Hopefully everyone is having a great holiday season. Before we all get bogged down with the craziness of travelling, I thought that I’d come back with another list of 5 Fresh TV Show Recommendations. These picks will not only be great to watch with the family, but they are also addictive enough that you can isolate yourself from your loved ones in favor of watching them alone. These picks touch on several genres and you can find them all on Netflix.
Teen Drama| Romance| Thriller| 1 Season| 47-56m
Created By: Carlos Montero, Darío Madrona
Starring: Miguel Herrán, Arón Piper, Mina El Hammani, Omar Ayuso, María Pedraza, Itzan Escamilla, Miguel Bernardeau, Jaime Lorente, Álvaro Rico, Ester Expósito, Danna Paola
Recommended to me by a close friend of mine, Elite quickly proved to be worthy of its name. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a teen drama this steamy and entertaining (and I’ve watched Riverdale). I binged this series within the course of a day and I was beyond pleased with the way it expertly blended socio-economic commentary, polyamorous relationships and religious tolerance within the context of a murder mystery.
The Spanish language, yet English dubbed, Netflix series follows the the story of three working class students who get full ride scholarships to Las Encinas, the most prestigious private school in Spain, after their previous school’s roof collapses and displaces a majority of the lower class students. While at Las Encinas our three leads become enthralled in the most juicy drama I have ever seen displayed within a high school setting. You won’t be able to stop watching.
The whole thing feels like a mix of How to Get Away With Murder, Degrassi and Cruel Intentions (1999) and if that’s not enough to get your attention then I don’t know what else to tell you. I am positive that this series will pick up a ton of fans by the time its next season rolls around, so you may as well do yourself a favor now and get ahead of the hype. I assure you that Elite is all anyone is going to be talking about.
2. Get Shorty
Comedy| Drama| 2 Seasons| 48-64m
Created By: Davey Holmes
Starring: Chris O’Dowd, Ray Romano, Sean Bridgers, Carolyn Dodd, Lidia Porto, Goya Robles, Megan Stevenson, Lucy Walters, Sarah Stiles
This wacky tale of a hit man turned movie producer feels perfect for the era of Barry (even if that brilliantly executed show came after this one). Based on the Elmore Leonard novel (and painfully sub par film) of the same name, Get Shorty, feels like something Tarantino would’ve had a hand in during the early days of his career (considering the fact that the controversial director is heavily influenced by the late writer).
The story revolves around Miles Daly (Chris O’ Dowd), a muscle man for a viscous Nevada crime ring, who attempts to get back in his family’s good graces by becoming a film producer after stealing a script from a screenwriter who was indebted to his boss. However, in his attempt to get away from the world of crime, he accidentally brings it to Hollywood after including his boss in his scheme. Now with the help of Rick (Ray Romano), a has-been B-movie producer, Miles must produce a film that pleases his easily irritated boss and gets him the respect he believes he deserves.
I’ve had the novel version of Get Shorty since my sophomore year of college and I’ve made several (unsuccessful) attempts to read it throughout the years. While this adaptation differs greatly from the little I remember from the book and movie, I can honestly say that the story seems to fit more seamlessly into the world of television. With a talented cast and funny premise, Get Shorty makes for a great binge.
3. F is For Family
Comedy| Drama| Sitcom| 3 Seasons| 25-28m
Created By: Bill Burr, Michael Price
Starring: Bill Burr, Laura Dern, Justin Long, Haley Reinhart, Debi Derryberry, Sam Rockwell
I have to thank my college dorm neighbor for putting me on to this hilarious animated series my sophomore year of college, because I have looked forward to it every year since then. This politically incorrect satire works on so many levels and touches on taboo subject matter with a sophistication that shows like Family Guy and South Park couldn’t even dream of. As
From the cut throat, comedic minds of Bill Burr and Michael Price, this animated series is set in the 1970s and follows the highly dysfunctional Murphy family. The patriarch, Frank (Bill Burr), is a foul-mouthed Korean war veteran who does his best to make ends meet for his wife (Laura Dern) and their three growing children. Working as a scathing indictment of emotional abuse, racism, homophobia and much more, F is for Family touches on topics in a way that will stick with you long after the laughter has subsided.
