It’s World Television Day, and it’s a sign of the times that viewers automatically turn to Netflix (as opposed to an actual television) to binge-watch their favourite show. It’s changed the way we watch and consume programmes on a small screen. To mark the day, Jennifer McShane recommends the series worth streaming this evening.
Ahead of its second series premiere on December 2nd The Crown – Netflix’s most lavish series to date – chronicles the adult life of Queen Elizabeth II (played by a suitably restrained Claire Foy), from her 1947 marriage onwards. All ten episodes were written by Peter Morgan (who was behind the Oscar-winning film The Queen), and it starts just before Elizabeth was forced to take the throne after the sudden’death of her father, King George VI in 1952. It’s decedent and engrossing; catch up before season 2 lands early next month.
Produced by Charlize Theron, the newly-released Netflix series follows Agent Ford (played by Jonathan Groff) as he and a colleague interview imprisoned psychopaths and let cops in on their findings. This is termed criminal profiling but back then – in the 1970s – the terminology didn’t exist. Based on the 1997 crime classic by John Douglas – one of the first FBI profilers in the US whom the Silence of the Lambs Agent Jack Crawford was based – the series explores beginnings of what became criminal profiling and the lengths those profilers went to understand their subjects. It’s creepy and unsettling, but a must-watch.
The Byrdes, husband and wife Marty (Jason Bateman) and Wendy (Laura Linney), their teenage kids Charlotte and Jonah are for all intents and purposes, an ordinary family. Well, not quite. Average save for Marty’s job: The top money launderer for the second largest drug cartel in Mexico. Sound familiar? Marty is Chicago financial advisor, who has been quietly laundering money for a drug kingpin but must quickly uproot his family and move the operation to The Ozarks after his partner is caught cheating the business. If you miss Breaking Bad, this may fill that hole.
In what is a small-screen comeback for actress Jessica Biel, the series – an adaptation of the 1999 novel by German crime writer Petra Hammesfahr – follows mother Cora Tanetti (Biel), who while out with her family at the beach, is suddenly compelled to murder a man in cold blood. It’s a ‘whydunit’; a murder mystery not focusing on the ‘who,’ but why the crime was committed. Biel herself doesn’t seem to know what’s going on…. Or does she? A sleeper hit in the US, this has become the most-watched TV show of the year and has been a massive hit with critics and viewers.
The Killing follows detectives Sarah Linden and Stephen Holder as they attempt to track down the murderer of a local teenager, Rosie Larsen. When they discover the teenager’s body investigation begins to apprehend her killer. You’re hooked from the get-go; everyone is a suspect, and no one leads the innocent lives they appear to (and you’ll notice the many influences of?Twin Peaks throughout the first two seasons), so keep on watching you must. Dark, atmospheric and with stellar performances from the likes of Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman as Stephen Holder and Sarah Linden (one of the best on-screen duos ever), this one is gripping and unforgettable.