When we need a break from Wimbledon – it’s seriously addictive TV – Netflix is a fine choice these summer nights. Stick on the laptop/TV/streaming device and start with these five binge-worthy offerings (that aren’t Stranger Things season 3).
This is a female-led comedy that gets better with every viewing. Thirty-something Annie (Kristen Wiig) has hit a rough patch but finds her life turned completely upside down when she takes on the Maid of Honour role in her best friend Lillian’s (Maya Rudolph) wedding. In way over her head but determined to succeed, Annie leads a hilarious pack of bridesmaids (Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Ellie Kemper) on a wild ride down the road to the big event. You’ll cry with laughter at certain scenes.
Derry Girls, the first season of raucous sitcom explores the lives of four cheeky Northern Irish teen girls (and one unobtrusive boy) growing up under English oppression in the 1990s is finally on Netflix. Its opening episode is the single most-watched TV programme in Northern Irish history. Set during the Troubles, screenwriter Lisa McGee used her upbringing in Derry as inspiration for the show which revolves around four female friends who attend a convent school. The brilliant 90s soundtrack and searing one-liners are reason enough to binge-watch this one.
Sophia Coppola’s most recent directorial effort isn’t without issues, namely the miscasting of a nonetheless dashing Colin Farrell, but her dreamy remake is ultimately a celebration of women that deserves your attention. Farell’s John McBurney, a wounded Union soldier is found hiding under a tree in Virginia during the Civil War and is taken in by the seven female occupants of a girls boarding school – and it is here that Coppola sets her film, a look at the complexities of femininity and the heady feelings of excitement and danger a lone man can breed in young women. The original 1971 film was depressingly sexist, yet in 2017 Coppola reasserts the power with a group of young women she clearly understands. It isn’t about what is said, but what is not and the stolen moments the camera only peeps behind the door to see.
The Alcásser Murders
The Alcàsser Murders, which explores the still-unresolved 1992 murder of three teenagers dubbed the Alcàsser Girls. With new interviews and analysis, it’s also Netflix’s first Spanish original documentary and is a compelling and extremely disturbing look at one of the most tragic murders in Spanish history. In November 1992, three girls went missing while hitchhiking on the way to a club in the Valencia region of Spain. Miriam García Iborra, Antonia “Toñi” Gómez Rodríguez, and Desirée Hernández Folch were dropped off at a gas station by a couple and then picked up by another car. From there, the case attracts so much media attention, events become distorted and extremely mishandled by the media. The press was obsessive, determined to cash in on every bit of screentime from the shocking series of events and it proved a lesson in how never to handle similar events in future.
Elizabeth: The Golden Age
The sequel to the film that made Cate Blanchett a star isn’t quite as good as its predecessor, but Blanchett’s portrayal of the Virgin Queen remains the best ever to be seen on screen – and that’s saying something indeed. Queen Elizabeth I faces threats to her rule from abroad and at home. Determined to restore England to Roman Catholicism, Spain’s King Philip II dispatches his armada. Sworn to her country body and soul, Elizabeth must resist her love for charismatic seafarer Sir Walter Raleigh and once again relies on her trusted advisor Walsingham (Geoffrey Rush) who uncovers a plot involving her cousin Mary Stuart (yes, that Mary Stewart). Blanchett is utterly compelling in every scene and the costumes, make-up and overall production design are glorious.
Main photograph: Netflix