One of the best features of Netflix is the ability to binge watch TV series without having to wait for the next episode to air. Gone are the days of waiting in anticipation for an entire week to follow up on a cliffhanger ending. Or, God forbid, having to wait a whole summer for the next season to begin. Our generation has the luxury of skipping those archaic steps and watching as many episodes in a row as we want! With more and more popular series hitting Netflix, there are so many options on shows to tune into and binge on.
Netflix Originals have also exploded on the scene in the last few years, since the release of House of Cards in 2013. We now have a ton of greats to choose from; Orange is the New Black, Narcos, Stranger Things, and what seems like hundreds of stand-up comedy specials. With the originals, you almost can’t go wrong (okay, some of them are admittedly bad, but those won’t be included on this list!).
For a minimal monthly investment, you are granted access to a whole load of great TV shows. No downloading hassles, no commercials, just straight-up series bliss. From mystery to drama, sci-fi to romance, Netflix really has something for all moods and tastes. Feeling like you need your couch, some snacks and a “Netflix and Chill” marathon? Save yourself the browsing time and check out this list of the 15 underrated series on Netflix you need to watch ASAP instead.
If you haven’t watched Bloodline yet, drop everything you are doing and login to Netflix right now! This is one of the best thrillers I have watched…probably ever. A Netflix Original series, Bloodline is the story of the Rayburn family; a perfect-from-the-outside bunch of Floridians who are harbouring a plethora of secrets, lies, drug problems, and scandals. John Rayburn (Kyle Chandler) plays the good-cop/admirable son who is forced to deal with the homecoming of his drug and booze addicted brother and black sheep of the family, Danny. Danny’s return to the Keys forces the family to deal with long-buried tragedies and tests the limits of sibling strength. Expect darkness, unexpected plot twists, and dramatic unfoldings in this chilling drama. The first two seasons are available on Netflix, with a third and final one expected to be released sometime in 2017.
Love was one of my absolute favorite series’ to hit Netflix in 2016. You can binge the first season in a day, and chances are, you will probably want to once you get started. Created by Judd Apatow, Love offers a refreshingly real perspective on modern dating. Following the relationship of Mickey and Gus, the series offers a candid look into their past lovers, their struggles at work, and their eventual romantic syncing with each other. Love has no shortage of relatable moments, creepy, weird characters, and silly musings. The dialogue will have you laughing out loud. The first episode is a bit hard to get into, but once you have an appreciation for the quirky characters, you won’t be disappointed. The good news? If you are tuning in now for the first time, season two is only weeks away from being released. The follow-up to the classic first season hits Netflix on March 10.
Easy is a fun, eight-episode series that provides us snippets of different relationship dynamics. Each episode has a unique cast and storyline. Featuring appearances by Orlando Bloom, Malin Åkerman, Marc Maron and Emily Ratajkowski, the series delves into themes of infidelity, threesomes, new relationships, awkward dating, and betrayal in love. Proving that no two relationships are created equal, the episodes range from very good to just okay. The stories are, mostly, entertaining and poignant, delivering a bird’s eye view into the subtle, and not-so-subtle issues that can develop within couples. Joe Swanberg (director of Drinking Buddies) is the writer, director and producer of this modern gem. The show is exclusively set in Chicago, which gives the viewer a nice tour of the different socio-economic areas and demographics of the city. It’s looking like Easy was a one-time project, with no talks of a follow-up season in sight.
12. Making A Murderer
I didn’t jump on the Making a Murderer bandwagon when it was first released in December 2015. I waited for the hype to die down a bit, and then ultimately, decided it must be worth watching due to the critical acclaim it received. A true crime documentary, Making a Murderer is a heartbreaking account of how the US criminal justice system is inherently flawed. We follow the story of Steven Avery, a wrongfully committed man who spent 18 years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit. To make matters worse, upon his release, the law went after him…again. Brendan Dassey, Avery’s nephew, was also dragged into the messy situation, after being coerced into confessing to involvement in the crime. He has been detained in prison since 2005, even though a federal judge ordered that he be released in November, 2016. The documentary is mostly frustrating and sad, but worth a watch, with really good exposure into a justice system that does not always provide justice.
