CBG’s Netflix Suggestions – Hidden Gems

I don’t know about you, but I don’t always take the advice of friends or co-workers when it comes to Netflix recommendations. Sometimes I feel as though if EVERYBODY loves it, then I will probably be disappointed when I finally get around to watching it. Of course, when I’m part of “the movement” and am one of those people recommending a show, then it’s completely different.

Of course, when you have your own blog to sound off on about Netflix recommendations then it doesn’t matter if people are actually interested or not. I figure if you’re here reading this, then you may want to know my thoughts on a few Netflix recommendations that you may not have heard about already.

So here we go…

COMEDY – Grace & Frankie

I’ll absolutely be the first one to admit that I wasn’t the biggest fan of this show when I initially reviewed it a couple of years ago. Sure, I wanted to promote it and all, but I just didn’t think it was that funny and didn’t finish watching the first season.

My wife ended up watching it on her own and fell in love with it. I ended up watching the second half of the third season with her and was intrigued by the characters and the humour, so we both watched all three seasons from the beginning all over again.

Without question, this is one of the most uniquely quirky and enjoyable comedies on television. Jane Fonda is fantastic as Grace, Lily Tomlin is brilliant as Frankie, and Martin Sheen is 100% believable as Robert. While I’m still not completely convinced by Sam Waterston’s portrayal of Sol, the rest of the supporting case more than makes up for it.

The first season saw this show have difficulties finding its footing. The second and third season saw it off and running. If you are tired of the mindless “comedies” on network television, I highly recommend this one as an alternative.

THRILLER – Black Mirror

I wish I could adequately describe this show and give it the type of justice that it deserves. My new manager threw this suggestion out to me during our initial “get to know me” meeting about a month ago. She was a big Netflix fan and said this show would throw her and her boyfriend into a “tizzy” afterwards because it made them think so much.

Basically, this is a science fiction / fantasy series that revolves around the unexpected consequences of new technology (but not in a “20+ years from now” type of way…but in a “few years from now” type of way that makes you wonder if this could actually happen within our lifetimes.  Every single episode (which are completely standalone and separate from each other) can be pretty dark with satirical themes that circle around society today and where we’re going as “humanity” in the future, even if that future is next year.

While some of the episodes are extremely hard to watch (if you can get past the first episode and appreciate it for the messages it is conveying and not simply seeing it as what they’re presenting), my wife and I ended up watching and loving this entire series. There is a new season coming at some point in 2017 and it’s definitely going to be on our “weekend binge” list.

DRAMAThe Fundamentals of Caring

I gotta be honest…I was NOT looking forward to this movie based on the title alone. But every other Friday my wife and I take turns choosing a movie and the other one has to watch it without complaint (at least until it’s over), and one Friday night this was her choice. I’m so glad that it was!

This is a Netflix original movie that stars Paul Rudd (a writer turned caregiver), Craig Roberts (as a sarcastic 18 year old who suffers from Duchenne muscular dystrophy), and Selena Gomez (as Dot, a mysterious hitchhiker) about how a simple road trip helps two men both learn about life from the people they meet along the way. It’s a “dramedy” that blends drama and comedy together in a very believable way.

I realize my description makes this sound extremely cliché in nature, but trust me…this is a surprisingly entertaining movie with some great performances by both Rudd and Roberts. It’s got a 77% rating on Rotten Tomatoes (with an 83% audience score) and a 7.4/10 on IMDB, so I’m not just blowing smoke here. It’s definitely worth a shot.

AWESOMENESSWentworth

If you’ve been on Netflix for any time whatsoever, you may have already binge-watched every season of Orange is the New Black. And with good reason, too! OITNB is quite simply one of the best programs on television and has to be considered revolutionary for its portrayal of women.

But one program that you might not be aware of is Wentworth. While some may call it “Orange is the New Black – Australia Version”, that’s really too simplistic of a description. Let’s put it this way…if OITNB was grittier, darker, less comedic but even more all-around awesome, it would be Wentworth.

The show is set in modern-day Australia and focuses on Bea Smith when she first enters prison after being charged with attempted murder of her husband. While it has a lot of similarities with OITNB, the supporting cast and ensuing storylines are completely different. Quite frankly, if given the option of choosing only one, I would probably pick Wentworth simply because of the incredible directing of the program (almost every episode in the first season looks like a “miniature movie” in how it’s directed). I think you’ll be a lover of Wentworth, as well, once you finish that first season. And thankfully, the show hasn’t gone downhill since!

*****

So these are just some of my Netflix recommendations for programs that you may not be overly aware of. If you have any suggestions of your own, please don’t hesitate to let me know as I would love to hear them. You can always hit me up on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and email.

I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team, but all opinions are my own.

The Best Television of 2016

Favourite TV Shows of 2016

best-of-the-best

The Walking Dead

 

walking-dead

Without question, this is my favourite program on television. Believe me; I have heard all of the complaints from people about the show: “I don’t like zombies”; “There aren’t enough zombies in it”; “It looks dumb”.

