By Rohini Banerjee:
In case you hadn’t heard already, Netflix—the world’s biggest premium film and television streaming website—has finally made it to India! Netflix is the home to a large variety of original programming as well as films and TV shows from various other sources, and in case the numerous options available are making it hard for you to pick which show or movie to watch, here’s a simple guide to start you off on your streaming journey! These are 6 shows and films that you just can’t miss—
Truly and utterly mindboggling, this sci-fi anthology series, in the vein of Twilight Zone, reflects upon the darker side of the effects of technology on human nature. In parts hilarious, and in parts brutally shocking, this show reflects on modern society like nothing you’ve seen before. Though each episode tackles a different plot with a different cast and setting, they have one thing in common—they will all leave you only able to sit and stare at a blank screen, wondering what you just watched. Beyond all of the thought-provoking, mind-bending, and world building, the acting and aesthetic is sharp and nuanced, and the unprecedented twists and turns will always keep you guessing and on the edge of your seat.
Heralded as Netflix’s answer to the hit podcast ‘Serial‘, Making a Murderer tells the tragic story of Two Rivers, Wisconsin-native Steven Avery. After serving 18 years in prison for a sexual assault and attempted murder charge he maintains he never committed, new evidence exonerates Avery, making him a free man. Now 41 years old and looking to clear his name, Avery sues Manitowoc County for a whopping $36 million in damages. However, shortly after filing the lawsuit, Avery’s name is once again tied to another crime, this time in the disappearance and assumed death of photographer Teresa Halbach. Coincidentally, Avery faces the same people who wrongfully put him behind bars in the mid-1980s and yet again argue his innocence. Incredibly exhilarating yet downright exasperating at times, Netflix’s Making a Murderer is one of the most fascinating true crime documentaries out there.
Netflix’s original, animated comedy features voices from some of the biggest stars on TV today (i.e. Will Arnett, Alison Brie, Aaron Paul) and tells the story of a washed up, fictional horse who attempts to reignite his stagnant celebrity career. While the world its set in might seem bizarre and fictional, its meditations on the human condition, celebrity life, and depression and abandonment are immensely real and impactful. Come for the laughs and amazing voice cameos, stay for the important revelations!
Marvel’s tie-up with Netflix has undoubtedly yielded the best results on-screen, and this show is further proof. Ostensibly a superhero show, features a hard-drinking, badass female protagonist (the titular Jessica) who not only beats up the baddies, but also offers important commentary on issues such as rape, consent, mental health and dealing with trauma. The whole show unfolds as a battle against patriarchy and male entitlement. The icing on the cake is its brilliant representation—it has nuanced lesbian characters, characters of colour, and mental health patients. Seriously, what are you even doing with your life if you haven’t watched this show yet?
A harrowing tale of war, hardship and the loss of innocence, this is Netflix’s first foray into feature-film territory. Directed by True Detective director Cary Fukunaga, and starring the indomitable Idris Elba, this film chronicles the adventures of a child soldier in West Africa, who gets recruited by a brutal, ruthless warlord (played by Elba). This is often hard to watch due to the bleakness of the subjects it tackles, but the acting, the story and the cinematography will keep you hooked. The world it depicts is a cruel one, but the story it tells is extremely important.
This is one of those shows that if you miss out, you miss out on an important life experience. There are few shows on television right now that are crafted this beautifully, whether it be dialogue, character or plot. It tackles some serious issues—from fatherhood, to the immigrant experience, to racism in mainstream media, to casual sexism, to sex and relationships—but infuses a sense of such natural, real humour into it, that it almost feels like the events unfolding on screen are actually happening to you. It feels like the Louis C.K. treatment, but with Aziz Ansari’s sensibility and that is pretty much the best combination a show can have.