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.
The Crown (BEST)
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: 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.
3. Maniac (BEST)
Season: 1 season, 10 episodes Starring: Emma Stone, Jonah Hill, Sally Field, Justin Theroux, Sonoya Mizuno, and Jemima Kirke Description: Maniac was originally a Norwegian series. It was remade by Netflix in 2018. It is based around two central characters, Annie and Owen, played by Emma Stone and Jonah Hill, who both suffer from mental disabilities. They meet when they take part in a pharmaceutical trial which promises to solve all of their problems. Unsurprisingly, things do not go according to plan, but Annie and Owen realize they have a cosmic connection.
Why it’s a keeper: Maniac takes the viewer on a ride with twists and turns along the way. Watching the world-class acting, cinematography and carefully-crafted narratives is beautiful. The viewer has to let their imagination go to places it may not have explored in the past. Maniac is easily one of the best releases on 2018.
Stranger Things (BEST)
Seasons: 4 seasons with a total of 26 episodes. Starring: Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Cara Buono, and Matthew Modine. Description: Set in the 1980s, Stranger Things takes place in Hawkins, Indiana. This place doesn’t really exist but is representative of many towns in middle America. The story starts with a boy named Will, who mysteriously disappears. His mother decides to launch her own investigation to find him and bring him home. Will’s friends join in the search, and along the way, uncover a series of unusual secrets, which include everything from the supernatural to worrying government activities and experiments.
Why it’s a keeper: Stranger Things has a thrilling plot as well as an ensemble of talented child actors. It is a homage to all things ’80s, which is lovely to see in today’s age, when most of the entertainment centers around technology and the future. It’s no surprise this is one of the most popular shows on Netflix.