As much as it is important to process the ever-changing pandemic reality we live in, sometimes we need to take a breather. Escapism often denotes negative connotations, but given how unprecedented these times are, I don’t think it hurts to not think about the virus once in a while (in a socially responsible way of staying at home of course).
In this week’s Netflix Mondays, I bring you six shows that will fully envelop your sensory receptors and transport you to an alternative reality with rich plotlines and beautiful cinematography. These recommended shows allow us to wistfully escape during this extended Circuit Breaker, because trying to have some semblance of control during this time is akin to throwing a needle in a haystack—nearly impossible.
Set in Hollywood post World War II, Hollywood follows a group of creatives, a director, a screenwriter, and actors in taking their shot in the Golden Age of Hollywood. Admittedly a more idealistic fictional tale of Hollywood in the 1940s, this show will captivate you with its incredible storyline and beautiful cinematography.
Get lost in Jack and Rock’s conquest of being movie stars and feel Archie’s struggle as he aspires to live his truth as a black gay screenwriter. This show has not only provided me with an escape but also gave me the emotional release that I crave with the Oscar scenes in the last few episodes of this mini-series.
Who should watch it: If you’re a romantic for all things old-school and have a curiosity of how the studio system operated in the Golden Age of Hollywood.
Hollywood | Watch Here
Based in New York, Unorthodox is loosely based on Deborah Feldman’s autobiography, Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots. The premise of the show revolves around Esty and her escape from an arranged marriage amidst an ultra-Orthodox community in Brooklyn.
Root for Etsy as she escapes Brooklyn and travels to Berlin in search of her estranged mother and experience a secular life. Be amazed by the fact that such communities and way of life exist in our current reality. Feel Etsy’s joy and trepidation as she goes through life-changing experiences that would be considered normal for us.
Who should watch it: If you’re curious how a Yiddish-English-German show would work and how scary it is to be forced to live a life that you do not desire.
Unorthodox | Watch Here
If you’re one to enjoy improvised comedy, then I’m confident you’ll love Middleditch & Schwartz’s comedy specials. Have multiple deep-bellied laughs as the duo take the audience’s stories and use them as prompts for their shows.
Revel in their on-the-spot realities and be impressed by their quick thinking. The ridiculousness of each special will genuinely make you forget what’s around you, almost transporting you to the theatre where they first recorded their live shows.
Who should watch it: If you want to switch off entirely and enjoy a terrific comedy show.
Middleditch & Schwartz, Completely Improvised Comedy Specials | Watch Here
If you’re not already a fan, our favourite One-Punch Man, Saitama, is available with subtitles on our favourite streaming platform. If you’re unfamiliar, One Punch Man is an anime staring Saitama and his journey of defeating all sorts of villains and monsters.
The beauty of this anime lies in its deadpan humour. From the start, audiences already know that One Punch Man is an undefeated superhero. Yet, every episode leaves viewers at the edge of their seats, wondering if our bald superhero will one day be defeated.
As someone who does not generally gravitate to anime, One Punch Man stands out for me for its narrative plotline and moral takeaways.
Who should watch it: If you’re looking for something different and am a lover of well-executed deadpan humour.
One Punch Man | Watch Here
A series I will always recommend, Call My Agent! is a French comedy that follows the fictional lives of a talent agency and the artists that they represent. If you enjoy English humour, you’ll definitely appreciate the beauty of French humour.
The endless cursing, plot twists and character developments in this show represent the calibre of French television, proving that humour transcendences language—you don’t need to understand the language or the culture to get the jokes. Call My Agent! is not just about the good laughs. Like any good series on Netflix, it is all-rounded with drama, sex, and emotional troupes.
Who should watch it: If you’re looking for an easy way to appear ‘cultured’ or have a fascination with European humour.
Call My Agent! | Watch Here
As the title suggests, this is an anime about a teenager, Soma Yukihira, and his journey as he enrols in an elite culinary school, Totsuki Saryo Culinary Institute. This institute is no ordinary culinary school for they have food showdowns called shokugeki that not only show off the culinary skills of students but also have high stakes such as students dropping out, should they lose a battle.
The dishes made in this anime leave viewers wishing that they could consume them in real life. The combination of mouth-watering visuals and hyper-sexualised reactions from characters when they have a taste of the meals are hilarious, leaving the audience desiring to recreate the dishes seen on screen.
Who should watch it: If you’re a food lover and would like to indulge in the ridiculous reactions characters have when they taste delicious food—their clothes literally explode off their bodies in a hilarious campy sequence.
Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma | Watch Here