11. Black Mirror
Black Mirror offers a totally original, unpolished look into what the future could look like if we don’t take a step back from our obsession with technology. Offering unique takes on scenarios that are creepy as anything, but not at all unfathomable, Black Mirror will keep your attention through three seasons. The sci-fi thriller offers episodes with unrelated characters and only mildly related themes, meaning that you can easily tune in and out at any time. Some of the themes are kind of comical, while others will make you feel pins and needles all over. An uncomfortable look at how our obsession with reality TV, social media and “rating” things and people can take a turn for the dark and nasty in a not-so-distant future. Black Mirror will return sometime in 2017 with a much-anticipated fourth season. Until then, catch up on the three seasons that are available on Netflix.
Here’s a show that I turned to in desperate times, when I was completely dry on series inspiration. I wholeheartedly didn’t think I would like it. But, oddly enough, this cowboy crime drama sucked me in! The show is about a super-cowboy sheriff, Walt Longmire, who kicks crime’s ass in a Chuck Norris-meets-Billy-the-Kid way. Most of the time you’ll be wondering if Wyoming is actually this crime-ridden. The obvious answer is no, but for the sake of the show, it is kind of fun. A little bit of romance and a little bit of family drama help keep Longmire from being too country. The beautiful scenery and small-town vibes are a refreshing escape from the typical fast-paced, city-centered series that flood Netflix and cable TV. If you can appreciate classic Western dialogue, cowboy hats, and whiskey, this is the show for you.
9. Marvel’s Daredevil
So, to be perfectly honest, I’m not very well educated when it comes to Marvel comics. I know, I know- I can still point out Wolverine and Spider-Man from a lineup, so I’m not completely hopeless. Despite having very little to compare it to, I really enjoyed Marvel’s Daredevil. The show is based on the Marvel comic, following the life of a blind lawyer turned action hero, Daredevil. This was the first release in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe Miniseries, which also includes Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, with Iron Fist set to be released in March 2017. All of these independent segments are leading up to The Defenders miniseries, which should also hit Netflix by mid year 2017. Daredevil is a fun start to this miniseries, offering two seasons of 13 episodes each. Whether you’re a Marvel fanatic, or a Marvel rookie like me, this series doesn’t discriminate. It’s fun to watch with lots of quirky wit and humour, great action scenes, and wonderful cinematography.
8. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
I’m pretty much a fan of everything Tina Fey does. Whether it’s an SNL skit, a movie, writing a book, or hosting the Golden Globes- the girl just makes everything funny and enjoyable. So it’s no surprise that her Netflix original creation, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, is equally awesome. Kimmy is a thirty-something who has been rescued from the captivity of a cult, led by Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (Jon Hamm). With a super-positive, quirky attitude, she starts her life over in NYC. Having been sheltered from the evolution of the world for over a decade, Kimmy has to learn what it means to be an adult in a big city. With the help of some very entertaining friends, her adaptation unfolds in a very hilarious way. Season three should be on it’s way to Netflix sometime this year, but in the meantime, you can binge on the first two seasons.
Here’s a real, deep drama that will get you feeling all the feels. Rectify is the fictional story of Daniel Holden, a young man who was convicted of a brutal crime and subsequently sentenced to death. After having served out 19 years on death row in a Georgia prison, DNA evidence comes into play and ultimately absolves him of all criminal responsibility. Reintegration to society, however, proves to be much more difficult than Daniel and his family expected. Returning to the small town where the crime was committed to live with his parents, Holden is faced with the reality that he has not been pardoned by all. Small-town folk make his life less than comfortable, with the exception of soft spoken Tawney, a beautiful blonde who is married to Daniel’s stepbrother, Ted. The two develop a dangerously intimate relationship that tests the limits of family, love, and power. Excellent performances and writing make this a Netflix must-watch.
