Netflix delivers really great content to its subscribers. They allow us to watch almost whatever we want, when we want it. We can watch programs on any device and can even download content to watch later when we don’t have access to the Internet. The company even releases their own original content. Some of my favourite television shows are Netflix originals. That’s not to say Netflix original content is always amazing. There are hits and there are misses. Fortunately, the misses aren’t as numerous. There are far more shows, documentaries, and movies, that have managed to keep all of us very entertained. Even the crappy stuff is at least mildly entertaining. I certainly had trouble narrowing down the ‘best’ picks to just ten!
20. BEST – Narcos
I’ll be honest, I haven’t yet watched season two of the series. But I LOVED the first season. The show is a fictionalized story based on true events. It follows two DEA agents played by Pedro Pascal and Boyd Holbrook who are trying to stem the flow of drugs from Colombia to the USA by attempting to stop Pablo Escobar from continuing his drug trafficking activities. Escobar is played by Wagner Moura who does an excellent job portraying the drug lord. The show has been renewed for another two seasons so I’d better get caught up and you should too.
19. WORST – Haters Back Off
I got through a few minutes of this show before I had to turn it off. I’m aware that this may be an unpopular opinion, but I really didn’t like it. For me, this is a total miss. The show is about a woman named Miranda Sings, a performer who actually has no talent but believes she’s the best thing ever. It’s an exhausting thing to watch. I’m not the only one who thinks so. On Rotten Tomatoes, the show has a score of 47%. The reaction to the series has been mixed and many of the negative reviews point to the fact that the show was bizarre. Sometimes weird is good, but in this case, it just doesn’t work.
18. BEST – Orange Is The New Black
I’ve been watching Orange is The New Black since it was first released. Each time a new season comes out, I immediately binge watch it. Each new season seems better than the last. The show’s focus on characters other than Piper has been for the better. It’s fascinating to delve into the backstories of other female prisoners and get a glimpse at a myriad of different lives. When it’s not all about Piper, the show is at its best. In fact, I could use a lot less of Piper most of the time. The other characters are so interesting that it’s easy to ignore prison Barbie and get sucked into watching several episodes at a time.
17. WORST – Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life
I watched the entire run of Gilmore Girls. When it was playing on television, I watched here and there. I jumped at the chance to re-watch the whole thing in its entirety when it was put on Netflix. I prefer Paris over Rory and find some of the show’s themes problematic but it’s definitely a feel-good show. There’s nothing cozier than watching Lorelai head to Luke’s on a blustery winter morning. That’s why A Year in The Life was so disappointing. Loralei smelling snow was the highlight of the revival. The rest of it was filled with characters I hated – Logan – and strange sequences that never needed to be – everything Life and Death Brigade related.
16. BEST – Bloodline
The intrigue. The mystery. The sibling rivalry. Also, Kyle Chandler. I’m still waiting to binge the newest season and find out how the whole thing ends but I’m fairly certain I won’t be disappointed. I love Bloodline because it tells a well-crafted story and I’m always on the edge of my seat when watching. The setting alone is enough to make me tune in. It’s like Grace and Frankie but with more murder and seediness. The show in set in a beautiful coastal Floridian area and despite the ever growing tension each episode brings, everyone always seems just a tiny bit calmer than they should be because the ocean breeze is working itself through their hair.
15. WORST – Hemlock Grove
Here’s the thing, I actually love this show. But I’m aware that it’s batshit crazy. It’s about vampires and werewolves but also lizard men. I’m not usually into supernatural stuff but I kept watching for three seasons because things got wackier and wackier and I needed to see it through. It’s an insane show with lots of blood and gore and if you’re game for a bit of ridiculousness then sit back and enjoy. My favourite part of the show is Famke Janssen, who plays the part of Vampiress quite perfectly. The actress, who seems to be immortal herself, plays one of the most intriguing characters in the series.
