With summer beginning, some of us would like to spend all our time in the great outdoors, while the rest of us sit on the couch devouring a TV series. I’ve made a list of the top binge-worthy shows on Netflix available to watch right now!
Orange is the New Black
Orange is the New Black is one of my top favorite shows of all time. It has a perfect balance of drama, comedy, romance, and suspense to keep you hooked and watching episode after episode. When Piper Chapman gets sentenced for a crime she committed over a decade earlier, she must go to a women’s prison. When she arrives at this prison, she immediately comes across an entire cast of quirky, strange, hilarious, and sometimes creepy characters, including her ex-girlfriend who is responsible for landing her in prison. Orange is the New Black is one of the most diverse shows on TV, representing often overlooked minorities, such as the LGBT, Latino, and African-American communities. Another aspect that I love about it is that its cast is made of almost entirely female actresses, and has strong female protagonists. Orange is the New Black is available to stream right now!
13 Reasons Why
The breakout hit of 2017, and already the most tweeted about show in Netflix history, 13 Reasons Why is a powerful, emotional story of teenage girl, Hannah Baker, who committed suicide and left behind a series of 13 tapes giving the reasons for her death. 13 people are the subjects of her tapes, each a reason for contributing to her eventual suicide. Featuring mostly unknown and unfamiliar young actors, everyone delivers in their roles exceptionally. The subject matter, often hard to watch and deal with, is important, because this show dares to talk about subjects that are often avoided, such as teen suicide, mental illness, rape, and stalking. I have never seen a show that talks so openly about these subjects, and I’m glad that it has brought more awareness. Watch 13 Reasons Why on Netflix now.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
My favorite Netflix original comedy, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt tells the story of a woman who was imprisoned in an underground bunker with a madman for several years, from the age of fourteen all the way to adulthood. When she finally emerges, she must learn how to survive in a world that progressed without her. Watching her navigate the 21st century is hilarious to watch, as Kimmy is naive and innocent compared to the people around her. The other characters are great as well, with memorable characters such as Titus Andromedon, Kimmy’s opera singing roommate. If you watch this show, you’ll be sure to fall in love with the theme song and have trouble getting it out of your head for days. I say that’s a good thing. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is available to watch now.
Another Netflix original that has made waves and found tons of success, Stranger Things is one of the best scifi shows on TV right now. Set in the 1980s in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, Stranger Things is about a boy gone missing and a town’s subsequent search for him. Supernatural events occur throughout the town and all kinds of twists and turns happen throughout the series. Find out the secrets of Hawkins and watch this enthralling show! It is streaming on Netflix now.
The Brits sure know how to make quality drama. Sherlock is a modern take on the classic Sherlock Holmes novels and franchise, putting Sherlock and his friend Watson into modern day Britain to solve crimes and mysteries. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are the best duo on television, both excellent actors who seem born to play their roles of Sherlock and Watson. With 90 minute long episodes, this series feels like multiple movies, and each one has the production value and quality of any Hollywood film. The writing is top-notch; rarely have I seen such consistently good writing from a television series. Many of Sherlock’s mysteries keep me compelled the entire episode, as they are always clever, interesting, and excellently crafted. Watch Sherlock on Netflix today.
Okay, Portlandia may not be the show that appeals to the widest audience in the world, as its humor focuses specifically on the culture of Portland, Oregon, a city known for hipsters and weirdos. But the reason I love this show and think everyone should give it a chance, is that although it pokes fun at one city in particular, its jokes can be applied to almost any majorly liberal city in America. Seattle, New York, San Francisco, take your pick, they’re all made into jokes, and Portlandia isn’t offensive, but funny. Comedy duo Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein play various characters, from a pair of women feminist bookstore owners, to the lovely (if odd) couple Lance and Nina (spoiler alert, they’re gender-swapped; Fred plays the woman and Carrie plays the man.) All of their characters are funny without being so stereotypical that they become irritating. Most seasons are available on Netflix right now with the exception of the latest.
Jane the Virgin
Ever watched a telenovela? Seen the over-the-top acting, dramatic music, constant face slaps, and heavily cliched story lines? Well, Jane the Virgin parodies all of that. Based on the Spanish language telenovela of the same name, Jane the Virgin is an American-based show, about a woman named Jane who happens to be a twenty-four year old virgin — who gets pregnant through an accidental artificial insemination. Sound crazy? It sure is! All kinds of antics ensue on this wacky show, from love triangles, to long lost twins, to long lost lovers, to kidnappings, murders, and even hidden identities, there’s all kinds of craziness to go around. Unlike a telenovela though, Jane the Virgin is entirely self-aware, and makes fun of itself. It knows how exaggerated it is and plays that to its advantage. This show is all about pure entertainment and hilarity. All seasons except the latest are available on Netflix.
The Office (US and UK)
One of the most well-known mockumentaries and sitcoms to ever grace the screen, The Office in both its original UK glory and US remake are fantastic shows. I think both are equal, though they have their differences. The UK version of The Office has a bit more dry, as well as sexual humor, whereas the US Office is generally a bit closer to the PG side of ratings. Both are about a group of people working in an office together. The concept doesn’t sound like much, but it’s the great and memorable characters that make the show shine. Every season of both versions are on Netflix.
The Walking Dead
Over the past seven years now, The Walking Dead has managed to captivate audiences everywhere. Telling the story of a zombie apocalypse and a group of survivors led by Sheriff Rick Grimes, The Walking Dead is gritty, depressing, violent, and sometimes grotesque. There’s little joy to be found in the series, but that makes the happy moments so much more satisfying when they finally do happen. Don’t get too attached to any characters, as many are lost throughout the seasons in this apocalyptic world where danger lurks around every corner. The zombies, known as “walkers” on the show, are terrifying, and I must give props to the makeup artists on this show who manage to make the zombies disgusting looking. The Walking Dead is available to watch on Netflix now.
I consider this show to be the predecessor of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. It’s made by the same creators, and one of my favorite sitcoms of all time. Starring the always funny Tina Fey, 30 Rock tells the story of a woman working in the television industry as a writer at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City. The entire cast is hilarious, especially Alec Baldwin and Jane Krakowski. The show often pokes fun at the real life TV station NBC, as well as various celebrities and TV personalities. From the comedies I’ve included on this list, you can probably get a sense of my brand of humor. I hope you enjoy all of these shows and have fun binging on Netflix!