40 Best Shows on Netflix Canada Right Now

40 Best Shows on Netflix Canada Right Now

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Notable TV shows on Netflix Canada are not limited to stuff that’s produced by Netflix itself. Luther, Happy Valley and People Just Do Nothing are great examples of this. They’re originally from the BBC, but are available to stream in Canada. Same with Flowers, the incredible yet little-known TV show with Olivia Colman, Outlander, and many other picks from this list of the very best little-binged TV shows on Canadian Netflix.

10. Caliphate

best

8.9

Country

Sweden

Actors

Ala Riani, Albin Grenholm, Aliette Opheim, Amanda Sohrabi

Moods

Binge-Worthy

A Swedish production that went global on Netflix, Caliphate is an addictive thriller about two groups of young people in the Scandinavian country: one already radicalized and fighting in Syria, and the other still in high-school and on the path to radicalization. An anti-terrorism officer with a questionable past is put in contact with a woman who traveled to Syria and wants to return to Sweden. In exchange, this woman offers information about an impending attack in Europe. Caliphate is a fascinating watch! Thrilling, well-acted, and nuanced, it looks past cheap stereotypes to offer genuine insight into the psychology and seduction used for turning young people into terrorists.

9. Sex Education

best

8.9

Country

UK, United Kingdom

Actors

Aimee Lou Wood, Alistair Petrie, Anne-Marie Duff, Asa Butterfield

Moods

Funny, Slice-of-Life

Pressured by the feeling that everyone is having sex except him, Otis (Asa Butterfield), like most teenagers, is very uncomfortable with sex, masturbation, and intimacy in general. In addition to the standard-issue teenage awkwardness, to make things worse, he grows up in a sex-positive household under the watchful eyes of his mother Jean, played by Gillian Anderson, who is a sex therapist. Obviously, the subject is omnipresent as are erotic art, oversized dildos, and coitus-craving couples all over the house. The twist comes when he transforms his tribulations into a business model by teaming up with bad girl Maeve Wiley (Emma Mackey) to counsel his teenage peers on sexual issues of all kinds. As you can imagine, uninitiated teenagers have a lot to offer in that department. Apart from its raunchy premise and explicit images, this is a hilarious, diverse, and warm teen comedy thanks, in particular, to the writing of playwright Laurie Nunn. Lauded by critics for its honesty, this future comedy classic will surely teach you a thing or two about sexuality yourself.

8. 1994

best

9.0

Country

Mexico, N/A

Actors

Carlos Salinas de Gortari, Rafael Sebastián Guillén Vicente

Moods

Docu-series, Instructive, Mini-series

Have you finished Wild Wild Country and are up for another binge-worthy documentary? If so, 1994 might be a compelling option for you to consider. Released on Netflix for the 25th anniversary of the events in 2019, most of the story would be hard to believe if it wasn’t… you know… based on facts and backed up by archival footage and interviews. As it often goes with documentaries, truth is stranger than fiction.

In 1994, the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, also known as the EZLN or the Zapatistas, declared war on the Mexican government. This happened after the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, was signed into law. Incumbent Mexican president Salinas (pictured above) selected prominent reformist presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio to become his heir. Just three months later, Colosio was shot in Tijuana on live television.

1994 is a rich, informative, and fascinating account of this violent and tumultuous year in Mexican history, featuring in-depth interviews with many of those pulling the strings at the time, including former president Salinas. As the people being interviewed point out, understanding the relevance of 1994 in Mexican politics will help you understand the country’s political and economic landscape today.

7. Maid

best

9.0

Country

Canada, United States of America

Actors

Andie MacDowell, Anika Noni Rose, Billy Burke, Margaret Qualley

Moods

Mini-series

This excellent drama miniseries starts in the middle of one night when Alex, a 25-year-old, grabs her daughter and flees her home. She is chased by her abusive boyfriend but doesn’t look back. She has 18 dollars to her name.

The story is based on a real-life memoir called “Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive”, where Alex’s character (based on executive producer Stephanie Land) does everything to get her daughter and herself to a safe environment. She gets a trial at a cleaning job.

Maid does such a good job at portraying the many stresses that Alex goes through: will she have enough gas? Will she find a safe place to sleep? Will she get to the cleaning job on time? And as the series progresses, the questions become different but the stress is the same – except in episode five, in which she cleans a weird house, and then it becomes an actual horror movie.

And on every other aspect, the show delivers. The cast, led by Margaret Qualley and her real-life mother Andie MacDowell, is phenomenal. Each episode is long enough to leave an impact but not too long to be melodramatic. The scenery (set in Washington state but filmed in British Columbia) is gorgeous. It’s such an all-around great show.

6. Dark

best

9.0

Country

Germany, United States of America

Actors

Anatole Taubman, Andreas Pietschmann, Angela Winkler, Anne Ratte-Polle

Moods

Challenging, Dramatic, Gripping

If you liked Netflix’ Stranger Things gloomy suspense, sit tight because there is a lot more of where that came from in Dark. Here is what they have in common: the aesthetic, great music, and they’re both about the disappearance of a child. Other than that, it is very difficult to compare Dark to anything else I’ve seen before.