Listen, at the end of the day this show is about humanity and its spiral into the abyss once the apocalypse hits. Let’s say there weren’t any zombies but a monster virus still killed off 75% of the world’s population, which then led to the destruction of all utilities that we take for granted (ex: electricity, a working government, ability to communicate, etc.). How would the world react? How would people survive? That’s what this show is really about. The zombies are just another obstacle thrown into their way.

the-walking-dead-on-netflixI remember telling my wife about the show for years before she finally decided to give it a shot a couple of months ago. Thanks to Netflix, we’re now firmly entrenched into Season 4 and she’s loving it, even though she’s not a big fan of zombies at all. She loves the character development, the storylines, and the incredible acting…which are all reasons why this is still my top television program.

Game of Thrones

I’m hoping this pops up on Netflix at some point soon because I would LOVE to be able to get my wife into watching it with me. This show is incredible from top to bottom. And while I still have a difficult time trying to keep all of the character names straight, at the end of the day this show has everything you could possibly want in a television program. And honestly, if you watched GoT from the beginning and at the end of the “Hold the door” episode DIDN’T get “all the feels”, then I don’t think we can be friends.

Stranger Things

stranger-thingsI didn’t really know what to expect from this one. The word of mouth spread extremely quickly when it was released, and that normally means it’s over-hyped. Thankfully, my wife and I gave it a shot and were extremely impressed with what we saw. The story was incredibly unique, the acting top to bottom was amazing, and it left us wanting more when the season ended. If you have Netflix and HAVEN’T watched this yet, then you’re really giving yourself a massive disservice.

Orange is the New Black / Wentworth

oitnbAgain…I’m diving into Netflix here because, quite frankly, some of the best original content on television over the course of 2016 came from Netflix. My wife and I originally gave OITNB a chance because I had heard good things about it and she was willing to give me two episodes to convince her it wasn’t softcore pornography. Once Season 3 had ended, we were emotionally heartbroken and shocked…which says that we were both emotionally invested.

wentworthMy wife had also heard about this “Australian version of OITNB” that we should check out. Now that we’re done watching Season 4 of Wentworth, we can honestly say that we love both shows equally and for completely different reasons. Yes, they’re both shows that take place in female prisons, but they are extremely unique and worth watching individually.

This Is Us

this-is-usI wasn’t convinced to watch this show at first, but I caved after a request from my awesome wife. I’ll be honest…it only took one episode to get me hooked. The incredible uniqueness to storytelling with this show is only part of the reason why we both love it so much. As far as “regular” television goes, this show isn’t simply the best new program of 2016, it is far and away the best drama on TV: period. I can’t give away too much because you need to watch from the beginning to truly understand and appreciate the show (sorry…don’t jump in part-way through the series), but just know that the show continues to surprise and suck you in after the first two incredible episodes have completed.

Modern Family 

modern-familyStill, without a doubt in my mind, the best family comedy on television today. While not every episode is a winner, when the show fires on all cylinders there is no better comedy out there. Period.

Masters of Flip

masters-of-flipWhile I may have a massive crush on Kourtney Wilson, that doesn’t really take away from the fact that this is a really entertaining HDTV program. Kourtney and her husband, Dave, are a realtor/designer/construction combo team that take houses and flip them in Nashville. The flips themselves are only part of the appeal of the show, though. The primary appeal comes from the married couple, as their charisma and natural chemistry comes through in every episode. I don’t normally watch renovation programs, but I love this one.

Survivor 

survivorEven after 30+ seasons, the family loves to get together in the living room every Wednesday night and watch Jeff Probst guide a new group of people through an incredibly entertaining season. We love that even after all of this time, the show isn’t stale. This is due to a number of reasons:

  1. The people that they choose to play the game are usually quite interesting;
  2. The themes of each season are always different (for example, this past season was “Millennials vs Gen-X”)
  3. The games played are a blend of physicality and intelligence, sometimes based on previous seasons and sometimes completely original;
  4. The new players are all Survivor fans, so the game play and how votes are cast is a fascinating process to watch; and
  5. Jeff Probst himself, who continues to be the primary reason why this show is so bloody entertaining.

America’s Got Talent

agtThe family also loves getting together to watch normal-yet-talented people do incredibly entertaining things. Sure, it’s fun to watch weird people, too…but to see a vast array of singers, gymnasts, dancers, and performances that don’t fall under any particular category all compete on stage for the same prize. The chemistry of the judges is also fun to watch, too. Oh…and did I mention that Simon Cowell returned to judging, too!?!

MasterChef 

masterchefFinally, this is another show that the family loves to sit around and watch. Whether it’s MasterChef, MasterChef Junior, or MasterChef Canada, the premise of the program and how it’s directed/edited always makes for an entertaining hour of food porn.

*****

What about you? Were there any TV shows from 2016 that you’d like to share some love for? Sound off below!