every two episodes equal one book. In total – 13 books (have you really expect any other number). ASOUE is a story of three orphaned children and their peculiar yet depressing story. The tone of the series is something extraordinary, though. Lead by Patrick Warburton’s Lemony Snicket as narrator, with a lot of secrets on the way and strongly highlighted warning: do not watch this show. I strongly advise against it and I am sure even though it isn’t a tale with a happy ending, it has all sorts of values.
Characters are the core. Neil Patrick Harris created the spot-on Count Olaf adding a few ideas of his own but perfectly suiting the personage. Then we have the trio of Baudelaire siblings and they are as vivid and smart as expected. They were my biggest fear since child actors can be unpredictable but loved every single one of them (including other ones further in the story). The engine of the series is the fortune the siblings inherited and Olaf’s desire to acquire it. So he plots all sorts of plans against Baudelaires which gives the story its special ironic tone.
I am saddened that Netflix cancelled it but it does have the ending it deserves because of the fandom. The idea itself is amazing. Eight people are connected mentally and emotionally, they are from all around the world, they don’t know one another and they are completely different. The series focuses especially on this connection which sometimes makes the main story be ignored for a longer moment.
Sense8 is created by Wachowskis (Matrix, Cloud Atlas, Jupiter Ascending) and it has all ups and downs their films do. Too chaotic, too confusing but also extremely beautiful with incredible diversity in characters and remarkable technicals. So even if the story may lack something sometimes, it’s still worth checking out. Just a fair warning, it contains all sorts of sex. And I mean that. Beautifully shot and scripted, yes. But literally all sorts.
The show that made me love Richard Madden. I seriously despised the guy in Game of Thrones, don’t judge me. In Bodyguard, he truly proved to me that his acting is worth something. He is the title character here but his job turns to be way more complicated than he wanted. There are all sorts of situations combined together to create a web of different situations connected with one another.
In short, it is a contemporary political drama that includes secret missions and rebellious parties. But there’s also a personal conflict of interest on more than just one level. Quite thrilling and made extremally in detail.
Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance
I hate puppets. They’re creepy and make me feel uncomfortable. Especially the kinds from Muppets or Sesame Street. I’ve never watched it and I still think Ernie has a paedophile look. I have nothing against the art of puppetry, it was just not for me. I guess not that kind of kid. Dolls were never appealing to me (leave action figures and Pops out of this category, please).
That was the reason I was postponing Dark Crystal forever. It happened that one day I had nothing appealing on my watchlist. I needed something easy, some sort of background noise. And I fell hard. Dark Crystal turned out to be not what I expected but definitely something interesting.
The whole fantasy world, the ideas and the creatures are mindblowing, especially when you realise it is mostly handmade. After getting used to the idea of puppetry – the way they walk and talk – it all seems so real. There were moments I actually reminded myself they were puppets. For instance, the project of Skeksis stole my heart. These evil bird-like creatures looked so incredible, I had to tell myself they aren’t real.
Secondly, the voice cast is extremely worth checking out: Taron Egerton, Mark Hamill, Simon Pegg are only a few I can name. And when you listen closely enough, you get twice as amazed. My personal favourite is what Simon Pegg did, mainly because he mimicked his character almost 1:1 with its previous appearance.
The idea of the story is simple – you have a group of ugly antagonists and another group of adorable protagonists trying to fight. These are bad, these are good. Most of the story is simple, but when applied to this world, it is something worth watching. The sole discovery of creatures and places is amazing. And if this isn’t enough, Aughra is still too badass not to meet her.
The series is a prequel to a film from the 80s. You can watch both, but it isn’t necessary. I watched the series first and I think there’s no good order of watching. If you want to break the ice with Dark Crystal, I believe Age of Rebellion is an easier entrance. Technology changed, even in puppetry. But the film is also worth seeing. The most problematic case is – if you watch the series it will spoil you the film; if you watch the film – it will spoil the series. You have to decide what you want first.
This show is super important. Firstly, because of David Tennant being not a Doctor (except this one scene). Secondly, because it’s the easiest way to see Olivia Colman being the Oscar-worthy actress she is before she got the Oscar. Thirdly, Josie Whittaker AKA the new Doctor is flawless there. Fourth, everything else.
This series is a little tough because it covers subjects such as the death of a child and rape. Simple detective mystery where everyone is a suspect. The endings may or may not surprise but the acting skills of the cast are remarkable. So prepare yourselves for a huge amount of emotions of all kinds – from rage to sorrow, from regret to grief. I don’t know any other police show that focuses on people so much and so gracefully.
Just firstly check that you watch the British version. I survived half the episode of the American remake and it is not worth it (and I do hate Anna Gunn/Walter White’s wife acting).
That’s it. I have some more if you need, so let me know if you enjoyed this bunch and if you want me to work on another. It’s all up to the audience!
PS. If you want to cheat Netflix, I recommend this: