By Zach Goins
January 17, 2019
In a world where Netflix is producing nearly 700 original TV shows, it’s easy to feel like you’re drowning in a sea of content. With something new coming out every other day, there’s just too many things to sift through in order to stay in the loop with all the latest trends.
In all the commotion of the streaming site’s biggest hits, like Bird Box and the approximately 357 alternate endings of Bandersnatch, there are plenty of shows that slip through the cracks and go unnoticed. It’s time those shows get the recognition they deserve – justice for all Netflix Originals!
So, next time you find yourself in need of a new show to binge, instead of rewatching The Office for the hundredth time, check out one of these hidden gems.
You (1 Season)
This may not be under-the-radar for much longer, because it’s quickly turning into Netflix’s latest hit. You follows Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley), a clever bookstore manager, who becomes smitten with Guinevere Beck (Elizabeth Lail), his dream girl-next-door, after a charming meet-cute in his store. But it’s quickly revealed that Joe isn’t as wholesome as he seems; instead, he’s actually pretty freakin’ creepy, as he aggressively stalks Beck via social media and forces his way into her life through “coincidental” run-ins. You is really good at what it does. Viewers will be tricked into rooting for the awkward, gangly Joe as he tries to charm Beck, but then immediately remember how truly terrifying his obsession is. Not many shows can make their viewers feel so conflicted this easily.
Friends from College (2 Seasons)
Hopefully get-togethers with your college buddies go way better than this gang’s, because theirs are a disaster. With an all-star lineup featuring Keegan-Michael Key, Cobie Smulders and Billy Eichner, this show follows a group of friends from Harvard who struggle to deal with the real world when all they really want is to go back to the good old days. As the pressures of adulthood mount, the group tries its best to stay tight, but sometimes their reunions lead to former romances flaring up, unresolved drama and generally poor decision making. Friends from College provides a refreshingly realistic look at what it’s like trying to juggle your current and former lives, unlike most shows that look at the world through rose-colored glasses.
Nailed It! (2 Seasons and a Holiday Special)
Too many cooking shows pit expert chefs against each other as they race to create the most delicious and beautiful dishes possible. But what about all the normal people in the kitchen at home? Enter, Nailed It! where the goal isn’t to create Michelin star-worthy dishes but just something the judges will consider edible. Hosted by comedian Nicole Byer, French pastry chef Jacques Torres and a special celebrity guest judge, each week features three competitors trying to recreate elaborate baked goods, usually with disastrous results. It’s seem pretty difficult to go wrong when the contestants are given ingredients, recipes and model dishes, but somehow they always do, which provides plenty of outrageous moments. It’s hard to say the show has a winner, but at the end of each episode the least awful contestant walks away with $10,000. Not a bad payout for burning some cookies.
Dogs (1 Season)
Looking for something a bit more informative? How about a cuteness overload? Combine the two with Dogs, quite possibly the most wholesome show to ever exist. This six episode docuseries shows just how undeserving humans are of our canine best friends. From a service dog capable of detecting seizures before they happen to a faithful companion sailing with his Italian fisherman owner, each episode features a different pup. While this show may seem like it’s all bark and no bite, Dogs shares some profound and emotional stories, so make sure there’s a box of tissues handy.
The Haunting of Hill House (1 Season)
Arguably one of the best shows of 2018, Hill House is Netflix’s greatest foray into the world of horror so far. When the Crane family moves into Hill House, a historically haunted house, things quickly start to unravel. After Mrs. Crane’s mysterious death, Mr. Crane and his five children flee the house and struggle to carry the weight of their childhood horrors into adulthood. But when one of the now grown-up children commits suicide, these mysteries can no longer be ignored, and the terrors of Hill House must be investigated once and for all. Flashing back and forth from their childhood to their present-day lives, Hill House does an excellent job fully developing its characters and making viewers invest in them. Plus, there are some truly fantastic scares along the way.
The Staircase (1 Season)
If you’re a true crime junkie, then this one will be right up your alley, and it hits close to home. Set in Durham, North Carolina, The Staircase examines the real-life 2003 murder of Kathleen Peterson after her husband Michael finds her bloody body at the bottom of their staircase. Things quickly become more complicated as Michael’s story doesn’t quite add up, resulting in an exhilarating investigation filled with twists. Originally filmed and released as a French miniseries in 2004, but Netflix picked up the show and added three new episodes in 2018 after a new development in the case.
Big Mouth (2 Seasons)
Think cartoons are just for kids? Think again. It’s hard to call this “under-the-radar,” but some people may have overlooked Big Mouth just because it’s animated, so this one’s for them. Nick Kroll and Andrew Goldberg’s masterpiece is a shockingly crude and profane look at the struggles of puberty through the perspective of several middle schoolers. Featuring a stellar cast of voice actors like Kroll, John Mulaney, Jason Mantzoukas, Maya Rudolph, Jordan Peele and Jenny Slate, anybody who’s anybody in comedy is bound to make an appearance. While it may seem like it’s being obscene just because it can, Big Mouth actually serves a greater purpose as it works to normalize these challenges everyone faces. Be prepared to cackle, cringe, and be sufficiently grossed out as all of the worst middle school memories instantly come rushing back.
Ugly Delicious (1 Season)
Looking to dive into cultures from around the world without leaving the couch? Then Ugly Delicious is the perfect show to binge. Think Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, but a little less serious. Hosted by restaurateur David Chang, each episode focuses on a certain food or dish and examines how it’s cooked in different regions around the world. Along the way, Chang is joined by celebrity guests to taste these unique takes on classic recipes. There’s no prize at the end, just some people looking for really delicious food.
Documentary Now! (2 Seasons)
Before there was American Vandal, there was Documentary Now!, a mockumentary series where each episode closely parodies a famous real-life documentary. Created by Saturday Night Live alums Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, Seth Meyers and Rhys Thomas, this hilarious series recreates a true event and mimics the style of the original subject matter to ensure the most accurate and entertaining imitations. And, unlike most documentaries, these episodes are only 21 minutes long, making them perfect for an all-day binge or just an episode here and there.
On My Block (1 Season)
If Big Mouth wasn’t quite the coming-of-age story you were looking for, maybe try out On My Block. As high school approaches, a group of four friends struggle to balance their changed lives and maintain their friendships with one another. Starring a talented and diverse cast of young people dealing with relevant real-world issues, On My Block is one of Netflix’s most authentic series. With a new season scheduled to release early this year, now is the perfect time to get all caught up and binge the first season – you won’t regret it.