I was not a happy bunny when Netflix changed the review system on their website so I now find it quite difficult to be able to gauge whether a series, film or documentary is worth watching. How am I supposed to tell if I’m going to enjoy something through Netflix telling me I’m 78% matched? I find their matching system a bit crap if I’m honest.
I am a series binge watcher and I get seriously emotionally attached to characters. If you’re looking for something to add to your watch list, these are my top recommendations.
Netflix – Series To Binge
- House of Cards
If you appreciate outstanding acting performances and fabulous directing choices like I do then watch this. There wasn’t an episode within House of Cards that I was not on the edge of my seat, in shock or absolutely outraged with the characters. The status and relationship between Clare (Robin Wright) and Frank (Kevin Spacey) creates such a dramatic and interesting storyline – they are absolutely awful people but you can’t help but love them! This is one of my favourite ever series- go watch!
I love love love Damien Lewis so when my Dad recommended I watched this, I didn’t bat an eyelid. Homeland follows the story of Nicholas Brody (Damien Lewis) and CIA agent Carrie Mathinson (Claire Daines); there is terrorism, love, sex, betrayal… everything in one show, what more could you want? I found the writing and story in seasons 1-5 incredible but I lost interest after season 5 (I just wasn’t feeling it any more). What I really like about Homeland is that it isn’t your stereotypical terrorist program like ‘The State’ which is currently on Channel 4 (yawn – how boring, I could only stand 20 minutes of watching). It has incredibly complex characters and the performances of these characters have been executed perfectly.
- Breaking Bad
I’ll be very surprised if you haven’t heard about Breaking Bad or if you haven’t watched it. Just see for yourself what the hype is about.
Now I enjoyed Narcos but it’s not one of my favourite shows. I’d rate it a 7/10 overall which I guess is quite controversial as I know people love it. It’s an interesting story but I found some episodes dragged and were quite predictable. Nevertheless, it is a good series, just not one of my favourites.
- Prison Break
I actually really enjoyed Prison Break even though I thought I wouldn’t. It’s one of those series that you don’t need to fully concentrate on to follow the storyline; it’s great wind down TV for the evening and really easy to watch. The characters aren’t one dimensional which I find common in some crime based shows and each episode is gripping making you want to watch the next episode straight away. Although I enjoyed this, I lost interest during the last season as I thought it was getting a little bit ridiculous and unrealistic- how many times can one person break out of prison?
If you love all things serial killers then watch this! It’s pretty horrific and gruesome in some parts but it’s totally worth it. Dexter is such a lovable character even though he’s a serial killer- you can’t help but like him, there’s something incredibly human about him even though he’s what some would call a monster. I love storylines in which the lead lives two lives- I find them fascinating. Definitely check this one out!
- Black Mirror
Love love love love LOVED this. It’s a series that follows a different storyline each episode but in the same futuristic/modern world. It brings up some huge social issues and comments on them perfectly. I hope they bring out a few more series because I am HOOKED!
- The People Vs. OJ
I was very skeptical of this before I watched it as I thought it was going to be very predictable and full of cliffhangers to keep the audience watching but I was wrong. Although I didn’t previously know much about the OJ trial beforehand, it did a really good job of portraying OJ Simpson in a unbiased way- they could have easily made a show that portrays him as innocent/guilty so I think they did a good job to let the viewer make their own mind up. Again, it’s not one of my favourite shows but it’s definitely worth a watch if you want to learn about the case.
- Orange Is The New Black
Girls and boys, watch this. It’s brilliant. I watched a whole season in a day. OITNB is a comedy/drama about a women’s prison in the US, need I say more?
- Stranger Things
Theres a huge hype around Stranger Things and once you watch it, you know why. What a talented little cast- they’re brilliant. I love how Netflix breaks the boundaries and just goes for a show that you probably wouldn’t see on mainstream TV. It’s an American Science Fiction/Horror series based in 1980s Indiana and follows the journey of a missing boy, Will. One of my favourite things about Stranger Things is the cinematography and soundtrack. They’re releasing season 2 in October 2017 and I can’t wait!
- American Horror Story
It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I really like American Horror Story- I’m a little squeamish so I’m not the biggest fan of the gory parts but I think its balanced nicely over the show; it’s not so much that I’m always hiding behind my pillow. If you don’t already know, each AHS season follows a different story but uses the same cast- what a dream job for an actor. Jessica Lange & Sarah Paulson are my favourites from the show and stay throughout the seasons, playing a variety of characters from ghosts to sisters, witches to freak show performers and more. It’s weird, wacky, freaky and sometimes uncomfortable to watch but surprisingly watchable- once you start you just can’t stop.
- How to Get Away with Murder
This was another recommendation from my Dad who is equally obsessed with this show. Oh. My. God. I have just finished binging season 2 and I love it! Viola Davis is one of my favourite actors and she is an absolute machine in this. There is quite a clear formula that the show follows but that doesn’t bother me because it is so addictive. Law students that get involved in a murder? Hell yes, I am hooked and about to start season 3 on Sky!
Netflix – Movies
I don’t necessarily think Netflix is that great for movies. I usually use my Sky Movie Store to watch as I think it’s got a better selection but here are my top Netflix movie recommendations:
- Beasts of No Nation
This is one of my favourite films, if not my favourite. Its about a young orphan, Agu who is forced into becoming a child soldier. Watch it.