This German show is about a town with a long and dark history, which is brought to the forefront of the collective conscious when a child goes missing. The plot twists and turns through decades of history – and that’s as much as I will share without ruining the show for you. 

Dark uses beautiful aesthetic, both visually and musically, to be compelling and painfully tension-ridden. 

Season two has more bouncing between timelines and more dark and inexplicable events, as now six people are missing. 

5. Derry Girls

best

9.1

Country

Ireland, UK, United Kingdom

Actors

Dylan Llewellyn, Ian McElhinney, Jamie-Lee O'Donnell, Kathy Kiera Clarke

Moods

Easy, Funny

If you’re looking for a funny yet original sitcom, look no further than Derry Girls. 

It takes place in 1990s Northern Ireland where civil unrest reigns. News of bombings is regular. This is a cause for concern for a lot of people, but for one group of teenage girls life continues as usual. Making fun of the first boy at their all girls school and being embarrassed by crushes are unshakable priorities. 

Derry Girls might have been a good show with just the 90s nostalgia and the political undertone, but the sharp and hilarious writing elevate it to greatness. It is truly one of the best sitcoms ever made. If you liked The End of the F***ing World, you will enjoy Derry Girls. They differ in plot but they both carry similar elements of dark and dry humour. 

Watch out for Sister Michael, she is hilarious. 

4. Pretend it’s a City

best

9.2

Country

United States of America

Actors

Alec Baldwin, Fran Lebowitz, Martin Scorsese, Michael Alexis Palmer

Moods

Funny, Smart

This new seven-part docuseries is directed by Martin Scorsese and features conversations between himself and New York author Fran Lebowitz.

Fran talks about her experience in New York, and she’s hilarious, but no one finds her more so than Scorsese. He spends the show recovering from one laugh only to go into the next long one.

Fran has lived in New York a long time, and people know that so they come up to her to ask her about the city. “If I were a civil war buff, and I saw Abraham Lincoln, I’d think ‘Oh! he was there. Let me ask him.’”. That’s who she is.

3. Lovesick

best

9.4

Country

UK, United Kingdom

Actors

Aimee Parkes, Antonia Thomas, Daniel Ings, Hannah Britland

Moods

Binge-Worthy, Funny, Slice-of-Life

Why unlikely? Because, despite all the romance, its plot is fully based on a sexual transmitted infection. Hopelessly romantic twenty-something Dylan (Johnny Flynn) suddenly discovers he has chlamydia and is advised to contact all his (read: many) sexual encounters. Pair this plot summary with the fact that the show was originally called “Scrotal Recall” when it aired on British TV and you can be forgiven for looking the other way.

Underneath its awkward previous moniker, Lovesick is actually very funny, charming, and heavily romantic. Dylan is chaperoned by Luke (Daniel Ings, who you may know from Sex Education and The Crown), a seemingly confident but insecure business-school type, and Evie, Dylan’s smart and cynical best friend, played by Antonia Thomas from Misfits. It soon becomes apparent that Evie and Dylan could be much more than just friends if only their timelines were to align.

Lovesick is a charming little series that homes in on the heart-breaking romance of failed relationships. Something you can easily find yourself watching many episodes in one take.

2. Wild Wild Country

best

9.8

Country

United States of America

Actors

George Meredith, Ma Anand Sheela, Osho, Philip Toelkes

Moods

Docu-series, Mini-series, Thought-provoking

Wild Wild Country follows the relocation of a hippie cult from India to Oregon in 1981. You haven’t heard of Wasco Country? Nor had anybody else back then. This ghost town with a handful of god-fearing inhabitants, soon became Rajneeshpuram, the cult’s new homestead, home to a thousand disciples, and the subject of nationwide media attention. Spoiler: the town’s old residents did not think much of it.

Will there be debaucherous orgies, long-haired drop-outs, preaching and chanting? Yes. But, through historical footage and interviews with contemporaries, including Ma Anand Sheela, the power-hungry secretary of the orange-clad guru, you will also be absorbed by chemical weapons and attempted murder, one of the biggest immigration fraud case in US history, and, of course, the mysterious and not-so-mysterious ways that a charismatic cult attracts and manipulates its followers. Across six one-hour episodes, this Netflix miniseries by brothers Maclain and Chapman Way gives a captivating, exhaustive, and powerful account of one of the stranger moments in American media history.

1. Ethos

best

9.9

Country

United States of America

Actors

Öykü Karayel, Alican Yücesoy, Alican Yücesoy, Bige Önal

This gorgeous drama-thriller is set in bustling Istanbul where different characters, mostly women, cross paths.

And when I say gorgeous, I mean of the drop-dead variety. The cinematography is reminiscent of the Japanese style of Kazuo Miyagawa or Columbus director Kogonada.

And it’s all matched by the dialogue. The first episode follows a woman who lays bare her life in a first session with a psychologist. The story then moves on to her psychologist seeing her own clinician, mostly discussing how she feels about seeing veiled patients.

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