By Thomas Brennan
In light of the recent events keeping us all inside and deprived of more public forms of entertainment. Here’s a list of 10 shows that are best to binge while stuck at home:
Parks & Recreation, Netflix
A Comedy that defines Classic. While this show may have wrapped five years ago and never got the praise it was worthy of in its time on air; it went on to launch the careers of some of the most popular and respected names in entertainment today Amy Poehler, Audrey Plaza, Nick Offerman, and Chris Pratt. The show is a testament to the workplace comedies. On a deeper level, the show always manages to find the idea there is fun to be had in friends and doing good for your community.
It’s rare to see a show able to balance a comedy in a setting based around politics, let alone do it well enough to deliver one of the best crack-up series of the 2010s. If Julia Louis Dreyfus had not solidified her position as the queen of comedy in any of her previous works, she does it here. The show highlights the back handed immature handling of politics. Every barb that the show throws out is a crackup. The wider ensemble is brimming with talent and always find a way to distinguish themselves with their own brand of witty cruelty. The series evolves, or rather devolves, from highlighting how the incompetence of government inner workings, to showing how greed and power are a path that leads nowhere; when you pursue power for the sake of no one but your own sake, you’re truly left with nothing.
I am Not Okay With This, Netflix
This new Netflix show is tough to place genre wise. On the surface it seems like a more copy and paste of the uncontrollably powered psychic girl trope seen in countless other pieces of media. Despite the trappings of the show’s concept, I am Not Okay With This still manages to often subvert its own premise; bringing out something almost boundary pushing with just the smallest steps. It doesn’t build a sense of fear of a greater external horror like similar shows. but a more relatable internal fear of losing control of one’s self that is neatly tied into the messy plight of being a teenager.
The Witcher, Netflix
Toss a coin to your Netflix account, cause The Withcher is another must see. Henry Cavil leads the brutal fantasy series as the monster hunter Geralt, the titular Witcher. The series is endearing and entertaining on a number of levels. Each of the three storylines that goes on carries a weight of real danger, fun, and adventure. It sometimes seems to stumble on bigger themes, but always lands on its feet with solid character writing and strong performances. The choreography of certain scenes and battles are absolutely cinematic. The Witcher likely would have landed higher on this list were it not for it’s very out of sorts timeline that can be vexing to almost anyone and has been a major point of criticism for the show.
Grace & Frankie, Netflix
A comedy that’s simple on the surface, but elicits both laughs and tears for people all ages. shows no matter how old you are it’s possible to make someone laugh. The whole ensemble of the titular women’s families is delightful, but Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin’s chemistry carries this show. The back-and-forth between these two characters is as likely to make viewers bust out giggling as they are to shed tears. Every episode brings a new rush of joy in what will be Grace and Frankie’s next endeavor. The core of this show, and likely why it relates to audiences young and old, is the fact it says nobody is too old to make a friend or a change.
The Dragon Prince, Netflix
From the minds that created the masterpiece of Avatar: The Last Airbender, comes The Dragon Prince. Don’t let the fact it’s animated let you dismiss this phenomenal world and story. It’s a fantasy series of children of opposing sides uniting to try and to end the war their parents and forefathers started. The story manages to capture the creativity and gravitas of Game of Thrones, but still be a joy to watch for both kids and adults. It pushes the envelope, catches the imagination, and pulls in the viewer with mature character work. It handles topics like grief from loss, the cost of war and hate, alongside the way friendship and love knows no borders. If you choose to pick up The Dragon Prince, be sure to also watch the end credits for Easter eggs, profound and relevant of things to come in this groundbreaking adventure.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Amazon Prime
The best adjective to describe this show is right there in the title. The show’s wit and humor are so sharp it makes a bed broadswords seem as soft as a pillow. The central story builds off the career launch of the title character’s comic act after being dealt the surface level idea of the worst blow a woman of her time could endure in divorce; but Mrs. Maisel is as indomitable as she is marvelous. The rest of the cast packs humor and fun in tight paced and perfect delivery. Every beat of dialogue is a laugh. The set work determination to nail the ear of the 50’s is a sensation in itself and will arise nostalgia for older audience members. The best joke is on the viewer is it perfectly presents the concept that failure can just be the greatest opportunity that can knock on your door.
The Boys, Amazon Prime
Worn out from the constant peddling of recycled material from the superhero genre. The Boys have you covered. Don’t let the show’s simple title fool you, The Boys packs a punch as powerful as an evil star-spangled Superman. This show itself likely wouldn’t have the same resonance if our current world if we didn’t have the Marvel cinematic universe. The Boys highlights in the most horrifying way what a world with superheroes would look like. The depravity of a world of people with god like power is on full display in this show from the first episode. This isn’t a story of hope and heroics, rather the show works to peel off the human evil underneath. The show tackles relevant issues to our own world as well and handles its political themes with deep thought and nuance. It at times has a little too much fun with its more mature tone and freedom, but it’s still a perfect watch for anyone looking to see heroes taken down a peg.
Harley Quinn, DC Universe
The most surprising breakout show of the year. Harley Quinn, produced by Kaley Cuoco, who also voices the titular character, has found its way to be one of the most hilarious and emotionally resonant series in years. The show brings a graphic level to animation, blood and violence abound, but the series never gets bogged down in its more brutal elements. The show always finds clever ways to be humorous and action packed. Interestingly, past all the profuse amounts of blood and liberal use of cursing, the show’s heart is in its characters and deeper themes. Harley Quinn tackles issues like coping with abusive relationships, sexism in the work field, and learning to trust after trauma in ways that grip the soul itself. It’s a must see show that shakes the very idea of what animation and television can be.
The Good Place, Netflix
Just another classic crafted by the genius of Michael Schur. The show has just concluded its four-season run, ending the story of four dumpster fires of human beings evolving into better people even after they’ve died. The Good Place has cemented itself one of the greatest and most intelligent comedies of all time. It’s a show that is not just content to be hysterical with top notch performances from its talented cast. It raises deep philosophical questions about the nature of humanity and what being good truly means. The Good Place is never afraid to shine a light on their characters and their flaws, showing how hard it is to be good, but still standing by the theme doing good is worth it in itself. The saddest thing to say about this show is that it was so short compared to most serialized television, though this is also one of its greatest strengths. The series delivers its message of optimism in the nature of humanity in perfect fashion before saying one final and truly bittersweet goodbye.
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Anna Paula Goncalves
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