- Hope (2013)
My boyfriend Eden has a list of films he wants me to watch which we’re slowly working through and this was on the list. Eden really likes Asian cinema and although I complain about reading the subtitles, I really enjoy them too. If you’ve got the concentration one night, watch Hope; I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. What I love about Asian films is that they don’t shy away from harrowing subjects such as rape. Hope is about an 8 year old girl who is kidnapped, beaten severely and raped. In the UK we would probably never have an 8 year old actor play a role where she suffers so much trauma but I think it’s important we address these taboo subjects. Although the story is distressing, it is done tastefully and the director lets the audience put two and two together. It’s a truly beautiful film and now one of my favourites, thank you Eden.
- Captain Phillips
Everyone loves Tom Hanks and if you don’t then please may you exit and never return to my blog (joking!) Captain Phillips is based on a true story where sailors are attacked by Somali pirates. Tom Hanks’ performance in this is breathtaking, the last scene had me in bits. What a legend. It’s crazy to think this still goes on in the world!
This is beautifully written, it’s incredibly raw and dark but is lifted by the characters hope and determination. Mo’Nique won Best Supporting Actress at the 2010 Oscars for playing the role of Mary (Precious’ Mother). It was a flawless performance, one of my all time favourites.
I love a good documentary!
I love anything about conspiracy theories or UFOs so this was right up my street. It’s really interesting and brings up some thought provoking comments about the US government.
- The Seven Five
This was another recommendation from Eden. It’s about corruption within the New York Police Department and what I loved about it is that the commentary is done by the police themselves who were involved and ultimately charged.
- Making a Murderer
Everyone has heard of this! It’s very addictive but I found it quite biased. It’s definitely worth a watch but I got a bit bored of it by the last episode.
- Reggie Yates: Extreme
Theres a fair few episodes in this series covering separate social issues about South America & Russia from Neo-Nazis to the modelling industry.
I strongly believe that orcas and other sea life should not be kept in captivity. This documentary makes me incredibly angry as SeaWorld and I’m glad that it has caused such a backlash for them as a company.
- Planet Earth
David Attenborough and animals- what more could you want?
- Blue Planet
Again, David Attenborough and animals- what more could you want?
- River Monsters
I’m not joking, this is one of those programs that is really bad but also really good; me and Eden love watching it. It’s an overly dramatic program about this guy who finds unusual fish all over the world- it’s brilliant.
- Last Chance U
The series focuses on a team of college football players who have the potential to become NFL pros; it follows their journey and their personal struggles.
- Anything by Louis Thereoux
There are loads of Louis Thereoux documentaries on Netflix. He’s a national treasure.
- Can’t Pay? We’ll Take It Away
It’s trash TV but I love it. I’m slightly addicted.
Amazon Prime – Series and Movies
I only recently realised that you could watch things online through Amazon (I thought you could only watch things through the Firestick- whoops) so I haven’t watched much through it.
- The Walking Dead
This is my all time favourite series. I LOVE it. Where do I even start? First of all, Andrew Lincoln and Lennie James are two of my favourite actors, they are incredible. I hadn’t seen any of Lennie James’ work before TWD and my mind was blown when I saw an interview of him and he was British! I couldn’t believe it as his accent in TWD is so so truthful, I thought he must have been American. The characters are so dynamic and I think the storyline is quite realistic for a zombie apocalypse (if that makes sense at all). The makeup and special effects just get better and better throughout the series and there is so much thought that goes into it, for example as the series goes on, the walkers (zombies) become increasingly decayed. A lot of my favourite characters are brutally slaughtered by the producers and directors but I guess it is expected in a world full of flesh eating zombies… I’m still not okay about it though.
I love this show so much that when it was show on TV, I’d religiously watch The Talking Dead straight afterwards which is a chat show that discusses all things TWD. I’m a little bit obsessed. Season 8 starts October 22nd 2017 and I can’t wait.
- Parks and Recreation
Everyone knows a Leslie Knope. Ron Swanson is my spirit animal and I bloody love Lil’ Sebastian. This will mean absolutely nothing to you unless you start watching Parks and Recreation. At first I didn’t get it and now I wish it had never ended.
I am so glad that people are writing strong roles for women and I think this is a beautiful example. Amy Adams plays Louise Banks who is a linguistics expert that is hired to help translate the communications of an alien race that have landed twelve crafts on Earth. What I like most about this film is the writing. You could have had a similar film with a male as the lead which has been done to death but due to the fact it’s played by a woman, it makes the whole story so much more interesting. I’m also pleased that the character Louise wasn’t sexualised for no reason which I find very annoying in some films. Give it a watch, I think it’s a film that shows progress and movement within the film industry.
People usually say that the film is never as good as the book. Well I didn’t think that was the case with Room, I really enjoyed it. The relationship between Jack and his mother is beautiful. When you watch it, try to remember that the actor Jacob Tremblay is only 8 or 9 in this.
Series not on Netflix or Amazon
What a cast! There are some seriously big names in this, Anthony Hopkins, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, Jimmi Simpson, Ed Harris- the list goes on. Who wouldn’t want to be in Westworld? It’s a brilliant script and is directed fantastically. The show really shows us what it means to be human and explores our moral compass. There has only been one season out so far so you have time to catch up before season two airs next year!
- Game of Thrones
I think I only know one person who doesn’t watch Game of Thrones…
- True Detective
Watch season one with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harris. It’s a crime drama about the Louisiana State Police. The murders they investigate are severely messed up, ritualistic and gruesome. I haven’t watched season two as I couldn’t get quite into it but I’m willing to give it another shot sometime soon. Like American Horror Story, True Detective follows a different storyline each season. I don’t think I had emotionally recovered from season one before I started season two. Sometimes these things need time… Especially when you love Mathew McConaughey.
If you have any recommendations of anything to watch please let me know. I love hearing people’s suggestions and having passionate (sometimes heated) discussions about shows.