F is for Family is definitely one of Netflix’s hidden gems and makes for a great comedic binge. With three strong seasons and a recognizable voice cast, I feel like I would be committing a grave injustice if I didn’t recommend this fantastic series. I sincerely hope y’all check it out and tell me what you think.
4. Sick Note
Comedy| 2 Seasons| 23-44m
Created By: Nat Saunders, James Serafinowicz
Starring: Rupert Grint, Nick Frost, Don Johnson, Pippa Bennett-Warner, Lindsay Lohan
When Netflix suggested Sick Note to me, I was more than a bit skeptical. Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Lindsay Lohan in a series together? That casting alone sounds ridiculous, but as usual, Netflix knows best. This British series proved to be a hysterical ride that would make for a great watch on a day that you have nothing to do. I binged the first season within the course of a day and I can confidently say that those first six episodes are practically perfect.
Sick Note follows Daniel (Rupert Grint), a compulsive liar who is stuck in a dead end job and a failing relationship. After learning he has esophageal cancer, things in Daniel’s life begin to improve. He is treated with more respect at work and his girlfriend no longer wants to break up with him, however there is just one problem: he was wrongfully diagnosed. Having grown accustomed to his new found social status, Daniel blackmails his doctor (Nick Frost) into helping him fake cancer treatment.
The cast of this series is fantastic. In addition to Grint and Frost, who share great on screen chemistry and comedic timing, there are a lot of up and coming stars who really add to the show’s appeal. Pippa Bennett-Warner in particular is a huge scene stealer and I can’t wait to see her in more work. Although the second season isn’t as strong as the first, Sick Note as a whole is still remarkably enjoyable and you’ll love spending time with cast. I highly recommend it.
5. The Sinner
Crime| Drama| Mystery| 2 Seasons| 40-46m
Developed By: Derek Simonds
Starring: Jessica Biel, Bill Pullman, Christopher Abbott, Nadia Alexander, Jacob Pitts
Last, but certainly not least, was a surprise that worked on multiple levels. The Sinner feels like a scathing indictment of religion, helicopter parenting, sexuality, gender roles and so much more. It was recommended to me by a really good friend of mine and I am truly grateful. This sinfully wild ride had me shook from start to finish and it’s something that everyone and their mamas should be watching.
The Sinner opens with Cora Tenneti (Jessica Biel) having a pleasant beach day with her husband and young son. Across from them sits a young couple who are minding their own business, listening to music when suddenly Cora snaps and stabs the man in the neck, unprovoked. She is, of course, immediately arrested and taken to prison. Case closed right? Wrong, because while she is being interrogated Cora shows great remorse and is just as, if not more, confused by her actions as everyone else. The remainder of the series follows Detective Harry Ambrose (Bill Pullman) as he tries to discover what caused Cora to react that way on the beach and uncover what happened to her five years ago during a two month period that she has absolutely no memory of.
This series has a great gimmick, but it could’ve easily fallen apart once the big mystery was solved; however it delivers a satisfying ending that leaves you exhausted from the eight-hour roller coaster. This is an exceptionally well written story that has a non-linear structure that works perfectly for its jaw-dropping revelations. The Sinner pushes the envelope with some extremely taboo subject matter and is superbly acted by our leads.
I haven’t seen Biel shine like this since 7th Heaven. Her heart-wrenching portrayal of a tortured young woman, who has been abused by the world is a career defining performance. She is one of the main reasons the audience sticks with the story long enough for it to play out as flawlessly as it does. She was worthy of every speck of acclaim she received. Another standout of the cast is Nadia Alexander (who many of us may recognize from the Netflix Series Seven Seconds) as Biel’s sickly younger sister, Phoebe. Her turn as the sheltered girl who just wants to leave the house and have sex, makes for one of the most engrossing roles I have seen this year. We’ll be seeing more of her; I’m sure of it.
In conclusion, although it can be slow at times, The Sinner makes for a captivating treat when it finally picks up. Be careful not to bite your nails to the nub in anticipation for the answers to all the important questions. You can watch this sinfully delicious series on Netflix right now.