Seasons: 3 seasons, 25 episodes. Starring: Neil Patrick Harris, Patrick Warburton, Malina Weissman, Louis Hynes, and K. Todd Freeman. Description: Based on the famous books of the same name, the series tells the story of three children who were orphaned and made to live with an evil guardian called Count Olaf. He is a distant family member who has less than good intentions. The children come to realize that Olaf’s real motivation is to get his hands on their inheritance. In an attempt to keep Olaf at bay, the children embark on many adventures, some less successful than others, but along the way, the children discover some of their families best-kept secrets.
Why it’s a keeper: While there are some dark themes relating to Olaf, there is a great sense of camaraderie among the children, and the show stays faithful to the book by Lemony Snicket. It helps the story come to life and does nothing to limit the imagination.
Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return (BEST)
Seasons: 1 season, 14 episodes Starring: Felicia Day, Patton Oswalt, Jonah Ray, Baron Vaugh, Hampton Yount, Rebecca Hanson, and Joel Hodgson Description: A group of scientists find themselves thrust into the future when one of their experiments goes awry. They mysteriously find themselves surrounded by mutants, androids and some humans, who quite frankly need to take themselves a bit less seriously. Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return is a remake of an old cult classic, but still retains its tongue in cheek approach to all things sci-fi.
Why it’s a keeper: This is a great series to watch as you can pick it up at any point along the storyline. Of course, it will flow more naturally if you follow the sequential narrative, but it’s not imperative for your enjoyment. Fans of the original will appreciate how it pays homage, bringing its return up-to-date without losing any of its original charms.
'Chewing Gum' (BEST)
Seasons: 2 seasons, 12 episodes Starring: Michaela Coel, John MacMillan, Robert Lonsdale, Tanya Franks, Danielle Isaie, and Kadiff Kirwan Description: The series follows the life of a young girl called Tracey, who is 24 and lives with her religious and conservative-minded family on a council estate (government housing) in London. Tracey is starting to discover her own sexuality despite being a virgin, and begins to have wet dreams which revolve around American rapper, Jay-Z, some of which end with a crash as she finds herself waking up with a nosebleed. Tracey’s character is heart-warming and endearing as she figures out a way to make her love for Beyonce and Jesus not mutually exclusive.
Why it’s a keeper: It’s an unusual premise for a TV series, but something a lot of teenagers will relate to, reconciling desires with beliefs. The acting is excellent, and they do justice to a well-written script and storyline. This is the kind of show that will get people talking as there are plenty of themes around family, puberty, and sexuality that we can all recognize.
Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj (BEST)
Seasons: 5 seasons, 32 episodes Starring: Hasan Minhaj and occasional guests. Description: Hasan Minhaj hosts a daily politics show which tackles all sorts of subjects, from cultural, political and social to pretty much everything in between.Hasan is not afraid to bring up big issues and the big names associated with them. No matter how taboo.
Why it’s a keeper: Hasan Minhaj is a very engaging host. He brings his own sense of humor and charm to whatever subject matter he is covering, or whatever guest he is interviewing without feeling preachy. This is no easy challenge when discussing some of the divisive issues that the world is currently dealing with.
The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell (BEST)
Seasons: 1 season, 6 episodes Starring: Christine McConnell, Colleen Smith, and Adam Mayfield Description: This show features Christine McConnell living in a huge and kind of creepy mansion. The house has all sort of weird and wonderful creatures inhabiting it with her, including her faithful sidekick, a raccoon named Rose, a werewolf who goes by the name of Edgar and a peculiar Egyptian cat-mummy called Rankle. The curious creations that the title refers to are the delicious desserts Christine bakes up with her favorite friends in her fabulous 50s get up.
Why it’s a keeper: The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell is a clever mix between DIY fixes and masterfully scripted little sections that blend together to create a feel-good show. Christine’s love for all things 1950’s, baking talents and furry friends, comes through in her quirky style, which will pull you into her wonderful, yet slightly strange world.