Thursday 4 March 2021

Netflix Recommendations | Part 1

I go through periods where I just want to binge watch everything that Netflix has to offer and for the last few months that's exactly what I've been doing. Netflix have really been prepared for this whole pandemic situation because they have been releasing tv shows and movies left, right and center. I can't believe how much new content they have, there seems to be a new selection every other week or so. I'm not complaining though because I love how much choice there is and how there's something for every mood I have. 

I decided I wanted to start highlighting some of the shows and films that I've been consuming over on the platform and give someone else some ideas of where to start with their next binge. This is a selection of what I've been enjoying over the last two months and hopefully I'll be able to do these types of posts every couple of months or so when I've logged more hours.   

Fate: The Winx Saga (2021 - Present)

Starring: Abigail Cowen, Hannah van der Westhuysen, Precious Mustapha, Eliot Salt,  Elisha Applebaum, Danny Griffin

This series has been making some waves in the teen demographic over the last month or so, apparently it's viewing numbers have almost rivaled that of Bridgerton! This is a fantasy/supernatural teen drama that is based on the animated series Winx Club and follows a group of fairies as they begin to learn how to control their magic. It's set in a realm seperate from the human world called the Otherworld and mainly takes place at a boarding school in Alfea. The main characters are five fairies attending this school; Bloom, Stella, Musa, Aisha and Terra with the main plot centering around their friendship and their battle with ancient creatures called the Burned Ones. 
This series took me by suprise in a lot of ways. I didn't grow up watching the animated series so I knew nothing about the world or the characters but I ended up enjoying it a lot. It's a lot darker and adult in tone then I was expecting and I appreciated the more mature direction they were going in. The action is enjoyable to watch and there's definitely a high stakes aspect to balance out the general teen drama of the characters. I'm really glad that a renewal has already been announced as whilst this first series was good, it did lack a bit development in most areas, I really want to know more about the magic and the world building. 
I will also mention that there was controversy over casting choices for this series. In the original Musa is of East Asian heritage but is played by a Causcasian actress and they excluded the character of Flora who is a Latina character in favour of a white character called Terra. I really hope the second season is able to rectify these decisions and at the very least creates more diverse characters in the future. 
Recommended for fans of: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Shadowhunters.         
Content Warnings: graphic violence, onscreen death, language, drug misuse.

Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel (2021)     

Another controversial series that was released recently was this true crime docuseries that focuses on the Cecil Hotel and it's notorious reputation. In particular, it examines the disappearence of Elisa Lam and the subsequent discovery of her body in a water tank on the roof of the hotel. 

This was a very strange series as whilst it does a good job of outlining the facts of the case and diving deeper into the past of the hotel, it also relies heavily on contributions from internet detectives and those who have no real connection to the case other then what they've been able to get from public record. At times it often felt exploitative to the memory of Elisa Lam to hear these people talking about her so personally. There were also instances where these people would dismiss evidence and medical experts in order to keep alive the theory that Elisa was killed by someone in the hotel. It all just felt a little uncomfortable for me and wasn't the straightforward look at this case that I was expecting. 
I enjoyed the style of the show though and how each episode was presented, it was clear and concise and easy to follow. It's definitely a heartbreaking watch as well though as it details this young woman and her mental health condition that ultimately led to her death. I love true crime and so this case has always fascinated me, getting to get a close look through eyewitness accounts and police interviews made for an interesting watch. 
Recommended for fans of: The Ted Bundy Tapes, Making a Murderer and Unsolved Mysteries. 
Content Warnings: sexual violence references, discusses mental health, discusses death.        

