Netflix is the OG of streaming and on-demand movie and TV content; there is a reason the term is “Netflix and chill” and not “Hulu” or “Amazon and chill,” after all. Despite the recent surge of streaming services available, Netflix remains firmly atop the mountain of the digital media landscape. With a huge library of both network TV shows and original offerings, along with new content added regularly, they aren’t showing any signs of slowing down.
There really is something for everyone, and it is remarkably easy to turn it on and find something worth watching. Perhaps the drawback here, is that there is almost TOO much available, and before you know it, you have spent an hour browsing through hundreds (maybe even thousands) of titles, and find yourself with nothing to watch. Sure, there are easy picks like &The Witcher, Stranger things,& or &Tiger King&. Most people have at least heard of those. But after that, then what? How do you know what’s good or worth your time&? No one wants to spend an hour or two of their precious leisure time on something they don’t enjoy right?
Never fear, fellow binge-watcher, for I have compiled a list to get you started on your next TV show obsession. Most of these are shows that I would consider falling into a niche category. These are the shows you may not necessarily find or choose to watch unless you were specifically seeking them out, or someone (It’s me – I am someone) directly suggests them to you. Sure, maybe you would catch a brief glimpse in passing as you are scrolling through, but it really doesn’t look like “your thing”, so you skip right by it without a second thought.
If I am honest, I fell into the same trap with most of these shows at first, eventually coming back around to give them a shot after initially bypassing them because they didn’t catch my eye or have an immediate appeal. Don’t make the same mistake I did.
Grab your snacks and favorite pair of sweatpants people, because it’s time to dive into some great shows on Netflix that you have been passing up. Here we go! Let’s start off with a little something animated… a few things the whole family will enjoy.
Blood of Zeus
Marketed in the opening scenes of the first episode as a lost Greek Myth, &Blood of Zeus& takes classic tropes of gods, demigods, Mount Olympus, and the Underworld, and spins them into an original story. Heron, an ordinary commoner in Ancient Greece, finds out he is the son of Zeus& and destined to save the world from an army of Demons.
With enough familiarity to appeal to anyone who has a casual interest in Ancient Greek mythos, and enough novelty to the story to entertain those who are big fans of the genre, &Blood of Zeus& will draw you right in and keep you hooked from the first fight and chase scene, all the way through to the end of the short, 8-episode first season.
&Without spoiling anything, I can attest that the demons are a nice touch here. The threat of giants, tensions between the gods, and the titans are all present here. The show, however, never lets the demons or Heron stray too far from the forefront, reminding viewers that this is an original concept set in familiar territory.
Don’t let the animation style dissuade you. Even though it LOOKS like it could fall into a Japanese Anime style, it doesn’t FEEL so much like Anime when you watch it. Also, don’t watch it with kids. &Blood of Zeus& is all kinds of violent, and hits on plenty of adult themes and family drama.
Of all the shows on this list, particularly if you like animation, this would be the one you most likely would have at least heard of. Created by Matt Groening, who is best known for &The Simpsons& and &Futurama&, &Disenchantment &follows Princess “Bean” Tiabeanie as she tries to avoid arranged marriage and have a little fun in Dreamland.
&Joined by her own personal demon, Luci, as well as her little pal Elfo, who is tired of how happy everything is in his home of Elfwood, Bean embodies the opposite of everything you would imagine for a fantasy genre princess, which makes for a fun change of pace as she drinks a lot and tries to avoid marriage and responsibility of the throne. Throw in some classic fantasy nods like magic, knights, ogres and giants, and we have ourselves a really good little show.
Disclaimer: I don’t like &The Simpsons& and I am “meh” about &Futurama.& The only reason I checked it out is because I really like the fantasy genre and this looked fun to me, and it is indeed a ton of fun. I think Groening did enough here to make &Disenchantment& it’s own thing, so don’t let your decision be based on whether or not you like his other shows, though you will recognize a ton of voices from his other properties.
