Ah, Netflix. I love it. I really do. And I was binge watching some of my favourite things this past weekend when I thought, oh, this will make a good blog post. One of the things I’m really good at in life is making lists. Anyone who knows me well can attest to that fact. So I’ve decided to list my top 10 favourite things on Netflix.
DISCLAIMER – I live in the UK so the things on my list might not be available in other countries. Also, I’m including things that aren’t Netflix Originals but are available at the time of posting.
I wanted to do this list as a countdown – with my favourite thing at the end – but I know this is going to be a long post and if you read only one part, I had to tell you about Sense8.
I love it. I can’t describe in words the way it makes me feel. It follows 8 ordinary people, a cop, a DJ, a hacker, a thief, a driver, an actor, a pharmacist and a fighter, who suddenly find themselves telepathically connected. It’s the perfect combination of light Science Fiction, Drama, Romance and Action. The TV series is filmed all across the world ($$$$$) – one of the reasons I suspect it was cancelled only 2 seasons into its life – but it really makes use of all the different locations. The characters are all perfect, from the heroes to the villains and everyone in between. There’s such diversity and representation; I’m talking multiple POC characters in leading roles, various sexualities (and their challenging paths towards acceptance) and what seems to be a thousand different forms of love. The action sequences are incredible, mostly because they always contain upwards of 4 people interchanging roles and using their respective strengths against a common enemy. All the characters have love interests – something that makes my heart sing because I love a good love story – and nothing is forced. All the romance is natural and realistic, but contrasted with gritty violence, moody drama and emotional conflicts.
WARNINGS: violence, graphic sex, saucy language (aka swear city), happy endings, angst-angst-angst
2. The Expanse
One of the things I love love love in Science Fiction is when I can see the events of a story actually happening in real life. This is 100% the case for The Expanse. Mankind has colonised the solar system (I’m talking the Moon, the planets and all the asteroids that are in the suns gravitational orbit). I really like the fact that everything has a scientific explanation. The technology in the series all has a backstory that makes it realistic, and plausible. Because of the attention to detail on the technology, mankind can’t yet travel beyond the limits of our solar system. Topics such as religion, class, poverty, war, science and ethics are commonplace as the two superpowers, Earth and Mars, fight for their respective needs while The Belt is caught in the middle (The Belt being a general term for the billions of people who have lived on asteroids all their lives, for multiple generations). The series follows a small ship called the Rocinante (pronounced ro-see-ant-eh) and its crew as they get caught up in the brewing war across the solar system. SPOILER ALERT – aliens may or may not be involved later on in the series.
This is also a book series which I love just as much. The show is quite a faithful adaptation – which I know is sometimes hard to do – but if you like Science Fiction, I highly recommend The Expanse.
And even though I’ve not named any characters, I feel as though Chrisjen Avasarala, a high-end governor type for the United Nations, deserves a special mention because she’s just a bad-ass woman of colour who hasn’t been whitewashed and I love her. That’s all.
WARNINGS: sci-fi gore, a few swears, graphic scenes of violence (some deserved), sexual scenes.
3. Before I Fall
Okay, I love romance movies. There’s just something about watching two people fall in love that makes me go all mushy inside. I didn’t admit this for a long time because when I was in high school, being ‘girly’ wasn’t something I felt comfortable with. My best friend ‘loves love’ and whenever any of our ‘couple friends’ tell us something cute that they’ve done, she practically melts.
Before I Fall is basically groundhog day for a teenage girl (played by Zoey Deutch who I love love love). She relives one day of her life which has a tragic ending – trying to change it each time she wakes up. Sure, it’s cheesy and stereotypical in places but sue me for liking something that’s a bit mainstream. Also, this is a book?! I didn’t know till I searched for the picture above but I’ll be sure to give it a read.
WARNINGS: the ending (don’t say I didn’t warn you), swearing, suicide/depression, emotions
4. Brooklyn 99
Pure gold comedy. My friend (Chloe aka ChloeMuses – go follow her) is a die-hard fan and it’s not hard to understand why. Like Sense8, there’s great representation and the show tackles various topics well. It could have been so easy for B99 to fail as a series, but it didn’t!
The cast is great. I am Amy Santiago. Captain Holt is both my father and my son. I WANT TO TAKE CHEDDAR HOME. It’s the sign of a good series when you can identify with every single character and become invested in their journey. As long as the writers don’t change too much, the only way it can go is up!
WARNINGS: many a funny times to be had, nothing else really it’s a daytime TV show
5. Love Island
I don’t like much trash TV but this is my jam. When I told my friends, I expected backlash because of what the show is about (‘attractive’ single people go to a luxury villa and sometimes ‘fall in love’). However, my other friend (Emily aka havemynorthernopinion – go follow her too) loves Jeremy Kyle with a passion and basically said, ‘yolo bitch do your thing’.
