Over the past two years, I compiled a list of shows and movies I came across that I feel are binge-worthy, and being that today was my last day of work for the calendar year, now is the perfect time to continue that series. Netflix continues to slay the television game with its original TV shows, films, and specials. This year marked another great year in television for Netflix, releasing much-anticipated series, and premiering new seasons of their already-smash-hit TV shows. Here are five of my favorite Netflix original series from 2017.
1. 13 Reasons Why
Based on one of my favorite books back in high school, 13 Reasons Why was perhaps one of the most anticipated and controversial releases of Netflix this past year. The series revolves around the suicide of a high school student, Hannah Baker, and the effects her death had on her peers and community. Prior to her suicide, Hannah records messages onto cassette tapes directed at thirteen different people (technically twelve, but #spoilers), naming each person as the cause of her ultimate demise. With the premiere of this series, depression and suicide prevention became exceedingly prevalent topics of discussion in society. Opinions about this series varied, some citing the show as a gross glorification of suicide, others regarding it as a catalyst in the fight to raise awareness on bullying and teenage suicide. Though my personal opinion falls on the latter, I do acknowledge and understand the concerns of all sides of the discussion, and commend the fact that the series at least led to healthy discussion. It was announced that the series has been renewed for a second season, set to follow the events where the first season left off. I must say, being a huge fan of the book it was based on, I can’t help but feel a little hesitant about this new season, worried that it might take away from the integrity of the original story. But given Netflix’s track record of successful storytelling, I trust that any upcoming seasons will captivate audiences and continue long overdue conversations just the same.
2. American Vandal
Shot in a true crime mocumentary style, American Vandal tells the story of the incredibly controversial incident that occurred at a fictional high school, in which the main antagonist allegedly vandalized the faculty parking lot with phallic symbols. Weary and skeptical of the outcome of the incident, the narrator of the story gets to the bottom of the story, conducting interviews with supposed witnesses, peers, and the alleged vandal himself. With the release of other documentaries such as Making A Murderer and The Keepers, American Vandal provides a breath of fresh air in the true crime genre, giving an innocent and often humorous twist to the already existing true crime documentaries.
3. Big Mouth
Following the success of the Broadway hit, Oh, Hello, comedians Nick Kroll and John Mulaney team up once again to produce Big Mouth, an over-the-top crude animated series revolving around the topic of puberty. This series invites us to revisit to the awkward pubescent days chocked full of cringey moments surrounding periods, acne, and unwarranted erections. Big Mouth provides a candid and hilarious spin on those awkward middle school memories, providing its viewers with endless entertainment and laughter, while making its audience exceedingly thankful that those days are long gone.
Mindhunter combines several of my favorite things: true crime dramas, period pieces, and Jonathan Groff. Based on true events, this show takes place in the late 1970’s where two FBI agents completely reconstruct the existing practices of resolving and preventing criminal activity. The series begins with the main character, Holden Ford, at the head of an ambush that ultimately goes awry after following the then-routine procedures of taking down a hostage situation. This event prompts Ford and another FBI agent to reassess these tactics by diverting their focus from the “who, what, and where” of a crime to the “why” of a crime. They do so by conducting interviews with convicted and imprisoned serial killers, including Edmund Kemper and Jerry Brudos, attempting to use their patterns and behaviors to predict and prevent future similar crimes from happening. This series does a good job of inviting the audience into the dark minds of these serial killers while telling the story of the early days of criminal psychology and how it ultimately surfaced.
5. The Keepers
With the prevalence of social media, it’s now easier than ever to reconnect with those from our past that we lost touch with. In this limited series, former students of a Maryland Catholic high school reconnect on social media to investigate the sudden disappearance and murder of their beloved high school teacher, Sister Cathy Cesnik. The deeper these former students delve into the case, the more secrets they uncover, all revolving around the cover-up of multiple sexual abuse cases. What started out as the search for Sister Cathy’s murderer turns into the unforeseen revelation of scandals darker than anyone could have ever imagined.
As we head into this holiday break, I have a long list of films and TV shows I need to catch up on. Have you seen any of these shows? What did you think of them? Are there any favorites of yours that you feel I should watch? Let’s chat in the comments.