Ranking my top 5 binge-worthy TV series
“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”
“The whole world is watching America, and America is watching TV.”
All work - no way.
During COVID-19, all our gigs have been canceled, my hours at work are reduced, and now under a self-imposed quarantine (because I'm over 65!), what’s a guy to do?
I’ve played my guitar as much as my wife can handle, scrubbed the toilets (honey-do) and even braved the line at Costco to ensure a continued supply of toilet paper, so now what? Well, my hand-washing friends, it’s TV time.
Give me something good… wah, wah.
I’m not a critic. At least when it comes to television programs. I’ll watch anything, if the writing and acting are good, or it’s entertaining and not crap.
Okay, I’m a critic.
Nowadays, I find there are so few original ideas. Everything old is "new" again. Studios tend to rely on what worked once, slap some younger actors in place, and call it a series.
My question is: Can anyone write a rom/com where guy doesn’t meet girl, lose girl by doing something stupid and then get girl at end? Apparently not.
Action shows aren’t much better. Guy has girl/family. Bad guys kill girl/family. Guy gets revenge on bad guys for killing girl/family.
Because of all the drivel out there, I’m going to save you viewing frustration by giving you my top 5 Netflix shows that won’t suck up hours of precious time you’ll never get back.
In this list, the hierarchy of numbers is meaningless. These are just my favorites. I only numbered them because…. well, eh, it’s a top-5 list.
1. Dark German/Netflix/2 Seasons
Do you love sci-fi/thrillers? Time travel? Subtitles? This has all three.
Young people in a small town begin to disappear. Here’s the thing, it’s not a matter of where they are… it’s when. Oooooh, me likie.
Subtitles can be a bit challenging to some – according to Jerry Seinfeld who claimed, “The reason we watch TV is because we don’t want to read.” But I disagree and guarantee it'll be worth your efforts. There’s an English, audio-dubbed option, but to me it loses something. Man-up and read the dang subtitles.
I suggest you pay careful attention to characters' names or else you’ll be tempted to start over from the beginning.
When you finish, don’t get angry. There are loose ends, but due to overwhelming hair-pulling and grumbling from the fans, they're filming a third season to tie up all those loosey-gooseys.
Crazy good series.
2. The Tunnel British-French/Netflix/3 Seasons
You'll be hooked on this series from the get-go.
Here's the skinny. A well dressed, dead woman’s body is found in the Chunnel (the Channel Tunnel between England and France that goes under the English Channel).
The killer placed the body exactly on the line between the two countries, head on one side, legs on the other. When the body is moved, they find the woman had been cut perfectly in two, one-half in England (a politician), and one-half in France (a prostitute).
So, what the heck, and whose case is it? Wait… the two halves are from two different women. What, what?
The two main characters – a married male detective (English) who has a hard time keeping his piece in his pants, and a quirky female cop (France), team up to catch a serial killer called the “Truth Terrorist.”
When you get to the end of this limited series, you'll be mentally drained and yelling at your big screen.
Harry Potter Trivia: The socially awkward female cop, Elise, is played expertly by Clémence Poésy, who's known for her magical portrayal of Fleur Delacour in the Harry Potter film series.
You've gotta watch this.
3. Marcella British-Nordic noir/Netflix/2 Seasons
Who doesn’t love crazy British female detectives?
In this dark series we're not talking Chief Inspector Clouseau, inept, sight gags, wacky. We’re talking blackouts, uncontrollable anger, cheating husband and murdered mistress, while trying to capture a crazy killer. This one is almost uncomfortable to watch, in a car-accident kinda way.
You’ll quickly fall sympathetically in love with this flawed cop, Marcella. I did. Don't tell my wife.
Okay, it’s another serial killer (yes!!!) but has a plot that will keep you not only on the edge of your seat, but just plain on edge.
The end will leave you begging for more.
4. La Mante French/Netflix/1 Season
French female Hannibal Lecter? Holy spleen-eater, pass the Chianti and fava beans, I’m all in.
After being locked away for 25 years in solitary confinement, serial killer (again?), Jeanne Deber-dubbed The Mantis- is enlisted by the gendarmes to help find a copycat, psychopathic serial killer (old premise, I know) who seems to be slashing pages from her blood-soaked playbook.
The rub is, she won’t cooperate unless she gets to work one on one with her estranged son who’s grown up to be a detective and wants nothing to do with her.
Will mom and junior catch the bad guy? Will the bodies pile up? I guess you’ll have to watch and see.
5. The Frankenstein Chronicles British/ Netflix/2 Seasons
Mary Shelly rises from the dead once again. This British series is based on, well, ya know… Dracula. Just kidding. Duh.
When a corpse made of pieces and parts of children washes ashore, Sean Bean (who’s fabulous as river policeman, Inspector John Marlott), starts an investigation into who, and why someone would stitch a dead body together. Who and why, indeed?
Guess he never read the book.
Acting and writing are top notch, and this is not your grandma’s grunting, clumsy, flat headed, neck-bolted Frankenstein.
I’m just going to leave it at that.
These are just a few shows I’ve found to be worth vegging to. Grab a snack and binge on.