14. BEST – Stranger Things
If you’ve ever watched and been a fan of anything from the ’80s then it’s likely you’ll enjoy Stranger Things. As a huge ‘Stand By Me’ fan, this series hit all the right notes. The kids are endearing, the story is entertaining, and the monster is scary AF. The kids also happen to be great actors. Winona Ryder makes an appearance as a mother at her wits end and plays the part with ease. Waffles and Christmas lights will forever have their place in pop culture from now on. The show isn’t just playing to nostalgic viewers it tells a great story.
13. WORST – 13 Reasons Why
Like I said, it was hard to narrow down the ‘best of’ selections. It was equally hard to find entries for ‘worst of’. I watched 13 Reasons Why in the span of a single weekend. I blazed through the episodes because at the end of each I kept waiting to hear about Clay’s tape and it never seemed come. The whole thing was gripping, the acting was good, and despite being a show for teens I still felt entertained. I marked it as ‘worst’ because I do think it glorifies suicide. I devoured the show because I found it entertaining. It played out like a detective novel not like a PSA. At the end, I couldn’t shake the feeling that the Hannah character had performed some kind of odd post-death revenge act. As a story, it worked great. But I don’t think that’s the right message for young troubled kids dealing with similar feelings and issues.
12. BEST – Marvel’s Jessica Jones
It’s interesting, people are super excited about the new Wonder Woman film. The film, directed by a woman and starring a woman in the lead hero role, is breaking all sorts of barriers. But I think Marvel’s Jessica Jones should be owed some of the credit for this great shift in showcasing badass female characters. Jones, played by Krysten Ritter, is one badass woman. She’s not just a powerful superhero, though, she’s a flawed human being. This makes her super relatable. Her character overcomes a lot throughout season one and she even has to deal with a returning abuser from her past. I’m so excited for the second season of this show, I can’t wait to see the character continue to develop and kick ass.
11. WORST – Marvel’s Iron First
I didn’t watch this. I don’t intend to. Why? Because the reviews are horrid. The show is also set in the Marvel Universe and follows Danny Rand, played by Finn Jones, who is super good at martial arts. The show has a laughably low rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s earned a measly 17% on the rating platform. Most reviewers compare the show to Marvel’s Jessica Jones and Luke Cage explaining that the show pales in comparison. Many reviews of the show point to the lead character being poorly cast and badly written. It’s definitely not worth watching thirteen episodes. Go watch Jessica Jones instead.
10. BEST – Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
If you were a fan of 30 Rock, then it’s likely you’ll enjoy the bright quippy humour of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. The show follows Kimmy a young woman who is freed from captivity from an underground bunker. After her escape from the clutches of the evil Reverend, she needs to adjust to life back in the real world. She makes a drastic move to New York City where she meets Titus Andromedon. It’s hard to imagine Ellie Kemper, who plays Kimmy, is anything but bright and beaming IRL. She does it so effortlessly. The show has been renewed for another season which is great news for those of us who just binged the latest release.
9. WORST – Lady Dynamite
Here’s another one I couldn’t get through. I tried. I really did. It actually sounded like something I might enjoy, but I was dead wrong. The show follows Maria Bamford – playing herself – who returns to LA to get back to reality after a period of being treated for mental illness. The show has actually received glowing reviews but I could not get past the first few minutes of the pilot. It’s a show that I think may be worth giving a second chance to but despite loving the meta-humor of Kimmy Schmidt, I couldn’t quite settle in with Lady Dynamite.
8. BEST – Making A Murderer
I remember binge-watching Making A Murderer around Christmas time. I watched it when it was released because I’m a huge true crime fan. This documentary did not disappoint. I eventually got other family members sucked in and I’m sure we all spent a chunk of time yelling at our TVs when watching the doc. The story is infuriating, intriguing, and was so easy to fall in love with the ever-hopeful defense attorney Dean Strang. After watching, I still felt that Avery might very well be guilty of the second crime despite his exoneration for the first. But it didn’t change the fact that Making A Murderer showed me how effed up the US justice system really is.
