We've rounded up some essential Netflix shows to get you through this period of isolation, from stand-up comedy specials, to soap-y dramas and more.
Netflix has quickly become an "essential service" for most of us. The platform has seen an increase in streaming numbers, unsurprisingly, since people have nowhere to go and nothing to do. While most of the world's businesses are experiencing a drastic slow-down right now, Netflix isn't stopping their monthly scheduled roll outs of new programming, on top of their original content. This particular round-up of Netflix shows is a mixed bag of recent additions and older series that may have gone overlooked, but are worthy of your eyes. From the viral success of Tiger King to the comedic stylings of Tom Segura, these are all great picks to take your mind off things.
Let us know what you've got on your Netflix watch list right now.
If you haven’t heard of this documentary series by now, actually, what are you doing? Are you okay? I mean, surely you’re at home, phone in hand. And if that’s true, then simple math tells us that you’ve scrolled past a Tiger King news article/meme/celebrity response to the stranger-than-fiction docu-series that thrust a trio of unlikely figures into the mainstream consciousness-- at the forefront of course, is Joe Exotic.
Tom Segura: Ball Hog
Tom Segura is a comedian and host of Your Mom’s House podcast. The podcast host has an insanely aggressive fanbase, and while he subtly catered to those fans in his new stand-up routine, Ball Hog he also makes the jokes accessible for all. We can all laugh collectively at Tom making fun of his wife, fellow comedian Christina Pastizky, in his opening monologue, as well, the comedian addresses the fall-out from his last special, Disgraceful.
Bert Kreisher: Hey Big Boy
Another comedy special for this list, because we could all use more laughs right now, Bert Kreisher’s Hey Big Boy is among Netflix’s recent additions, so chances are, you haven’t seen it yet. The comedian, who runs in the same circles as Tom Segura (and thus, by extension, Joe Rogan), delivers an hour-long routine that’s mostly about his daughter’s first period. So yeah. There’s that.
Ozark is the crime thriller starring unlikely actor Jason Bateman. I say that, in the sense that, before Bateman started playing Marty Byrd, the general “we” of the public wouldn’t have necessarily thought to cast him in that role -- which is perhaps why “we” (all of us) are not casting agents. Nonetheless, Bateman was cast as the head of the Byrd household, and continues to get the whole family into turmoil and trouble thanks to alliances with local criminals, as well as the cartel. Now, the Byrds are back with 10 new episodes to binge-watch, so if you haven't already been watching the series, it's the perfect time to dive in.
Self-Made is a limited series that documents the story of Madame C.J. Walker, the first self-made female billionaire in America, who made her fortune off black hair care products. The show, which not only counts Tiffany Haddish as an executive producer but includes her in the roll of Walker’s daughter, is based on A'Lelia Bundles’-- the great granddaughter of the real C.J. Walker-- biography On Her Own Ground. The T.V. series condenses Madame C.J. Waker’s empire-building pursuits into four succinct episodes, and stars Octavia Spenser as Walker.
If you need something soap-y, thrill-y and girl-y, well this is it. The Netflix original is based on the book of the same name byMegan Abbott. The TV series is set in a small town in the midwest, and explores the tenuous relationship between two best friends, when their high school who receives a new cheer squad coach. On the surface, that may sound like a rather light and fluffy premise, but things get dark, fast.
All American is a CW show, so you know there will be soap. There are also two seasons available for you to get your binge-watch on on Netflix right now, with a third season on the way. The teen drama centers around a high school football player, Spencer James, who switches high schools from his native Crenshaw, to play for Beverly Hills High. As you can imagine when teenagers are involved, the drama takes off almost immediately, with plenty of twists and turns along the way to fuel you right into the next episode.
Locke & Key
Locke & Key was just renewed for a second season, so now is the perfect time to binge watch the first season. It’s also on Netflix, which makes it easy to binge watch, so really, no excuses. Locke & Key veers into sci-fi, magical territory— so if that’s not your cup of tea, then this show likely won’t do anything for you. If it is, though, this show is for you. The Locke family, sans patriarch after the father’s untimely passing, return home and move back into the family’s inherited, historic mansion. The creepy old house, and the town, are filled with secrets, though. And the Locke children are the ones leading the discovery.
Maybe you want less of a soap opera that’s peripherally about cheerleading (Dare Me), and you want some full-on real-life cheerleaders? Cheer is a Netflix docu-series that explores the insane sport that is Cheerleading— and like many Netflix docs, they know how to keep you engaged and interested even if it’s a topic that wouldn’t typically interest you, at least not on paper.
Mind Hunter is another dose of escapism, if you should need it, as we get to follow FBI agents Holden Ford and Bill Tench in their pursuit of criminals-- not just any ol’ criminal, but serial killers, as they attempt to understand and analyze exactly how these killers think. The crime thriller has two seasons stacked on Netflix, with the first season set in the ‘70s and the second in the ‘80s-- it’s definitely far-away enough from our current times that you’ll get a much-need distraction from reality.
American Crime Story
Another true crime thriller series to keep in rotation while we’re in isolation mode. This anthology series kicked off season one in a highly-publicized manner, as the show documented the story of O.J. Simpson. The critically-acclaimed first season, The People vs. O.J. Simpson, starred Cuba Gooding Jr. as OJ, John Travolta as Robert Shapiro and David Schwimmer as Robert Kardashian. The series returned in season two with The Assisination of Gianni Versace, earning the FX show even more accolades, and exploring the murder of the famed fashion designer.
The best TV series you probably haven’t seen. The Sinner’s first season stars Jessica Biel (who knew!) as a mother who blacks out during a family trip to the beach, leaving Detective Harry Ambrose, played by Bill Pullman to figure out why exactly. The mystery and crime unravels, keeping you on the edge of your seat the entire way. The Sinner follows Detective Ambrose as he explores more cases of crime in season two and three, with the third season having just wrapped up airing at the end of March-- you can catch the first two seasons on Netflix though.