*Updated in April 2022*
I love watching TV. Just like a good book, there’s nothing like losing yourself in a great TV show. When I grew up in South Africa we had three TV channels (yes, three!) and one paid channel. That was it. Nowadays we have hundreds of channels, not to mention streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, Apple TV and more.
With so much choice it can feel a bit overwhelming at times. Here’s my top picks for shows on Netflix to binge on.
Here are some of my favourite series on Netflix. Grab the popcorn and settle down!
Firefly Lane is the story of best friends, Tully and Kate, who have been inseperable for over 30 years. One is a successful, but troubled, TV presenter and the other, a mother going through a divorce. I loved how it flips from the past to the present as you get to know the characters. It also ends on a cliff-edge! Can’t wait for series 2.
Based on true events, Unbelievable is the story of a troubled young woman who reports a rape, only to be deemed a liar. It takes two female detectives in a different state to piece together the evidence, get to the bottom of the case and exonerate her.
Trial by media
Trial by media is six individual episodes of real criminal cases which gripped the media (and the nation) and asks whether the accused really can have a fair trial once their case is in the media. The first episode – Talk Show Murder – was absolutely engrossing. Every episode is so fascinating and will have you hooked. The series is produced by George Clooney and Grant Heslov.
How anyone could not like watching Tiger King, I’ll never know. (Ok, apart from people who can’t bear to watch animals in cages). This documentary has it all… colourful characters, bitchiness, polygamy, murder, mullets and tigers!
Joe Exotic is unlike anyone you’ll ever meet. Tiger King is the story of Joe and his private zoo, the people who work there, his husbands (yes, plural), a stint at running as a Libertarian party candidate and a plot to murder Carole Baskin of Big Cat Rescue who purportedly murdered her first husband. You can’t make this stuff up…
I highly recommend watching Louis Theroux’s documentary ‘America’s most dangerous pets’, which featured Joe Exotic (aka the Tiger King) back in 2011 before watching the Netflix series. You can find it on BBC iPlayer.
Tiger King 2
If Tiger King had you hooked, you can’t miss what happened next, with Tiger King 2. I won’t go into any detail because that would be a spoiler!
I LOVE this series! Glow is a three part series which tells the story of women wrestlers in America in the 80s. The creators were apparently inspired after watching a documentary about the real Glow – the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling – which aired across America from 1986 -1990.
It’s funny (even though there’s a lot of political incorrectness), very glamorous but also touching in it’s friendships between the characters. It’s also really refreshing to see strong female leads and Alison Brie, who plays Ruth, is amazing.
I’m usually not a fan of science fiction/supernatural genres but I was obsessed with Stranger Things.
Set in Hawkins, it tells the story of a boy who just vanishes into thin air and how his friends and family try to find him. There’s also a high security laboratory nearby which harbours secrets and a girl with supernatural powers.
Superb cast and a really innovative story line. You’ll be hooked after the first episode. And yes, I bought the t-shirt!
Dead to me
There are currently two series and how the second series ended means there’s definitely a third!
‘Dead to me’ tells the story of recently widowed Jen and how she reluctantly befriends the lovable and ever positive Judy, who she meets at a bereavement group. What follows is a story of friendship, self discovery and murder…
I was so late to this party as I’ve only just finished watching Gossip Girl! Watching it reminded me of being at school, intense first loves and friendships (without all the backstabbing and bitchiness).
I love it as it’s set in New York, which is one of my favourite cities ever. I was actually in New York for New Year and took a photo where Lonely Boy lived (except I didn’t know it at the time!). Watching Gossip Girl makes me long to visit New York… or even better, live there!
Plus, if you love fashion you will love this show. The outfits are just phenomenal… plus, a fair few famous designers make guest appearances.
The Innocence Files
Can you imagine going to prison for something you didn’t do? And not just for a couple of years but more like 20? It’s unimaginable.
The Innocence Films is a series of independent stories of people who have been wrongfully convicted of crimes they didn’t commit and how they finally were exonerated, thanks to the tireless work of lawyers from the nonprofit, the Innocence Project. It’s tough viewing at times but really important we bring these stories to light and challenge the flaws in the judicial system.
Dark. One word that perfectly describes ‘You’. Joe manages a bookshop in New York and meets aspiring author Beck, who he quickly becomes obsessed with. But he harbours dark secrets and will do anything to make Beck his. And only his.
There are three series and if you thought the first series was dark, just wait until you watch the second! To be honest, the third series got a bit silly for me. But I still enjoyed it!
There are two series of Dirty John, both based on a true stories. The first series of Dirty John tells the story of interior designer Debra who meets the charming John online. Her daughters find him creepy but Debra brushes that off until she can’t anymore… Then follows deception, lies, obsession and a murder attempt.
If you love the series you’ll love the documentary too with the real dirty John, as well as the podcast on which this series is based.
The second series of Dirty John tells the story of Betty Broderick, who marries Dan and has four children with him. She supports him whilst he retrains as a lawyer. Sixteen years later when he turns 40, he leaves her for his much younger secretary. Her world falls apart. And it gets suddenly very dark…
I honestly never thought I would enjoy a show about grief. After Life is a dark comedy starring Ricky Gervais as Tony, a local reporter whose wife Lisa died of cancer and who decides to ‘stop being the nice guy’ because that didn’t stop his wife dying.
Not only is it funny but it’s also really touching. Ricky is superb – not only in this role but as the creator of the series too.
Hollywood is the story of a group of aspiring actors trying to make it in Hollywood – no matter the cost. It’s set after World War II in the Golden Age of cinema so the costumes and sets are amazing. It also shines a spotlight on race, gender and sexuality – biases which still remain today.
I absolutely LOVED Dumplin’! Imagine being the plus-sized daughter of a former beauty queen in a small town in Texas? Willowdean, aka Dumplin’, signs up to her mom’s Miss Teen Bluebonnet pageant as a protest, which soon escalates when others follow.
Danielle Macdonald who plays Dumplin’ is wonderful! Incidentally she stars in Unbelievable too.
Worst Roommate Ever
You might not want to watch this if you’re looking at a house share! Worst Roommate Ever tells the true stories of four people you never want to meet, let alone share a house with! One of them is a sweet ‘ol grandma… Addictive viewing.