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Seven of Netflix’s Hidden Gems

Dare to Journey Past Netflix's Home Screen

Maybe you initially got Netflix to watch the Gilmore Girls reboot, or perhaps you’re a Stranger Things mega-fan, but once you’ve finished bingeing your favorite show, what are you watching? Netflix's home screen promotes their original series, whatever is “trending,” things you’ve already watched, and shows grouped together under vague headings like “Critically Acclaimed Comedies” or “TV Dramas Featuring a Strong Female Lead”.  What about the hundreds of shows and movies that don’t make the home screen? Here are some great shows and films that currently on Netflix that you might not have found yet. 

Reality

If You Like: Pretty much anything on HGTV

Watch: The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes

Warning: If you’re particularly susceptible to real estate lust, this show might push you over the edge. The BBC production is hosted by the charming duo of Caroline Quentin and Piers Taylor. Taylor is supposed to be the real estate expert, while Quentin is an English actress, but the two have such amazing chemistry that instead of sticking to their roles, they tour some of the most incredible amazing houses on the planet as giddy friends. They don’t pretend to be unimpressed, and they’re not needlessly critical for the sake of entertainment. This is good, wholesome TV, featuring lovely presenters and stunning homes. 

Comedy

If You Like: Bojack Horseman

Watch: Big Mouth

Big Mouth is a little bit hard to explain. It is a cartoon about children, but definitely, definitely, for an adult audience. The show features a crude and uncensored take on puberty, told from the perspective of a group of pre-teens...and their hormones. It might gross you out, but it also might make you laugh until you cry. As a bonus, the voice acting on this show is incredible. It stars Nick Kroll, John Mulaney, and tons of other well-known names.


If You Like: Telenovela

Watch: The Windsors

This is an easy breezy soap-opera spoof, like Eva Longoria’s gone-too-soon Telenovela, but with a royal twist. This show might not lead to intellectual discussions while bingeing, but it’s worth a few laughs and is a pretty fun way to rest your brain. The royal backdrop, although potentially offensive and entirely fictionalized, could also satiate those of us who are obsessed with England’s most famous family.


If You Like: The Office (US or UK), Workaholics, and Always Sunny

Watch: People Just Do Nothing

This British sitcom is a mashup of some of your favorite shows. Shot as a Mockumentary, it features a group of friends in their twenties. This particular clique is more like the Workaholics gang than the Friends gang, in that they categorically do not have their shit together. The characters take themselves seriously - à la Michael Scott (or David Brent) - and usually, we are laughing at them instead of with them. However, the characters somehow manage to remain endearing, and the show mostly avoids away from excessive cringe.


If You Like: Popstar: Never Stop Stopping and Making a Murderer

Watch: American Vandal

When I found this show, I couldn’t believe it had actually been written and greenlit. It is a serialized, True Crime mockumentary, that takes itself deadly seriously. Some of the more subtle jokes might go over your head if you haven’t consumed hundreds of hours of true crime documentaries, but the narrative can still be enjoyed in its own right. For voracious fans of true crime and lovers of comedy, it is essential viewing. 

Documentary

If You Like: Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Watch: Meet the Patels

This is such an underrated documentary. It is a strikingly intimate film, mainly because the filmmaker is the subject. Ravi V. Patel, along with his sister Geeta, tells the story of his experiences dating as a first-generation Indian-American. The film, with oodles and oodles of compassion and warmth, handles topics ranging from immigration, shifting family dynamics, and dueling cultures through the lens of modern dating.


If You Like: Exit Through the Gift Shop

Watch: Man on Wire

This might be the most famous movie/show on this list, but the documentary was released ten years ago, and I’m continually shocked by how few people seem to have seen this masterpiece. The film is about Philippe Petit's tightrope walk between the twin towers, and it is mesmerizing. The filmmakers interview Philippe Petit himself, as well as most of the key players. The story is fascinating, high-stakes, nerve-racking, beautiful, bizarre, and just about every other adjective you can come up with. Not to mention the fact that Petit might just be the most charming man who has ever been on film. 

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