In a world without sports, concerts and socially interacting, I've become a couch potato.
A potato that enjoys really bad reality TV (yes, I love the Bachelor), but one that enjoys finding hidden gem television series on Netflix that not a lot of people have heard of. Believe it or not, it takes a lot of effort to sit on your couch and give different shows a try. Some are so awful it's exhausting. Others, I find myself hysterically laughing at the screen at 2 a.m. or on the edge of my seat struggling to stay awake to find out what happens next.
If you're one of those people who thinks you have "finished Netflix," hopefully the shows I have below will change your mind and get you hooked on something you may have been scrolling by. For all the people who might be upset at my choice of favorite show for each category, or thinks I left out some classics, the honorable mention section below each genre is for you!
Action: Outer Banks
"The Outer Banks, paradise on Earth. It’s the sort of place where you either have two jobs or two houses. Two tribes, one island." - John B.
Outer Banks is the modern-day Goonies. John B (Chase Stokes) narrates and drives the story as the son of a missing man who was obsessed with finding the Royal Merchant, a vessel sunk and vanished in 1829 rumored to have $400 million in gold aboard. The story takes places on an island that’s divided by the haves and have-nots. John B and his life-long friends are known as the Pogues, the blue-color “have nots” of the island.
Chased by the law and the wealthy and superior “haves” side of the island called the Kooks, the Pogues seek to overcome obstacles in their quest to complete John B's father's 20 year-long mission of finding the Royal Merchant. Their journey is filled with drugs, love, fighting, friendship and money, all while trying to figure out how the rich Kooks manage to keep on coming out on top.
You might have to look past a few things. Without giving away too much away, let's just say someone may or may not fall from a massive structure and only break an elbow when it probably should have killed them. But besides that, the story line is entertaining and will have you glued to your TV screen for the next 10 hours, I promise. Fun fact: The main characters John B (Chase Stokes) and Sarah Cameron (Madelyn Cline) are dating in real life. Yup, right when you think the show couldn't get any better, you realize their feelings towards each other in the show are genuine. This is what dreams are made of. Amazing.
Honorable mention: Arrow, Cursed, Flash, The Walking Dead, The Witcher
Drama: Gossip Girl and Dear White People
Hey there Upper East Siders. Gossip Girl here. Your one and only source into the scandalous lives of Manhattan’s Elite.
Take a dip in the life of luxury: Gossip Girl is a drama-filled TV show about privileged teens living on the Upper East Side of New York who have a relentless blogger watching their every move. With roller-coaster romances and piles of secrets hiding away for Gossip Girl to find and uncover, this show brings the perfect amount of craziness and drama to get you through quarantine. Fun fact: This show was Blake Lively, Penn Badgley, Chace Crawford, Ed Westwick and Leighton Meester's first major role in Hollywood.
And remember, every happy ending is just a new beginning. Because on the Upper East Side, the good times never last forever. You Know You Love Me. XoXoXo, Gossip Girl
Dear White People is an informative drama that shines light on systemic racism and how it’s still prevalent. It is based on a group of black students that attend a predominantly white Ivy League college and shows how they face various forms of racial discrimination while attending school. Samantha White, a back student and media relations major, runs a witty radio show called Dear White People in which she calls out racial injustices and issues that happen on campus, such as a fraternity throwing a blackface party. While the characters and setting are fictional, the series tackles a lot of real topics and issues that should be discussed.
Honorable Mention: Grey's Anatomy, Hollywood, Lucifer, Once Upon a Time, Riverdale, Vampire Diaries
Comedy: Sex Education
"Sex Education is the sharpest, smartest – dare I say wokest? – comedy I’ve seen in years. It is the best portrayal of the chaotic neutrality of teenagers you’ll ever see. If you’re not going home to watch it tonight, I don’t know if we can ever speak again." -David Levesley GQ Magazine (UK)
With more than 40 million viewers streaming the first season after its 2019 debut, Sex Education is a British comedy-drama series that features a socially awkward high schooler named Otis Milburn who has a sex therapist as a mother. Being constantly surrounded by the subject and hearing his mom’s unwanted/awkward counseling sessions has allowed Otis to become an expert on sex advice. Despite having issues regarding his own sexuality, Otis uses his knowledge to inadvertently help the school bully with his sexual performance issues. After fellow classmate Maeve overhears Otis’ helpful and effective advice, he’s convinced to start a sex clinic based on the premise of helping their classmates solve their sexual problems (and make some cash on the side).
