by Edward Baillargeon
Back in September, I did an article talking about some great Netflix original series to check out. Since that was a fun list to work on, I wanted to find 5 more shows to talk about in another article like this in a series of mini-reviews, if you will. Just like last time, the similar rules are still in place that it has to be original and exclusive to Netflix. Subscribers can always count on Netflix to deliver on their original content exclusive to the service. So without further-ado, here is 5 more great Netflix original series.
1. The Haunting of Hill House (2018)
This supernatural horror drama based on the novel of the same name by Shirley Jackson explores the story of the Crain siblings who, as children, grew up in what would go on to become the most famous haunted house in the country. Now adults, and forced back together in the face of tragedy, the family must finally confront the ghosts of their past, some of which still lurk in their minds while others may actually be stalking the shadows of Hill House. The Haunting of Hill House is an extremely well made horror series with a compelling story and characters, as well as a focus on building tension and suspense, rather than cheap jump-scares like a ton of recent horror projects. The show is well directed which is no surprise coming from one of the best horror directors in recent years by Mike Flanagan, the director of Oculus, Ouija: Origin of Evil, and Hush. The performances by each of the actors, both adults and great child actors, are great with standouts include Oliver Jackson-Cohen as Luke Crain, Henry Thomas as Hugh Crain, and especially Carla Gugino as Olivia Crain. I have to say that the fifth episode, The Bent-Neck Lady, is the best-written episode with a tragic investing story, and the sixth episode, Two Storms, is the most technically well-made with the episode telling its story through four long-takes. The show is only a season long with 10 episodes ranging from 40-70 minutes, but a season two might be unlikely as Mike Flanagan has stated that the Crain family’s story is already told in that season, so adapting another Shirley Jackson novel could be more of a possibility. If you are looking for a horror series that will give you chills, then The Haunting of Hill House is worth investigating.
2. A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017-2019)
This comedy drama based on the book series of the same name by Lemony Snicket follows the Baudelaires, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny, after a mysterious fire kills their parents and are placed into the care of their distant relative Count Olaf, an actor who is determined to claim the family fortune for himself. Following Olaf’s failed attempt and his plot being exposed, the Baudelaires set out to elude Olaf and his followers while uncovering the mystery behind a secret society from their parents’ past as they are placed in the custody of different guardians. Don’t let the theme song that tells you to look away deceive you to not watch this show as A Series of Unfortunate Events is one of Netflix’s most underrated original series. The stories are faithful to Lemony Snicket’s original books, as well as hilarious, emotional, and seriously frustrating in the right ways. The Baudelaire children are extremely likable and it is always really frustrating when things never work out for them to have a happy life. But the two biggest standout performances in the show have to be Neil Patrick Harris, of Doogie Howser, M.D. and How I Met Your Mother fame, as the devilish actor Count Olaf playing a wide range of disguises that the Baudelaires always identify but the absolutely stupid adults around them don’t believe them. Another standout performance comes from Patrick Warburton as Lemony Snicket, the narrator of the show who tells the children’s story. The show has ran a total of 3 seasons finishing off with 25 episodes chronicling the 13 books of the Baudelaire orphans. If you like a hilarious, sad, and frustrating show full of great performances, then A Series of Unfortunate Events is a case worth looking into.
3. Aggretsuko (2018-)
Japanese mascot company Sanrio is well known for bringing a comeback to the “kawaii”, or cute, culture. With a bunch of cute characters like Hello Kitty, My Melody, and Gudetama, you would think that Aggretsuko, or Aggressive Retsuko, would have the same cute and cuddly center as Sanrio’s other mascots, but while she may look cute, she has a dark and unexpected secret. The series follows Retsuko, a 25-year-old red panda who works as an accountant in a Japanese trading firm. Her working life is oppressive and frustrating with co-workers with a wide variety of personalities and her literal and figurative sexist pig of a boss, Director Ton. To cope, she relieves this stress by becoming angry, and drinking and singing death metal in a karaoke bar. Aggretsuko is a fantastic addition to Netflix’s steadily expanding catalog of anime. Through its cute and simple animation, that is when Retsuko isn’t in full rage mode, the series is really well written being hilarious, frustrating (in the right ways), and even relatable to those working at a job they absolutely hate. Every character has a distinct and funny personality from the introverted and frustrated red panda Retsuko and her other co-workers like Fenneko, a fennec fox social media stalker with a distinctly montone laugh, and Haida, a hyena who secretly has a crush on Retsuko. All of the characters have a great performance from their voice actors in the show’s English dub with standout performances from Erica Mendez, Benjamin Diskin, and Katelyn Gault. If Sanrio releases a full album of Retsuko’s death metal songs in the show, I would buy it day one! This show can be pretty easy to binge watch with a total of 10 episodes and a holiday special We Wish You a Metal Christmas, which will total up to 3 hours with a second season on the way sometime this year. If you’re looking for a anime that as hilarious as it is honest, Aggretsuko is worth checking out.
4. Marvel’s Daredevil (2015-2018)
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is one of the biggest media franchises in history with a massive connecting story across 20 films and counting. But it is not just movies that are across the franchise as there are many television shows taking place in the universe. Some of their other shows have aired across multiple different networks like Hulu, Freeform, and ABC. But some of their best are on Netflix and their first is easily their best. Matt Murdock, a Marvel Comics hero who’s a lawyer by day but fights the bad guys at night to avenge the murder of his father, a boxer. But what sets Matt apart from most superheroes isn’t his back story it’s his handicap. Matt is blind, the result of a childhood accident that may have removed his ability to see but gifted him with heightened senses of touch, taste, hearing and smell. Daredevil is one of Marvel’s best shows and the best one on Netflix. Each episode has a great mix of following Matt Murdock on both engaging dialogue driven cases in the day and fighting villains at night with some well-choreographed and intense bloody action. Unlike the PG-13 films in the MCU that are shown on the big screen, Daredevil is not afraid to go into the blood and gore on the small screen. The actors are also really solid with Charlie Cox giving a great performance as Matt Murdock, Elden Henson being a scene-stealer as Matt’s law partner “Foggy” Nelson, and Vincent D’Onofrio as strong businessman Wilson Fisk. The series was unfortunately cancelled with only 3 seasons consisting of 39 episodes leaving the series ending wide open for a possible, if unlikely, revival. Combining smart writing and intense action, Marvel’s Daredevil is one the best superhero shows on the streaming service.
5. Netflix Original Comedy Specials
Everyone says that laughter is the best medicine and if you want some comedy from comedians you know and love, then Netflix has you covered. With some great and memorable jokes and laughs, you will have a blast with any comedian you decide to watch an hour of comedy with. Some of my personal recommendations would include Bo Burnham: Happy, John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous at Radio City, Jerry Before Seinfeld, Adam Sandler 100% Fresh, Steve Martin & Martin Short: An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life, and Patton Oswalt: Annihilation. Netflix is the place to go if you want some great shows to binge as well as hours upon hours of great comedy.