Sometimes the beauty of a series you love being somewhat underappreciated is part of its charm- you get to keep its characters and the intricacies of its world all to yourself, whilst other times you wish it was government enforced homework for everyone to watch your beloved show from start to finish. Today we’re exploring 10 of the most underrated but wonderful in every way Netflix shows that somehow manage to slip under the radar, despite their powerful, beautiful, intriguing and moving storytelling. The only decision left to make is which to add to your list first…
For those who will die on the hill that romcoms are the most elite genre of all, Love was made for you. This Netflix comedy follows 30-somethings Mickey (Gillian Jacobs) and Gus (Paul Rust), whose complicated on-again, off-again romance is as endearing as it is frustrating. The show was inspired by the relationship of its creators Lesley Arfin and Paul Rust, who then worked with Judd Apatow- director, comedian, producer and father of ‘it’ girls Maude and Iris Apatow- to bring the show to life.
Covering subjects like addiction, complicated relationships in your 30s and with a heavy dose of dry humour, the show follows nerdy, high school teacher Gus- an aspiring screenwriter whose career is yet to get off the ground- and cool girl radio producer, Mickey, who won’t let the party life go, despite her friends one by one settling down. Love navigates the highs and sometimes serious lows of modern relationships, and what it means to grow, exist and love unconditionally together. Love reminds you that the magical age of ‘figuring things out’ you seek in your twenties never really comes, but that the love and lessons along the way are maybe what it’s actually all about.
2. Grace and Frankie
If you’re seeking out the dictionary definition of wholesome, look no further. Starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as Grace Hanson and Frankie Bergstein, the series follows two unlikely friends who are brought together after their husbands announce they are in love with each other and plan to get married. Different in just about every way possible, the two women are forced into friendship, cohabitation and each other’s support system, as they warily navigate the next chapter of their lives. Funny, thought provoking and authentic, Grace and Frankie offers a realistic look at the woes and wonders of life for older women, and tackles issues such as sexuality, ageism, feminism, motherhood, gender equality, relationships, racism, and more with ease.
If you loved This Is Us, Modern Family and The Good Place, look no further for your next binge worthy watch.
Changing the pace next, Dark was first released in 2017 and its mysterious plot follows the story of two missing children, setting four families on a frantic hunt for answers as they unearth a shocking mystery that spans three generations. Set in a small German town, the series follows a long list of characters and their family history, as the storyline flits back and forth in time exploring their complex relationships and the dark twists that unite and divide them. Dark is the first German original series produced for Netflix, and has been compared to Stranger Things, Twin Peaks, The Killing, The Missing– add it to your list asap if you’re a fan of plots that keep you guessing and a sprinkle of 1980s nostalgia. Captivating, haunting and intriguing at every turn, prepare to cancel your weekend plans for the foreseeable.
Murder just got more thrilling. In the late 1970s, two FBI agents are on a mission to expand criminal science by delving into the psychology of murder, and end up uneasily close to all-too-real monsters.The series is based on the book Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit, written by retired FBI agent John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker, and follows agents Bill Tench and Holden Ford as they interview imprisoned serial killers in the early days of behavioural science studies. Chilling, unnerving and at times frustrating, the series explores the close knit relationship of Bill and Holden and the lengths they are pushed to in the search of covering uncharted ground in criminal psychology.
From its soundtrack to production, acting to music direction, Mindhunter is a mesmerising watch across its 2 series and 19 episodes. Here’s hoping the season 3 rumours are true!
5. Interior Design Masters
Anyone else missing Saturday mornings of procrastinating maths homework by watching 60 Minute Makeover on the sofa? Us too. Say hello to your new obsession: Interior Design Masters. The show follows aspiring interior designers challenged with transforming a variety of spaces from dowdy to delightful as they battle it out for a life-changing contract with a top London hotel. Hosted by national treasure Alan Carr, and judged by former Elle Decoration editor-in-chief Michelle Ogundehin, the pair are joined by a rotating panel of guest judges such as interior stylist Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, retail expert Mary Portas and home designer Jade Jagger. Ultimate easy watching, carefree Saturday mornings are about to be revived.
6. Locke and Key
There’s horror, there’s fantasy, and then there’s Locke and Key. After their dad’s murder, three siblings move with their mum to his ancestral estate, soon discovering a set of magical keys that unlock powers, secrets and a whole load of ancestoral history- and not always of the good kind. The story, which was originally published in the form of a comic (written by Joe Hill and illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez), has all the elements of a hit in the age of shows such as Stranger Things, with the perfect amount of scares, chilling intrigue and tension to keep you on the edge of your seat throughout. The relationship of siblings Tyler, Kinsey and Bode is one viewers become invested in from the offset, and the normalcy of aspects of their lives including hockey practice and love triangles paired with the mysterious twists they are forced to encounter is a dynamic guaranteed to keep you curious.
With reviews donning it “the most original show ever”, Maniac is not one to miss from your ‘to-watch’ list if psychological comedies are your thing. The 10-episode series stars Emma Stone, Jonah Hill, Justin Theroux and follows two strangers who connect during a mind-bending pharmaceutical trial set in a retro-future New York City. Annie Landsberg (Emma Stone) has borderline personality disorder and dwells unhealthily on her relationships, whilst Owen Milgrim (Jonah Hill) is the son of a wealthy family whose schizophrenia diagnosis leaves him feeling like the black sheep.
Entertaining, smart and one that will stick with you for good, Maniac’s sometimes jarring mix of comedy juxtaposes the seriousness that comes with mental illness as the common thread that unites us.
8. The Big Flower Fight
Florals for Spring? Groundbreaking. No but seriously, The Big Flower Fight might not sound all that, but we guarantee you’ll know your chrysanthemums from your cosmos in no time and find yourself googling ‘how to become a florist’ before the end of episode one. The show follows ten teams of florists, sculptors and garden designers competing to create extravagant floral installations for a chance to display at London’s Royal Botanic Gardens.
Think The Great British Bake Off in flower form, the show is equivalent to a comforting mug of tea at the end of a rainy day, with its colourful displays and joyful contestants, TBFF is in a ‘wholesome’ league of its own.
From the makers of Orange Is the New Black, Glow follows a crew of misfits in 1980s LA as they reinvent themselves as the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (GLOW). Meet Ruth Wilder, a struggling actress who auditions as part of the professional wrestling promotion, but not before realising her former best friend Debbie Eagan has also been cast to star in the show.
The two women are forced to work together just as their friendship unwinds, with the growing tension between them promising to either make or break the developing show.
Tackling issues such as equal pay, work/life balance, racial inequality, ageism, homophobia, and the quest to follow one’s dreams, Glow is well crafted, original and powerful in all the right ways.
10. Midnight Diner
A collection of everyday stories told by its customers and connected by the only open diner in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo, The Midnight Diner is one you’ll want to savour. The restaurant’s chef is known only as ‘The Master’, with a mysterious scar across his face, he offers a listening ear and comforting meal to all those who seek it. Failed actors, struggling comedians, prostitutes, and compulsive gamblers walk through its doors, and bouncing from heavy to lighthearted with ease, its stories and characters are intriguing at their core.
Magical and hypnotic, the Midnight Diner will suck you into its intimate world and bring comfort akin to one of The Master’s traditional warming dishes.