By: Garrett Shadwick
Everyone loves Netflix, it’s an easy fix to all the shows we know and love, but what do you do after you’ve watched “Friends” and “The Office” 12 times through? You start digging. Digging through Netflix shows that you haven’t heard about from your friends or Buzzfeed is just as exciting to me as thrift shopping: it takes time, sometimes you find something you love and sometimes you just wasted 30 minutes of your day.
When it comes to digging through Netflix, Netflix originals are always the way to go. Netflix originals are great because they’re not tied down to ‘network stipulations’ and ‘rules’ as many shows are. Netflix seems to give the writers and directors almost free reign to tell their stories as well as they can. That being said, not all Netflix originals are underrated. I once heard someone use the term “slept on” to describe ‘Stranger Things’, and I wanted to blow my head off; not to say the shows aren’t good, just not underrated. Sure, I could have filled a list of Netflix originals with “Narcos” , “Stranger Things” , “Daredevil” , “Black Mirror” , and so many great shows; but we’re all familiar with those. Even if we haven’t watched them and only have a friend who won’t shut up about them, we all know they’re at least supposed to be great.
This list is composed of shows that I personally believe are underrated and are some of the best examples of storytelling I’ve ever seen. These are shows that I love, but I’ve never met more than five people who share their love for them. Now you may read the list and think “What? Everyone loves that show.” or “This is ridiculous, I’ve tried to watch that and it was garbage” and that’s fine. This is just a list of my top 5 favorite underrated Netflix Originals.
Starting at number five with the comedy, “girlboss”, created by Kay Cannon. Girlboss is derived from the autobiography “#Girlboss” by Sophia Amoruso. The book, as well as the show, is the story of how Sophia started a business by reselling clothes she found at thrift stores, dumpsters, yard sells and so on for huge profit. Each show begins with stating “What follows is a loose retelling of true events… real loose.” So, while being biographical, it’s clear the creator of the show is pretty upfront with adding some “Hollywood flair” to the story, as are most series and movies. I enjoy the show mainly for the story telling. Honestly, it didn’t give the biggest laugh and it never made me cry but it did have me continuously clicking ‘next episode’ in anticipation for what will happen next. The show has caught a lot of flak for many things, and has been discontinued. Personally, I think the show was done an injustice and deserved to see another season, but maybe there’s a good reason I’m not in charge of making those decisions.
Created by Joe Swanberg this drama-comedy (dramedy) Easy lands easily (see what I did there) at #4 on my list. Easy is a collection of 8 stand-alone short films about the realness of sex and relationships. The show has different characters for every new story, with an impressive cast: Orlando Bloom, Dave Franco, Hannibal Buress, Emily Ratajkowski and more. The show itself landed #4 on the list, but there’s two episodes in this series that I think displayed some of the best storytelling I’ve ever seen. Episode 3(Brewery Brothers) and episode 8(Hop Dreams) are both fantastic. While the episodes are, for the most part, stand-alone episode 8 is a continuation of episode 3. The two episodes contain the big-name Dave Franco. These episodes follow the storyline of two brothers starring an illegal brewery together. Through these episodes, the writers touch on many subjects such as relationships between husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend, between brothers and boss and employee. I won’t give away any spoilers but if you don’t want to watch the show itself, do yourself a favor and at least watch these two episodes.
This show is another Netflix “dramedy”. The show has two seasons out right now and definitely has room for more. The show follows the relationship between the two main characters Gus and Mickey. Gus is more of a nerd and a pushover while Mickey is a strong, rebellious figure. The show does a great job at showing the truth of how awkward and complicated things can get between two people who fancy one another. The show’s best quality, as I just stated, is its awkwardness. I feel like most shows just display relationships as this smooth, comfortable things that just happen, ignoring the hours you contemplate if you worded your text just right. All of the realistic, cringe-worthy moments that make up real life situations makes this great binge watch.
Woah! Another comedy! It was a tough choice between Flaked and Love for my spot at number two, but after some thought and procrastination on the matter, Flaked came out on top. The dram-edy was created by its main actor, Will Arnett alongside Mark Chappell. Interestingly enough, Will Arnett created the show with the help of Mitch Hurwitz. Mitch Hurwitz was the director for the show “Arrested Development”, which Will Arnett was one of the main characters. The show follows the story of Chip (played by Arnett), a recovering alcoholic who develops a complicated relationship with a woman, London. Chip is loved by everyone and is the unofficial ‘mayor’ of Venice, California, where the show takes place. The show’s most interesting quality is that it’s fixated on displaying the character flaws of its main character, Chip. To quickly describe Chip, he loves everyone and does everything he can for others, but not more than he loves and tries to look out for himself first. The show is on its second season and does not have a confirmed third season. One thing that this show has that its predecessors on the list doesn’t, is its amazing soundtrack. Much of the music through the show was created by Stephen Malkmus, including an indie rock cover of “Margaritaville”. The show also contains songs from the likes of Kurt Vile, Car Seat Headrest and Alex G. You can easily find the soundtrack on Spotify. Through the selfish nature of the shows protagonist, the soundtrack and the all-around good vibe feel of Venice, California, the show earned its way to #2 on the list.
#1, Master Of None
For everyone who has read the entire article, we’ve made it. To those who skipped to #1, this show will not disappoint. Yes, it’s another dram-edy. Master of None stars and was created by Aziz Ansari, along with Alan Yang. You may know Aziz from his stand ups or Parks and Recreation, but I believe that this is his best work so far. The episodes cover a range of topics such as coming out of the closet, religion, heartbreak, love, and immigrants sacrifice, citizens arresting someone for touching themselves on a public train and relationships between parents. Interestingly enough, Aziz’s character, Dev, parents in the show are Aziz’s actual parents. It’s refreshing because they’re clearly not the best actors but it adds a cool element to the show. The show tells amazing stories but also pushes the envelope on creativity and what being an artist means. For example, the first episode of the second season is entirely in black and white and is 80% in Italian. While the first season embodied these same creative elements, the second season gave them the confidence to push their artistic abilities to another level. The shows cinematography is what put it at number one on my list. Here are some still shots from the show.
It’s easy to tell that they weren’t afraid of the extreme wide shot, but I never got tired of it. It’s so refreshing to see beautiful cinematography outside of short films on Vimeo (no offense to short films on Vimeo), especially in a 30-minute comedy short. Overall Master of none is hilarious, sad, touching, thought provoking and beautiful. Definitely one of my all-time favorite shows.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading, or skimming, over my top 5 underrated Netflix originals. I love seeing creativity flow through the creative minds that put these series together. Now it’s time for all of them to come out with more seasons, so I can watch them in 2 days and be sad when they’re over.