Here we go. Yet another terrible video game adaptation right? WRONG. It’s really good. This show benefited from the most recent installment of the game being released in the early 90s, preventing it from having to compete with the scope of games we have today, that often seem to be their own cinematic experiences. If you like supernatural horror and adventure shows, this is the one for you.
&Castlevania& adapts the storyline from &Castlevania 3: Dracula’s Curse,& and follows the same main protagonist from the game, Trevor Belmont, and his companions as they try to stop Dracula and his army of supernatural creatures. Having animation and flexibility that a game from 1992 never would have, the show adds depth and personality to the characters that never existed, as well as making all the fight scenes look way cooler than they did in 16-bit button mashing format.
Another show that you maybe bypassed because of an Anime style art, or because it is a bit darker than you prefer, maybe re-consider that and give it a shot. There is some endearing humor and personal relationships between the heroes that shines through even as they are murdering a bunch of undead minions.
Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous
This is another show that should not be good. It just shouldn’t. It takes a beloved property and just butchers it with by turning it into a cheesy cartoon, completely stripping away all the excitement of people being eaten by dinosaurs and trying to survive the shady genetic re-creations. Except, it doesn’t. It actually keeps all of that dinosaur goodness, AND creates a cast of interesting new characters with a new story.
Taking place on Isla Nublar, the very same titular island from the &Jurassic Park& film series, this animated gem actually takes place, in part, at the same time as the events of &Jurassic World.& Six kids are granted the first change to try out Camp Cretaceous, a summer camp style opportunity exclusive to the &Jurassic World& theme park. The camp is located on the opposite side of the island as the main park, though there are some overlapping locations from the film.
Remember when Indominus Rex broke out and the whole island went to hell? All of that still happens in season one, leaving the six campers stranded on the island by themselves, struggling to survive, unsure if anyone will be coming back to rescue them. Surprisingly deep, with characters that are likeable and easy to root for, this is a great show choice for those of you looking for something appropriate to watch with your kids. It’s also good if you don’t have kids.
Maybe it’s not animation that you’re after, but rather a bit of live-action drama or comedy. Netflix, with it’s massive catalog most certainly has something you’ll dig. Here is just a taste to get you started.
Never Have I Ever
Falling squarely into the category of the “coming of age” dramedy, &Never Have I Ever& follows Devi, a teenager living in LA, who is dealing with typical high school trials and tribulations, while also finding her Indian heritage identity and struggling with personal loss. Taking inspiration from creator Mindy Kaling’s own childhood, &Never Have I Ever& gives viewers a new scene against a familiar backdrop.
During Devi’s freshman year, her father passes away, leaving her stricken with grief and suffering a psycho-somatic response causing her to lose use of her legs. &To make up for what she considers a lost year, she sets out on her sophomore year determined to change her social status and have an incredible, exciting year, by becoming one of the “cool kids”.
By taking a commonly relatable premise of a teenager trying to “be cool”, and combining it with an honest and raw glimpse into Indian culture and a young lady’s struggle with grief and mental health, we get something fresh, and much needed, in the teenage comedy/drama genre. With the second season premiering this summer, there is no better time to catch up on this one. You can thank my wife, who made me watch this with her.
Living With Yourself
Starring Paul Rudd in two roles for this strange, slightly sci-fi, and full-on satisfying comedy. Miles, down on his luck and in a rut, undergoes a procedure to help him become a better person, to find out he has actually been replaced with a clone of himself. Follow his journey as he and himself try to co-exist and make the best of their situation.
This show does a great job at blending a new idea with the familiar suburban husband and wife comedy scene. We have all seen the show about a husband and wife trying to work through life doldrums. &Living with Yourself& just takes it to a whole new arena, adding in a second, better version of the husband, making for a fascinating love triangle.
I know, it sounds really weird, and it is. If it didn’t have Paul Rudd in it, I never would have given it the time of day. However, after seeing it I would admit that it is definitely worth the time of day. It will scratch your itch for something different, and it’s funny.
