Guess what I have been up to in the first half of the first month of the new year? Catching up on shows that no one talked about when they released but have been picking up nominations and trophies at award shows and also very high ratings by foreign critics. And that made me draw up this list of the most overlooked shows online right now. These are largely shows which came out last year and many of these can be binged in one day, even in 3-4 hours. So, before the new seasons of The Game of Thrones and Stranger Things start dropping on to your screens, you might want to check these out…
A Very English Scandal
Ben Whishaw picked up the Best Supporting Actor trophy at the Golden Globes for this one the other night. All of three episodes, this miniseries stars Hugh Grant as a British Member of Parliament in the 1960s, whose relationship with a man, played by Whishaw, takes a criminal turn when the ex-lover wants to make their affair public. Riveting performances by the two men make this shocking political scandal unputdownable.
You’ll watch anything with Maya Rudolph in it, right? Wrong, because Forever seems to have been completely overlooked. Even though it’s all of eight episodes of 30 minutes each. Rudolph plays one half of a suburban couple whose mundane marital life is suddenly thrown upside down on a ski trip. What transpires next is a high-concept drama smartly written and put together. And yes, Rudolph is amazing!
One would imagine that anything by Jim Carrey would be lapped up instantly. But gone are those days and despite the good reviews, Kidding has not really been on everyone’s watchlist. Back with his Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind director Michel Gondry, Carrey plays the sad clown in children’s TV show host Jeff Pickles, who is struggling with the loss of his son. It’s not an easy watch but Carey is in top form and so is the rest of the incredible cast, comprising Catherine Keener and Frank Langella.
The End of the F***ing World
I just feel that not enough people have seen this wonder on Netflix. Two British teens run away from their homes and fall in love but the familiarity ends there. One of them is an aspiring serial killer and wants to kill the other while she has her own complex benchmarks of love, sex and death. Alex Lawther and Jessica Burden are terrific as James and Alyssa with quite a magnetic chemistry between them in this show celebrating the infectious nihilism of growing up.
Streaming On: Netflix
When it had just dropped on Netflix, it was like the show you use as a passcode to the secret cool club in town but then somehow the excitement around Dark fizzled out. Maybe because it was in German, maybe because it was a touch too complicated with three parallel timelines. Whatever be the case, if you manage to invest your time and interest in the deep dark secrets of the troubled town at the centre of Dark, the payoff at the end is going to be totally worth it.
Streaming On: Netflix
A criminal psychologist, a police department secretary and a newspaper illustrator get together to catch a serial killer preying on young boys. Sounds like something David Fincher would make? You bet! The Alienist is as much Mindhunter as it is Zodiac, just that everything’s happening in 1890s New York. The cast is immaculate, especially Daniel Bruhl of Inglourious Basterds fame, who was nominated at the Globes.
When their mother dies, two estranged sisters come together and find out that she was married to another woman and that the family-owned bar now belongs to three of them. Although the series ticks all the socially aware boxes including but not limited to ethnic identity and sexuality, it is never in your face. The writing is sharp and fun with breakthrough performances by the two lead actors, Melissa Barrera and Mishel Prada.
Streaming On: Sony Liv
It’s cringeworthy, yes, but this is also British comedy 2.0. Helmed by – and also starring – comedian actor Julia Davis, Sally4Ever is about Catherine Shepherd’s bisexual Sally who is just about to marry her longtime boyfriend when she bumps into Emma and things are never the same again. Grotesque grossed-out comedy that will have you rolling on your bed laughing, this is strictly for mature audiences. Well, never mind.