In need of good television and entertainment while you’re stuck at home during this global pandemic? Well, look no further. Here, Artsweek has curated our personal picks for the best “new” shows currently streaming on Netflix, which are guaranteed to keep your mind off of all the chaos going on in the world right now.
On My Block
“On My Block” revolves around a foursome of lifelong teenage friends who are finding themselves on their high school journey — despite the many obstacles and pain they face. The show follows characters Monse (Sierra Capri), Ruby (Jason Genao), Jamal (Brett Gray) and Cesar (Diego Tinoco), who confront very serious coming-of-age challenges, often addressing them in comedic ways. The show provides a refreshing story with a diverse cast and realistic plot but still provides constant drama, incorporates themes of love and tests the boundaries of friendships. I binged the first two seasons this past summer and am currently working on finishing season three — which was just released around a week ago.
I Am Not Okay With This
Starring “It” kids Sophia Lillis and Wyatt Oleff, “I Am Not Okay With This” stands as a delightful blend of several cult favorites like “Carrie” and “Stranger Things,” to name a few. This show follows teen Sydney (Lillis) as she struggles to navigate the recent loss of her father, and even more recently, the discovery of her dangerous yet exciting telekinetic powers. Along the way, Syd faces issues like a fragmented relationship with her mother, a feeling of alienation from her peers and a journey to understand what her sexuality truly is. Beware, though: This show has just put out its first season comprised of seven episodes, which I binged in one sitting, and the ending is bound to leave you not only with an agape mouth but also with a hunger for more episodes.
“Spinning Out” is a show I was skeptical of at first because it follows a very familiar and banal storyline — the high-strung athlete struggling to keep their life together in an effort to have a balanced life. However, “Spinning Out” has quickly become a fan favorite, following a figure skating Olympic hopeful who navigates family, love and, more importantly, her mental health, as her competitive drive almost breaks her. I recommend this show because it develops an interesting backstory of figure skater Kat Baker (Kaya Scodelario) while addressing the importance of athletes’ struggles with mental health. While the story begins similarly to many other storylines, with Kat’s injury sparking a break that later introduces her to a new opportunity in figure skating, it raises many real-world issues that not only athletes face but young adults in general.
“Soundtrack” is not only a show for every music and dance-loving person out there but is also for those looking for a drama similar to “This Is Us” that seamlessly connects love stories between a group of people living in Los Angeles. While the song choices are questionable at times, the connection of the music to the emotional scenes and accompanying choreography enhance the show. It allows viewers to relate to personal “soundtracks” that help us get through various moments in our lives. The story primarily follows Nellie (Callie Hernandez) and Sam’s (Paul James) enticing love story, with other notable performances from Jenna Dewan and Christina Milian. The primary aspects that kept me watching were the thorough arc development of all the characters and my investment in the highs and lows of their shaky relationships.
Love Is Blind
If your guilty pleasure is any kind of reality TV dating show (like me), “Love Is Blind” is the show for you. The show ironically presents the term “blind dating” in a whole new realistic light, as 30 single people try to fall in love with one another without ever meeting face-to-face (perfect for quarantining!). In this way, the show freshly tries to allow relationships to be based purely on emotional connection instead of physical attraction. The show follows a speed-date format, where men can propose at any point they decide to and thereafter meet their partner in person. While I personally think it’s outrageous to be engaged to someone you’ve never met face-to-face, the show presents an entertaining twist and answers the question on all of our minds: “Is love really blind?”
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Overall, if you’re a fan of “Riverdale,” or dark dramas and horror in general, “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” is an adaptation worth watching. The dark coming-of-age show is a restructured story based on “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” that follows Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka) in her duality as a half-witch, half-mortal standing against various supernatural forces. The rampant inclusion of dark humor, along with Shipka’s charming portrayal of Sabrina, are co-dependently what make the show intoxicating. The dynamic love triangle between Sabrina, Harvey (Ross Lynch) and Nick (Gavin Leatherwood) also helps to strengthen the series. Personally, I fervently enjoy the plotlines and pace of “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” more than those of “Riverdale.”
Although only two seasons in, “You” has quickly become a fan favorite. While I’m sure everyone and their mother have seen “You” by now, here is a final nudge to any of those who have not yet experienced the allure and adventure of Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgely). This show is a first-person account of Joe as he falls in love with beautiful women, places himself as a “savior” figure and quickly finds himself committing a plethora of crimes, all in the name of “love.” While the first season stands as more of a twisted and dark love story, the second season quickly transitions into more of a thriller, making it difficult not to binge the series in a couple of sittings.
Kristina Valencia contributed to the “I Am Not Okay With This” and “You” sections of this article.