2020 was a pretty awful year, for me — we have been living through a pandemic for most of the year, I moved back in with my parents, I dated some questionable men — but through it all, Netflix always had my back. Since we are sheltering in place for a bit longer, what better thing to do than to catch up on Netflix favorites? Here are some of my favorite Netflix original hidden gems of all time.
- “The Old Guard”
Keywords: Espionage, action, supernatural, history
Two words: Charlize Theron. Whatever the role, this woman can do it all. Based on the comic series of the same name by Greg Rucka, this movie is one of the best comics to screen adaptations, barring the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If you like espionage, action and murder, then this is the movie for you.
- “The Umbrella Academy” (Season 2)
Keywords: sci-fi, time travel, dark humor
Putting the “fun” in dysfunctional, our favorite siblings are back and this time it’s wacky. Get ready for a blast from the past as the Hargreeves find themselves in 1963 Dallas, Texas just in time for John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Throw in a talking goldfish and three murderous Swedes, and time travel becomes way more complicated than it needs to be. Can they prevent another apocalypse or will Vanya destroy the world again.
- “The Queen’s Gambit”
Keywords: Coming of age, addiction, child prodigies, period drama
Do yourself a favor and watch it. I don’t even have words to describe this show — it’s that good. Yes, it’s about chess, but also no, it’s not about chess.
- “The Crown” (Season 4)
Keywords: drama, politics, the royal family
We love the British Royal Family, at least we did until Season Four of the Crown came along. If you wanted more royal family goodness, you may be disappointed. The love triangle/dumpster on fire that is Diana, Charles and Camilla takes center stage in all of its horrifying glory. Princess Margeret is still Princess Margaret and Margaret Thatcher, well, Gillian Anderson does a wonderful job of making me hate her (and her voice).
- “The Stranger”
Keywords: drama, murder, secrets
Another adaptation, this time from novel to miniseries, this Netflix Original tells the story of a mysterious stranger who shows up in what seems like random people’s lives. The stranger drops a massive, buried secret and their lives are turned upside down. If you guessed that there are multiple plot twists, you would be correct. The series takes you through twists and turns and just when you think you have it all figured out, you’re in for yet another surprise.
- “American Murder: The Family Next Door”
Keywords: based on a true story, murder, true crime
This documentary tells the story of the 2018 Watts family murders that shocked the United States. It is not your typical murder documentary that tries to make the murderer seem like an everyday person, rather it explores the complexity between social media, marriage, and domestic abuse. It is a chilling documentary but it’s very well done, even if it is dramatized.
- Honorable Mentions
– Ratched (If you had to read “One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest” in high school, this is a must-watch. Also Sarah! Paulson!)
– The Haunting of Bly Manor (I didn’t sleep after I watched this, but I’m also a big baby.)
– Over the Moon (It’s animated, heartwarming and involves space.)
– Love is Blind (It really isn’t, but go off Netflix.)
– The Princess Switch: Switched Again (It’s the Vanessa Hudgens’ cinematic universe and we’re all just living in it.)
If you and your loved ones have Netflix and want to watch something together but apart, Teleparty is a Chrome extension that allows you to screen share Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and HBO. Teleparties are customizable and even have a chat bar so you can stream and comment live.