I noticed this week that some great new releases landed on Netflix and as I flicked through them, there were lot of squeals of ‘ooo can’t wait to watch that,’ or ‘stick that on the list!’
I haven’t been watching a lot of TV lately – our daughter has – she watches it every morning if we’re on our down days and don’t need to be out the door, but I expect over the next few weeks, there may be more opportunities, as our new little arrival is due, and I have visions of me spending long hours in front of the TV feeding baby. I hope anyway!
I have however managed to sneak in a few programmes and movies and in this post, I pick out the best of what we watched towards the end of 2016 and choose what we’ll be watching next. Here’s my top ten Netflix recommendations for 2017.
Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, and more wows. There aren’t enough wows. I think this box set was my highlight of 2016. I’m still thinking about it – I still think I’m in the middle of watching it, like a dream, and then I wake up and realise that I’ve already watched every episode (there’s ten) and there are no more until the end of this year at least. Here’s what I loved about The Crown. Everything. Just everything. The acting, the parts they played, the characters, the script, the setting, the extravagance, the cinematography, the historical references, the fact that himself can also watch it and enjoy it – he hasn’t mind, but maybe I’ll get him to watch it and then I can REWATCH it, yay! I’m a fan of historical stuff and this is superb. Each episode is interweaved with true stories and events, most of which I’d no idea about. You’ll also learn a ton about the royal family, how it all works, what a strong character the Queen is and why she came to be that way.
Peaky Blinders Season 4
This whole series has been a major hit and I’m looking forward to finding out why. Cillian Murphy is a fine actor and usually makes really good and diverse choices in what he works on. I’ve heard the script is great and the fashion to die for and because it’s historical – well – right up my street. Being honest, there’s one thing that’s been putting me off so far, ok two things. The first is that it seems quite dark. And gloomy. And sometimes in the winter, I can’t be dealing with that. The other is that I’ve heard it’s violent and being preggers, I DEFO can’t be dealing with that. Maybe comment and tell me I’m wrong, but I’ll still be watching at some stage. It sounds too good not to. You can watch Season 3 on Netflix and Season 4 is expected to land towards the end of 2017.
Better Call Saul Season 3
If you watched Breaking Bad – and if you didn’t then, I’m unsure if you can even be classed as a modern human being (!) – you’ll have noticed a rather flamboyant character called Saul Goodman. (It’s all good man – do you know how long it took me to get that?!) His character was so good that they gave him his own show and Season 3 will land on Netflix April . The series is not what you might expect. There’s a lot more serious moments to the plot and story line, we learn all about the background to Saul Goodman and we come to see him as a very caring, misunderstood and hard done by individual. So far up to series two, he has yet to become the character we know and loved on Breaking Bad but I’m enjoying the Better Call Saul series, for its sharp plot twists, moments of humour and all round good TV.
This was my favourite documentary I watched in 2016 and if you haven’t seen it yet, you really need to put it on your watchlist for 2017. It follows the long and drawn out saga of Amanda Knox and the murder case she found herself involved in after the brutal death of Meredith Kercher in Italy in 2007 and is told through a series of interviews including with Amanda herself who narrates the story and gives her take on what happened. It’s an eye-opening body of work, that leaves you questioning your own sense of judgement and in particular the world of tabloid journalism and how it can sweep the whole community at large along with it, in whatever take it decides on. There’s one journalist who appears throughout, Nick Pisa, who epitomises everything that is wrong with modern sensationalist media and without ruining the documentary for you – as you really should go into it with an open mind, he leaves you with a really sick feeling in your stomach. Upsetting, hard-hitting and stays with you. We should all be careful in the media we consume and the stories we believe.
Audrie & Daisy
I don’t know much about this documentary but have heard really good reports on it. It’s based on the rape cases of two teenage girls in the US who were then subjected to cyberbullying. It sounds like it may be in the same vein of the award winning book ‘Asking for It’ by Louise O’Neill. I’m half afraid to watch it to be honest – for fear for my own daughter and for society in general. Sad face.
The Big Short
This is a fabulous movie that captures some of the reasons behind the recent economic crash, how the whole housing market and economy was built on a stack of cards and why ordinary, hard working people across the US (and in turn Ireland) found themselves being thrown from their homes due to small circle of corrupt bankers and fund managers. The script is really snappy and the acting superb. You’ll love Christian Bale and Ryan Gosling and the parts they play. You’ll also understand a little more of the economics and history behind the recession. If I’m honest – some of it still went over my head, but it didn’t take away the movie for me – it just left me sitting up and listening even more intently.
The Theory of Everything
Last year was a great year for Eddie Redmayne and his performance in this film based on Stephen Hawking’s life earned him an Oscar. It’s just been added to Netflix, so I’ll be settling down with a nice cup of tea soon to watch and learn. I love finding out about people’s lives. I went through a whole phase for years where I read nothing but biographies or autobiographies and it’s generally what I’ll watch on TV too. I love to find out makes people tick and why they become the characters they are. I wonder if I’ll find this story upsetting or uplifting though, considering the illness involved.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople
This was a random movie we watched due its really high star rating IMDB. It’s a quirky, out there, adventure film that follows a foster kid who lands in the middle of the New Zealand outback to be fostered by a couple who can’t have children of their own. The relationship that develops between foster Dad, played by Sam Neill and the boy is the crux of the movie. We really enjoyed it and it can be enjoyed by all the family – one to watch with pre-teeners say. If you enjoyed Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind for example, you’ll love this.
It might be a while before I watch this as I want to read the book first – I prefer not to know where the story is going, or having characters pictured in my mind – I like the author to do that for me first (are you like that?!) and I have bought the book so hopefully I’ll get to it soon. I love the look of the movie, the fact that it’s partly set in Wexford and that Saoirse Ronan stars. Another great one on the list Netflix, yay!
The King’s Speech
Sticking with the historical, this is one of my favourite movies ever. If you haven’t seen it yet, you really need to pop it on your watchlist. It follows the story of the current Queen Elizabeth’s father George, who is thrown expectantly into the role of King and who suffers a serious stammer that leaves him unable to speak publicly and crippled with self-doubt and anxiety. The movie follows his attempts to overcome this. You’ll find some fine acting from Colin Firth as the King, Helena Bonham Carter as his wife and if you’re pining for The Crown like me, this is the best antidote you’ll find. My firm favourite.
What’s on your Netflix watchlist this year? Will you be checking out of the above? I’d love to hear from you. I’m a member of the Netflix Stream Team and receive a free subscription in return for honest reviews.