Superstore (2015 - 2021)

Starring: America Ferrera, Ben Feldman, Lauren Ash, Nico Santos, Colton Dunn, Nichole Sakura & Mark McKinney

Superstore is my current obsession, I started watching it about a week ago and I'm currently on season 4. This is an excellent comedy sitcom that I can't believe I didn't start watching sooner. This series follows a quirky group of employees at Cloud 9, a big-box store in St. Louis, Missouri and the everyday goings on that comes from working there. 
It takes a while to fully get going but by season two I can guarantee you'll be hooked and infatuated with this group of characters. The main cast has brilliant chemistry but the recurring workers are just as hilarious. Every episode promises hijinks, quick dialogue and fun galore and if you're not shipping Amy and Jonah by the end of episode one, you're doing something wrong. My only downfall with this show is the fact that the sixth season (currently airing in the US) will be it's last because this is a show I would happily watch continuously. This is an underrated gem that you need to watch immediately!
Recommended for fans of: Brooklyn Nine-Nine, New Girl and The Good Place. 
Content Warnings: some violence, sex, recreational use of alcohol and drugs.    

Tribes of Europa (2021) 

Starring: Emilio Sakraya, Henriette Confurius, David Ali Rashed, Oliver Masucci, Melika Foroutan, James Faulkner

I was intrigued about this series as soon as the trailer dropped and boy, was this a wild ride of a show. Set in a dystopian world in the year 2074, we follow three siblings who belong to the Origines tribe, people who live of the land and are in tune with nature. Following a brutal attack, they are seperated and each go on a journey to save the fate of Europa and reunite their family. Bare in mind this is a German language show so you can either watch with subtitles or with an English dub. 
This was a really interesting and packed first series, there's a lot happening within a short amount of time which means you really have to be paying attention to everything. As we're following three characters on their own individual journeys it also means that at times it can feel like we're not getting as much from certain aspects, for me I think Liv's journey was the least developed (a shame because I really liked her character) and her arc suffered in the second half. Elja's was probably the most entertaining and was the section that was really pushing the story forward and creating the opening for a second season. Kiano's was surpisingly heartbreaking and is a difficult watch at times as he fights for his life and freedom, it's also where most of the violence and graphic content is centered as well.
Overall, this is a really interesting sci-fi series that has a lot of action and intense scenes but it also has many strong characters and a deep family relationship at it's core. I really need a second series as this one does leave you with a lot of unanswered questions. 

Recommended for fans of: The 100, Dark and The Rain.

Content Warnings: graphic violence, rape scene, on screen death, strong language.  


Ginny & Georgia (2021)

Starring: Brianne Howey, Antonia Gentry, Diesel La Torraca, Jennifer Robertson, Felix Mallard, Sara Waisglass, Scott Porter, Raymond Ablack

This is the latest thing that I watched on the platform as it was just released last Wednesday and I've already binged the whole thing. It's one of the more lighthearted options on this list but still has some dark skeletons hidden away in there. Ginny & Georgia follows a 30 year old single mom and her two children, 15 year old Ginny and 9 year old Austin as they move to a new town for a fresh start. As they attempt to fit in with their new neighbours, secrets from Georgia's past begin to emerge. 
This was a super fun watch and had me eagerly pressing the button to watch the next episode. It's a great mix of drama and comedy, dark and light moments. The relationship between Ginny & Georgia is so believable and authentic, it's a slightly more modern and angsty Lorelai and Rory (a reference which is made in the first episode!). Both have really great arcs as well, I enjoyed getting to see Ginny making new friends and discovering life as a sixteen year old and the contrast with Georgia as she begins building a career and dealing with her past. It also has super cute romances (I totally ship Ginny & Marcus) as well as a killer soundtrack that had me searching for the music every episode. 

I will say it can get a little overly angsty at times especially with Ginny's character, it's realistic in terms of showing teenage friendships and relationships but can start to stray on the side of annoying occasionally. Still entertaining and fun though. I'll also mention that this show has come to attention online because of a degoratory comment made towards Taylor Swift that shouldn't have been included in the script, just something to be aware of if you're thinking of watching the show.
Recommended for fans of: Gilmore Girls, The Fosters and Riverdale. 
Content Warnings: moderate langauge, sex references, scenes of self harm, some violence.   

Have you seen any of these tv series or has this persuaded you to give them a watch? What have you been watching on Netflix lately? If you have any recommendations for me based on these shows, do let me know in the comments! 

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