In 2019, more and more people are streaming content online every day. And it makes sense; with the rise of Netflix and other similar services, viewing our favorite shows has never been easier. One click of the mouse, and voila! Binge-worthy material is now at our fingertips.
Among streaming services, Netflix led the charge in its release of original shows and movies alongside their syndicated material, and such content has the tendency to skyrocket toward virality at alarming rates (i.e., “Bird Box”). However, the tiresome task of sifting through a sea of choices can sometimes hinder our ability to locate these diamonds in the rough. To eliminate that burden, read on:
- “One Day at a Time” This show is a remake of Norman Lear’s 1970s sitcom of the same name. The story’s focus is a Cuban-American family with a newly single Army veteran raising her kids with her mother’s help. Though this show has the marks of many a traditional sitcom with its extra bright lighting and canned laughs, it breaks the mold by dealing with serious topics ranging from racism and feminism to mental health.
- “Dumplin’” Based on the YA novel by Julie Murphy, this film explores the world of Danielle Macdonald’s character, Willowdean Dickson, affectionately known as Dumplin’ to her former pageant-winning mother Rosie (Jennifer Aniston). To prove a point to her mother, plus-size Willowdean signs up for a pageant as a form of protest. When fellow outcasts follow suit, a revolution of empowerment ensues.
- “Stranger Things” Considering the recent resurgence of ‘80s nostalgia, it’s no surprise that “Stranger Things,” created by the Duffer Brothers, became a total hit. In 1983 small town Indiana, Will, the young son of Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder), goes missing and an investigation ensues. Will’s friends, a group of ragtag kids, find themselves drawn into a mystery involving a secret government project and a little girl nicknamed Eleven (Millie Bobbie Brown). Supernatural forces lead to trouble and chaos ensues. Since its release, Netflix has also released an after show hosted by Jim Rash. Season three is set to be released July 4, 2019.
- “Roma” If you like documentaries, check out the Academy Award-winning film “Roma.” This autobiographical film explores a year in the life of a family in 1970s Mexico City. The incredibly moving film allows the audience to spend some time in a setting unexplored by most American-made media. The film was written and directed by Alfonso Cuarón and recently won three Academy Awards.
- “Sex Education” In this British comedy, when the socially awkward Otis Milburn inadvertently helps the school bully with his sexual performance, he and Maeve, his confident but vulnerable classmate, open a business together to educate their fellow students regarding their complicated love lives. This comedy drama also features Gillian Anderson of “X-Files” as Otis’ mother and Ncuti Gatwa as Otis’ best friend Eric.
- “The Ritual” In this 2018 horror/thriller, four friends set out into the wilderness after the death of a friend. The mysterious forest takes them to a place where evil exists, and audience members are left wondering if they’ll ever get out alive. It attempts to be the “Blair Witch Project,” but with more imagination, and the characters’ desperation communicates everything you need to know.
- “American Vandal” If you love true crime, you’re sure to enjoy this satire. The first season follows an aspiring documentarian as he investigates the aftermath of a vandalization incident at the local high school. Everyone is convinced that Dylan Maxwell, a troubled senior, may potentially face expulsion. But like many crime dramas, the answer isn’t always so clear-cut. So . . . Whodunit?
- “Candy Jar” In this cheesy-on-purpose romantic comedy, two rivaling students at an elite school start a debate club to please their mothers as college looms closer. Soon they realize they have more in common than they thought. Not that you couldn’t guess for yourself, but there is indeed a happy ending, and the introverted girl from a working-class family falls in love with her wealthy rival.
- “You” In this series, an awkward crush turns to fatal attraction when Joe (Penn Badgley), a bookstore manager meets an aspiring writer named Beck (Elizabeth Lail). Using every tool at his disposal, Joe gets rid of all the obstacles keeping them apart – even people, including Beck’s best friend Peach (Shay Mitchell). What won’t he do for love? This dark and twisted show is truly riveting and currently set for a second season.