Have you gotten to the end of your Netflix queue? Or need something to do while you avoid studying for that test you’re dreading next week? Not only are these TV shows perfect for you because there’s something for everyone, they are also worth watching because of the types of stories they tell and the different people groups they include: non-binary genders, people of diverse colours, characters with various sexual orientations, and individuals from different parts of the world.
Note: Recommended for audiences aged 14 or older.
Unlike Sense8, The Fosters is a much more family oriented series. If prime-time drama is more your thing, this is a perfect show for you. The Fosters tells the story of a family and their everyday problems but with a twist: this is no normal family. The parents are an interracial lesbian couple (Stef and Lena) who have a mix of both biological, adopted, and foster children.
The Fosters gets to tell stories that aren’t seen in a positive light in most portrayals on TV or film, mostly around those of foster kids and the foster system.
The characters Callie and Jude, who are siblings, start getting fostered at the beginning of the series by Stef and Lena. Such topics as abuse, harassment and identity are explored in the context of a system that reduces foster children to a file.
Also stories about being gay parents, race/racism, connections with biological parents, drug and alcohol addictions, and everyday teenager issues are all shown in a very real light.
Although these may sound like dark themes, and granted they are, the show itself is neither explicit nor harsh. It’s accessible in a family setting, and it tells stories that need to be told.
Note: Recommended for audiences aged 15 or older.
Much described as a combination of Battlestar Galactica and Lost, The 100 gives the “young adult” genre the show is branded with a run for its money. Because it airs on the CW network, the show is marked by an automatic stereotype, and although it definitely starts out very juvenile, giving this post-apocalyptic story a chance is worth a shot.
Following a nuclear apocalypse, the human race moved into a space station until they could return to the radiation soaked surface of Earth. To test if the ground is survivable, the station sends down 100 juvenile, expendable delinquents. After you digest the allusions to Lord of the Flies and similar literary themes, you will agree this is not just your regular fluffy teen show.
The overall topics addressed by the first two released seasons are survival and the blurred lines between what is good and what is evil. Not knowing who is going to be killed off from episode to episode gives audiences a sense of desire to keep watching. The show questions basic human morals and how far humanity can go when one’s life is on the line.
Besides its serious themes, its representation of various people groups on a network television show is commendable. It includes a majority of female leaders, a bisexual main character, large numbers of people of colour, and even a disabled character, all of whom have their own strengths and weaknesses which make them well-rounded and “real” characters.
Maybe this series is proof that the depiction of this new generation of teenagers is heading in the right direction in terms of television content.
How To Get Away With Murder
Note: Recommended for audiences aged 15 or older.
If you’re into crime, mystery, and suspense, How To Get Away with Murder (often abbreviated HTGAWM) will pique your interest.
Annalise Keating (played by Viola Davis) is a criminal law professor and defence lawyer who will send a chill through your bones the moment she starts talking. Together with her law firm and five of her students, she gets tangled up in a murder plot that gets deeper and more twisted with every episode.
It’s fast-paced, intriguing, plot-twisting, and hooks you right when Annalise enters the room. The series is incomparable to any other crime show airing right now, in terms of stories, quality acting, and the plot speed that keeps you wanting more after each episode.
For her performance in the show, Viola Davis won the Emmy Award for Best Actress in a Drama Show this year; she is the first black woman ever to win the award. The character Annalise Keating is a woman who anyone can look at and see power and authority emanating from her.
Besides Keating being an African-American, many of the protagonists in the show are also people of colour.
This is worth the watch for anyone who’s ready for something new to watch.
Note: Recommended for audiences aged 17 or older.
This Netflix original show created by the Wachowski siblings (Terminator, Cloud Atlas, Jupiter Ascending), follows eight characters from around the world, their lives, but also the interconnectedness between them through odd experiences like seeing, feeling emotions, and taking over the actions of each other. From San Francisco to Nairobi to Seoul, these characters’ lives become intertwined, all while dealing with figuring out what is happening and why are they being hunted.
This series has themes and characters and people groups you would rarely see on network television: a diversity of cultures and lifestyles.
Kala is a scientist and devout Hindu in Mumbai who is engaged to a man whose family is an enemy of the temple. Capheus is a Matatu bus driver in Nairobi. Sun, a business executive in Seoul. Nomi, a transgender activist in San Francisco. Will, a Chicago police officer. Wolfgang, a thief and safecracker in Berlin. Lito, a closeted gay actor in Mexico City. And Riley, an Icelandic DJ with a haunted past.
This show has been praised for its portrayal of different cultures and nationalities, its writing, and the talent of the actors as well.
As a Netflix original, it pushes boundaries with nudity, explicit language and sexuality. So, a warning to audiences under the age of 17. This show, although an amazing series and worth a watch, is definitely an R rated recommendation.