Netflix has a far reaching audience with 93 million subscribers worldwide so it has to keep its programming fresh and up to date. That said we can still watch classic TV such as Only Fools and Horses, Fawlty Towers and even The Fresh Prince of Bel Air if the mood takes us.
Netflix has been the home to some fantastic new shows such as House of Cards, Making a Murderer and Better Call Saul. They also have deals allowing them to produce series within the Marvel Universe with Marvel Television. We’ve already seen the dark and violent Daredevil along with Jessica Jones and Luke Cage with more to follow.
You’ll see countless lists of must-see shows on Netflix and many of them will be glaringly similar.
Some of the best TV I’ve seen in years consists of The Wire, Deadwood, 24, Prison Break and Spooks. But I’ve also watched entire seasons of Scream Queens, Under the Dome and Pretty Little Liars. So no-one’s perfect.
Here’s my list of 10 best box sets currently available on Netflix.
Charlie Brooker invites us into his head in these 3 seasons of Black Mirror and not surprisingly the results are astonishing. The first episode of season 1 invites us to watch a scandal involving the British Prime Minister and a pig. Where does he get his inspiration? I hear you ask. Well, not from the real-life “Pig-Gate” scandal because this was released 5 years before the rumours surfaced about David Cameron and a pigs head.
Other episodes tackle many of the issues that are brought to us by the technology we now have access to as well as a look into our technological future. Many of the scenarios are plausible and scary as hell.
Season 1 and 2 were broadcast on Channel 4 back in 2011 with a third season commissioned by Netflix and made available at the end of 2016. A further 6 episodes will follow in 2017, though a release date isn’t yet known. All three series are available to watch on Netflix.
Archer is a very funny and quick-witted animated series which revolves around Sterling Archer and his espionage adventures. For the first 4 seasons he works for ISIS, the agency which is run by his mother Malory Archer. There’s not just spy stuff going on either. The agency has a full working office. Cheryl is Malory’s secretary, Pam is in charge of HR and Cyril is the comptroller. His job is to keep Archer’s expense account in check which is easier said than done.
There’s also the classic fallout and awkwardness of the failed office romance. Archer goes on many of his missions with his ex-girlfriend Lana Kane who is less than enamoured with having to work with him on a regular basis.
The episodes are short and easy to digest and there are plenty of episodes to watch with 7 seasons available and many more to come.
How To Get Away With Murder
HTGAWM is a series that will keep you guessing until the very end without making you look stupid when it concludes.
The show follows Professor Annalise Keating who chooses 5 of her students to work as interns at her law firm and help with active cases. In and amongst these cases they are embroiled in a more sinister murder plot that magically seems to bring them together and tear them apart at the same time. There’s lots of flashbacks and flash forwards but it’s fairly easy to keep up with
Viola Davis is amazing as Keating and the supporting cast are no slouches either. Like many other US legal dramas, it’s fast talking and even faster moving.
The first 2 seasons are available now and with the third season likely to follow in March or April when its current run ends.
Santa Clarita Diet
Santa Clarita Diet dropped onto Netflix on the 3rd of February and having seen the trailer just the day before I couldn’t wait to get my teeth into it. The best way to describe it would be “How an episode of Desperate Housewives would look if it were directed by Quentin Tarantino”.
Timothy Olyphant and Drew Barrymore star as Joel and Sheila Hammond. When Sheila is taken mysteriously ill and dies, her “death” is short lived and life continues as normal. With only one small problem. Sheila can only eat human flesh.
The series is bright and colourful which makes the blood and gore even more vivid. The performances are good, though Drew Barrymore is a little over enthusiastic. The standout performance is from Liv Hewson who plays the Hammonds daughter, Abby. Her character is very well written and acted out.
Each episode is only 30 minutes long which means you’ll be able to watch the entire first series on a cold, rainy Sunday afternoon.
This was one of standout series of 2016 and available exclusively on Netflix. Released in July 2016, the series showed the immediate signs of being a cult classic.
