13 Netflix Shows You’re Not Watching But Should
All of the hidden gems to find in your favorite streaming service
The fear of missing out, or FOMO, is a very real anxiety in our modern and oversaturated age. There’s so much to do and see, and we’re constantly aware that we can’t possibly squeeze it all in. Nowhere is this more apparent than with TV. New shows are being produced at a dizzying rate. There’s simply too much great television available all the time, and finding something to watch on any given evening can feel as hopeless as finding a needle in a haystack.
Look at what’s happening with Netflix. It wasn’t that long ago that they produced just a handful of original shows. But in 2018 alone, they’ve already spent between $12 and $13 billion on new content, with 85 percent of that budget earmarked for original programming. How many shows can you make for $13 billion? We’re guessing quite a lot. Brace yourself, “Netflix and chill” may soon become “Netflix and I just can’t keep up, there are too many shooooooows!”
But don’t stress, we’ve done the digging for you. Here are 13 of the best original series currently streaming on Netflix that deserve your attention. And if you’re looking for some great entertainment trivia, as well, check out the 50 Original Titles for Hit Movies We’re So Glad Didn’t Happen.
If you’ve been feeling vaguely sad since Breaking Bad went off the air, we have the series to make you feel excited about TV again. Ozark introduces us to a dirty financial adviser in Chicago, played by Jason Bateman, whose business partner gets murdered by a Mexican drug cartel after they catch him embezzling millions.
Bateman’s left standing, but he gets an offer he can’t refuse: Uproot his family and take them to Lake Ozark in Missouri so he can launder $500 million in drug money, and in exchange they won’t murder him and his family. The tense and violent moments come fast and furious, and in its second season, his wife Wendy (played by Laura Linney) has become increasingly ruthless.
The New York Times described this series as “Ozzie and Harriet and Zombies.” We’re not sure it’s possible to improve on that description, other than to say it’s a show where Drew Barrymore is a cannibal. Yes, the adorable child star of E.T. and ingenue of countless Adam Sandler comedies eats human beings.
She and her on-screen husband, played by the wonderful Timothy Olyphant (Deadwood), are real estate agents stuck in a midlife funk. At least until Barrymore’s character dies and comes back to life as a zombie full of renewed energy and a voracious appetite for human flesh. It’s a scathing satire of middle age anxiety, and proof that Barrymore still has some serious comedic chops. And for more great shows, check out the 13 Hulu Shows You’re Not Watching But Should.
It wasn’t that long ago that a TV character with autism would’ve been inconceivable, or at best fodder for a show’s “very special” episode where everybody learns something about accepting people with special needs. But in this series, Sam, the 18-year-old high school kid with autism, isn’t a C-plot or background character. He’s the lead, the guy trying to find love and not always succeeding. His flaws and frustrations are relatable even if you’ve never known somebody with autism. Just like any of us, he sometimes tries too hard, says the wrong thing, and is vulnerably and perfectly human.
If a new sci-fi from Matrix creators the Wachowski siblings isn’t enough to tantalize you, consider the show’s premise: Eight people, all of them strangers, living very different lives all over the world—from San Francisco to Iceland, Chicago to Mexico City—begin randomly and inexplicably switching places with each other. What on earth is going on? Even the characters can’t make sense of it.
But that’s part of the beauty of Sense8. It’s one of those rare shows, like the late, great island drama Lost, that’s in no hurry to explain everything, and instead lingers on character relationships and letting the truth of this strange fictional world slowly reveal itself.
It may look like a cartoon for kids, but this series is strictly adults only. In a nutshell, it’s about puberty—all the gross details and bodily fluids and hormonal urges that people rarely talk about out loud. Imagine one of those sex-ed videos, except with a sense of humor, entirely animated, and filled with more brutal honesty than any adolescent could possibly endure.
It can get disgusting, but it’s also strangely sweet in its aching portrayal of pubescent anxiety. The show can also get downright weird, like the horny ghost of Duke Ellington living in an attic, a pillow that somehow gets impregnated (don’t ask), and the “hormone monsters” (voiced by Maya Rudolph and series co-creator Nick Kroll).
