Handy guide to Netflix treasures

Fresher’s week is over and the novelty of going out night after night is beginning to lose its luster. And the idea of an evening in marathoning a few episodes of something on Netflix is sounding pretty inviting. To avoid scrolling endlessly through the homepage (or re-watching Gossip Girl for the third time) here’s a handy guide to some under-appreciated box-sets to fill your time before uni starts for real. Your binge-watching may commence.

Fringe Genre: Sci-fi/Drama

JJ Abram (Lost, Star Trek) specialises in beautifully produced, complexly written dramas, and Fringe is no different. Named after the ‘fringe-science’ that the show explores, The X-files influences are obvious both in subject and style. But Fringe manages to carry off the monsters-of-the-week episodes with an absorbing, conspiracy-filled story arc. The acting is stellar, especially from Anna Torv who portrays the strong willed lead Olivia Dunham; Joshua Jackson as Peter Bishop the reluctant partner, and John Noble as the mad professor Walter. There’s time for some comedy, and even a dash of romance too, so every need is fulfilled. Just get through the pilot and you’ll be engrossed.

Brooklyn-99 Genre: Comedy/Crime

Brought to you by the minds behind Parks & Recreation, Brooklyn-99 was always going to be fantastic. Like Parks, it features a fantastic ensemble cast, and although Andy Samberg shines as Jake Peralta, the happy-go-lucky cop, supporting roles from the likes of Terry Crews and Chelsea Peretti really ensure there’s plenty of characters to laugh with and love. Built around the premise of a New York police precinct, Brooklyn-99 pokes fun at crime show tropes, but at itself too. The comedic timing is consistently sharp, and the show is expertly written. Twenty minutes per episode makes incredibly easy viewing.

Life On Mars Genre: Crime/Mystery/Sci-fi
You probably know Life On Mars as that show your parents watched, but it really is worth a viewing yourself. John Simm stars as Sam Tyler, a detective who finds himself thrown back to the year 1973 after a car crash. He’s unsure whether it’s all a figment of his subconscious or real time-travel, and the audience is left similarly hanging. Meanwhile, life as cop in the 70s isn’t what Sam knows – it’s unadvanced, prejudiced, inefficient and the brutish DCI Gene Hunt only complicates matters. The mystery is played extremely well and thanks to Simm the emotions and confusion feel real. The show acts as a historical social commentary, a crime procedural and sci-fi drama, and it all works really, really well. Extra points are awarded for the excellent 70s inspired soundtrack and costumes.  

From Dusk Till Dawn Genre: Horror/Action
Based on Tarantino-penned film of the same name, the show is just as crazy and whilst it might not be the most serious TV you ever watch, it is definitely entertaining. Built around the characters of brothers Seth and Richie Gecko, two convicts on the run, the show at first seems simple – until the vampires and supernatural creatures kick in. Embrace it. The show revels in its retro influences and packs in a fair amount of violence. The humour is dark and the pace is quick, and it’s a little insane yes, but it’s full of colour and excitement. The characters have more depth than the movie and it’s engaging enough for some light evening watching.

Honourable mentions:

Daredevil – If Joss Whedon’s bombastic Marvel world doesn’t appeal to you, this gritty character driven super-hero origin series might have something to offer – if you haven’t seen it already.

Community – Featuring a rag-tag group of characters you can grow to love, Community is a sharp-witted sit-com unlike the rest.

The Killing – The plot is slow to progress, but The Killing manages to be cold, complex and genuinely frightening at times, unlike many other crime shows out there.


Heather Nash 


Featured image from Moviepilot.

Leave a Reply