The Best Netflix Shows You’re Not Watching
All of the hidden gems on your favorite streaming service
The fear of missing out is a very real anxiety in our modern and oversaturated world today. There’s so much to do and see that we can’t possibly squeeze it all in. And 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 knowing what to watch and what to skip can be truly overwhelming.
After all, it wasn’t that long ago that Netflix produced just a handful of original shows. But last year, according to a Variety report, they spent a touch more than $12 billion on original series, up 35 percent from the previous year. And for 2019, that number is expected to rise to a staggering $15 billion. Brace yourself, “Netflix and chill” may soon become “Netflix and I just can’t keep up because there are too many shows!”
But don’t stress, we’ve done the digging for you. These are the best original series currently streaming on Netflix that deserve your attention.
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 (Laura Linney) became increasingly ruthless. The time to catch up is now because Bateman revealed on Twitter that a third season is coming, sometime in 2019.
Santa Clarita Diet
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 (The Grinder, Deadwood), are real estate agents stuck in a midlife funk. That is, 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. If you don’t believe us, the show’s third season, which premiered in its entirety this past March, has a Rotten Tomatoes approval rating of 100 percent. Sadly, it won’t be returning for a fourth season, but it’s still worth a watch.
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 (Kier Gilchrist), 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. After two grounding-breaking seasons, the show will be returning for a third season sometime in the fall of 2019.
Love, Death & Robots
Fight Club director David Fincher teamed up with Deadpool director Tim Miller to create this sci-fi anthology series, which features 18 different episodes, all less than 20 minutes long (perfect for bite-sized binging, in other words). Every episode is animated by a different team of artists, making for 18 extremely different—yet no less visually splendid—animation styles. And trust us when we say things get really weird—like, Twilight Zone weird. For instance, there’s one short, “When the Yogurt Takes Over,” that’s exactly what it sounds like: Yogurt develops consciousness, takes over humanity, and departs for galactic domination. And that’s one of the less wacky episodes. If you like your sci-fi to be extra bizarre, this is the series for you.
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 a storyline about “hormone monsters” (voiced by Maya Rudolph and series co-creator Nick Kroll). There are two seasons on Netflix to enjoy, and, according to the show’s Twitter account, a third season will be coming later in 2019.
The Dragon Prince
Still feeling a little traumatized that Game of Thrones is over? You’re in luck! This new show by writer Aaron Ehasz (Avatar: The Last Airbender) could be described as a less bloody—‚and, literally, more animated—take on Game of Thrones. It’s all the magic and medieval you loved from Westeros, but in a series you can actually watch with your family. The first two seasons are waiting for you, and a third season is coming soon, which co-creator Ehasz promised is “going to break you in good and bad ways.”
The Toys that Made Us
There’s something for everyone in the first two seasons of this Netflix docuseries, whether you grew up coveting Star Wars or G.I. Joe action figures, or if you still have waves of nostalgia for Barbie and Hello Kitty. A third season is coming in 2019, which will look at the toy histories of childhood favorites like My Little Pony and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and we couldn’t be more excited.
She’s Gotta Have It
Yes, this is a remake of Spike Lee’s 1986 feature debut about a female artist named Nola Darling (DeWanda Wise), who describes herself as “sex-positive, polyamorous, pansexual.” Netflix’s version 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 21st century Nora is more uncompromising, less willing to accept a man’s needs over her own. While Lee was involved in much of the creative direction of the TV show, he collaborated with a group of female writers to bring Nola into today’s times. This is especially apparent in the second season, which premiered May 24th, which sees Nola involved in a relationship with a single mother, and struggling with the challenges of monogamy.
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. The have-nots 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 percent of humanity. A sci-fi nail-biter that’s really about economic inequality shouldn’t be this much fun. Season 3 is coming on June 7th, so now’s the time to catch up. (Check out the new trailer to whet your appetite.)
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
This story of a half-witch, half-mortal teenager named Sabrina has very little in common with the Melissa Joan Hart sitcom from the ’90s. The tone is more reminiscent of Harry Potter and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And with Kiernan Shipka playing Sabrina—who some may remember as Sally Draper on Mad Men—this show has made witches and magic seem legitimately spooky again. You can catch its second season on Netflix now.
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 the unsettling journey of Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff). It’s an attempt to wrestle order from chaos, to make cold-blooded murder something that can be understood and predicted. You want to root for Holden, hoping he’s going to crack the code to reveal 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. The second season is coming in August 2019.
F Is for Family
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 F Is for Family. Set in the 1970s, this series celebrates the family dynamics in a world before helicopter parenting. Yes, the parents are oblivious and the 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. Season 3 ended with a huge cliffhanger—one that we wouldn’t dream of ruining for you here—but there’s plenty of time to catch up before the show returns with Season 4 in 2020.
Kiss Me First
This cautionary tale about the perils of virtual reality first aired in Britain, where it found a rabid cult following. The first season, which debuted on Netflix in 2018, is still searching for its American audience, which is amazing given that it’s basically the TV lovechild of Black Mirror and The Matrix. Check out the first six episodes and be ahead of the curve when the inevitable second season arrives and becomes the series that everybody’s talking about. And for more talked about television, here are The New TV Shows Everyone Will Be Talking About in 2019.
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