Seasons: 4 seasons, 49 episodes. Starring: Katherine Langford, Dylan Minnette, Christian Navarro, Alisha Boe, Brandon Flynn, Miles Heizer, and Kate Walsh. Description: In the aftermath of Hannah’s death, 13 tapes are found, which she had prepared prior to her passing. Each tape is addressed to a specific person and details one of the 13 reasons why she decided to take her life and how their actions contributed to her breakdown. For those who received the tapes, this is an eye-opening moment and not just a chance to reflect on themselves but each other.
Why it’s a keeper: The nature of the show was always going to be controversial, but 13 Reasons Why tackles suicide and bullying head-on. It has sparked countless debates around the subject, and while it might not make for comfortable viewing, it is opening up a conversation that has been considered taboo for too long. Our only criticism is it could have remained a mini-series, and carrying the story into a second season feels somewhat unnecessary.
House of Cards (SO-SO)
Seasons: 6 seasons, 73 episodes Starring: Robin Wright, Kevin Spacey, Molly Parker, Michael Kelly, Constance Zimmer, and Corey Stoll. Description: House of cards is another behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of the White House and the US presidency. Frank Underwood (played by the brilliant Kevin Spacey) is the Speaker of the House who has a meteoric rise and is elected as President. Things start to get a bit more complicated when his wife no longer wants to support him, but there are plenty more twists and turns along the way. Supposedly one of the more accurate depictions of political life, Frank and Claire are best when they are working together. But that doesn’t last long.
Why it’s lukewarm: The first season of House of Cards was a runaway hit and the talk of Hollywood. Following on from the first season has been difficult, but it’s still a political thriller that has captured much of the inner workings of the White House.
Luke Cage (SO-SO)
Seasons: 2 seasons, 26 episodes. Starring: Mike Colter, Mahershala Ali, Simone Missick, Theo Rossi, Rosario Dawson, and Mustafa Shakir. Description: Luke Cage is one of the characters from the Marvel series. He gains his supernatural strengths and unbreakable skin after a sabotaged experiment leaves him as a fugitive. Deciding to use these powers for good, he tries to rebuild his life in Harlem, New York, where he must battle to clear his name. The series follows his journey as a superhero fighting crime and corruption.
Why it’s lukewarm: Luke Cage as a character is very likable, and there is good character development throughout the series, but as a whole, the story falls a bit flat. This might be down to the pace of the storyline, and with Marvel, things can sometimes feel a bit predictable and methodical. However, there is definitely potential here if the producers were to pick up the pace and improve the overall quality.
Friends From College (SO-SO)
Seasons: 2 seasons, 16 episodes. Starring: Keegan-Michael Key, Cobie Smulders, Annie Parisse, Fred Savage, Jae W. Suh, and Nat Faxon. Description: Friends from College is about a group of friends who reunite 20 years after graduation. Some friendships can go the distance, but it becomes clear that this once close-knit group of friends has changed, and some are not the people they used to be. As they reconnect, they learn that life has not become any easier with age.
Why it’s lukewarm: The main problem with this show are the weak plot lines, which is a shame, since the ensemble cast high-caliber actors that are wasted on this script. There are of course moments where you identify with the characters and the events going on around them. But somehow, it’s not enough.
Altered Carbon (SO-SO)
Seasons: 2 seasons, 18 episodes. Starring: Joel Kinnaman, James Purefoy, and Renée Elise Goldsberry. Description: Altered Carbon was created by Laeta Kalogridis and based on the book of the same name set 300 years into the future. This is an epic sci-fi drama set in a futuristic version of San Francisco’s Bay City. In this world, humans can extract memories and consciousness into a device called a cortical stack, which is then implanted into the back of the neck. This means that when humans die, they could, theoretically, remove the stack and re-implant it in a clone, essentially giving them immortality. The story features an elite soldier by the name of Takeshi Kovac who is given the opportunity at a new life if he can solve a crime.
Why it’s lukewarm: A lot is going on with Altered Carbon and as a result, it never really takes off. There is a lot of potential for a great show, but the characters are not sufficiently developed, and the plot is difficult to follow. Altered Carbon promises brilliance but doesn’t deliver.