There is a surplus of content on digital entertainment platforms like Netflix, Hotstar, and Amazon Prime Video. Before these, we had the problem of not having enough content to watch. Now, we have too much content to watch. It often boggles the mind. Television as a medium may have become the better place to watch stuff (as compared to cinema), but there is still a lot of poor quality shows that dot the small-screen landscape.
To avoid watching bad stuff, what most of us do is google something like “Top TV shows to watch on Netflix”. While it does serve the purpose, we inevitably end up missing comparatively lesser-known shows that are as good. Here is a list of five such TV shows that deserve our attention. These are taken from all the three popular digital entertainment platforms that are available in India.
1. The Good Place (Netflix): This NBC show, whose first season is available on Netflix, is about a woman, Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell), who finds herself in The Good Place in her afterlife. The Good Place is where good people go after they die. Oh, but it is only her who knows that she may not be so good after all. To remain in the place, which is a community of scores of people, she hides her true identity, which is that of a selfish, uncaring and rude loner. The show is cleverly written and does not have the dreaded laugh track. The humour is amazingly subtle, and the performances are really good. If you are not watching The Good Place, you are missing out on a lot.
2. The Deuce (Hotstar): Helmed by The Wire creator and his collaborator George Pelecanos, The Deuce has the same immaculate attention to detail that categorised The Wire. Although the subject is different (birth of the porn industry as opposed to the drug trade), The Deuce is also holistic in the sense that its narrative encompasses everybody on the spectrum.
3. Black Lightning (Netflix): The CW series Black Lightning is based on the DC superhero of the same name. Jefferson Pierce dons the identity of a superhero Black Lightning to fight crime in his neighbourhood. This localised setting – not a city, not a town, but just a neighbourhood – gives the show a more immediate feel.
4. Goliath (Amazon Prime Video): Remember the deadly hitman Lorne Malvo from Fargo’s season 1? The guy, Billy Bob Thornton, plays a world-weary lawyer in this brilliant series.
5. Godless (Netflix): I have never been much of a Western fan. That is not to say I do not like Western movies or shows if they are well-made – I certainly do. But I don’t like Western films or shows just because they are Western movies or shows. Godless is riveting television. All the staples of Western are there, but there is also taut pace, plotting, and memorable performances.