The Hidden Gems of Netflix

Image credit: Netflix US & Canada via YouTube
Image credit: IGN via YouTube
Image credit: Netflix US & Canada via YouTube

One Day at a Time

‘One Day at a Time’ is centred around Penelope Alvarez, a Cuban-American Afghanistan war veteran, who juggles life a single working mother while struggling with PTSD. This big hearted show is a reboot of a 70s sitcom, brought sharply up to date with nuanced treatments of issues such as coming out, undocumented immigrants and workplace sexism. It’s often deeply moving and the focus on the small cast’s fantastic chemistry -  particularly in interactions with the family’s matriarch Lydia (played with flair by the fabulous Rita Moreno) – makes this show a much needed ray of sunshine in these dark time

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Creator Rachel Bloom’s all singing all dancing romantic musical comedy is without a doubt the best thing on TV right now. She plays Rebecca Bunch, a highly strung, brilliant attorney, who leaves her unhappy life in New York to follow her ex-boyfriend Josh, to the sleepy town of West Covina California. Mayhem ensues as she goes to increasingly ridiculous lengths to get back with Josh. It sounds like standard rom-com fare, but as the theme song stresses: “the situation’s a lot more nuanced than that”. The show skilfully deconstructs the trope of the ‘crazy ex-girlfriend’, while wryly calling Rebecca out on her bullshit. More important than her relationship with Josh are explorations of mental health, celebrations of female friendship and questions of what it really means to be happy.

iZombie

There are better ways to end a boat party than being turned into a zombie, as medical student Liv Moore finds out when she wakes up in a body bag with a craving for brains. She takes a new job at the local morgue, and quickly becomes partners with a detective to help solve crimes when she realises eating the brains of murder victims allows her to tap into their memories and sometimes take on their personality quirks. It’s sounds zany, but the show pulls the supernatural procedural shtick with ease.

Lovesick

In another surprisingly sweet show about exes, ‘Lovesick’ (formerly going by the less appealing ‘Scrotal Recall’) plays out as a series of flashbacks triggered when hopeless romantic Dylan finds out he has chlamydia, and faces the awkward task of calling up each of his exes to tell them. The show’s move from Channel 4 to Netflix has helped it reach a wider audience, as well as financed a second season, but it still remains an underrated gem. Set against the backdrop of a gorgeously shot Glasgow, ‘Lovesick’  has comfortingly low stakes. Dylan has unrequited feelings for best friend Evie, he lives with his best friends in a large flat, nothing worse than a few bad dates happens. It’s the perfect show to curl up and watch with a cup of tea.  

3%

In a dark and distant future, the majority of Brazil’s population live in desperate conditions, in a sprawling favela known as the Inland. At the age of 20, each person is given the chance to compete in a series of gruelling tasks known as the Process to win the chance of a new life in the paradisial Offshore development. The catch is, only 3% of the applicants make it through. This dystopian thriller is Netflix Original’s first Brazilian production. It’s all in Portuguese so be sure to give it your full attention. However, wiith ‘City of God’’s César Charlone’s striking cinematography, this is an easy ask. A strong central cast characters, lots of intrigue, action and psychological drama make this an addictively bingeable watch. 

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