The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many of us to seek shelter in our homes and comfort in front of our TV screens. For those of us who have watched many shows during quarantine, it may seem like we’ve watched everything there is to watch. However, there are some hidden gems on Netflix that are definitely worth your time.
Book Adaptation: “Anne With An E”
“Anne with an E” is based on the classic book “Anne of Green Gables” and is set in picturesque Prince Edward Island, Canada. The viewer is introduced to an eccentric and imaginative orphan girl, Anne, who is mistakenly adopted by two siblings. The show follows Anne’s tale as she struggles with finding the balance between fitting in and standing out, as well as maintaining her relationships, both platonic and romantic. This is definitely worth a watch especially if you are interested in book adaptations, coming-of-age stories or plots of an underdog main character.
Fans of “The Crown” and “Reign” will love the hit Netflix original, “Bridgerton.” The show features one of my favorite romance tropes: the fake relationship. The Queen pronounces Daphne Bridgerton as “a diamond of the first water,” making her the most desirable debutante of the season. However, her overprotective brother scares off all her potential suitors, leaving her with no one. She must forge an alliance with the most eligible bachelor in town, Duke Simon Basset, who wishes nothing more than to avoid the attention of all suitors, to make her appear attractive once more. Watch the first season to find out if this pretend relationship results in true love, or if scandals and deathbed promises will keep their hearts bound.
Period Piece: “The Last Kingdom”
“The Last Kingdom” follows the epic journey of Uhtred of Bebbanburg as he struggles to define his loyalties and reclaim his homeland. After Danes murder his father and steal his birthright, young Uhtred is raised by the very people who were responsible and finds himself torn between his native loyalties and his developed love for his Viking family. Disaster strikes again when his new Danish home is deliberately set ablaze, killing his adopted family and leaving him with nothing. Now Uhtred must establish his new place in the world and finally discover who he wants to be. Uhtred’s journey to self-discovery, filled with romance, action and political intrigue, is sure to keep you hooked from the first episode.
What’s better than a college-wide World War II style paintball fight? Fans of “Community” will tell you there isn’t much. This unique sitcom, written by Dan Harmon, creator of “Rick and Morty,” plays off of popular movie tropes, compelling characters and a wacky community college setting to create fun and engaging episodes. An unlikely group of students come together to form a Spanish study group with one goal: pass the class. Their relationships soon surpass that goal and the study group develops into a tightly knit crew. Throughout their time in college they all learn a thing or two about friendship, chicken nugget mafias and even a little Spanish. The show boasts highly recognizable actors such as Donald Glover, John Oliver, Ken Jeong, Yvette Nicole Brown, Paget Brewster and Jeff Garlin. It’s a complex sitcom that combines both comedy and life lessons in innovative ways.
Anime: “The Promised Neverland”
In a world plagued by people-eating demons, humanity must sacrifice some of their own to survive. Each species gets free reign over their own world on one condition; the demons are allowed to farm young humans for the sole purpose of maintaining their food supply. This sounds grotesque, but it’s also the basis for the Japanese anime, “The Promised Neverland.” Follow the adventures of best friends and twelve-year-old geniuses Emma, Norman and Ray as they struggle to escape from their demon captors before it is too late. Unravel the dark secrets of the demon’s farming operation and watch as these young children find a place for themselves in their demon-filled world. The first season is available in English on Netflix and season two is out in Japanese with English subtitles on Hulu.
Comedy: “Middleditch and Schwartz”
Need a laugh? Middleditch and Schwartz’s hour-long comedy specials are a great place to look. Each of the three available episodes start on a basic premise, given to them in that moment by a member of the audience. From there, each comedian will take on multiple characters and create a landscape to tell a ridiculous and entertaining tale. Netflix is full of great stand-up specials such as Jim Gaffigan’s “Mr. Universe” and John Mulaney’s “The Comeback Kid,” but the layout of sketch comedy adds a layer of drama to an otherwise standard comedy special. Not everyone is able to be funny on the spot, but Middleditch and Schwartz are definitely up to the task.
Honorable Mentions: “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Criminal Minds”
Also worth mentioning are two popular comfort shows: “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Criminal Minds.” In “Criminal Minds,” a group of FBI agents solve murders by psycho-analyzing the behavior of the unknown suspect rather than focusing on the traditional crime scene clues. “Grey’s Anatomy” follows the lives of several doctors at Seattle Grace Hospital through their love lives and personal losses and tackles serious topics from racial discrimination to the inequity of medical access. Both shows have strong, complex characters, lots of episodes and an incredibly talented cast of actors.
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