By: Máire Hannigan
If you’re anything like us, you’ve had your fair share of binge-watching marathons. With streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, that have EVERY season of Friends, One Tree Hill, and Psych what more could you want to do with your day? That being said, since 2013, Netflix has released an abundance of their own original shows. There are so many to choose from, so we’ve narrowed it down to our top 5.
One Day At a Time
Based on the 1975-84 sitcom starring Bonnie Franklin, One Day At a Time follows a Cuban-American family living in Los Angeles as they navigate family life, the world around them, and growing up in modern-day America. The cast depicts the comical yet average life of a middle-class family made up of a single mom, Penelope Alvarez, her two teenage children, Elena and Alex, and Penelope’s Cuban-American mother, Lydia. Penelope is a veteran, dealing with PTSD, who now works as a nurse, juggling her work and her home life after separating from her husband.
One Day At a Time is a diverse, inclusive series that addresses topics like: mental illness, immigration, sexism, homophobia, and racism. It’s a feel good, heartwarming show that will make you laugh and open your mind, and you’ll consistently root for the characters.
Atypical follows the life of autistic 18 year-old Sam, and, as viewers, we are introduced to the inner workings of Sam’s mind: we see his love for penguins, his new interest in girls, what social interaction is like for him as well as what his family life is like. We also get to know Sam’s parents as they struggle with understanding and parenting Sam and even see how Sam’s younger sister, Casey relates to her brother. Casey and Sam have the typical sibling relationship, but Casey’s protective nature over Sam reverses their respective roles. Although she is only a junior in highschool, Casey constantly worries about Sam and what life outside of school holds for him.
The Gardner family dynamic is challenged throughout the 8 episodes of the first season, and this drama portrays the life of your average family with a son who happens to be autistic. Atypical will keep you entertained and intrigued to see how each family member plays a role in this coming of age story.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Created by Tina Fey, this sitcom follows 29-year-old Kimmy Schmidt, a woman who was held captive in a doomsday cult for 15 years in Durnsville, Indiana. Now freed, Kimmy has to make up for those lost years, so she moves to New York, looking for a fresh start. Kimmy finds herself a job as a nanny for a clueless socialite, Jacqueline Voorhees, and with her new job and the help of her new friends, her roommate and a struggling actor, Titus Andromedon and her streetsmart landlady, Lillian, Kimmy makes her way through the big apple.
For a show that surrounds a typically traumatic experience, it is refreshing to watch Kimmy’s experience through a lighthearted, positive approach. We see how, being the positive upbeat character that she is, Kimmy refuses to be labeled by her past, and her attitude and the scenarios she gets herself into will leave you wanting more.
Friends From College
Starring big names like Keegan Michael Key, Cobie Smulders, and Billy Eichner, Friends From College follows a group of Harvard alumni college buddies that reconnect as adults and displays their intertwined lives and relationships while living in New York. There’s writer, Ethan Turner who’s married to hedge fund lawyer, Lisa. Then, there is New York interior designer Samantha Delmonico who is having an affair with Ethan, a hookup from college that never ceased. Then there’s free-spirited actor, Marianne who’s the only one in the friend group aware of the affair between Ethan and Samantha, and literary agent Max Adler, who happens to be Ethan’s agent. And, finally, there’s unemployed Nick who lives off a trust fund, is always down to party, and has a romantic past with Lisa.
It’s comical to watch this group of friends who, although graduated and beyond their college years, fall back into the dysfunctional and irresponsible ways of their youth. It’s almost comforting for those in their 20s watching to know that even “adults” are as messy and lost as they are. You can have a career and a family and still be falling apart behind closed doors.
The End of the F***ing World
This British dramedy, based on a graphic novel of the same name, tells the story of 17 year-old James who believes himself to be a psychopath, and his rebellious classmate, Alyssa who sees James as an escape from her troubled home life. James grew up enjoying killing smalls animals, and he decides he wants to try killing a human–that’s where Alyssa comes in. They’re both dealing with their own separate issues and after spending time together they decide to runaway. Along the way, they find themselves wreaking havoc and falling for one another.
The End of the F***ing World portrays a dark and twisted tale, one that will keep you on your toes. It isn’t pleasant, but the idea behind the plot is intriguing enough for you to tell Netflix, “Yes, I’m still watching.”