A western that will make you fall in love with westerns again. This series was marketed as a “feminist western,” and that might be true—there is a mining town populated only by women trying to defend themselves from a nasty outlaw—but really, this is a show that celebrates all of the tropes that make the western genre so much dang fun.
With scene-stealing performances by Jeff Daniels and Merritt Wever, both of whom won Emmies for the show, and behind the scenes muscle like executive producer Steven Soderbergh and writer/director Scott Frank (Get Shorty, Minority Report), not giving Godless a chance is basically announcing to the universe that you’re not interested in joy.
You don’t need to have come of age in the 90s and been the nerdiest kid in your high school to find something to relate to in this painfully perfect teen dramedy, but it sure helps. Regardless of the nostalgia elements—and if you still yearn from VCRs, slap bracelets and A.V. Clubs, you’ll definitely get a little misty-eyed at almost every scene—there’s plenty to enjoy here for anybody who’s ever been young and insecure. In other words, everybody who has ever been a teenager. And yes, for the record, watching this show is one of the reasons You Should Be So Happy You’re Not a Teen Right Now.
This four-part miniseries, co-produced by Netflix and the BBC, stars Oscar-nominated actress Carey Mulligan as Kip Glaspie, a former Olympic pole vaulter turned London detective investigating the murder of a Middle Eastern pizza delivery guy.
But this is so much more than just another murder mystery; the “whodunit” premise is an excuse to explore a divisive political landscape, a Post-Brexit world colored by immigration fears and racism that’s always bubbling under the surface.
A remake of Spike Lee’s 1986 feature debut about a female artist named Nola Darling, who describes herself as “sex-positive, polyamorous, pansexual,” that manages to capture the original’s spirit while also making it more relatable for modern audiences.
Lee’s film had its problems, most notably a certain scene when one of Nora’s lovers doesn’t take no for an answer, and it’s played as just a minor bump in their relationship. The 2018 Nora is more uncompromising, less willing to accept a man’s needs over her own. To Lee’s credit, while he was involved in much of the creative direction, he collaborated with four female writers to bring Nola into the 21st century.
This futuristic thriller out of Brazil that has become one of the “most devoured” shows in the world, according to Netflix. But strangely, it hasn’t caught on in the U.S. yet. Which is confounding, given that it’s basically The Hunger Games but more brutal.
In a dystopian future, the world is divided into haves and have-nots, and the Inland poor get to compete in something called the Process, in which the winner gets to move to the Offshore, an environmentally engineered island paradise inhabited by the top 3% of humanity. A sci-fi nail-biter that’s really about economic inequality shouldn’t be this much fun.
If you want to get seriously freaked out, you should absolutely watch this fictional drama based on the true story of an FBI agent who spent his life profiling serial killers, trying to make sense of the raving lunacy of murder.
It should be no surprise that David Fincher, the twisted genius who gave us Seven and Zodiac, is the executive producer of this unsettling journey into one man’s attempt to wrestle order from chaos, to make cold-blooded murder something that can be understood and predicted. You want to root for him, hoping he’s going to crack the code of what drives a killer. But if you’ve watched any of Fincher’s movies, you know it’s always a safe bet to expect the unexpected.
If All In the Family had been animated by Mike Judge as a more profane and unsentimental King of the Hill, the result would’ve been this show. Set in the 1970s, it celebrates the family dynamics in a world before helicopter parenting. Yes, this is a true ’70s family, where parents are oblivious and an 11-year-old with a bowl cut has almost no adult supervision. It’ll either make you nostalgic for the good old days or horrified at how kids in the ’70s survived without lasting emotional and physical damage.
Just another teen road trip movie in which one of the characters thinks he might be a serial killer sizing up his next victim. Of course, it’s not that simple, and the would-be teen psycho, James, discovers he has more in common with his car sidekick, Alyssa, than he ever realized. It’s a “will they or won’t they” romantic comedy in which the “won’t they” part has more to do with a bloody death than a first kiss, which is exactly the dark tone that makes this show so compelling. Hey, what were you expecting from a show with an expletive in the title?
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