So, you finally have Netflix but you’re overwhelmed by all the content, from original series, movies and documentaries, as well as some of your old favourites, like Friends and Arrested Development. Fear not. Here is our pick of 10 things that you should watch first.
Making a Murderer
Making a Murderer, is one of the most talked-about shows currently streaming on Netflix. It details the life of Steven Avery, a man who was convicted for the sexual assault of a woman named Penny Beerntsen. After 18 years in jail, new evidence arises that warrants his release only for him to be subsequently accused and convicted of the murder of another woman. The series was filmed over 10 years and has often been compared to popular murder investigation podcast, Serial.
BoJack Horseman, is an animated series starring the voice talents of Will Arnett (of Arrested Development fame) as BoJack Horseman. BoJack, the washed-up star of 1990s hit sitcom Horsin’ Around, plans to make his big return to celebrity relevance with a tell-all autobiography. No one could’ve foreseen a show about a talking horse landing up on multiple “Best Netflix Original Series” lists but its mature and often dark humour has garnered it a loyal following. The show is a satirical look at a version of Hollywood inhabited by both humans and humanoid animals. It does well to mask BoJack’s depression and self-loathing behind sharp and quirky dialogue.
Master of None
Master of None is a comedy series starring stand-up comedian Aziz Ansari who plays Dev Shah, a 30-year-old actor living in New York. The show has received critical acclaim since its debut in November 2015 for its realistic portrayal of what it’s like to be a 30-year-old living in the city while navigating the perils of young adulthood (in the first episode, Dev encounters a broken condom and consults Google for the possible repercussions). The show has appeared on no less than 23 “Top TV Shows of 2015” lists and even nabbed Aziz a nomination for Best Actor in a Comedy Series at the 2016 Golden Globe Awards.
If you’re a fan of The Sopranos, Scarface and American Gangster, then this one is for you. Narcos is a crime drama starring Brazilian actor Wagner Moura, as the infamous Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar. The show tells the true story of the notorious kingpin who became a billionaire through the production and distribution of cocaine. The story is told through the perspective of Steve Murphy, the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) agent sent to Columbia to bring him down. The first season focuses on true life events in Escobar’s rise to power, from when he first began manufacturing and distributing cocaine in the late 1970s to his capture and escape from a Colombian prison in 1992.
Beasts of no Nation
Beasts of no Nation is a war drama written, shot and directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga of True Detective fame. It’s based on a novel of the same name by Nigerian author Uzodinma Iweala. The film is about a young boy in an unnamed West African country who has to survive on his own during a civil war in his country. The movie features Idris Elba and Ghanaian actor Abraham Attah. Beasts of no Nation has garnered critical acclaim from film associations like NAACP and Screen Actors Guild for its exceptional cast. Peter Travers from Rolling Stone praised Idris Elba’s performance by saying, “The Oscar for Best Supporting Actor should have his name on it.”
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny
If you’re a fan of the legendary martial arts film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon then you’ll be happy to know that, 16 years later, Netflix is bringing you a sequel to the cult classic titled Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny. Michelle Yeoh reprises her role as Yu Shu-lien from the original film, and must now team up with her ex fiancé Silent Wolf, to find and retrieve an ancient sword with immense power that could spell disaster if it falls in the wrong hands. The film premieres on Netflix on February 26.
Hot Girls Wanted
Hot Girls Wanted is a documentary that has received polarising responses from both anti-porn and sex-positive feminists. It provides a sobering look inside the world of amateur pornography. It follows the lives of several 18 to 25-year-old women who are recruited into the lucrative, yet exploitative business of young-adult pornography by a 23-year old porn agent. It also covers their struggles with morality, sexuality and public perceptions.
The Square is an Egyptian-American documentary, which depicts the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 at Tahrir Square. The documentary received critical acclaim for its portrayal of the revolution and was nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 2014 Academy Awards. The Chicago Tribune described it as “a compelling inside look at the cascading series of revolutions and counter-revolutions that have shaken Egypt since the beginning of 2011”.
Tig is a documentary starring writer and stand-up comedian, Tig Notaro. It chronicles her life after being diagnosed with breast cancer. In 2012, Tig – who’s also a writer on Amy Schumer’s Comedy Central show Inside Amy Schumer – gave a brutally honest performance addressing her diagnosis, which went viral and gained her overnight success. The performance was described by Louis C.K as one of “a handful of truly great, masterful stand-up sets” he has seen in 27 years. The documentary focuses on Tig’s life after her breakout performance, living with cancer, trying to get pregnant with her girlfriend and dealing with the death of her mother.
Stand-up comedy specials
Chris Tucker – Live
Chris Tucker first came to prominence in Ice Cube’s cult classic comedy Friday and went on to star in the Rush Hour trilogy with martial arts legend Jackie Chan. After 24 years in the game, Chris got back on stage to record his first solo stand-up special called Chris Tucker – Live. The special, which was filmed in his hometown Atlanta, Georgia, covers everything from his humble beginnings, to his early life as a Hollywood personality and dealing with scavenging family members.
Holding image: Joakim Wahlander via Flickr