It’s been quite a while since we offered up suggestions and commentary for (real) “Netflix and Chill.”
I legit find myself spending up to an hour scrolling through the sites looking for something to watch. There have been times, admittedly, where I have “used up” TV time (some would say “waste”) by clicking through genres and more. Even though this has happened repeatedly, I get in this mildly crazed mindset of “there might be something better….” It’s the curse of just having too many choices!
So, in an attempt to prevent you from falling into the circuitous, perplexing, labyrinthine trap of the ubiquitous “search,” here are some of our finds – what’s worth it and what might not be. (These are in no particular order – and, since there are so many of them, comments will be brief).
Russian Doll – In addition to the always-in-every-episode cheer of Harry Nilsson’s “Gotta Get Up,” this inventive series stars a manic Natasha Lyonne (also creator, along with Leslye Headland and “Parks & Rec’s” Amy Poheler) as Nadia, a freewheelin’ computer game designer who is forced to relive the evening of her birthday, repeatedly, dying and finding herself alive again. This is a popular trope (it’s used in the also-currently-screening
“Before I Fall,” a drama film starring Zoey Deutch) has been done effectively, and notably, in 1993’s “Groundhog Day,” and also very muchless so, “Naked” (also currently streaming). But “Russian Doll” is so well done, it’s funny. thought-provoking and thoroughly addictive. Netflix.
Black Earth Rising – If you were a fan of the lamentably-only-two-seasons British comedy “Chewing Gum,” (streaming, hilarious and raunchy) you definitely have preconceived notions of star Michaela Coel. Here, starring opposite John Goodman, Coel has transformed into tenacious investigator Kate Ashby, a Rawandan genocide survivor who must piece together her past, deal with and solve a personal and political tragedy. This limited series is so good. And, if you’re like me, you’ll learn a lot.
Sex Education – With a title that seem little removed from standard raunchy Netflix fare (“Hot Wet American Summer” comes to mind), it may surprise viewers that this British import, while certainly featuring said rauchiness, is actually a thoughtful and credible look at contemporary high school “romance.”
Friends From College – the second season of this ensemble series greatly improves upon the first. Set in Manhattan, it’s a treatise on the meaning and substance of long-time friendships. In this new season, the abundant talents are allowed to shine through instead of being mired in cringing narcissism.
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina – I take a big risk saying this, but this is the first series of this genre that I felt could actually challenge the mantle of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” It’s head-and-shoulders above the series’ whose world it shares (“Riverdale”), and takes the comic book and subsequent 90s’ sitcom to an elevated level. Kudos to Keiran Shipka, Miranda Otto, Lucy Davis and the rest of the cast for restrained yet effective performances. Yes, Richard Coyle’s grand warlock is a little over-the-top, but for a show with the main conceit of the supernatural, it gets friendships and romance just right.
Sisters – This comedy from down-under centers on the aftermath of three disparate women who find out they are actually siblings, thanks to their fertility-doctor biological father who used his own sperm on his patients. It’s a lively series and the chemistry between the three actresses, Lucy Durack, Antonia Prebble and Maria Angelico is wonderful.