On Wednesday Netflix opened its services to 130 new countries, accumulating, in one swift move, potentially millions of new subscribers. The online streaming service has been playing hard to get for years, but like every popular kid (it’s only 18 years old after all), what it really wants, deep in its heart, is to be liked.
So today is the day your inevitable descend into a deep, dark addiction to limitless prestige content (movies, shows, documentaries, stand up specials) begins. Today is the day consumerism gets the better of you and you, in your own tiny way contribute towards the death of movie theatres. Legally this time.
Gone are the days of feeling left out as your Twitter feed od’s itself to death with 140 biting characters of observation/spoilers about the new ‘it’ show. You’re finally going to be a part of the discussion.
So here are 5 gateway programmes to nudge you towards an unhealthy life of the real hard stuff. Binge away. House of Cards and Orange is the New Black are old dogs now. Let’s talk about the new blood.
Master of None
Indian-American comedian Aziz Ansari mines his Indian-Americanness in the most inventive ‘sitcom’ since Louie. Ansari puts his own spin on the friends-chilling-in-a-bar comedy, immigrants and finding your true calling in life. Soon, all of you will switch your message alert tone on your phones to ‘horn’ without an ounce of shame.
There is no family in the world that won’t descend into manic, ruthless, maybe even violent confrontations if it’s holed up together for longer-than-advisable periods. That’s exactly what happens to the Rayburns, each played by a fantastic actor, as they’re brought together to the seemingly idyllic Florida Keys. Then secrets are blurted, murder is plotted and revenge is mulled over.
It was a bold move, one worthy of its subject, when Netflix mounted a 10 episode crime drama starring a criminally underappreciated actor (Wagner Moura) about the most infamous of all criminals: The Colombian drug lord Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria (wait’ll you hear Moura announce his arrival). And this is after they pulled out 10 episodes of sprawling TV on Marco Polo and 12 on whatever the hell The Wachowskis were preoccupied with.
Sure, this sounded like the most cred-destroying decision Netflix could make. Too mainstream, some said. But that was before anyone had even seen a single frame of the show. Daredevil is more like Nolan’s Batman than any of the Marvel movies it shares a rapidly expanding universe with. This is a superhero show that inhabits the seedy underside to the glossy Avengers-populated New York and in Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin has the perfect comic book villain one could love/hate.
Making a Murderer
The most addictive true crime show to air on TV since HBO melted our brains with The Jinx. Making a Murderer is the kind of show that has the potential to literally save lives. It’s a documentary series about a ne’er do well Wisconsin man and how he’s framed for a crime he did not commit by corrupt state officials looking to save their own butts. Twice. It’s absolutely essential, drop-everything-at-once viewing.
And here’s a bonus:
Beasts of no Nation
This was the first original movie produced by Netflix. It’s also True Detective director Cary Joji Fukunaga’s Apocalypse Now, featuring one of the greatest child performances ever. It is a war movie so gorgeously brutal that it deserves to be seen on the biggest screen possible. Oh the irony.
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The author tweets @NaaharRohan