For the weekend of May 5, Streamline recommends "Dear White People" in the top Netflix spot for the first time. It's a relief that a great show has finally come along to unseat "Collateral" from its eight-week-long perch in the top spot.
What's New This Week
There's actually two good to great shows this week.
The great show is the aforementioned "Dear White People." This is the second season, but the show is calling it "Volume 2″ if you want to be slightly more accurate.
I loved the first season of this show and the second one doesn't disappoint. You have to ignore that the show is geared towards a younger audience, so broad strokes of heavy-handed writing are sometimes deployed to get points across very clearly. But for the most part, the characters are very believable while the arguments being made are nuanced and poignant.
Especially in this Donald Trump era, it's rejuvenating to watch a show that explicitly focuses on bridging divides and the behind-the-scenes struggles of what it means to try and do that.
Check it out.
"The Rain," Season 1, also joins. This is another show where it's a bit unclear whether this is for young adults or adult adults. Judging by the response the promotional rollout for this show has received, this might be one of the more popular shows Netflix releases this month, even as a Danish import with subtitles.
Honestly, I wanted to like this sci-fi thriller about a virus wiping out society more than I did. "The Rain" can be ridiculous as the writing is super cringeworthy. It's still a fun show, thoug, and it's interesting to watch how quickly the plot moves. It's one of those storylines where the plot hinges on characters doing the dumbest things imaginable and you're supposed to just accept that.
That said, this has also gotten decent reviews, somehow. So I'm including the show pretty high in the rankings because you still might like this. Just know that I didn't.
Top 5 Netflix News Items From This Week
1. Mitch Hurwitz, creator of "Arrested Development," re-edited the polarizing fourth season of that show to look more like the original three. It's so good. That fourth season had originally thrown out the show's narrative formula to focus on a single character each episode with confusing timelines. I still loved that fourth season, but could understand why fans were disappointed. But now, basically half a decade later, that season is "fixed," and you should definitely check it out again.
2. Netflix actually had a few surprise announcements this week (including the "AD" news). The popular but controversial show, "13 Reasons Why," will return May 18 for its second season. And Michael C. Hall will star in a show called "Safe" that will debut May 10. It will be a jam-packed month for new shows.
3. Claire Foy officially got more money for her work on "The Crown" to rectify the pay disparity she had with Matt Smith on the show. Smith had been paid more despite Foy playing the title character. She received a check for $275,000.
4. CEO Reed Hastings announced he's going to try to get in fewer fights. Specifically, he said he'll try to avoid a public spat like he had with the Cannes Film Festival a few weeks ago after the festival disqualified the service's projects from competition. Hastings said that Netflix will no longer try to disrupt the theater business and just put their movies on the service.
5. And "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" will end. But not until the first half of its upcoming Season 4 debuts. And then the second half. And then maybe a movie too. Still a lot more Kimmy Schmidt to come.
Random Netflix Tweet
The Netflix Twitter account is one of those try-hard media brands that likes to make jokes. Streamline will present one a week without comment.
One Weird Thing
People on Twitter are claiming they want to have sex with the robot from "Lost in Space." Netflix responded on Twitter to say "excuse me" and "you've really upset me." Fun.
Streamline includes related reading below the show recommendations, as well as a list of other shows and movies joining the service this week.
Note: This list only includes shows that debuted their most recent episode less than a year ago. Much like the main list, it prioritizes newness.
The 5-word plot: College students struggle with racism.
Pro: One of the most accurate portrayals of contemporary young adult life. Also has much to say about the resurgence of vocalized racism in America and does so with nuance.Con: Directing choices don't always allow the characters to be believable, but this heavy-handedness still kind of helps emphasize important points.
The 5-word plot: Crime thriller in contemporary London.
Pro: It's a compelling watch that stays fun with a constant sense of humor. At just a few episodes, "Collateral" resembles one long movie.Con: At times it certainly feels like yet another crime thriller.
The 5-word plot: Survivors rebuild after deadly virus.
Pro: It's a pretty decent virus-genre storyline, which tends to be a crowd-pleaser. The pace of plot is extremely quick.Con: This is pretty melodramatic and the dialogue can be cringeworthy. It's also one of those infuriating storylines where characters act like idiots and cause their own trouble.
The 5-word plot: Spooky things happen to woman.
Pro: There are solidly presented mysteries in the show that make the episodes easy to binge. It's truly scary.Con: The show is definitely too ridiculous and over the top at times.
The 5-word plot: Couple sometimes loves each other.
Pro: The show depicts relationships in a generally more realistic, mundane way that's strangely compelling.Con: Because not much happens plot-wise, the show occasionally forces characters to act irrationally, which is frustrating to watch.
The 5-word plot: Family experiences myriad terrible things.
Pro: Creative storytelling and many legitimately funny moments despite being geared to a younger audience. The costuming alone makes it worth checking out.Con: Super quirk doesn't seem to be the zeitgeist now after years of being a thing. This show can be exhausting.
The 5-word plot: Space colonists crash onto planet.
Pro: It looks amazing. The special effects are thrilling and beautiful.Con: The storyline takes predictable turns. Somehow, despite all the inherent action and strangeness of the new world presented on screen, this is really boring.
The 5-word plot: Woman tries to become doctor.
Pro: The costuming is great and the late 19th-century Berlin setting is inherently compelling. The lead actress also won a major acting award in Germany for her performance.Con: It can get a bit too soapy, but whether that's truly a bad thing is subjective.
And here are the shows and movies arriving on Netflix through the rest of this week:
- "Faces Places"
- "Hari Kondabolu: Warn Your Relatives" (Netflix Original)
- "Dirty Girl"
- "Safe" (Season 1, Netflix Original)
- "Bill Nye Saves the World" (Season 3, Netflix Original)
- "Evil Genius: the True Story of America's Most Diabolical Bank Heist" (Netflix Original)
- "Spirit Riding Free" (Season 5, Netflix Original)
- "The Kissing Booth" (Netflix Film)
- "The Who Was? Show" (Season 1, Netflix Original)