Stranger Things follows Mike, Dustin and Lucas who are friends of missing schoolboy Will Byers. Whilst searching the woods for Will they come across a mysterious shaven headed girl with kinetic powers. The four join forces to try and find out what happened to Will.
The best way to describe it is a cross between the X-Files and the Goonies. The acting from the kids is incredible and they are definitely the stars of the future. Special mention must go to Millie Bobby Brown, the young English actress playing “Eleven” and Winona Ryder who plays the distraught mother of Will Byers.
The release date of series 2 should be in the diary of every sci-fi fan, and the 31st of October can’t come soon enough.
From start to finish Brooklyn Nine-Nine will have you in stitches. The comedy comes from all angles. There are lots of visual jokes and the dialogue throughout is quick and witty. The cast are hardly a group of unknowns either. Andy Samberg is Jake Peralta, a cocky but loveable young detective. The Captain of the precinct is Raymond Holt, played by Andre Braugher.
The highlight of each season for me is the yearly Halloween episode.
They’re a great ensemble cast who interact really well together and I hope this show continues for a long time to come.
Every so often a show comes along that has never been seen before. The premise is new and it can’t be described, yet it’s so simple. And that brings me to Designated Survivor. This is actually a real thing, not something made up by Hollywood to make an entertaining show. Many people, including myself, had no idea of the existence of the “Designated Survivor”.
It has been made into an entertaining show and as each episode ends it leaves us wanting more and more. Keifer Sutherland stars as Tom Kirkman and the series starts with him watching the State of the Union address on TV when an explosion in the Capitol Building leaves him in charge of the country. Kirkman is essentially a “nobody” in the cabinet and if you look through the list of real-life designated survivors I’d be surprised if you saw a name you knew.
Designated Survivor is available on Netflix if you’re not in the US or Canada and each episode is shown as it’s released in North America.
A Series of Unfortunate Events
Lemony Snicket’s novels are brought to life in spectacular fashion in this colourful yet dark comedy. Neil Patrick Harris stars as Count Olaf and his transformation into this miserable old man is stunning. I could barely recognise him. The first episode introduces us to Baudelaire kids who have just lost their parents in a mysterious house fire.
The first series adapts the first four books with additional series to cover the remaining books.
Whilst I don’t actively avoid foreign language TV and movies it’s been a while since I’ve watched one. For those who pass over such shows, I would seriously suggest that you think again. 3% is brilliant. It could almost be mistaken as an episode of Black Mirror.
The series is Brazilian and is dubbed rather than subtitled which makes it easier to follow, not that the plot is too difficult to understand. People are put through “The Process” to be given a chance to live on “The Offshore”. The group are whittled down as they’re put through a number of “Krypton Factor” style tests. As the name suggests, only 3% make it through to “The Offshore”.
Each episode subtly focuses on one character at a time and it shows what series of events took them to where they are.
The entire series is available to watch straight away with a second series already confirmed.
Sense8 is a beautifully created series that follows the lives of 8 individuals who suddenly become linked both mentally and emotionally. The series was created by the Wachowski Sisters who you may recall created The Matrix series of films, so you know that it will be visually spectacular.
The series spans across 8 different cities and every continent and each character is fully explored so you are truly immersed in their lives.
The series needs your full attention and you might find it difficult to binge-watch.
Sense8 has been renewed for a second series which is due to be released in May.
The OA has been compared, by some, to Stranger Things. I’m not really sure why because the two really aren’t the same.
Prairie Johnson, played brilliantly by Brit Marling, returns after being missing for 7 years having been mysteriously cured of her blindness. She also has some mysterious scars on her back which, along with her sudden sight, she won’t explain.
The rest is difficult to describe, as you’ll see when you watch it but, as with Sense8 and Stranger Things, you should really focus all your attention.
The whole of the first series is available on Netflix with a second season having been commissioned.