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The best of Netflix this month

The best of Netflix this month
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By Andrew Kendall.

A new term is just about to begin and it’s time to decide which Netflix TV shows you’re going to need to get you through the first few weeks.  I always advise folks to start a new TV show at the beginning of a new term and work through it slowly. Don’t binge watch in one go. Instead, treat the new show like a ration-pack of entertainment: pull an episode out when you’re feeling tired or when you’ve done some task that you deserve a reward for.

These are my top shows on Netflix to get you through this coming term.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

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This is currently the best original show on Netflix. Sure, House of Cards has the sleekness, Orange is the New Black has the zeitgeist, and Get Down has the hipness. But this Tina Fey comedy is consistently excellent with its charm, warmth, and effectiveness. And those qualities, all with a comedic flair make it the best choice for a new term at university.

We all should aspire to be as happy-go-lucky and brashly positive as the heroine, Kimmy Schmidt. With 26 episodes of 23-30 minutes, the show won’t last very long if you’re binge watching.

But they’re so good that re-watching doesn’t give them any less of a flavour.

So as you prepare for freshers’ week, there’s nothing wrong with starting on Kimmy Schmidt to put you in a positive mood. If Kimmy can be a ray of sunshine after years of being kidnapped and trapped in a bunker, you can get through the stresses of the week.

Damages

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Damages flew under the radar both while it was on air and after it ended. It premiered in a year of great debuts and the way the show was pitched to audiences made it seem as if it was only notable for Glenn Close.

Of course Glenn Close is fantastic in this dark legal drama and gives one of the strongest TV lead performances of this century, but the show’s depth reaches further.

It features a great slate of guest stars (highlights: John Goodman, Lily Tomlin, Marcia Gay Harden, Dylan Baker) and gives you the opportunity to see Rose Byrne developed into a phenomenal actress. In season 1 of Damages, Byrne is a good, if somewhat of an effete performer. But by the final episode in the last season you see her develop into a formidable technician. Each episode of the show is bound to keep you excited.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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Welcome to Hellmouth.

Is that the title of Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s premiere episode, or a perfect metaphor for what freshers’ week feels like?

Either way, Buffy, created by Josh Whedon (now of Avengers fame), is a great idea for a binge or prolonged TV watch. Spanning 144 episodes over seven seasons, it just might be the best show to come out of The WB. With the eclectic mix of teen drama, sci-fi goodness, and action there is something for everyone.

Straddling the ending of the nineties and the first few years of the 21st century, Buffy also becomes a great time capsule for that era with a great soundtrack over the seasons.

(If you prefer your teen drama with less gore you can always watch Gilmore Girls in preparation for its Netflix revival later this year.)

The Killing

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The American version of The Killing is based, in part, on Danish TV series, Forbrydelsen, and it never quite recovered from the critical backlash at the end of the first season.

But removed from that controversy, this moody show of two detectives driving glumly, around Seattle solving murders is an impressive character study with two great performances from Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman (on screens in Suicide Squad at the moment).

The show is so moody and fatalistic, it’s a good to have on your term 1 watch-list to remind you that no matter how terrible your core modules gets this term, it could be a lot worse.

United States of Tara

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For three short season United States of Tara was one of the stronger shows on HBO’s comedic rota.

Toni Collette plays the eponymous Tara, a housewife dealing with dissociative identity disorder. It’s included on this list not just because so many of us feel like multiple persons when we return to university, but because its whip smart, incisive humour is a great charm in the short 30 minute spurts.

Brie Larson, who won an Oscar for her role in Room this year, plays Tara’s rebellious daughter and the entire ensemble is excellent. It’s a great binge option because it’s a lesser known show that’s more impressive than history remembers. If Tara can deal with her issues of multiple (sometimes destructive) personalities, you can deal with university stresses, too.

Just about.

By Andrew Kendall

Holly Smith Editor

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