5. Riverdale was originally on the CW network before moving to Netflix. Now in its second season as a Netflix series with 22 episodes (nine more episodes than the first season) its popularity is solidified. The show is based on the characters of the Archie Comics. Episode one will have you hooked, as it has been liked by 97% out of 100% Netflix users. The series takes place in a small town with a 1950’s vibe (despite being firmly set in the present) where a high school teenager is found dead under mysterious circumstances that implicate much of the community as suspects. Riverdale is powered not just by the mystery, but by characters who are instantly likable (Betty, Veronica, and Jughead are all standouts) and easy to invest in. The mystery is so incredibly intriguing that it is almost impossible not to get wrapped up in it as the storyline guides us through numerous red herrings. It is a madly addictive series, occasionally campy.
4. Dear White People is a Netflix original series which builds on the foundations laid by Spike Lee’s drama of the same name. The show kicks off during the aftermath of an event that happened in the film – a blackface party held by a white fraternity on a fictional college campus. Sam, a radio personality and student at the school, covers the fallout for her listeners and serves as a pseudo-narrator to all the goings-on at school. There are brief moments of humor and plenty of satire, but watching these kids deal with racist learning institutions and police brutality and ignorance from their privileged peers feels uncomfortably real and relevant. It is a must-watch, not only because the acting is superb, and the storylines are rich, but because you’ll probably learn something you didn’t know but should.
3. 13 Reasons Why is another series developed for Netflix with an intriguing hook: A teenage girl named Hannah takes her own life and leaves behind a suicide note in the form of 13 tapes, each one directed at a particular individual at least partially responsible for the decision to kill herself. The tapes are then passed around to the 13 people who have to deal with the guilt they feel for the role they played in her death, as well as keep their secrets hidden as the contents of the tape threaten to destroy relationships and cost the school millions in an ongoing lawsuit. The drama has come under fire for its heavy subject material and honest and unflinching look at teen suicide. It is a heavy series, especially for one featuring teen characters, but it is also emotionally raw, incredibly compelling, heartbreaking and admirable for at least what it is trying to do. 13 Reasons Why is a haunting and very personal series; it is a true “must watch” series.
2. Jane the Virgin is another series that debuted on the CW network. Jane, a virgin perfectionist with a heart of gold, shouldn’t be this watchable. However, add a pinch of the ol’ impregnated-by-artificial-insemination storyline, mixed in with the possible threat of a grandmother’s deportation, all while the protagonist is trying to rock both a writing career and motherhood, and you’ve got one of the most fascinating TV characters of the year. What’s great about Jane is that she handles everything with an impressive sensibility, and you can’t help but fall for her optimistic outlook on life. If there’s a will, there’s a way and Jane takes the cards she’s dealt in life, and never forgets or forsakes the deep goodness Abuela instilled within her. We watched as this character celebrated life’s big moments with everything from dance-offs to earnest weeping, without any embarrassment for her vulnerability.
1. Stranger Things, is an original series which premiered on Netflix in 2016. If you haven’t watched the first two seasons with the rest of us, stop procrastinating. You're special. You're unique. You deserve to have Stranger Things in your life. This sci-fi fantastical horror 80’s-nostalgia throwback is probably the most addictive offering on Netflix. I'm not going to spend any longer trying to convince you to watch it, because it should already be playing on your TV right now.
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