7 Netflix Shows & Movies You Need to Watch, According to an Entertainment Editor
I finally leave the office for the day (aka I close my laptop and move from the bedroom to the living room), I pour myself a glass of white wine from a box, I pull up Netflix on my TV and I start what I now lovingly call the “Scroll to Nowhere”. You know, where you scroll past every single piece of potential viewing content for five, ten, 15 minutes, before ultimately deciding “there’s nothing to watch” and settling for a rerun of The Office for the 10,000th time.
Oh, how I wish someone would just tell me what to watch. Well, that’s exactly what I’m here to do, my friends.
As an entertainment editor, I’ve had a liiiittle bit of an edge in getting show recommendations. That doesn’t mean I don’t still get caught in the Scroll to Nowhere on a regular basis. But to help cut through all the noise (and seemingly endless options), I can personally assure you these are seven Netflix shows and movies you need to watch.
1. ‘Criminal: U.K.’
If you love gripping crime dramas, this one is definitely for you. Each episode features the same group of British investigators interviewing a single suspect about a potential crime. That’s it. The whole episode takes place in the interrogation room and in the adjoining room behind the iconic two-way mirror.
Prepare for a roller coaster ride in every installment, as the truth behind each case slowly comes to light. (Also expect a lot of twist endings.)
This gripping and fascinating show takes place in a futuristic world where 20-year-olds are given the opportunity to undergo a series of rigorous tests and trials in order to earn their place living in an island paradise—a far cry from the slums where they have grown up. Naturally, only 3 percent of them make it through.
3% features action, intrigue and a vision of society that feels at once horrifying and not that far off from our current reality. It’s easy to become attached to these characters as they struggle to give themselves a better life—though most of them (97 percent to be exact) fail in the process.
I should mention that this is the first-ever Portuguese language original series on Netflix, so you’ll have to turn on the subtitles if you aren’t fluent.
3. ‘Toy Boy’
Toy Boy is all about male eye candy and drama. And if you ask me, that’s what we could all use a little more of in 2020 (OK, OK, the eye candy, not the drama).
This Spanish-language series follows a male stripper who temporarily gets released from jail when he earns himself a new murder trial. Oh, did I not mention he was initially found guilty of killing his lover’s husband? Or that he continues to proclaim his innocence and claims it was his lover who framed him in the first place?
There is plenty of action to go around in this must-watch show—and yes, I’m talking about all of the male exotic dancers. Come onnnnn…you deserve this.
4. ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’
This two-hour Netflx movie based on a true story is required viewing. Seriously.
First of all, the film follows seven defendants who were charged by the federal government with several counts of conspiracy in the aftermath of a peaceful protest suddenly gone awry. Many will remember the real-life events from the late ‘60s, but this movie gives a never-before-seen glimpse inside the courtroom.
Second of all, Aaron freaking Sorkin. Yes, The Trial of the Chicago 7 was written and directed by the West Wing creator. And then, of course, there’s the star-studded cast. I mean Eddie Redmayne, Alex Sharp, Mark Rylance, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Sacha Baron Cohen, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, John Carroll Lynch and Jeremy Strong.
David Tennant makes his second appearance on this list in Broadchurch, a twist-and-turn-filled crime drama that gave me exactly what I was looking for: murder mystery and Olivia Colman.
Now when I say this show has twists, I do not exaggerate. Each episode is action-packed, following Colman as Ellie Miller, a detective who, with the help of Tennant’s Alec Hardy, tries to solve the murder of a young boy. Naturally, there are countless possible suspects.
And the ultimate reveal at the end of season one not only gives Colman a chance to show off those acting chops, but it genuinely made me scream at my television set.
Recommended if you enjoyed Killing Eve, The Fall or Hannibal (the TV series).
6. ‘Pick of the Litter’
What must-watch list would be complete without at least one option that has what I like to call the “awwwww factor”? Enter Pick of the Litter.
I think Netflix’s own description of this documentary says it best: “Five Labrador puppies embark on a 20-month training to pass the milestones on their journey to becoming guide dogs for people with visual impairment.”
Not only is this journey extremely difficult for the dogs but, spoiler alert, not all of them are cut out to be guide dogs and are forced to drop out of the training process. This film is both heartwarming and heartbreaking, but may ultimately be what we all need in our lives in this godforsaken year that is 2020.
7. ‘My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman’
David Letterman is somehow already on season three of his Netflix series, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction and I’ve only recently started watching. That’s great news, because it means there are plenty of interviews to catch up on!
In each episode, Letterman goes super in-depth with his guest, often hitting the road with them as part of his quest to get to know them better.
I’m particularly fond of his interview with Tiffany Haddish, which is raw, revealing and (of course) very, very funny. Haddish brings her signature charm, but opens up to Letterman with never-before-heard stories and intimate details about her life pre-fame.
Recommended if you enjoyed the Late Show with David Letterman, Chelsea Does or Jimmy Kimmel Live.