Did you know that when Netflix first opened for business, it was just a mail-order DVD rental service?
That’s right, Netflix began as a competitor for Blockbuster Video and other brick-and-mortar video rental stores. However, the vision within the company was always looking forward to the future, and so Netflix management understood that streaming would supersede stored media — and that the most profitable way to get access to material for streaming would ultimately involve producing original content. Here is a look at my ten favorite programs that you can stream on Netflix.
Top 10 Best Shows on Netflix
This show revives the memories of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling –and it was renewed for a second season this summer. It shows that time from the 1970s when women who wanted to wrestle started their careers in rings that were located inside garages, but like any other successful sports show or movie, this is all about the underdog succeeding against all odds. “GLOW” is all about women who come together in spite of low expectations to create something amazing. Ruth (Alison Brie) and Debbie (Betty Gilpin) are the main characters, and the two actors carry the dramatic tension of the show in a compelling way.
One problem for “Ozark” is that so many reviewers immediately compared it to “Breaking Bad.” Yes, the plot has a major similarity, as a middle-class man turns to crime in order to get by (but in this Netflix exclusive the crime is money laundering for a drug cartel rather than meth production and sales). However, the best thing about “Ozark” is that the plot moves smoothly and quickly, with lead actor Jason Bateman shifting (mostly) guileless from one punch to the next. The tension between Bateman’s character and that of his wife, played by Laura Linney, comes from Linney’s longstanding affair that precedes their flight, but as Season 1 moves on, Peter Mullan emerges as a local dealer in the heroin trade, and Julia Garner plays the biting role of a young woman with a unique sense of morality who takes on more and more importance. It is the tension in this show that rarely lets up, zipping the audience from one end of an hour to the other without so much as a yawn — and that’s what Netflix shows are for, isn’t it?
8. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
The grimly upbeat mood of this show might make you blanch at the notion that this show’s main character (Ellie Kemper) spent 15 years as a hostage of a serial kidnapper, Richard Wayne Gary Wayne, before escaping. However, Season 4, released in the late spring of 2018, offers commentary on such issues as the #MeToo movement, the corrosive effects of masculine expectations, and the sweatshop nature of nail salons within New York City. Even the way that Netflix (well, Houseflix in his show) binge-watching can eat away at your life emerges as an issue. There are instances of pain for Kimmy — after all, it is a show about acclimation back to society after a terrifying time away that began during her adolescence — but this show is also about how cognitively dissonant life in what we call the normal world is as well
7. Master of None
This Netflix series consists of two seasons, totaling 20 episodes, the most of recent of which were released in the summer of 2017. This is a half-hour comedy that was made to imitate “Louie,” the FX show that basically followed the almost autobiographical experiences of Louis C.K., who wrote and directed the series and served as the lead actor. When this show occasionally falls short, it is because nothing actually happens. We learn a lot about what Dev (Aziz Ansari) wants out of life — some sort of mishmash of job satisfaction and romantic love, so if you like watching bouts of existentialism (and I do), you will enjoy this show — but you will be glad that the episodes are just 30 minutes long.
6. Luke Cage
Netflix has offered a number of shows from the Marvel Comic Universe, but many of them have foundered in the second season, such as “Jessica Jones” and “Daredevil.” However, “Luke Cage” has had a terrific second season, moving from the family drama in the first season to showing how that sort of drama can leave long-lasting wounds, and how moving on from those wounds and an expected legacy is problematic. Luke (Mike Colter) has to face James Lucas, his father (Reg E Cathay in his last role). Luke is physically stronger than he was in Season 1, but his emotional turmoil is bubbling over The main conflict in the second season comes between John “Bushmaster” McIver and Mariah, who wants to eliminate her family’s tie to gang activity, while Bushmaster wants to remind everyone of that past. The way these tensions unwind makes this an eye-popping season.
5. Altered Carbon
This show’s first season came out in February 2018, and despite some lower ratings on such critic websites as Rotten Tomatoes (where it opened with a fresh rating of 61%), this show is an intriguing look into a future where death no longer is a factor in human existence, with a setting that carries the aura of “Blade Runner -both aesthetically and in terms of plot line. The main character Takeshi Kovacs (Joel Kinnaman) has been brought back from the dead and slid into a new physical body. Kovacs also appears in two other bodies in previous timelines, but your consciousness now fits into a small set of discs. Kovacs has been revived just in time to fall into a murder mystery and a conspiracy. It’s a bloody show, but its an intriguing one.
4. Mind hunter
Mind hunter dropped near the end of 2017 with Season 1 and instantly found rave reviews, still sitting with a 96% fresh rating from Rotten Tomatoes. The ten episodes follow a pair of FBI agents, Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) as they go around the country interviewing a collection of serial killers and filming the conversations. Wendy Carr (Anna Tory) is a psychology professor who assists them with a taxonomy for the killers, with an eye toward predicting the next generation of serial killers. For those who like true crime programming, this is almost better, because the details are jazzed up.
3. Everything Sucks!
Yes, this show got the axe after one season, but remember — there are only 12 episodes of the classic British comedy “Fawlty Towers” (starring John Cleese) because the show’s management felt that they had done everything that the show could do. In these 10 episodes, you take a trip back in time to the 1990s. There is a single high school principal with a daughter who is realizing that she is a lesbian as a ninth grader, a gorgeous drama student who is her first crush, and AN club making a quirky movie. Want some 90s pop culture? Well, you have kids listening to music on a Discman and sneaking Zima in order to get tipsy — and there’s even Jolt Cola. Even Teri Amos’ music reappears, and she’s a lot better than I remembered her being. By the end of the tenth episode, you don’t want there to be an eleventh, but the story is a convincing one about the risks and rewards that come with taking chances, and that it is all right to be yourself — but that your friendships may shift seismically as a result.
2. Santa Clarita Diet
Yes, this is a zombie show, but before you roll your eyes and wander away, it is a show about a zombie who wants to stay a part of normal life, eating people when needed but still focused on a successful real estate career There is a giant rift between the plot line and the tone, but once you can get by that, you will fall under the spell that Sheila (Drew Barrymore) brings to the show. The first season lived on the shock that Sheila’s change and the second season lives on the tension that the family experiences while their mother tries to hang onto normality. In both cases, the watching is riveting, and Barrymore reminds us that her acting has significantly more depth than she gets credit for.
1. Stranger Things
If you haven’t already seen the first two seasons of this show (with the third season’s release still to be announced), The plot revolves around an alien presence inside a town, which the government has found and is now investigating, but the best part of this series its cast, both the juvenile actors as well as the adults, particularly David Harbour, who plays the town’s police chief. We fall into 1980s nostalgia as we watch the subtleties of the show, but we also identify with Eleven’s status as a child who was thrown into the jaws of science before her earliest memory, and her anxiety as she tries to find a normal existence as she enters her teenage years. The interplay of the scary and the sentimental is just right for this show — which is why Season 3 will be the first thing I binge when it comes out.
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