It’s a new year and with it comes the usual plethora of must-watch lists – the ones that millennials and generations X and Z pool together and that get all of us excited about our next marathon Netflix session. You know who I’m talking about. The friends you bump into in the middle of the day, and the only small talk they can think of is: what shows are you binge watching? Have you seen the new season of Orange is the New Black? Can you believe what happened on Breaking Bad last night?
There’s a conversational divide to this kind of small talk: People are either abreast of the week’s episodes and can’t say enough, or they are so far behind that they decline all conversation regarding popular new shows. There’s a generational divide, too. These conversations usually happen among younger viewers. In an effort to span that latter chasm, I have compiled a list of binge-worthy shows that everyone, no matter the age, should watch.
Grace and Frankie is a hilariously funny comedy starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as they learn to lean on each other for support during their most trying times. After finding out their husbands are in love with each other and want to get married, Grace and Frankie have to figure out how to live life as newly single elderly women. It’s funny, it’s heartfelt, and even a little raunchy at times, but it tackles some very interesting topics, like sex and dating for older women. Older actors, younger themes. The divide is crossed nicely with vintage acting skills addressing contemporary themes. At an appearance at the recent NATPE convention in Miami, Fonda proved that she’s as quick at wit in person as she is on the small screen.
Black Mirror is a Netflix original sci-fi anthology series that brings back the nostalgia of Twilight Zone. Baby Boomers will like the throwback concept; millenials will like the cutting-edge content. The show takes viewers through journeys set in the alternative present and future. It’s usually the cause of an exciting binge-watching conversation about which modern technological device scares us the most. Black Mirror takes us into an environment where new technology is encouraged, but the consequences are unforeseeable. And any generation can relate to that.
In the modern era of divisive racial relations in the U.S., Dear White People is a breath of fresh air. The show follows a group of black students finding their place at their predominantly white Ivy League School, which believes they are farther along on their post-racial journey than they think. Following different characters with each episode, viewers really get to delve deeply into each character’s subconscious, which consequently sheds light on so many of America’s racial issues. It’s an easy and entertaining binge watch that will nevertheless make viewers of any age – and any ethnicity – think about complex social issues.
The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, an Amazon Prime Original, takes its viewers back to the 1950’s on the Upper West Side of Manhattan where we watch Mrs. Maisel, an upper-class Jewish housewife, explore her newfound talent as a stand-up comedian. In an era when women were preferred to be seen and not heard, Mrs. Maisel is a clear exception. She’s witty, talented and not afraid to get after what she wants, even if she can’t take her loved ones with her. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel challenges the patriarchal norms of the ’50s and is a great way to spend a Sunday night. This one looks at millennial issues in the context of an earlier generation. Nice twist.