In all honesty, I rarely go to the cinema, I enjoy movies but I seem to have fallen out of the habit of watching them, and I watch very little television. I’m trying to improve on this with Netflix, which has resulted in my Netflix playlist in being enormous, and as a result, Netflix can be a little overwhelming. So, this blog-post exists to recommend some of the shows I’ve stumbled across.
Genre: Dystopian Science Fiction + Murder-Mystery
In the future, Humans have travelled through space and found alien technology. This technology is used to build metal implants at the base of people’s necks and the implants are called a Stack or Stacks. The purpose of the Stack is to, essentially, copy a person’s personality/mind into a portable device (the Stack is surprisingly fragile and can be surgically removed if required or if a person dies).
While the main character is Takeshi Kovacs, the main plot of the series revolves around the lifestyles of the wealthy elite class known as The Meth. The Meth can do whatever they want. At the top of the food-chain is Laurens Bancroft, he thinks he’s been murdered and wants someone to investigate the situation.
So what does he do? He revives Takeshi Kovacs, the Last Envoy, a political operative with mercenary skills to complete the job. Kovacs is given the choice to either spend the rest of time in prison for his crimes or to help solve the murder and receive a full pardon.
The first season is only ten episodes, and while there’s a lot of graphic violence, it’s definitely worth the hype. There’s also the slight problem where this Dystopian society essentially runs on Mercery Services or Sex Work services, so there’s also a lot of nudity involved.
I really enjoyed watching this series, I think this series has an interesting premise and there’s a HUGE amount of potential. The ten episodes have been created in such a way that character arcs and all the various subplots are all wrapped up neatly and most of the conflicts have been resolved by the end. So I understand if there isn’t a season two, but really hope there is.
So, if you’re into Dystopia Science Fiction, diverse casting, and Edgar Allen Poe themed brothels, I highly recommend Altered Carbon.
Side Note: Altered Carbon is also a book series if that’s more your thing.
Genre: DC Comics Super-heroes
The series is about Jefferson Pierce, who retired from his superhero persona Black Lightning nine years ago after seeing the effects it had on his family, is forced to become a vigilante again when the rise of the local gang called the 100 leads to increased crime and corruption in his community of Freeland.
Although I’ve only watched a few episodes, there are a few things I enjoy about this series. I enjoy the fact that the cast is diverse, the only white person is Peter Gambi, an Alfred-type character with hidden depths, however, he’s also a Tailor, tech-savvy, and more actively encouraging of the Vigilante lifestyle.
There’s also the fact that Jefferson’s daughter Anissa is an out Lesbian and both parents are supportive of her (I know that shouldn’t be a thing, but these are the times we live in). Having a diverse cast is important, however, the element I enjoy about the show the most is the strong element of honesty.
There’s just no getting around certain conversations. For example: When something appears to be going wrong with Jennifer, her boyfriend Khalil talks to her about it, he understands she’s been through a traumatic event, but he also calls her out on her behaviour (I want more scenes like this).
When something appears to be going on with Anissa, Lynn (her mother) talks to Anissa about the situation and also see through Anissa’s attempts at deflection away from the topic (I want more daughter/mother moments like this).
I know some people are getting sick of the Super-hero movies and the like, but I actually prefer to watch these types of things as a series rather than a movie, let me know in the comments below if you prefer one or the other (or both, both is good).
The Brooklyn 99 series starts out as revolving around Jake Peralta, an immature but talented NYPD detective in Brooklyn’s 99th Precinct, who comes into immediate conflict with his new commanding officer, the serious and stern Captain Raymond Holt. I would also like to add that a big chunk of season one revolves around Jake Peralta and Amy Santiago’s Rivalry, there’s a bet on who can solve the most cases.
But to be honest, Brooklyn 99 is mostly a comedy sitcom that just happens to use a police station as a background, however, there are times (later on in the series) where they actually address social issues.
Like how when Rosa is offered a promotion as Captain and Santiago becomes a bit competitive about the whole thing. Rosa points out that the captain position wasn’t a big deal and, as the only two female detectives on the squad, that they shouldn’t be competing with each other, and they have to have each other’s backs.
There’s also an episode where Captain Holt and Santiago are trying to make a promotional poster campaign for the police force, Gina points out that they’re supposed to be listening to the community on these issues. Captain Holt and Santiago to realise Gina had a point and they acknowledge that they were wrong.
There’s also the well-known episode that deals with Terry and Captain Holt about racial profiling and racial discrimination within the police force.
While it hasn’t been made official, there’s a lot of people in the online ADHD community that feel as though Jake Peralta is a good example of adult diagnosis of ADHD. To be honest, even I have to admit that Jake Peralta does fit all the diagnostic criteria for a combined type, but until Andy Samberg or the show’s creators makes it official, it’s all just head-cannon.
The Good Place
Genre: Comedy + Fantasy
The series focuses on Eleanor Shellstrop, a woman who wakes up in the afterlife and is introduced by Michael to “The Good Place”, a Heaven-like utopia he designed, to act as a reward for her being a good person on Earth. She realizes that she was sent there by mistake and must hide her true identity, her bad behaviour, and try to become a better person
I have to admit, this show is hilarious in a Sociopathic kind of way, Eleanor is such a terribly selfish person to such comic extremes and yet she’s relatable. It’s just like a train wreck, you want to stop but you just can’t look away, as a result, I ended up binge-watching all the available episodes over a few days. I also think this is one of Ted Danson’s better performances
Natsume’s Book of Friends
Genre: Shojo Manga with Horror/Paranormal + Mystery
Natsume’s Book of Friends is about Takashi Natsume, an orphaned teenage boy who can see spirits, and because of his weird behaviour, he’s often shunted around from family member to family member. Until, one day, a couple (who are a distant relative) volunteers to adopt him, he goes to live with them out in the country-side, and he inherits from his grandmother a notebook.
The notebook is special in that she used to manipulate Youkai (demons) into writing down their names on the pages, thus binding the Youkai to her and under her control. As a result, various Youkai are tracking Natsume down either to retrieve their name or to steal the book for their own personal gain.
This is technically cheating as you can’t watch this on Netflix (I found episodes available on Crunchyroll), however, I really enjoyed it and I’m going to recommend it anyway. I am going to mention a trigger warning for parental abuse and child abuse for the anime series though, I haven’t read the manga yet so I don’t know if these warnings apply for that as well, but I think it’s safe to assume they do.
Natsume is sometimes treated terribly by his foster parents on a large sliding scale. At one end of the scale, it ranges from outright physical and emotional abuse to neglectful abuse (“forgetting” to feed him), to just not paying that much attention to him (just as long as he stays out of their way). It’s so heartbreaking to see these flashback episodes where Natsume is treated so poorly.
It’s also kind of sad to see him react strangely to people actually caring about him. Such as when his new foster parents Touko and Shigeru have bonding moments with him and Natsume doesn’t always know how to react or what to do.
He’s so determined to not be a problem to them that it sometimes results in Natsume shutting them out, however, Natsume is getting better at letting them in. It’s a happy kind of sad to see Natsume finally able to get friends as well, friends who know the truth (that he can see spirits), and like and accept him anyway.
So many feels with this series, but I highly recommend it, I’m also considering checking out my local library to see if they have the manga volumes available.
So, that’s what I’ve been watching lately, let me know in the comments down below what you think.