6. Better Call Saul
I’m pretty sure that everyone on the planet has watched the critically acclaimed Breaking Bad by now. If you’ve been living under a rock, go watch it immediately, and then resume reading. Better Call Saul had the potential to be a total flop; how do you follow up (or precede, rather) a series as monumental as Breaking Bad? While no one can claim that it is better, it is really, really, really good. Vince Gilligan, creator of both series, crafted a poignant storyline that gives us the backstory to character Jimmy McGill, aka Saul Goodman. The unexpected development answers a lot of questions you didn’t know you had while watching Breaking Bad, while also providing a super entertaining side story that you didn’t know you would care about. Two seasons are currently out on Netflix, with a third being released in April 2017. Tune in to see some old favorites make cameo appearances.
Fargo has long-been one of my top favorite movies of all time. When I heard about the Fargo series, I was initially skeptical. The Coen Brothers were equally unsure of the series, until they watched it and gave it their stamp of approval. Casting Billy Bob Thornton as Lorne Malvo was a fantastic move. His natural quirkiness and edgy, badass vibes paired perfectly with this crime drama. Only loosely tied to the original film, the series follows a whole new crime, with some overlap and referencing that can be linked back to the original movie. Season two was even better than season one, so you have major incentive to get cracking on this as soon as possible. Not to mention, a third season is being released this year so it’s a perfect time to get all caught up. You will not be disappointed.
No list of top series would be complete without a shout out to my all-time favorite, Nashville. I admit, I am a little bit obsessed with cheesy, sweet, romantic things. Nashville is all of that and more. Following the careers of fictional country music stars as they rise to fame and fortune, this series explores family matters, relationships, and tragedy. With exceptional female lead performances by Hayden Panettiere and Connie Britton, Nashville is a feel-good while feeling deeply kind of show. If you like country and/or folk music, then even better; this show has an exceptional musical score, with most of the actors doing their own singing. I almost died when Nashville was dropped by ABC after its fourth season with the network. A few rough weeks were had, but happily, CMT picked it up and it is well into its fifth season. You can catch the first four on Netflix.
Broadchurch is a British crime drama that focuses on the aftermath of a tragedy in a small, oceanfront town in England. An 11-year-old boy’s lifeless body is found on a beach, and the town is subsequently flooded with reporters and media, trying to find out whodunit. The series unfolds as local citizens give their accounts of what could’ve happened, sparking doubts about who is innocent and who is responsible. The subject is heavy, and the mystery remains pretty intact for a good part of the series. The insider’s look at a coastal British town is a refreshing change, and the scenery is breathtaking. Great performances, no lack of darkness, and mystery and interesting characters’ make this a series to add to your watch list. A third season is set to come out in 2017.
2. Joe Rogan: Triggered
Admittedly, not a TV series, but I did promise to add some comedy to this list. There are a TON of stand-up comedy specials available on Netflix these days, and to be honest, a lot of them are very, very funny. Having said this, my vote still goes to Joe Rogan: Triggered. I watched it one night when my hubs was out of town, cuddled up alone with my pug. The laugh out loud moments were many. You know when you feel kind of silly cause you’re all alone and you’re laughing so hard you almost cry? Isn’t that the best? It was one of those moments. Joe Rogan’s tell-it-like-it-is, very progressive, very left-wing humour might not be for everyone. If you already know you love the guy (Fear Factor! MMA fights! Awesome podcasts!), give this one a go. It will have you cracking up and wishing it was longer.
1. Mad Men
Another series you would have only skipped out on if you live under a rock- Mad Men. I still come across quite a few people who haven’t watched it, so I’m here to remind you to get on it. Following the lives of advertising agents on New York’s trendy Madison Avenue in the 1960s, this show is as much about advertising as it is about the personal struggles of our protagonist, Don Draper (Jon Hamm). Throughout the series, we get to know different sides of a man who lives a double, or even triple -at times- life. Delving deep into his psyche, we start to uncover what drives the man to betray his wife, tell lies, and escape a complex reality with a whole heck of a lot of booze. The cast is superb and the series gives us a glimpse into what life was like five decades ago. The show has a total of seven seasons- so there is no shortage of series here. Binge your heart out!
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