There are no shortage of original Netflix series to binge this weekend. But which ones are truly worth your time? Here's a personal list of the best of the best for you to check out in May. If you're looking for a docuseries to watch, those can now be found on our list.
Dear White People
Season 2 premieres May 4th!
Metacritic score: Season 1: 85
Did you ever catch the movie? I thoroughly enjoyed Dear White People when it came out, and was thrilled that the show manages to capture the uniquely powerful and savvy storytelling style of the film. The show focuses on the lives of students of color at a mostly white university. It's thoughtful at a time many of us are looking for thoughtfulness in our media, and it's also really funny.
Lost in Space
I made this argument for The Crown and I'll make it for: it's expensive. You, or your mom, or your third cousin, or your ex is paying for Netflix. So you may as well get your (or their) money's worth by watching the series with the highest production costs. Lost in Space is a reboot of the 1965 TV show about a family of space colonists. It's a fun, easy watch perfect for lazy summer days. And honestly, it's nice to see sci-fi series get the production budgets they deserve. (I'm still not going to recommend Altered Carbon. Fight me.)
Netflix has no shortage of stand up comedy specials, and sometimes it's overwhelming to try and choose one to watch. Cue "The Standups," which are tight half an hour episodes focusing on up and coming comics. It's a low commitment way to find some new comics you might enjoy, and the perfect length if you're looking for something fun and quick to watch that isn't another sitcom rerun. (No judgements. I'm sure I'll be starting my dozenth Parks and Recreation rewatch any day now.)
On My Block
This is not just another coming of age show for teenagers. Okay, well actually it is. But you need to be watching it anyway! The show follows four close friends living in Los Angeles and it's gripping. The kids are lovable and relatable, and I'm predicting these young actors will start popping up everywhere. Plus it's refreshing to see "On My Block" tackle adolescence from a seldom seen perspective.
Marvel's Jessica Jones
Netflix has its work cut out, trying to make small-potato TV shows that match the behemoth that is the. With only one exception, they've done an arguably better job than network television. If you're looking to start with a Marvel show, is probably your best bet. The first season villain is straightforward, and Jessica Jones is probably the most accessible of the TV superheroes (badass leather jacket and all).
Maybe it's because I'm a somewhat dysfunctional single millennial, but lately I've been worried that love is actually more challenging than Disney movies initially led me to believe. Which is probably why I found both seasons of Love so completely enjoyable. Love focuses on the budding relationship between Gus and Mickey. There's nothing showy about it -- the real razzle-dazzle comes from a sharp, hilarious script.
You're probably wondering if a reboot of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, almost 15 years after the original show aired, would even work. Well, I have some fantastic news for you: It does. The new Queer Eye may be a makeover reality show, but it tackles a number of challenging social issues with thoughtfulness and sincerity. As a heartless robot person who almost never cries, it was an unexpected surprise that I was practically in tears nearly every episode. I can only hope this delightful show gets renewed for a second season.
She's Gotta Have It
Metacritic score: 77
If you haven't seen Spike Lee's 1986 film She's Gotta Have It, you can catch that on Netflix first. Then you can jump right into his TV adaptation for Netflix that Lee created and directed. "She's Gotta Have It" dives deeper into the themes of the original film, following the iconic Nola Darling as she navigates dating three men simultaneously, without letting them define her. It continues to push the narrative on female independence, polyamory and bisexuality, while giving a powerful voice to women of color. Not to mention that the show is beautifully made, acted and scored.
Metacritic score: 61
You've probably heard someone describe Netflix's Dark as a German Stranger Things. But I think that's underselling this eerie sci-fi thriller about time travel. Here is how I assume Dark came to fruition: Someone was watching Back to the Future and said, "OK, but what if this movie was a TV show made by Germans?" And a friend responded, "Oh man, that show would be dark." In all honesty, this show is so gripping that when I realized I was only four episodes in at midnight, I seriously considered staying up until five in the morning to finish it straight through. Just don't forget to turn off the English dubbing; the performances are worth having to read subtitles.
Continuations of series that previously aired on another network exist on a spectrum ranging from, "Why would you ever bring this back?" to, "Rejoice, our prayers have been answered!" Black Mirror's third and fourth seasons on Netflix makes a solid case for letting continuations continue. The sci-fi anthology series tapped into our deepest fears of the future and technology. Since each episode stands alone, at least give San Junipero an hour of your time; it won two Emmys.
Metacritic score: Season 1: 80
Oh hello, Big Mouth. Take a walk down memory lane into Nick Kroll's childhood, and prepare to laugh your ass off. This adult animated series is stacked with many of my all-time favorite comedians, including John Mulaney, Jenny Slate, Jason Mantzoukas and Maya Rudolph. Also I'll save you some time: Maurice the Hormone Monster is voiced not by Will Arnett, but Nick Kroll. (A coincidence that should remain between Amy Poehler and her therapist.)
Metacritic score: Season 1: 75
Mockumentaries are my absolute favorite. And while I think we collectively burned out a touch after primetime sitcoms decided to commandeer the genre, it was about time the mocuseries got back to its roots as truly delightful satire. American Vandal knocks it out of the park. The "documentary" investigates a high-school prank in which 27 cars in a faculty parking lot have penises spray painted on them. It's clever in unexpected ways, and it captures high school in a way that's supremely relatable.
Metacritic score: Season 1: 78
Big fan of true crime? This new offering from Netflix will probably be right up your alley. Mindhunter centers around two FBI agents in 1977 interviewing serial killers. If you're mildly obsessed with psychopaths, it's a pretty fascinating look at the early days of criminal profiling. Even though Mindhunter benefits from the strong visual stylings of David Fincher (who executive produced the show and directed four of its episodes), you could honestly just throw this on in the background while you cook dinner.
Metacritic score: Season 1: 72
The great thing about an anthology drama series like Easy is that they're so easy to watch. So much so, you don't need to actually add Easy to your Netflix watch list. Statistically, if you hang out with a group of three or more millennials for more than an hour, Easy will inevitably end up on the television in the background. Easy is well written, well executed and thoughtful. Enjoy any of the eight episodes as they come your way.
Metacritic score: Season 1: 81
Are you ready for the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling? I was skeptical at first (nostalgia is a slippery slope), but I thoroughly loved this 1980s women's wrestling throwback. While the dramatic side of the show throws weaker punches, the comedic campy side is a total knockout. Alison Brie and Betty Gilpin have the perfect frenemy dynamic. In fact, the elements ofthat work really highlight why wrestling in general makes for such captivating entertainment.
Look, if you didn't watch this one last summer like the rest of us, stop procrastinating. You're special. You're unique. You deserve to havein your life. This sci-fi fantastical horror 80s-nostalgia throwback is probably the most addictive offering on Netflix. I'm not going to spend any longer trying to convince you to watch it, because it should already be playing on your TV right now. Go!