I have a hot and cold relationship with Netflix, there will be a show that I’m really into, I’ll binge watch it in one weekend and then be pissed that it’s over and I have to wait for more than a year for the next season to come out. I guess I just don’t know how to ration a show that I like so when I see it I have to devour it! Lately however I’ve decided to put myself on a Netflix ration. Now this may sound strange but hear me out. I’ve been trying to mix it up at the gym lately because I end up getting super bored with the same old routine. I’ve landed on the Stair Master because it’s the one machine that really challenges me and genuinely allows me to switch up my routine at the same time. Now you may be asking what the hell this has to do with “The Best Shows You’re Not Watching On Netflix”? Well, back to that idea of rationing my fav Netflix shows. I decided that when I got really into a show, I would only allow myself to watch it while I was on the Stair Master, that way I’m not bored while I’m doing my workout, and because I can only watch it while I’m working out I generally get to pace myself and not devour the whole damn thing in one sitting.
This method has not only helped to keep me more engaged in my fitness but it has also gotten me into some really great new scripted shows on Netflix! Pacing is such a huge deal to me, so finding one that gets down to business right away is super important when you’re sweating it out on the evil stairway to hell. These do just that. So lets talk about what I like about each one and why you should begin watching them now.
Students of color navigate the daily slights and slippery politics of life at an Ivy League college that’s not nearly as “post-racial” as it thinks. Radio host Samantha White our militant and woke protagonist leads the charge when a black face party shakes up the campus and brings out the racial tension that has always been simmering underneath the surface. I saw the movie version of this Netflix show back in 2014 and fell in love with Tessa Thompson’s depiction of White, and was nervous that Logan Browning wouldn’t be able to nail the complexity of the characters own internal race battle. However, I had nothing to be worried about as Browning kills it in the role and reminds me why I loved the character in the first place – the way she says every single thing I want to say to the racist patriarchy in my own life, while still reminding us that black women are not a monolith and that we have layers, and depth that go beyond just how we choose to wear our hair or what music we listen to, or that n*gga is a word that can roll off our tongues as quickly and unflinchingly as all of the others in our colorfully expressive arsenal! That matched with a solid supporting cast, a creative retelling of the story, and some pretty fine eye candy, and well kids, we have a winner!
I didn’t expect to love this show as much as I do, but the name of this Netflix original that debuted back in 2016 is exactly how I feel about it now. When his cheating girlfriend leaves him, people-pleasing nice-guy Gus moves into a trendy apartment complex inhabited by lots of college students. A chance encounter introduces him to wild-child Mickey, also recently single. Though wildly different, the two are drawn to each other, and that relationship is the basis for this Judd Apatow- helmed series. In the end, their differences may be what help them figure out just what love is. I’m drawn to shows that offer honest, unflinching portrayals of what it means to be in a relationship – the awkward first date, the totally “unsexy” first sexual encounter, the slow peeling back of who you really are after your representative retreats back into their carefully protected cage. After each fight, argument, and break-up I’m waiting for that moment that usually comes at the end of a romantic comedy, you know the one, when boy and girl stop playing and realize how right they are for each other and they ride off into the sunset together? Well, it never really comes with “Love”, but it’s exactly the reason I keep tuning in.
Inspired by Sophia Amoruso’s best-selling book, this series follows the rise of Amoruso’s multi-million dollar fashion empire, Nasty Gal. Britt Robertson plays the starring role of Sophia, a rebellious, broke anarchist who decides to start selling vintage clothing online. As her passion — and retail fashion empire — begins to grow, Sophia unexpectedly becomes a businesswoman, who starts to realize the value (and difficulties) of being the boss of her own life. It’s the perfect story in today’s “you can be your own boss and use social media to propel your brand” world and I really connected with Amoruso’s “build something from nothing” narrative. Sure she’s a know-it-all, dumpster diving, smart mouth punk who doesn’t know much about life but still seems to think she knows EVERYTHING about life. But, you give her a pass because of the tenacity with which is goes about taking Nasty Gal to the next level.
I have to admit I struggled with this one when I began watching it, the British humor may have been a bit too quirky for my American mind. I’m glad I stuck with it though because as weird as the humor is the laughs are worth it. So the premise pretty much is this ; The virginal Tracey (played and written by Michaela Cole) , who was raised in a strictly religious Tower Hamlets flat, is ready to realize her potential, and the first step to that is having sex. The fact is, if I knew Tracey in real life, she’d probably irritate me a lot, but yet and still, I love her and I love Cole’s fearlessly funny portrayal of her. She’s just not afraid to put herself out there and I think it’s kind of dope that a woman of color has the guts to be the butt of the joke that she inherently created. I’m also just a fan of characters and stories that don’t follow the typical arc and Chewing Gum is as out there as you can get.
Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant star in this series as married realtors, Sheila and Joel, who are living a quiet life, raising their teenage daughter in Santa Clarita, Calif. Their world unexpectedly changes when Sheila goes through a dramatic transformation that sends her down a road of death and destruction — but leaves her looking and feeling better than ever. Without giving away too much of the show, let’s just say I really love the humor and found myself laughing out loud on my treadmill constantly as I watched. It’s all parts silly and far-fetched but somehow it works!
This limited series brings viewers inside one of the most prolific American court cases of the 20th century — the O.J. Simpson murder trial — from the lawyers’ viewpoints. Based on the book “The Run of His Life,” the 10-episode series details behind-the-scenes dealings and maneuvering by both the prosecution and defense as they try to convince the jury to side with them in what was dubbed “the trial of the century.” Key elements of the trial that are explored involve overconfidence by the prosecution and the LAPD’s history with the black community in Los Angeles. Watching the show brought back so many memories during that time period of my life and opened my eyes to information I was not privy to. At the time there had been an aabhorrent amount of brutalization at the hands of police by the black community that I couldn’t see OJ Simpson for what he truly was- a murderer. Watching how the story unfolded brought those feelings back to the surface and showed me that not much has changed within our legal system. But I watched it for nostalgia’s sake anyway.
Speaking of nostalgia! Stranger Things had me wanting to break out my Caboodles kit, and throw on my old LA Gear jacket! The throwback to all things 80’s alone had me glued to this thrilling drama that stars award-winning actress Winona Ryder as Joyce Byers, who lives in a small Indiana town in 1983. When Joyce’s 12-year-old son, Will, goes missing, she launches a terrifying investigation into his disappearance with local authorities. As they search for answers, they unravel a series of extraordinary mysteries involving secret government experiments, unnerving supernatural forces, and a very unusual little girl.
You’re probably not watching it because it didn’t end too long ago, but you SHOULD be watching it because now that we know how the story ends watching it all the way through with the information we didn’t have at the time makes for a brand new experience. That’s how you know a show is good;when you can have a completely different experience the 2nd time around! For those living under a rock and unfamiliar with the premise “The survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 were 1,000 miles off course when they crashed on a lush, mysterious island. Each person possesses a shocking secret, but they’ve got nothing on the island itself, which harbors a monstrous security system, a series of underground bunkers and a group of violent survivalists hidden in the shadows.”
So there’s my list! What’s on yours? Let me know in the comments below!