Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to choosing a TV show to binge watch. I know I can be pretty picky – I like something with intriguing characters or something a little off the wall. Normally the wildly popular shows (like Jessica Jones or Parks and Recreation) will fall into this category, so I know I’ll end up watching them sometime.
Other, sometimes better, shows are harder to find. But these series are so well worth a chance. The following is a list of a few of the more unknown TV shows currently on Netflix that I think you should see pronto.
I’m not including the shows we see advertised everyday on the Popular lists (I’m looking at you, Orange is the New Black and Breaking Bad.) And yes, I have seen all of these start to finish.
Written by the creators of The Matrix and Cloud Atlas (the movie, not the book), Sense 8 is a wonderfully convoluted, tangled mess of a story. If you’re looking for characters, you automatically have eight people from all over the world whose minds and personalities are so very different, yet familiar at the same time. As you progress through the narrative, everything will become clear, and you will fall hopelessly in love with their situations. And as an added plus, all the actors are originally from the cities that their characters live in; to me, that makes it feel all the more real.
I will say, as much as I love a good puzzle, it takes a few episodes to really get into the show. That being said, Episode Four really kicks everything into gear, and you’ll never go back to regular TV.
Penny Dreadful is like Supernatural combined with Once Upon a Time and infused with ecstasy (or whatever drug makes you paranoid, anyway). At the very basis, it’s a story about some characters who struggle with the line between life and death. Go a little deeper and suddenly you’re immersed in the grit of the superstition of Victorian Era London, Frankenstein’s morphine addiction, and Dorian Gray’s steady gaze. The show is full of creepy delights and sometimes outright terrifying bloody messes, but you’ll fall hard for the mystery behind Eva Green’s Miss Vanessa Ives. I dare you to try it.
Okay, so Portlandia isn’t that unknown. But with five seasons already accessible, why haven’t you watched this yet? If you thought the previous two shows had a lot of characters, you haven’t seen Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s brainchild. A plethora of straight-faced, oddball humor character sketches, Portlandia just might be the perfect comedy show.
Any self-proclaimed “nerd” will tell you that the cancellation of Firefly was the biggest injustice to the modern world since … well … ever. This well-rounded, massive universe of a science fiction story is the true space cowboy story. It’s like if Clint Eastwood’s old westerns were set in outer space, but if he was a pirate. Built with the perfect cast (Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin, Adam Baldwin, Jewel Staite, Sean Maher, Summer Glau, and Ron Glass), used to make a very diverse ship crew, this show couldn’t have gone wrong. Even if you don’t think you like science fiction, give the show a try; it’s more than ripping off aliens or shooting lasers across the space-scape. It’s got heart.
And then when you’ve finished, watch the wrap-up film Serenity. While it’s not the full, fleshed-out ending the show deserved, it does a good job of explaining everything and sending everyone onward.
I’m not a huge documentary-watcher, but Booze Traveler, hosted by actor Jack Maxwell, is one that I’ll watch a second time. (In fact, I think I’ve seen most of the episodes twice now.) Jack travels the world and somehow is able to connect with people who couldn’t be any more different than him. How does he do it? They bond over the universal inhibitor – alcohol. Not only is he funny, but Jack asks questions about what he’s drinking. I’ve actually learned stuff about other cultures and what they drink to pass the time. It’s relatively educational, but you also get to see Jack make an ass out of himself (he tries to wrestle with professional sumo-wrestlers three times his size, parties with Turkish soccer fans, and wanders to hidden villages in the depths of Peru to try spit-beer). It’s perfect, really.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Three years ago I wouldn’t have thought I’d ever be a fan of anime. But you know what? Japan has some better stories than we do. Why do people think that just because it’s a cartoon in a different language, that means it’s childish? No, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is far from childish, and it’s the perfect place to start if you’re new to anime. It follows the story of Edward Elric and his brother Alphonse, who once tried to bring their dead mother back to life; after failing, they walk the earth searching for a way to right their past wrongs. It’s a show that poses deep ethical questions about life and death; it portrays two young men as they live with their anger and deep grief; it illustrates deep love and loss. It shouldn’t matter that the two main characters are basically children. You’ll be sobbing when it’s over.
Do YOU have any suggestions for hidden Netflix gems? We want to hear them @theMoshery!
Corinne Pachl is a recent graduate from Truman State University whose heart will always lie in the depths of Kansas City, MO. Since studying abroad in Europe, she just wants to travel and eat food from all over the world. Until her next adventure, she aspires to find happiness and understanding in the soundtrack of everyday life.