What to Watch on Netflix This Month
The warmest of welcomes to those of you around the world who are now joining us in the Self-Isolation Club! For us in Hong Kong, it's been two months of escalating measures to protect ourselves and those who are vulnerable around us, and staying in—for both work and play—has become the new normal. We hope that our articles here on toat can provide you some form of respite in this difficult period. Here are some Netflix shows you should check out while staying in!
Who could ever forget Octavia Spencer’s iconic portrayal of Minny in 2011 film The Help? How fortunate we are that it only brought us more opportunities to see her genius at work. Following her Academy Award nominated performance as Dorothy Vaughan, a NASA mathematician, in Hidden Figures (2016), Spencer is back with another biographical project—this time coming to the small screen via Netflix on the 20th of March!
Self Made is about Madam C. J. Walker, a—you guessed it—self-made entrepreneur from the early 1900s. However, she wasn’t just any businesswoman. At the time of her death, she was the wealthiest self-made woman in America! This new Netflix series is based on the biography On Her Own Ground by A’Lelia Bundles, covering Madam C. J. Walker’s epic journey to becoming a wildly successful entrepreneur, at a time when the odds were stacked heavily against her favour as an African-American woman.
I first came across Mae Martin in my YouTube recommended side-bar, from her Why Are You Gay/Ian Peach bit. Imagine my surprise when I found out she has created and stars in a sitcom for the UK’s Channel 4 and Netflix! Mae Martin is no stranger to drawing from her experiences as a recovering addict and queer comedian for material and, this time, she has packed these stories into a semi-autobiographical, comedy drama series, Feel Good. The series comes to Netflix on 19th of March and has already garnered enthusiastic reviews from its UK viewers, applauding the honesty and rawness with which it treats the difficult-to-broach and/or oft-misrepresented topics of addiction and queer love.
Have you not been hit by the craze that is Crash Landing on You? This Korean drama set records as the most-viewed show of tvN, the cable channel it aired on, and its Netflix distribution has seen Hyun Bin and Son Ye-jin’s characters capture the hearts of viewers all around the world.
Yoon Se-ri is the heiress of her estranged family’s conglomerate, and a successful businesswoman in her own right, when she is caught by a tornado and swept across the military border from Seoul into North Korea, in a paragliding accident. She is found by Captain Ri Jeong-hyuk and a story of wit, fate and love unfolds in their bid to get Se-ri back home, across the border. The 90-minute long episodes might be hard to get used to at first, but they are interspersed with comedy, drama and intricate details that seamlessly weave the narrative together.
Personally, I loved the depth that the show afforded its supporting characters—not only do you fall in love with the protagonists of the show, you also come to love those around them, whether it be Captain Ri’s underlings, the women of the North Korean village, or even Se-ri’s team manager Mr. Hong. Crash Landing on You has also been lauded for the accuracy of its portrayal of North Korea by even its defectors, largely thanks to the team of consultants that worked on the show made up of North Korean defectors. If you haven’t seen this K-drama yet, it’s the perfect one to binge while stuck at home.
Hungry for some knowledge? Vox-produced Explained is one I turn to when I’m in the mood to learn a little more about the world around us. It packages a general subject into a 20-minute documentary, filled with—my favourite part—animations that make the content so much more easy-to-digest.
For a topical episode, Episode 7 of Season 2 is called ‘The Next Pandemic’ and was released just days before the first confirmed case to which they have been able to trace the current pandemic so far. Narrated by J. K. Simmons, this episode covers past pandemics such as the Spanish Flu of 1918, the technological advances that we’ve made in the century since, and even specifically Hong Kong’s response to SARS back in 2003.
If that hits too close to home, there are episodes narrated by others like Levar Burton (S1E9 Extraterrestrial Life), Kristen Bell (S1E15 Can We Live Forever?), Rachel McAdams (S1E18 Why Women Are Paid Less), Carly Rae Jepsen (S1E20 Music) and Karlie Kloss (S2E5 Coding)! The great thing about this series is that there’s no obligation to watch every episode, you can skip around to the ones that intrigue you. There are also two spin-off series: The Mind, Explained and Sex, Explained, narrated by Emma Stone and Janelle Monáe, respectively!
Speaking of Kristen Bell … if you haven’t seen The Good Place, you’re seriously missing out, especially if you already love Mike Schur’s other creations like Parks and Recreation and Brooklyn Nine-Nine!
Eleanor Shellstrop is a self-described “trashbag from Arizona”, who dies in a freak accident and somehow ends up in The Good Place, where the best of the best humans go after death. It doesn’t take long for her to realise that she does not belong there and only made it there in a mix-up! Watch as she tries her best to fit in and go unnoticed by Michael, the architect of their Good Place neighbourhood, played by legendary Ted Danson.
Give The Good Place a fair chance, you’ll be hooked just after the first season—we know you have the the time. I’m still nursing the hole in my heart left by the show since it ended in January this year.
Otis (Asa Butterfield) is a socially awkward teenager—as most are—but this is only compounded by his mum’s (Gillian Anderson) job as a sex therapist. Sex Education is a British comedy-drama that follows the … escapades of Otis and his friends as he finds himself running a sex therapy clinic in school—despite having little experience of the nature himself. The show treats the issues that they encounter with sensitivity but the right dash of humour and, while sometimes explicit, it constantly works to normalise taboo topics. If anything, watch Sex Education for the production! Just the set and costume design will make it worth your while.
Have you seen any of these shows? What were your thoughts? What shows or movies do you recommend watching on Netflix? Let us know!