Netflix didn’t start life out being so focused on original programming, or indeed focused on it at all. But over time, executives realised that this was where the smart money was, and now Netflix is investing major money into its original programming.
There are shows that appeal to every taste on Netflix
– which once again is important to garnering as many viewers as possible. And while there is definitely a place for heartfelt stories and too-close-to-home comedy like Chef’s Table and Lady Dynamite, the point here is to highlight the shows that have used the freedom that independent programming affords the to be really badass. Let’s look at 10 of the best of those.
House of Cards
The first Netflix original series, House of Cards paved the way for future shows and is badass for that reason alone. But the political thriller about what life is really like on top of Capitol Hill will also grab you by the throat with its fast-paced entertainment, and doesn’t let go. It’s a searing indictment on how ruthless the lust for power makes people.
Orange is the New Black
Based on true-life experiences, Orange is the New Black follows the misadventures of a privileged white woman who is sentenced to a year in prison after a youthful indiscretion that involved smuggling drugs catches up with her. Filmed cinematically, it does perfectly on the Netflix platform. The incredible cast takes you through Piper’s (the protagonist) journey as she realises just how real prison life is.
Making a Murderer
There’s not a lot that feels more badass that a down-south murder – we often hear about young men who are bored and old men who are angry, shooting their families because there is nothing else to do. With strains of The Violent Femmes’ Country Death Song running through our heads, it is easy to imagine that this is what happens all the time. But sometimes, as in Steven Avery’s case, the accusation is wrong and unjust. The series lives up to the hype.
13 Reasons Why
This show has courted a lot of controversy for the way it handles the serious subject of teen suicide, but it is worth watching. It tackles the very serious issues of teen bullying, sexting and garden-variety desperate loneliness. Check it out and decide what you think for yourself, it certainly got a lot of attention and was also accused of glamourizing death.
A wonderful homage to 1990s horrors and science fiction films, Stranger Things will leave you wanting more after every episode. Just as with these movies, you have a real sense that each character has a huge backstory begging to be explored. Sensitive acting with cinematic tributes at every turn – what more could bass-ass movie buffs ask for?
Created by the Wachowski siblings and Michael Straczynski, of The Matrix and Babylon 5 fame respectively, Sense8 focuses on 8 strangers who live in different places but are somehow linked together. They clumsily discover their newfound powers together, but this is more than a sci-fi series; it uses the platform to deal with gender identity and sexuality in a very real way.
Marvel’s Luke Cage
Luke Cage is a superhero through and through, but his eponymous show is also a frank exploration about what it means to be black in America in the 21st century. It is ballsy with great utilisation of great source material, and will make you feel real issues while you indulge in escapism.
Jessica Jones showcases the dark underbelly of the Marvel universe, and is redefining what a comic hero is. Every episode will keep you guessing and you’ll be glad you can binge-watch them all. David Tennant, Doctor Who alum, shines as an evil mastermind who wreaks more psychological than physical destruction, and Krysten Ritter is Jessica herself, sometime love interest of Luke Cage and former superhero who opens a detective agency.
Based on real people within Colombia’s drug empire, Narcos uses a breakneck documentary style to create a sense of the dark world it portrays. It is surely romanticised, but the fine acting and clever storytelling still give us some real insights.
Dear White People
Dear White People illustrates even more that shows can be badass for different reasons. It’s based on the 2014 indie movie of the same name, and has the same creator (Justin Simean) behind it. Its caustic wit targets white privilege in all its forms and doesn’t spare the ideologies of young black people either. It’s the perfect example of badass free speech making important points.