Arts & CultureFilm & TVOutdoor

Netflix shows to watch instead of going outside



Who says the arrival of Spring has to mean spending more time outdoors? The rain may be (kind of) gone, but days spent lounging around the house are still very much alive. Sometimes going outside is overrated — the best days are the ones with no agenda but to visually consume mass amounts of television. For those of you who are homebodies at heart and love a quality show, here are some Netflix recommendations to make all your binge-watching dreams come true.

Gilmore Girls

This charming show stars Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel as the classic mother-daughter duo. Characters Lorelai and Rory Gilmore live in Stars Hollow, a fictional small town in Connecticut where Lorelai manages an inn, and Rory attends a prestigious private high school. Despite being mother and daughter, the two women have an admirable relationship that takes on the you and me against the world mantra. Lorelai’s quick wit and sly jokes are easy to miss, but hilariously clever if you can keep up. Rory is immersed in all the drama that is high school and tends to take cover within the pages of a good book. Lorelai and Rory Gilmore challenge and support each other, making Gilmore Girls a sweet and reminiscent show for college girls missing their mothers. After completing the original, don’t hesitate to check out the 2016 revival, “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.

“Friends”

“Friends” premiered in 1994, but it is a classic that never gets old. Whether you have seen an episode or not, watching the show from start to finish is a must-do. Set in New York City, six friends bring a refreshing comedic twist to the mundane routine of everyday life. As a result of the ten seasons, Rachel, Joey, Chandler, Ross, Monica and Phoebe are distinct and developed characters, making it feel as though you’ve known them for years. You’ll cringe at their awkward moments and cheer as you watch their successes. Mostly you’ll just laugh at their shenanigans and enjoy the authentic way in which they love and care for each other.

“Master of None”

Aziz Ansari’s portrait of millennial life in New York City is as sharp, witty and meaningful as television gets. Ansari stars as Dev, a 30-year-old actor who tries to find social and professional success in the Big Apple. His adventures, including an impromptu trip to Nashville and a romantic comedy distilled down to an hour, cover topics like male privilege, racial stereotyping and the immigrant experience. At the center of Ansari’s vision lies a gentle sweetness that makes the entire series both hilarious and endlessly watchable.

“2017”

Recently, Netflix has started to produce its own batch of standup comedy specials featuring a wide-range of comedians. From lesser-known, up and comers to Hollywood movie stars, Netflix’s comedy content doesn’t disappoint.

Looking for something that is topical and raunchy? Look no further than divorced father of two Louis C.K. in his latest special, “Louis C.K. 2017,” in which he draws material from his 2017 tour. This time the Boston native isn’t wearing his usual black shirt and blue jeans though. C.K. talks in front of a sold-out DAR Constitution Hall in Washington D.C. wearing a full suit and tie. While Louie’s attire might be classy, his comedy is quite the opposite. Comparing abortion to going to the bathroom, calling his own mother a whore and debating whether he would suck the most beautiful penis in the world are just a few of the ways Louis reminds the viewer that he’s anything but classy.

BBC Nature Documentaries

After climbing Spencer Butte for the fifth-odd time, consider staying indoors to indulge in the natural wonders of our planet. From the dense, competitive Congo in Africa to the sparse, blistering winds of the Antarctic, Sir David Attenborough, with great passion, knowledge and eloquence, exposes natural phenomena for our viewing and learning pleasure. Keep in mind, these aren’t the mid-’90s documentaries shown by your geology teacher back in high school on VCRs and roller TVs, the quality of production and modern technology used in these films are ever-improving. Over the last year, Netflix has added many more BBC Documentaries in addition to perennial classics like “Planet Earth,” “The Blue Planet” and “Life.” With “Planet Earth 2” airing earlier this year, it shouldn’t be long before we can expect Sir Attenborough’s magnum opus to be available for streaming.

“Love”

Judd Apatow’s Netflix Original “Love” is a great example of flawed characters bridging a divide between the audience and screen. Gillian Jacobs and Paul Rust star as Mickey and Gus, two L.A. transplants who meet by chance, and you guessed it, fall in love. The show isn’t your typical love story, though. It’s an incredibly nuanced portrayal of addiction and the pitfalls of modern dating. Often, it turns toward the dark. The show’s exploration of just how flawed its characters are turns the mirror toward the audience. Watching “Love” will make you investigate your own choices, sometimes to the point where the show becomes uncomfortable to watch. Gus and Mickey are far from perfect; the show has it’s flaws, too. “Love” is just dark enough that it will make any sunny day seem just a little bit darker.

“Ghost in the Shell: Arise”

If you think the 2017 “Ghost in the Shell” remake didn’t do the classic cyberpunk series justice, then the current Netflix anime lineup might have something to help wash that bitter taste out of your mouth with “Ghost in the Shell: Arise.”

This three-part television series was made to flesh out the “Ghost in the Shell” universe and provide some extra context to the original 1989 film. It follows the exploits of Major Kusanagi and her extensive team of cybernetically-enhanced operatives as they combat the many threats of a technology dominated future. From futuristic mechanized warfare to devious super hackers, this series has everything a true cyberpunk fan could hope for.


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Dana Alston

Dana Alston

Dana Alston is an Associate Arts & Culture Editor from San Jose, CA. He writes about film, music, and television. Paul Thomas Anderson is his one true god.

You can follow his meme-endorsed social media ramblings @AlstonDalston on Twitter or Letterboxd, or shoot him some eloquent hate mail at [email protected]