Teenage Bounty Hunters
A pretty basic teen dramedy, &Teenage Bounty Hunters& follows the Wesley twins as they navigate life in Atlanta at a private Christian school. After they wreck their dad’s truck, they take up jobs at a yogurt shop in attempts to earn money to repair the damages. &The owner of the yogurt shop, Bowser, also hires them as intern bounty hunters. So, I guess it isn’t quite as basic. Sure, the title kind of gives that away, but I bet you still skipped by it unless you are a young lady between the ages of 16 and 22. I would encourage you to re-think that decision.
Combining all the elements of a classic teenage dramedy, &Teenage Bounty Hunters& does all that and more. It has all of your high school rivalries, young love, and teenage angst challenges, along with a grumpy old bounty hunter and some guns.
&Taking an often stale formula, doing something new with it, and having it actually turn out good is hard to do. This show has a ton of charm, interesting plot, and great chemistry from it’s cast of relative unknowns and newcomers. Sadly, it was cancelled in the fall of 2020. Maybe if we all go back and watch it, it can get the proper second season or movie conclusion that it deserves.
Don’t watch this one with kids. The show follows Pete, who, after struggling to pay his rent, reluctantly decides to become an assistant to his high school best-friend Tiffany. The catch happens to be that Tiffany works as a dominatrix to help put herself through school to be a psychologist. Get the title now?
&Though dealing with some adult themes, the real success of the show is how it manages to take a bit (okay, it’s A LOT) of a dark and unknown taboo topic and turn it into something funny and charming. Pete is routinely uncomfortable in his new role, while Tiffany struggles to maintain balance between her graduate school work and her double life as the dominatrix. And what happens when they see one of their clients, or they reveal their job outside of “work hours”? Well, more weird comedy of course!
Don’t be put off by the content of the show, or the promotional images or trailer clips. This is a unique comedy that stands on its own. Recently renewed for a second season, &Bonding &is a show you definitely don’t want to miss out on, just maybe wait until all the young people go to bed. &Maybe you can bond with a friend over it later.
For those of you who love ‘reality’, which would include everything from survival to variety or maybe even documentary fare, we’ve found a few you might not otherwise check out.
You vs. Wild
If you are like me, you love watching survival shows comfortably situated on the couch all while calling the survivalist wimps and explaining to the TV how to do it better. Well, here is your chance to see if you have what it takes!&
Finally, we have an opportunity to go on an adventure with Bear Grylls, without the bug bites and eating all the gross things. In this TV show/Interactive game hybrid, you get to decide how to approach various survival scenarios. If you make a good choice, you and Bear make it out alive. If not, bad stuff happens, which is equally as fun as being successful. Remember the &Choose Your Own Adventure& books? This is that, but in the woods, on your TV screen, with Bear.
Offering a fair amount of re-watch (re-play?) appeal, this is a great show to watch (play?) with friends or family. Plop the kids down on a bad weather afternoon or a cold night and visit a remote location in an instant, and see if you can hack it. Or purposely try to have Bear meet his doom. Whatever works for you.
This is one of the other shows that you have at least probably heard of on the list, but you don’t like reality shows so you skipped it. Poor choice. Tapping into the the popularity of social media, &The Circle& takes &a new approach to reality competition. Isolating each player in their own suite, they can only communicate using the circle “app”, with either individual or group texting boxes. The trick is whether or not to really be you, or be someone else entirely, as each contestant will only know you by your online persona. Each week, the contestants rate each other, with the lowest rated contestants in danger of being kicked out of &The Circle.
Based on a British show of the same name, showrunners did a great job casting, bringing in the full spectrum of contestants who are easy to root for along with plenty you wont be able to stand, with a relatively short episode count, making it an easy watch.
&The Circle& adds a fresh face to a genre that doesn’t seem like we have seen a lot of innovation since &Survivor, Amazing Race, &and &Big Brother& came on the scene all those years ago. &So, even if you skipped it at first glance and aren’t the biggest fan of reality shows, circle back around on this one folks… See what I did there?
Final Thoughts There you have it. Shows on Netflix that many of you have probably skipped right on by. Hopefully there is something on this list that you will go back and give a watch. You are welcome. Let us know if we left out any great underdog shows that deserve to be on the list!