7. WORST – The Keepers
I just finished watching this. As usual, I watched it right when it came out. I had been waiting to watch it since I heard it was going to be released. The overarching mystery of Sister Cathy’s murder is intriguing but the documentary series has a bevy of pacing problems. The story was told in a jumbled way and couldn’t seem to stay on track. The murder-mystery quickly changes into a story about horrific child abuse and recovered memories. The first-person accounts are gut-wrenching but they seem misplaced. There’s a desire to tell all, but the whole thing could have easily been about several distinct and separate topics. There are leads that are followed and never really fleshed out, and ultimately the ending is unsatisfying.
6. BEST – Dear White People
‘Dear White People’ made its entry into the Netflix catalog earlier this year. The show follows a group of black students in what is mainly a white school. The show has been praised for a lot of things including its script. It also successfully broaches topics like cultural appropriation and other matters surrounding race and racism. It even managed to snag a stellar 100% Rotten Tomatoes rating. Of course, the show wasn’t released without controversy. Ridiculous claims of ‘reverse racism’ were brought up on social media platforms and some folks even called for a boycott of the streaming service. Clearly, all those people were and are missing the point.
5. WORST – Chelsea
I actually liked Chelsea Handler’s four episode documentary. It wasn’t without flaws, but it was entertaining and it felt genuine to me. I also always enjoy seeing her dogs, they’re absolutely adorable. After watching the documentary special, I was kind of looking forward to this new Netflix talk show. I tuned in with high expectations and was deeply disappointed. The show felt forced, badly edited, and altogether clunky. It’s trying so hard to be something else that it ends up being just the same. The show often feels unstructured at the same time as it feels oh-so-scripted. The highlight? Seeing the doggies romp around the stage.
4. BEST – The Killing
The Killing isn’t actually a true Netflix original. In fact, the show had a three-season run on another network before being picked up by Netflix for a fourth and final season. I am forever grateful to the streaming giant for helping to finish off the series that I love so much. The very dark police procedural is not for the faint of heart. The setting is eternally grim and you’ll need to watch a Disney movie after watching each episode. But that doesn’t mean you should skip it altogether. The storylines are impressively crafted, especially when it comes to the first season. Netflix ends the series on a satisfying note that doesn’t at all feel forced.
3. WORST – Casting JonBenet
As a true crime fan, it was imperative that I watch this documentary. I didn’t know what to expect, which made my viewing experience all the more trippy. I honestly still don’t really understand what I watched. It was intriguing enough that I got through the whole thing but I was left with a sense of confusion at the end of it. The show follows the casting of, what I found out was, a fictionalized movie about the JonBenet Ramsey murder. Throughout the documentary, we are introduced and hear from the various actors vying for the parts of Burke, Patsy, Jon, and JonBenet. It’s a weird experiment of sorts and though it was interesting it felt like something was missing.
2. BEST – Master of None
I’m a fan of Aziz Ansari so it was easy to fall for ‘Master of None’. The show follows Dev Shah, a struggling actor who is trying to sort out his romantic life. He also loves to eat. The show deftly balances humour and drama and never ceases to be charming. The fact that Ansari cast his own parents in the roles of Dev’s mom and dad is wonderful. Shoukath and Fatima are so endearing and it’s a wonder Shoukath hasn’t done comedy before. He needs his own stand-up special. Dev’s romantic forays are interesting but the character’s friendships are what really make the show shine. That, and all the pasta.
1. WORST – Fuller House
Whose idea was it to reboot Full House? Did we need this? I’m going to vote no. This kind of series might have worked in the ’90s but it feels stale and out of touch now. The worst part is that the show isn’t at all different from before. There’s nothing new and interesting. The same formula is used and it’s so goddamn boring. It’s so dull that again one wonders why Netflix decided to bring this show back. The show is pandering to an audience that has evolved since the series first aired. I watched Full House back in the day and this just didn’t appeal to me at all.
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