Netflix is wonderful, but it uses some pretty aggressive algorithms to get content in front of your eyeballs. That means you might not be seeing all that the Netflix catalog has to offer and therefore have missed out on some shows while you’ve been quarantine-binging. Many of us have been stuck inside practicing social distancing. You might think that all that time spent indoors has made you a Netflix aficionado and that you’ve seen all the great TV there is to see. We think you might have missed some gems!
As states move to reopen, it’s not going to be a free-for-all return to normal. Most states are reopening in phases and will not allow full capacities at restaurants, stores, and bars. That probably means you’re going to be spending less time at home, but still, a considerable amount more than you did before the pandemic began. Also, it’s going to be a minute before televised sporting events come back. With this in mind, we’ve compiled some TV shows to help you continue to practice social distancing and find something worthwhile to binge-watch.
7. Trial by Media
Executive producer George Clooney brings you an inside look at infamous courtroom dramas that played out like reality TV. The show examines the consequences of sensationalism and the way crimes are reported. When a trial moves from an actual courtroom to the court of public opinion, the results can be disastrous.
There are six episodes of the show and each one focuses on a different crime. The first episode entitled “Talk Show Murder” is riveting as it evaluates a murder that resulted from an episode of the Jenny Jones Show. The entire show is fascinating and illuminates the untold parts of scandals you thought you knew everything about.
6. I Am Not Okay with This
If you enjoyed Stranger Things but wished it was a little more grown-up, consider giving I Am Not Okay with This a try. This coming-of-age drama is lighter in tone than other similar teen dramas like The End of the F***ing World.
The show centers around Sydney who is trying to deal with the loss of her father, her budding sexuality, and newly discovered superpowers. The show seems like a cheap ripoff of Stephen King’s Carrie at first, complete with a blood-soaked young woman at a school dance, but keep going and the show turns out to be deeper and more humanist than you’d expect.
5. Middleditch & Schwartz
Not excited about the prospect of two dudes doing improv. together for three hours? We weren’t either. Prepare to be pleasantly surprised by Middleditch & Schwartz. Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley) and Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation) clearly seasoned their comedy chops on stage before they enjoyed success in film and television.
With three, long-form improvisation shows that were filmed in front of a live audience, the pair prove that they are masterful comedians. Whose Line is It Anyway? cemented a format for improv. theater on TV that seems extremely dated after seeing Middleditch & Schwartz. If you need a laugh, check out an episode.
4. Money Heist
Money Heist is the English title for La Casa de Papel, a Spanish language crime caper that’s slick, wacky, and a whole lot of fun. The cast is incredible and they’re working with some meaty material as each of their characters is fleshed out, three-dimensional and wonderfully weird.
As far as heist dramas go, the ones that are most successful know how to build and defuse tension. This show does so masterfully. We suggest turning the English dubbing off and turning on the subtitles. You get so much more from the actors’ performances that way.
3. The Innocence Files
You might have been sleeping on this documentary series because it seems extremely intense. It is. The series documents 8 cases of wrongful conviction and the work of the nonprofit organization, The Innocence Project. The Innocence Project working inside the Innocence Network labors to get justice for those who were wrongfully convicted and shine a light on dubious practices within our criminal justice system.
The stories are hard to hear but completely necessary. Once you see a wrongful conviction overturned and how it has impacted someone’s life, it will make you take pause and say to yourself, “that could have been me.”
2. Never Have I Ever
Unorthodox is the best thing Netflix has put out so far this year, but coming in close behind it is Never Have I Ever. It’s an entirely different show that’s as hilarious as it is heartfelt. The show is loosely based on its creator, Mindy Kaling’s childhood as a first-generation Indian American teenager. The main character, Devi played by Maitreyi Ramakrishnan is magnetic. Devi is prone to bad decisions, but she’s always got a joke up her sleeve to balance the seriousness of the consequences.
The young members of the cast dazzle as they portray overachieving and “thirsty” highschoolers. They are so, so funny. When Devi isn’t having fun with her friends, she’s butting heads with her strict mother who played by the unmatched, Poorna Jagannathan. It’s one of the most genuine mother-daughter relationships ever written for TV. Charming, bright, and at times profound, Never Have I Ever is a must-watch.
1. Derry Girls
Derry Girls is a bit of a hard sell. It’s about four girls who attend a (mostly) all-girls Catholic high school in Northern Ireland during The Troubles of the 1990s. It’s a comedy and it’s so stupid fun. The Derry accents on offer require subtitles at times, but the humor still translates.
Derry Girls features an ensemble cast, but the show is anchored by Erin, a girl who’s obsessed with American pop culture. She and her friends are constantly causing trouble or being blamed for any and everything that goes wrong. The very first episode, a bomb scare on a bridge rocks Derry and a neighboring town. That seems like a big deal, but the show sides with its protagonists and realizes the first day of school is a bigger issue instead. Teenage angst and melodrama fuel the show’s sensibilities. It’s a riot.
Now, we have all been doing a lot of Netflix lately. We hope at least one of these shows piques your interest and that you’ve discovered something new.