Seasons: 3 seasons, 30 episodes. Starring: Claire Foy, Matt Smith, Jared Harris, Vanessa Kirby, John Lithgow, and Greg Wise. Description: The Crown tracks the life and reign of the late Queen Elizabeth II, alongside some of the events that have shaped the 20th century. While many of the “behind the scenes” elements are fictional and the producers have taken many creative licenses to make the show more artistic, they are based on events of her reign The period piece is full of beautiful costumes and plenty of drama. The characters portray the exquisite privilege enjoyed by the Royal Family, but also do an excellent job in not only highlighting the challenges of a life of duty, but also the human elements of their relationships, struggles, and successes.
Why it’s a keeper: Aside from beautiful costumes and people and excellent performances, The Crown lets you step into the world of the Royals and gives you a glimpse of what life is like for them. With all of the glitz and glamour, there are the same issues that appear in your everyday relationships. You come to terms with the fact that they are people too. It tracks the late Queen’s ascension to the throne and takes you on a journey through history which viewers can look back on with a different perspective.
Seasons: 3 seasons, 30 episodes. Starring: Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, Sofia Hublitz, Julia Garner, Jordana Spiro, and Skylar Gaertner. Description: Jason Bateman plays a financial advisor who gets caught up in some bad business. As a result, he is forced to move his family from Chicago, where they were in imminent danger, to the Ozarks in Missouri, where he is required to launder $500 million over the course of five years to appease a drug lord whom he has fallen out of favor with.
Why it’s a keeper: Ozark is well written and full of plot twists, which makes it incredibly easy to binge watch. It’s a thrilling drama which is not only well written, but well-acted. It may be a stressful watch, but viewers won’t be able to resist playing the next episode to see what happens and who makes it out alive for one more season.
American Vandal (BEST)
Seasons: 2 seasons, 16 episodes Starring: Tyler Alvarez, Griffin Gluck, Camille Hyde, Eduardo Franco, Lukas Gage, and Calum Worthy. Description: This is a light-hearted take on a true crime thriller and tells the story of a high school student expelled for allegedly spray-painting penises on 27 cars parked outside his school. His friends jump to his defense and launch their own investigation to try and discover who is responsible for this prank. The students conduct a number of interviews with hilarious results and develop some conspiracy theories along the way. Viewers can follow along as his friends try and discover “whodunit.”
Why it’s a keeper: Totally binge-worthy, American Vandal is one of the best parody shows of 2017. By not taking itself too seriously, it keeps you totally captivated through the witty and cleverly written dialogue and storyline. This show is a gem, and definitely a must-watch if you haven’t seen it already.
Seasons: 2 seasons, 19 episodes. Starring: Jonathan Groff, Holt McCallany, Hannah Gross, Anna Torv, and Cotter Smith. Description: The series is set in the late 1970s and early 1980s and features FBI agents who have been tasked with solving open murder cases. The main character, Holden Ford, is based on John E. Douglas, a former chief and special agent of the FBI. Ford takes a particular interest in the psyche of the serial killer and becomes obsessed with their behaviors. This mirrors the obsessions that the serial killers had with their victims, and the more time Ford spends investigating these crimes, the harder he finds it to maintain his sanity.
Why it’s a keeper: Mindhunter is entirely believable as it takes great care in developing the characters with excellent attention to detail. The show itself has a number of twists and turns which surprise the viewer, leaving him desperate to discover what happens next.
The Haunting of Hill House (BEST)
Seasons: 1 season, 10 episodes Starring: Michael Huisman, Carla Gugino, Timothy Hutton, Elizabeth Reaser, and Victoria Pedretti Description: The Haunting of Hill House centers around the Crain family. The family is fractured and complicated, and the siblings have been haunted by their time living in Hill House as children. The show sees them return as adults where they discover the same paranormal activities that made them want to leave in the first place.
Why it’s a keeper: The series is based on the novel by Shirley Jackson, which at the time was groundbreaking for its feminist themes, and was first adapted in 1963. Netflix’s version is a marked departure from the original as it mainly focuses on the male characters. However, Netflix has done the drama justice in other ways, making it a significant contribution to the horror genre. Each character has a rich backstory, which provides context to the plot as the mysteries unfold. The series will have you on the edge of your seat and certainly isn’t for the faint-hearted. Be warned, you may find yourself screaming at the screen and sleeping with one eye open.