The thing is, I know this show is all fake and materialistic and, let’s be real, weird (watching a bunch of strangers making out and fighting and making up for a couple of months is pretty weird). But it’s just a great way to sit back and let your mind be preoccupied by other people’s problems for a while. Sure, their problems aren’t ‘real people problems’, more like who kisses who and what it means for the villa. But on an evening, I can get some trash food and watch some trash TV and it makes me happy. That’s all that really matters, right?
WARNINGS: all the sexy stuff, big swears
6. The Age of Adaline
I think it says a lot that the only two movies on this list are romances. The Age of Adaline is about a woman (Adaline) who has had very very very long life. In her late 20’s, Adaline gets into a car accident and stops ageing. 100 years later (circa 2015) she’s moved from city to city every 10 years as not to arouse suspicion. She’s also avoided love for just as long. However, she meets a man in an elevator on New Years Day and her life suddenly changes. I know it’s a very cliché story line but Adaline is the kind of woman I aspire to be like. #sophisticated #classy
It’s full of ups and downs and a love story I’m actually invested in. The science fiction element (just the tiny matter of Adaline being somewhat immortal) doesn’t factor into the story in an overly ‘sci-fi’ way. It’s a romance movie more than anything.
WARNINGS: nothing really, it’s rated a 12A so it’s all very tame and lovely, she has a pet dog!!!
7. Orphan Black
This show is just amazing. 5 seasons. 10 episodes per season. One actress playing upwards of 10 characters. What’s not to love?
A regular woman with a troubled past suddenly finds out that she’s a clone. The show follows Sarah Manning, her clones, and the consequences that follow their discovery. It’s delightfully moody, full of twists and turns that had me screaming and crying, and because of all the intricate plots that connect the characters, it’s incredibly rewatchable. Also, probably for the first time in my life, I was glad that they stopped it when they did. Any more seasons and I feel like it would have been ruined.
There’s an evil religious cult, an evil scientific faction, surprise clones where you’d least expect them and some fantastically lovable characters.
WARNINGS: violence, swears, some tame sexy stuff, suicide/other mental health troubles, many emotions
Annihilation: Really cool concept and I like how the different sides of nature splice together. Also love Natalie Portman, Gina Rodriguez and Tessa Thomson. The only reason it didn’t make my official list is because I’ve only seen it once and forgot about it till I was going through my ‘previously watched’ tab on Netflix.
Shadowhunters: I love the books (to be fair, I love most things by Cassandra Clare) and Malec is v cute but it’s not enough when the rest of the show is a bit dodgy.
The Punisher: Frank Castle is my baby. That is all.
Okja: I’m not a vegan/vegetarian so I’m not trying to push the obvious message of the movie onto you but what I really liked about it was the rebel group where people’s names were the colour of their hair. Also it made me cry, a bunch. But it is difficult to watch, especially towards the end.
OA: Again, cool concept (Flatliners totally ripped it off) and I was invested but it didn’t make me want to rewatch it fifty times. Also, the actress who plays Chrisjen Avasarala in The Expanse plays some kind of angel/demon/spirit lady in this and I high-key love her character.
Orbiter 9: Relatively new but it’s quite interesting. I like the concept but some parts just didn’t line up with where I saw the story going. I just don’t see why they had to go back into the bunker/space ship thing. I won’t say anything else. Just, go watch it. (Spanish subtitles)
Jessica Jones: I really really like this series, mostly because Jessica’s character doesn’t change every time someone makes an inspirational speech, but season one was great (love a bit of David Tennant) and season two was okay; yay for David Tennant cameos and a decent love interest for Jessica, boo for it being all about Jessica’s (SPOILER) mother who I don’t like/don’t ever believe when she suggests that she could be a decent human/have no empathy for because a bond wasn’t built up with her in the first season because the big thing is that all of Jessica’s family is dead.
If you’ve stuck around this long, congratulations. You now know me a bit better. If anything, take this as a list of recommendations if you’ve got a few evenings spare a week. Also, because I’m a writer, one of the benefits of watching TV shows and movies is that most of the time, they show good pacing. Whenever I’m writing, I like to imagine the scenes in my mind as though they’re playing on a TV. It helps me to focus on what’s necessary for the scene to work, and also make my characters more realistically. In a movie, if one character is talking, the rest of the people in the room aren’t acting like statues.
Anyway, I’ll shut up now and let you get on with your day. If you want to know anymore of my favourite things, let me know and I’ll be sure to write about it. Until next time!