In the first three months of lockdown, Netflix Australia gained one million new subscribers. It’s by far the country’s most watched streaming service, clocking at least 13.5 million subscribers at last count.
That means that more than half of the entire population of Australia are wasting countless hours scrolling aimlessly through a sea of unfamiliar titles. If you listen closely enough, you can hear their collective chorus of despair as they ponder, ‘What should we watch?’
Here are eight very good suggestions.
The Queen’s Gambit
Don’t know anything about chess? Doesn’t matter. After bingeing seven episodes of The Queen’s Gambit, you’ll be hallucinating your own checkerboard on the bedroom ceiling and manically bidding on vintage copies of Chess Life on eBay. Based on Walter Tevis’ novel of the same name, this unexpectedly huge hit of a show follows child chess prodigy Beth Harmon all the way from her early years in an orphanage to the biggest tournaments in the world. Exquisitely styled, perfectly cast, and incredibly addictive, this one well and truly lives up to the hype.
If you’re looking for a true crime fix, Netflix just dropped this gripping documentary series examining the wrongful conviction of Sean Ellis in 1993. Ellis was charged as a teenager for the brutal murder of a Boston police officer, but he always maintained (and fought for) his innocence. Over eight episodes, Trial 4 unpeels layer upon layer of police corruption that’ll leave you shaking your head in disbelief.
Everyone loves a good whodunit, and this Netflix reboot of the iconic American cable television show offers plenty of them. After dropping its first season of unsolved criminal cases earlier this year, the powers that be have just released a new slew of episodes for season 2. Thanks to armchair detectives all over the world, the FBI have been inundated with tips for many of the cases highlighted on the show. Who knows, maybe you’ve seen Xavier DuPont De Ligonnès at Woolies and didn’t even realise? Only one way to find out.
My Octopus Teacher
Okay, so the name’s a little weird. Which is fine, because so is the premise of this documentary. It finds filmmaker Craig Foster at an interesting point in his life—at a fork in the road, if you will. Essentially, he decides to give up all his worldly pursuits and spend a year under the sea. It’s here that he meets, befriends, and ultimately ends up falling in love with a wild common octopus. See, told you it was weird. But it’s also so unlike anything you’ve ever seen before that you’re completely sucked in. Also, just a friendly warning: you’ll never want to eat calamari again.
Based off the long running and wildly popular music podcast created by Hrishikesh Hirway, Netflix has brought four songwriting stories to life in this first drop of episodes. The best episode (by far) is the one that unpacks R.E.M’s seminal hit, ‘Losing My Religion.’ If you aren’t a fan of the band, you’ll still find the story interesting, and if you are a fan—get comfy, you’re in for a real treat.
Suburra: Blood on Rome
The first few minutes of the first episode of this Italian crime drama are pretty full on, but it’s pretty smooth sailing after that. Just kidding, there’s plenty more where that came from. Inspired by the real life events of the Mafia Capitale investigation in Rome, this three season series delves into the deep underworld of organised crime, politics, real estate, and the Catholic Church. Boasting a rare 100% rotten tomatoes rating, it’s the first Italian-language original television series produced for Netflix.
Chef’s Table: BBQ
Though all four mouth-watering episodes of this special Chef’s Table series are worthy of your drool, it’s the second episode that really stands out. That’s because it profiles the founder and head chef at one of Sydney’s most incredible restaurants—Lennox Hastie of Firedoor in Surry Hills. If you’ve eaten there, you know how incredible the whole experience is, but this documentary shows just how much hard work and determination went into his endeavour. If you haven’t eaten there, my condolences. Since this ep aired last month, tables are booked until well into 2021.
The Playbook: A Coach’s Rules for Life
Thanks to social media, we know that LeBron eats tacos on a Tuesday, and Mario Balotelli never skips leg day. We know almost everything about the lives of our favourite athletes—but what about their coaches? This limited docu-series gives some of the most legendary coaches in the world the chance to tell their stories, and they are fascinating. None more so than NBA coach Doc Rivers, who also played in the league when he was younger before bestowing the power of ‘Ubuntu’ upon the Celtics. There’re also incredible insights from Serena Williams’ mentor Patrick Mouratoglou, women’s U.S. national soccer coach Jill Ellis, and others. If you’ve let your workout routine slip lately and need a bit of a pep talk, this series is for you.