Honorable mentions: Big Mouth, Good Girls, New Girl, The Office, Parks and Rec, Shameless
Docuseries: Jeffery Epstein Filthy Rich
"The documentary series, while well made, is difficult to watch." -Rotten Tomatoes
My mom and I are BIG crime TV girls, so we love a good docuseries, especially when it is about high-profile individuals like Jeffrey Epstein. I'm pretty sure she has ended almost all of our phone conversations in the past year with "Jenna, he didn't kill himself. I know he didn't." So when Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich came out, I couldn't resist. The series examines how a ridiculously wealthy and well-connected financier got away with crimes of sexual abuse and sex trafficking of young girls for decades. The series features interviews from many of Epstein’s acquaintances, police and the women who were sexually abused by him when they were younger. I was disgusted and sick to my stomach.
I finished the four-episode series with two thoughts: Jeffery Epstein is the worst human (that was) on the planet, and he 100 percent didn't kill himself. Shoutout to Momma Holland for knowing the truth this whole time. My money is on someone who hung out on Epstein's private island was afraid he would strike a deal with police and turn them in, so they hired someone to kill him before any names could be dropped. While Epstein may not be here anymore, this case is still ongoing today and is something to be aware of.
Honorable mention: Cheer, Fyre Festival, The Last Dance, Tiger King, When They See Us
Reality TV: Queer Eye
"Four seasons on -- despite (or perhaps because of) everything else that's happening in the world -- Queer Eye just keeps getting better: more loving, more inclusive, more optimistic. For real." - Rotten Tomatoes
If you’re looking for a brief mental break, the new season of Queer Eye just hits. It follows the Fab Five, a loving and supportive group of gay men that travel the country touching the lives of those who need a little makeover regardless of gender, age or sexuality. Each member of the Fab Five specializes in a different aspect of improving the individual’s life: Antoni Porowski, food and wine expert; Tan France, fashion expert; Karamo Brown, culture expert; Bobby Berk, design expert; and Jonathan Van Ness, grooming expert.
Queer Eye is the TV show we all need in our lives right now. A little getaway to put a smile on your face during these crazy times. It shows that having people who hype you up and support you and teach you how to take care and love yourself can really turn your life around. If you haven't checked it out yet, grab your family and have a marathon this weekend. It's the best show on the planet. Hands down.
Honorable mention: Love is Blind, Nailed It, Selling Sunset, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, Tiny House Nation
Suspenseful/Mysterious: The Society
"The Society is insanely addictive, a mix of not just The Walking Dead but Lord of the Flies and M. Night Shyamalan's Fox series Wayward Pines." - Rotten Tomatoes
Ya'll. This show is insane. Recommended to me by my co-worker, Anthony Resnick, The Society is a modern take on Lord of the Flies. It follows a group of teenagers who are mysteriously transported to a facsimile of their wealthy New England town, left without any trace of their parents. After the initial panic of apocalypse partying, they realize they have to figure out how to live together in a functional society without imploding under pressure. At first, the existing social order stays intact. But some of the underdogs are pushed to the top of the ladder and forced to make life-changing decisions that will affect the entire group.
I will warn you, though. They need to come out with a second season ASAP because there are a lot of questions to be answered. I feel like they were trying to leave room for suspense, but it was almost too much to the point where you couldn't understand what was happening.
Honorable mention: How to Get Away with Murder, Money Heist, Ozark, Stranger Things, YOU
Whether you’re in the mood for an action-filled series or want to laugh hysterically, I hope there are at least one or two shows you haven't seen and are interested in watching this weekend on this list. If I left off one or two of your favorite shows, make sure you tweet me @JennaHolland4 so I can make sure I add it to my own list for next time!