The cold weather season is among us, and, if you’re like me, you’re not interested in leaving the house anytime soon. Which is fine, because there’s plenty of stuff to watch … right? But if a movie just won’t cut it, might be time to delve into something longer form. But which ones will make the cut?
Allow me to help.
Every month, I pack a short-list of under-the-radar TV shows waiting to be found and savored from the likes Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and others. Because life’s too short to watch the same show over and over.
Here are a few shows that’ll take your “To-Watch” list to binge-worthy this month.
Not sure the level of awareness this show carries, but it certainly seems a little under the radar. Atypical is an easily binge-able show that deserves more attention. Packing more heart and humor in 25 mere minutes while grappling with sensitive material every step of the way is a feat all on its own. Between our high school protagonists’ reality with autism, a sister’s self-discovery, a fractured marriage, and not-quite-campy sitcom-like charm Netflix delivers one of the more surprising shows on streaming. Three seasons deep, and I’ve a hunch you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how quickly it earns your emotional investment. Not to mention the drove of delightful penguin facts.
PLATFORM: Netflix – Three Seasons
FOR FANS OF: Freaks and Geeks, Sex Education, & The Wonder Years
Brothers & Sisters (2006)
Who doesn’t love a solid network family drama? In many ways, shows like these are the backbone of programmed television. With limitless titles to choose from, it’s easy for some to slip through the cracks. Although Brothers & Sisters was critically acclaimed it’s tough to remember if it really had the moment it deserved. Nevertheless, Sally Field anchored a wonderfully mid 2000’s sweeping exploration of the Walker family tree. Honestly, the cast this show rolled out each week for five years is more than kind of remarkable. Solid talent from top to bottom, rounding off the perfectly ABC drama plot lines. Sometimes predictable; sometimes not. Sometimes funny; often times poignant. And a soundtrack that queues effective nostalgia with precision. Though it may not be the most innovative or even groundbreaking show of its kind, it certainly deserves a healthy second life in the streaming era. Deep feels; relatable, flawed characters; and just enough of that lived-in feeling. Brothers & Sisters checks all the boxes.
PLATFORM: Hulu – Five Seasons
FOR FANS OF: Dawson’s Creek, Parenthood, & Six Feet Under
The End of the F***ing World (2017)
Teenage love, edgy one-liners, impeccable needle-drops … and murder. Sounds like a perfect dark comedy, right?
Based on a graphic novel of the same name, but not superhero inspired, EOTFW is an off-kilter Bonnie and Clyde romp perfectly suited for 21st Century viewing. James is a high-school student in the UK and thinks he’s an emotionless serial-killer in training. Alyssa is a foul-mouthed, courageous (but maybe not so courageous) teen looking to break free. Through random and haunting endeavors—the two find themselves by finding each other. Simply put, I have never felt so comfortable laughing in a world carrying that much “out there” baggage—but it all makes sense. Certainly, the fastest I flew through a whole season. But make no mistake, EOTFW will wallop you with humanity when you least expect it. And just our luck, season two dropped this month.
PLATFORM: Netflix – Two Seasons
FOR FANS OF: Fargo, Killing Eve, & Scrubs
Tumble Leaf (2013)
Hear me out, a children’s show that unlocks the inter-generational divide. In all honesty, Tumble Leaf may be the most inherently creative and perfectly tender show I’ve seen in recent memory. When my toddler asks to watch it, I get excited because it means we both get to dip in the well of original storytelling and wonder. Follow Fig the Fox and his food-named animal friends through the wonders of the finding place, game-filled sandy beaches, safe adventure-laden woods, mechanical exploration, and playfully gentle orchestrations. Humor me for a few episodes and give this stop-motion masterpiece a chance. You’ll remember how good it feels to wonder again. I mean, watch this clip and tell me you’re not instantly transported to a realm of cozy, creative feels.
PLATFORM: Amazon Prime – Four Seasons
FOR FANS OF: Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, Wallace & Gromit, & The Fantastic Mr. Fox
Add some of these hidden gems to your list and save yourself from needless scrolling and the inevitable Grey’s Anatomy re-watch. Go watch something…new!
What’s the best hidden gem you’ve streamed recently? Share in the comments and help me expand the list!